Archive for the ‘a+ certifications’ Category

Best Top-Paying and most in demand for Certifications 2014 – 2015

Best Top-Paying and most in demand for Certifications 2014 – 2015

Introduction
It’s always a good idea to take stock of your skills, your pay, and your certifications. To that end, following is a review of 15 of the top-paying certifications for 2014. With each certification, you’ll find the average (mean) salary and a brief description.

Based on the 2014 IT Skills and Salary Survey conducted by Global Knowledge and Penton and completed in October 2013, the rankings below are derived from certifications that received the minimum number of responses to be statistically relevant. Certain certifications pay more but are not represented due to their exclusive nature. Examples include Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert (CCIE) and VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX). This was a nationwide survey, and variations exist based on where you work, years of experience, and company type (government, non profit, etc.).

1. Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) – $118,253
The non-profit group ISACA offers CRISC certification, much in the way that CompTIA manages the A+ and Network+ certifications. Formerly, “ISACA” stood for Information Systems Audit and Control Association, but now they’ve gone acronym only.

The CRISC certification is designed for IT professionals, project managers, and others whose job it is to identify and manage risks through appropriate Information Systems (IS) controls, covering the entire lifecycle, from design to implementation to ongoing maintenance. It measures two primary areas: risk and IS controls. Similar to the IS control lifecycle, the risk area spans the gamut from identification and assessment of the scope and likelihood of a particular risk to monitoring for it and responding to it if/when it occurs.

Since CRISC’s introduction in 2010, more than 17,000 people worldwide have earned this credential, The demand for people with these skills and the relatively small supply of those who have them result in this being the highest salary for any certification on our list this year.

To obtain CRISC certification, you must have at least three years of experience in at least three of the five areas that the certification covers, and you must pass the exam, which is only offered twice a year. This is not a case where you can just take a class and get certified. Achieving CRISC certification requires effort and years of planning.

2. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) – $114,844

ISACA also created CISM certification. It’s aimed at management more than the IT professional and focuses on security strategy and assessing the systems and policies in place more than it focuses on the person who actually implements those policies using a particular vendor’s platform.

More than 23,000 people have been certified since its introduction in 2002, making it a highly sought after area with a relatively small supply of certified individuals. In addition, the exam is only offered three times a year in one of approximately 240 locations, making taking the exam more of a challenge than many other certification exams. It also requires at least five years of experience in IS, with at least three of those as a security manager. As with CRISC, requirements for CISM certification demand effort and years of planning.

3. Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) – $112,040
The third highest-paying certification is also from ISACA; this one is for IS auditors. CISA certification is ISACA’s oldest, dating back to 1978, with more than 106,000 people certified since its inception. CISA certification requires at least five years of experience in IS auditing, control, or security in addition to passing an exam that is only offered three times per year.

The CISA certification is usually obtained by those whose job responsibilities include auditing, monitoring, controlling, and/or assessing IT and/or business systems. It is designed to test the candidate’s ability to manage vulnerabilities, ensure compliance with standards, and propose controls, processes, and updates to a company’s policies to ensure compliance with accepted IT and business standards.

4. Six Sigma Green Belt – $109,165
Six Sigma is a process of analyzing defects (anything outside a customer’s specifications) in a production (manufacturing) process, with a goal of no more than 3.4 defects per million “opportunities” or chances for a defect to occur. The basic idea is to measure defects, analyze why they occurred, and then fix the issue and repeat. There is a process for improving existing processes and a slightly modified version for new processes or major changes. Motorola pioneered the concept in the mid-1980s, and many companies have since followed their examples to improve quality.

This certification is different from the others in this list, as it is not IT specific. Instead, it is primarily focused on manufacturing and producing better quality products.

There is no organization that owns Six Sigma certification per se, so the specific skills and number of levels of mastery vary depending on which organization or certifying company is used. Still, the entry level is typically Green Belt and the progression is to Black Belt and Master Black Belt. Champions are responsible for Six Sigma projects across the entire organization and report to senior management.

5. Project Management Professional (PMP) – $108,525
The PMP certification was created and is administered by the Project Management Institute (PMI®), and it is the most recognized project management certification available. There are more than half a million active PMPs in 193 countries worldwide.

The PMP certification exam tests five areas relating to the lifecycle of a project: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing. PMP certification is for running any kind of project, and it is not specialized into sub types, such as manufacturing, construction, or IT.

To become certified, individuals must have 35 hours of PMP-related training along with 7,500 hours of project management experience (if they have less than a bachelor’s degree) or 4,500 hours of project management experience with a bachelor’s or higher. PMP certification is another that requires years of planning and effort.

6. Certified Scrum Master – $107,396
Another project management-related certification, Certified Scrum Master is focused on software (application) development.

Scrum is a rugby term; it’s a means for restarting a game after a minor rules violation or after the ball is no longer in play (for example, when it goes out of bounds). In software development, Scrum is a project management process that is designed to act in a similar manner for software (application development) projects in which a customer often changes his or her mind during the development process.

In traditional project management, the request to change something impacts the entire project and must be renegotiated-a time-consuming and potentially expensive way to get the changes incorporated. There is also a single project manager.

In Scrum, however, there is not a single project manager. Instead, the team works together to reach the stated goal. The team should be co-located so members may interact frequently, and it should include representatives from all necessary disciplines (developers, product owners, experts in various areas required by the application, etc.).

Where PMP tries to identify everything up front and plan for a way to get the project completed, Scrum takes the approach that the requirements will change during the project lifecycle and that unexpected issues will arise. Rather than holding up the process, Scrum takes the approach that the problem the application is trying to solve will never be completely defined and understood, so team members must do the best they can with the time and budget available and by quickly adapting to change.

So where does the Scrum Master fit in? Also known as a servant-leader, the Scrum Master has two main duties: to protect the team from outside influences that would impede the project (the servant) and to chair the meetings and encourage the team to continually improve (the leader).

Certified Scrum Master certification was created and is managed by the Scrum Alliance and requires the individual to attend a class taught by a certified Scrum trainer and to pass the associated exam.

7. Citrix Certified Enterprise Engineer (CCEE) – $104,240
The CCEE certification is a legacy certification from Citrix that proves expertise in XenApp 6, XenDesktop 5, and XenServer 6 via the Citrix Certified Administrator (CCS) exams for each, the Citrix Certified Advanced Administrator (CCAA) for XenApp 6, and an engineering (advanced implementation-type) exam around implementing, securing, managing, monitoring, and troubleshooting a complete virtualization solution using Citrix products.

Those certified in this area are encouraged to upgrade their certification to the App and Desktop track instead, which focuses on just XenDesktop, taking one exam to become a Citrix Certified Professional – Apps and Desktops (CCP-AD). At this point though, the CCEE is available as long as the exams are available for the older versions of the products listed.

8. Citrix Certified Administrator (CCA) for Citrix NetScaler - $103,904
The CCA for NetScaler certification has been discontinued for NetScaler 9, and those with a current certification are encouraged to upgrade to the new Citrix Certified Professional – Networking (CCP-N). In any case, those with this certification have the ability to implement, manage, and optimize NetScaler networking performance and optimization, including the ability to support app and desktop solutions. As the Citrix certification program is being overhauled, refer to http://training.citrix.com/cms/index.php/certification/ to view the certifications available, upgrade paths, etc.

9. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) – $103,822
The International Council of E-Commerce Consultants (EC-Council) created and manages CEH certification. It is designed to test the candidate’s abilities to prod for holes, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities in a company’s network defenses using techniques and methods that hackers employ. The difference between a hacker and a CEH is that a hacker wants to cause damage, steal information, etc., while the CEH wants to fix the deficiencies found. Given the many attacks, the great volume of personal data at risk, and the legal liabilities possible, the need for CEHs is quite high, hence the salaries offered.

10. ITIL v3 Foundation – $97,682
IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL®) was created by England’s government in the 1980s to standardize IT management. It is a set of best practices for aligning the services IT provides with the needs of the organization. It is broad based, covering everything from availability and capacity management to change and incident management, in addition to application and IT operations management.

It is known as a library because it is composed of a set of books. Over the last 30 years, it has become the most widely used framework for IT management in the world. ITIL standards are owned by AXELOS, a joint venture company created by the Cabinet Office on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom and Capita plc, but they have authorized partners who provide education, training, and certification. The governing body defined the certification tiers, but they leave it to the accredited partners to develop the training and certification around that framework.

The Foundation certification is the entry-level one and provides a broad-based understanding of the IT lifecycle and the concepts and terminology surrounding it. Anyone wishing for higher-level certifications must have this level first, thus people may have higher certifications and still list this certification in the survey, which may skew the salary somewhat.

For information on ITIL in general, please refer to http://www.itil-officialsite.com/. Exams for certification are run by ITIL-certified examination institutes as previously mentioned; for a list of them, please refer to http://www.itil-officialsite.com/ExaminationInstitutes/ExamInstitutes.aspx.

11. Citrix Certified Administrator (CCA) for Citrix XenServer – $97,578
The CCA for XenServer certification is available for version 6 and is listed as a legacy certification, but Citrix has yet to announce an upgrade path to their new certification structure. Those with a CCA for Citrix XenServer have the ability to install, configure, administer, maintain, and troubleshoot a XenServer deployment, including Provisioning Services. As the Citrix certification program is being overhauled, refer to http://training.citrix.com/cms/index.php/certification/ to view the certifications available, upgrade paths, etc.

12. ITIL Expert Certification – $96,194
The ITIL Expert certification builds on ITIL Foundation certification (see number 10 above). It is interesting that ITIL Expert pays less on average than ITIL Foundation certification. Again, I suspect the salary results may be somewhat skewed depending on the certifications actually held and the fact that everyone who is ITIL certified must be at least ITIL Foundation certified.

To become an ITIL Expert, you must pass the ITIL Foundation exam as well as the capstone exam, Managing Across the Lifecycle. Along the way, you will earn intermediate certifications of your choosing in any combination of the Lifecycle and Capability tracks. You must earn at least 22 credits, of which Foundation accounts for two and the Managing Across the Lifecycle exam counts for five. The other exams count for three each (in the Intermediate Lifecycle track) or four each (in the Intermediate Capability track) and can be earned in any order and combination, though the official guide suggests six recommended options. The guide is available at http://www.itil-officialsite.com/Qualifications/ITILQualificationScheme.aspx by clicking on the English – ITIL Qualification Scheme Brochure link.

13. Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA) – $95,602
Cisco’s certification levels are Entry, Associate, Professional, Expert, and Architect. Those who obtain this Associate-level certification are typically network design engineers, technicians, or support technicians. They are expected to design basic campus-type networks and be familiar with routing and switching, security, voice and video, wireless connectivity, and IP (both v4 and v6). They often work as part of a team with those who have higher-level Cisco certifications.

To achieve CCDA certification, you must have earned one of the following: Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT), the lowest-level certification and the foundation for a career in networking); Cisco Certified Network Associate Routing and Switching (CCNA R&S); or any Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE), the highest level of certification at Cisco.
You must also pass a single exam.

14. Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) – $95,276
This certification ranked number 14 with an average salary of $95,505 for those who didn’t list an associated Windows version and $94,922 for those who listed MCSE on Windows 2003, for the weighted average of $95,276 listed above.

The Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer is an old certification and is no longer attainable. It has been replaced by the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (yes, also MCSE). The Engineer certification was valid for Windows NT 3.51 – 2003, and the new Expert certification is for Windows 2012. There is an upgrade path if you are currently an MCSA or MCITP on Windows 2008. There is no direct upgrade path from the old MCSE to the new MCSE.

15. Citrix Certified Administrator (CCA) for Citrix XenDesktop – $95,094
The CCA for XenDesktop certification is available for versions 4 (in Chinese and Japanese only) and 5 (in many languages including English). Those with a current certification are encouraged to upgrade to the new Citrix Certified Associate – Apps and Desktops (CCA-AD). In any case, those with this certification have the ability to install, administer, and troubleshoot a XenDesktop deployment, including Provisioning Services and the Desktop Delivery Controller as well as XenServer and XenApp. As the Citrix certification program is being overhauled, refer to http://training.citrix.com/cms/index.php/certification/ to view the certifications available, upgrade paths, etc.

Rounding Out the Top 25

A few popular certifications just missed the Top 15 cut due to a low total number of responses or an average (mean) pay just outside the threshold. Due to their popularity, I have included them for informational purposes.

Certification Average Pay
CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional $114,287

MCSE: Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer 2003 $94,922

RHCSA: Red Hat Certified System Administrator $94,802

VCP-DCV: VMware Certified Professional – Data Center Virtualization $94,515

JNCIA: Juniper Networks Certified Internet Associate $94,492

MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure Configuration $91,948

MCITP: Enterprise Administrator $91,280

CCNP: Cisco Certified Network Professional $90,833

WCNA: Wireshark Certified Network Analyst $88,716

CCNA R&S: Cisco Certified Network Associ te Routing and Switching $81,308


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Database Certifications

Popular database certifications are always in demand, whether it’sMicrosoft’s MCTS and MCITP, Oracle’s OCA, OCP and OCM or MySql’s CMA, CMDEV and CMDBA.

Are you a database professional seeking to polish your resume in the hopes of landing a better gig? Perhaps you’re just getting started in database administration and you’d like to establish your credentials in the field. Database vendors offer a variety of professional certification programs that can help you advance your career while gaining valuable technical skills. After all, even the most seasoned professional has yet to fully explore some nook or cranny of the field that’s covered on a certification exam.

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So, where do you start? Most database certs are vendor-specific, so you’ll want to earn a certification from the company that puts out the software you’re currently working with or would like to work with in the future. We’ll take a brief look at the credentials available from the major vendors.

If you’re an Oracle guru, the Oracle Certified Professional program may be for you. There’s one catch to this program, however. Before receiving any Oracle credential, all candidates must take at least one instructor-led course. If you’re like me and you just want to pick up the book, study and take the exam, you’re out of luck here. Oracle’s program includes three tiers of certification, beginning with the Oracle Database Administrator Certified Associate (OCA), progressing through the Oracle Database Administrator Certified Professional (OCP) and culminating with the Oracle Database Administrator Certified Master (OCM). Each certification is version-specific, so you’ll need to update your certification each time a new version of Oracle rolls off the production line.

On the other hand, if you work in a Microsoft shop, you should consider one of several certifications:
• If you’re maintaining Microsoft Access databases for your organization, the simplest database credential is the Microsoft Office Specialist Access Track. This is a one-exam certification that covers basic knowledge of Microsoft Access 2003 and Access XP topics. Users of Access 2007 should instead prepare for the Microsoft Certified Application Specialist (MCAS) program.
• The Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist (MCTS) credential is the entry-level certification for SQL Server professionals. There are three different certification paths: MCTS SQL Server 2008 Implementation and Maintenance, MCTS SQL Server 2008 Database Development and MCTS SQL Server 2008 Business Intelligence Development and Maintenance. Each requires only a single exam and may be used to build toward higher-level Microsoft certifications
• The Microsoft Certified Information Technology Professional (MCITP) credential is the premier certification for SQL Server administrators. It also comes in three variations. If you already hold the MCTS in SQL Server 200 Implementation and Maintenance, you can upgrade it to MCITP: Database Administrator with a single exam. Similarly, those who passed the MCTS Database Development exam can become MCITP: Database Developers with one additional exam. Finally, if you’re an MCTS in Business Intelligence Development and Maintenance, you can upgrade to MCITP: Business Intelligence Developer with one test.
Finally, if you’re a MySQL user, you might find one of their four certifications useful in your career:
• The MySQL Associate (CMA) certification requires passing a single exam and attests to the holder’s knowledge of basic MySQL skills.
• MySQL database administrators may earn the Certified MySQL Database Administrator (CMDBA) certification by passing two advanced examinations.

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• Similarly, MySQL developers may earn the Certified MySQL Developer (CMDEV) credential with two development-focused exams.
• Finally, CMDBA holders may upgrade to MySQL Cluster certification by passing a single additional exam.
Once you’ve chosen a credential that’s suitable for you, it’s time to hit the books and/or take a course and get started on your way to professional certification!

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The Rewards of Microsoft Certification

 

Microsoft certification is a vast combination of rich and varied spectrum of job and responsibilities. To successfully perform the critical IT function we should earn a specific credential providing objective validity of the ability. One of the most effective ways to reach a long-term career goal, which is even embraced by industry professionals worldwide, is Microsoft certification.

 

What are the benefits of achieving a Microsoft Certification?

Microsoft Certification enables you to keep your skills relevant, applicable, and competitive. In addition, Microsoft Certification is an industry standard that is recognized worldwide—which helps open doors to potential job opportunities. After you earn your Microsoft Certification, you have access to a multitude of benefits, which can be found on the MCP, MCT, or MOS member site.

 

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Advancing with long-term career goals Microsoft certification has helped countless IT professionals work more effectively. Individuals have started quoting their valuable experiences during the Microsoft certification course on the websites available. The professionals of Microsoft certification course are very different from the IT counterparts. They not only keep on fighting the challenges of IT field but also have keep themselves a step ahead from them by developing and improving their skills. These certification processes gives one a kind of knowledge to know how to get recognized in any field.

 

The professionals of Microsoft certification are called at the Microsoft certified professionals or MCP. For the this Microsoft certification they have to pass current Microsoft certification exam which will proved a reliable and valid measure of professional and technical expertise. The validity of a current exam is only considered and not which is retired. Microsoft certification exams reflect how Microsoft products are used in the organization.

 

Microsoft certification exams are developed from the inputs received from the IT industry professionals. The independent testing organizations administer these exams. There is one very big reason why IT professionals and developers become Microsoft certified professionals is that they all know that their clients, peers, employees and the IT industry shall acknowledge their expertise in working with the Microsoft products and technologies.

 

There are various steps towards obtaining Microsoft certification. Firstly, one should decide which Microsoft certification is correct for the person. As Microsoft offers a vast variety of professions within the IT industry one should understand which course would be the best for him. One should also get handy with the Microsoft products, which can be done only after working in the IT industry. Experience should be expanded with training by taking advantage of the training resources.

 

For obtaining Microsoft certification, it is also better to know what to expect in the exam. Previous question papers or taking consultation from those who have appeared or cleared the test is always a good choice. Taking helps from the help guides for Microsoft certification exams is also an added advantage. These help provide guidelines and suggestions to the person appearing for the exam. It is also suggested to take trial tests before appearing for the final exam. The test center should be selected from the worldwide locations. Also certain details like area of study, testing program and region etc should be mentioned.

 

If your ready for career change and looking for Microsoft MCTS Training, Microsoft MCITP Training or any other Microsoft Certification preparation get the best online training from Certkingdom.com they offer all Microsoft, Cisco, Comptia certification exams training in just one Unlimited Life Time Access Pack, included self study training kits including, Q&A, Study Guides, Testing Engines, Videos, Audio, Preparation Labs for over 2000+ exams, save your money on boot camps, training institutes, It’s also save your traveling and time. All training materials are “Guaranteed” to pass your exams and get you certified on the fist attempt, due to best training they become no1 site 2012.

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About The Author

Hi I educated in the U.K. with working experienced for 5 years in multinational companies, As an IT Manager and IT Instructor, I am attached with certkingdom.com here they provide IT exams study material, the study materials included exams Q&A with Explanation, Testing Engine, Study Guides, Training Labs, Exams Simulations, Training Videos, Audio Exams Training, etc. for certification like MCTS Training, MCITP MCTS, MCSD, MCSA, MCSE  Training, CCNA exams preparation, CompTIA A+ Training, and more Certkingdom.com provide you the best training 100% guarantee. “Best Material Great Results”
My Specialties

I’ve worked with a lot of technologies, but these are where my focus has been in recent years:

* Microsoft SQL Server (particularly high availability and disaster recovery)

* VMWare Virtualization

* Oracle (yes, Oracle, I’ve worked on 7-11)

* Microsoft Clustering

* Red Hat Linux (I can still write shell scripts)

Overview of Major IT Certifications

In today’s competitive IT job market, an IT certification is often a prerequisite to get a high-paying job or a salary increase. Professional certifications are the best way to demonstrate your skills and expertise in any given technical field to present to prospective employers. Through education and certification, professionals gain the skills, knowledge, and validation needed to be recognized as an expert in diverse products or technologies. MCSE Certification, CCNA Certification, A+ Certification, and SAP Certification are a few of the many certifications or credentials an IT professional may achieve.

 

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Microsoft Certifications

Microsoft certification programs are considered to be the major advancement to gain both professional and education background. The Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) certification prove an individual’s expertise in designing and implementing the required infrastructure for any type of business solutions based on the Microsoft Windows 2000 platform and Microsoft Windows Server System. Other Microsoft certifications include MCAD (Microsoft Certified Application Developer) certification, MCSA (Microsoft Certified Systems Analyst) and MCT (Microsoft Certified Trainer).

Cisco Certifications

The CCNA certification (Cisco Certified Network Associate) indicates a foundation in apprentice knowledge of networking with certified professionals able to install, configure, and operate WAN, LAN, and dial access services for small networks with 100 nodes or fewer. Operation and configuration services also includes but are not limited to use one but several of the following protocols: Serial, Frame Relay, IP RIP, IP, IGRP, VLANs, RIP, and Ethernet, Access Lists. CCNE, CCIE and CCNP are other Cisco certifications.

SAP Certification

SAP Certification is sponsored by SAP corporation – a leading business software (ERP, CRM and Supply Chain software) vendor. It is one of the few credentials in the world of business with additional value only issued to those professionals who demonstrated their abilities by passing demanding, process-oriented exams through rigorous study or direct experience.

A+ Certification

A+ certification is different from the others because it is not promoted by one company only, but by a whole group of PC manufacturers and other companies in the hardware market and its acceptance as an industry-wide credential offers additional benefits. A+ Certification prove the competency of entry-level service technicians in the computer industry and it is an internationally recognized testing program sponsored by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA).

Don’t underestimate work productivity credentials of consumer tablets

Tablets are almost always a supplemental device for SMBs, helping employees stay more closely connected to work issues. The downside is that few companies protect tablets adequately.

The use case for supporting tablet computers within a small or midsize business is increasingly compelling from a productivity standpoint. I can say this with my gut because I rely on one myself to pare down my email frequently throughout the weekends and in the evenings, but I also happen to have backup evidence from two different surveys that I skimmed over the Labor Day weekend.

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It makes me wonder how many thousands of those Hewlett-Packard TouchPads that have been on fire sale for the past few weeks have been purchased by small businesses that — given the rock-bottom purchase price of $99 — don’t really care what happens when they break down. I don’t want to suggest that they are “disposable” but they sure are cheap at that price, so what do you have to lose?

Here’s the thing: Even though the latest generation of tablets have been around roughly 18 months since the introduction of the Apple iPad, almost 40 percent of small and midsize businesses have begun to adopt them, according to annual research on technology adoption trends by CompTIA, a technology trade organization. The research, which was released in July 2011, listed the following as the Top 6 uses:

Light work while traveling (68 percent)
Capture notes during meetings (54 percent)
Making presentations, in lieu of laptop (52 percent)
Point of sale transactions (50 percent)
Demo a product (47 percent)
Communications, in lieu of a smartphone (44 percent)

The base for the CompTIA data is interviews with 390 small and midsize businesses planning to use tablets.
The CompTIA research dovetails with data from Staples Advantage (which sells technology to business accounts) showing that approximately 80 percent of tablet users report having a better “work/life balance” as a result of using a table. There were approximately 200 tablet users surveyed for these results. Here are the primary purchase motivators:

Increased productivity (60 percent)
Staying connected to colleagues or clients (40 percent)
Easy to use because of its portability (90 percent)

Almost all of those surveyed are using tablets in conjunction with another device, not as the primary device.
The downside of tablets, of course, is security. When I chatted with Ed Ludwigson, vice president and general manager of Staples Technology Solutions, he said only about one-third percent of tablet users apparently are taking adequate steps to back up the data on the device. Fewer than 15 percent of them have either encryption or antivirus software on the device, he said.
SMBs need to pay more attention to tablet access control; Staples advocates using cloud-based applications so that data actually isn’t downloaded to the device itself. That way, if it is lost, the potential damage is minimized, Ludwigson said.
The other downside to tablets, in my mind, is that you wind up working around the clock instead of during predefined hours. Then again, that’s probably what most SMBs hope. As someone who MUST keep up with email, I am willing to live what that tradeoff.
See also:

The 10 hottest tablets of 2011
Lenovo to launch the IdeaPad A1, a 7-inch Android tablet for $199
Has HP done a “New Coke” with WebOS and tablets?
HP TouchPad: The calm before… a really long calm
Here come the ultrabooks: Evolution or revolution?
When disaster strikes your PC
Technology is the ultimate SMB leveler and enabler

Tips for printing digital photos at home

It’s easy to capture and preserve memories as digital snapshots with Windows 7 and Windows Vista, and so is turning them into stunning scrapbooks or photo albums.

If you’d like to create professional-looking photo prints using a home PC, here are a few hints and tips that will help you produce sharper, more eye-catching results.
Photograph of red poppies in bloom

A little care is all it takes to turn photos into gorgeous prints.
Maximize image quality


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The best prints come from the finest images. Help improve picture quality by following these suggestions:
1. Increase photo resolution

As a rule, the higher the resolution, the better the picture. Most digital cameras offer a choice of settings. Check your camera’s instructions to figure out how to change the resolutions you’re using. For premium printing results, always select the maximum offered photo size and quality.

Here are some good resolution guidelines to consider:

2 megapixels: Appropriate for an attractive wallet-sized (2.5-by-3.5-inch) or album-sized (4-by-6-inch) print

3 megapixels: Minimum resolution required for projects like calendars and greeting cards or 5-by-7-inch reproductions

5 or 6 megapixels: A resolution that offers better image quality for use with craft projects. Also suitable for printing and framing an 11-by-14-inch photo for use around the home

8 megapixels: A resolution that’s capable of providing attractive 16-by-20-inch prints

10 megapixels or more: Optimal for printing larger (20-by-30-inch) projects, including posters and panoramas

The more you increase photo resolution, the more you’ll improve image clarity and detail.
Higher image resolutions (left) produce sharper snapshots.

Higher image resolutions (left) produce sharper snapshots.
2. Choose the correct file format

The JPEG file format, which compresses image data, is suitable for emailing pictures or posting them to the web. For photo-printing purposes though, it generally pays to stick with larger TIFF files. Despite consuming more space on a memory card, TIFF images are smoother, crisper, and vastly superior to their JPEG counterparts.
3. Edit and enhance images

Use programs such as Windows Live Photo Gallery (Windows 7) and Windows Photo Gallery (Windows Vista) to soften edges, experiment with lighting and color, remove blemishes from pictures, and touch up your photos. It’s a simple way to add special effects, get rid of red eye, and otherwise improve your snapshots. Read more articles about how to make simple fixes to your digital photos, take better pictures, capture the perfect moment, and create online photo albums.

Enterprising shutterbugs can even use Microsoft Photosynth to transform their images into three-dimensional scenes.
Add special effects to spice up any photo.

Add special effects to spice up any photo.
Prepare your printer

Enhance print quality by configuring your printer for optimum results.
1. Use current drivers

Drivers are software interpreters that let your computer and printer communicate. But printer manufacturers are constantly revising these drivers. Always use the most current drivers to help ensure peak performance and picture quality. Check your printer manufacturer’s website regularly for downloadable updates, or see this tutorial for advice on locating and installing them.
2. Don’t skimp on dots per inch

The higher your printer’s dots per inch (dpi) specifications, the better the prints it will produce. Avoid images which suffer from frayed and jagged edges by using a printer with 600 x 600 dpi or better printing capabilities when producing hard copies of color digital photos. You can find photo printers for sale at Microsoft Store and advice on picking the right model here.
3. Configure print quality settings

After installing your printer, check your owner’s manual for instructions on how to change print quality settings, or read this article, which covers the basics of printer selection, page orientation, and color management. Remember that it’s always important to choose the right print options and preferences before printing. Detailed instructions on how to print pictures are also available that can help you get the most from your images, as are answers to frequently asked questions.
4. Managing paper

Different types of paper, such as high gloss or card stock, require varying amounts of ink and touch-ups. When setting printing preferences, be sure to tell your printer which type you’re using to help ensure first-rate results and to avoid wasting expensive stock.
5. Ongoing maintenance

It’s a good idea to run printer alignment, color calibration, and print cartridge cleaning functions every 90 days. These practices help prevent blurring, streaking, and off-center photo prints. See your printer’s owner’s manual for instructions on how to perform this maintenance.
Pick the right paper and ink

Help improve photo prints by selecting the right choice of paper and ink to perfectly complement your images.
1. Go with photo paper

Standard printer paper isn’t suitable for creating pleasing photo prints. Unless you’re printing documents, choose a glossy or matte finish photo paper instead. Black and white prints generally look best on matte finish papers, and color tends to look best on glossy paper.
2. Creativity counts

Multiple varieties of paper stock are available, designed for a wide range of specialty uses. These special-purpose materials can enhance any photo printing project. Whether incorporating your photos into decals, business cards, or T-shirts, before starting a new project, browse the selection at your local office supply or electronics retailer.
3. Choose the right size

Photos come in many shapes and forms, from wallet-sized (2.5-by-3.5-inch) to album/scrapbook-ready (4-by-6-inch or 5-by-7-inch) prints. Match the paper to fit.

Alternately, choose a standard letter-sized (8.5-by-11-inch) paper and use Windows Photo Gallery or Windows Live Photo Gallery to squeeze several smaller images onto one sheet.
Windows Photo Viewer makes printing multiple photos a breeze.

Windows Photo Viewer makes printing multiple photos a breeze.
4. Get inked

The safest way to pick an ink is to choose a brand from the same company that manufactured your printer. Various types of ink provide differing degrees of resistance to water, smudges, age, and fading. Which one you should pick depends entirely on how much you’re willing to spend for various image-enhancing qualities.
Additional advice

Always align new print cartridges.

Experiment with free or commercial photo-editing software to eliminate image imperfections and to improve your subjects’ already stunning good looks.

Practice by making test prints. Try reducing image size and creating multiple prints on a single sheet of paper to cut down on wasted materials.

Before placing photos in an album or framing them, give the ink approximately 12 hours to dry.

Remember that Windows Photo Gallery and Windows Live Photo Gallery also make it possible to order prints online or print files at a local printer kiosk, for your convenience.

The 5 biggest IT security mistakes

IT security can be a thankless task no doubt and mistakes only magnify problems Like cleaning the windows, IT security can be a thankless task because they only notice when you don’t do it. But to get the job done in the era of virtualization, smartphones and cloud computing, you’ve got to avoid technical and political mistakes. In particular, here are five security mistakes to avoid:

 

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1. Thinking that the business mindset of the organization is the same as five years ago.

It’s not. Your power and influence are being whittled away as the organization you work for flings open the doors to allowing employees to use personal mobile devices at work, and pushes traditional computing resources and applications into the cloud — sometimes without your knowledge. You have to be proactive in introducing reasonable security practices onto what are fast-moving technology choices which are sometimes made by those outside the IT department altogether. It’s a “mission-impossible” assignment, but it’s yours. It may involve developing new policy guidance to clearly spell out risk factors so there are no false assumptions.

VIRTUALIZATION SECURITY: Shift to virtualized environments shaking up security practices

2. Failing to build working relationships with IT and upper-level managers.

IT security divisions are typically small in relation to the rest of the IT department. IT security leans on IT staffers to get basic security jobs done. The security professional may have specialized knowledge and a pocketful of certifications like the CISSP, but that doesn’t mean he or she is necessarily admired or liked because of that — especially as security people are usually the ones saying “no” to other people’s projects.

Moreover, don’t think the power structure is always pointing toward the chief information officer as top decision maker. A fundamental shift is occurring in which the traditional role of the CIO as commander of IT projects is declining in favor of the rise of the chief financial officer having the final say on IT projects. Some evidence shows the CFO doesn’t even like the IT department. The CFO’s ideas about security may only go as far as the general legal idea of “compliance.” The job for the security professional must be to communicate, communicate, communicate.

3. Not understanding that virtualization has pulled the rug out from under everyone’s security footing.

Organizations are well on their way to achieving 80% virtualization of their server infrastructure, and desktop virtualization projects are increasing. But security is lagging, with many incorrectly assuming it begins and ends with VLANs. The reality is that virtualization architectures change everything by opening new pathways that can be exploited. As has happened so many times before in the IT industry, groundbreaking technologies have become available for use with inadequate attention paid to the security impact.

Some traditional security products, such as anti-virus software for instance, often don’t work well in virtual machines. Physical appliances may have new “blind spots.” Today, specialized security products for virtualized environments are finally coming to market — and security professionals need to figure out if any of them should be used, while also keeping up with evolving security plans from vendors such as VMware, Microsoft and Citrix. Virtualization holds tremendous promise in eventually improving security, especially disaster recovery.

Certkingdom – Encouraging its people for Certifications

Certkingdom has always been up-front in encouraging its people for gaining knowledge and expertise in their respective technical domains. People at Mindfire have recently cleared certification exams which have helped them to hone their skills and capabilities, eventually providing exceptional service to clients across the globe.

 

Best Microsoft MCTS Training – Microsoft MCITP Training at Certkingdom.com

 

Employees from various technical domains at Mindfire have successfully cleared certification exams and they are now specialists and experts in their fields.  Supriti Panda and Premananda Das from the open source PHP team have cleared the PHP Zend certification and are listed in the yellow pages. There are a total of 295 Zend certified engineers in India, out of which 2 are from Certkingdom. Premananda Das is also a Zend framework certified engineer after clearing the Zend Framework Certification.  He is one of those 7 developers in India who have both the certifications and we are proud that Premananda is one of them. The .Net team at Mindfire was not behind either. Rabi Narayan Biswal & Nirmal Chandra Hota cleared the MCTS exam and are now recognized as Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist in .Net framework. Kaushik Mohanty, Saroj Dash & Srikanta Barik who are a part of the SharePoint development team at Mindfire appeared for the “TS” & “PRO” exam in SharePoint to help them achieve MCPD title in SharePoint 2010. Now it was the turn for our QA team. Nimmi Joseph, Saurava Singh, Gopa Kishore Mindi, Sudeep Patnaik, Prabhat Nayak & Vivek Mishra from the Quality Assurance testing team took their chance for the ISTQB certification and are now recognized as ISTQB certified testers.

“These certifications act as a catalyst for the employees to exhibit their expertise in a coherent manner. The overall growth and development of our people is our motto. Growth of our employees is Growth for Mindfire. All these certifications have provided great value to the developers, our clients and Mindfire as a whole.” stated Mrs. Bhagyashree Sathyan, Associate HR Manager, Certkingdom.

Apart from encouraging its people to take up various certifications, Mindfire also sponsors them to different technical conferences (national/international). Mindfire recently attended the Microsoft Tech ED 2011 conference held in Bangalore. This event imparted lot of learning in forthcoming Microsoft technologies, tools, platforms and services. Mindfire also attended the ISQT Step Auto International Software Testing Conference held at Bangalore. One of our employee also represented Mindfire in the Servoy Conference held this year at Amsterdam. These conferences give a platform to the employees to interact with some of the legends of software industry.

About Certkingdom:

Certkingdom is amongst the leading providers of Software & IT services encompassing development and delivery of complex projects for enhancing business growth of its customers. Mindfire has added value to more than 200 clients in US, Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia in the 12 years of its operations. The company has over 500 people, spread across 2 Advanced Development Centers (ADCs) in India which are equipped with ultra modern facilities, and where Mindfireans strive round the clock for achieving customer delight. For more information on Certkingdom, please visit http://www.certkingdom.com.

Online Tax Prep Services

It’s that time of year again. Tax time. A few of your documents may still be straggling in, but chances are you’ve at least got your W-2s, and you’ve either got all the receipts you’re going to need for your deductions or you’re going to wing anyways. So why not get to work now? I suppose you could wait until Sunday to get started, but who needs all that last-minute pressure? It’s never been simpler to get started—you don’t even have to schlep down to the electronics store to buy a copy of the software anymore, or, worse, spend time haunting a depressing tax center waiting room. As long as you’ve got access to a browser, you can do your taxes without ever leaving home. Unless you’ve got a horribly complex return or have an issue with exposing your financials over the Internet, doing your taxes online is the simplest way to go about it. Accordingly, we’ve reviewed the best online tax packages for tax year 2010.



Microsoft MCTS Certification, MCITP Certification and over 2000+ Exams at Actualkey.com

 

All the major tax prep players have had Web-based versions for years, and all look and work like their desktop counterparts, letting you save partially finished returns and finish them in multiple sessions. It’s convenient, and the sites remember your data from year to year. Even if your local copy gets hosed, you’ve got a copy on the tax-prep site. And there’s a good chance much of your basic data will carry over from year to year, giving you a headstart on the process.

Once you’ve chosen a tax-prep package, you’ll need to decide which of the many versions of that company’s service to use—the free 1040EZ version (generally you still have to pay to e-file for your state taxes at least), or the high-end SMB version, or something in between. You’ll have to do a little research to make sure you get the right forms, for, say, your small business’ income. But don’t assume that you need the full-on ultimate premium premier version—with the exception of extra forms (and occasionally some higher-end help functionality) they’re pretty much the same as the freebies, in terms of function and interface and so on. Don’t overpay. If price is the determining factor for you, definitely check out TaxACT—even its high-end versions are dirt cheap.

I won’t tell you that any of these online tax services can make tax time enjoyable, but the best of them can at least make the process relatively quick and painless.

Note that the thumbnail descriptions below link to our full reviews of the major players in the tax-prep space. Click through to read the full reviews by tax expert Kathy Yakal.

CompleteTax OnlineCompleteTax Online

CompleteTax, a service of global financial services provider CCH, has some of the best guidance available on tax preparation sites. It also does a good job of exploring tax topics, and is offering free Premium versions to select populations for 2010.

H&R Block At Home PremiumH&R Block At Home Premium

H&R Block At Home Premium Online gives TurboTax a run for its money every year. Premium’s Best of Both option provides beginning-to-end support that no one else has ever offered, at a reasonable price.

TaxSlayer.com Premium EditionTaxSlayer.com Premium Edition

TaxSlayer.com’s parent company has been in the tax preparation business for over 40 years, and its online offering is a capable 1040-tamer. But the site could use some improvement in the areas of navigation and help.

TaxACT Online Ultimate BundleTaxACT Online Ultimate Bundle

TaxACT is the best buy available for the 2010 tax filing year. It supports all e-filable IRS forms, walks the user easily and quickly through the 1040, and offers unlimited professional help for only $7.95 extra.

TurboTax logoTurboTax Premier Online Edition
Editors
TurboTax remains king of the hill. Though it has stiff competition, its combination of financial topics, guidance, navigational tools, and interface excellence make it the best choice for 2010 taxes.

Evolve Maestro Tablet triple-boots Android, MeeGo, Windows 7, Gives upto 16h of Battery backup

Can’t decide which tablet you should go for? Get the one that boots all 3 popular Tablet OSes.

Evolve III Maestro has built world’s first tablet that Triple boots Android, Windows 7 and MeeGo. The tablet has a 1.83GHz Atom N475 DualCore CPU based on OakTrail processor.

 

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With Windows 7, you would be able to attain 8 hours of battery & 16hours of battery with Android, not bad for a Tablet that weighs less than 2 pounds.

The tablet features a large 10.1-inch 1024 x 600 capacitive touchscreen, 2GB of DDR3 RAM, up to 32GB of solid state storage, 3G and 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and 2 USB ports.

What Evolve Three hopes will make this device stand out is the fact that it’ll ship with Android, MeeGo and Windows 7 out of the box. Although a custom layer for Windows was in the works – imagine a mash-up of Windows Phone 7 and Android – it was MeeGo that had the developers really excited. A virtualised version was running on the device, and while the combo of pre-release software and hardware were still a little rough around the edges, it certainly seemed like it would make for a finger friendly consumption focussed interface.

The device is set for launch in Q2 2011 and at a price of $500, it could be a steal.

Unfortunately, there’ll be no quick way to switch between the different operating environments.

Stay tuned for more  on Windows Phone, Android, iPhone, Programming and Tech news via @taranfx on Twitter or: