8 LearnKey Career Paths That Will Increase Your Yearly Income

by Brad - Feb 18, 2015


According to the United States Census Bureau, the median household income in 2013 in the United States was $51,939. While this was a slight rise from the previous year, 2010 and 2011 both saw significant declines in the median household income. 2014 saw the median income rise to levels more consistent with those in 2010, but they are still significantly lower than in 2009.

Household income levels are related to the rise and fall in the economy, but there are steps that can be taken to see an increase in income during hard economic times. LearnKey has designed a series of training bundles to help job seekers prepare for careers that will continue to be in demand, even when the economy is poor. Here are eight of LearnKey’s career paths which have the highest potential to raise your salary above the median household income:

Accounting and Finance
Accounting and finance workers are responsible for financial documents, forecasts, reports, direct investment activities, financial analysis strategies, balance sheets, loans, payroll, auditing, bookkeeping and other financial transactions. Knowledge of computer programs is essential in today’s market. Individuals in the accounting and finance role need to keep up-to-date on the latest technology in order to increase the efficiency of their firms financial operations.

  • Median Pay: $61,000-$64,000 per year
  • Minimum Education: Industry Certifications (CPA or CMA) or Bachelor’s Degree (recommended not required)
  • Careers available in many industries (hospitality, corporate, government, etc)

Business Management
Business managers perform a broad range of duties in virtually every sector of the economy. Generally management roles are split into two levels, first-line managers and mid-level managers. First-line managers directly supervise a staff that performs various support services. Mid-level managers develop departmental plans, set goals, deadlines, implement procedures to improve productivity and customer service, and define the responsibilities of supervisory-level managers.

  • Median Pay: $78,000-$81,000 per year
  • Minimum Education: Industry Certifications or Bachelor’s Degree
  • Careers available in many industries (information technology, administrative, financial, purchasing, and human resources)
  • Should maintain and enhance skills in team building, leadership, and workplace law to maintain a competitive edge within company

Computer Security Specialist
A computer security specialist’s main responsibility is to ensure the security, integrity, and safety of an organization’s data. Individuals should have specific knowledge on wireless networking, cyber-space management and adapt their knowledge to stay ahead of cyber-attacks.

  • Median Pay: $75,000-$86,000 per year
  • Minimum Education: Industry Certifications or Associate’s Degree
  • Careers available in many industries (government, retail, manufacturing, data processing, and other information industries)

Computer Systems Analyst
A computer systems analyst determines which type of computer system will best serve the needs of a business or organization, by helping them run more efficiently. This position requires the ability to focus on more than a single project. At times a computer systems analyst may be required to work on multiple projects at one time. Computer systems analysts will often work with the managers of different departments to determine what technology and computer systems are needed.

  • Median Pay: $71,000-$81,000 per year
  • Minimum Education: Industry Certifications or Bachelor’s Degree
  • Careers available in many industries (computer systems, insurance, banks, and hospitals)

Database Administrator
A database administrator determines ways to organize and store data using database management system software. They identify user requirements, test and set up databases, and coordinate modifications to the systems. A database administrator understands the platform on which the database runs, ensures data integrity, backs up systems, and manages the performance of systems. A database administrator ensures that users have access to the data they need and keep data safe from unauthorized access.

  • Median Pay: $73,000-$77,000 per year
  • Minimum Education: Industry Certifications or Bachelor’s Degree
  • Careers available in many industries (computer systems, insurance, banks, and hospitals)

IT Network or System Administrator
IT network or system administrators are tech savvy experts, responsible to ensure the day-to-day efficient use of networks and systems within a company or organization. This position requires an individual to be knowledgeable with cyber-security practices, to protect a business’s important information.

  • Median Pay: $69,000-$71,000 per year
  • Minimum Education: Industry Certifications or Associate’s Degree
  • Careers available in many industries (government, retail, manufacturing, data processing, and other information industries)

Software Developer
Software developers are responsible for developing applications for computers and other devices that allow people to perform a specific task. They also design systems that are used to control networks or run various devices. Developers work closely with customers to ensure that their needs are understood and will work through any complaints. A developer is responsible for any upgrades and maintenance to a program.

  • Median Pay: $90,000-$93,000 per year
  • Minimum Education: Industry Certifications or Bachelor’s Degree
  • Careers available in many industries

Web Developer
Web designers create, design, develop, and maintain websites using authoring and scripting languages, create content and digital media, and employ standards and technologies for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer e-commerce websites. Along with the look of a website, a developer is also responsible for the technical aspects and content of a site.

  • Median Pay: $60,000-$63,000 per year
  • Minimum Education: Industry Certifications or Bachelor’s Degree

Income and education information courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition. Accessed March 2014.



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6 Simple Tips to Advance Your Career

by Brad - Feb 12, 2015


Do you ever feel trapped in a dead-end job or feel like you’ve reached the height of your career? I’m sure most of us have felt that way at some point in our lives. Most of us want to advance in our careers, but we don’t always know where to start.

A couple of years ago, I worked on a course which required extensive research on how to succeed at work. While I’m sure there are many things we could add to the list, all of my research seemed to boil down to six simple steps that anyone can follow to advance in their career.

Be Consistent

While it can be fun and exciting to be spontaneous, it is rarely appreciated in most workplaces. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun at work, but inconsistency can quickly kill your career. Simple things like following a set schedule, arriving on time for your job, and maintaining a high quality of work can put you on the fast track for a promotion. There are few things more frustrating for a manager than not knowing when employees will show up or what the quality of their work will be like when they do.

Challenge Yourself

No matter how enjoyable your job is, performing the same tasks day after day can get repetitive and make you feel like you’re in a slump. Sometimes the fix for this can be as simple as developing a better way to complete a task. If that’s not an option, you may choose to volunteer for new assignments or use your downtime to work on new projects.
Another way to challenge yourself is to learn new skills. Many employees have access to training programs through their companies, and for those who don’t there are many online options, such as LearnKey’s self-paced training courses. The more knowledge and skills you can acquire, the more valuable you can make yourself to your company.

Show Loyalty

You may not always agree with everything, but supporting your manager’s decisions can go a long way toward advancing your career. Your manager may not always do things the way you would do them, but that doesn’t mean their method is wrong. Don’t undermine your manager’s authority by airing your grievances publicly. Carefully determine which battles are truly worth fighting and talk to your manager privately if you have a legitimate concern.

Admit Your Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes. John Wooden once said, “If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything.” When you make a mistake, you have two choices: try to blame your mistake on someone else, or admit your mistake and work to correct it. In all areas of life, those who freely admit to their mistakes and work to correct them gain more respect than those who are constantly trying to push their mistakes onto others.

Stand Up for Yourself

You are an important asset to the company, and sometimes you need to remind your manager of that. Find ways to subtly market yourself, like offering to help on a project for which you have a private talent. Make a list of contributions you have made within the company and use those when asking for a raise or promotion. And don’t be afraid to ask. If you feel you are unlikely to get what you want, start with something bigger and negotiate down. If your manager has concerns about your work or qualifications, ask for feedback on how you can improve.

Find a Mentor

Sometimes all you need to get ahead is someone to show you how it’s done. Find someone you look up to and observe their work habits and methods. You can even formalize the relationship by asking the person to mentor you. Many companies have structured mentoring programs where you can set guidelines and define your goals and expectations. In the absence of a formal mentoring program, mentoring can happen as a natural outgrowth of mutual respect.

I hope you find these six tips useful and good luck in your career advancement!



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Spanish IC3 and Me

by Brad - Jan 21, 2015


Not long ago, LearnKey released a course on IC3 GS4 with Spanish audio and English text. The course was designed to allow Spanish speaking students to learn computing skills by hearing their native language while seeing the computer terms in English.

A couple of months ago, the decision was made to revamp this course by converting all of the graphics into Spanish. This new course is designed to allow Spanish speaking students to learn computing skills by hearing and seeing computer terms and practices in full Spanish. As a result of this decision, I spent most of the last two weeks reviewing the English version of IC3 and recapturing all of the screen captures using Spanish versions of Microsoft Office and the Adobe Creative Suite.

I have captured several courses over the years, including both the full screen and widescreen versions of English IC3 GS4, but this experience was a little different and more complicated than what I had gone through in the past.

To begin with, I don’t speak Spanish. When I was in high school and had to choose a foreign language class, I chose to take French. I was heavily involved in theater and thought French would serve me better in the performing arts than Spanish. About the only Spanish I know is the little bits and pieces I picked up watching “Dora the Explorer” with my daughter nearly a decade ago.

After getting the Spanish versions of Windows and all the software I needed installed, it took me a little while to get into the rhythm of things. Whenever I clicked on the wrong items, I couldn’t read the screen to tell where I was and how to get back to where I wanted to be. Luckily I was able to use the English course as a reference, and I eventually learned that if I worked really hard ahead of time to memorize the look of the icons I needed it was easier not to get lost. I also found that using an online translator was invaluable. The translations probably weren’t perfect, but they were close enough to help me understand what the buttons and error messages said whenever I found myself off course.

Now before anyone out there gets the wrong idea about this course, I’m just a minor cog in the great machine which is working on this course. After I finished the screen captures, I sent them on to the design team, several members of which are fluent in Spanish. My screen captures will be thoroughly reviewed and any mistakes I may have made will be sent back for me to recapture. After the design team finishes reviewing my files and translating the rest of the course graphics into Spanish, the course will be put through a rigorous quality control process to catch any leftover mistakes.

Stay tuned for the release of IC3 Global Standard 4 – Full Spanish in the next couple of months.



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2014 Highlights

by Brad - Dec 31, 2014


The changing of a year is often a time of reflection and rededication. It’s a time to reflect on and analyze events of the previous year and rededicate ourselves to becoming the best we can be. It’s a time to remember accomplishments and set goals for the coming year. As I reflect on what LearnKey has accomplished in 2014, I realize that LearnKey and Better Learning Systems have had a very busy year. Very busy, and very productive.

LearnKey Website Redesign

Early this year, we began updating the design of the LearnKey website. This design update was an extensive process and was implemented a page at a time over the course of several months. The initial design was developed by Colin Bell, who left the company in February to pursue freelance web design work. Over the next several months, I created variations on Colin’s design to bring the remaining pages on the website into harmony with the finished pages.

Also in early 2014, Better Learning Systems developed an educational grant program to provide LearnKey courseware at a discounted rate for individuals who qualify. Our goal with this program is to provide assistance to those who need help in reaching their educational and professional goals, helping them gain the skills they need to succeed in their careers.

In February, LearnKey attended the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Recognition Ceremony put on by the United Federation of Teachers (UFT). Alex Bell and Emma Mendez, two teachers who have worked closely with LearnKey over the years, were both honored at the ceremony.

In March, LearnKey courseware was approved by the New York State Department of Labor and added to the Eligible Training Provider List. To be included, LearnKey courses were subjected to a review process to ensure they complied with the high standards set by the Department of Labor.

In June, as we began to wrap up the new website design, a new feature was added to the LearnKey website. Website users now have the option of engaging in a live chat with members of the LearnKey Client Services team.

In a much-needed move, LearnKey announced the retirement of a large number of obsolete courses in July. In order to make the transition easier for users, the courses on the list are no longer being sold but will remain active on OnlineExpert until January.

Amelia Williams

Also in July, we released our first course presented in American Sign Language, Word 2013 ASL. Presented by certified ASL interpreter Amelia Williams, this course represents LearnKey’s latest attempt to improve our product and make it more useful for users.

In August, LearnKey Veteran Services’s Blue Ocean program began showing results with the graduation of Tristan Roberts. While in the Blue Ocean program, Tristan earned certifications in CompTIA’s A+, Network+, and Security+, and Microsoft’s Word, Excel, and Outlook. Upon graduation, Tristan was offered a job at LearnKey and is now a member of our Veteran Services team.

LKVS Website Redesign

In September, we updated the design of the LearnKey Veteran Services website to match the design of the main LearnKey site, including the live chat option. We also added a new Student Resource Center for Veteran Services students. The Student Resource Center includes support information, LKVS contact information, and links to our monthly LKVS newsletters, certification pocket guides, and weekly tutoring sessions.

In October, LearnKey attended the Arizona Business Leadership’s “Heroes for Hire” event where we were recognized by the ESGR for our efforts in hiring veterans. LearnKey has employed many veterans over the years and promises a job offer to any veteran to graduate from our Blue Ocean program.

Over the course of the year, LearnKey has been working on an application with the Project Management Institute (PMI) to be recognized as a Registered Education Provider. In October, LearnKey’s application was approved. This means that LearnKey’s Certified Associate in Project Management® 2014 and Project Management Professional® 2014 Certification Prep courses have met the PMI’s rigorous quality criteria.

By anyone’s standard, I would say 2014 was a fantastic year for LearnKey. In addition to the nineteen new courses we’ve released, LearnKey has updated our websites, been recognized for the quality of our products, and instituted several new programs to further education. We are meeting our goal of helping people fulfill their dreams through better learning, and LearnKey plans to continue our mission in 2015.



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Training the Planet–One Certification at a Time

by Brad - Dec 18, 2014


BLS Vision poster

We’ve talked a lot this year about job training and industry certification, and not just because LearnKey is an elearning company. Industry certification is one of the little things that sets a candidate apart when applying for a job. Continuing education is what helps an employee keep their job in an ever-changing technological landscape.

LearnKey’s mission is to create flexible expert learning solutions – solutions that work for everyone because they are not only easy to use, but they are extremely engaging and interactive. Our goal is to train the planet through a better learning experience.

At the beginning of the year, Jeff Coruccini, Chief Executive Officer of LearnKey, challenged our employees to use LearnKey’s training to earn at least one certification in their respective fields. This served the dual purpose of (a) helping employees to gain additional training and achieve certification, and (b) giving all employees the chance to experience our training and give feedback on how to improve our products. Several employees have taken Jeff up on his challenge and during 2014 LearnKey helped the following employees achieve certification:

LearnKey’s Veteran Services team has also been busy this year helping veterans to become certified. There are currently over 300 veterans enrolled in LearnKey’s Blue Ocean and Certify for Life programs with each student working toward several certifications. One of our first Blue Ocean graduates was Tristan Roberts, who earned A+, Network+, Security+, Word, Outlook, and Excel certifications this year, and now works for LearnKey on our Veteran Services team.

Congratulations to all those who have earned certifications this year and in previous years, and good luck to all those to are studying to become certified.



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Thanksgiving

by Brad - Nov 25, 2014


This Thursday and Friday, LearnKey offices will be closed in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. LearnKey offices will return to regular hours of operation 12/1/2014.

While many early groups of settlers observed a yearly day of thanksgiving after their arrival in the New World, the origin of the Thanksgiving holiday is generally attributed to those colonists known as the Pilgrims. Fleeing religious persecution in England, the Pilgrims originally settled in Leiden, Holland. Fearful of losing their cultural identity through long association with the Dutch people, the Pilgrims eventually left Holland and sailed to the New World aboard the Mayflower.

In late November of 1620, the colonists arrived in what is now known as Provincetown Harbor. They organized the first government of the new colony through a contract later known as the Mayflower Compact, signed by forty-one adult male passengers, two of whom – Degory Priest and George Soule – are my ancestors. The Mayflower Compact allowed for democratic voting and as been called the world’s first written constitution.

By December, most of the colonists on the Mayflower had become ill and were suffering from scurvy. A small group began exploring the shore for a place to found their new settlement, eventually choosing on an abandoned native village which they named New Plymouth. The first home constructed became a hospital for the sick, and by March only 47 of the original 102 colonists had survived.

During the first year, the colonists made friends with the native people, who shared supplies with the newcomers and taught them how to grow corn. In late September or October of 1621, the surviving Pilgrims invited their native friends to a three-day feast to celebrate their harvest. This feast is traditionally known as the First Thanksgiving.

We wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving, and hope everyone has plenty to be thankful for!

The First Thanksgiving

The First Thanksgiving, Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863-1930)



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American Education Week

by Brad - Nov 19, 2014


Education Week Header

This week is American Education Week. First held in 1921, American Education Week was founded by the National Education Association and the American Legion. In the following years, sponsors grew to include the U.S. Department of Education and dozens of other national education organizations. American Education Week is always celebrated the week before the week of Thanksgiving.

In the words of United States President Barack Obama:

“Every young person deserves access to a world-class education. In classrooms, lecture halls, and laboratories across America, high-quality education helps unlock the limitless potential of our Nation’s students and creates pathways for their success. It prepares them for the jobs of tomorrow and the responsibilities of citizenship. A strong school system bolsters our economy and strengthens our democracy, and it is at the core of the American belief that with hard work, anyone can get ahead. During American Education Week, we celebrate the devoted educators who instruct and inspire students of all ages, and we continue our work to provide every person with the best education possible…

With grit and passion, America’s teachers give life to education’s promise. Our education-support professionals help ensure the health, well-being, and success of our children. And in small towns and large cities, principals and district administrators cultivate communities that value learning and share a common vision of academic excellence. Together, these leaders encourage our students to reach higher and inspire them to achieve their dreams. Great educators and administrators deserve all the tools and resources they need to do their job, including chances for professional development and pay that reflects the contributions they make to our country. They are the most critical ingredients in any school…

In a complex world, we must meet new and profound challenges. As a Nation, we must prepare the next generation to face these issues and the problems of their own time. An education equips the leaders of tomorrow with the knowledge and vision they need to discover the solutions of the future and build a better society for their children and grandchildren. This week, we honor the teachers, mentors, and professionals who guide our kids as they explore the world. Let us recommit to supporting a first-class education for all students, from the day they start preschool to the day they start their career.”

Take time this week to thank those who work in education and celebrate their contributions to the growth of our society.



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Using Company “Wellness Checks” to Improve Performance

by Brad - Oct 22, 2014


You’ve probably heard the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” We all know that eating right and exercising regularly are important to our health, but how many of us go to the doctor regularly just to get a checkup? Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t automatically guarantee you will be healthy, so regular health checks are important.

The same concept applies to your workforce. Many companies assume that their employees are content with their jobs and enjoy their work, but without a regular “checkup” there is no way to know for sure.

A checkup can be something as simple as setting up a regular time to meet one-on-one with each employee. Meetings can include both formal evaluations and unstructured time. These meetings can help supervisors gauge the satisfaction level of their employees and reveal issues that managers were previously unaware of. Some employees are more comfortable sharing ideas in a one-on-one setting than in a group, so these times can also provide valuable employee insight into improving your company.

Sometimes, a company wellness check requires a more in-depth examination than can be done in one-on-one meetings. Programs like those offered by LearnKey’s partner company, Predix, can help you learn about your employees’ strengths and weaknesses. Predix’s Know Your TalentsTM model can help you leverage your employee’s strengths and ensure you have the right people in the right positions. You can learn how to better communicate with each employee and tap into their talents in the workplace. Not only will you increase productivity, you will increase employee satisfaction as well.

Employees are the number one asset to an organization and their professional development is key to growth and success. You may have all of your employees in the right positions, but some of them may still require training to know everything they need for their job. This happens frequently when employees are promoted. An employee may excel at their job in the Human Resources department, but a promotion to Human Resources Manager could find them lacking in essential skills that were unnecessary in their previous position. LearnKey’s wide selection of training courses can provide the proper training which your employees need to succeed.



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3 Tips for Surviving Company Rightsizing

by Brad - Oct 09, 2014


Author’s Note: This post is based on an article which appeared in the May/June 2009 edition of the LearnKey newsletter.

In order to survive the always-changing face of business, all companies must go through a series of corporate “rightsizing” at various points in their lifecycle. Often, employees are laid off or transferred to support the new structure and goals of the company.

When a company goes through rightsizing, it’s often difficult to know if your job is safe or if you will get handed the dreaded pink slip. These three tips can help prepare you to survive the changes your company is going through:

  1. Become More Efficient. Companies are always looking for ways to cut costs and one area that often gets cut is employees. This often means more things need to be done in the same amount of time with fewer people than before. Learning to work more efficiently can help to set you apart from your coworkers. When you can do the work of two people in the same amount of time, your value will be much higher than those who can’t.
  2. Knowledge is Power. A key feature of the changing face of business is expecting employees to not only be good at the job they were hired for, but to be flexible enough to take on other responsibilities as needed. In the time I’ve been with LearnKey I have held several different positions, and occasionally been asked to assist others with tasks in which I had little to no previous experience. Gaining more knowledge, whether through books, online learning, or seminars, can help you to adapt to whatever situation you find yourself in.
  3. Continue Your Education. Take it upon yourself to learn the new things you need to learn – even if your company can’t compensate you. Buy products to help get you where you want to be and invest in your future. Set goals and hold yourself accountable for the outcomes.

As a learning company, LearnKey has a wide variety of training courses to help you learn the things you need to know to survive your company’s rightsizing. If you want to communicate your ideas and demonstrate your importance to the company, you will also benefit from our personal productivity courses. See our Course List for details.



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Updated LearnKey Veteran Services Website

by Brad - Sep 17, 2014


If you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed that our LearnKey Veteran Services website (www.veterans.learnkey.com) has been updated since yesterday. This is more than a mere update; it is a redesign of the existing website. The goal of this new design was two-fold:

  1. Adjust the colors of the LKVS website to be more universal to all branches of the military
  2. Bring the design of the LKVS website into harmony with the recently updated LearnKey.com design

I believe we have accomplished our goal. We used the stylesheet from the new LearnKey website design, but changed the colors so as to set the LKVS site apart from the regular LearnKey website. We also moved away from the camouflage design we were using in the old design, deciding instead on a red, white, and blue color scheme to suggest the American flag.

Two new features of the redesigned LearnKey Veteran Services site are the new Student Resource Center page and the Live Chat option. The live chat option allows students the option of chatting with a VR&E counselor to get answers to time-sensitive questions, while the Student Resource Center provides information on resources available to LKVS students and advisors. This page will be updated from time to time as more resources become available.

LearnKey Veteran Services design



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