Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Rise of the Machines?

The Rise of the Machines

The “Internet of Things” is rapidly becoming a very real phenomenon, and its power comes from sensors that are able to communicate with each other and learn from the data they are exchanging. The fields of machine-to-machine (M2M) communication and machine learning will grow dramatically. CompTIA’s Market Research Department will explore the topic of Big Data this summer, and as part of that study, they will bring specific focus to M2M and machine learning. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Are you Feeling More Positive about Jobs?

Are you Feeling More Positive about Jobs?

The CompTIA IT Industry Business Confidence Index recorded a gain of 4.6 points during Q2. The Index – an aggregation of opinions on the U.S. economy, the IT industry and one’s company – is now at its highest level in more than a year.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Major changes to GI Bill in 2011

The Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2010 was recently signed into law. This page lists changes to the GI Bill made by this law.
Effective August 1, 2009, but not payable until October 1, 2011
  • Expands the Post-9/11 GI Bill to include Active Service performed by National Guard members under title 32 U.S.C. for the purpose of organizing, administering, recruiting, instructing, or training the National Guard; or under section 502(f) for the purpose of responding to a national emergency.
Effective March 5, 2011
  • Limits active duty members to the net cost for tuition and fees prorated based on the eligibility tiers (40%-100%) previously established for Veterans
    • Same limitations apply to spouses of active duty servicemembers
Effective August 1, 2011
  • For Veterans and their transferees - simplifies the tuition and fee rates for those attending a public school and creates a national maximum for those enrolled in a private or foreign school
    • Pays all public school in-state tuition and fees;
    • Private and foreign school costs are capped at $17,500 annually;
    • The Yellow Ribbon Program still exists for out-of-state fees and costs above the cap.
  • For Active Duty Members and their transferees - creates a national rate for those active duty members enrolled in a private or foreign school pursuing a degree
    • Pays all public school in-state tuition and fees;
    • Private and foreign school costs are capped at $17,500 annually
  • Allows VA to pay MGIB (chapter 30) and MGIB-SR (chapter 1606) ‘kickers’, or college fund payments, on a monthly basis instead of a lump sum at the beginning of the term
  • Prorates housing allowance by the student’s rate of pursuit (rounded to the nearest tenth)
    • A student training at a rate of pursuit of 75% would receive 80% of the BAH rate
  • Break or interval pay is no longer payable under any VA education benefit program unless under an Executive Order of the President or due to an emergency, such as a natural disaster or strike.
    • This means that when your semester ends (e.g. December 15th), your housing allowance is paid for the first 15 days of December only and begins again when your next semester begins (e.g. January 10th) and is paid for the remaining days of January.
    • Students using other VA education programs are included in this change. Monthly benefits will be pro-rated in the same manner.
    • Entitlement that previously would have been used for break pay will be available for use during a future enrollment.
  • Allows reimbursement for more than one “license or certification” test (previously only one test was allowed).
    • However, entitlement is now charged
  • Allows reimbursement of fees paid to take national exams used for admission to an institution of higher learning (e.g., SAT, ACT, GMAT, LSAT)
  • Allows those who are eligible for both Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (chapter 31) benefits and Post-9/11 GI Bill (chapter 33) benefits to choose the Post-9/11 GI Bill’s monthly housing allowance instead of the chapter 31 subsistence allowance.
  • NOAA and PHS personnel are now eligible to transfer their entitlement to eligible dependents
Effective October 1, 2011
  • Allows students to use the Post-9/11 GI Bill for -
    • Non-college degree (NCD) programs: Non-college degree (NCD) programs offered at non-degree granting schools: Pays the actual net costs for in-state tuition and fees or $17,500, whichever is less. Also pays up to $83 per month for books and supplies.
    • On-the-job and apprenticeship training: Pays a monthly benefit amount prorated based on time in program and up to $83 per month for books and supplies.
    • Flight programs: Per academic year, pays the actual net costs for in-state tuition and fees assessed by the school or $10,000, whichever is less.
    • Correspondence training: Per academic year, pays the actual net costs for in-state tuition and fees assessed by the school or $8,500, whichever is less.
  • Housing allowance is now payable to students (other than those on active duty) enrolled solely in distance learning. The housing allowance payable is equal to ½ the national average BAH for an E-5 with dependents.
    • The full-time rate for an individual eligible at the 100% eligibility tier would be $673.50 for 2011.
  • Allows students on active duty to receive a books and supplies stipend.
The list below highlights changes of particular interest to School Certifying Officials.
  • Reporting fees paid to schools increases from $7 to $12 and $11 to $15 per student per year
  • Requires that reporting fees only be used for the purpose of certification
  • Standard college degree programs offered at accredited public and private-not-for-profit schools are deemed already approved for VA Education Benefits
  • Non-college degree programs, on-the-job training, and flight training programs are now covered (effective October 1, 2011)
  • Allows the VA to use SAAs for compliance and oversight duties
  • Allows VA to disapprove courses

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Questions about Education for Military Service Members programs and services


What is voluntary education?

Voluntary education provides service members with opportunities to voluntarily pursue their education goals during off-duty time (after work) or during duty hours as authorized by the branches of Service. These opportunities are intended to be comparable to those available in the civilian community, regardless of duty location.
How can I participate in voluntary education programs when military orders require frequent moves?
The voluntary education programs are offered by each branch of Service through a variety of methods to meet the needs of the mobile military community. Service members can earn credit for higher education through traditional classroom settings, college-level equivalency testing, an assessment of prior military training, independent study, and through distance learning. The installation Education Center staff can provide detailed information on the various education programs, assist with completing required forms for study, and help design a specific course of study (i.e., degree planning).
What kinds of voluntary education programs are available for service members?
The Department of Defense (DoD) offers the following programs and services to assist service members in achieving their education goals:
Academic Skills Programs - These programs offer service members opportunities to update or enhance basic academic competencies in areas such as English, reading, writing, speaking, and mathematics.
High School Diploma - This program provides full reimbursement for the cost of studies and testing leading to service members receiving a high school diploma or a high school equivalency credential.
Examinations Program - This program allows service members to earn certificates, licenses, college credits, and a high school diploma, as well as satisfy entrance and employment requirements, with successful completion of tests such as the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), the Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT), and the National Teacher Exam (NTE).
Military Evaluations Program - The American Council on Education (ACE), under DoD contract, develops credit recommendations based on its evaluation of Service school courses, military training, and most enlisted occupations. Most colleges and universities award college credit based on these recommendations.
Independent Study and External Degree Programs - These programs allow service members the opportunity for academic advancement through flexible scheduling, little or no residency requirements, and nontraditional approaches to education, such as distance learning through broadcast video, recorded video, interactive CD-ROM, teleconferencing, or the Internet.
Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) - SOC is a network of colleges and universities that has partnered with DoD to meet the educational needs of the mobile military community. SOC schools have minimum residency requirements, accept credit transferred from other member institutions, and award credit for military training, experience, and results of nationally recognized testing programs. To address the specific needs of different branches of Service, SOC has designated five individual degree networks: SOCAD (Army), SOCNAV (Navy), SOCMAR (Marine Corps), SOCCOAST (Coast Guard), and SOCGUARD (National Guard).
Postsecondary Degree Programs - The primary focus of DoD voluntary education programs is to enable service members to earn college credit towards an Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, or Doctoral degree. In many cases, the courses are offered on military installations or are available to service members who are at sea or deployed.
Military Tuition Assistance (TA) Program - The TA Program authorizes all of the branches of Service to pay 100 percent of the cost of tuition expenses for service members taking courses at colleges and universities. TA is not a loan that needs to be repaid, but rather a benefit earned for serving in the military, similar to base pay. Different eligibility criteria, obligation of service requirements, application processes, and restrictions exist for each branch of Service.
Transcript Services - Each branch of Service offers transcript services to track and document a service member's or veteran's military coursework and training. These transcripts can be obtained by the service member or veteran at no cost and sent to accredited universities and colleges for use in obtaining college credit for military experiences. The Army, Navy, and Marine Corps have partnered with ACE to use the Army / ACE Registry Transcript System (AARTS) and the Sailor / Marine / ACE Transcript System (SMARTS). Transcripts for Air Force and Coast Guard personnel are available from the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) and the Coast Guard Institute (CGI), respectively.
Loan Repayment Programs - These programs are offered to qualified service members to assist in managing college debts. After each completed year of active duty service, the military pays 33-1/3 percent or $1,500, whichever is greater, on the total remaining original principle balance.
Programs for Afloat College Education (PACE) - PACE offers Sailors at sea the opportunity to continue their college studies. PACE is free for the Sailor (the only cost is for books) and offers courses taught by civilian instructors aboard the ship or access to college classes using computer technology.

Where can I receive more information on voluntary education programs and services?
Installation Education Centers can provide service members with more information on any of the voluntary education programs. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) education benefits website can also assist service members in obtaining information about VA-administered programs. Individual branches of Service voluntary education websites are listed below:

Monday, May 14, 2012

Military Education Benefits Users Guide

Reimbursement Programs

Most Cisco Certification exams are eligible for reimbursement under the G.I. Bill. Effective August 1, 2011, you may be entitled to reimbursement for more than one “license or certification” test (previously only one test was allowed).

  • Military Education Benefits Users Guide: Review the most common military educational benefits you could be entitled to.
  • COOL (Credentialing Opportunities On-Line): COOL can help you find civilian credentials related to your military occupational specialty, understand what it takes to obtain the credentials, and see if there are available programs that will help pay credentialing fees.
  • DANTES: The mission of this organization is to support the off-duty voluntary education programs of the U.S. Department of Defense.
  • Military Spouse and Family Assistance Programs: Learn more about the education benefits the DoD, Dept. of Veterans Affairs, and each of the service's have to offer. Many spouses now also qualify for GI Bill transferability.
  • MyCAA: This employment assistance program provides up to $4,000 of financial assistance to eligible military spouses who are pursuing a license, certification or Associate’s degree in a portable career field and occupation. 
  • ebenefits.va.gov

    Don't forget that TrainingPlanet.com online and self study IT certification courses are available and also various IT 'Boot Camps' nationwide.

Friday, May 11, 2012

How to Evaluate Cloud Security

Cloud computing is the hot-button tech topic these days. When it comes   to talk of transitioning companies to the cloud, there is one question   that just won’t seem to go away: Is it safe? For cloud computing to secure its spot as the future of computing,   businesses need to feel confident that their data is as secure in the   cloud as it would be in a traditional on-site infrastructure. When evaluating the services of a cloud hosting provider, businesses   therefore need to evaluate the security and backup systems with the same   rigorous criteria as their in-house operations

Here are five criteria to help evaluate the security of your cloud-based data:

1. Can We Intrude?
Even the most up-to-date firewalls will not prevent intrusion.  To   protect your data in the cloud, it is vital to have a solid intrusion   detection and prevention system (IDPS).  A first rate IDPS goes beyond   firewall protection and detects and blocks threats outside or above the   firewall layer.   It also screens out spyware and viruses at the   perimeter.

2. Privacy is Paramount.
 As further protection against   threats, a private, virtual local area network (VLAN) – situated beyond a   firewall – is absolutely essential to protecting your data.  You should   make sure the hosting provider you choose can guarantee they are   placing your servers in isolated VLANs to prevent any cross traffic   contamination.

3. Traffic in the Right Lane.
Another important   differentiator to look at: a well-implemented IDPS can also identify   anomalies in “normal” network traffic, offering yet another level of   security. It constantly scans all traffic coming to and from the   network, all the way up to the application layer.   Over time, it is   able to spot malicious intent that a firewall would miss. This helps   with protection against new malware, or “zero hour” threats.

4. Who Has Your Back?
Moving data to the cloud is a big   step for an enterprise.  You need to feel your service provider is   trustworthy and supports you 24×7.  One quality control check  is the   SSAE (Standards for Attestation Engagements) No. 16 Type II audit, which   confirms what level of service and reliability they are providing.    Besides the security issues such as threat detection and VLANs, you will   want to ensure the provider has trained, qualified personnel that can   provide you with reliable technical support as needed.

5. Fast Restore.
 No Waiting. Should the worst happen,   and there is a data loss, you will want your provider to have the   industry’s most rigorous application-consistent backup.  What this means   is that your hosting service has taken point-in-time snapshots of your   data, flushing all transactions to a disk, and avoiding data   corruption.  You get a cleaner, quicker restore, and no tape is needed!    Contrast this with ‘crash-consistent’ snapshots that can miss data and   take up to a day to restore, costing you expensive downtime.

The tremendous potential to businesses in terms of scalability and   flexibility (without having to invest in costly IT hardware that quickly   becomes obsolete) makes the transition cloud a worthwhile pursuit. By   performing due diligence on the security and backup systems of any cloud   provider, businesses can enjoy the benefits of moving to the cloud without losing peace of mind.

Cloud Training and Certification is available at http://www.certificationcity.com

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

CompTIA Commends Efforts to Hire Veterans

CompTIA Commends Efforts to Hire Veterans

Last week marked the one-year anniversary of Joining Forces, an effort to recognize, honor and serve military families. Todd Thibodeaux, president and chief executive officer of CompTIA, commented, “I applaud the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden’s efforts to encourage companies in the private sector to hire veterans. One of the most important ways we can honor the service and sacrifices of our veterans is to make a commitment to employ them.  CompTIA continues to encourage companies in the IT sector to hire veterans. Since the launch of our Troops to Tech Careers initiative late last year, CompTIA has certified more than 2,700 veterans for careers in IT-related fields, and more than 20 corporations have joined the corporate registry at our Troops to Tech Careers website, where veterans can locate open job positions.”  

Don't forget Trainingplanet.com has the training and certification you need for CompTIA exams.