Showing posts with label prince2. Show all posts
Showing posts with label prince2. Show all posts

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Which project management certification is best for you?

 By Sarah Morgan


Many top level management job openings are now requiring and actively seeking certified project managers. This comes as little surprise with many studies suggesting certified professionals exhibit improved management of workloads, budgets, time, risks and people. These skills translate to a higher project success rate. With a report from PWC, citing 80% of successful projects are run by a certified project manager.

These factors have fuelled huge demand for project management certifications, with a wide range available, meaning it can often be confusing deciding which one best meets your needs. Each offers a unique set of skills. In this post, we breakdown what each one offers and the situation it is most applicable to.

PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner Certification


Created by the UK’s Office of Government Commerce, it has become the national standard project management framework, with influences across Europe and Australia. It has also flourished into the most popular project management certification, with over 1 million PRINCE2 certified professionals worldwide.

The PRINCE2 methodology covers product-oriented planning, with emphasis on splitting a project into stages and increasing your control and flexibility. It also focuses on defined organisational structure, eliminating any uncertainty or miscommunication. This standardised approach is designed to be applicable to almost any project. 

PRINCE2 is split into two separate levels, the Foundation and Practitioner. Firebrand is the only training provider in the world to offer both levels of the PRINCE2 certification in just three days.

PRINCE2 Agile Certification


Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at
freedigitalphotos.net
PRINCE2 Agile combines the standardised and effective methodology of PRINCE2, with the responsiveness of Agile. Adding Agile skills to your project management arsenal will make each step of the process more efficient. This means you’ll be able to finish the project quicker, allowing you to meet a higher percentage of your deadlines.

This makes the PRINCE2 Agile certification particularly useful to you if your projects are often affected by time constraints. For example, if you work in a fast-paced environment that requires high turnover of smaller projects. Or, if you often manage large projects with crucial deadlines.

Lean Six Sigma Certifications


Lean Six Sigma skills focus on reducing the amount of errors and minimising waste and variability in your projects. This means improving the processes throughout, making it as efficient as possible. This is done by establishing defined infrastructure at each stage of the project and using quality management to monitor them. The processes are then given quantified financial targets to measure success.

Lean Six Sigma skills can help you
meet your targets.
Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at
freedigitalphotos.net
Lean Six Sigma certifications are most useful to managers who work on projects measured by efficiency and financial success. The skills these certifications focus on are geared towards improving statistical success rates and overall efficiency.

There are a variety of levels within Lean Six Sigma. The Yellow Belt is the entry level Lean Six Sigma certification. It teaches you Lean fundamentals and the basic waste management tools needed to start implementing Lean Six Sigma thinking in your projects.

The Green Belt will teach you to apply Lean Six Sigma methodologies and behaviours in your role. If you have over 18 months project management experience, it’s possible to go straight onto the Green Belt.

The Black Belt is aimed at advanced project managers and will help you make lasting improvements to your project management processes. It will help you in areas like cost control, customer satisfaction and performance processing. You’ll learn to directly address the speed and quality of your projects.

PMP Certification


Another of the heavyweights in project management certification is PMI’s PMP. Developed and dominant in the US, this certification teaches you PMP’s  globally accepted project management standard. You’ll learn techniques to evaluate and improve your projects under the direction of the PMBoK (Project Management Body of Knowledge), which covers a huge range of project management aspects.

This is another certification that is applicable to a huge range of projects. However, you’re required to have at least five years project management experience to be able to attempt the PMP due to its high level. It is best suited to advanced project managers looking to polish their skills and elevate themselves to the top of their field.

CAPM Certification


An entry-level alternative from PMI, is the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM). This covers a range of project management topics similar to that of the PMP. This allows you start your project management career with awareness of the full range of skills needed to be a successful manager, for the long term. PMI’s CAPM is a fantastic option for inexperienced managers.

PSM Certification


Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at
freedigitalphotos.net
Scrum.org’s Professional Scrum Master certification is all about teaching you to remove obstacles and difficulties for your team. It covers managing behavioural shifts, the unique dynamics within teams and coaching your team. The end goal of the Professional Scrum Master certification is to allow you to boost the productivity and efficiency of your team, improving the overall success rates of your projects.

Due to the personable and interactive nature of the Professional Scrum Master, it is best suited to managers responsible for large or fast-moving teams. It is also worth noting that learning for the Scrum Master course is often done through highly interactive exercises and environments, making the skills easily transferable to the workplace.

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, 5 November 2015

The 5 hottest IT jobs and how to get them with Free Training For Life

 By Sarah Morgan

Firebrand’s Free Training For Life competition offers you the chance to win accelerated training completely free, for the rest of your life. There are no restrictions. This means you can choose from Firebrand’s portfolio of 200+ accelerated courses, which includes names like Microsoft, Cisco, CompTIA and (ISC)2.

Winning Free Training For Life has the potential to help you get your dream job, so we’ve mapped out the five hottest jobs right now and selected the certifications you need to secure them.


1. Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)


Security is one of the hottest topics out there at the moment, partly due to the staggering amount of high-profile cyber-attacks that have cost names like, EBay, Sony and most recently TalkTalk, millions. Chief Information Security Officer is one of the top jobs in the field. The average advertised salary is £110,000 according to itjobswatch.co.uk and they are now in high demand. CISOs are responsible for developing and implementing security policies and the company’s security architecture.

To get on the path to becoming a Chief Information Security Officer, you could start with the CompTIA A+ or Network+. The A+ and Network+ will teach you the fundamentals in PC hardware, security and networking that will be highly useful in the future.

(ISC)2’s SSCP is also a great value certification that you can do after a year’s IT security experience. This will begin to teach you advanced skills like cryptography, risk, response and recovery, and dealing with malicious code. This will put you in a great position to become a CISO in the future.

3-5 years into your career, ISACA’s CISA would be perfect to give you IS audit and control skills to ensure the business’s security procedures can protect its information assets. You could follow up with the CISM to get skills like risk and incident management and program development. This will help you move into information security management, and eventually the CISO role.

Many see (ISC)2’s CISSP as the best IT security certification you can aim for, and it will certainly help you get into a CISO role. The CISSP will help you master both the management and technical aspects of the field, giving you security engineering, communication and network security skills. There are also extensions to the CISSP that offer in-depth skills if you have a specific need for them. The CISSP-ISSAP includes further detail in areas like access control systems and security architecture analysis. Also, the CISSP-ISSEP can teach you further skills in technical management and risk management. These can help you master your CISO role.





2. Cloud Infrastructure Architect


The cloud technology market is growing rapidly. Because of this, demand for IT professionals with cloud skills has never been higher. Cloud Infrastructure Architect is one of the most sought after positions. The role involves migrating and integrating applications to the cloud, and managing cloud servers. The average advertised salary according to itjobswatch.co.uk is £70,000.

Typically, a business will use one established cloud provider which could restrict the training you’ll need. The restriction-less Free Training For Life however, would give you access to the wide range of cloud certifications, like the following, that teach you the skills to become a Cloud Infrastructure Architect.

The Microsoft Specialist: Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions certification would give you the skills to migrate existing on-premises infrastructure to Azure. You’d also learn to manage the systems in the future.

The Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server 2012 R2 certification will give you the skills to manage and deploy Windows Server 2012 and components like active directory domain services and AD FS. It also offers cloud skills that will help you become a Cloud Infrastructure Architect. This is because the system includes cloud technology and is so widely used.

The Microsoft MCSE: Private Cloud will teach you how to build your Microsoft private cloud, very useful in a Cloud Infrastructure Architect role. It covers skills like deploying private cloud services, problem management, optimising a cloud infrastructure and configuring a self-service and multi-tenant private cloud.

Another option is VMware’s vSphere [V6] certification which includes elements of cloud technology. This will teach you skills in virtual machine management, configuring and managing virtual storage and networks, and installing and maintaining vSphere.


3. Certified Ethical Hacker


Certified Ethical Hackers are those who are able to counteract and prevent the threat that malicious hackers pose to businesses. The increasing danger that these malicious hackers are posing, is making the demand for Certified Ethical Hackers soar. According to itjobswatch.co.uk the average advertised salary for an ethical hacker is £55,000.

To begin on the path to a Certified Ethical Hacker role, you need systems and networking foundations. The Microsoft MTA Networking, Security & Windows Server Administration, CompTIA A+ or Network+ would all be great certifications to get those skills. The MTA does not cover the same hardware topics as the A+ or Network+, but does offer more content about server administration and will lean towards Microsoft technology.

Following on, the Security+ can give you more detailed security skills, covering topics like compliance and operational security, access control and identity management, and cryptography. Similarly, Cisco’s CCNA will boost your skills in the networking area. This will teach you skills in areas like LAN switching technologies, IP addressing and routing technologies, and network device security.

After two years’ IT experience, you should be ready to sit your Certified Ethical Hacker course. This will give you the knowledge to fill an ethical hacking role. You’ll learn advanced skills in areas like Trojans and backdoors, viruses and worms, session hijacking and SQL interjection. These are necessary and vital skills in the arsenal of an ethical hacker, so you can comprehensively check the security of a business and cover gaps that could be maliciously exploited.

The Computer Hacking Forensics Investigator is a further certification that can boost your skills in the forensics process, improving your skills in responding to an attack. This could really make you stand out in the ethical hacking field.


4. Web Developer


Every modern business needs a website, meaning web developers with skills to create and maintain them, are in high demand. According to itjobswatch.co.uk, the average salary for a Web Developer is £37,500.

To give yourself the fundamental web development skills, an MTA in Software Development Fundamentals or HTML5 App Development Fundamentals would be suitable. You’ll learn core programming and general software development skills that’ll be useful in any web development role.

To get the high level skills you need to become a web developer, you could sit the Microsoft MCSD: Web Applications. This will teach you how to create and deploy modern web applications, whilst giving you an introduction to coding languages like HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. It also teaches you basic programming skills like program logic, developing user interfaces and storing data.



5. Project Manager


Free Training For Life has the potential to take your career into project management. The skills in this field are versatile and useful in many areas of business. According to itjobswatch.co.uk, Project Managers have an average salary of £52,500.

You should begin with the PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner. It provides a framework for managing projects that is the most popular of its kind in UK. It teaches you how to structure and manage your projects, including planning and organisation techniques. It also covers potential changes and risks to your projects.

Once you meet the prerequisites, you can progress onto PMI’s PMP. This covers more detailed planning and tight regulation of your projects, helping you improve the success rate of your projects. You’ll learn to regulate budgets, communications, quality management and more.

Learning to apply the agile methodology will also help you become a more successful project manager. The PRINCE2 Agile will teach you to combine PRINCE2 and agile in your projects. You’ll learn agile fundamentals and how to tailor the management process around those fundamentals. This will help you react more effectively to unpredictable changes. 



Free Training For Life has no restrictions, meaning you can take your career in any direction you choose. For the rest of your life, stay at the cutting edge in your career by gaining high-quality skills and certifications that can open doors to places you’ve never considered.

You can sit courses from vendors such as (ISC)2, APMG, AXELOS, CISCO, CompTIA, EC-Council, ISACA, Linux, Microsoft, The Open Group and many more. Free Training For Life lets you dream big and accelerate your career with any course you choose. 

You can enter Free Training For Life here and see Firebrand’s full portfolio of accelerated courses here.


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, 13 July 2015

Firebrand launches a massive thirteen new accelerated courses


By Sarah Morgan



Firebrand continues to accelerate traditional IT training! We’re thrilled to announce the release of a massive 13 new Firebrand courses.

CISCO CCNA Collaboration - 8 days

Develop your collaboration and video skills, with Official Cisco Curriculum and Instructors helping your voice, video, data and mobile applications skills grow. In the real-world this will help you carry out and maintain most common industry protocol. You’ll learn how to:

  •  Successfully implement and troubleshoot CISCO video network devices
  • Provide operator care and network care – all in line with official Cisco standards
  • Assess network requirements of video solutions


CISCO CCNP Collaboration - 12 days

The follow on from the CCNA collaboration certification, again, the Official Cisco Curriculum and Instructors give you expert skills, so you can lead transformation in your organisation. You’ll build a variety of expert collaboration skills relevant to Cisco. This accelerated course covers:

  • Single-site off-cluster calling
  • Bandwidth management
  • Cisco IP telephony and video troubleshooting


CISCO CCNA Industrial - 3 days, 50% faster than traditional training!

In this brand new CISCO accelerated course, learn how to manage industrial systems, aligned with the highest standard of industry practices. This accelerated course blends IT and industrial networks and how to manage and operate them. Official Cisco Curriculum and Instructors cover elements such as:

  • Industrial networking concepts and components
  • Ethernets and IPs
  • Configuring and troubleshooting PROFINET

CCNA Industrial is Cisco’s IoT-focused certification, designed to help enterprise professionals develop the key skills needed as a result of the Internet of Everything (IoE) / Internet of Things (IoT).



Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certified Solutions Architect - Associate - 3 days

This Firebrand accelerated course will prepare you for the Certified Solutions Architect Associate exam. You’ll learn how to:

  • Ingress and egress of data in AWS
  • Identification of AWS architectural best practices
  • Estimate AWS costs


Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certified Solutions Architect – Professional - 3 days

The follow on to the Amazon Web Services Certified Solutions Architect – Associate. This Firebrand course will help you gain advanced technical knowledge. Skills you learn will include:

  • Designing and deploying enterprise-wide scalable operations on AWS
  • Designing hybrid cloud architectures
  • Implement cost control strategies


ISACA CSX Practitioner Level 1: Identification and Protection - 3 days

In just three days, you’ll become familiar and competent with key cyber security skills, useful in the industry. On this brand new and official ISACA course, consisting of 50% hands-on lab exercises; you’ll learn key cyber security skills including:

  • Industry developed protection mechanisms 
  • Threat reports
  • Vulnerability analysis 
  • System log evaluation 
  • How to use identification and enumeration tools


ISACA CSX Practitioner Level 2 Detection - 3 days

Discover and prevent threats from harming your business. In another 50% lab-based accelerated course, you’ll learn from experiences you can apply to real-world situations. This official ISACA course will develop the following skills:

  • Analysing network output 
  • Detecting malware
  • Analysing attacks


ISACA CSX Practitioner Level 3 Respond and Recover – 3 days

Master what is needed to produce a thorough incident response plan (IRP). This official ISACA course will help you respond to, contain and recover from a cyber-attack. Domains covered include:

  • Performing a business continuity plan 
  • System restoration 
  • Attack isolation

Firebrand also offers an all-inclusive 9 day CSX Practitioner course, 40% faster than traditional training.



AXELOS ITIL Practitioner - 2 days

Brand new and centred on Continual Service Improvement (CSI) and how ITIL practices can be adapted within your organisation. It is also the follow on to the AXELOS ITIL foundation. This accelerated ITIL Practitioner course has been developed to increase the value of ITIL within your business. You’ll learn how to:

  • Use ITIL on a day-to-day basis
  • Use automation, real-time reporting and the cloud to improve service design and delivery
  • Use frameworks such as Lean, Agile and SIAM


AXELOS Cyber Resilience: Foundation & Practitioner (RESILIA) - 5 days

This brand new accelerated course works on a basis of knowing how to deal with cyber-attacks when they occur, as well as preventing them Covers both components of Foundation and Practitioner programs, as well as including both exams. You’ll become well practised in areas such as:

  • Control reporting and good governance
  • Enhanced collaboration and frameworks of using ITIL within IT security
  • Common language across IT and non-IT teams


AXELOS PRINCE2 AGILE Certification - 2 days

Apply established AGILE methodology, boosting the efficiency of your projects. This brand new accelerated 2 day course combines the flexibility and responsiveness of agile thinking within the PRINCE2 concept. It requires the PRINCE2 Practitioner certification as a prerequisite. Applicable to any type of project, you’ll learn how to:

  • Apply basic AGILE concepts
  • Combine PRINCE2 and AGILE methodologies
  • Use those skills in a practical environment


GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC) - 4 days

Establish a broad and solid foundation of knowledge of security essentials. Ideal for entry-level security professionals, operations personnel and managers alike. Learn:

  • How to design network architecture, running both Windows and Linux command tools, working with VMware, creating virtual security systems and policies
  • Networking concepts
  • Secure communications
  • Windows, UNIX and Linux security


GIAC Penetration Tester (GPEN) - just 5 days

Defend your business with this accelerated 5 day course. Using established penetration methodologies, you’ll learn how to:

  • Conduct a real-life penetration test and the legal issues surrounding it
  • Perform password attacks 
  • Benefits and limitations of command shell access 
  • Target and vulnerability scanning


200+ courses and counting

Firebrand’s portfolio now exceeds 200 accelerated courses from vendors like Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA.
(ISC)2

We’re committed to developing new accelerated courses. To stay up to date with our newest and most cutting edge training follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ and LinkedIn.


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, 7 July 2015

The new PRINCE2 Agile and why it matters


By Sarah Morgan


The eagerly awaited PRINCE2 Agile framework was released on the 24th June. PRINCE2 Practitioners and project managers will now be considering whether this is a framework they should begin using, in order to stay up to date with the latest project management methods.

What is PRINCE2?

The marriage of PRINCE2 and Agile is intriguing. They are both very different ways of thinking. PRINCE, which stands for PRojects IN Controlled Environments, provides a framework for project managers to track the construction and delivery of products against a plan. With it you’ll get a proven process that allows everyone on your team to approach the project with the same mind-set.

However, despite being a gold standard project management framework for over a decade, it is occasionally dismissed as being unrealistic. This is because there is no such thing as a truly controlled business environment, and so many of the practises are difficult to employ in the real world.

What is Agile Project Management?

Agile Project Management is very much the opposite of this. It’s a flexible way of thinking, making it better for producing deliverables, without substantial changes or reworking required. Tasks are broken down into smaller stages allowing risk to be reduced, with early assessment testing and analysis. Agile trains people to think quickly and come up with solutions to issues on the spot. Ultimately saving money and time as problems are overcome more quickly.

Agile also divides responsibility amongst a team, meaning you’ll achieve more, faster. A well-known example of this is the SCRUM method where responsibility is divided between the Team, Scrum Master and Product Owner.

The merge of PRINCE2 and Agile means that those with knowledge of the framework will get the best of both worlds. PRINCE2 offers the ability to use a well-tested approach to projects and Agile lets you bring the more dynamic and fluid side of project management to the table.



Learn the skills to apply PRINCE2 Agile

The framework is ‘Industry Agnostic’, meaning no matter what projects you undertake, you will be able to apply the processes. In terms of structure it is roughly 20% PRINCE2 and 80% Agile and concentrates on where the two types of thinking meet. This means that you are able to use Agile techniques to tailor how you use the PRINCE2 framework to suit the size and type of project you are undertaking.

One of the best ways to understand and gain the skills required to apply the framework is to get certified in PRINCE2 Agile. The new PRINCE2 Agile course from AXELOS, does exactly that.

On a Prince2 Agile course you’ll learn how to:

  • Apply basic concepts of common Agile ways of working
  • Purpose and context for combining PRINCE2 and the Agile way of working
  • Apply and evaluate the focus areas to a project in an Agile context
  • Fix and flex the six aspects of a project in an Agile context
  • Apply and tailor the PRINCE2 principles, themes, processes and management products to a project within an Agile context
  • Learn through the use of theory and practical exercises
  • Prepare for the PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner exam


To get certified in PRINCE2 Agile you have to sit the exam. It consists of two and a half hours of a multiple choice questions based on scenarios, with a 60% pass mark. In order to take the course you must have the PRINCE2 Practitioners qualification.

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. 

Friday, 20 March 2015

Top 10 PMP resources 2015


By Sarah Morgan


Get ready to take on your PMP exam with these top PMP resources 2015. It’s a waste of your time and money to attempt an exam you’re not prepared for. Instead, get ready to pass first time by studying the best material available.

These top PMP resources range from study guides to practice exam simulators and even interactive games.

1. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK 5 Guide)

This is an essential resource for PMP students and a crucial revision tool. Every PMP aspirant should study this official guide as it covers the most recent PMBOK in its entirety and provides the international standard upon which PMP is based.

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMB Guide) - 5th Edition

Amazon.co.uk

2. Head First PMP Paperback – December 29, 2013

Learn the latest objectives and topics in the PMBOK5 with this bestselling PMP guide (with over 100 reviews and a four star average on Amazon.com). This intelligent book covers PMP’s underlying concepts as well as a thorough exam preparation guide with hundreds of practice questions and strategies.

Head First PMP Paperback – 29 Dec 2013

Amazon.co.uk


3. How to Manage a Camel

Take some time out of your revision to browse Arras People’s ‘How to Manage a Camel.’ This great project management blog covers all aspects of project management, including PMP and PRINCE2.

You’ll get a better appreciation of project management as a career and a more comprehensive base of knowledge. Plus, there are some great PMP specific articles to read as part of your revision process.


4. PMP ITTO Mind Map

This is a great PMP revision tool for visual learners. Developed by Kim Synder and based on the PMBOK Guide 5th Edition, this mind map visualises 10 project management knowledge areas found in PMP.

Get the pdf here.

One page in the comprehensive 10 page mind map






5. PM Zilla forum

PM Zilla is one of the most popular PMP specific forums. There are over 10,000 threads covering topics from PMP exam questions to applying PMP in real world situations. Got a tricky PMP question that Google can’t answer? Ask in the forum

Forums are a great way to learn regardless of which certification you are studying for. Interacting with other students, discussing the curriculum and asking questions is one of the best ways of both learning and putting your knowledge into practice. However, make sure you verify your information, as there’s no real way of gauging it’s quality otherwise (it could be incorrect!).

And don’t forget – forums are participatory and at their most rewarding when you aren’t just asking questions, but answering them too.


6. Techexams.net PMP Forum

One forum is never enough – here’s a second great project management forum from techexams.net. You’ll find some great user-created revision guides and active threads. As always – make sure to double (and triple) check the information you read.

Bear in mind, though most posts relate to PMP, this forum is dedicated to project management certifications as a whole.


7. Rita’s process game

One skilled PMP student has even developed a game to help others understand the correct sequence of all project management processes and planning processes.

Find it here.


8. Firebrand Learn

Firebrand Learn is a free platform for self study. We’ve added a massive amount of PMP content to it - you’ll get:
  • Course material taught on Firebrand’s official PMP course
  • Exercises
  • Free practice test questions and answers 
  • A collection of third party resources

Combine A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK 5 Guide) with the resources on Firebrand Learn and you’ll be well on your way to passing the PMP exam.


Firebrand Learn's of practice exam questions


We’ve had some great feedback about Firebrand Learn. Take a look at what Michael Greer of bestfreetraining.net said about it:



Start revising PMP right now on Firebrand Learn– you won’t need to pay or register.


9. PMP Exam Self-Assessment Test - Oliver Lehmann

From this site you’ll get access to 75 free sample questions with a simulated 90 minute time to mimic the exam. Click ‘Solve Sample Test’ once you’re done to see an instant percentage score.

You’ll also get access to an additional 175 PMP sample questions in pdf form. Unlike the interactive online questions, this document is intended to be printed and completed by hand.

Don’t be discouraged if you’re score is lower than you expected, as Cornelius Fitchner of The Project Management Podcast states, “Hands down, this web site has the toughest questions around. If you are able to answer more than 50% correctly, then hats off to you.”


10. PM Exam Simulator

As the name suggests, this tool simulates the PMP exam and provides 175 free sample questions. You’ll answer questions of the same style and difficulty that you can expect to find on the real exam and will get access to three different modes of:

  • Real exam mode: a simulation of the real PMP exam experience
  • Timed mode: you’ll receive hints and answers but will still be timed
  • Learning mode: get hints and answers with no time limit.

Unfortunately, you’ll only get the above for three days with the free trial account. The full service will set you back $99.


How to know if you’re ready for the PMP exam

We recommend you read, re-read and read again to absorb the knowledge you need. Next, tackle the PMP mock exams and sample questions until you can consistently score 75% or above. Once you can do this – you should be ready.

However, if you don’t have the time available to dedicate to self-study – there are others ways to get certified, take a look at our official accelerated four day PMP course.


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. 

Thursday, 5 March 2015

5 PRINCE2 myths you might still believe


By Sarah Morgan


PRINCE2 is the most popular project management certification in the world, but it’s not immune to misconceptions and myths. It’s crucial that you know the facts – believe the myths and you might miss out on the career boost you need.

How much do you really know about PRINCE2? Here are our top 5 PRINCE2 myths you might still believe:


Myth #1 - You have to write an essay for the PRINCE2 Foundation exam

Timed essays can be a nerve-wracking experience - often feeling like a test of endurance rather than knowledge.

You might be relieved to learn that several years ago the PRINCE2 Foundation dropped its essay style examination in favour of a multiple-choice test. Plus, even if you originally passed the essay style Foundation exam and are attempting a recertification, you will instead take the multiple choice examination.

However, it’s worth noting that the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam is not multiple-choice and instead consists of eight 10 mark questions.

The current PRINCE2 certification exams are structured as follows:

PRINCE2 2009 Foundation Exam
Multiple choice format
60 minutes duration
75 questions
5 trial questions not counted in score
35 of 70 (50%) marks required to pass

PRINCE2 2009 Practitioner Exam
Open-book examination
8 x 10 mark questions
44 of 80 (55%) marks required to pass
2.5 hours


Myth #2 - PRINCE2 is only for professionals in the IT industry

PRINCE2 is not just applicable to the IT industry. The opposite is true: PRINCE2 is a generic project management methodology that can be applied to any project across any industry.

In fact, this adaptable and flexible approach is a major contributor to PRINCE2’s global popularity. With over 1 million exams taken in over 150 countries, a huge number of industries are clearly taking advantage of the PRINCE2 methodology.

The myth that PRINCE2 only applies to IT likely originates from the first use of the methodology. Originally developed as ‘PRINCE’ in the 1980’s to support the UK Government’s IT projects, its potential was soon realised. As a result, in 1996, the generic and adaptable PRINCE2 we know today was introduced.


Myth #3 - PRINCE2 is only useful for project managers looking for a job

You’ll find a large number of project manager job adverts specifying the need for candidates to possess the PRINCE2. The notion that the PRINCE2 certification is just a means of finding employment is held by some of the more cynical.


Yoel / morgueFile

While it is true that the PRINCE2 will help qualify you for project management jobs, this is by no means the only benefit of the certification. The skills you learn from PRINCE2 will improve your projects, save your organisation money and cut project overrun.

Find out about the benefits of PRINCE2 (and how to convince your manager to pay for it!) in this blog post.


Myth #4 - You need a lifetime of project management experience to take a PRINCE2 course

There are no solid prerequisites to attend a course and pass the PRINCE2 Foundation exam. This certification is open to everyone and you don’t need any prior qualifications or real world experience.

Whether you’re a project management professional, or are looking for a change of career, there’s nothing stopping you from getting the PRINCE2 Foundation certification. Though, as you might expect, you must have passed the PRINCE2 Foundation exam to take on the Practitioner.

There’s nothing stopping you from getting both PRINCE2 certifications, but to make the most of your new certs, you’re going to also need some solid project management experience. The PRINCE2 teaches you a method but it doesn’t cover the real world skills you’ll need to become a successful project manager. The best way to get these skills is through experience.


Myth #5 - PRINCE2 takes too much time

PRINCE2 Foundation & Practitioner courses are generally short (4-5 days) and well worth the investment.

However, for some a five day course is simply too much commitment; you might not be in a position to sacrifice an entire working week (and your manager might not appreciate it either!)

There are even faster routes to getting your PRINCE2 certification. With accelerated learning, you could be both Foundation and Practitioner PRINCE2 certified in only three days. Or attend a weekend course and you’ll only be away from the office for one day.


For more information on PRINCE2 take a look at the Axelos website. Or to get PRINCE2 Foundation & Practitioner certified in just three days, visit our site.


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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. 

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Best IT certifications for 2015


By Sarah Morgan


Getting certified is a brilliant way to prove that you are as skilled as you say you are. But a certification doesn’t stand alone – if you can’t apply it, what’s the point? Now that 2014 draws to an end, let’s take a look at some of the best IT certifications for 2015 that will advance you to the next stage in your career.

The need for qualified IT professionals is now massively outpacing the supply – it’s estimated that Britain alone will need 500,000 new IT professionals over the next five years. And with the widespread uptake of technologies, like Cloud and virtualisation, getting certified in 2015 really will make all the difference.

2014 saw a barrage of cyber-attacks inflicted upon businesses around the world. In fact, more organisations fell victim to cybercriminals in 2014 than 2013, the US State of Cybercrime revealed. And reports are already predicting an increase in cybercrime for 2015.

So from security to cloud and project management qualifications - getting certified for 2015 could be one of the best decisions you make next year. Here's our list of the best IT certifications for 2015.


1. Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server 2012 

Support for Windows Server 2003 ends July 14th, 2015. Using the system after end of support could cost you up to £120,000 a year in custom support. You will also lose the ability to process online transactions via Visa & Mastercard as Windows Server 2003 will fail to adhere to PCI compliance.

Despite warnings from Microsoft, estimates from HP suggest 11 million systems are still running Windows Server 2003. This could be a cripple your business, come 2015, considering the estimated 3 to 18 months it takes to migrate a datacentre of 100+ servers.

Thousands of businesses will now be migrating to Windows Server 2012, making the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certification a valuable asset. Get this cert and you’ll reduce the hassle of migration and be able to make the most of your new server software faster.

Start planning your migration today (if you haven’t already) and make it a smooth process for your organisation by taking the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 course.


2. EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker

There was a 50% chance you were a victim of cybercrime in 2014, data from Microsoft revealed. The same is true for one-in-five small and medium businesses.

Certifications like EC-Council’s CEH are now becoming increasingly sought after for businesses of all sizes. After all, nobody wants to face a crippling security breach like Sony’s recent attack.

Protect your business from cyber attacks like this (image from Sony's recent breach)



























Take on the CEH in 2015 and you’ll get comprehensive ethical hacking and networking security training. On this course you’ll learn how to conduct penetration tests against your own systems. With the knowledge of a hacker at your disposal, you’ll identify and close security holes that a cybercriminal could otherwise exploit.

The CEH certification also qualifies you for a wide range of roles within IT security from Forensics Analyst to Application Security architect.


3. (ISC)2 CISSP

In the past year alone, cyber security vacancies have doubled with demand now overwhelming supply, according to data from Technojobs.

The CISSP is a global standard and widely recognised as the information and cybsersecurity benchmark cert. Achieve it and you’ll display solid proof of your rounded IT security experience as well as a common baseline and standardisation of knowledge.


Certifications like the CISSP are in demand (2014 saw a 10% growth in the average salary for cyber security professionals) as they are frequently required for the majority of senior roles within cyber security.


Protect your organisation from IT security threats of all kinds - find out how to become a CISSP.


4. Microsoft MCSA: Office 365

Take the Microsoft MCSA: Office 365 and position yourself to take advantage of Microsoft’s new Cloud focus. This is also your first step to achieving Microsoft’s new Cloud Productivity competency for your business.


Achieve this certification and you’ll use the power of the cloud to save time, money and free up your business’s resources. You’ll get the skills required to set up an Office 365 tenant, including federation with existing user identities. If you evaluate, deploy and maintain Office 365 services, or plan to in the future – this is the course for you.



5. VMware® vSphere 5.5 

Businesses continue to embrace virtualisation technology as a way to reduce cost and complexity of critical applications. ‘The always-on-business will become the norm across the globe’ writes Don Williams, Vice president at Veeam Software.

Users want continuous access and to keep up, businesses have turned to virtualisation technologies to provide this. Products like VMware’s vSphere enable businesses to virtualise their server resources and aggregate them into logical pools for use across the entire business.

vSphere 5.5 is the fix for costly infrastructure sprawl as it allows your business to run multiple operating systems and applications on a single computer. Gone are the days of having multiple servers running at sub-optimal capacity - virtualisation technology gives increased productivity by reducing physical servers and ensuring each is running at full capacity.

Learn how to apply virtualisation technology within your organisation in 2015, with VMware’s official vSphere 5.5 certification. Find out more here, but bear in mind, this certification may change with the release of vSphere 6 sometime in 2015.


6. Microsoft Specialist: Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions 

Cloud technology is growing and demand for Cloud qualified professionals is growing with it. In 2014, 56% of IT departments couldn’t find qualified staff to support their cloud projects and demand for ‘cloud-ready’ IT professionals is also set to grow by 26% in 2015, IDC reports.

Microsoft's Public Cloud offering, Microsoft Azure, continues to grow with more than 1000 new customers joining everyday. After investing $15 billion in building and maintaining the global datacentres that power the Azure platform, it’s clear Microsoft have big plans in the Public Cloud space for 2015. You can tap into the demand for cloud skilled professionals by looking at the newly released Microsoft Specialist certifications focusing on the Azure platform.



If you’re a developer, the Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions certification is a brilliant way to gain a greater understanding of the Azure platform in 2015. This specialist course, built for developers, teaches you how to establish your own Azure virtual network environment, construct Azure Virtual Machines, host azure websites and design resilient cloud applications.

If you already hold the MCSD: Web Applications cert, this qualification is a brilliant way for you to get a rounded understanding of the Azure platform for 2015.

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


7. Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions

This is the second of Microsoft’s new specialist Azure certifications. With it, you’ll learn how to migrate your on-premise infrastructure to Azure. You’ll also learn how to:
  • Plan and implement data services based on SQL
  • Deploy and configure websites
  • Publish content through CDNs
  • Integrate on premise Windows AD with Azure AD
To achieve the certification you’ll have to pass the Microsoft Exam: 70-533.


8. AXELOS PRINCE2 Foundation and Practictioner

PRINCE2 is the de-facto standard for project management in the UK and is held by 63% of all project management professionals. With over a million exams taken globally, it’s already recognised as the world’s most popular project management methodology.

This qualification covers the management, control and organisation of a project. It embodies years of project management best-practice and provides a flexible and adaptable framework that suits different projects.

The PRINCE2 remains a sought-after certification for 2015 as employers continue to demand this qualification for their project management roles.


9. Microsoft MCSE: Private Cloud

The MCSE: Private Cloud certification focuses on the skills to combine Windows Server and System Centre 2012 to build a private cloud for your business. This certification requires the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 as a prerequisite. 

To boost the uptake of this already popular cert, Microsoft have launched various initiatives to help IT professionals get the prerequisites for this in-demand cloud certification.

To find out more about how to get the MCSE: Private Cloud certification, check out Microsoft Evangelist, Keith Mayer’s step-by-step guide. Or, if self-study isn’t for you, take a look at this accelerated course.


10. CompTIA A+

Many an IT professional’s career has been built upon the solid foundations of the CompTIA A+ certification. In fact, over 1,000,000 people have achieved the A+ in the past 20 years.

Major brands - like Dell, HP and Lenovo – require that their technicians are A+ certified in order to service their products. It’s even supported by government branches like the US Department of Defence.

The skills you’ll get from this certification are vendor neutral, meaning they’ll remain universally applicable across your entire IT career.

If you’re new to IT then this cert is one of the best ways to break into the industry. Take the CompTIA A+ and set yourself up with a comprehensive base of IT knowledge for 2015.


If we missed any great certifications you’re planning on taking in the New Year, please comment below!

We supported our best IT certifications for 2015 with a lot of our popular blogs from 2014, take a look at them below:



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, 17 November 2014

PRINCE2 vs. PMP - which certification should you choose?


By 


PRINCE2 and PMP are both well-known and respected project management certifications. But it’s not always easy to know which one to achieve. And whilst they’ll both give your project management skills a boost, what’s the use if you can’t apply your new knowledge in the workplace?

Let’s pit these two certifications against each other and take a look at what they can do to boost your career.

Introducing PRINCE2 & PMP

PRINCE2 - Projects in Controlled Environments

Originally developed by the UK’s Office of Government Commerce, it is now regarded as the de-facto standard for project management in the country. It also exerts a visible influence across Europe and Australia.

With over a million total PRINCE2 exams taken, it’s also the most popular project management methodology in the world.

According to arras People’s 2013 UK Project Management Benchmark, the PRINCE2 is held by 63% of all project management professionals.


PMP Project Management Professional

PMP is built around PMI’s Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK). Administered and created in the USA, the PMP has become the primary project management certification for North America.

Despite being less known in Europe than PRINCE2, it’s certainly not unknown and is increasingly gaining in popularity.

According to arras People’s 2013 UK Project Management Benchmark, the PMP is held by 9% of all project management professionals.


What do these certs cover?

PRINCE2

There are two levels of certification within the PRINCE2: Foundation and Practitioner. You’ll have to pass both to become a registered PRINCE2 practitioner.

PRINCE2 is a project management methodology that covers the management, control and organisation of a project. You’ll learn a flexible and adaptable framework that suits a wide variety of different projects.

This certification follows a sophisticated and clearly defined methodology that outlines detailed steps and processes that your project needs to achieve success in a controlled environment.

The well-laid out and standard approach that PRINCE2 uses is designed to be as generic as possible. As a result, the PRINCE2 processes are recommended for just about any kind of project.

PRINCE2 also helps to eliminate ambiguity by laying out clear roles and responsibilities of the team including: project executive, project manager, senior supplier, financier and senior user.

You don’t need previous project management experience to achieve this qualification and even experienced professionals can benefit from the PRINCE2.

PMP

Unlike the PRINCE2, the PMP is structured around the PMBoK and is a project management standard. You’ll become familiar with PMBoK processes and accepted project management techniques to enable you to evaluate your own projects.

It is therefore more of a theoretical and referential guide to assist you in the management of projects.
This certification evaluates your advanced knowledge of project management. As such you are expected to have existing project management experience.

To even apply for the PMP you’ll need at least 5 years of project management experience with 7,500 hours leading and directing projects. You’ll also need 35 hours of project management education (which can actually be gained by completing a PRINCE2 course).


How long will your certification last?

PRINCE2

As a Registered PRINCE2 Practitioner you must be be re-registered within 3-5 calendar years of your original certification. Failure to pass the Re-Registration examination after five calendar years as a Registered Practitioner will result in withdrawal of your registered status.

PMP

After achieving your PMP qualification you must participate in PMI’s Continuiing Certification Requirements (CCR) program to maintain your active certification status.

During the three-year cycle, you must attain 60 professional development units (PDUs). Once your three-year cycle is up, it starts all over again.

You’ll be obtaining PDUs by engaging in project management activities related to your PMP certification. PDUs are split into two categories: Education PDU and Giving Back to the Profession PDU. For more information on how you obtain PDUs, take a look at PMI’s official PMP handbook.


Industry needs and cultural differences

We recommend you thoroughly research your project management certification choices depending on the industry you work, or want to work in. Every industry will treat these certifications differently - you don’t want to achieve a cert which might prove to be less valuable than its counterpart.

When job-hunting in the UK and the EU as a whole, we recommend first taking the PRINCE2. As we mentioned earlier the PRINCE2 is immensely popular - especially in the UK where it is favoured by government.


Benefits – the bottom line

PRINCE2

1. Possibly the best introduction to project management

With its lack of prerequisites, PRINCE2 provides the ideal entry-level qualification for a career in project management. With a clear methodology, the PRINCE2 can take beginners and quickly transform them into educated project managers.

2. Improved career and employment prospects (in the UK and EU)

The PRINCE2 can improve your career prospects across the UK and EU. Due to its popularity in Europe and strong government ties, it is viewed favourably by employers.

 3. A standardised and complete methodology

The PRINCE2 provides a clear methodology that you can continually apply to almost any project. Plus, by using the same approach across every project, you’ll eliminate confusion through the use of common procedures, documents and processes.

PMP

1. Improved salary prospects

The PMP demands tougher prerequisites. It’s harder to achieve and as a result it commands higher salaries.

PMI Project Management Professional jobs display an average advertised salary of £60,000 according to data from ITJobsWatch.co.uk

2. You’ll have up-to-date skills

Unlike PRINCE2, PMP demands commitment to your project management career. As a result of the Continuing Certification Requirements, you’ll need to stay active within the project management community. This means, whether you want to or not, you’ll be continually sharpening your skills. Make no mistake; employers will be aware of this factor.

3. PMI Membership

When you obtain your PMP certification, you can gain PMI Membership. As a PMI member you’ll get exclusive access to publications, networking opportunities and professional development opportunities. You’ll be able to easily connect with peers, grow your career using an expansive collection of knowledge resources and get access to a premium job board for project management.


So who won?

The smoke has cleared and incredibly, both project management certifications are still standing.

This guy just loves project management
morguefile / Ambro
Our project management instructor argues that, in a perfect world, you would have both certifications.  PRINCE2 provides a tried-and-true methodology whilst PMP provides the skills and knowledge required by the Project Manager to carry a project through to completion.

Achieve both and you’ll possess an encompassing and rounded approach to project management.

We recommend you thoroughly research both certifications, depending on what your long-term goals are, which side of the world you’ll be working from and in what industry.

Find out more about PMP and PRINCE2 here.

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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.