The CertMag.com Community: On the Grow!
The “village” of specialties on the Certification Magazine Web site is growing, as evidenced by the number of you reading the community columns and contributing to several discussion threads within the forums. We really appreciate your participation, and are glad you’re enjoying the new features.
There are a couple of new discussions in the CertMag.com forum. The first is for general IT advice and dialogue. This can include light-hearted topics. For example, a current thread titled “The CertMag Oscars!” is intended for chatting about what movies speak to the IT profession. So far, popular contenders in this informal competition include classics like “Office Space” and “Tron.”
Another new discussion board is the Salary Survey Forum. The cover story in last month’s issue of CertMag explained the results of this poll—which involved more than 35,000 respondents who work in the industry—and as a follow-up, we’re offering our readers a medium to further explore the issues surrounding the income of IT professionals from across the spectrum. Go to www.certmag.com/forums to find these and other topics of interest.
Many professionals who are between jobs dramatically limit their searches for new positions, then wonder where all of the work is. However, most IT practitioners have a wide range of career opportunities, and should look for jobs accordingly. In this month’s Career Development Community, CompTIA Vice President of Skills Development Neill Hopkins discusses a case study in certification and employment involving Ricoh Corp., a leading provider of imaging communications systems, and also looks at the larger picture of credentialing and employment prospects. Check it out at www.certmag.com/careers.
In the Career Development forum, there’s a thread that discusses the career path to CIO, generally IT’s main representative on the corporate executive board. CertMag.com member HeWhoRoams said that working in a contract position for a Fortune 500 right out of college helped him in his as-yet-unfinished journey. Read others’ comments or add your own at www.certmag.com/forums.
CRM & E-Commerce
Customer relationship management (CRM) is—as the name indicates—focused on your company’s consumers. A big part of CRM success lies in understanding the mindset of the people purchasing your products or services—in other words, advocacy. This month, the CRM & E-Commerce Community will explore strategies for consumer advocacy and also tie in the desired result: customer satisfaction. Read the whole article at www.certmag.com/crm.
Help Desk & Support
You’d be hard-pressed to find a person who worked at a help desk, yet hadn’t experienced a call that was funny, peculiar, unpredictable or all of the above. In the spirit of the idiosyncratic personalities of many callers and the unusual situations they get themselves into, CertMag brings you the Help Desk’s Greatest Hits in this month’s Community. Written by Robert Last of the Help Desk Institute, this includes some of the most amusing anecdotes from the help desk profession, ranging from how a Macintosh computer was responsible for the evacuation of an entire building, to a techie’s boss’ mouse acrobatics. To read these, go to the Help Desk & Support community discussion board at www.certmag.com/helpdesk.
A discussion going on right now in the Independents Community forum deals with the critical topic of how to find clients. CertMag.com contributor Chris Lehr said he has relied mostly on informal methods to drum up new business. “I have been lucky to spend no money on advertising, and have relied on word-of mouth and referrals as my sole source of new business,”he explained. “I toyed with the idea of a newspaper ad, yellow pages ad or Craigslist advertising, and have determined that on all three, they are likely to not be the kind of clients I want to acquire.”
Others said that focusing your offerings on a specific sector helps. “I have found that if you stick to one market, you have a much greater chance at penetration and dominance than you do if you try to service multiple markets at once,” CertMag.com member sfforbes wrote. “Also, serving one market makes you a specialist within that group and you will get more referrals because you are seen as a partner and not a sales person.” You can throw in your two cents on this and other threads on the Independents discussion boards at www.certmag.com/forums.
The open-source community prides itself on innovation and flexibility in development of new products and applications, but are the people who sign off on IT budgets getting the message? If your employers don’t use open-source technologies in their operations where they could clearly benefit from it (or perhaps a customized version of it), then perhaps it’s time you spoke up about their advantages. In this month’s Open Source Community, we’ll explain some of the key talking points in a “sales pitch” to the boss on freeware and free software. Read it at www.certmag.com/opensource.
Let’s say the IT project you just wrapped up was an unqualified success. Now what? Metrics, that’s what. You’ve got to ensure that the leaders who initiated the project understand what was accomplished. This is achieved through clear, demonstrable measurements expressed in the languages of business and technology. In the Project Management Community, which is available at ww.certmag.com/projectmanagement, we’ll offer an overview of the numbers you should focus on when explaining project results to superiors.
Also, in the Project Management forum, CertMag.com member CyrusCrypt is looking for advice on Project Management Institute (PMP) credentials. If any of our readers have suggestions about PMP certs for CyrusCrypt, feel free to post them on his thread at www.certmag.com/forums.
The information kept on workstations and servers—and not the workstations and servers themselves—is the chief organizational asset maintained by IT professionals. Thus, making sure that data is secure is imperative to the success of the company, especially when it’s moved around. This month’s Security community feature will take a look at key encryption tools and techniques, courtesy of frequent CertMag author Douglas Schweitzer. Have a look, at www.certmag.com/security.
Information storage never sleeps. The systems that have been implemented to protect data don’t ever take a break—nor should they, as potential cyberthreats are constantly looming. In the January Storage Community, we’ll take a look at the meaning behind the phrase “continuous data protection” and discuss key principles involved with this concept. For more information, go to www.certmag.com/storage.
Systems & Networks
Credentials around administration of systems and networks are among the most numerous and in demand in the IT certification universe. A thread on the Systems & Networks Community discussion board takes up the topic of what certifications in this area our readers hold, and it contains some interesting recommendations. “I think the A+ certification is a good start for someone getting into the IT field,” said germa