Track Your Certs

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Tools You Can Use



How many certifications do you have? Are they all from the same vendor?
Didn’t think so.



With all those certifications, I’ll bet you’ve got all kinds of ID
numbers and information to keep track of. Well, someone’s trying to make
it all easier for you. CompTIA, the vendor-neutral organization that
provides the A+ certification, is working with Integral7, a provider of
information management services to the training, testing and
certification industry, to create a new certification data management
infrastructure that will allow candidates to use a single ID across all
of the participating programs. The CompTIA Universal ID number will be
an industry-universal ID number that CompTIA will provide. The program
will get rolling in the second quarter of 2002.



With so many certification programs collaborating and allowing
candidates to use credentials from other programs as prerequisites,
CompTIA and Integral7 saw the need to streamline the process of
verifying whether candidates are certified. And this doesn’t only
benefit the certification programs—the certificants can use it as well.



“A cool, immediate feature is that the end-user will be able to
instantaneously deliver an electronic verification of their credential
to their prospective employer,” said E. Clarke Porter, co-founder of



Many IT professionals have more than one certification. If these folks
want to get any information, they have to know their ID numbers, along
with the exact name and address they used, and they have to go to each
individual vendor.



“What the Integral7 solution provides,” said Carolyn G. Rose, co-founder
of Integral7, “is it addresses that issue and makes it one-stop-
shopping, if you will. Because the solution is browser-based, the
candidate would have 24×7 access to be able to see their entire
transcript of all the participating certification vendors.”



CompTIA expects numerous certification vendors to join the program. A
universal ID that crosses multiple certification programs would not only
benefit candidates who want to manage their careers, but also program
managers looking to lower the cost and hassle of customer service.



“We want something that not only benefits our own certification program,
but basically gives the industry an option that they’ve never had
before,” said John Venator, president and CEO of CompTIA. “Once we get
it up and running…we’ll be able to tell the world that we really did
build a better mousetrap.”




What’s to be Done About Cyber-Security?



Cyber-security has been in the news, and it’s not just techies who are
paying attention. The Computer Science and Telecommunications Board
(CSTB) of the National Research Council recently released a report
titled “Cybersecurity Today and Tomorrow: Pay Now or Pay Later.”



Even though information system vulnerabilities have increased, not much
is being done to address the problem, according to the report. “The
unfortunate reality is that relative to the magnitude of the threat, our
ability and willingness to deal with threats has, on balance, changed
for the worse…” states the CSTB. Part of the problem is that security
costs time and money, and if there’s no attack, then all that time and
money appear to have been wasted.



So what are you going to do about it? While most of the CSTB’s
recommendations address the people at the top of the decision-making
chain, there are some things you can do. Encourage whoever’s in charge
at your organization to devote resources to improving security, and to
ensure that employees at the company are trained in best practices. If
you know of a problem or vulnerability, let the appropriate people know
about it so it can be fixed ASAP. Encourage the organization to adopt
stronger methods of authentication, such as smart cards. And ask if
there’s a plan in place in case disaster does strike.



If you’ve got a problem with security issues in a vendor’s product, let
them know it concerns you. The only way to get the industry to change
its practices is to complain about them. Microsoft appears to be ready
to address this issue, if we are to believe Bill Gates’s recent e-mail
to his employees stating that security needs to be the company’s top

If you want to find out more about the CSTB’s report and the other
actions the Board recommends, see



A Post-Job-Loss Action Plan



Unemployment numbers have been on the rise, increasing to a high of 5.8
percent in December 2001. With companies announcing layoffs left and
right, here’s some advice to help you keep your cool if it’s your job on
the chopping block:



Don’t freak out. This is not a huge loss—it’s an opportunity to re-
evaluate your options. A lot of people identify themselves with their
job titles. Now that you’re minus a job title, you get a chance to see
who you really are. What are your true interests? How close did your job
come to fitting those interests? Use this time to figure out what it is
you REALLY want to do. 



Figure out where you stand financially. If you qualify for unemployment,
file your claim right away. (Check out Most importantly,
you’re going
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