LearnKey’s Introduction to Programming Concepts: Computer Programming for Beginners

by Jason - Feb 05, 2016


Hello everyone! Do you believe it’s February already? That just means spring is close and I’m closer to dusting off my golf clubs. But, that’s not why I’m here today. I’m here to tell you a little anecdote: A little over 15 years ago, I wanted to learn programming. So, what did I do? I bought several Introduction to Programming books (yes, real books where you turn pages) and got going on it.

Unfortunately, that plan did not work too well. Many of these books just jumped right into a programming language and code with no introduction to programming concepts. I felt like someone was showing me all of the nuts and bolts for car engine parts without explaining the parts themselves. So, it was quite a struggle.

Eventually, I got the hang of things but then, when presented with the idea of teaching some of these courses, I knew I would need to take a different approach to teaching this world of programming than the approach I took to learn programming.

Which brings me to a course we at LearnKey are excited to present later this spring: an Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming course! Most of our courses are geared toward a specific concept and a specific certification. This course will not be one of them. This course is going to be a short but informative introduction to what you need to know about basic programming concepts before you try to tackle a programming language and all of the code that comes with it. This course will not focus on any language in particular. Rather, we will focus on basic programming concepts, such as objects, classes, and an introduction to code syntax. In other words, we are going to explain the engine and its parts before showing all of the nuts and bolts.

This course will be the first in a new programming series we are debuting this summer. The details of this program for programming (pun intended) will be coming in the next several weeks. But for anyone who wants to learn programming, this will serve as an excellent starting point. And, for those of you looking for a programming-related career, there are always plenty of job postings for people who can program.

So stay tuned, because soon enough spring will be here and soon after that, so will this Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming course!


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MTA Cloud Fundamentals: Coming This Spring

by Jason - Feb 01, 2016


Hello everyone! Here at LearnKey we are making our final push for the A+ 2015 (the 900 series with exams 220-901 and 220-902, for those of you who live and breathe exam numbers) but, hey, everyone needs a break! I’m taking some time to tell you about a course you will see from us this spring: Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) Cloud Fundamentals.

Earlier this month, I mentioned a triple dose of MTA courses we are presenting in 2016: MTA Mobility and Device Fundamentals, which we have released; MTA HTML5 Fundamentals; and this MTA Cloud Fundamentals course.

So what is meant by Cloud Fundamentals? To get a better understanding of this, let’s go back in time, circa the early 2000s, with a network administrator at a business with, let’s just say 100 employees or so. Here is what a typical workload looked like:

  • Install Microsoft Office, using the Office CD, whenever someone needed it (or share the installation somewhere and hoped the semi-slow network behaved during an install).
  • Manage the on-premises Windows servers, Exchange servers for email, and any applications servers, like SQL servers.
  • If someone wanted a new applications server, the administrator may have been able to virtualize it, but often a new server meant an expensive new physical server and the installation and configuration processes (usually late at night) to get the server up and running.
  • Network administrators did not have these things we call mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones, to manage.

Fast forward the time machine back to today and let’s look at the same-sized business. With cloud computing, how are those administrative tasks done? Let’s take a look:

  • Office needs to be installed? No problem. A user can log into Office 365 and download and install the latest version of Office.
  • Servers? Maybe there are one or two physical ones on-premises, but, Windows servers can be hosted online, in the cloud. Exchange? Set that up as a cloud service and administer it that way.
  • Does someone need a new applications server? No problem. A network administrator can log into Microsoft Azure, provision a new applications server, and have it running in less than an hour.

Oh, and those mobile devices? Well, surely a network administrator wouldn’t just let any device on the network. So a network administrator can use Microsoft Intune, a cloud-based service, to set up policies to manage how mobile devices will connect to and interact with the business network.

So, we can say that on a very high level, cloud fundamentals involves learning how to manage a network that is mostly subscription-based for services rather than having everything on the company premises. With that, there are five main topics on the 98-369 exam:

  • Understanding the cloud
  • Enabling Microsoft cloud services
  • Administering Office 365 and Microsoft Intune
  • Using and configuring Microsoft cloud services
  • Supporting cloud users

In this upcoming Cloud Fundamentals course, we will thoroughly cover all five topics as they relate to the 98-369 exam. We will do this through video-based instruction, pre-assessment and post-assessment tests to sharpen your test-taking skills, and a project workbook which will further enhance your Cloud Fundamentals skill set.

We look forward to bringing you yet another course in the MTA series. Best of luck to all of you in this or whatever certifications and career paths you pursue.


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Duval County Public Schools Photoshop CS6 Training

by Brad - Jan 28, 2016


A couple of months ago, Scott Walker and I took a trip to Florida to help high school teachers in Duval County Public Schools to become ACA certified in Photoshop CC. Last week, we found ourselves back in Duval helping a group of forty-seven middle school teachers become ACA certified in Photoshop CS6. When we arrived at the school Tuesday morning, we were also asked to introduce them to the IC3 training. By the end of the week, all but seven teachers had passed the Photoshop ACA exam, with several also receiving their IC3 certifications.

Unlike the group we worked with in October, many of the teachers in our training last week had never used Photoshop before. In fact, most of them were not even CTE teachers! It was a new experience working with people who were unfamiliar with the software, and it gave me a greater appreciation for what these teachers must go through every year when they are given a new group of students.

We spent the first day walking the teachers through the Photoshop and IC3 training on OnlineExpert and showing them the student workbooks, then we asked them to go home that night and practice using Photoshop by doing some of the projects in the workbooks.

On Wednesday, LaQuanda Paschal, one of the teachers we worked with in October, gave a presentation to demonstrate some of the techniques she uses in class to help her students pass the Photoshop certification exam. Between studying Tuesday night and LaQuanda’s presentation, about half of the teachers felt ready to test on Wednesday afternoon and most of those passed that day!

Duval County Public Schools Photoshop CS6 and IC3 GS4 training workshop


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New Year, New Course | Cisco Network Security Fundamentals (210-260)

by Jason - Jan 25, 2016


Hello, everyone! Being a baseball fan I always look forward to hearing those magic words of “pitchers and catchers report” as spring training starts just about a month from now.

And, with a new year, many companies update their lineup of certifications. Here is one: the Cisco Certified Network Associate Security (CCNA Security) certification has a new exam, Exam 210-260: Implementing Cisco Network Security. So, with that new exam, LearnKey is working on a new course to cover this exam.

This exam covers seven main Cisco network security topics:

  • Security Concepts
  • Secure Access
  • Virtual Private Networks (VPN)
  • Secure Routing and Switching
  • Cisco Firewall Technologies
  • Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS)
  • Content and Endpoint Security

As with many Cisco certifications, this certification has a prerequisite: a valid Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician certification, or a valid CCNA Routing and Switching certification, or any Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certification.

This upcoming course will include instructor-based video training, exam tips, and plenty of pre-assessment and post-assessment practice test questions to help you obtain your CCNA Security certification.


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A Triple Dose of MTA

by Jason - Jan 08, 2016


Hello everyone, and from my desk at LearnKey to yours, a very Happy New Year! Now, with a new year comes new ideas, new challenges, and here at LearnKey, new courses. One series of courses we are focused on for the early part of 2016 is the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) series of certifications. An MTA certification is a great way to gain an entry-level Microsoft certification and put you ahead of others in this ever-increasing competitive world of IT positions.

To start the year, we have just released the MTA Mobility and Device Fundamentals (Exam 98-368) course. This course covers using Windows on multiple devices with the primary focus being the Surface family of tablets. But, trust me when I say you do not need a Surface tablet to take this course. Any laptop or tablet running Windows 8.1 will do. In addition, you will learn about tools administrators use to host these devices, both corporate and personal, in a corporate environment.

Another MTA course coming early in 2016 is the MTA Cloud Fundamentals (Exam 98-369) course. This course will show you how to enable and manage Microsoft cloud services, administer Office 365, administer Microsoft Intune, and support cloud users.

Both of these courses and certifications represent the growing IT industry concept of people-centric rather than device-centric computing. It was not that long ago that most employees in a corporation had one device, either a desktop or a laptop. And, their data was kept either on that device or on a network server. Fast forward to 2016.

Now, most employees view data on many devices: desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Some of these devices are company-issued, and some are personally owned devices. With that, data needs to be more accessible both from inside and outside a company network. This is where the cloud storage and cloud environment features have come to the forefront of data management. So, having both the Mobility and Device Fundamentals and Cloud Fundamentals certifications will show that you are keeping up with the times.

The third MTA course we will be releasing early in 2016 is the MTA HTML5 Fundamentals (Exam 98-375) course. This course will cover building HTML5-based apps using HTML5, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and JavaScript.

All three of these courses will contain several hours of video-based instruction, a robust workbook full of hands-on exercises, and pre-assessment and post-assessment tests that are geared specifically to ready you for these MTA exams.

So, if you are looking for a first goal of 2016, why not make that goal an MTA certification? Good luck with all you set out to do in 2016.


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MTA Mobility and Device Fundamentals Training and Certification Prep Released!

by Beau - Jan 07, 2016


Its great to start the year off with a new course released! I am excited to announce the release of another amazing MTA course. Our MTA Mobility and Device Fundamentals training and certification prep course was released earlier this week.

Our hope is that through our courseware we may provide learners with the guidance, preparation, and skills they need to succeed. For more information and to learn about additional LearnKey products visit our website.


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Adobe Exam Changes Part 2 – Knowing More Than Just the Program

by Jason - Dec 17, 2015


Hello everyone! Not long ago, I shared with you some changes Adobe is making to their suite of Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) exams.

So, to get a first-hand look at the new exam format, I went and took the Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 exam for Windows. Now, mind you, it’s been :::covering my mouth::: years since I last took an Adobe exam, but I wanted to see what these new “scenarios” on the Adobe exams were all about. Plus, I had seen and heard some chatter from online forums and the like about how vastly different this exam is compared to previous Adobe exams. Given that part of my role as senior instructor here is to make sure we stay on top of exam changes, I took the plunge and took the exam.

And, yes, the exam has changed. But, the changes, in my humble opinion, were not drastic. I say that because though some questions look a little different, and yes, there are scenarios to go through, the core of any certification exam is still present. And that core is: Know the objectives and know ALL of the objectives!

Here is an example: Let’s look at the first domain of the Adobe Photoshop ACA 2015 objectives:

Domain 1.0 Setting Project Requirements
1.1 Identify the purpose, audience, and audience needs for preparing images.
1.2 Demonstrate knowledge of standard copyright rules for images and image use.
1.3 Demonstrate knowledge of project management tasks and responsibilities.
1.4 Communicate with others (such as peers and clients) about design plans.

Now, this is taken straight from the exam objectives as published on Adobe’s website. Someone studying Photoshop might be so focused on Photoshop that this domain just gets glossed over. And then, when a project question comes up on the test, the first thought is “uh-oh” or something worse.

And, with the scenario-based questions becoming a part of the Adobe exams, take a wild guess what types of questions are parts of these scenarios? I’ll give you a hint: Domain one. Besides, in order to be a Photoshop expert, shouldn’t one know what to do with meeting audience needs and know about copyrights and be able to work with others (like clients) on projects?

My point is, just knowing a program forward and backward is not enough to have a valid certification. For Microsoft Project, you need to know how a project manager operates, not just how to read a cost report. For Microsoft Access, you need to know how to structure a database, not just know how to change a field to a long date format. For Windows Server, you need to be able to design a server solution, not just know how to set up DHCP.

And, for the Photoshop ACA certification, you need to know how a Photoshop project is managed start to finish, not just how to change colors on someone’s shirt using a nondestructive method (yes, you need to know that, too).

So, resist the temptation to just ignore or gloss over test objectives that are not directly related to the program you are studying. In doing so, you will have a much better chance of passing an exam and, you will be a start-to-finish expert in the area you are certified in, not just a I-can-do-this-in-the-program person.


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CISSP (ISC)2 Training and Certification Prep Released

by Beau - Dec 11, 2015


Today we are excited to announce the release of our CISSP courses.  Our new version of CISSP includes eight domains and one complete series course:

Jason Manibog our Senior instructure recently wrote a blog about who should be taking these courses.

Our hope is that through our courseware we may provide learners with the guidance, preparation, and skills they need to succeed. For more information and to learn about additional LearnKey products visit our website.


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ACTE 2015

by Brad - Dec 10, 2015


ACTE 2015 has come and gone, and, as always, LearnKey was part of it. Scott Walker and Jared Baker, two of LearnKey’s sales representatives, manned our ACTE booth in New Orleans, and we recently caught up with them to ask them a few questions about LearnKey’s involvement in the show.

  • Why is it important that you attend shows like ACTE?
  • Scott: Several reasons. To see exciting clients. It’s a great place to visit with numerous clients and also a great opportunity for them to meet one another. This particular conference is great for new leads. It’s who we deal with. It’s important for them to see us and learn that we service all areas of the country.
    Jared: It is the main national show that all of our solutions align to perfectly.

  • What LearnKey product did people ask you about the most?
  • Scott: Microsoft Office, Adobe, and Career Readiness had a lot of interests.
    Jared: Office, Adobe, and career readiness courses. Many people associated our career readiness courses with “work-based learning.”

  • What schools or companies stopped by our booth?
  • Scott: School District of Palm Beach; Jefferson Parrish, LA; Iberia Parish, LA; East Baton Rouge Parish, LA; West Baton Rouge Parish, LA; Vermillion Parish, LA; Livingston Parish, LA; Tammany Parish, LA; Erie School District, PA; Philadelphia School District, PA; Alpine School District, UT; Washington School District; Jefferson District, KY.
    Jared: NYC Schools, Clark County, Minneapolis, APS, University of New Mexico, Houston, and Dallas.

  • We premiered the new LearnKey Certification Highway at ACTE. Did you have a chance to show anyone? What was their reaction?
  • Scott: I didn’t actually have the opportunity to show anyone.
    Jared: It was a hit. It was a great way to get people excited about a student’s pathway to a career.

  • Who won the drawing for the watch and headsets?
  • Scott: Chris Broussard from Iberia Parish won the watch, Ronnie Pocorello from East Baton Rouge won a headset.
    Jared: Alexa Wheeler, University of New Mexico Graphics professor.

  • What is the core message that you try to convey to everyone you talk to at a trade show?
  • Scott: We are the best Curriculum provider, in not only Industry Certifications but Career Readiness and preparation for job readiness.
    Jared: Every student is not going to college and this gives LearnKey a chance to help each student with a certification pathway to a career.

Thanks to all those who stopped by our booth this year, and congratulations to Chris, Ronnie, and Alexa!

Scott and Jared and ACTE 2015


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A+ 900 Series and End-of-Year Exam Goals

by Jason - Dec 02, 2015


Hello, it’s me, your humble senior instructor hoping you all had a nice Thanksgiving. I sure did because my football team gave me a nice birthday present with a victory over the weekend!

So, today I want to update you on a couple of items we brought up in previous blogs. First, during the first half of our filming the A+ 900 series, Brad asked me a few questions about the course, which I attempted to answer. Now, we are wrapping up filming on the second half of the A+ course, so I can fill you in on some more details.

First, we are going to be releasing this course in two parts: one for each of the 900 series exams (220-901 and 220-902 for those of you who live by exam numbers). Both will be released early in 2016, about a month apart. We are going to this model of one course for each exam for one reason: to keep your focus on one exam and not worry when studying about which topic is on which test.

Secondly, in addition to the pre-assessment and post-assessment tests, the courses will have several mini-quizzes in the middle. On many occasions, after a unit is complete you will see my smiling face asking a review question. This will give you a chance to pause (or rewind), think of an answer, and then see how you are progressing with the material. I know when I am studying for an exam, I like to have a lot of reinforcement of the material, so we are doing plenty of it in this course.

Thirdly, I do believe you will find some of the segments quite entertaining as well as educational. How can a topic like A+ be entertaining, you wonder? Well, you will just need to find out when the course is released.

That’s my update on A+. Before I go, I want to give you a gentle reminder on a very cool Microsoft promotion. It is called the Second Shot promotion and it is good until January 16. Basically, it means for any Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) exam you take between now and January 16, if you happen to not pass the exam, you get a second chance at it for free! For those of you who tend to put off taking an exam because you are not sure if you know the material well enough, what better way to find out than to basically take a free shot at one? I know I will be taking advantage of this in the next few weeks.

Well, I hear the “let’s go film” call so I will talk to you all later. Be well and take care.


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