Press Pass: CertMaster, scholarships, salary equality and more

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Welcome to the latest installment of  Press Pass , where CertMag blows through as many industry press releases, blogs, dispatches, messages in a bottle, etc., as we can fit in one post. We’ve got the highlights and you can click thru straight to the horse’s mouth for more information.

Money for something and clicks for free: What’s the best way to pay for college? How about letting somebody else pay for it? We missed the initial announcement of this program, but there’s still plenty of time for anyone interested to throw his or her academic hat in the ring: IT security association (ISC)2 — through its (ISC)2 Foundation — and the University of Phoenix are offering nine full-tuition scholarships to aspiring cybersecurity professionals. The scholarship program is a gesture on the part of both (ISC)2 and University of Phoenix to acknowledge the fast-increasing shortage of trained IT security professionals. Interested parties have until June 3 to apply for a scholarship. In addition to getting a full tuition waiver for one of the university’s bachelor’s or master’s degree programs, each scholarship recipient will  receive a voucher for an (ISC)2 certification exam (either SSCP or CSSIP).

Ladies first: It’s a widely acknowledged reality that the global IT workforce is a bit of a men’s club, or as they might call it in Great Britain, a lad’s club. Now the British Computer Society is on a mission bring more lasses into the ranks. The BCS reports that, according to its own recent survey, a big part of the problem is that girls aren’t encouraged to study IT subjects in school, and women returning to the workforce after a career break are frequently ignored or discounted by potential IT employers. The group hopes to contribute to a reversal of those trends with a monthlong series of profiles featuring women in IT careers. The BCS is also raising a cry of equal pay for women in IT professions. According to Great Britain’s Office of National Statistics, women lag men in IT compensation by an average of 27 percent.

The British Computer Society wants women in IT careers to receive the same pay as their male counterparts.

Prepare smarter, not harder (Part 1): Back in the day, you had to read books, or attend workshops, or complete practice exams, to study up for certification. All of those methods are still available, of course, but certification prep is suddenly and swiftly taking a new turn. In March, Certiport announced the launch of MeasureUp Practice Labs, an “online learning environment” where users can take a hands-on approach, via detailed simulations, to solving software and hardware problems. Anyone with access to MeasureUp can hit the site 24/7, turning whatever time is available in an exam candidate’s daily schedule into certification study hour. The blueprint is not unprecedented — TestOut, for one, has been offering essentially the same thing through its LabSim study tool for a number of years — but the playing field is suddenly getting crowded (more about which in a moment). MeasureUp will offer training for Certiport partners Microsoft, Cisco, VMware and CompTIA.

Prepare smarter, not harder (Part 2): Speaking of CompTIA, the nonprofit IT industry association is not simply letting the simulated grass grow under its feet. On Monday, CompTIA announced the pending release of its own online learning tool, a product with the fitness-flavored moniker CertMaster. Set to launch next month, CertMaster ups the ante on online learning environments with “adaptive learning technology.” In essence, the program is designed to respond to each individual learner and tailor its training tools to their specific needs. For now, CertMaster will assist students preparing to take CompTIA’s A+, Security+, Network+ and Strata IT Fundamentals exams.

Watch and learn: What’s longer than the combined running time of Peter Jackson’s entire Lord of the Rings movie trilogy — the extended edition, no less — and will help you get certified? There’s probably more than one answer to that question, but at the moment we’re looking at your, Oracle. More specifically, we’re looking at a series of 43 training videos totaling nearly 12 hours that takes viewers point by point through the exam objectives for Oracle’s 1Z0-060 exam. That’s the Upgrade to Oracle Database 12C test, and the videos, released last week and featuring Oracle Certified Master Gwen Lazenby, aren’t the only resource available. There’s also a detailed exam FAQ to help guide your preparation. Database 12C marathon, anyone?

Is there any cake left?: Finally, a belated happy birthday to ISACA, which turned 45 on April 15. The group formerly known as the Information Systems Audit and Control Association celebrated its sapphire anniversary by announcing that its global membership now totals north of 115,000. The long-lived IT governance group administers four respected certifications — CISA, CISM, CGEIT and CRISC — as well as offering COBIT, a widely deployed business framework for governance and management of enterprise IT.

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Fida Reeder


FIDA REEDER is a journalist and writer with experience in both print and web publications. E-mail her at fidareeder (at) gmail (dot) com.

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