Showing posts with label cloud computing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cloud computing. Show all posts

Monday, 15 February 2016

The 25 hottest skills to target in 2016

 By Sarah Morgan


If you work in IT, chances are, you have a profile on the world’s largest professional networking platform, LinkedIn. Over at LinkedIn HQ, the Data Analysts have been hard at work collecting and analysing data from some 400 million members. The end result is a list of the 25 hottest skills in 2015 as found in LinkedIn.

This list has produced some interesting results. We have been talking about the growing demand for IT skills being on the rise for some time, but LinkedIn’s list quantifies the rise in a global and market-wide context. These skills have been measured throughout 2015, including the end of the year, meaning that many of these skills will continue to trend into 2016 and beyond.





What’s new?


Looking at the global list, most striking is the entry of cloud as the most in demand skill in 2015, a skill not present in the 2014 list. IT related skills dominate the list with 19 out of the 25 being IT focused. Thus, solidifying IT skills as the best to target acquiring in 2016.

Aside from IT, demand for skills in areas including marketing, and corporate law and governance also feature.


The rise of cloud technology


As mentioned, the most significant addition to LinkedIn’s 2015 list is cloud and distributed computing skills – entering the list at the top position. It’s safe to say that 2015 was the year of the cloud. Furthermore, 2016 is shaping up to be just as fruitful for those with cloud skills.

Cloud technology has become important to so many businesses, and along with this trend, skills to migrate to and maintain cloud platforms have become highly sought after. This move towards the cloud is driven by businesses looking to make their servers cheaper to run, more flexible, more accessible and more recoverable. Businesses now require specialists in their chosen platforms like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and HP Cloud. As cloud skills are still in short supply, those with the requisite skills are in high demand.

Cloud technology is not so new that it wasn’t around in 2014. The reason why it makes its list debut in 2015, is there simply weren’t enough people on LinkedIn with cloud skills for it to make the 2014 list. This perfectly highlights the shortage of cloud skills. This means getting these skills with certification courses like Microsoft MCSE: Private Cloud, Microsoft MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect, (ISC)² Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) and MCSA: Linux on Azure will make you a valuable asset to your business or potential employer.


Dominance of IT skills


Having touched upon the dominance of IT skills in LinkedIn’s list, it is also the variety of these IT skills that is interesting. They range from the aforementioned cloud technology, to network and information security, to coding and scripting languages like Perl, Python, Ruby and Java. These skills, in conjunction with others, cover the entire spectrum of IT and development skills, which means this rise is not an anomaly - the industry is growing as a whole.

It’s also important to mention data in IT. As the top skill in 2014, it has carried over well into 2015 and early 2016 in the second position. This demonstrates the continued importance of data in business and beyond. Being able to manage and analyse data are vital skills that businesses require. For example, the role of Data Scientist was hailed as the hottest job title in 2015. The skill also consistently ranks highly among all the countries LinkedIn analysed.


Make the most of the need


It’s important to remember that each of the skills in LinkedIn’s list has massive potential because of the value to employers and for the growth of your personal skills and knowledge. Perhaps you’re already in IT and a particular skill would help broaden the abilities of the team you manage or your own role.

Getting certified in these areas can help you achieve and demonstrate your skills. Whichever of the 25 skills in which you want to improve, there is a certification to help you succeed. Check out the list below to find out what certifications are most applicable to the skill you’re interested in.

1. Cloud and Distributed Computing

2. Statistical Analysis and Data Mining 

5. Middleware and Integration Software

6. Mobile Development
8. Storage Systems and Management 
11. Date Engineering and Date Warehousing
12. Algorithm Design
15. Mac, Linux, and User Systems

21. Database Management and Software
22. Software Modelling and Process Design


This eye-opening list is a fantastic indicator of what skills are in high-demand with employers. Now is the time to take advantage of these skill deficits.

Demand for these skills is likely to continue in 2016, especially areas like cloud technology. Equally, we’ll probably see the rise of new areas of skills in 2016 – some that may be very surprising like.

For further detail, here is a list of the top 25 skills of 2015 specific to the UK.







About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Friday, 8 January 2016

Top 10 Cloud Certifications to target in 2016

 By Sarah Morgan


The mass adoption of cloud technologies continues to accelerate at an ever increasing rate. The past 12 months has seen an explosion in the XaaS market as leading cloud platforms - Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS - diversify their product portfolio to meet consumer demand.

This transition to cloud has created huge demand for IT Pros with the skills to make the most of these new technologies and services. At present, WANTED Analytics estimate the UK's cloud employment market at 446,000. Where demand for skills appears, training and certification follow suit. The end result, 2015 has seen the launch of many new cloud certifications from all the major players including Microsoft, Cisco and CompTIA.

So if you're looking to enter the industry, or adapt your skills alongside your companies cloud adoption, we've compiled a list of the top 10 Cloud Certifications to target in 2016. They cover the in-demand skills across development, security, virtualisation and beyond. In no particular order, they are:



1. (ISC)2 Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)


One of the major concerns for businesses when migrating to the cloud is the potential security risks to their key data. This means there is new demand for cloud security skills, as businesses look to make the transition as safe and smooth as possible.

(ISC)2’s CCSP certification gives you these skills. It covers how to protect your data in areas like cloud infrastructure security, architectural concepts and design requirements. The CCSP is modern and outward-facing, meaning it includes all the latest cloud security trends and topics. This top-level cloud security certification will give you all the skills you need to manage the security of your chosen cloud platform in 2016.


Image courtesy of www.perspecsys.com / flickr.com / Perspecsys Photos

2. CompTIA Cloud Essentials


If 2016 is the year you’re looking to specialise in cloud technology, CompTIA’s Cloud Essentials is a great way to get started and learn the fundamentals of all its capacities. 

It’s a platform neutral qualification, meaning what you’ll learn will be highly transferable. This will include the basics of the cloud in a business environment and the value it can have. Plus, the technical aspects of cloud types, and the basics behind a successful adoption of cloud technology. 

3. Microsoft MCSE: Private Cloud


Microsoft’s MCSE: Private Cloud certification will teach you the skills to create and manage a private cloud using Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 R2. You must already be certified in either MCSA: Windows Server 2012 or 2008. 

You’ll develop critical skills like how to configure a private cloud environment, how to optimise your cloud infrastructure and maintaining your cloud infrastructure, as well as everything else in between. 


4. Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server 2012


Microsoft’s current offering of their omnipresent Windows Server certification prepares you to manage Windows Server 2012, regardless of whether the server is on premise or a virtual instance in a public or private cloud.  

The MCSA: Windows Server 2012 will give you the skills you need to develop and manage Windows Server 2012. You’ll cover topics like, managing active directory services, implementing advanced network services and implementing group policy. 



5. Microsoft MCSA: Linux on Azure


The highly anticipated MCSA: Linux on Azure certification arrived at the end of 2015 and is unique in giving Linux specialists the ability to operate on Azure, taking their skills into the cloud. With more than 25% of Microsoft’s 1 million Azure servers running on Linux, the credential will be highly sought after in 2016.

You’ll learn to deploy, configure host and manage Linux websites on Azure, taking advantage of Azure’s key features like Windows PowerShell and Xplat-CLI. You’ll also learn to implement Azure Active Directory, virtual machines and virtual networks, all incorporating Linux.


6. Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certified Solutions Architect


Split into the AWS's Certified Solutions Architect – Associate and AWS's Certified Solutions Architect – Professional, this is the best path of certifications to get you the skills you need to operate on an Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform. Amazon Web Services has established itself as an industry leader in cloud technology.

Get started with AWS in 2016 with the Associate certification, cover the fundamentals in designing efficient applications as well as deployment, security and troubleshooting.

Refine your AWS skills with the Professional certification and make your AWS operations more efficient for your business. You’ll learn about costing, scalability, cloud migration and managing complex, large scale cloud operations.


7. CompTIA Cloud+


The Cloud+ is another platform neutral certification from CompTIA that can set you apart by giving you skills useful in many different cloud environments. Whilst you couldn’t call it an introductory level certification, as it is recommended that you have 2 years IT industry experience, it does introduce you to the cloud industry.

You do not need to have any previous cloud certifications behind you to sit the CompTIA Cloud+. It covers cloud concepts and models, virtualisation, network management, security and business continuity. With this wide variety of topics, you get a well-rounded set of cloud skills, meaning it’s a great way to get started with a career in cloud technology in 2016.


Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/Sira Anamwong

8. VMware® vSphere: Fast Track [V6]


With VMware’s vSphere 6, you can convert underutilised physical servers into virtual servers that offer high availability, flexibility, reduced consumption and increased speed and efficiency. The VMware® vSphere: Fast Track [V6] certification gives you all the skills you need to manage a vSphere setup in your business.

It is recommended that you have at least 6 month’s experience of working with vSphere 6, as the curriculum is comprehensive and penetrative in its coverage of the vSphere’s areas. These include the creation of virtual machines and virtual networks, vCenter Server, managing virtual storage and installing vSphere components. This makes it much easier for you to link vSphere with your chosen cloud platform.


9. Microsoft MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect


Microsoft’s MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect course helps you develop the skills to migrate your existing servers to Azure. It’ll also give you the skills to design websites and other types of infrastructure in Microsoft Azure and to take full advantage of all Azure’s capabilities. 

It’ll introduce you to the capacities of Azure and then explain its full potential in topics like, hosting web applications, storing SQL data, designing cloud applications and implementing automation. These skills will be well-rounded, helping you get ahead with Azure in 2016.


10. Cisco CCNA Cloud


Cisco’s CCNA Cloud is brilliant at introducing you to networking, combined with specialisations in cloud technology. There are no strict prerequisites, although it is recommended you have at least a year’s experience working in a data centre or cloud network environment.

With a focus on preparing you for on-the-job situations, the certification covers Cisco Cloud fundamentals helping you to fully understand its structure and essentials. Plus, you’ll be able to perform invaluable administration and maintenance tasks. This includes management of software applications like Cisco UCS Director, Cisco Prime Service Catalog and Virtual Application Container Services. 

 About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Monday, 26 January 2015

Get £500 towards training from the Tech Partnership Training Fund


By Sarah Morgan


The Tech Partnership Training Fund provides funding for employers to invest in IT training. This means you can get a contribution of up to £500 off your Firebrand Training course – or up to £1,000 off an apprenticeship.

The Tech Partnership is a network of employers, collaborating to create the skills to accelerate the growth of the IT industry. The fund has been made available from the Government’s Employer Ownership of Skills Pilot.


£500 towards hundreds of accelerated Firebrand courses

Now not only will you save time on your Firebrand training course, you can also get a £500 contribution via the fund.

We offer courses in all the key areas that the Tech Partnership Fund is actively investing in, meaning you can apply for funding on most Firebrand courses, including : EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server and VMware vSphere 5.5 Fast Track.

Tech Partnership Funding is available across a range of key IT areas. Use the links below to find the training you need, or take a look at hundreds of other accelerated courses:



Show this to your boss

Funding is available per course, per delegate. This could mean massive cost-savings across your business.

Show this to your boss and take advantage of this government-backed scheme: get you and your colleagues trained and certified at twice the speed – while saving £500 each.


Self Employed?

If you're self employed or a contractor, you can still get the £500 funding per course.


How to apply

To get the funding, your business must have an office in England, and the training must be taken at a Firebrand UK training centre.

This is all you need to do:

  1. Once you’ve chosen your Firebrand course, complete the funding application form for short course funding or apprenticeship funding
  2. You’ll then get a letter to confirm if you've been approved (most applications are), which you need to sign and return, along with details of the learner(s)

It’s as simple as that!

You can see samples of the application forms here:
To find out more about the Tech Partnership Training Fund – or for help with the application form - call us on 080 80 800 888.

Note: There are a handful of Firebrand courses that don’t qualify for the funding. Call us now to check that your course is covered.


About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Best Cloud Certifications for 2015


By Sarah Morgan


Certifications are a great way for IT professionals to prove that their knowledge and skills are up-to-date. They can be especially crucial in a fast moving industry like cloud computing, where importance is placed on keeping up with new technology or running the risk of becoming outdated.

Cloud now encompasses hybrid, public and private technologies as well as the software and dedicated hardware that enables these systems to work together. For businesses to reap the full benefits of cloud these systems must be built, maintained and secured by skilled IT professionals.


Taking cloud a bit too literally...
photo by George Thomas, licensed under Creative Commons














 
Industry experience combined with official certification can go a long way to getting you hired by businesses in need of cloud-skilled employees. So, if you need to advance your cloud knowledge or are looking for a career-changing technology in 2015, some of these certifications may be just what you need. Let's take a look at the best cloud certifications for 2015:

1. CompTIA Cloud+

The CompTIA Cloud+ will validate your cloud knowledge and prove you understand the best practices required to work within cloud environments. 

This certification has been designed by CompTIA to act as a career step toward cloud focused roles for experienced network, storage and data administrators. Because of this, it’s recommend you have at least 2-3 years’ experience with networking, storage or data centre administration as well as familiarity with hypervisor technologies. 

With the Cloud+ you’ll prove you can:

  • Understand the available cloud delivery models and services
  • Maintain, implement and provide cloud infrastructure 
  • Explain, identify and implement security techniques
  • Implement and use resource monitoring techniques

The Cloud+ is a well-rounded certification used in a wide range of jobs from cloud engineer to business analyst. 

If you’re more interested in cloud technology from a business and technical perspective, we recommend you take a look at CompTIA’s Cloud Essential certification. This alternative certification focuses on the business value of cloud, steps to successful adoption and the risks and consequences of the technology.


2. Microsoft Specialist: Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions

Microsoft’s Public Cloud service, Microsoft Azure is gaining popularity worldwide with 1000s of new customers joining every day. Microsoft have made a clear commitment to Azure, investing over $15 billion in building and maintaining the datacentres that power the platform.

To complement their cloud portfolio and to encourage Azure uptake, Microsoft introduced two new specialist certifications in 2014.

The first of these – Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions – is focused at IT developers with basic experience in implementing and monitoring Microsoft Azure solutions.
Achieve this certification and you’ll be able to establish your own Azure virtual network environment, construct Azure Virtual Machines, host azure websites and design your own resilient cloud applications.




If you already hold the MCSD: Web Application cert, this qualification is a brilliant way for you to achieve a rounded understanding of the Azure platform.

To achieve the certification you’ll have to pass Microsoft Exam: 70-532. Plus, both specialist certs do not require any pre-requisites as they are not part of Microsoft’s typical certification track.


3. Microsoft Specialist: Implementing Microsoft Azure Solutions

The second of Microsoft’s new specialist Azure certifications is aimed at experienced IT professionals who administer on-premise infrastructure. As such, you’ll be expected to possess an understanding of virtualisation, network configuration, Active Directory, and database concepts.
Complete this certification and you’ll prove your ability to:

  • Implement and manage virtual networking within Azure
  • Plan and create Azure virtual machines
  • Deploy and configure websites in Azure
  • Manage and backup monitor storage solutions

To achieve the certification you’ll have to pass the Microsoft Exam: 70-533. Both specialist certs do not require any pre-requisites as they are not part of Microsoft’s typical certification track.


4. VMware® vSphere 5.5

When it comes to cloud, experience with virtualization technology is "very important, since that's essentially what makes cloud computing more flexible and increases utilization," argues Wendy Duarte, vice president of recruiting at Mondo.

As one of the fundamental technologies powering cloud computing, it’s no surprise that a virtualisation certification would feature on our top 5 list.

VMware’s Mike Adams states the relationship between virtualisation and cloud succinctly, - “Virtualization is a foundational element of cloud computing and helps deliver on the value of cloud computing…Cloud computing is the delivery of shared computing resources, software or data — as a service and on-demand through the Internet."

Products like VMware vSphere allow businesses to cut the cost of their server sprawl by running multiple operating systems and applications on a single computer, which can then be easily accessed remotely.

vSphere 5.5 eliminates the need to run several sub-optimal servers, but as always, it takes skilled IT professionals to implement and manage this powerful technology. So, to sharpen your virtualisation skills or to take the first steps towards bringing virtualisation to your organisation, we recommend you take a look at VMware’s vSphere 5.5 certification

Find out more about vSphere 5.5 here, but bear in mind, this certification may change with the release of vSphere 6 sometime in 2015.


5. Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK)

Security is a primary concern for businesses pre and post cloud migration. With the CCSK, you’ll prove you can handle cloud security vulnerabilities.

The CCSK is a web-based certification that tests for a broad knowledge of cloud security and includes topics from architecture, governance, compliance, operations, encryption and virtualisation.

To complete this cert you’ll need to pass the CCSK examination: a 60-question multiple choice exam, completed within 90 minutes. Don’t be fooled by the open-book nature of this assessment - you simply won’t have enough time to research every answer individually (and still pass).

It’s worth noting that the CCSK is not a substitute for other cloud certifications. Instead, the CCSK augments your other credentials by proving your knowledge and competency in cloud computing security.

The CCSK is a great supporting certification for IT professionals holding ISACA’s CISA qualification. CISAs emphasise that the CCSK provides the necessary context and focus to effectively audit cloud environments.
Plus, the CCSK can also be employed effectively aside (ISC)2’s CISSP due to the parallels between both certifications Bodies of Knowledge. Additionally, the CCSK builds upon the CISSP by providing context that is important to the cloud.

Since Cloud Security Alliance first released their Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK) in 2010, thousands of IT and security professionals have utilised it as an effective way to upgrade their skills. 


Prove your knowledge

Cloud computing, one of Gartner’s top 10 technology trends for 2015, has already attracted 90% of businesses who now operate using the technology. Cloud’s flexible cost scaling and cost saving has resulted in a massive demand for cloud-ready IT professionals. 

In fact, 65% of IT departments can’t find enough qualified staff to support their cloud projects, report IDC. 

Now you just need the qualifications to prove you can support this in-demand technology.

Related articles:

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Satya Nadella outlines Microsoft's vision of a mobile-first, cloud-first world

 By 

Satya

Speaking in the UK for the first time as CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella headlined a star studded list of globally recognised thought leaders including; Sir Bob Geldof, Jeremy Paxman and Dame Stella Rimington, as part of Microsoft's Future Decoded event.

The event, designed to discover, provoke and provide insight into an uncertain future shaped by rapid technological advancement, saw Nadella open up about his plans for Microsoft and his views of a mobile-first, cloud-first world where indviduals and businesses are empowered by the devices that they own.

The age of Mobile


With studies indicating that in 2014 the average European household owns 10 digital devices, this truly is the age of mobile. Mobile devices now outnumber people on the planet, even greater in number however are sensors which through the aid of mobile we can now interact with the internet of things. 

Speaking on Microsoft's mobile-first, cloud-first ethos, Nadella said:

"To me, when we say mobile first, it's not the mobility of the device, it's actually the mobility of the individual experience.

Speaking of the sensors that surround us, Nadella talked about the emergence of new mobiles services made possible through the power of cloud computing in combination with mobile. Nadella went on to say:

"The only way you are going to be able to orchestrate the mobility of these applications and data is through the cloud... That's why the juxtaposition of cloud infrastructure and mobile experiences is where the world is going."

Take Hive as an example, through the power of mobile you can now control heating from your mobile. Geolocation allows you to turn off the heating when you leave, and turn it on as you are return home. All this enriches your experience whilst also helping to save up to £150 a year. 






Facilitating innovation

Today's changing technology industry only respects one thing, innovation. An ideal at the forefront of Nadella's plans for Microsoft. He went on to talk about how to facilitate innovation and change, talking about the the 3 concentric circles for any organisation to continually innovate and succeed.




  • New concepts - a company cannot stick to existing concepts, they become outdated. New concepts are required to invent new ideas.
  • New capabilities - these are required to support the new concepts. Nadella used Microsoft's example of their Cloud infrastructure and how this new capability in combination with silicon allow them to innovate.
  • Supporting Culture - core to innovation is a culture that actively encourages and facilitates the act.


No big reveal 

Satya Nadella's first UK appearance was quietly understated. There were no revelations, no new technologies were not announced nor worldwide technological revolution promised. Instead this was an intimate conversation introducing us to the new Microsoft CEO where we learned about his ideals, his motivations and his vision for future technology and Microsoft.

This may have left a few dissapointed, but I along with the masses came away with a valuable insight into the man at the helm of a global technological super power now valued at $400 billion. Did I mention that's bigger than Google Inc.? 


Author

As part of Firebrand's global marketing team, Edward actively works to serve the IT community with news, reviews and technical how to guides. Working in the Industry for almost 3 years, Edward has a wide variety of experience with Microsoft Technologies including SharePoint, Windows Server and Exchange Server. Edward is an active member of the IT community contributing to a variety of tech publications including Microsoft TechNet, Channel Pro and PC Advisor.

Friday, 7 November 2014

How to become a Microsoft Azure Specialist


By 


IT Professionals with experience and knowledge of cloud technologies are increasingly in demand. Demand for ‘cloud-ready’ IT professionals will grow by 26% annually through 2015, with as many as 7 million cloud-related jobs available worldwide, IDC report.

However, demand has outpaced supply. IT managers report that the reason they failed to fill an existing 1.7million cloud-related positions in 2012 was due to a lack of training and certification.

The IDC White Paper report that 56% of IT departments simply cannot find enough qualified staff to support their cloud projects. 

Two giants are currently fighting it out for dominance of this thriving technology sector – Microsoft and Amazon Web Services.





Though Amazon may be the current cloud leader, it’s all too clear that Microsoft is closing the gap.
Especially so when considering Microsoft noted in its last earnings call that cloud revenue grew 147% year-over-year. 

At WPC 2014, Microsoft also unveiled these impressive Azure statistics:
  • 57% of Fortune 500 companies now use Azure
  • 300,000+ active websites
  • More than 30 trillion storage objects
  • Over 1 million SQL databases in Azure
  • 300 million Azure Active Directory users

With over $15 billion invested into building and maintaining datacentres across the globe, Microsoft is clearly committed to Azure. And it’s shows.


What is Azure?

Microsoft is going all in on Cloud technology. Microsoft Azure is an open collection of compute, storage, data and networking running in a global network of Microsoft-managed datacentres. 

You may also know it as Azure Ad and Azure online backup but it’s role remains the same – it allows organisations to build infrastructure as a service (IAAS), Platform as a Service (PAAS) and Software as a Service Solutions (SAAS). 


Sound familiar?

If you have recently studied Windows Server 2012 R2 and the latest versions of System Centre and SQL, you might have already studied Azure. Microsoft has already begun to introduce Azure material across their certifications and exams. 

This highlights Microsoft’s commitment to Azure, and proves that an understanding of the software is becoming increasingly necessary in related certifications. After investing $15 billion into worldwide datacentres, it comes as no surprise. 

And in the last couple of months, Microsoft have released courses, exams and certifications specifically based around Azure. 

The two brand new Microsoft certifications are:
  • Microsoft  Specialist: Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions
  • Microsoft Specialist: Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions


Microsoft Specialist: Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions

If you’re a developer looking to enhance your Web Applications and Windows Store Apps through building your own cloud services – this certification is for you. 

Or, if you hold the MCSD: Web Applications, this certification will prove a brilliant way to gain a greater understanding of the Azure platform. 

This Specialist course, built for developers, teaches you how to establish your own Azure virtual network environment. 

If you want to expand your development skills to cover Microsoft Azure, this is the certification for you. You’ll learn how to construct Azure Virtual Machines, create and host Azure websites and design resilient cloud applications. 

To achieve the certification you’ll have to pass the Microsoft Exam: 70-532


Microsoft Specialist: Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions

Microsoft is now the second largest provider of cloud infrastructure solutions and this Specialist certification has been created to set you apart as a knowledgeable Cloud professional. 

You’ll learn how to migrate your existing on-premise infrastructure to Microsoft Azure as well as:

  • Plan and implement data services based on SQL
  • Deploy and configure websites
  • Publish content through CDNs 
  • Integrate on premises Windows AD with Azure AD

To achieve the certification you’ll have to pass the Microsoft Exam: 70-533


When can you get certified?

You can sit both the 70-533 and 70-532 exams and attain your respective certifications now. But bear in mind – you have two options for scheduling these exams: Pearson VUE and Prometric.

If you want to sit your exam after January 1, 2015 – book it with Pearson VUE. This is because after December 31, 2014, Microsoft will stop delivering their certification exams through Prometric.

Training providers are racing to cater for the demand for these new Microsoft Specialist certifications. We are proud to announce that Firebrand is one of the first to market - and will be running courses in the coming months.


How to know when you’re ready

These Microsoft Specialist certifications are not part of the traditional MTA, MCSA and MCSE / MCSD tracks. As a result, you won’t find any pre-requisites for these Azure certifications.
However, Firebrand instructor, Mike Brown has reviewed the curriculum of both Specialist certifications and strongly recommends an in depth understanding of virtualisation before taking on these exams. 

Because of this emphasis on virtualisation, if you possess the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 R2 certification, you’ll be better prepared than most for these new Azure Specialist courses. Those without this cert should consider it as a great introduction to virtualisation. 


Prepare for your Microsoft Specialist cert now

To get started on Microsoft Azure - take a look at the Microsoft Virtual Academy. You’ll find 28 Microsoft Azure short courses available which provide a great self-study introduction to the technology. 

Because these Azure certifications are so new and in-depth, you won’t find a great deal of external resources. As a result, self-study could prove unjustifiably tough. 

But, if you can prove your knowledge of Azure, you’ll be well placed to take full advantage of the driving demand for Cloud technology.


About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Monday, 23 June 2014

Safe cloud computing is great cloud computing – secure it with these certs


By 

Earlier this month Tech Times and Top Tech News published two articles regarding some newly surfacing concerns about security in the cloud. Do businesses have to be worried about storing their data in those remotely located servers? Is the cloud more risky than storing your data locally? This article will discover how cloud computing can be made safer with the help of the relevant certifications.

Data breach: could the cloud triple the odds?

The latest study (Data Breach: The Cloud Multiplier Effect) by the Ponemon Institute revealed that IT security professionals expect that moving their data to the cloud will increase the chances of getting hit by a data breach. In fact, the 613 surveyed pros agreed that an increased use of cloud computing could potentially triple the risks of a data breach.

Rajat Bhargava, co-founder of JumpCloud, said "When you don't own the network, it's open to the rest of the world, and you don't control the layers of the stack, the cloud - by definition - is more insecure than storing data on premises." This surely sounds alarming coming from a cloud security professional, but don’t go switching that local server in your basement back on just yet, because Chris Wysopal begs to differ.

Secure the “third-party element”

Chris Wysopal, co-founder and CTO of Veracode thinks: “Risky software, regardless of deployment method, is what is adding unnecessary risk to organisations.”

“Enterprises are right to be wary of third-party cloud applications. However, this should have nothing to do with whether they are in the cloud or not. Instead it is because they are produced by third-parties, and thus enterprises have less insight into the security that went into the development. If an enterprise wants to reduce unnecessary risk at their company, avoiding the cloud isn’t going to protect them – but taking a hard look at their software procurement policies and processes will.”

Image courtesy of ddpavumba/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Get familiar with cloud security

As you can see, it is misleading to state and conclude that cloud computing – by default – brings greater risks to your business; you just need to thoroughly check your provider’s security standards and measures. But are you familiar with security in the cloud?

Learn all about security concepts, encryption technologies and access control methods on our cloud computing courses. Pick from the likes of CompTIA’s Cloud+ and Cloud Essentials or Microsoft’s MCSE: Private Cloud and you’ll learn everything you need to know about secure cloud computing. 

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Your supreme guide to cloud certifications


By 

A few years ago cloud computing was a popular buzzword, rather than a significant piece of the IT puzzle. However, times have changed and the cloud has become one of fastest growing, most versatile technologies.

Although its presence is growing rapidly, cloud computing is still in the relatively early stage of its adoption. There are still thousands of companies, who are only now considering moving to the cloud.


Image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What’s the current state of play?

According to a survey by WANTED Analytics, over 2,400 organisations were seeking IT professionals with cloud computing skills in 2012. 

An IDC White Paper, commissioned by Microsoft, also revealed that “cloud-related skills represent virtually all the growth opportunities in IT employment worldwide and demand for cloud-related positions will grow by 26 per cent annually through 2015”

In EMEA, IDC forecasts that cloud-related IT jobs will grow by 24 percent per year to about 1.4 million by 2015.

What does this mean? This means that now is your time to get your head in the cloud, certify your skills and get a thick slice of technology’s tastiest cake. Here are nine cloud computing certifications that will help you make the most of technology's fastest growing field.

1. CompTIA Cloud Essentials

The CompTIA Cloud Essentials certification is your ideal entry level certification, as it covers the basic fundamentals of cloud computing such as:
  • Cloud types
  • Adoption and implementation of the cloud
  • The impact of cloud computing on IT service management
  • Cloud computing risks
With this cert under your belt, you demonstrate that you have an understanding of cloud computing from a business, as well as from a technical perspective. As part of this certification, you also learn how to migrate to the cloud and about the governance of cloud computing environments.



2. CompTIA Cloud+

Cloud+ is a newly developed certification by CompTIA, which puts great emphasis on IT security. It’s perfect if you already have some experience in working with cloud technology.

As a Cloud+ certified professional, you will have an understanding of cloud computing terms and methods, and the aspects of IT security. You’ll also be able to maintain and implement cloud infrastructures, including network and virtualisation technologies.
The Cloud+ certification also covers:
  • Resource management
  • Security
  • Systems management
  • Business continuity in the cloud
3. Rackspace: CloudU

CloudU by Rackspace is a vendor-neutral certification programme designed and developed for IT professionals and decision makers. CloudU teaches you the fundamentals of cloud computing, with the help of whitepapers, lectures, quizzes, video tutorials, e-books, webinars and live events.

CloudU’s content is available to anyone, however in order to obtain the certification, you must complete 10 CloudU lesson quizzes and a 50 question final exam.
The lessons of CloudU cover everything from cloud types, virtualisation and security to application programming interfaces (APIs) and hypervisors.



4. MCSE: Private Cloud

This certification is the crown jewel of Microsoft’s cloud portfolio. The MCSE: Private Cloud certification proves your skills in managing and implementing Microsoft private cloud computing technologies. Combined with Windows Server and System Center, you’ll be able to build your Microsoft private cloud to provide flexibility for your IT infrastructure.
As part of this certification you’ll cover topics such as:
  • Deploying cloud services
  • Monitoring private cloud services
  • Problem management in the cloud
  • Private cloud protection and recovery
Prior to getting this certification, you need to already have your MCSA: Windows Server 2012, which includes passing Exams 410-411-412.

5. VMware Certified Associate – Cloud (VCA-Cloud)

VMware’s full portfolio of cloud computing certifications is currently made up of six different cloud-specific certs, from beginner to advanced levels. The first level of this hierarchy is VCA-Cloud, which can be obtained by completing a free, self-paced eLearning course.

To prepare for your VCA-Cloud exam you may take the VMware Cloud Fundamentals course, which will teach you to define and describe the different types of clouds and also provide an overview of VMware vCloud Suite.



6. HP ATA – Cloud

HP’s Accredited Technical Associate – Cloud certification teaches you industry-standard virtualisation technologies, including the planning and designing of common virtualised services and their implications for customer needs.

As part of this certification, you learn how to design, implement, and support end-to-end IT systems. Furthermore, you also learn about the following:
  • Installing, configuring, and upgrading servers, storage, data networks and applications in business environments
  • Differences between hosted, co-located and cloud networks, and a traditional on-premises network
  • Business implications and selection criteria of appropriate responses to a given business scenario
7. CloudSchool.com – Certified Cloud Professional (CCP)

Certified Cloud Professional (CCP) by CloudSchool.com is a vendor-neutral cloud certification, focusing on fundamental topics of cloud computing. With this certification under your belt, you’ll be familiar with cloud computing terminology and concepts, as well as the benefits, challenges and risks of using the cloud. 

You’ll also learn about SaaS, Paas and Iaas models and the different types of clouds. To get your CCP certification, you must pass two exams:
  • C90-01 Fundamental Cloud Computing – standard prerequisite of CloudSchool.com certs
  • One additional exam from this list
CloudSchool.com offers self-study resources, study sessions as well as instructor-led workshops to help your prepare for the exams. 

8. Cloud Security Alliance: The Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK)

The Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK) certification is another vendor-neutral qualification, which proves your expertise in key areas of cloud security such as:
  • Architecture
  • Compliance
  • Governance
  • Virtualisation
  • Operations
  • Encryption
According to Gavin Hill, Venafi’s Director of Product Marketing: "With data being the new currency, the control of trust in the cloud is ever more significant. The CSA updated Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK) brings practical guidance to security professionals deploying workloads in the cloud. It delivers the necessary controls that enable security professionals to deploy cloud applications with security and trust mind."

9. (+1) IBM Certified Cloud Solution Architect v1 and v3

Last but not least, let’s take a look at both versions of IBM’s Certified Cloud Solution Architect. v1 and v3 certify your skills to design, plan and manage IBM's cloud computing infrastructure. As an IBM Certified Cloud Solution Architect you are also able to provide a detailed overview of the benefits and underlying concepts of cloud computing.

To obtain these certs, you should have a working knowledge of cloud fundamentals as well as a basic knowledge of IBM cloud computing essentials.

There you have it nine (+1) cloud computing certs that will definitely get you ahead of the curve and help you make the most of what the cloud has to offer. And if you are interested in even more cloud certs, check out our full cloud portfolio.

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.