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Certification Watch (Vol. 21, No. 15)

In this week's roundup of the latest IT certification news, CompTIA says IT pros should hone their business skills, Certification Magazine starts at the very beginning (a very good place to start) and more.

CompTIA to IT Pros: Sharpen Your Business Skills


IT pros need to have solid business skills in 2018.Once upon a time, being the "computer guy" meant a reliable degree of holding oneself apart from the team. Most tech types have long since grown beyond the era when comprehending IT meant that one could wear board shorts and sandals to work and hide out in the "file room" running backups. It's no longer sufficient, however, to simply have excellent tech skills and the ability to work with others. According to a recent post at the IT Career News blog of tech industry association CompTIA, IT pros who want to succeed in the modern workplace need to evolve again, this time by acquiring solid business skills. The article's list of 10 vital business skills was compiled by referencing active IT job postings at the end of 2017, so this is what the market is actually clamoring for, more or less right now. Not surprisingly, project management tops the list, and "basic customer service" is No. 3. IT and project management have dovetailed for a while now, and "basic customer service" could probably just as well be called "soft skills," so some of CompTIA's admonitions will doubtless have a familiar ring to them.


Microsoft Learning Turns Spotlight on Potential of Certification


In the aftermath of Microsoft's recent announcement that it is pivoting away from a decades-long emphasis on the Windows operating system as it signature product, certification has gained some added attention. A series of recent posts to the Born To Learn Blog of Microsoft Learning, the company's traning and certification arm, recommends certification as a path to achieving favorable business outcomes. With Microsoft's cloud computing platform, Azure, and it business productivity suite, Office 365, now becoming points of renewed emphasis for sales and marketing pushes, certifications that address those technologies are receiving extra attention as well. In his most recent take on the topic, Microsoft training guru Matthew Calder points specifically to the credentials that address Office 365 globally. There are a handful of lower-level certs also available, however, that address individual office tools like Word and Excel. Whatever direction you interest leads you, it would appear that it's a timely moment to maximize your engagement with, and understanding of, both Azure and Office 365.


Microsoft Wants You to Get More Out of Your Digital Badge


Digital badges have been a Next Big Thing in the IT certification world for a while now, but some certification programs have yet to do much more with them than bid a fond farewell to the fees and hassle associated with printing and mailing their ink-and-paper precursors. A recent move at Microsoft Learning, however, provides a glimpse of the versatility and multifunctionality that really makes digital badges exciting. As detailed in a new post this week, Microsoft digital badges can now help certification holders find a job. Not by just passively taking up space on your LinkedIn résumé, either — your Microsoft digital badge can actually flag active IT job postings and provide you with such important information as qualifications, work responsibilities, and salary ranges. It's like have a personal assistant look for your next job while attend to whatever other personal or professional business is on your plate.