Vol. 17, #15 - April 10, 2012 - Issue #874

Certified or Certifiable?

  1. Editor's Corner
    • Guest Editorial
    • Certified or Certifiable?
    • Send Us Feedback
    • Tip of the Week
    • Recommended for Learning
    • Quote of the Week
  2. Admin Toolbox
    • Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
  3. Webinars & Seminars
    • Conferences, Expos and Other Events
    • Upcoming Microsoft Webcasts
    • Upcoming O'Reilly Webcasts
    • VMware Webcasts
    • Cisco Events
    • Oracle Events
  4. Tech Briefing
    • Cloud technologies create new opportunities and job roles
    • Featured Wiki Article: Microsoft Training and Certifications - MCDP, MCITP, MTA, MCTS
    • Want to get certified in Office 365?
    • I am now a VMware Certified Professional!
  5. Windows Server News
    • FAQ: Creating a VMware disaster recovery plan
    • Top 10 Microsoft Hyper-V tools to consider
    • Windows 8 FAQ: Windows 8 features, news and more
    • BYOD security: How application streaming and VDI can help
  6. WServerNews FAVE Links
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff.
  7. WServerNews - Product of the Week
    • Free TFTP Server: Easily Upload & Download Executable Images and Configs to Routers & Switches  

 

Free TFTP Server: Easily Upload & Download Executable Images and Configs to Routers & Switches

SolarWinds TFTP Server is the most robust, widely-trusted, and easy-to-use free TFTP Server available. Now you can upgrade IOS images and firmware on your network devices, back up configuration files for your critical Cisco, Juniper or Alcatel routers and switches, AND upload or download configs to multi-vendor network devices. 

Download and try it out for yourself.  It’s free.

 

Editor's Corner

Guest Editorial

Do IT certifications still have value in today's workplace? Will they help you get a better job or advance in your present one? This week I've asked Jason Miller to provide us with a guest editorial on this topic. Jason is an IT Professional based in Winnipeg, Canada, where he works as a team leader in the Managed Services department at EPIC Information Solutions:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333372197038

Jason holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree, he is a Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP), and he is a recognized Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP). His current certification track includes vendor certifications related to virtualization technologies. You can follow Jason on Twitter at:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333372226958

But before we listen to Jason's thoughts on this topic, here's a question for you to consider: Years from now when your hard-earned paper-MCSE will be just a fond but distant memory, what will YOU BE DREAMING?
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333372242624

Certified or Certifiable?

By Jason Miller, MVP

I find that there are a lot of different reasons why people employed in Information Technology work at earning vendor certifications. In recent years there has been an explosion of vendor certifications! And there’s a lot of variety in the level of effort exerted between individuals – some people work really hard in order to earn certifications, while others rely more upon ‘street smarts’ or practical experience with technology components to get them through their technical hurdles. Some people value certifications a lot, while others place little merit in the process. One observation though – folks who are certified tend to place higher merit in the benefits of certification.

As a bit of background info, I work for a larger firm that resells hardware and software solutions and provides IT Services and human resources to our customers. Our customers call on us, at least in part, due to the competencies that our teams maintain. Vendors allow us to sell their solutions because we can demonstrate that we can sell, deploy, and maintain their products. Measurement of how well we can achieve this is invariably linked to the number of certified staff and/or the depth of certification in the vendor’s products. Today, even consumer product lines have started to develop and present certification paths for their solutions. The symbiotic relationship between vendors and resellers is pretty obvious.

In the enterprise engine at my work, I manage a smaller team that maintains desktop and server platforms for a variety of clients in several different business verticals. Our team strives to maintain likeness between our customer sites, but in reality every client is at least a little bit different from all the rest. This is an important note; if all of our clients were exactly identical we might not need deep skills in a broad range of IT products and solutions, and in fact, often they vary a lot from site to site. So we end up with a common core set of products that extend across most customers, but then we have these unique elements that are introduced occasionally. We don’t get enough hands on experience with these individual items so having certified staff available to design and support them makes a huge difference. Even the common products tend to become fractured over time as they evolve and age.

So vendors present certification tracks for nearly everything now, and reseller organizations are motivated to gain the accreditation in order to sell product to clients throughout the life cycle of an IT solution. But what about the individual?What’s in it for you?

Well, it kind of depends on where you are at in the IT universe – if you are a member of an IT department you can see that practical experience is often recognized as a way of demonstrating you have the skills it takes to do the job. Or if you are a self-employed IT technician who picks and chooses your engagements based on interest or proven history of work, certifications might not mean a great deal to you personally. But what if you are an IT consultant or a technician who is expected to work in a wide variety of environments with a broad spectrum of products? How do you demonstrate proficiency and professional growth? It’s in these latter cases where certification really starts to edge out experience as a means of proving competency.

Don’t get me wrong, I think experience is important as you move into increasingly senior roles. But certification offers some advantages as you decide to climb the tech ladder and grow as an IT professional. In my experience managing a technical team, I endorse certification for some of the following reasons:

So if you are in agreement, how do you get your certification track started or back into focus? My advice to team members has been pretty simple; you have to get started anytime, set your goals based on your technical interests, and then set out a phased approach in order of ascending difficulty. The first step of any journey is the hardest – set your direction and then get started! Working with a mentor is often helpful, but more commonly, building a study group of like-minded IT professionals will help the most with developing a pattern of action that will keep you on track. Maybe staff at your work will share your learning interests or if that fails, look for help within a local IT Professional User Group or professionals association. You might be surprised how easy it is to find help in your area of interest geographic location.

Good luck to readers who are working on their certification path!

Send Us Feedback

What are your own thoughts concerning the value of IT certifications in today's job market? Has achieving certifications helped you advance in your own career? Do you think getting more certifications will bring you additional career benefits? Send us your feedback on this topic at [email protected]

Tip of the Week

By default clicking the Windows Explorer shortcut on the taskbar in Windows 7 displays your libraries. How can you configure this taskbar shortcut so that it opens Explorer at the root of your user profile instead?

  1. Right-click on the Explorer shortcut on your taskbar to display the jump list.
  2. Then right-click on the Windows Explorer item in your jump list and select Properties.
  3. In the Windows Explorer Properties dialog, on the Shortcuts tab, in the Target field, change %windir%\explorer.exe to %windir%\explorer.exe %userprofile% and click OK.

Now click on the Explorer shortcut on your taskbar and Windows Explorer should open to display the root folder of your user profile.

Recommended for Learning

PKI Uncovered: Certificate-Based Security Solutions for Next-Generation Networks from Cisco Press is basically a step-by-step how-to book about designing, implementing and troubleshooting public key infrastructure (PKI) authentication solutions using Cisco technologies. The book begins with a clear and concise review of basic PKI concepts and standards. Then it goes on to describe the building blocks of PKI such as certificates, keys and different types of CAs. PKI processes are covered next including enrollment, certificate verification and renewal/expiration, and so on. The focus quickly drops to the command shell using Cisco IOS commands to configure these things. The chapter on troubleshooting is probably worth the price of the book as far as your Cisco support staff are concerned.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333373649462

Quote of the Week

"When we have lived long enough, watched ourselves carefully enough, and learned from our mistakes, eventually we stop panicking and chasing after every "good" opportunity." --Chin-Ning Chu in "Do Less, Achieve More"
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333373907265

Chin-Ning Chu is one of my favorite authors of "business self-help" books, and lately I've been reading her book "Do Less, Achieve More" and finding lots of helpful advice. What I found illuminating about her quote above is that it sheds some light on my own entrepreneurial experiences. When I started my own business well over a decade ago, I initially found myself panicking a lot as I tried to nail down lots of deals to try and increase my cash flow. Unfortunately people don't like to be nailed down, and I soon learned that business is all about people and if you want to get good at making deals you've got to learn a lot about people, how they think and why they say and do the things they do. And as a nerd, I found learning this kind of stuff very challenging...

Fast-forward to my life today. I'm busier than ever, sometimes too busy, but I've learned to stop panicking. Why don't I panic anymore? Because I've learned that there are some things in life you can control and other things you can't control, and that the key to happiness (and to surviving in the business world) is to focus on the things you can control (for example your work habits and how you communicate) and not get too worried about things you can't control (such as what other people think of you or whether they will come through on what they promised).

Here are a couple of other good books by Chin-Ning Chu:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333373942138

http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333373952944

More wisdom from this author in the next issue of this newsletter.

Save this newsletter so you can refer back to it later for tips, tools and other resources you might need to do your job or troubleshoot some problem you're dealing with.

Forward this newsletter to a friend or colleague who might find the tips and tools in it helpful for performing their job.

Send us feedback if you have questions, comments or suggestions concerning anything in this newsletter: [email protected]

Cheers!
Mitch Tulloch

 

Admin Toolbox

Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without

mPowerTools - an AD Admin essential! 200+ reports, bulk import/export, scheduling, GPO/File Share Reports. Eliminate scripting! Only $1499!
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333444199590

Download a free, fully functioning 30-day trial of Patch Manager from SolarWinds and get visibility into patch compliance with an extensive collection of simple, built-in reports.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333444228461

Perform data migrations and other tasks without experiencing the downtime caused by broken links between files:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333373991685

Need a FIPS 140-2 Level 3 encryption device that looks like a USB thumb drive and boots to Windows 7 Embedded?
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333374006250

 

Webinars & Seminars

Conferences, Expos and Other Events

April 16-20, 2012 - Microsoft Management Summit 2012 is where skilled IT professionals can meet to increase their technical expertise through hands-on training, breakout sessions and interacting with industry leaders in desktop and device management, datacenter, and cloud technologies:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333374027292

July 8-12, 2012 - Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto, Canada is the premier event for Microsoft partners to spark connections, deliver insight, and build business. Learn about the latest Microsoft programs, strategies, and cutting-edge technologies, while meeting Microsoft staff and other partners from around the world:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333374044901

Upcoming Microsoft Events and Webcasts

Sign up for these and other Microsoft events and webcasts at:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333374092520

Upcoming O'Reilly Webcasts

Sign up these and other O'Reilly webcasts at:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333374128474

VMware Webcasts

Browse for VMware webcasts at:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333376231623

Cisco Events

Browse the Cisco Corporate Events Calendar to find Cisco at events, trade shows and conferences around the world:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333376266298

Oracle Events

Browse the Oracle Events page to find in-person events and live webcasts for your location:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333376283580

Would you like to list your IT event, webcast, or seminar in this section? Contact Michael Vella, the WSN Account Manager at [email protected]

 

Tech Briefing

Cloud technologies create new opportunities and job roles

Learn more about Microsoft's cloud certification programs:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333441202952

Featured Wiki Article: Microsoft Training and Certifications - MCDP, MCITP, MTA, MCTS

Wiki: Training and Certification Portal (en-US)

Helps you find available trainings and certifications from Microsoft and provides information about exams and how to prepare for them:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333441232049

Want to get certified in Office 365?

Information about upcoming exams for certifying your Office 365 skills:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333441244873

I am now a VMware Certified Professional!

Harold Wong, a Senior IT Pro Evangelist with Microsoft, shares why he pursued his VMware VCP5 certification:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333441258071

 

Windows Server News

FAQ: Creating a VMware disaster recovery plan

Having an effective VMware disaster recovery plan is crucial to protecting your organization’s data and business operations. Take a look at these frequently asked questions regarding VMware disaster recovery planning by using Site Recovery Manager and third-party DR tools to help you further protect your organization in the event of an outage.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333441424206

Top 10 Microsoft Hyper-V tools to consider

Check out the top ten must-know Hyper-V tools, including the HVRemote, Hardware-Assisted Virtualization Detection Tool, and more.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333441474458

Windows 8 FAQ: Windows 8 features, news and more

With the release of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, Microsoft is revealing more details about its next operating system. But many enterprises are just adopting Windows 7, so is there good reason to get excited yet? This Windows 8 FAQ looks at what we know so far.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333441487394

BYOD security: How application streaming and VDI can help

If you're worried about BYOD security, never fear: Desktop virtualization and application streaming are here to help -- as long as you're willing to put in a little extra work. Gain insight into some of the main concerns around BYOD and how you can address its major security challenges.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333441509751

 

WServerNews FAVE Links

This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

You can buy an entire house at IKEA now:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333441558994

75-year-old Gennai Yanagisawa has created a 75kg (165-pound) one-man aircraft which sets the world record for the smallest helicopter:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333441574388

The official NASA Space Shuttle has finally been retired. In honor of the great achievements that came from the shuttle, German space enthusiasts launched a weather balloon into space carrying a Lego model of the space shuttle:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333441597849

Mercedes has built a car that uses LED lights to make itself "invisible" to attract the attention of consumers to cars that don't significantly impact the environment:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1333441617520

 

WServerNews - Product of the Week

Free TFTP Server: Easily Upload & Download Executable Images and Configs to Routers & Switches

SolarWinds TFTP Server is the most robust, widely-trusted, and easy-to-use free TFTP Server available. Now you can upgrade IOS images and firmware on your network devices, back up configuration files for your critical Cisco, Juniper or Alcatel routers and switches, AND upload or download configs to multi-vendor network devices. 

Download and try it out for yourself.  It’s free.

 

WServerNews - Editors

Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of WServerNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. Mitch was lead author of the bestselling Windows 7 Resource Kit from Microsoft Press and has published hundreds of articles for IT pros. Mitch is also a seven-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his outstanding contributions in support of the global IT pro community. Mitch owns and runs an information technology content development business based in Winnipeg, Canada. For more information see www.mtit.com

Ingrid Tulloch is Associate Editor of WServerNews and was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press. Ingrid is also Head of Research for our content development business and has co-developed university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration program.