Veteran Testimonial – Tristan Roberts

by Jenna - Feb 20, 2015


When my friend Joe talks about his time in the Army, he’s told me that he misses “that feeling of brotherhood.” While I’ve never served in the military, I have an incredibly close relationship with my family and remember how alone and cut off I often felt from their care, direction, and loyalty during the year I lived abroad after college.

After I came home and started working as a Veteran Services Rep, I was struck by the loyalty and caring that I saw demonstrated so often at LearnKey. I loved (and still love) listening in on the other LKVS ladies and hearing them talking about their vets’ successes. I loved (and still love) that in our weekly meetings we all (and by “we all” I mean the advisors, the VSRs, the Know Your Talents team, Jeff Coruccini and our awesome tutor Tristan) celebrate together whenever a veteran earns a certification, gets a job interview, or finishes their program with us. Most of all I loved—and love—that when we announce our vets’ successes, we say all their names instead of giving the group a number.

Tristan in particular continues to impress me with his efforts on our veterans’ behalf. When I met Tristan and put a face to the voice on the speakerphone, my initial impression was that he was just as mellow and calm in person as he was on the phone. Now that I’m starting to direct the veterans I assist to him for tutoring help, I really respect the way Tristan reaches out so quickly, offers his help and is always working to create more study materials.

Watching Tristan’s testimonial about the Blue Ocean program and looking back on my earliest days at LearnKey was a powerful reminder for me that OUR end goal here will never be racking up certifications, program completions, or even job placements. We’re here to give people the chance to build on the values they lived through their service to our country and to be the loyal, caring support system that they deserve.

This is Jenna’s debut LearnKey blog post! She has been a Veteran Services Rep with us for four awesome months. Jenna loves theatre, smoothies, her husband, and being asked about her year teaching English in China!


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8 LearnKey Career Paths That Will Increase Your Yearly Income

by Brad - Feb 18, 2015


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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My Blue Ocean Experience

by Tristan - Jan 05, 2015


My name is Tristan Roberts. I’m a veteran who obtained my IT certifications through LearnKey and I’m writing to share my experience with LearnKey’s Blue Ocean Program with those who might be considering taking on the challenge. I spent about nine months working through the program. During that time I acquired the A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications as well as Microsoft Office’s Word, Excel, and Outlook certifications, and I’m going to talk about some of the successes I had, as well as some of the failures during my journey.

I believe that most of the success I had was due to having the right attitude going into the program. I spoke with my advisor (Seth Boyak) and he gave me a good idea of what to expect out of the program, provided me with a demo to sample, provided me with an estimated timeline, and let me know that it wouldn’t be easy. That is a point I want to reiterate…this is not a program that you can expect to skate through, which is a rude awakening I had when I went in for my first A+ exam after months of studying. It’s going to take a good mix of motivation, focus, drive, resourcefulness, and patience to make it through, but it is doable.

I had to find specific traits within myself that helped me be successful in this program.

Motivation– You should have a genuine desire to learn the information that you strive for or it is likely that you will lose interest very quickly.

Focus– You have to set aside the time to learn and eliminate as many distractions as possible to give yourself a better chance to retain the information.

Drive– There has to be an end goal, or something you are striving for to keep you going during the difficult times or it is easy to consider giving up when it gets difficult.

Resourcefulness– The IT world is full of unlimited information and is constantly changing. Portions you already know, portions you will learn, portions that will change, portions that have already changed. Sometimes the information will be easy to find, and sometimes it will be difficult, but it’s important to know that there is an answer, you just have to seek it out a little harder periodically.

Patience – Some of these certifications are difficult to obtain and you will need to take a one step at a time approach to prepare yourself to be as ready as possible. It’s a good idea to explore all of the resources that are provided (and sometimes find your own) if you expect to be complete the program and pass your certification exams.

LearnKey has great employees who are willing to go above and beyond to help us veterans in any way possible, and that is a big part of the reason that I accepted a job with LearnKey, when they offered me a job once I completed the Blue Ocean program. I wanted to help other veterans going through the program avoid some of the barriers that impeded my progress.

Overall I am grateful that I came across the Blue Ocean program and that I was able to complete this difficult challenge and not let it defeat me. Even after I failed my first exam, I just took a couple days off and attacked it again from another angle, and that is the approach you must bring with you entering this program. If you can do that, I’m proof that there is light at the end of the tunnel.


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Training the Planet–One Certification at a Time

by Brad - Dec 18, 2014


BLS Vision poster

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

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

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

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

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


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My Adventures With Excel…Part 2

by Chad - Dec 09, 2014


Editor’s Note: This article is Part 2 of a two-part series . “My Adventures with Excel…Part 1” can be found here.

OK. I’m back. It took a little longer than expected, but I finally forced myself to take the time to watch LearnKey’s Excel 2013 training. I sat down in early November and watched Michael Meskers present Excel 2013. Michael is a great trainer. He’s had years of experience in Excel, and it shows. He calmly and fluently explained how to use each feature.

When I got to the section about formulas, I really paid attention. If you will remember from my previous post, that was where I really struggled. I followed along as Michael explained several formulas and how to use them. I even tried them out in Excel so that I knew that I would be familiar with each one.

On test day, I was a little apprehensive because of my previous failure. As I began the test, I found that the improvements made to the testing environment were really helpful. It was a lot more streamlined and much easier to navigate.

I worked my way through the test and soon reached the end of the list. I was amazed. In my first attempt I ran out of time before I completed the entire list. This time I actually had time left to review and make sure I didn’t miss anything.

Although I was a little unsure of myself, I clicked the finish button and awaited my results. I was shocked. Not only did I pass, but I received a score of 942 out of 1,000. My previous score was 691. What a difference training makes!

My next adventure will be with Word certification. My first stop on this adventure will be LearnKey’s Word 2013 training.


Exam Prep with Tom Carpenter

by Brad - Aug 01, 2014


Exams can be a stressful experience, but that doesn’t mean you have to go in unprepared. LearnKey and Tom Carpenter, president of SysEdCo and frequent LearnKey author, have teamed up to create a short course to help test takers understand two things:

  1. How to pick the most important parts of an exam, and
  2. How to learn the material and retain information.

Exam Prep with Tom Carpenter

Exam Prep with Tom Carpenter, created on the LearnCast platform, is broken into eight sections covering three main topics: preparation techniques, tips for retaining information, and best practices for taking exams. In this course, you will learn how to best prepare and take a technical exam leading to success.

Whether you are taking an exam for a class or preparing for industry certification, this course can provide you with tricks for retaining important information and give you valuable insights into the different ways people learn. Topics include Overcoming Limits, Strategic Preparation, and Dealing with Stress.

Exam Prep with Tom Carpenter can be purchased through the new LearnKey app, now available in the iTunes app store.


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Soccer and Certification

by Wyett - Jul 03, 2014


For nearly 30 years Cedar City has played host to the Utah Summer Games. For the past several years I’ve wanted to participate in the 3×3 soccer tournament, but for any number of “convenient” reasons it has never quite come together—couldn’t find enough players to field a team, going to be out of town, had other plans—things of that nature.

JeffAndWyett

This year the planets aligned and I was able to participate with a team of fellow LearnKey employees. Now, in the interest of full disclosure I should state that I am somewhat past my prime when it comes to my soccer playing days, in fact I would dare say that I was in contention for being the oldest player in the tournament. Full disclosure part II—we would be playing in a division made up of players 17 years-old and older. Due to the number of teams in the tournament the Open and Intermediate divisions were combined which meant that we would be playing some pretty decent teams and not the weekend warriors that we were anticipating.

We were able to practice as a team only three times prior to competition and during one of those practices I had cramped up so bad in my right leg as to hardly be able to kick the ball much less run after it—it was shaping up to be a stellar tournament.

The Friday of our first game (we were guaranteed three) we were pretty excited and a little nervous. We played somewhat haphazardly during the first half of the game—running about without coordinating our efforts and generally just playing poorly. We got our act together by the second half and played a much better game—though still coming out on the losing end. It should be noted, however, that the opposing team did go on to win the tournament undefeated.

We ended up playing four more games. With each game we played better. With each game we gained confidence. With each game we enjoyed ourselves more and more. We finished the tournament with a silver medal in the Intermediate (“consolation”) bracket and had an absolute ball (pun intended) doing so.

Team LearnKey

So what does this have to do with certification? A couple of things. First off, there will always be a reason to not do a certification. Second, proper preparation is essential. Finally, certification yields numerous rewards.

Honestly, we got lucky. We did play well, but we weren’t well prepared. However, we’re already planning for next year. We know what our strengths are as well as what we need to work on. The point is, we jumped in and tried. Sometimes it is overcoming that first step—just doing it—that can be the most daunting. Certification can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t need to be. Learn from our soccer mistakes and prepare, but above all—do it!


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My Path to Certification: eLearning Advice

by Brad - Jun 03, 2014


This article is the third in a three-part series written by LearnKey’s Online Content and Social Media Manager about achieving industry certification.
Read Part 1 and Part 2

My experience with LearnKey courses and industry certification has taught me a few things about elearning. My advice for those using online training to achieve industry certification:

9 Tips for Industry Certification Infographic

  • Take notes as you watch the LearnKey training, especially on concepts that are unfamiliar to you. Even if you don’t use them to study, sometimes just the act of writing something down helps to cement it in your head.
  • Take full advantage of the pre-tests. Pre-test questions give you an immediate ‘Correct’ or ‘Incorrect’ so you can keep trying until you get the right answer. Unless you are in a learning environment that requires you to keep track of your pre-test score, you can answer the same question several times before moving on to the next question. Alternatively, you can use the study guide from the incorrect pre-test questions to know which areas in the training you should pay more attention to.
  • Take full advantage of the labs. Not only do the labs give you experience following a specific set of instructions within a simulation of the software, they are also included in the post-test. You can run through the labs as many times as you need to, so knowing how to complete the labs will boost your post-test score.
  • Take full advantage of the study guides. When you miss a question on the pre- or post-test, that question is added to your study guide for that test. Go back through the video training and watch the sections that cover the incorrect questions.
  • Take full advantage of the project workbook. Along with containing valuable reference information, project workbooks are designed to give students experience within the actual software rather that in a simulated environment. Project difficulties range from Beginner to Advanced, so even experienced users can find something of benefit in the workbooks.
  • Take full advantage of the MasterExam. Think of the MasterExam as the post-test for the entire course. LearnKey recommends that you pass the MasterExam three times before you attempt to take the certification exam. This may seem like overkill for more experienced users, but those with less experience will find it helpful.
  • Explore the software. Open up the menus, learn the features, and just take some time to figure things out on your own. When you want a little more structure, use the study guides and the notes you took during the training to help you learn the software inside and out.
  • Don’t wait too long between completion of the training course and taking your certification exam. Unless you have a lot of previous experience or a photographic memory, you will forget things between finishing the course and taking the exam. The less time that passes, the less information you will forget.
  • And, most important, remember that certification isn’t everything. Industry certification looks good on a resume and may help you get ahead in the job market, but the ultimate goal is to know how to use the software proficiently. If you can pass the certification test but you can’t really use the software, you won’t last very long at that job you were offered because of your certifications.

Whether you choose to follow my advice or not, good luck on your path to industry certification!


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My Path to Certification: Using LearnKey’s Resources

by Brad - May 28, 2014


This article is the second in a three-part series written by LearnKey’s Online Content and Social Media Manager about achieving industry certification. Check back in a couple of weeks for Part 3.
Read Part 1

LearnKey’s training does an excellent job of covering the Photoshop exam objectives, but the exam requires that the test taker actually know how to do a task rather than simply answering multiple-choice questions about the software. While not impossible, if you have taken LearnKey’s training but never opened the software, the exam will certainly be more difficult.

In recent years, LearnKey has recognized the value of actual experience versus straight instruction. Our course workbooks have been beefed up to include comprehensive projects that allow students to apply the processes and skills they just learned from the instructor. These new project workbooks require students to actually use the software and spend some time getting to know their way around it.

LearnKey also requires our subject matter experts to not only be known in their field, but to have taken and passed the most recent version of the exam for the course they are teaching. This ensures that instructors not only study the current exam objectives, but that they have real experience with the current version of the exam. These factors combine to help students be as prepared as possible when exam time comes.

After passing the Photoshop ACA exam I intended to continue with my certifications, but life got in the way. Things get hectic when you are working full time, married to a full-time student with a part-time job, raising a family, attempting to keep up on house and yard maintenance, managing several independent blogs and websites, writing a book, and trying to squeeze in a little freelance or personal design work. Who has time and energy for extra training when the last thing you want to do at night is turn the computer back on?

Then earlier this year, LearnKey’s CEO challenged every employee to get at least one certification in 2014. Since the bulk of my job entails managing LearnKey’s website and blog, I committed to becoming certified in Dreamweaver CS6. I was able take advantage of the self-paced nature of LearnKey’s courses and watch a half hour or so of training on Saturdays in between housework and yard maintenance. This meant that my path to Dreamweaver certification was a little slower than my path to Photoshop certification, but I was still able to exceed my goal of becoming certified by June 30.


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My Path to Certification: Becoming ACA Certified

by Brad - May 21, 2014


This article is the first in a three-part series written by LearnKey’s Online Content and Social Media Manager about achieving industry certification. Check back in a couple of weeks for Part 2.

My Dreamweaver ACA Certification

Earlier this month, I earned the Adobe Certified Associate Web Communication using Adobe Dreamweaver® CS6 certification. I have used Dreamweaver for years, but I had never really considered trying to get certified. In the eight years I have worked for LearnKey I have toyed with the idea, but it wasn’t until last summer that I seriously considered taking the exam.

Last summer, LearnKey began a push toward releasing courses in a widescreen format instead of the standard 4:3 ratio we have always used. At the time, we had just finished filming about half of our Adobe Creative Suite 6 courses in 4:3 and the decision was made that these courses would need recaptured into the new widescreen format.

I was already in the process of converting our most recent courses into a mobile-friendly format, so the task of widescreen recapturing was rolled into my production processes. In the hours I spent listening to audio, following each expert’s mouse movements, and editing the recaptured footage together, the idea occurred to me that now would be the perfect time to finally get ACA certified.

In the eight years I have worked for LearnKey, the program I have used more than any other is Adobe Photoshop. While there have been changes from version to version the basic program has stayed the same, so I began my quest for certification with the ACA Visual Communication using Adobe Photoshop CS6 exam. Since I had just finished recapturing and editing the Photoshop CS6 course, I didn’t feel the need to watch the video training for a fourth time. After passing LearnKey’s Photoshop pre-tests, post-tests, and MasterExam, I felt fully confident in taking the ACA exam.

The Adobe Certified Associate is an entry-level certification. After using Photoshop for so many years I just know how to do certain things and I was able to answer many of the exam questions without even thinking about them. I learned two things from taking the exam:

  1. Anyone who has used Photoshop for as long as I have should have no problem passing the ACA exam, and
  2. Video instruction alone cannot substitute for actual time spent using the software.

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