LearnKey Blog

Microsoft Fundamentals Certifications: Replacing MTA Certifications

In June 2022, Microsoft officially retired its Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certifications, making way for the new Microsoft Fundamentals certifications. This transition marks a significant shift in Microsoft’s certification strategy, aiming to provide more role-specific and up-to-date credentials that align with the evolving needs of the IT industry.

Understanding the Transition from MTA to Microsoft Fundamentals

The MTA certifications were designed to provide foundational knowledge across various IT domains, including software development, database administration, and IT infrastructure. However, with the rapid technological advancements and the increasing need for specialized skills, Microsoft recognized the necessity for more focused and relevant certifications. Thus, the Microsoft Fundamentals certifications were introduced to replace the MTA certifications.

What Are Microsoft Fundamentals Certifications?

Microsoft Fundamentals certifications are entry-level, role-based credentials that comprehensively introduce key Microsoft technologies. These certifications are specifically designed for individuals new to the IT field who lack foundational technical skills. The certifications are available in several essential areas:

Azure Fundamentals: This certification focuses on cloud services and covers the basics of Azure, including core services, solutions, and management tools. It is ideal for those interested in cloud computing and related technologies.

Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals: This certification provides an understanding of Microsoft security, compliance, and identity solutions, emphasizing essential concepts and services related to cybersecurity.

Microsoft 365 Fundamentals: This certification covers the basics of Microsoft 365 services, such as productivity, teamwork, and security solutions. It is suitable for those interested in leveraging Microsoft 365 for organizational productivity.

Power Platform Fundamentals: This certification introduces the capabilities of the Microsoft Power Platform, including Power BI, PowerApps, and Power Automate. It is geared toward those looking to create solutions for business problems using the Power Platform.

Earning a Microsoft Fundamentals Certification

A Microsoft Fundamentals certification involves passing a single exam in the preferred focus area. Each exam is meticulously designed to test the candidate’s understanding of basic concepts, services, and solutions relevant to the chosen certification. The exams ensure that individuals have a solid grasp of the foundational knowledge required for further specialization and advanced certifications.

Benefits of Microsoft Fundamentals Certifications

According to the Pearson VUE Candidate Report, 91% of certification candidates feel more confident in their abilities after earning a credential​ (MS Learn)​. Also:

Accessibility for Beginners: These certifications are tailored for individuals with little to no technical background, making them an excellent starting point for anyone new to IT.

Role-Based Focus: Unlike the broad scope of MTA certifications, Microsoft Fundamentals certifications are role-based, providing targeted knowledge and skills relevant to specific IT domains.

Career Advancement: Earning a Microsoft Fundamentals certification can significantly enhance an individual’s resume, showcasing their commitment to learning and foundational understanding of key technologies.

Pathway to Advanced Certifications: These certifications serve as a stepping stone to more advanced Microsoft certifications, enabling individuals to build upon their foundational knowledge and pursue specialized career paths.

Differences Between MTA and Microsoft Fundamentals Certifications

While both MTA and Microsoft Fundamentals certifications serve as entry points into the IT field, there are several key differences:

Content Focus: MTA certifications covered various topics, providing an overview of various IT domains. In contrast, Microsoft Fundamentals certifications are more focused, offering in-depth knowledge in specific areas such as Azure, security, Microsoft 365, and Power Platform.

Role-Based Approach: Microsoft Fundamentals certifications are designed to align with specific roles within the IT industry, ensuring that the knowledge and skills gained are directly applicable to real-world job functions.

Relevance and Modernity: The content of Microsoft Fundamentals certifications is regularly updated to reflect the latest technological advancements, ensuring that certified individuals possess current and relevant knowledge.

Pathway to Specialization: Microsoft Fundamentals certifications provide a clear path to more advanced and specialized certifications, allowing individuals to build a progressive and comprehensive skill set.

Conclusion

The retirement of MTA certifications and the introduction of Microsoft Fundamentals certifications represent a strategic move by Microsoft to address the evolving needs of the IT industry. By offering role-based, entry-level certifications in key technology areas, Microsoft ensures that individuals new to IT have a clear and relevant pathway to gaining the foundational skills required for career success. Whether cloud computing with Azure, cybersecurity, productivity with Microsoft 365, or creating business solutions with Power Platform, Microsoft Fundamentals certifications provide a robust starting point for aspiring IT professionals.

Benefits using LearnKey Microsoft Fundamentals Certifications Coursework Prep

For those looking to prepare for their Microsoft Fundamentals certifications, LearnKey offers comprehensive coursework prep. LearnKey’ s prep courses equip candidates with the knowledge and skills to pass their exams and gain certifications. By enrolling in LearnKey’s coursework prep, individuals can enhance their learning experience and increase their chances of success in earning their Microsoft Fundamentals certification.

Learn Adobe InDesign CC for Print and Digital Media Publication

Adobe InDesign CC is a powerful tool for creating print and digital media publications. Whether a beginner or an experienced designer, learning Adobe InDesign CC can significantly enhance your design skills and productivity. This article explores the functionalities, features, and editing capabilities of Adobe InDesign CC, along with practical tips on starting and saving a project, format outputs, page formatting, and using filters. Additionally, it highlights the benefits of taking an online course to master Adobe InDesign CC for various publication purposes.

Introduction to Adobe InDesign CC

Adobe InDesign CC is a leading software for designers involved in print and digital media publication. It offers comprehensive tools to quickly create stunning layouts and manage large documents. From books, brochures, and magazines to digital content like eBooks and interactive PDFs, InDesign CC has become an industry standard.

Key Features and Functionalities

1. Intuitive Interface: Adobe InDesign CC boasts a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for designers to navigate and utilize its extensive features.

2. Advanced Typography: InDesign CC offers advanced typography tools, allowing users to manipulate text precisely. These include kerning, tracking, leading controls, and access to Adobe Fonts.

3. Layout Tools: The software provides powerful layout tools, such as master pages, grids, and guides that help maintain consistency across pages.

4. Integration with Adobe Creative Cloud: Seamless integration with other Adobe Creative Cloud applications like Photoshop and Illustrator enhances the workflow, enabling designers to import graphics and images directly into InDesign.

5. Interactive Elements: InDesign CC supports interactive elements for digital publications, including buttons, hyperlinks, and multimedia integration.

6. Preflight and Packaging: The Preflight feature checks for potential errors before printing, while packaging collects all files used in the document, ensuring nothing is missing during the printing process.

Starting a Project in Adobe InDesign CC

Starting a new project in InDesign CC involves selecting the correct document settings based on the intended output. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

1. Document Setup: Choose ‘File’ > ‘New’ > ‘Document.’ Define the document size, orientation, and margins. For print projects, set the appropriate bleed and slug settings.

2. Master Pages: Use master pages to create consistent headers, footers, and page numbers across the document.

3. Grid Systems: Implement a grid system to ensure alignment and consistency. This is particularly useful for multipage documents.

4. Importing Text and Images: Import text from Word documents and images from Photoshop or Illustrator. Use the ‘Place’ command to insert these elements into your layout.

5. Styles: Create paragraph and character styles for consistent text formatting. Object styles can be used for frames and other design elements.

Editing and Enhancing Your Project

InDesign CC offers robust editing capabilities to refine your project:

1. Text Editing: Utilize the ‘Story Editor’ for in-depth text editing. This tool provides a clean view of the text, making it easier to focus on content without layout distractions.

2. Image Adjustments: Edit images directly within InDesign using tools like ‘Content-Aware Fit’ to adjust the image frame automatically to the content.

3. Effects and Filters: Apply effects like drop shadows, glows, and bevels to text and objects. Filters can enhance the overall look of your design.

4. Layers: Use layers to organize different elements of your project. This allows for easier editing and ensures elements do not interfere with each other.

Saving and Exporting Your Project

1. Saving Options: Regularly save your project in InDesign format (.indd) to preserve all layers and editable elements.

2. Exporting for Print: When ready to print, export your document as a PDF using the ‘High-Quality Print’ preset. Ensure all fonts and images are embedded.

3. Exporting for Digital Media: Export as an Interactive PDF or ePub for digital publications. Adjust settings to include interactive elements like hyperlinks and multimedia.

Conclusion
Learning Adobe InDesign CC for print and digital media publication is essential for designers looking to produce high-quality work. The software’s extensive features and capabilities make it a versatile tool for any design project. By taking an online course with LearnKey, you can improve your design skills and become proficient in Adobe InDesign CC, ultimately enhancing your career prospects in the design industry.

Coursework to Improve Your Skills

Enrolling in an online course can significantly enhance your proficiency with Adobe InDesign CC. LearnKey offers a comprehensive course covering all software aspects, from basic functionalities to advanced techniques. The course includes practical projects, expert tips, and interactive lessons designed to build confidence and skill level.

Try This Course: Adobe InDesign – Print and Digital Media Publication

Certiport IT Specialist: Unlocking Your Path to IT Excellence

In today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape, having a certification that validates your skills and knowledge is crucial. The Certiport IT Specialist certification is designed to do just that, providing a robust framework for individuals seeking to establish or advance their careers in information technology. This article explores the benefits, courses, and opportunities of becoming a Certiport IT Specialist.

What is a Certiport IT Specialist?

The Certiport IT Specialist certification is a globally recognized credential demonstrating proficiency in essential IT skills. Certiport, a leading provider of certification exam development, delivery, and program management services, offers this certification to help individuals prove their capabilities in various IT domains.

Benefits of Becoming a Certiport IT Specialist

  1. Industry Recognition: Certiport IT Specialist certifications are acknowledged by employers worldwide, providing a competitive edge in the job market.
  2. Skill Validation: This certification verifies your knowledge and skills in critical IT areas, making you a more attractive candidate for IT roles.
  3. Career Advancement: With a Certiport certification, you can pursue higher-level positions and increase your earning potential.

IT Specialist Courses Offered by Certiport

Certiport has a partnership agreement with LearnKey, which has created Certiport IT Specialist online courses for all the Certiport IT Specialist certification exams. It is beneficial for those wanting to become certified to take courses that cover the domain objectives. The LearnKey IT Specialist courses are designed to provide comprehensive knowledge so you get approved and can utilize the practical skills you have obtained so you are ready for a career in the IT industry.

Topics the Certiport IT Specialist Course Covers:

  1. Networking: This course covers networking fundamentals, including network architecture, protocols, and security. It prepares candidates for roles such as network administrator and network engineer.
  2. Cybersecurity: The course focuses on protecting systems, networks, and data from cyberthreat. This course is essential for aspiring cybersecurity analysts and IT security specialists.
  3. Cloud Computing: This program provides knowledge about cloud services, architecture, and deployment models. It is ideal for those looking to specialize in cloud technologies.
  4. IT Support and Troubleshooting: LearnKey instructors teach the basics of providing technical support, troubleshooting hardware and software issues, and customer service skills.
  5. Programming and Development: This course introduces programming languages and development methodologies suitable for future software developers and IT project managers.

Why Choose Certiport IT Specialist Courses Powered by LearnKey?

IT Specialist courses are tailored to meet the needs of both beginners and experienced professionals. They offer:

Hands-On Learning: Practical exercises and labs to ensure candidates gain real-world experience.

Flexible Learning Paths: Online and in-person options to accommodate different learning preferences and schedules.

Expert Instructors: Courses are taught by experienced professionals with deep knowledge of the subject matter.

How to Get Started with Certiport IT Specialist Courses

To begin your journey towards becoming a Certiport IT Specialist, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Your Path: Decide which area of IT you want to specialize in and select the corresponding courses. You can use LearnKey’s free IT knowledge survey if you need assistance.
  2. Enroll in Courses: Adult learners can register for IT Specialist courses through LearnKey.com, an official partner with Certiport. Note that if you are a school, contact Certiport directly.
  3. Study and Practice: Dedicate time to studying the course materials and complete all practical exercises.
  4. Take the Exam: Schedule the Certiport IT Specialist certification exam. Passing this exam will earn you the certification.

Conclusion

The Certiport IT Specialist certification is a valuable asset for anyone looking to establish or advance a career in information technology. By completing the IT Specialist courses, you gain the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in various IT roles. LearnKey and Certiport provide the resources and recognition you need to thrive in the IT industry, whether just starting or looking to enhance your existing skills.

 

The Value of Certification: Improving Employability, Credibility, and Career Opportunities

Certifications are more than just credentials; they’re powerful tools that can enhance your professional credibility, open new career opportunities, and showcase your expertise in a specific field. Certifications can bolster your professional credibility significantly, whether you are in the beginning stages of your career or a seasoned professional.

1. Validating Expertise:

Certifications validate one’s skills and abilities in a particular area. Anyone can claim they have experience or the know-how to complete tasks. Still, an industry certification proves proficiency as individuals must demonstrate their ability to obtain a certification.

 

2. Increased Job Opportunities:

In today’s competitive job market, listing certifications on your resume can draw an employer’s eye, help you stand above applicants, and increase your chances of landing an interview.

3. Career Advancement:

Certification can be a stepping stone to career advancement as it shows high commitment, experience, and relevant development in your field, as many certifications require one to stay up-to-date with changing software developments and trends.

 

4. Building Credibility and Trust:

Certification enhances your professional credibility with clients, employers, and colleagues. It also assures your capabilities and commitment to continuous learning and development.

 

5. Personal Growth

Lastly, certification is a significant accomplishment, fostering personal pride and a sense of achievement. It can help to boost your confidence in completing tasks and validate the work and dedication you have put into your profession.

 

In summary, certifications are not just a piece of paper but a validation of your expertise. Investing in certifications can unlock a world of opportunities for personal and professional growth. It enhances your employability, opens doors to career advancement, builds your credibility, and fosters a feeling of achievement.

Embracing Change and Trusting Yourself to Thrive

As our work environment changes, we must learn to adapt and evolve to learn new skills and support the organizations we work for. It is difficult, and I experienced this firsthand over the past year.

With a drastic change in our business, I had to learn new skills, take on a new role, and train others on my skills. It’s easy to feel discouraged or overwhelmed. But let me tell you, resilience doesn’t mean you are immune to these emotions; it’s about finding the strength within to adapt and forge ahead. It’s about being able to bounce back from situations that are tough and learning to grow from them. Remember, change can often lead to exciting opportunities and personal growth. In this case, it happened to me.

I have learned now more than ever how to communicate with other team members and my direct supervisor to ensure that our goals are aligned. With the help of my supervisor, I learned not to be afraid to voice my own opinions and ideas. She taught me that my concerns and ideas are valuable and that expressing them confidently will help me not only find my place in this new team but also help with my self-trust and growth.

Group of people on peak mountain climbing helping team work , travel trekking success business concept

I embraced change and remained adaptable during a period of rapid transformation. This allowed me to explore new opportunities and acquire valuable skills. Although the journey was initially intimidating, I learned to navigate unfamiliar territory by being open to shifting directions. As a result, I experienced self-growth even in uncomfortable circumstances.

So, if you are going through a big change, take a moment, breathe, and believe in yourself. Each experience, be it positive or challenging, has helped you get to where you are now.

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Where to Start in Coding: Asking the Right Questions

My coding journey

A Texas Instruments TI-82 graphing calculator with a dark gray casing and a sliding cover partially removed to reveal the keypad and screen. The calculator features a large rectangular screen at the top and a variety of buttons below, including numerical keys and function buttons like 'SIN,' 'COS,' 'TAN,' a directional pad, and special keys for graphing functions such as 'Y=', 'WINDOW', 'ZOOM', 'TRACE', and 'GRAPH'.

Image courtesy YugCC BY-SA 3.0 DEED, via Wikimedia Commons.

When I was 13, my dad brought home a TI-82 graphing calculator and manual that had been abandoned at his workplace. I stared at the huge 9,024-pixel screen and giant array of 50 buttons and felt an overwhelming combination of curiosity and confusion. 27 of these buttons were a complete mystery to me. “What the heck is a COS?” I wondered, “And what does it have to do with sinning, tanning, and abs? And how do you even turn this thing off?”

I started experimenting. Most of those “extra” buttons caused errors or did things I didn’t understand. The calculator’s manual, the TI-82 Graphics Calculator Guidebook, was 300 pages long. I was frustrated with my lack of knowledge, but I knew I could find some answers if I were patient. My patience paid off when I learned from the manual that adding a random number after COS would return a long decimal number. This was exciting to me, even though I still had no idea what a cosine was. I followed the examples in the manual to learn how to use many of the other keys.

After a while, one button stood out above the rest: on the seventh row up was a button marked PRGM. I had heard of programming before, but I didn’t know what it meant.

As I tried the code snippets in the guidebook, I wondered how I could use each feature to create fun or useful things. Eventually, I coded card games, board games, a ping pong and snake game, a cash register program, and many other programs to help me with my schoolwork and personal projects . . . all in the Texas Instruments flavor of the BASIC programming language.

This experience launched my fascination with and use of coding. I pursued other languages in high school and took programming courses in college. I started a career in IT and began using coding to create business applications to help others.

Asking productive questions when searching for an organic entry point

My journey in programming stemmed from natural curiosity, without preconceived expectations or the need to bring in a salary. However, as a programming tutor and IT professional, I have seen many adult learners struggle to find an organic entry point into coding. In my experience, there are some common questions beginning developers have:

  • Which development environment (IDE) should I use?
  • Which language should I learn first?
  • Should I learn front-end (what users interact with), back-end (server-side processes), or full-stack (both front-end and back-end)?
  • What application should I code first?
  • How soon can I make money programming?

You can find a variety of conflicting, strongly worded answers to these questions online. Some would-be programmers quickly develop resource fatigue and become discouraged before they even start. If you’re spending a lot of time on these questions or if you feel confused about how to begin, this post is for you.

Remember: confusion is often the first step in learning something new.

While the questions I mentioned are common among beginners, they often lead to a narrow view of what programming entails. I hope to answer those questions by exploring a smaller, more productive set of questions:

  1. What skills do I need to develop for a sustainable career in coding?
  2. How can I identify my strengths and interests in programming?
  3. What can I do to avoid burnout while building practical coding skills?

These questions can guide you toward becoming a proficient coder and help you understand broader, often overlooked aspects of programming. I hope to share some of the concepts that I have learned from both my personal experiences and my professional interactions, and I hope they will help guide you through the early stages of your coding adventure.

1. What skills do I need to develop for a sustainable career in coding?

While technical skills are essential in coding, life skills like communication, problem-solving, patience, and persistence are equally important. These skills often go underestimated but significantly affect a coder’s efficiency and ability to handle complex projects.

Learn effective communication and documentation

A bright yellow rubber duck sits in front of a MacBook with an open code editor on the screen, displaying lines of code. The image captures the practice of 'rubber duck debugging,' where programmers explain their code to an inanimate object, like a rubber duck, to debug it more effectively. In the background, notes and another rubber duck are partially visible, indicating a collaborative or educational setting.

Rubber duck debugging in action. Image courtesy Tom MorrisCC BY-SA 3.0 DEED, via Wikimedia Commons.
In programming, explaining complex code to a rubber duck is a humorous yet effective way to find solutions to problems by clarifying your thoughts.

In my experience, the best way to increase your efficiency as a programmer is to learn to communicate clearly and succinctly. Effective communication is vital in programming, not just in writing code but also in documenting your work and collaborating with others. I can’t tell you how many times I have written important code, put it in a production environment, and then had to completely reverse engineer it months or years later to fix a simple problem when, if I had spent a little extra time documenting my rationale, I could have saved a lot of stress and time overall.

Although the ideal scenario is to write code that is intuitive and self-explanatory, I try to prepare for the worst-case scenario. In my practice, I often write almost as many lines of comments as I do of code, preparing for scenarios where the code’s purpose isn’t immediately clear. This approach ensures clear and comprehensive documentation, which is important for internal use and also establishes trust and usability in the wider developer community. Whether you comment inline or with whitepapers or knowledge bases, well-documented code enhances collaboration, boosts your reputation for quality, and reflects a commitment to professionalism and transparency. Future you and your coworkers will greatly appreciate this level of detail, especially when revisiting complex code later.

Two individuals in an office setting, focusing on a large computer screen displaying colorful lines of code. One person is typing on a keyboard, while the other is pointing at a specific section of the code on the screen, suggesting a collaborative effort in coding or debugging. The workspace is bright and modern, with additional monitors, notepads, and a cup of coffee indicating a productive environment.

Popular media often portrays coders as enigmatic figures, crafting cryptic walls of code decipherable only by machines or other “coding wizards.” This portrayal, while dramatic, isn’t accurate or helpful. In reality, the best programmers prioritize clarity and accessibility in their code. Code isn’t just about instructing a computer; it’s a form of communication with others, including our future selves.

Gain basic computing skills

Familiarity with basic computing concepts is a prerequisite for diving into programming. You will need to know how to manage directories, open files, browse the web efficiently, and perform fundamental operations like copying and pasting. The IC3 courseware from LearnKey offers comprehensive training in computing fundamentals, key applications, and living online, providing a strong foundation for aspiring programmers.

For comprehensive training in essential computing skills, consider LearnKey’s Information Technology Specialist Courseware, an excellent starting point for your programming journey.

Develop logical thinking and mind mapping

A professional in business attire is sketching a Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) diagram on a transparent board with a marker. The BPMN diagram includes standard symbols such as diamonds for decision points and arrows for flow direction, illustrating the systematic planning of a business process flow, a technique commonly used in programming and project management to visualize and improve processes.

Developing logical thinking skills is vital for efficient problem-solving and debugging.

I mean formal logic—not common sense, and not even mathematics. Probably half of the bug fixes I have experienced have had to do with faulty logic. Learn how to identify formal fallacies—non-sequiturs—and practice over and over again. While knowledge of upper math is helpful in certain areas, many programming tasks require logical thinking more than advanced arithmetic.

Alongside logical thinking, learning visual mind-mapping techniques can significantly help you organize and plan your projects. You will need to be able to split a project into its main requirements and then split those requirements into the considerations that go along with each requirement. At least learn the following visual mind-mapping languages:

  • ERD (entity–relationship diagrams)—a standardized visual language for data structures.
  • BPMN (Business Process Model and Notation)—a standardized visual language for procedural flowcharts.
  • Gantt charts—a project management bar chart for organizing task dependencies.

Practice modular engineering

It is important to learn modular design and solid software engineering principles. Think of programming like building a car: each component, like the bolts in an engine, must meet certain standards and work effectively on its own before it can contribute to the larger system. You don’t have to build an engine to determine whether the bolts will work or not. Similarly, each part of your code should serve a specific purpose and be testable independently. This approach may not always be glamorous, and while there will be times that code flows from your fingertips, you will spend much of your time prototyping, retooling, refactoring, and testing. Understanding sound development principles will help you easily navigate complex programming tasks and enable you to create efficient, scalable code.

Read and research

Finally, learn to read patiently and spend a lot of time with official documentation. Programming languages are usually well-documented and sometimes in multiple places, but learning which source works for you in your current programming journey can take time. W3Schools and Stack Overflow are great starting places and quick daily resources for many languages, but you will inevitably need to read whitepapers and the developers’ specifications. Learning where these are sooner rather than later will save you a lot of time.

Start today

You can begin honing these skills today:

  • Write out detailed steps for completing tasks to enhance your logical thinking.
  • Engage in daily writing to improve communication skills and typing speed.
  • Play logic puzzles and strategy games to sharpen your problem-solving ability.
  • Practice mind-mapping on topics you enjoy to get accustomed to organizing complex information.
  • Take an eLearning course to see if that mode of learning works for you. May I suggest one of the courses at LearnKey’s Information Technology Specialist Courseware or LearnKey’s Certiport – IC3 Courseware?

By incorporating these tools and practices, you will enhance your coding efficiency and develop a well-rounded skillset, which will be essential for a successful programming career.

2. How can I identify my strengths and interests in programming?

Many beginners hope that they will have a perfect programming journey—that their first programming language will be perfect for everything they want to do, that they’ll find a dream job right away, that they’ll stay up late at night coding because they love it so much, and that they’ll single-handedly write code that changes the world. The reality is that no programming language is perfect, most beginning coders don’t make huge salaries, most good code is written by teams, and many good programs never see the light of day. But that doesn’t mean that the journey isn’t worth it. In programming, curiosity is its own reward—and the more you learn, the more likely you are to find something you love.

Delay specialization

Many beginning programmers get lost in the weeds worrying about whether to learn front-end, back-end, or full-stack. Others spend too much time figuring out what development environment (IDE) or language to use. Whether you use Visual Studio Code or Notepad++, C++ or JavaScript, the key is to start experimenting. Most of the time, your choice of IDE or language is similar to your choice of clothing—it should suit your use, but if you obsess too much over it, you will never get out the door. Beginners can benefit from simpler environments or text editors, focusing on learning the language without the complexity of advanced tools. You can always switch to different IDEs and languages as your skills and needs evolve. The key is not which language you start with but how thoroughly you grasp that language’s concepts. Remember, the principles you learn in one language usually apply to others, preventing you from becoming just a “script kiddy” who only follows examples without understanding them.

Explore, explore, explore!

A young Asian student is intently working on a laptop in a classroom setting. She is wearing a denim jumper over a long-sleeved shirt and is seated at a white desk. The background is softly focused, with educational posters visible on the wall and other students also working on laptops. The image conveys a sense of focus and concentration, typical of an academic or learning environment where technology and computers are integral tools.

Begin by understanding the fundamentals of how the web works. This knowledge is foundational, regardless of your eventual specialization. Get acquainted with both front-end and back-end concepts. Once you get the basic concepts of one language under your belt, expand your repertoire to include a variety of other languages. This broad base will inform your later choices and provide a well-rounded understanding of web development.

As you explore different languages and technologies, pay attention to what excites you and positively challenges you. Do you enjoy creating visually appealing webpages, or are you more intrigued by the logic and data processing on the server side? Experimenting with various aspects of programming will naturally lead you to discover your strengths and interests.

There’s no rush to specialize, but don’t be afraid to hyperfocus on one aspect if it catches your attention. The field of programming is vast and varied. Permit yourself to explore different paths—front-end, back-end, full-stack, data science, or any other area that piques your interest. Over time, your preferences and strengths will become more apparent, guiding you toward your programming niche.

Cultivate your unique coding path

  • Stay curious and engage with the subject.
  • Read lots of code from different authors. Analyze it until you understand exactly what it does.
  • Choose a beginner-friendly language. For web coding, start with HTML and JavaScript. For data manipulation, Python is a great choice. LearnKey courses provide excellent foundations in these languages: LearnKey’s Information Technology Specialist Courseware
  • Enroll in a good introductory programming course. LearnKey’s Introduction to Programming Concepts course is ideal for beginners, covering the basics of programming logic and structure. For a more in-depth guide, try LearnKey’s Software Development

By following these steps, you’ll establish a solid base in programming, enabling you to confidently explore more complex concepts and languages and discover your talents and interests.

3. What can I do to avoid burnout while building practical coding skills?

Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced coder, a sustainable programming career requires pacing yourself to avoid burnout. Regularly updating and improving your skills is critical to staying employable and avoiding the pitfalls of rushing your learning journey.

Set limits

The sheer volume of learning resources available can be overwhelming, leading to indecision about where to start. Rather than getting lost in the sea of options, select a few well-reviewed resources and dedicate daily efforts to thoroughly understanding them. Diving deep into one or two quality resources is more effective than skimming through a multitude of them.

Set small goals

A row of seven dice on a vibrant blue background. All are white with footprints in black, except for the fourth die, which is yellow and features a flag. This image symbolizes the achievement of a goal. This visual metaphorically suggests setting and accomplishing small, incremental goals in a process or journey.

Many beginning programmers start their journey filled with enthusiasm and big dreams. It’s common to envision creating groundbreaking software like a new operating system, a replacement for Google, or an intricate game right from the start. This ambition, while admirable, often overshadows the practical realities of learning to code. The excitement can lead to overestimating your capabilities. Beginners might not yet fully grasp the complexity and skills required for large-scale projects.

Begin with small, manageable projects that are within your current skill level. Choose something your life does not depend on but is useful or fun, like a calculator, a single-screen game, or a time-saver for a frequent manual process. These types of projects are achievable and provide a sense of accomplishment and a solid base for learning.

Having clear, specific objectives is key to staying focused and making progress. Aim to complete small projects that challenge you enough to learn but are not so daunting that they lead to frustration. Each completed project will build your confidence and skills.

Practice Modularity

Big projects can always be broken into smaller projects. This concept is the foundation of modular design or modularity. Modular design not only helps you learn to code but also sets the stage for effective programming and troubleshooting practices. For example, if you’re interested in building a web application, start by thinking about one application component, such as a web form or a simple database interaction. Then ask questions to break it down even further until you have reached one of the most basic elements of that page or interaction. How do you even collect user input? How can you interact with a database? If you treat each part of a program as a self-contained building block, you will be practicing modularity.

Consider enrolling in project-based courses that provide a structured approach to learning. Instruction like LearnKey’s Python v2 course puts modular design in practice, introducing small, manageable modules that could build up to a larger project.

Build your portfolio before seeking a job

One of the best ways to reduce the chances of burnout is to only take jobs for which you are prepared.

Before actively seeking coding jobs, developing a strong coding portfolio is essential. This portfolio should showcase your best work and demonstrate your coding proficiency. Jumping into the job market too early—without a solid grasp of programming languages or a substantial portfolio—can be counterproductive. Consider securing an alternative income source while building your programming skills and portfolio.

Conclusion

My early experiences with a TI-82 calculator sparked a journey of discovery and learning in programming. Your path can also be filled with growth and exploration. Starting with foundational skills and gradually building up to more complex projects is key to a sustainable career in programming. From understanding basic computing concepts to building a robust coding portfolio, every step you take should be well-paced and guided by curiosity, practicality, and a willingness to grow. Resources like LearnKey’s courses can provide the guidance and structure needed. Nevertheless, your personal journey starts with the press of a button, the writing of a line of code, and the willingness to explore the vast and evolving programming landscape.

Do Certifications Still Matter In a Post-Pandemic World?

Certified Image

In a word, yes. Though technology and markets have changed, and attitudes toward working at home vs. working in an office vs. working on an island with a satellite… OK, I’m getting carried away here, but certifications still matter. Our CEO, Jeff Coruccini, outlined this in a blog post at the beginning of the year, but let me add some statistics here about certifications themselves:

According to CompTIA, the certification body for A+, Network+, and Security+, three industry-leading certifications, 96 percent of human resource managers use IT certifications as part of the screening process for candidates. 96 percent; that’s 24 out of every 25 human resource managers. According to Coursera, 59 percent of cybersecurity jobs require at least one related certification.

But lest you think these percentages are limited to IT jobs, consider this. According to Indeed, 62 percent of those surveyed for QuickBooks positions indicated they got a higher starting salary because they obtained a QuickBooks certification. And let me share a personal anecdote. My first IT training full-time position was at a hospital. I had Microsoft Office Suite (MOS) certifications; those certifications put me at the high end of the starting salary range, a full 25% higher than if I had not obtained those certifications.

Certifications are more than proof that one has expertise in the certification earned. They also prove several characteristics that make for an outstanding employee:

  • A willingness to learn, often in a very compact amount of time
  • The ability to study and research
  • The fortitude to finish a project from start to finish
  • The ability to succeed on a task after not succeeding. In this context, that would mean retaking an exam if one does not pass on the first attempt (it happens to the best of us)

So, which IT certifications are most important for those starting an IT career? This article from Coursera lists the top 10 IT certifications in 2023, and we have courses for six of the top seven certifications on the list. If you are looking at an IT career path and have not started the journey of obtaining any certifications, consider this an invitation to do so. I’ll be rooting for your success down your chosen path.

Unlocking Your Future: ACE College Credits and Certification Programs

In today’s fast-paced world, education is more than just a means to an end; it’s a pathway to success and personal growth. At LearnKey, we take this very seriously. As the landscape of education evolves, innovative solutions emerge to bridge the gap between real-world skills and academic achievement. ACE College Credits, a pioneering initiative, is transforming the way students approach higher education by offering a unique opportunity to gain college credits through certification programs. Let’s explore how this program can pave the way for students to accelerate their educational journey and open doors to exciting new possibilities.

The Power of Certification Programs:
Certification programs have gained immense popularity in recent years due to their practical approach to skill development. These programs, often endorsed by industry leaders, provide students with specialized expertise that can be directly applied in the workforce. From IT certifications to healthcare credentials, these programs offer a convenient and focused way to enhance one’s skill set. But what if these certifications could also contribute to your college education?

Enter ACE College Credits:
This innovative program partners with various certification providers, such as our partner Certiport, to evaluate and recommend college credit for completed certifications. Imagine the satisfaction of knowing that the hard work you put into acquiring a valuable certification not only boosts your employability but also contributes to your college journey.

Benefits:
1. **Accelerated Degree Completion**: One of the primary advantages of ACE College Credits is its potential to expedite your degree completion. By earning college credits through certification programs, you can significantly reduce the time it takes to earn a degree, saving both time and money.

2. **Enhanced Employability**: Combining academic knowledge with practical skills gained from certifications makes you a well-rounded and attractive candidate in the job market. Employers value candidates who possess both theoretical understanding and hands-on experience.

3. **Flexibility and Customization**: ACE College Credits provide flexibility, allowing you to tailor your educational journey to align with your interests and career goals. You can choose certifications that resonate with your aspirations, creating a unique blend of expertise.

4. **Transferrable Credits**: Many colleges and universities recognize the value of certifications and accept ACE-recommended credits, allowing you to seamlessly transfer your hard-earned credentials.

5. **Cost-Efficiency**: College education can be expensive, but by utilizing this program, you can potentially reduce the overall cost of your degree. With every earned credit, you inch closer to your degree without additional tuition expenses.

In a world where adaptability and skills are prized, ACE College Credits offer a bridge between the dynamic demands of the job market and the structured realm of academia. By recognizing the value of certification programs, students take charge of their education and pave the way for a brighter future. Whether you’re a recent high school graduate, a working professional, or someone seeking a career change, ACE College Credits can be your key to unlocking a world of opportunities. Embrace this innovative approach, earn credits for your certifications, and embark on a journey that’s uniquely tailored to your aspirations. Your dreams are within reach – take the first step today.

Note: The process for transferring ACE Credits to a college or university differs for each institution; the first step in the process is to get a copy of your transcript.

The next step is to find the college’s transfer credit policies and procedures. Check the college’s catalog or website for “academic policies and procedures” or “transfer credit.” Once you know the correct policies and procedures, complete the process. If you are unable to locate the policies, give the school a call.

LearnKey neither guarantees nor implies that other institutions will accept credit hours or previous training earned at the school. A student who anticipates transferring to another institution should first contact the other institution to determine whether their credit hours or previous training will transfer. Policies governing the transferability of credits vary greatly from school to school.

LearnKey “Powers-up” Online Continuing Education Programs

Now more than ever corporate customers are coming to LearnKey to power-up their online continuing education programs for their employee’s, leadership teams and owners.

Organizations are scrambling to implement programs so they can keep their existing employee’s and lure in new talent as every company is challenged to maintain and add staff. Here are a few of our offerings that make up our Enterprise Development Solutions which we customize for each client:

 

 

  •  Pre-Hire Academy Solution: This is somewhat new and “out of the box” and if done right can not only attract/pre-qualify candidates – it can be a nice good faith of “corporate social responsibility” by offering education/training that leads to a job within communities. Instead of using the same old traditional job boards for acquiring new talent. Offer it to those that have the willingness to learn a skill.

 

  • Vocational Readiness Programs: Here is where we have a huge advantage over our competitors. We have corporate customers on that our on boarding this month who utilize LearnKey signature courses to create an offering they administer and offer their customers. LearnKey also has their open enrollment program available to anyone.

 

  • Employability Services: Organizations utilizing any of the above solutions are keen on utilizing our services and assistance with job leads, mock interviews, and resume tips. Additionally, they like having resources to tap into from time to time when it comes to placement assistance for students who graduate from our certification programs.

These are the core education as a service (EaaS) offerings we provide along with our behavioral foundation, which drives a truly successful learning experience.

These are very interesting times in how important continuous education is for our country. We have millions of adults who ware lacking skills for todays in demand jobs.  Let’s get them certified.

Azure AI Fundamentals Course (AI-900) a first of many to come

We are excited to announce the release of our new Azure AI Fundamentals (AI-900) course, our first in our Azure Series of courses.

Here is a quick clip and notice the HD video quality makes for a great preview and also learn more about Object Detection.

LearnKey’s Azure AI Fundamentals (AI-900) course is an introduction to building artificial intelligence (AI) machine learning models. The course also covers basic AI concepts, giving those who take this course an increase in skills needed to land an introductory AI-based job.

Specific exam topics include AI workloads and considerations, fundamental principles of machine learning, computer vision workloads, Natural Language Processing (NLP) workloads, and conversational AI workloads.

This course offers a web version for all labs and assessments to accommodate students accessing the courseware remotely on Chromebooks.

Also included are LearnKey’s: Student workbook (PDF) with additional projects, activities, glossary key terms and definitions to help reinforce learning. Teacher workbook (PDF) with answer keys, lesson plans and short cut keys ensure instructors have everything they need for in the classroom . With a course Total Time of 25 Hours and the supplemental materials its a great way to begin your AI certification credentials.

As for job demand the outlook is really good. Globally AI/Machine learning jobs are projected to be worth almost $31 billion by 2024. That’s an annual growth rate of more than 40% over a six-year period.

Those statistics underscore the need for machine learning talent, and if you’re willing to put in the work, you could be on your way to a great new career.