Beer and Technology

August 17, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Posted in Kaplan IT Training news, Vendor news | Leave a comment
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The impact of beer on technology notwithstanding,  drinking has long been a popular pastime for many in the IT industry. So it should have come as no surprise at the choice of SweetWater Brewing Co as the venue for the  TechCrunch Meetup in Atlanta #TCATL last month. What could be better than free beer and food?

SweetWater Brewing Company - TCATL

SweetWater Brewing Company

Quite a lot, actually. With over 1,200 IT professionals in attendance, from employees of small start-ups to large corporations, the Atlanta area was well-represented. Rarely, do I have a pleasure of attending an event with no preset agenda, or the obligation to sit through and report on a gimmicky sponsor pitch or boring  keynote speech. Here I was able to grab a brew, mill around with other techies, and make connections I would have never otherwise established.  Not to mention all of the wonderful vendors who passed out business cards and swag like it was going out of style.

On the conversation aspect, the IT buzz was hardly surprising – everyone was talking about mobile platforms, HTML5 and SEO. Apparently, more companies than I would have guessed are tasked with either making their Web sites mobile-friendly or hosting them within mobile platforms such as PhoneGap. Increased needs for better rankings in search engines (mainly Google, although a few CEOs mentioned Bing) are really driving Web development. The built-in optimizations for search engines in HTML5 were lauded many times…or, wait, was that techies just cheering for last round at the beer tap? Okay, so my memory on some of these finer points may be a bit fuzzy.

My point today is, if you ever get the chance to attend a TechCrunch meetup in your area, you should jump on it. Not only will you get tp partake of the free food and drink (maybe you’re lucky enough to have a brewery in your city too), but you may also enjoy one of the most engaging (free) IT events among colleagues!

CompTIA Academy Educator Conference 2012: Study Resources and Takeaways

August 3, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Posted in Certification Paths, CompTIA, Vendor news | Leave a comment
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I was fortunate to be able to attend the CompTIA Academy Educator Conference over this past weekend. CompTIA promised that we would learn about the new A+ exams, the CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) exam, and the Healthcare IT Technician (HIT) exam. This promise was fulfilled  with presentations from Mike Meyers, Jean Andrews, Joy Dark, and yours truly. Following is a quick recap on each of these topics, with more detailed posts to follow in the next week or two.

Virtualization in A+

Mike Meyers gave a presentation on virtualization. He covered the different virtualization products, including several free options as well as the major vendor products. He explained the installation and configuration processes for the various technologies. Educators reading this post should keep in mind that virtualization is a newly introduced topic to be included in the upcoming release of A+. In the A+ 220-802 exam, objective 1.9 states the following:

Explain the basics of client-side virtualization.

 Purpose of virtual machines
 Resource requirements
 Emulator requirements
 Security requirements
 Network requirements
 Hypervisor

Keep your eye out for my upcoming post about virtualization content in the new A+ exams.

Mobile technology in A+

Author Jean Andrews,  best known for her CompTIA study guides and PC repair guides, also spent some time discussing the upcoming A+ exam changes. Her presentation included a great demonstration of mobile phone emulators that can be installed in a classroom environment. If you’re wondering why this is important, let me remind you that in the A+ 220-802 exam, objective 3 is dedicated to mobile devices (9% of the overall exam coverage). Look for my upcoming posts regarding mobile devices, including one on installing the mobile phone emulators and one on a new technician toolkit for mobile devices.

New certification: the HIT

I had the pleasure of meeting Joy Dark. Joy has recently released a book, which she co-wrote alongside author (and mom) Jean Andrews, all about the CompTIA Healthcare IT Technician (HIT) exam.  Any A+ technician who is considering working in a healthcare environment should consider obtaining this certification. While A+ and Network+ knowledge is vital, a technician working in a healthcare industry must also understand healthcare terminology, regulations, and processes. This certification melds the world of IT with the needs of administering healthcare and healthcare records. I would highly recommend that educators take a serious look at this certification.  CompTIA is expecting great things for it in the coming year.

Security+ and the CASP

In my presentation, I tried to explain to educators three main points about the CASP exam: What the CASP certification is, where the CASP certification fits in our industry, and how to prepare for the CASP certification. Look for an upcoming post that gives the details of this presentation. I will also be posting about the primary reference I used for this exam (see the “study guides and resources” header below for a quick link).

The event also included two great security presentations: one from Mike Murray of Mad Security on training the security professional and one from Michael Gregg, the author of the CASP book mentioned in the previous paragraph, on the role of certification in security. Again, look for an upcoming post regarding security training solutions.

Study guides & resources

Joy Dark and Jean Andrews wrote the book that maps directly to the HIT exam objectives: The CompTIA Healthcare IT Technician HIT-001 Authorized Cert Guide (Cert Guides), published by Pearson. This book is released and shipping.

Mike’s newest edition of the A+ study guide is the CompTIA A+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide, 8th Edition (Exams 220-801 & 220-802) from McGraw-Hill Osborne Media, which is currently available for pre-order by clicking here.

As I prepared my CASP presentation, I referred extensively to the CASP CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner Study Guide: Exam CAS-001 (Comptia Study Guide), published by Sybex. This book is released and shipping.

As you can see, the event gave me a plethora of information that I feel I MUST pass on to you. So expect to be bombarded with posts from me over the coming weeks.

I am already looking forward to next year’s CompTIA Academy Educator Conference.  You should start making plans to be there!
-Robin Abernathy

The Year of the Developer

February 17, 2012 at 11:39 am | Posted in Technical Tips, Vendor news | Leave a comment
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Did I get your attention? I hope so, but let’s be honest: it’s been the Year of the Developer since 1954. As wonderful as it is to have the latest gadget goodness in your hand, without developers, that gadget does a whole lot of nothing. Arguably, the adoption of shiny devices and powerful operating systems is directly proportional to the software that runs on it.

IBM 704 mainframe that uses FORTRAN

IBM 704 mainframe that uses FORTRAN

But I do have a more salient point beyond giving the developer community a pat on the back.

Development in 2012

What does the future look like? Better yet, which skills should you focus on in the upcoming year? Justin at TechRepublic actually beat me to the punch on this one, so rather than rehash the whole article, I’ll just throw in my two cents.

Mobile Development

This one should be fairly obvious. What isn’t so obvious is how fragmented the mobile field really is. An iPhone, Android, and Blackberry device all do very similar things and contain very similar components and UIs, but the back-end development for these platforms is entirely different.  Let’s not even discuss the form factor differences between these smartphones and their tablet cousins.

I predict the ascendance of uniform development kits like Red Foundry and  PhoneGap/PhoneGapBuild to level the playing field. PhoneGap, in particular, leverages Web development skills such as jQuery and HTML5.

NoSQL Continue Reading The Year of the Developer…

The (Software) Boys are Back in Town

June 28, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Posted in Certification Paths | Leave a comment
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Although some in the IT industry fear the Cloud and its implications for administrators, software development is back! In ranking over 200 jobs across various U.S. industries, CareerCast now ranks software engineer as the top job for 2011. Thanks to current trends in mobile and cloud technology, software engineering is very much in demand with an average income of $87,140.00.

According to a recent Forrester Research survey reported by Computerworld, the best way to motivate people in the IT industry is to give them interesting work. Although workers age 45 and over reported valuing job security higher than younger workers did, the most significant motivator for all IT workers was doing interesting work (ranked first by more than 70% of IT workers). This survey echoes the adage “do what you love” – or, at least, do an IT job that holds some level of interest for you.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but these kinds of trends are what motivates us to learn new technologies and get some certifications to prove to ourselves (and yes, maybe to our employer) just how much we know. And who better to help you along the road to learning than Transcender? So if you’re fearless & looking to inject new interest in your IT job, check out our newest practice test product release: MSCert: Pro – Designing and Developing Windows Applications Using Microsoft .NET Framework 4, Cert-70-518 C# and VB.

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