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Ramblings about the world of technology and certification.

CompTIA Raises Exam Prices – Buy vouchers before we raise our prices.

0 January 6, 2016 in Uncategorized by

Effective January 1, 2016 CompTIA is raising the price for all their exams. A quick summary of the old and new prices:

Exam               Old Price         New Price
A+ (each)         $194.00           $199.00
Network+         $277.00           $285.00
Security+          $302.00          $311.00

Total Seminars (www.totalsem.com) sells discount vouchers for these CompTIA exams. We have decided to hold last year’s prices until the end of January 2016.

If you plan on taking your exams this year be sure and purchase your vouchers now before we have to raise our discount voucher prices to reflect the higher CompTIA prices!

Act now before we have to raise our prices!

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Turbocharge your career with CompTIA Network+ Certification

0 August 11, 2015 in Uncategorized by

At a time when some industries are shedding jobs, IT offers a wider range of entry-level positions and career advancement opportunities than just about any other field.

    Consider these facts:

• There are currently over 500,000 job openings for IT professionals in the U.S., according to CompTIA, the Computing Technology Industry Association.

• U.S. employers are expected to need 140,000 network system and data communications analysts, a 53% increase, over the next decade, according to the U.S. Department of Labor..

• Industry observers are sounding the alarm about a growing networking and security skills gap. That’s good news for Network+ certified techs with these much needed skills.

• 91% of hiring managers indicate that CompTIA certifications are valuable in validating expertise.

• The average salary of a network engineer is $91,000

Think of an IT career as a lifelong learning path. Earning certifications is how you show employers you’re advancing your skills and are ready for the next step. A typical certification path would include:

CompTIA A+ Cert. => Network+ Cert. => Security+ Cert. => Microsoft or Cisco Certs.

The Network+ Certification exam covers a lot of material. The list price for the exam is $277. You want to make sure you’re ready to pass the exam the first time so you don’t have to pay for a retake.

Studying for the Network+ exam: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
Here’s the best way to learn the concepts, memorize the material, and make sure you’re ready to pass the exam:

Learn

Step 1; whether you’re an experienced network tech or just starting out, you need to make sure you know all the concepts covered on the exams. With so much to learn the best way to start is to find a good textbook or video training course. Don’t try to learn everything at once. Start with bite sized pieces. Take a first bite; read a few chapters or watch a series of videos that cover a related group of topics.

Practice

Step 2; Take a break from learning new concepts and practice what you have learned in the first group of topics. I recommend setting up a home lab. You will need several computers, routers, switches, cabling and a simple server to start. You can usually get some used equipment to start with and build from there. You will need to set up a network in your home lab and add functions as you cover topics in your studies. You can also purchase a set of Network+ simulations. Try to find simulations that track chapter by chapter the book or videos you are using to study. This will allow you to get hands-on experience that will reinforce what you have learned and help you commit the information to memory. These types of simulations can also help prepare you for the performance-based questions you will see on the CompTIA Network+ exam.

Take a practice test

Step 3; Get a good set of practice test questions; preferably one that works with your study materials and allows you to test on groups of chapters or topics. This way you can test yourself only on the topics you have studied so far, see where your weak areas are and go back and review them before you go on to the next group of topics.

Repeat

Step 4; Repeat this process one bite size set of topics at a time. Keep the amount of material you try to master at one time small, practice and test yourself until you are confident before you take the next bite. Pretty soon the elephant doesn’t look so big. Finally, once you have covered all the material for the entire exam use the practice test software to covering everything and find any last weak areas for review.

This step-by-step study methodology will help you tackle the large amount of material covered on the CompTIA Network+ exam in a systematic way that makes it easier to remember everything and make sure you are ready to pass the exam the first time.

The key to this approach is to find training videos, simulations and practice test software that work well together and allow you to use them in matching bite size pieces. Total Seminars offers videos, simulations and practice test software that all map to Mike Meyer All-in-One book. The author Mike Meyers offers Video training plus TotalSims, Network+ simulations and Total Tester, Network+ practice test software on his Total Seminars web site. Both these products track chapter by chapter with the videos. Total Seminars also has discount vouchers that will save you on the cost of the CompTIA exam.

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CompTIA Network+ N10-006 training materials available

0 May 14, 2015 in Uncategorized by

We’re putting the finishing touches on our training materials for the new CompTIA Network+ exam. Mike’s new All-in-One 6th edition book is in the warehouse. You can access updated TotalSims, Total Tester practice exams, and Mike’s new video series right now. Click the Network+ tab at the top of the page.

Also check out Mike’s Introduction to the NEW Network+ N10-006 video:

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Scott Jernigan’s on YouTube Fire!

0 April 22, 2015 in CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+ by

Hey readers,

If you haven’t checked out Scott’s A+ and Network+ videos, do yourselves a favor and check them out at our YouTube channel. Here are three of my favorites:



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IT Workers in Hot Demand

0 January 26, 2015 in IT News by

“The IT industry as a whole has experienced remarkable growth within the last decade, actually growing faster than the number of qualified professionals available to fill positions. This current shortage of IT talent combined with our strengthening economy presents talented IT professionals with exceptional opportunities to not only find positions, but positions that pay well,” said Anthony Curlo, CEO of DaVinciTek, an IT recruiting and Staff Augmentation firm. The same statement cited research conducted by Robert Half, which said salaries for newly hired IT professionals are expected to increase 5.7 percent this year.

What’s interesting is that IT workers are in demand across all industries, not just technology companies. Corporate budget allocations for IT are expected to rise 3.2 percent and are a reflection of IT’s increasingly integral role in maintaining competitive operations for any business in any industry, according to statistics cited by DaVinciTek.

DaVinciTek points out four important trends for IT job seekers:

  1. Job seekers need to be open to various opportunities and position titles as they search for jobs, and should be willing to explore all offers, rather than take the first one that comes their way.
  2. Jobs in the mobile IT sector are particularly in high-demand. IT professionals with experience developing mobile applications can expect to find jobs rather easily in this market.
  3. Companies seeking IT professionals should be ready to make competitive offers; strong candidates will likely have multiple options, so the terms of an offer should not appear to undervalue the candidate’s talent.
  4. For those working towards an IT degree, consider specializing in specific IT positions projected to still be in high demand in 3-5 years, such as business analysts and cloud computing software engineers. For those still considering a degree in IT, know that the industry is predicated to continue to grow until at least 2020.

All this bodes well for solution providers and everyone involved in the IT industry. However, there is always a catch. With increasing opportunities, companies will have to make it more appealing to keep their current IT workers if they don’t want them to jump ship.

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Google to Boost Encrypted Websites in Rankings

0 August 7, 2014 in Uncategorized by

Move Aims to Prod Developers to Adopt Technology That Protects Against Hackers

Google Inc. wants to reward websites that are more secure.

The world’s most popular search engine said it is now giving bonus points in its ranking algorithm to Web pages that are encrypted. Google hopes the move will prod website developers to adopt technology that protects against hackers breaking into their websites and stealing users’ information.

“We hope to see more websites using HTTPS in the future,” Google said in a blog post, referring to the protocol for securing communications over digital networks.

The move is the latest, and among the most significant, steps Google has taken to make the Web more secure, efforts it has accelerated in the wake of disclosures about Internet snooping by the National Security Agency.

“This is a huge deal,” said Christopher Soghoian, a principal technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union. “This is the ultimate carrot for websites” to use encryption.

Encrypting data transmitted over the Internet adds a barrier between Web users and anyone who wants to snoop on or steal their data. That can help protect users even when they connect through unsecured Wi-Fi networks in airports and coffee shops, for example.

“If you were sending a letter with your credit-card information and Social Security number, would you send it in a secure envelope or a clear envelope?” asks Kevin Mahaffey, chief technology officer and co-founder of mobile-security company Lookout Inc. With encryption, users are, in effect, putting their data in a more secure envelope to better protect it in transit.

The desire among websites to rank highly in Google search results means Google can use its search algorithm to encourage and discourage practices among Web developers. Sites that load slowly are penalized in search rankings, for instance, while those with higher quality content get a boost. In all, Google uses more than 200 “signals” in its search rankings, most of which it doesn’t discuss publicly.

“This is a lot like consumer reports saying that the overall rating of a car is higher because it has airbags,” says Lookout’s Mr. Mahaffey.

Google said it had begun favoring encrypted sites over the past few months. Up to now, it has been a “lightweight” signal, affecting less than 1% of global searches. But it plans to boost the weighting over time.

The Wall Street Journal reported in April that inside Google, executives were discussing taking encryption into account in Web rankings.

Historically, website operators have shied away from encryption because of concerns about cost and slowing response times. Messrs. Mahaffey and Soghoian said the cost of encryption has declined, while its use by Google and Facebook Inc. suggest it doesn’t have to slow a website.

To protect its own users, Google encrypts user searches as well as email sent via its Gmail service. It has also raced to encrypt data flowing among its data centers world-wide, an effort that it accelerated following reports that the NSA had spied on that traffic. In June, Google also published a new report disclosing data about email providers that don’t encrypt emails.


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Keeping the Internet Free—for Now

0 April 14, 2014 in Uncategorized by

The Commerce Department has second thoughts about surrendering America’s online oversight.
From the Wall Street Journal

By
L. Gordon Crovitz

April 13, 2014 6:51 p.m. ET

Less than a month after announcing its plan to abandon U.S. protection of the open Internet in 2015, the White House has stepped back from the abyss. Following objections by Bill Clinton, a warning letter from 35 Republican senators, and critical congressional hearings, the administration now says the change won’t happen for years, if ever.

“We can extend the contract for up to four years,” Assistant Commerce Secretary Lawrence Strickling told Congress last week, referring to the agreement under which the U.S. retains ultimate control over the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, known as Icann. If the administration makes good on that reassurance, it would punt the decision to 2019 and the next president.

Mr. Strickling originally linked the end of U.S. control to the September 2015 expiration date of the current Icann agreement. He backtracked at a Hudson Institute conference last week: “We did not intend that to be a deadline after which ‘bad things’ would happen. There has been some misapprehension that we were trying to impose a deadline on this process. We weren’t.” Fadi Chehade, Icann’s CEO, agreed. “There is no deadline,” he said. “The U.S. has many years on the contract.”

In an interview, Mr. Chehade assured me that he understands why supporters of the open Internet want the U.S. to retain its oversight role, which keeps countries like Russia and China from meddling. “I’m worried, too,” he said. “There’s no question that governments like power and certain governments will always try to take control of the Internet, so we will have to be careful.”

The Commerce Department tasked Icann to come up with a plan to invite authoritarian governments to participate while still keeping the Internet open. This is likely impossible—and wholly unnecessary. Nongovernmental “multi-stakeholders,” such as engineers, networking companies and technology associations, now run the Internet smoothly. They are free to do so because the U.S. retains ultimate control over Internet domains, blocking authoritarian regimes from censoring or otherwise limiting the Internet outside their own countries.

The Obama administration proposal would have treated other governments as equal stakeholders, turning the concept of private-sector self-governance on its head. Robert McDowell, a former commissioner at the Federal Communication Commission, pointed out at the Hudson Institute event that “‘multi-stakeholder’ historically has meant no government,” not many governments.

Mr. Strickling tried to deflect criticism in his testimony: “No one has yet to explain to me the mechanism by which any of these individual governments could somehow seize control of the Internet as a whole.” The senior State Department official involved in Internet governance, Daniel Sepulveda, similarly claimed at the Hudson Institute: “Governments can no more take over Icann than Google GOOGL +1.38% can take over Icann.”

These are false assurances. Steve DelBianco of the NetChoice trade association gave this example in congressional testimony: Under Icann rules, a majority of governments can simply vote to end the current consensus approach and switch to majority voting. China and Iran are already lobbying for this change. Russia, China and other governments switched to majority voting to outfox the U.S. at a conference of the International Telecommunications Union, a United Nations agency, in 2012. Mr. Sepulveda called that an “anomaly,” but the result was an 89-55 vote for a treaty giving U.N. legitimacy to governments cutting off the open Internet in their countries. This division of the Internet into open and closed networks goes into effect next year.

The Obama administration somehow thinks sacrificing U.S. control of Icann will satisfy regimes eager further to undermine the open Internet. Mr. Strickling argues: “Taking this action is the best measure to prevent authoritarian regimes from expanding their restrictive policies beyond their borders.” The opposite is true. Granting these countries access to Icann and the root zone filenames and addresses on the Internet would give them the potential to close off the global Internet, including for Americans, by deciding rules for how all websites anywhere must operate.

The letter sent by Republican senators identified a dozen criticisms of the plan. They asked why it’s in the U.S. interest to cede control and how control could be regained once lost.

The senators also asked to see the legal opinion claiming the executive branch has the power to transfer control of the Internet without congressional approval. A bill called the Internet Stewardship Act was introduced in the House to mandate congressional approval before any change is made. Unanimous congressional resolutions starting in 2005 have called on the U.S. to retain control over Icann.

If Mr. Obama still thinks giving up U.S. protection of the open Internet and its multi-stakeholder community is such a great idea, he should ask Congress to vote on it. He won’t, because there is zero chance that an Abandon the Internet Act would ever pass.

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How Do I Know if I Need an A+ Certification?

0 February 24, 2014 in CompTIA A+ by

[Posted 24 February 2014 by Kathy Yale]

An A + certification can open many doors for those pursuing careers in the field of IT. Considered vendor-neutral, an A + certification provides people with the qualifications needed to repair PCs, work as a computer technician, troubleshoot, and perform a variety of other duties.

An A + certification can qualify a person for a number of jobs. This type of certification allows individuals to work for someone else or begin their own business and work on a consulting or independent basis. Whichever route a person chooses to pursue, an A + certification allows people to work as field technicians, as computer repairmen, as part of a company’s help desk, as a network or system administrator, in information security, in desktop troubleshooting, or in the area of software and operating systems. This type of training also transcends a variety of industries; any industry that uses computers (from healthcare to police work, from education to advertising) may be in need of someone with an A + certification.

The Benefits of an A + Certification

The A + certification offers its holders several career and financial benefits. Those with an A + certification on their resume tend to be more effective at problem solving, are more confident, and are viewed as more capable of handling large projects or difficult tasks. This is in part because pursuing a certification demonstrates dedication and a higher level of aptitude.

One of the largest benefits associated with the A + certification, and arguably the most important, is the increase in salary. Professional certification often results in a 10 to 20 percent increase in a person’s salary. This typically amounts to a person earning between 14,000 dollars and 15,000 dollars more a year. For those who don’ have a set salary and instead opt to own their own business, an A + certification can help finances by allowing people to charge more for their expertise.

Perhaps just as important as a financial boost, an A + certification can also open the doors to certain careers. For people who are happy in their present job, an A + certification may give them the qualifications they need to climb higher in the company. For those who are unhappy in their present job, an A + certification can make it easier to find work elsewhere.

How to Get an A + Certification

To begin the path to a better career, interested parties should visit Total Seminars for a list of training courses (sample questions are also available online). Total Seminars will offer test takers the information and materials needed to pass the examination. In addition to books, Total Seminars offers online tutorials, practice tests and tech forums that will assist test takers in successfully passing the exam on the first attempt. Total Seminars also offer exam vouchers when you are ready to take the A+ certification test.

While the A + certification was once open-ended, it now must be renewed every three years in order to stay valid. It is necessary to study with the proper material beforehand in order to successfully pass the exam and get started opening doors to your new career.

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How to Study More Effectively for the A+ Certification Exam

0 February 11, 2014 in CompTIA A+ by

[Posted 11 February 2014 by Kathy Yale]

If you are looking to pass your A+ Certification exam, vital to all computer technicians, look no further than Total Seminars. Total Seminars is the essential study guide provider that has ushered an entire wave of IT workers into the industry. Their modern approach to teaching gives you the chance to succeed in passing the exam on the first attempt and find a position in your field.

Purchasing the Book

Total Seminars’ A+ Certification Exam Guide has helped hundreds of thousands pass the test already. It has been updated to its current eighth edition to reflect changes to the test and implement new methods of explanation. Along with covering the material on the exam, this textbook also helps test takers by making the material approachable and easy to learn.

Practice Tests

What better way to prepare for a test than to take the test beforehand? That is the strategy Total Seminars uses with their unique software which interactively engages the learner. Total Seminars’ practice tests let you experience the test before the actual test day, a critical advantage that will give you confidence when you take the actual exam. Test takers are able to figure out what areas they need to perfect, focusing study efforts in optimal areas.

Users get quick feedback on their progress, creating a better learning experience for a subject that isn’t easily taught.

Training Videos

Fully subscribing to Total Seminars’ A+ Guide also gives you access to a series of training videos hosted by the author of the book, Mike Meyers. Total Seminars’ approach in their book and practice also serves as a foundation for the teaching method found in the training videos. With over 24 hours of content, you will be allowed study for the A+ Certification, by watching the material be applied by a professional. This will give test takers the opportunity to ensure the material they are learning is being processed correctly.

Overall, Total Seminars gives you all of the best tools for passing your A+ Certification so you can start applying for a new position, get up-to-date with your current company’s policies or become promoted within the company where you are currently employed. The A+ Exam Guide is a great reference and challenges your knowledge of computer technology with a basic approach that is also engaging. The A+ practice tests serve as a great assessment of information learned, and challenges your test-taking ability as well as illustrating areas you may need to pay more attention to. The training videos relay the information visually and auditorily. Together, these three methods target your knowledge in unique ways, giving you the best chance for success on test day.

There is nothing that compares to any of these three invaluable teaching resources. Total Seminars allows test takers to purchase these items as a bundle, or separately. In addition, they can even package test vouchers if you decide choose one of the larger bundles. There is no better way to study for you A+ certification.

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Looking for the Best Way to Demonstrate Your Tech Prowess? Consider the A+ Certification Exam

0 February 6, 2014 in CompTIA A+ by

[Posted 6 February 2014 by Kathy Yale]

The A+ Certification is an entry-level certification obtained by PC computer technicians. People who pass the exam are certified in installation, maintenance, customization, and operation of personal computers.

In the past, an A+ certification was considered a lifetime certification; however, in 2011, the certification was changed to one that needed to be renewed every three years. This is typically done by retaking (and passing) the A+ Certification test. Another option is to obtain CEU units: certification holders may maintain a valid certification by paying a CEU (Continuing Education Units) fee.

The Benefits of A+ Certification

Obtaining the A+ Certification is highly beneficial from both a career and financial standpoint. Some of the benefits associated with this certification include:

Offers Career Advancement

An A+ Certification can open the door to a new career or allow you to advance at a present job. The certification can also allow you to go after other job opportunities. Many open computer positions now require – or at least prefer – those with certifications; by having one, you won’t be limited to where you can apply. This gives you the chance to pick and choose until you find a job that will be both challenging and satisfying.

Those with professional certifications typically see an increase of 10 to 20 percent in salary. The A + Certification can also allow you to pursue jobs that are higher paying and perform consultant work on the side.

Demonstrates Commitment

Obtaining an A + Certification demonstrates commitment to a profession. It allows your employer (or your clients) to see you are dedicated to your work, willing to go the extra mile, and in for the long haul. This can make you appear dedicated in the eyes of those who you work for as well as those who are considering hiring you. The A+ certification also provides a morale booster, giving you the confidence and skills to pursue career options you might not otherwise pursue.

Offers More Flexibility

For those who desire to start their own company and work for themselves, an A + Certification can help in a few ways. By being certified, contractors and consultants are able to charge more that companies with no certifications to their name. The more clients you amass, the more successful your company will become. This, ultimately, can result in a schedule that is highly flexible, allowing you to set your own hours, choose your own projects, and answer to only yourself.

The A+ Certification is an excellent way to further an already existing career or gain new prospects and be hired for better, high-paying positions. It is an internationally recognized certification and will ensure you are up-to-date with the latest technologies in IT. Because technology is constantly advancing, CompTIA makes sure that the A+ Certification exam is always updated with the latest information. By initially taking the exam and making sure your certification is updated, you can demonstrate your tech prowess and become a force to be reckoned with in IT industry.

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