What I Have Been Up To This Year

by Jason - Feb 03, 2017


Greetings, one and all. I hope you all had a good January. The snow and cold around here means no golf for me which means no fun, but, I digress. I’m here to talk upcoming courses, as in what our crew has been filming and putting together for upcoming releases. This month, we actually filmed three of these and I’m here to fill you all in on what we are working on and how these courses will help your certification prospects and your employability. After all, our CEO, Jeff Coruccini, penned a couple of weeks ago our vision of Improving Employability Everyday, something I always have in mind when playing the architect for these courses. Now, onto our upcoming courses:

Access 2016

This course is going to be the fifth and final course on Office 2016 and will cover the material needed for the MOS (Microsoft Office Specialist) exam for Microsoft Access, exam 77-730. This exam, and the course, has five main topics: Creating and managing databases, building tables, creating queries, creating forms, and creating reports. We cover all of that material. However, having helped companies large and small build Access databases for the better part of 15 years, this much I know: One has to have a good handle on the concept of relational database design and on how to go about proper planning for a database in order to be successful with Access. So even though those two topics are not on the exam, we cover those as well.

Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming

What does a bowling ball have to do with programming? Well, to find out, you will want to take our upcoming Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming course. Seriously, though, many people think, or are told, that the first step in learning programming is to learn code. As this course will detail, learning code comes after we learn about objects and their characteristics, designing programs, and designing program workflow. The code, then, is just the result of the plan and then becomes easier to learn. This is also the first course in our new programming tracks of courses, something this space will detail more of very soon.

MTA Security Fundamentals

Over the last year, Microsoft has made strides in updating their MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate) certification program. The MTA program is a great entry-level certification program in the areas of development, databases, and IT infrastructure. Microsoft has “refreshed” the 98-349 exam for Operating System Fundamentals, which I detailed recently, to remove Windows 7-only content and add Windows 10 content. That course will be out sometime this spring.

Another course that has gotten a “refresh” in objectives is the Security Fundamentals course for the 98-367 exam. The core topics of understanding security layers, operating system security, understanding network security, and understanding security software are still there, but they have been updated to reflect the current trends in basic security fundamentals. So, we are doing the same with this course.

Each of these courses will have the usual video training, along with pre-assessments and post-assessments, practice labs, and many helpful test tips (for the Access 2016 and MTA Security Fundamentals courses).

So, with improving employability prospects and certification prospects in three areas: databases, programming, and security, hey, maybe January isn’t such a bad month after all, even without the golf.


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Get a Microsoft Certification? Get Your Acclaim Badge!

by Jason - Nov 11, 2016


Last week in this blog space, I wrote about the new, streamlined certification paths Microsoft recently released. This week, I have another piece of Microsoft certification news to share with you, and that is, Acclaim badges!

What do Acclaim badges give you? Industry recognition of your newly earned certification. Instead of your having to log on individually to any social networks you may be a part of and individually post your new accomplishments, Acclaim allows you to connect to your social networks (I am on LinkedIn, for example), and add these badges to your profile. To give you a personal example: This year, I renewed my Microsoft Office Master Certification. To do this, I had to pass (hold on while I count…) three core exams and two expert exams (I actually took all five core exams for a total of seven Microsoft Office certifications). Now when it comes to telling anyone about this through social media, well, I’m lazy. But, thanks to these Acclaim badges, I can just log in to Acclaim, find my new certification, and connect to LinkedIn and post the badge there. In fact, I am in the process of doing this as I write this. Here is what the pending badges screen looks like:

Microsoft Acclaim Badges

All that has to be done is to click the Accept button, log into whatever networks you have for social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or others) and from there, you can post these badges to your social media profiles.

There is the option of emailing these badges to others or posting these badges on a website. Either way, these badges provide an easy means for announcing to whoever and wherever your newly earned certifications.

And recently, Microsoft has added MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) badges in addition to the existing Microsoft Office badges, so now you get a badge for passing an MCP test. Finally, though this is a Microsoft post, many other companies participate in the Acclaim badge program, including, for example, Adobe.

The best part of this: In the time it took me to write this blog post, I also claimed the three badges you see above plus an Adobe ACA badge for a test I recently passed and posted those on my LinkedIn profile. You, too, can obtain and use these Acclaim badges to let people know of your certifications so you can broaden your career opportunities. Now that is what I call a win-win.


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New Network Security Implementation Course (IINS)

by Jason - Sep 12, 2016


Hello, everyone! It’s Cisco season around here at LearnKey. We are in the midst of producing Routing and Switching Fundamentals Part I and on the heels of that will be Part II of that series.

In between that, we are pleased to let you know we will be producing an updated Network Security Implementation (IINS) course for Cisco exam 210-260. This course replaces the previous IINS course (40-554) and exam. As with any changes to a certification, one of the biggest questions on people’s minds is this: What has changed from the previous certification? In the case of this IINS certification, quite a bit. Here are the highlights of what we will be covering in this course (which of course, will relate directly to the exam objectives):

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

The biggest changes on the exam are around newer Cisco technologies, such as Next-Generation Intrusion Prevention System (NGIPS), Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), Cisco Cloud Web Security (CWS), and Cisco Identity Service Engines (ISE). In addition, Cisco Configuration Professional (CCP) is not featured on the new exam, but Cisco Adaptive Device Security Manager (ASDM) is featured.

For these topics, the training will consist of pre-assessments, video-based training, interactive labs, and post-assessments, all geared toward getting you the skills needed to pass this exam and obtain the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Security certification.

So where does this certification fit into the hierarchy of Cisco certifications? Technically, this is a level up from the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) certification but many administrators (or potential administrators) will obtain the Cisco Certified Network Associate Routing and Switching certification before tackling this IINS course. The bottom line is that the CCENT is a prerequisite for the IINS. Those looking to get the CCENT should take our Routing and Switching Fundamentals Part I course, which again will be out early this fall. In the meantime, best of luck pursuing whatever certifications are in your desired paths!


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Cisco News Alert: Exam Changes Coming!

by Jason - May 18, 2016


Here’s a story for you all: While trying to hustle out of the house yesterday to get to work and continue filming our upcoming PowerPoint 2016 course, I got an email message from a coworker asking me “are we up to speed on the upcoming CCENT and CCNA changes?” My first reaction was “Am I…what? What changes?”

Understand that, as the LearnKey Senior Instructor, one of my duties is to scan the Microsoft, CompTIA, and Cisco websites for exam changes (and I do this every week to 10 days). In fact, I was just on the Cisco website last week. I must have been in between scans because, sure enough, I went to the Cisco website, and, there they were, announcements on new exams, and, more importantly, retirement dates for current Cisco exams.

So, after some further investigation, here is what we discovered: First, no Cisco certifications are changing. But, several exams are indeed being replaced. Here is the story, in a nutshell:

Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices (ICND) Part 1: The current exam is exam 100-101. The new exam is exam 100-105 (and yes, it is out there). The last day to test on exam 100-101 is August 20, 2016.

Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices (ICND) Part 2: The current exam is exam 200-101. The new exam is exam 200-105 (and yes, it is out there, too). The last day to test on exam 200-101 is September 24, 2016.

Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Routing and Switching: The current exam is exam 200-120. The new exam is exam 200-125 (also out). The last day to test on exam 200-120 is August 20, 2016.

What has not changed: The ICND Part 1 exam will still get you the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) certification. And, the ICND Part 1 plus the ICND Part 2 exams will still get you the CCNA certification, with the option of just taking the 200-125 exam instead.

With this information, we at LearnKey have already gone to work in updating our Cisco curriculum. In fact, look for an updated ICND Part 1 exam course early this fall, followed by an updated Cisco Implementing Network Security (IINS) course for exam 210-260 (another new recent exam), followed by an updated ICND Part 2 exam course. I will have some details of these courses in a future blog entry. In the meantime, here is the link to the details on these changes: https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/community/ccna-rs-certification.

For now, those of you studying for the CCENT or CCNA Routing and Switching exam have about three months to complete your certifications under the current exam versions.


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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Certification Training in Florida

by Brad - Oct 22, 2015


Last week, I took a trip to Jacksonville, Florida, with LearnKey Sales Champion Scott Walker to train a group of teachers from Duval County Public Schools. The purpose of the three-day workshop was to help each teacher earn their Adobe Certified Associate certification in Photoshop CC. Most of the teachers hold certifications in previous versions of Photoshop, but had not been able to pass the CC certification test. Florida law requires that teachers be certified in the software they teach, so having a certification in a previous version is no longer enough.

When you use a piece of software on a near-daily basis, you come to think of yourself as an expert. The problem with this mentality is you fail to take into account that you are probably using the same tools day after day, never utilizing other features the software has to offer. You tend to forget how to use those features, and sometimes you even forget they exist. Our purpose was to re-introduce those features and help the teachers become comfortable enough to take the ACA exam.

Using a combination of our video-based training, our pre- and post-assessments, and our student workbooks, we began going over some of the more obscure functions of Photoshop, as well as providing a refresher of the basics. The new project-based workbooks were a huge asset as they allowed the teachers to dig in and spend time actually using the software in ways they hadn’t in the past.

I have often been told by my wife (who is a teacher) and others that teachers make the worst students. At least with this group, that wasn’t the case. It was a really great experience, and the teachers were all friendly and attentive. By the end of the workshop we were able to help nearly all of them become Photoshop CC certified, and a few teachers took advantage of the self-paced nature of LearnKey’s training to become certified in Illustrator CC as well.

Brad, Norman, & Terry

Duval County Public Schools training

Laquanda, Natalie, & Sonya

Vic, Scott, & Terry


Students with their certificates

One of the teachers from this training sent us this picture of his students with their certificates of completion for Session 1 of LearnKey’s Photoshop CC course.


Test Prep and Test Taking Tips

by Jason - Sep 17, 2015


As an instructor with over 15 years of classroom training experience, and now as Senior Instructor at LearnKey, I have taken and passed at least 25 different certification tests. I have often been asked what methods I use to prepare for and take these tests. I wanted to take a few minutes to address those questions, as well as offer advice that can help you better prepare for certification tests and make those test-taking experiences positive ones.

What is the best way to prepare for a test?

  • Know whether the test is multiple choice, simulation, a combination of these, or other formats. Many certification vendors will indicate what types of questions to expect in the exam.
  • Study the objectives from top to bottom and practice the objectives from top to bottom. Get the program you are trying to get certified in (most have trial versions) and install it and practice it.
  • Most tests require about an 80% score to pass. For the practice tests you take, make sure you are scoring at 90% or higher. This will give you more breathing room when you take the actual test.
  • Take advantage of the times you do feel like studying and if you don’t feel like studying, do something else.  I can’t tell you how many times I had to go back and re-read or re-watch study materials because I tried to study when I was not in the mood to do so.

How do I not get so nervous when I take a test?

  • For most tests, you are given something to write on. At the beginning of the test, you usually will have about five minutes to read the test tutorial. That tutorial usually takes a minute to read. Use the rest of the time to jot down any last facts, formulas, or concepts you feel are ones about to fall out of your mind.
  • Do not worry about the timing of the test. For virtually every certification exam, you have one to two minutes per question. If you have studied well, timing will not be a factor.
  • Most tests will let you mark a question for review. Make sure you read the fine print and the “how-tos” at the beginning of a test to make sure you can mark a question for review. Rather than sit on a question for too long, make your best guess, mark it for review, and use your leftover time at the end of the exam to go back and review the questions you have marked.
  • You do not need to get 100% on an exam to pass. Any time I take an exam, I fully expect to get stumped on 10% of the questions. You should too. Remember, if you have been getting 90% or higher on the practice tests, guess what? You have 10% of wiggle room to use up. Just make your best guess on the question and move on.
  • Many test questions are quite wordy and often much of what is in the question has nothing to do with it. So use what I call the “look up, look down, and look up” method. Look up at the question to get an idea what it is about, look down at the answers to see what they are, and then look up at the question again so you can best match up the question and the answer.
  • As you are going through the test, “celebrate” the questions you know you have answered correctly. Now, I am not advocating jumping up and down and yelling “woo-hoo,” as that may be a slight distraction to others taking tests, but put on your best smirk of confidence.

My final tip is this: Have fun with the process of getting certified and consider the certification a reward for all of the hard work you have put into the process.


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Windows Server 2003 End of Life: Time to Move Up!

by Jason - Jul 14, 2015


The Windows Server 2003 end-of-life countdown has begun. Are you or your company still using Windows Server 2003? If so, I am here to give you a serious warning: Microsoft is ending support for Windows Server 2003 on July 31, 2015.

What does ending support really mean? Will the program  cease to work? Will it go “poof” like a thief in the night? No. Windows Server 2003 will still boot up and operate like it always has. But, ending support means no more updates, no more fixes, and, most importantly, no more vulnerability patches to help stave off potential security attacks such as viruses and worms. That is the most important reason for moving up and out of Windows Server 2003, and soon. We at LearnKey have several 2012 R2 courses to help you with this transition. And, just as an added bonus, each course is mapped to a Microsoft exam. If you are a server administrator, you may as well update your certifications along with updating software. Or, maybe now is the time to get certified and take the next step forward in your career.

Our current Windows Server 2012 R2 course lineup consists of (with exams in parentheses for each):

Windows Server 2012 Installation and Configuration (70-410)

Windows Server 2012 Administrator (70-411)

Windows Server 2012 Configuring Advanced Services (70-412)

Windows Server 2012 Server Infrastructure Design and Implementation (70-413)

Windows Server 2012 Advanced Server Infrastructure Implementation (70-414)

Windows Server 2012 MCSA Skills Updates (70-417)

The first three courses (70-410, 411, and 412) map to the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate certification (MCSA) for Windows Server R2. With courses the next two courses (70-413, 414) mapping to the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) certification for Windows Server 2012 R2. The last course (70-417) helps you update a current MCSA certification.

If you are still using Windows Server 2003, avoid getting caught with no support and no safety net. To help you plan and implement your upgrade to Windows Server 2012, we would like to offer you a 30% discount on the online purchase of your Windows Server 2012 courses. Use coupon code: LK30BS at checkout.

*Only Single User License courseware qualify for discount.


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New Course Release – Windows Server 2012 Configuring Advanced Services

by Beau - May 14, 2014


Adding yet another to our Windows Server 2012 courses, we would like to announce the release of Windows Server 2012 Configuring Advanced Services. Those who take this course will be prepared to take exam 70-412 and have access to hundreds of practice test questions along with relevant labs and demos to help students learn to implement, manage, and maintain a Windows Server 2012 Environment.

Take a look at our newest Windows Server 2012 courses:

 

Windows Server 2012 Configuring Advanced Services

Exam: 70-412

Join LearnKey expert Jason Manibog as he guides you through our Windows Server 2012 Configuring Advanced Services course. In this course students will learn the technical skills associated with exam 70-412. This course will cover topics such as identifying and accessing solutions, network services, storage solutions, and more! In this course students will gain the knowledge they need to succeed.

Windows Server 2012 Configuring Advanced Services

Our hope is that through our courseware we may continually provide learners with the guidance, preparation, and skills they need to succeed.

For more information visit our website.


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New Course Release – Windows Server 2012 Installation and Configuration

by Beau - Apr 30, 2014


Announcing the release of our new Windows Server 2012 Installation and Configuration course! This course is the second of our Windows Server courses to be released in  2014, following March’s release of our Windows Server 2012 Administrator course. Windows Server 2012 Installation and Configuration will prepare users to take exam 70-410 and ensure they have the skills necessary to implement, manage, and maintain a Windows Server 2012 environment.

Windows Server 2012 Installation and Configuration

Join LearnKey expert Jason Manibog as he guides you through our Windows Server 2012 Installation and Configuration course. In this course students will learn the technical tasks associated with exam 70-410. Covering topics such as, configuring Hyper-V, installing and administering Active Directory, server configuration, installation and more! Users will gain the knowledge they need to succeed.

Our hope is that through our courseware we may continually provide learners with the guidance, preparation, and skills they need to succeed.

For more information visit our website.

 


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