Thursday, September 20, 2012

CompTIA will add performance-based questions to its


CompTIA will add performance-based questions to its CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Security+ certification exams in the coming months.

Performance-based questions require exam candidates to perform a task or solve a problem within a simulated IT environment to demonstrate specific knowledge or skills. Currently, the three exams employ only multiple-choice questions.

The CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) exam, introduced in September 2011, was the first CompTIA exam to employ a mix of multiple choice and performance-based questions. Now, CompTIA will expand its use of the latest exam delivery technology to its top three foundational exams in order to more accurately gauge the skill level of exam candidates.


The Performance-Based Difference

All CompTIA exam candidates take their tests on computers at authorized Pearson VUE testing centers.

Multiple-choice questions in CompTIA exams ask a candidate to select one or more correct answers to a specific question, and the candidate clicks on the correct answer or answers.

However, performance-based questions require the candidate to perform a task or solve a problem in simulated IT environments. For each performance-based question, the exam prompts the candidate to perform a specific task or solve a specific problem. A simulated environment is then launched in which the candidate completes the required steps.

Each question is designed around real-world computer scenarios that will test a candidate's skills and knowledge. Depending on the nature of the exam and the exam question, the simulated environments may include different aspects of IT infrastructure, such as command prompts, Windows or networking environments.

Once candidates use the simulated environment to perform the requested task or solve the stated problem, they click a "Done" button to submit their answer.

Exam candidates must pay careful attention to the wording and details of each question in order to form the correct answer.

To prepare for exams with performance-based questions, CompTIA encourages candidates to gain hands-on practice with exam objectives, in addition to engaging in their preferred methods for study and training.

When New Questions Will Be Added

CompTIA's schedule for adding performance-based questions to its exams is as follows:
  • CompTIA A+: The updated versions of the CompTIA A+ exams, 220-801 and 220-802, will contain performance-based questions in addition to multiple-choice questions and are scheduled to launch by October 2012. The current CompTIA A+ exams, 220-701 and 220-702, do not contain performance based questions and will remain in the market until CompTIA retires them on August 31, 2013.
  • CompTIA Network+: Performance-based questions will be added to the CompTIA Network+ exam (N10-005) this year, during the fourth quarter of 2012. The older CompTIA Network+ exam, N10-004, which does not contain performance based questions, will be retired on August 31, 2012.
  • CompTIA Security+: CompTIA will add performance based questions to the existing CompTIA Security+ exam, SY0-301, in the first quarter of 2013.

For training and exam prep for these certifications visit http://www.trainingplanet.com

Friday, September 14, 2012

New Mentoring Program for Women in IT



New Mentoring Program for Women in IT

Although only a few months since its official launch this year, the Advancing Women in IT Community already has developed a new mentoring program to help women start their IT careers and work their way up the corporate ladder.  Plus the community created a new video to espouse the benefits of an IT career to women of all ages. View the video and check out the  new mentoring program.  Better yet, socialize the video on your own social media, and pass along the program news to women in your organization who want to take part in the community and its programs. To sign up to be a mentor, contact   Cathy Alper. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Upcoming Todd Lammle Cisco Courses



(Discounted!) Upcoming Courses
  • September 26th, October 24th & December 5th, 2012:4-day ICND1 (CCENT) with Todd Lammle All-Inclusive
    Learn with the best! Achieve your ICND1 (CCENT) certification in only four days with Todd Lammle. Build the foundation you need in just four days! The class will be held at the luxurious Hyatt Hotel in Richardson, Texas. Our on-site all inclusive package includes your hotel stay, hot food, and your test! This course will also be taught online.
  • October 1st & 29th, December 10th 2012:6-day CCNA Boot Camp with Todd Lammle All-Inclusive
    This high-quality, newly updated 6-day CCNA hands-on course with Todd Lammle will be held in Dallas and available online. This All-Inclusive class will be held at the luxurious Hyatt Hotel in Richardson, Texas, with your hotel stay, hot food, and your test delivered on site! FREE CCENT Pre-study material provided to build the foundation on subnetting before class, and Todd Lammle online videos included!
  • October 8th & December 10th, 2012:12-day CCNP Boot Camp with Todd Lammle All-Inclusive
    This newly updated 12-day CCNP hands-on course will help you achieve the higher education you need in this financial market! The class will be held at the luxurious Hyatt Hotel in Richardson, Texas. Our on-site all inclusive package includes your hotel stay, hot food, and your tests! FREE CCNP Pre-study material provided to build the foundation you need is included! This course will also be taught online.
  • October 22nd & December 3rd, 2012:5-day CCIE R&S Written All-Inclusive
    We run this class only four times a year and it sells out every time! Guaranteed success or a second voucher is provided at no charge! A $350 value! A CCNA and CCNP, or equivalent knowledge, is a pre-requisite to this advanced class The class will be held at the luxurious Hyatt Hotel in Richardson, Texas. Our on-site all inclusive package includes your hotel stay, hot food, and your test!
  • October 29th, 2012:5-day CCIE R&S Practical All-Inclusive
    Attend the famous Narbik Kocharian's Routing and Switching as well as Cisco's 360 CCIE R/S Advanced. This program includes 5 days of Instructor-Led lessons, a lab guide and hands-on labs on specific topics, as well as Assessment labs, including instructor time and feedback to provide mentoring and support.
  • October 29th, 2012:5-day CCNA Voice/CVoice All-Inclusive
    Achieve your CCNA Voice and CVoice in only 5 days with GlobalNet Training. Vouchers for both exams are included! The class will held at the luxurious Hyatt in Richardson, Texas. Our on-site all inclusive package includes your hotel stay, hot food, and your test! This course will also be taught online.
  • November 5th, 2012:12-day CCNP Voice All-Inclusive
    This 12-day class will be held at the luxurious Hyatt Hotel in Richardson, Texas. Our on-site all inclusive package includes your hotel stay, hot food, and your tests! Leave certified with on-site testing! This course will also be taught online.

Monday, September 3, 2012

How Veterans Can Use Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits to Pay for IT Training and Certification


How Veterans Can Use Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits to Pay for IT Training and Certification

Veterans and transitioning military members interested in building a career in IT after their service in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars can use their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to pay for IT training and certification. Since October 2011, the benefits can be used to pay for IT training via non-college degree training programs, as well as graduate and undergraduate degree programs.
Here’s how to do it.
A veteran’s best source of information about the Post 9/11 GI Bill is the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website http://www.gibill.va.gov. Unless noted, the information that follows is from the GI Bill website.
Veterans, service members and their families use the VA’s eBenefits website, to research, find, apply for, and, in time, manage Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits, along with other VA benefits.

Post 9/11 GI Bill Basics

The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for education, books, and housing to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service after September 10, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days. You must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
“Veterans come to us knowing they want to take some IT training, but they don’t always know that they have available benefits”
The Post-9/11 GI Bill can help a veteran pay for a variety of training programs:
  • Graduate and undergraduate degrees
  • Vocational/technical training from non-college degree programs
  • On-the-job training
  • Flight training
  • Correspondence training
  • Licensing and national testing programs
  • Entrepreneurship training
  • Tutorial assistance
All training programs must be approved for GI Bill benefits. You can search the VA’s database of approved education and job training programs here. CompTIA certifications can be found in the VA’s database of approved licenses and certifications when searched for by name (i.e., “A+,” “Network+” or “Security+.”)

How much can a veteran receive under the Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits?

The Post-9/11 GI Bill disburses your tuition and fees directly to your school and makes housing and other payments directly to you. The direct payment of tuition is a boon for veterans, because the original Montgomery GI Bill only reimbursed veterans for their education expenses.
Post -9/11 GI Bill benefits can be used pay for:
  • Tuition and fees. As of August 1, 2012, the benefit is capped at $18,077.50 per academic year at non-degree programs or private institutes of higher learning. If you are a resident student at a public institution of higher learning, all in-state tuition and fee payments are reimbursed.
  • Housing during the training, via a monthly allowance that varies by local cost of living rates
  • Books and supplies, up to $1,000 annually if attending school full-time
The Post-9/11 GI Bill can provide up to 36 months of education benefits. Generally benefits are payable for 15 years following your release from active duty.
Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits are calculated as a percentage based on:
  • Length of active duty service
  • Education enrollment status (full-time or less)
  • ZIP code of the education program you attend (for housing allowance)
“If a veteran has served 36 months active duty after 9/11, they get 100 percent,” explains Latoya Mack, academic advisor for military programs at Tidewater Community College‘s Center for Military and Veterans Education on TCC’s Virginia Beach, Va., campus.
With more than 5,500 veterans and roughly 2,000 active duty service members enrolled, TCC in 2010 and 2011 ranked number one among community colleges for the number of veterans enrolled using the Post-9/11 GI Bill and in the top five among all higher education institutions. TCC’s new Center for Military and Veterans Education provides one-stop support service — including counseling, academic and benefits advising, and workforce development — to veterans, military service members and their spouses and families.

How to Apply for Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits

The VA provides a “Road Map for Success” that outlines steps for deciding what veterans’ benefits are best for your educational goals and financial needs.

STEP 1: Determine your best benefit

Many veterans and active duty personnel can qualify for more than one education benefits program, including the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty, the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve, and the Reserve Educational Assistance Program. However, an individual may not use a single period of service to establish eligibility for more than one education program. So a veteran who had only one period of service must chose which benefit is best for his or her goals and needs.
“Once you chose to use your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, you have to give up your Montgomery GI Bill benefits,” explains TCC’s Mack. Because veterans frequently can’t afford to pay tuition out of pocket, they often opt to use the Post 9/11 benefits, she added.
You have to compare the type of training you plan to take, where you plan to take courses (online or on-campus), and the rate you plan to study (full-time, greater than half-time, half-time or less) with the provisions of the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
At TCC’s Center for Veterans and Military Education, Executive Director Bruce Brunson says his advisors work with veterans to identify whether they want to advance their education with a non-degree program, an associates degree or, to get into the workforce rapidly, a career certificate.
IT is among the top 10 degree programs that veterans select at TCC, say Brunson. “When veterans come in, they frequently know they want to enter into the IT field, but they don’t understand the different areas.”
A comparison of VA education benefit programs can be found here.

STEP 2: Collect Your Paperwork & Information

The information needed to apply for Post-9/11 benefits includes:
  • Dates and service status for each period of military service
  • Whether you have participated in the $600 buy-up program
The documents needed for your application for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits include:
  • DD214 Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty for all periods of active duty
  • Transcripts for all periods of education after high school
  • Kicker contract (if applicable)

STEP 3: Choosing A School or Program

You will need to gather information about tuition rates, tuition per-credit hour charges, any mandatory fees, and the school’s ZIP code (which determines the monthly housing allowance given under the Post-9/11 GI Bill), and living expenses (housing, food, transportation, parking etc.) for each school you plan to attend. This information is important because:
  1. You must choose a school that’s been approved for GI Bill benefits in order for your education expenses to be reimbursed by the VA.
  2. You must know your financial obligations at each school — what will be paid by Post-9/11 benefits and what expenses you must pay directly.
It’s important to calculate the cost of a school’s entire program and the maximum benefit the VA will pay in Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. Will you have the degree, certification or experience you need to achieve your goals by the time you have exhausted your benefits? The VA offers many resources to help veterans choose a school and also offers a search engine to help veterans find approved schools and programs.
The VA encourages veterans to review multiple factors when choosing a school, including whether a school has agreed to adhere to the Principles of Excellence for educational institutions receiving federal funding. TCC and New Horizons both participate in the program. Among other things, the institutions in the Principles of Excellence program:
  • Provide students with a personalized form covering the total cost of an education program
  • Provide educational plans for all military and veteran education beneficiaries
  • Designate a point of contact for academic and financial advising

STEP 4: Compare the Programs

You should determine the best VA benefit program and school for your objectives. By now you should have enough information to decide whether you want to apply for the Post-9/11 GI Bill or another benefit program.
New Horizons’ Betzold encourages veterans to carefully estimate the education program’s cost and time versus its outcome. “Veterans have to be very choosy,” says Betzold. “They have a limited amount of benefits through the Post-9/11 GI Bill — roughly $18,000 a year for three years. If they pick the wrong school, that amount of money can be exhausted very rapidly, and they still might not have the degree or credential they were trying to pursue.”
Few colleges or community colleges will offer veterans the type of wrap-around support and advisory services provided at TCC’s Center for Veterans and Military Education, so TCC’s Mack, herself a Navy veteran, encourages all veterans to intensively research their benefit options and their school options. Do some online research and call each school to ask how they handle veterans’ benefits. “Each school will say something a little bit different, and you learn something new from each one,” Mack says.
“You must do that research,” says Mack. “You really have to know what you want to do, what benefits you want to use, and then formulate that all together.”

STEP 5: Apply for Benefits

You can apply for Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits online or via paper forms. Use the VONAPP Veterans Online Applications website to apply online. If you have trouble with the application process, you can call a VA Education Case Manager (1-888-GIBill1) to ask for help. If you prefer to use a paper application, use Form 22-1990 mailed to a VA Regional Processing Office.
At TCC, Mack says the VA usually responds to a veteran’s Post-9/11 GI Bill application within 60 days; paper forms take longer. TCC recently reworked its registrar system to permit a “class hold request” that would enable veterans to enroll and attend classes for up to 60 days while they wait for Post-9/11 benefits to be approved. TCC also will loan veterans money on a case-by-case basis for textbooks while waiting for their books and supplies stipend.
“Through the Post 9/11 Bill, veterans now have more of opportunity to get their training paid for, which is what they’ve earned,” says Betzold.

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