Monday, 31 March 2014

Microsoft Office finally comes to your iPad


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As of 27th March, the iOS 7 compatible versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint are available in the App Store. Microsoft Office is finally coming to your iPad.

At last week's press conference, Microsoft’s new CEO Satya Nadella said the company wanted “to empower people to be productive and do more across all devices… Office 365 will be everywhere from here on out.”  
He added: "It is to make sure that the one billion Office users have access to the high fidelity Office experience on every device they love to use. Today's announcement marks one more step in that direction."


The newly available apps allow you to view Office files and documents on your iPad, however creating and editing are only enabled, after purchasing an Office 365 cloud subscription.

It was time to make this move

Microsoft’s move to a devices-and-services business model is essential to ensure a prosperous future. The company has to show commitment to delivering those services promptly on any platform. The iPad release of Office is an example of doing just that; delivering a new set of high-fidelity endpoints for the Office 365 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. 

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Staffing struggle: project managers


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According to the recent ESI 2013 Project Manager Salary and Development Survey by ESI International, organisations may soon face a shortage of project managers in their teams. Needless to say, it is a huge a disadvantage as the global economy is recovering.

The problem

Those responsible for project teams face short- and long-term challenges when it comes to the staffing and development of their project communities. As projects continue to increase in complexity and size, many project organizations find themselves with understaffed and underdeveloped work forces. In light of budget constraints, an aging base of experienced professionals, and a likely talent war on the horizon, those without a strategy for hiring, developing, and retaining top project talent are going to find it difficult to meet the increasing demand of their organizations.” - ESI 2013 Project Manager Salary & Development Survey

Mark Bashrum, Vice President of Corporate Marketing and Open Enrollment at ESI, said : "Budget constraints, an aging base of professionals and a looming talent war all contribute to a talent crisis that should be addressed from the highest levels of the organization". He also added: "The growing needs of businesses demand a more strategic view of the staffing, development and promotion of their project managers since project execution impacts an organization's bottom line and its ability to satisfy its customers."

Three main reasons

It’s important to highlight that the problem is not the lack of project managers; it is the lack of experienced, mid- and senior-level project managers.  According to the findings of the survey, 44% of shortages are for senior project managers. Furthermore, 48% of respondents stated it was “very difficult” to find senior staff.

CIO.com summarised the problem, in three points:
  • Many organisations are now expanding quickly as the economy is recovering and they’re either starting new projects or continuing projects that had previously been put on hold
  • Experienced, senior project managers are reaching retirement age or leaving for other reasons
  • Several organisations stopped actively training and developing new project managers internally due to financial cuts

Project Management training with Firebrand

Do you have the experience; you just need a certification to prove it? Or are you new to project management? Wherever you are in your career, we’ll have an accelerated project management course for you! Learn more about them 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, 24 March 2014

Digital Badges for ISACA Credential Verification


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ISACA has decided to take countermeasures against fraudulent security credentialing with the use of Open Badges. Open Badges by Mozilla are digitally displayed badges and in this case, they will be awarded to those who have completed training and acquired an ISACA certification.

How does it work?

Open Badges are secure digital representations of ISACA credentials, such as CISA, CISM, CGEIT or CRISC. They can be embedded into emails, personal websites, a résumé, as well as social and professional networking websites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Displaying your open badge across social platforms offers potential employers an easy way to verify and evaluate your competencies and achievement.
Once someone clicks on the badge, it calls up a set of metadata, verifying the certification and sums up the qualifications and the process, which were required to earn it.


“ISACA credentials are in demand by employers worldwide, and we are glad to offer our certification holders the opportunity to utilize open badges to demonstrate their accomplishments… Open Badges offer an efficient method for current and potential employers to validate a certification, and also give certification holders a simple and effective opportunity to tell their professional story and enhance their recognition.” said Allan Boardman, International Vice President of ISACA and Chair of ISACA’s Credentialing and Career Management Board, in a recent statement.

Which is your ISACA course?

CISA, CISM, CGEIT, CRISC. We run them all, just pick the one that suits you best. Visit our course page and view more details about accelerated ISACA training courses.

ISACA’s exam registration deadline is near

ISACA only runs its exams three times a year, with the next one coming up on 14th June. If you want to take your exam as early as possible, you have to register by 11th April, which is the final registration deadline for the June exam.

Have you already completed your course and registered for the exam? Well done, here are some revision tips for passing your exam! 

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, 21 March 2014

Hour of Code UK - over 2 million participants so far


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On the first week of March, Hour of Code UK launched a week-long event to promote computer sciences and more importantly to get students, teachers and parents excited about coding. As of today, over 2 million participants in the UK have tried an Hour of Code.


Recap: What’s Hour of Code?

Participants of Hour of Code will learn the basic skills of computer programming in 60 minutes, through fun tutorials and interesting activities. Hour of Code is suitable for all ages and abilities, neither students nor teachers need to have any experience to use the self-guided materials that are accessible for free on the UK Hour of Code website.



Testimonials

Code.org UK and its YouTube campaign video have seen some excellent feedback from students, teachers and parents alike. Here are a few great ones:

“I just did this in class an I LOVED it” – Student

"I have NEVER, EVER seen my students so excited about learning" – Teacher

"My 3 kids came home from school yesterday yelling about the Hour of Code. My six-year-old instructing me on how to program Angry Birds, my 10-year-old boy proclaiming 'I am going to be a software engineer. It is the job I was made for. It is my DESTINY!'" – Parent

Are you interested in learning the basics of coding in just 60 minutes? Get started with Hour of Code now! 

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, 20 March 2014

How LPI certifications can be your key to success


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Entering the world of Linux engineering can be quite challenging even for the most committed individual. Add this to this year’s Linux Jobs report, according to which 90% of employers find the recruitment of Linux professionals as either “somewhat difficult” or “very difficult” (an increase on last years’ results), and it becomes clear that a new approach is needed. The importance of raining has to receive more recognition.

Linux experts of UKFast on LPI qualifications

UKFast, founded in 1999, is a business-to-business (b2b) hosting provider, currently looking after 250,000 e-commerce websites. Linux plays a key role in service delivery and technical support at UKFast; therefore it is essential that the company has well trained engineers.

Although LPI Certifications won’t make you a system administrator (sysadmin) overnight, they do provide you with a range of massive advantages in the workplace. One key benefit of the LPICs is standardisation. The training provides the basics which will enable you to approach other systems with the confidence that you will be able to work out ways around the different deviations on your own.

What the LPI qualifications give you

The LPI qualification is a great way of initialising and developing your knowledge.

LPIC1 - provides you with the basic knowledge and skills common across all distributions of Linux, such as system architecture, administrative tasks and GNU and UNIX commands.

LPIC2 - builds on this and covers advanced skills for your role as a Linux Professional. To pass this level and obtain your certification, you are required to be able to administer a small to medium sized site.

LPIC3 - is designed for ‘Enterprise’ level engineers as it introduces specialised areas of expertise such as mixed environments and security.

Firebrand is an LPI Approved Training Partner

As a leading hosting company, UKFast receives a lot of CVs and applications from engineers who have taught themselves the LPIC essentials by using books or watching training videos online. This dedication shows that you’re dealing with a motivated individual, which is the key to success.

However, self-study is not an option for everyone, as the process can be very long and often hard to manage. If you’re committed to getting your LPI certification, visit Firebrand’s LPI page and pick the one best suits your needs.

For more information on LPI certifications and an interview with Bill Quinn, CEO of LPI UK & Ireland, read Going Pro with Linux.  

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, 19 March 2014

Windows XP retirement puts ATMs at risk


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As we mentioned in an earlier post, Microsoft will be discontinuing the support of Windows XP on 8th April. Windows XP has been one of the most popular operating systems ever created and its endgame is certainly going to impact more than just individual users. According to Gartner’s experts, around 10-15% of XP-using businesses will fail to migrate to a different operating system, but this is not the most worrying news.

ATMs at risk as XP is set to retire

This may come as a shocker, but over 2 million (95% of all) ATMs in the world are running on Windows XP and they will become easy targets for hackers and viruses once the support for XP has to come to its end.
To make matters worse, only about 1/3 of these ATMs are ready for an upgrade and preparing the remaining 2/3 would cost about £60 million.

However, we must also point out that ATMs are equipped with sophisticated, customised additional security. Therefore it is unlikely that they’d just “start shooting out money into the streets or things like that,” said James Lyne, Director of Technology Strategy at Sophos.

They knew the day would come

Microsoft already announced its plans to stop issuing security fixes for Windows XP in 2007. So it really shouldn’t have struck any bank as a surprise, yet quite a few failed to take action. Banking giants like RBS, Santander UK, Lloyds or HSBC have decided to sign up for three years of custom support, before migrating their ATM operations to Windows 7.

According to James Lyne, these changes have been hanging around for so long, so banks really should have thought about addressing them a long time ago. 

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.