Posts Tagged ‘Education’

Whoa, wait a minute? 15% off Microsoft Exams until 31DEC2014?!?

November 9th, 2014

Whoa, wait a minute there, are you serious? Yea, After the recent debacle with not even noticing the 25% off VCP Exams Update your VCP for 25% off (Including the latest VCP-NV also!) Expires 1JAN2015 I decided to walk through a list of ‘discounted’ certifications I had published back in August… Free, discounted, and reduced Certifications and Training! and lo and behold I discovered that some of the discounts (a lot of which were set to expire in June… Had been EXTENDED!)

So taken from the Microsoft Learning Exam Discount Page: Act now to save 15% on your MCP exam

Save 15% on your next MCP exam

Here are the highlights!

  • Register to take an MCP exam by December 31, 2014, and get 15 percent off of your exam price. This discount is available at exam providers Prometric and Pearson VUE.
  • To receive your discount, when you register for your exam, simply enter the discount code 15OFF or STU15OFF at checkout.
  • Browse through available exams. Note that only those which begin “70-,” “72-,” or “73-” are eligible for this discount.
    • Offer available October 1, 2014?December 31, 2014, or while supplies last.

      Blah blah other details, which you can see at the Act now to save 15% on your MCP exam link. So check it out, and go pay less! :) <3

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Posted in Certification, Education, Free, Microsoft | Comments (1)

OMG! EMC has over 20 Free Fundamentals Training Courses! #EMCElect

October 23rd, 2014

Hey! Why do you keep tagging these posts about EMC with #EMCElect? I just want you to know that I like to party.

But seriously, after my past (and even very recent) posts about Free EMC Education, I love to share the love, the word and the FREE!

Thanks to the awesome team at EMC Education Services there’s a whole boatload of training available to get yourself started!

What kind of topics?

Where can I find out more?

More details can be found at the Free Fundamentals e-Learning Index! So get out there and continue being awesome. :)

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Posted in ATMOS, Big Data, Cloud, emc, EMC Elect, Free, Technology, Virtualization, vmware | Comments (0)

Free Training on EMC Hybrid Cloud with VMware Fundamentals! #EMCElect

October 23rd, 2014

So I noticed this recently, OMG FREE TRAINING! You know how much I love sharing free stuff with ya’ll so I figure, why not do it with this as well!

EMC Hybrid Cloud with VMware Fundamentals

This training (which may not be the only one… I’ll try to get a consolidated list and share that in another post) but this training is free, available, and BOOM! Right there at your disposal.  I did notice some things though, which I’ll share here with my experience of acquiring it.

Where do I get it?

Firstly, you can gain access to it easily by visiting this blog post; New! EMC Hybrid Cloud with VMware Fundamentals e-Learning 

That webpage provides you with pretty much all the details on the training, and even where to click to “Register now

Why can’t I Register for it?!

I’m not saying this will DEFINITELY affect you but let’s just say, I tried to do it from Chrome on this PC and it kept kicking back various errors, I’ve seen errors of this sort before and having worked at EMC in the past and dealt with Saba I figured… “Let’s try this with Internet Explorer” and I’ll tell you. That worked.  Immediately even! I went through and setup a brand new account, nothing special required, and then POOF! I registered and was SET!

EMC Hybrid Cloud with VMware Fundamentals


Get out there and edumacate yourselves! <3

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Posted in Education, emc, Free, Technology, Virtualization, vmware | Comments (7)

Free, discounted, and reduced Certifications and Training!

August 1st, 2014

So I came across this gem not too long ago (I’ll be duplicating their content here in the event that it ever ‘disappears’ from the source)  Also I’ll be introducing some additional training resources and such which they did not cover or reflect, to make sure you have access to as much Free as possible!

That covers one bulk of entries which I’ve been meaning to share for awhile, and here are the rest from that other site! by j23evan <3

Free/Reduced Certifications – Free/Reduced Training 2014 Edition

Free Certifications 2014 For Everyone:

For IT Professionals:

  • VMware VSP & VTSP – Secure Customer Login – VMware offers fantastic training and certifications for partners with their VMware Sales Professional and VMware Technical Sales Professional Certifications.
  • F5 University for Partners – F5 offers several sales and technical accreditations for partner company employees.
  • Citrix Partner Central offers free training on their products as well as the CCSP 2013 for partner company employees.

Inexpensive Certifications

  • Brocade Accreditations$20Accreditation Exam Information – Brocade has 11 web based Accreditation’s that are only $20. They also offer Free training PDF’s for each course.
  • HP Specialty Certifications$10-45 – HP has a series of web based Certifications (HP2-HP5 Prefix) of inexpensive exams.
  • Apple Associate Exams$65Training and Certification – Thankfully Apple is moving away from their Authorized Training Centers (aka Robber Barons) to Pearson, and are offering their Associate level Exams online from the comfort of your home for $65 and free training PDF’s/iBookstore books.
  • Google Apps Education Qualification / YouTube Digital Citizen Certification – $15 – Google Apps Education Training Center – Google has 5 Exams that are $15 a piece that once all are completed earn you the Google Apps Education Qualification. The exams are web based and all training material is provided for free.
  • M.I.T. XSeries Certification in Computer Science – Massachusetts Institute of Technology is offering an inexpensive certificate to those who attend and pass their courses. Absolutely brilliant, they follow a traditional semester mold and would look fantastic on a resume. They have a supply chain certificate as well. (thanks Stryder144)
  • OSHA 10-Hour General Industry Certification – $25 –…chString&#x3d; – Yes I know it’s not an IT Certification. Proving that you have attended and passed the 10 Hour OSHA training course will give you a leg up over other applicants in certain industries. They also have a Cyber Safety Awareness program.

Reduced Certifications

  • Microsoft Exams through Prometric (070, 071, MTA)Retake Microsoft Certification Exam for Free | Microsoft – Microsoft’s Second Shot is back! Now through May 31st, 2014 you can obtain a voucher to have a free retake on almost all of their technical exams. Dynamics is sadly excluded.
  • Microsoft Exam Pack Discount…xam-packs.aspx – Microsoft is offering a 15% off discount for purchasing all 3 exams towards an MCSA, MCSD, and MCSE. Now through May 31st, 2014 you will also receive a free second shot with the discount.
  • Microsoft Virtualization CertificationMicrosoft Virtual Academy – Microsoft is offering a 50% discount for anyone who signs up and attends their free online jump start training. The exam is 74-409: Virtualization with Hyper-V and System Center. They are also introducing a free MVA course for it as well and you can watch it on demand on Expires June 30th, 2014.(Thanks SweenMachine)
  • Check PointTraining and Certifications – Check Point is offering 50% off all examination retakes and provides free training.
  • Juniper Fast Track…rack_home.aspx – Juniper is offering a 50% discount on 4 of their exams by taking and passing a free pre-assessment. Best of all they offer free elearning as well! (Thanks Zartanasaurus)
  • Stanley Community College – VCP-DCV VMware Course VMware vSphere: Install, Configure, Manage – Definately the best education deal for VMware, though unfortunately you need to go on a waiting list. For $200 you get the full online VMware Academy course as well as a 70% off Exam voucher. The labs are great and the instructors are great.
  • Oracle Beta Exams – Beta Info – Oracle offers beta exams for $50 instead of $150-$245. You can see what the release date is for each and when to expect a score report. As far as training goes… Oracle isnt the most benevolent of companies to starving IT professionals.
  • Get Certified 4 Less…ts.asp?Cat=129 – Get Certified 4 Less runs short sale specials discounting specific exam vouchers that must be taken rather soon. In addition to that they tend to sell exam vouchers $10-20 less than directly from the vendor. (Thanks Kriscamaro68 and shyguyIT)

For IT Professionals:

  • Brocade CNE Education – Promo Code: CNE250BCNEPromo – Brocade is offering a Free BCNE exam voucher for current CCNA holders with purchase of the $100 CNE 250 training.
  • Microsoft Partner Network/Prometric 40% Discount…age/index.html – Prometric is running a special where Microsoft Partners can purchase 5 Exam vouchers for 35% off, or 20 vouchers for 40% off. With a free second shot. Offer Valid through May 31st, 2014 and exams must be taken by December 31st, 2014.

For Students:

  • CA Technology 60% off…ation-faq.aspx – If you are a full-time college student in good academic standing, please contact and attach a JPEG image of your current student id card. They will email you a voucher which will enable you to receive a 60% discount. Limited to one voucher per 12-month period.

Free Training

  • CNWPCWNP | My Account Home – CWNP is giving away a voucher for a free lifelong practice exam engine for the certification of your choice by signing up.
  • LPI Practice Questions and Self-Study Materials | Linux Professional Institute (LPI) – LPI Provides free training material for all of their Exams.
  • VMware Hands On LabsVMware – NEE – VMware has a large collection of hands on labs that have tasks associated with them running the gamut of all of their offerings. A great resource to test new technologies, or brush up on material. Oh and it’s free.
  • Google Digital Analytics Fundamentals – Google is offering free training with hands on labs for their analytics platform.
  • Scrum TrainingScrum Training Series: Free Scrum Master Training – To Quote: "Free Online Scrum Master Training: The fun way to learn about Agile/Scrum, prepare for Scrum Master certification / Agile certification, and debunk popular misconceptions. (Thanks N2IT)
  • Microsoft Virtual Academy – Microsoft has a very in-depth training website covering almost all of their products and offerings.
  • IT Masters CISSP Short CourseFree Short Course: CISSP Security Certification | IT Masters – IT Masters in conjunction with Charles Sturt University is offering a free short course training in CISSP. (thanks Stryder144)
  • DegreedDegreed – The Digital Lifelong Diploma – Degreed is an interesting site that is all about free online classes, aggregating them, and tracking credit for what you have done in them, tradition school, and other training sources to provide a new millennium "degree" program highlighting your knowledge and skills. Microsoft Virtual Academy classes transfer over.

For IT Professionals

  • Microsoft Partner Network – A fantastic training site that explores in most Microsoft products and has assessments. Most assessments can be linked to specific partner competencies, and the best part is the completed courses are tied to you. If you change companies and associate your Microsoft Professional account with them they will get all the benefits of what you have accomplished.
  • EMC Powerlink – EMC Powerlink is for employees of Partner Organizations to learn and take assessments validating Sales and Engineering for both EMC Solutions and RSA Security.
  • MerakiCisco Meraki Webinars – Free Meraki 802.11n cloud managed AP for attending a webinar. IT professionals only, you must register with your company email.

Reduced Training

  • Western Governors UniversityOnline University | Online Degree Programs | The University of You – As many of you are aware, WGU is one of the best deals in post-secondary education. Think of it as the public version of Phoenix University. It’s Online, Accredited, Accelerated, and Inexpensive. For my broke IT professionals you can get student loans via fafsa (Yes its debt, but think of it as a down payment for a better future). The majority of their IT classes revolve around obtaining a certification, and they give you all the training you need. You can actually structure and accelerate your classes to where your term is cheaper than it would be to get the certs separately, and you earn college credit.
  • University of the people – Is a non-profit, US accredited, tuition free online university that targets itself to everyone in the world. It offers both 2 and 4 year degrees in Business Administration and Computer Science. The caveat is while they do not charge tuition, you must pay $100 for each final exam. Wikipedia has some interesting info on them cknapp78)

Associations & Membership Perks For Everyone

  • Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA)FREE CSTA – Individual Membership – The CSTA is focused on IT Education, and unlike the title says is not just for educators, but anyone interested. From time to time Microsoft offers free MTA exam vouchers to member, and other vendors provide perks, as well as being given a full ACM Membership.
  • Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)$19/$99 Membership &mdash; Association for Computing Machinery – ACM is an incredible value for students at $19 a year, or IT professionals at $99 a year. (That is if you aren’t interested in education and opt for the CSTA membership). Member perks include Free access to Safari, books24x7, and skillsoft. Email forwarding and filtering through postini with an email, access to their digital library and tri-weekly news emails keeping you up to date. Additional perks as a Student member include Microsoft Dreamspark/Dreamspark Premium (Yay free software! And typically a free MS Voucher yearly) , and CA Academic Initiative.
  • Microsoft DreamSpark/DreamSpark Premium – Free, Students only – Microsoft has a decent program for students that give them access to free software in the Programming/Server fields. If your school is awesome they will have access to DreamSpark Premium which gives you a plethora of keycodes and software that rivals the midrange MSDN account. WGU and Stanly CC are both Premium members. Both offer VMware software and keycodes, as well as VMware voucher and training discounts.
  • Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA)$25+/$165+Join ISACA – IT Professional – IT Student – IT Educator – Memberships | ISACA – ISACA is for the big boys and cool kids. Those that are certified are typically more tenured higher level IT professionals. You are required to pay your local chapter dues in additional to the association dues, but $25 is fantastic for students. You get access to networking events, continuing education, COBiT access and data, and discounts on their certifications. Even the professional level at $165 pays for itself after 1 exam.
  • Information Systems Security Association (ISSA)$30/$95 – ISSA is a great resource for people looking to network or break into the InfoSec world. While not as many tangible benefits as ISACA, at $30 for students and $95 for professionals it is a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of chief information security officer challenges.
  • Project Management Institute (PMI)$32/$129 Types of PMI Memberships | Project Management Institute – PMI is still the gold standard in project management, and the benefits of membership enable you to discounts on their certifications, a free digital edition of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), discounts on training and resources, and great networking opportunities. If you are pursuing the PMP or Associate of PMP $32 for students and $129 for professionals is a great deal.
  • The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA)$250Become a CompTIA Member – CompTIA membership is different from being CompTIA certified. Membership is primarily aimed at companies, but what IT professional isn’t a consultant on the side? This year they had a $100 discount on membership for people who signed up to go to their free conference. Not if you actually went, just signed up. At $250 for an individual I am not sure it is as good of a deal, but the perks are Free CompTIA Executive Certifications and training, 80% discount on your first voucher purchase, 15% off every following voucher purchase. (80% off casp+ for $150 and 15% off every other voucher sold me)
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)$32/$187IEEE – Join IEEE – The IEEE is probably the most important association in the IT industry. Student members get another DreamSpark Premium Account. All members get access to publications, standards, networking, googleapps@IEEE (An email, advertisement free gmail, 30GB of shared storage Google Drive/Gmail), and a tremendous amount of other benefits.
  • VMware User Group (VMUG)Free/$200 – VMUG is a great resource for VMware enthusiasts. Membership is free, and includes free access to local conferences, meetups with local chapters, and discounts on elearning books. For $200 you can become an Advantage member which will give you 35% off VMware Lab Connect, 20% off VMware-Delivered Classes, 20% off VMware Certifications, $100 Discount to VMworld, and 50% off VMware Fusion and Workstation Licenses. In the spring and summer to generate memberships they like to include a free VMware voucher (Which makes it a no brainer).
  • Help Desk Institute (HDI)$35/$165 – HDI membership offers discounts on their certifications and training, as well as access to white papers and networking events. At $35 for students you will immediately recoup the membership on the first exam you take.
  • ASIS International$25/$215…s/default.aspx – ASIS International is another specialized higher end security education and certification firm. Membership benefits include discounts on exams and education materials.
  • Microsoft Partner Network – For seasoned IT professionals, or those who do side consulting/run a SOHO, one great perk is joining the Microsoft Partner Network. It is free to sign up for, even if you are already associated as a Microsoft Professional to your Primary Employer you can create one for your side business. After taking a short assessment you can purchase an Action Pack subscription for $475 which entitles you to internal use licenses to run your business. Office, Windows, Windows Server, Exchange, RDS CALS, SharePoint and System Center are all included.

Third Party Transferable Certifications

  • CIW Security Specialist & Professional…ity_series.pdf – CIW gives credit to MCTS, CCNA, MCSA, MCSE, MCITP, Security+ certification holders who have passed the entry level CIW Security exam the second and third level designation.
  • Linux+ Certification 5-in-1 PiñataCompTIA Partnership | Linux Professional Institute (LPI) – Originally called 3in1, then 4in1, now 5in1: If you pass Linux+ 101 and 102 from CompTIA to earn the Linux+ designation, you are eligible to receive LPIC-1, Novell CLA, Novell Suse 11 Technical Specialist, and Novell Data Center Technical Specialist.
  • Cloud Certification CouncilGrandfather Program for Cloud Experts – The CCC is a newly created vendor agnostic certification council made up by a conglomerate of several vendors to offer a higher level credential. Now until June 2014 you can submit your resume and certifications (along with a fee) to be grandfathered in to the program.
  • Alcatel-Lucent…h2VAQAKBjLlw!! – Alcatel-Lucent accepts current Cisco & Juniper certification holders to satisfy their entry level Network Routing Specialist I and II exams.
  • HP Fast Track ProgramFast track program | HP ExpertOne – HP Officers fast track certifications and recognition of Cisco, NetApp, and EMC credentials in lieu of their courses/exams. (Also includes ATA with Certiport)

As you can see this is a metric training ton of information and training! Use it. Be better for it. Share it. Visit the source and thank j23evan for producing this awesomeness! Enjoy!

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Posted in Certification, Community, Education, Free | Comments (2)

Top Paying IT Certifications, Skills and Capabilities

March 1st, 2012

The other day or so, I came across this article:

15 Top Paying IT Certifications for 2012 by Randy Muller, Global Knowledge Instructor, MCT, MCSE, MCSA, MCDST

And it got me thinking, other than the clear difference of opinion MANY of the readers had to feel about it, and the subjective thoughts around how much money people we’re being paid (Is that reflective of specific markets?)  As someone who regularly hires, recruits, and mentors for others I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring around what I see are the Top Paying Certs and Skills as I’m hit up regularly by recruiters (internal and external) looking for candidates.  I’ll try to break this up by section and I won’t go into the details of money because frankly I have deep insight into what people get paid, so I know just how relative it all is :)

Disclaimer: You may feel there is vendor bias in a lot of the choices of Certifications to be included, Let me just tell you, this isn’t just ME saying this.  This is countless hiring managers inside and outside of the industry looking for these certifications, so I want it to be clear if you have THESE Certs, your LinkedIn will EXPLODE with Job Opportunities. Seriously.

Top Certifications for the low-mid levels

  • MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional)
  • CCENT (Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician)
  • VCP (VMware Certified Professional)
  • A+, Network+, Security+ (Okay, seriously, ANY CompTIA Certification)
  • EMCISM (EMC Information Storage and Management)

If you’re just getting started in IT depending upon the cross section you’re focused on, these certifications help build some credibility and skill-sets which are definitely to be required as you move up the stack.    For the most part, short of being “Product” specific in some sense, they each provide a decent “Administrative” foundation for the Microsoft, Networking, VMware Virtualization, etc.   Oh yea, and in light of NOT having these certifications, having an adequate foundation to fall back on of these skill sets work as well.    FYI: If you have the skills, just go take the test so you won’t have to prove yourself at every avenue.

Top Certifications for the growth-mid levels

  • ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library )
  • MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) [Technically doesn’t exist anymore refer to next line]
  • MCITP (Microsoft Certified IT Professional)
  • MCTS (Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist)
  • CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate)
  • VCAP (VMware Certified Advanced Professional)
  • EMC Specialist (EMC Certified Expert:Multiple Paths)
  • PMP (Project Management Professional)

So you’ve been in IT for awhile and you’re looking to go to the next level, or advance your career or want to focus maybe a little more in a different direction.   These certifications really give you that foundation to take the next step, further enhancing your credibility.   Some of you may be wondering “Why is the PMP included in this section?!” Honestly? The PMP is sort of the defacto standard for a Project Manager, and most PMs are in that growth-mid level.   If you want to find yourself evolving to the next level and moving up the chain to making more money, taking on more responsibility and potentially doing even less work [Read: Less Administrative, more strategic]  these are those foundations.   Oh, and I do want to call out ITIL Specifically for a moment.   Let the record show, I absolutely despise and HATE ITIL. (Yea, that’s going to be well received with a LOT of you! ;)) Okay. Let me clarify, I don’t hate ITIL per se, I am NOT an administrative/operational guy, thus I do not want to DO ITIL related activities.    I like the objective outcome when implemented correctly though.   That being said however, ITIL is a HOT BED of opportunity.  You want a job? Get ITIL Certified.  You want to always have jobs thrown at you? Tag some ITIL to that.  Okay I’ve said that particular piece because EVERY DAY I’m being asked “Do they have ITIL?” So take it as is ;)

Top Certifications for mid-architect levels

  • CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional)
  • EMCCA (EMC Certified Cloud Architect)
  • EMC Expert (EMC Certified Expert:Multiple Paths)
  • What?! No VMware Certifications here?  Yea, we literally JUMP over this right into the next section! grin

Honestly, I originally didn’t even write this section in but felt it had to be broken out as there are numerous certifications which sit very clearly here in the middle which need to be called out.    I won’t go into too many specifics, but a lot of these sit in that odd space between clearly operational and clearly architectural.   Each of these certifications help further cement that foundation which solidifies your path up the stack and to the next levels.   Or to clarify, as a hiring manager I EXPECT you to have at a minimum the skill-sets in the previous 3 sections before I am confident you are the clear lead in the next section.

Top Certifications for Architect and above levels

  • MCM (Microsoft Certified Master)
  • MCA (Microsoft Certified Architect) [This Program started to be overshadowed by the MCM…]
  • CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert: Multiple Specialties something many don’t even realize!)
  • VCDX (VMware Certified Design Expert)
  • CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)

I chose to differentiate this area a little bit establishing Architect credentials because frankly that is what it is.   The first two sections were VERY tactical, operational, on-call 24×7 type of certifications and roles, the third section started to combine those roles a bit.  If you’re reaching this point, you’ve had some time in the game and you’re either looking to get paid VERY well, absolutely LOVE what you do, and want to advance up that stack.    A lot of these Certifications in fact do not have hard $$$ associated with them because they carry with them the ‘assurance’ of a level of expertise, years of experience, etc.  That being most of these are difficult to ‘fake’ there’s a pretty good chance if you hold one of these pedigree you MIGHT know what you’re talking about. :)

Certifications Summary

Certifications are not the end-all-be-all, and I know some of you are staunch certification opponents. “I KNOW EVERYTHING, AND I’M HAPPY WITH MY NON-EVOLVING JOB SO I DON’T EVER NEED TO CERTIFY”. yea guys, go back to your mainframes, but seriously.   Certifications do the work for you to help validate your capabilities and grow your potential salary.   Without them you may be fine, but if you are like me (and so many others) who do not do their job because it pays the bills, but because you enjoy it greatly and it takes you to the next level of your career and life evolution; well, certification should be PART of that transition.  Note: Part of that transition and not the only vehicle.   There comes a time when you don’t want to Certify anymore and you need to find other ways to differentiate yourself.   Which brings us to the next section!

Specialist Skills which are ripe with opportunity!

Note: I didn’t mention ANY Developer, Database specific or similar certifications in the previous sections for a few good reasons.    First of all, there really aren’t a whole lot of mature certifications out there worth mentioning, and secondly these are really entirely skills based.    However, when it comes to what skills people are CONSTANTLY hiring for that you should either have, further develop, or invest in for the first time?  Yea, I’ll call those out here.   Anything I mention here, there is DEMAND for.   Don’t phone it in certainly, but there are lots of companies and partners hiring for these skill-sets, period.

  • vFabric, Spring Framework, CloudFoundry
  • Java Developer Space environments (Flexible enough to leverage the vFabric/Spring Framework)
  • SAP SAP SAP.   Seriously, you has SAP skillz, you has SAP Job. It’s as simple as that.
  • Vblock or similar *Storage, UCS, Cisco stack capabilities and offerings.
  • Orchestration tool and Workflow skills.  Don’t pigeon hole yourself into only knowing BMC, or CIAC, ITO; Learn them all and you are #win
  • I’d say Oracle, but seriously there are way too many damn DBAs out there who really don’t cross train, but that leads me in to
  • Hadoop skills.   If you can start to spell Big Data and everyone seems to be coining that from us these days, there be mad skillz and jobs y0! ;)
  • Scrum/Agile is really a foundation for any dev careers, so have/know that and you’re cool.
  • The “Year of Sharepoint” has been over for quite some time, sure there are jobs but I wouldn’t say you’d be unique if you pursued that path.

So that covers the bulk of general skills which hiring managers truly cannot find the right skill sets for.   A little investment goes a LONG way.

Top skills and capabilities for top paying jobs!

Whoa whoa whoa! What’s this?!? Skills?! Capabilities?!   What is this, the guidelines what separates a transition from Job to Career or from Customer to Partner/Vendor?   Hmm, maybe.

In most customer focused environments, unless you are an absolute rockstar who is also a master negotiator you are not very likely to be paid what you are worth.   I feel it fair to be honest with you because it’s just a fact, customers TYPICALLY don’t pay at the top of line, hell hardly the mid-line.   And while you’ll become an expert in your own environment it is just that.   So if you happen to love working on a single project which at completion will prepare you for the next project in your particular company which can often be ‘comfortable’ to ‘highly stressful’ depending upon where you transition throughout the stack and often ripe with reduced opportunities for advancement (entirely depending upon the business) let’s lay out some skills which are applicable in EVERY environment.  The true set of skills which differentiates you from your peers and the competition respectively.

  • Consulting Skills.   Whether you’re a consultant or not, being able to be ‘consultative’ will not only differentiate you, but also open the doors to more opportunities than you can imagine.    The only thing equally as valuable as that is …
  • Sales Skills.   I’m not saying you need to ‘be a sales guy’, I mean cmon, how many of us are? (Those of you who are, great for you!:))   But it takes a certain set of Sales type skills to be the ‘trusted advisor’ which earns you credibility in your business, in the industry and in your career.    Think of it like trying to give a child medicine they don’t want.   A lot of customers, business units, etc don’t WANT to do what you’re suggesting even though it NEEDS to be done, so your ability to make it palatable even with the objections can differentiate yourself.   Oh and that separates and Admin from becoming an Architect, and an Architect from becoming CIO.   
  • Project Management Skills.   I’m not saying OMG BECOME A PMP RULE THE WORLD. Quite the opposite.  The best projects are executed well because the entire team has a good foundation of how to manage a project and their portions of it.   A Project Managers job is to make sure you are doing what you’re supposed to be doing, quite frankly few of them have a clue what the hell it is you do, it’s just that you’re going to do what you say you’re going to do.   When I get a GC over to build a house, he’s not watching his guys to make sure they level an area before they pour concrete; you just expect it to be done.   Get your work done and your projects will run a lot smoother. ;)
  • Presentation & Speaking Skills.   Hey, have you heard of Toastmasters?   Do you say ‘uh’ ‘um’ ‘you know’ ‘like’ ‘so’ and many other things often in your presentations, speaking, etc?   Listen to your leadership, do they? (Often times they will)     What will differentiate you from your competition is the ability to cooly, calmly and collectively deliver your thoughts in a comprehensible fashion that is understood by your audience.    If you can do that and even avoid conflict.  Wow.   You’ll put yourself head and shoulders above the competition, your peers and even your leadership!
  • Confidence and ability to reach consensus.    Did you know that if you believe in what you’re saying, chances are others will too?   Oh and from a recent conversation at #VMwarePEX, the shared thought was, “It’s not what you know, it’s what other people think you know”.   It’s very true and can set you apart from others if you can share that knowledge in such a way others have confidence in you as well.    That eases reaching consensus, which is further compounded by one very poignant point.    Asking the ask moves things forward.   Meetings which end with no clear action items may as well not have happened.    So, always have something to walk out of the room with, off the call, oh whatever.  You’ll be seen as a leader because you’re taking charge, even if you’re not taking any of the action items yourself to work on; just asking is enough.

Take the skills above, combine them with the certifications relevant to your skills and your prospective career path and you can double your salary in 2-3 years.   Oh yea. I’m serious about that.   If it makes you feel any better a combination of the skills above across the spectrum result in salaries ranging from 30k-450k [NO THAT IS NOT A TYPO] (Oh and above, but you gotta have a little time invested to go above those numbers).

Clearly you can see why I was befuddled from the original post about the salary figures projected because WTF?! :)

As always, I am here for your commentary, any certifications I missed you’d like to share in the comments, and of course feel free to share job opportunities present in your own companies you’d like people to know about.    While researching this for anecdotal points, I noticed that EMC, that tiny little tech company has 1820 job postings. WTF? IT’S A RECESSION, HOW DARE YOU HAVE NEARLY 2000 JOBS POSTED!. Yea. Seriously.   We’re hiring like mad.  So let’s roll with this! ;)

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Posted in .NET, Careers, Certification, Community, emc, Jobs, Microsoft, Technology, Toastmasters, vmware | Comments (13)

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