Press Pass: Think like an expert and other certification news

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Welcome to the latest installment of  Press Pass , where CertMag reports new and recent certification news by blowing 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 straight to the horse’s mouth for more information.

What would an expert do?: Despite what’s proclaimed to the world in the occasional Scarlett Johansson action movie, scientists generally agree that humans use nearly all of their brainpower, nearly all of the time. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get more out of your gray matter, just that there’s probably not some vast reservoir of untapped potential a few tantalizing mental sit-ups (so to speak) out of reach. One thing you can do is change the way you think about certain things, and a new Cisco Learning Network blog post challenges CCIE candidates — and, more broadly, anyone attempting to crack a tough certification nut — to get better results by adopting the mindset of an expert. One item of counsel from blogger Bruno van de Werve is to be serious about the level of commitment required, including acknowledging to spouses and close colleagues that you’re about to become somewhat distracted for a while. In other words, take the lay of the land and prepare accordingly.

Strengthen the future of IT by getting kids involved.Sell IT to the kids: There’s a back-and-forth argument about whether the nation needs more skilled IT workers, or whether IT employers need to loosen the purse strings a bit in their hiring negotiations. Whatever you believe is at the root of the shortage of skilled tech professionals, blogger Brian Sherman suggests in a recent post at CompTIA’s IT Careers Blog that we all have a part to play in beefing up the ranks. Sherman is specifically priming the pump for two CompTIA initiative, the Creating IT Futures and Advancing Women in IT programs, but he suggest more generally that anything IT pros can do to spread excitement about careers in IT — particularly among the rising generation — will help solve the problem. It’s food for thought the next time that you’re asked to speak at a high school career day, or a friend tells you that they’re looking to move into something different.

The movie is the message: While we’re on the topic of thinking about children and technology, the British Computer Society recently c0-sponsored a competition challenging kids in British schools to use animation to warn about the dangers lying in wait to snare unwary internet surfers. A 16-year-old girl, Chloe Wittall of The Winston Churchill School (probably more than a couple of those scattered around the home isles) in Woking, submitted the winning entry, a short film titled Internet vs. Reality. (Can we get a ruling from the Supreme Court on this one?)  Animation 14 is the seventh in an ongoing series of annual competitions. Students age 7 through age 19 compete for prizes and recognition. Internet vs. Reality and other winning films from the competition can be viewed online.

The best things in life are free 50 percent off: IT convention season never really goes away entirely, but it’s definitely in full swing as the summer months tick past. And as faithful readers may know, one of CertMag’s favorite things about IT conventions is discount certifications. Woo-hoo! VMware’s VMworld event is still a ways off, but that’s actually a good thing: You can start studying now that so that at the end of August you’ll be ready to get 50 percent off all VCP and VCAP cert exams during VMworld U.S. First make your cert plans, then make your travel plans. VMWorld will touch down at the Moscone Center in San Francisco Aug. 24-28.

Gather ’round the campfire: Who brought the marshmallows? OK, so we can’t all sit down around a burning anything, but we can still swap stories, right? Everybody loves a good story and, more to the point, we at CertMag love a good certification story. So we find it especially cool that Microsoft Learning recently teamed up with Certiport to share inspiring stories of Microsoft certification triumphs from around the globe. More than 100 students who recently obtained Microsoft Office Specialist certifications responded to a recent call for MOS cert holders to share “My MOS Story.” So whether, you’re looking for a little certification motivation, or you just like to find out interesting things about cool people, let these dedicated students enrich your day.

Inflation ruins everything: The Beatles made if perfectly clear that money can’t buy you love. Science, on the other hand, suggests that money can, in fact, buy you happiness. At least up to a point. Earlier this week, Business Insider jumped back in time a bit to a study reported in The Wall Street Journal four years ago, which found a strong correlation between money and happiness. Increases in annual income, the researchers found, correspond to increases in happiness, up to the point at which you’re making $75,000 per year. Beyond that, you’re on a happiness plateau. Business Insider kicks around the still-controversial findings in a number of interesting ways, but makes the salient point that, to whatever extent you accept the study’s findings, the price of happiness has gone up. Thanks to the rising cost of stuff, the magical annual income is now (drum roll) $83,000 per year.  Yet another reason to let your boss know that you’d like a raise.

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Fida Reeder

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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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