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Northern Virginia IT and Computer Training

What you need to know about the hottest and most relevant computer certification training classes in Northern Virginia.

Northern Virginia is one of the largest areas of concentrated IT companies in the country. The Dulles corridor contains as many IT companies per square mile as Silicon Valley, and the number is growing each month. Since staying current on IT skills and knowledge is not an option, its a must these days, we started this website to bring training information to the Northern Virginia technology community.

Feel free to browse the site or use the request information form at the top of the site to get information on the best IT certification training classes in the area.



Certification and Re-Certification: CompTIA Deadline

June 8, 2010 by securitycert

First let me start by saying that I think it’s a good practice to require people certified in an evolving and growing set of skills, to recertify periodically. This concept, while somewhat inconvenient and insulting to some, is absolutely necessary for maintaining the level of competency implied by having a “Certified” status.

What’s the point of saying you are Network+ certified if you haven’t used your networking skills at all in 3 or 4 years? Chances are the technology has expanded, evolved, or even completely changed from one standard to another. If you plan to use your old Network+ or Security+ certification as a tool on your resume, you should also be prepared to demonstrate the knowledge and skills that that certification portends. This is exactly the reasoning behind CompTIA wanting its members who are certified in A+, Network+, and Security+ to recertify every 3 years. They want people to be up to date on the latest and greatest technologies and skills in the industry.

All that said however… persons seeking the 3 certs mentioned above, have until the end of 2010 to still fall into the “lifetime certification” category. According to CompTIA’s website, all existing A+, Net+, and Security+ certifications, and those obtained before 12/31/10 will be valid for life. I think this is a great gesture by CompTIA to allow those of us with ‘older’ certifications to still be grandfathered in, and not have to pay to test every 3 years. And it also gives 6 more months for students actively seeking these certifications to enjoy the same benefits.

My suggestion for anyone who has been thinking about getting A+, Net+, and Sec+ certifications to do so before the end of this calendar year. And for those of you needing one of these certifications to comply with the DoD-8570, I would urge you to enroll in a classas soon as you can to take advantage of this lifetime certification status. It’s a great benefit to both you and your employer.

One final thought: Do not mistake my true point in this post, which is to stay current and in the know for the certifications you have. Just because you may not be required to pass a test to prove your skills, you very may have to do so on the job, and failing on the job because your skills are inadequate can be much more embarrassing than failing a test.

Employers truly value those employees who continue to increase their skills and knowledge in the industry. Get your certifications, but don’t stop there. Continue to soak up all you can. And of course, be sure to take advantage of this lifetime certification window which will only be open for another 6 months!

Security+ Certification Training in Northern Virginia

May 19, 2010 by securitycert

Dealing with data can be a scary function when security is critical. It is not uncommon for the news to frequently mention data leaks and security breaches in the same sentence. Since the passage of the Department of Defense’s guidelines on information procedures many businesses are now required to have employees that have certain types of certification. One of the approved certifications is that of the CompTIA Security+. This can be used to fulfill certain DoD 8570 requirements.

CompTIA is a well-known name in the computer training and certification field. They were among the first companies to offer an industry wide accepted certification known as A+. CompTIA has now expanded into other areas of information and is now offering a security related specialty. Even the military currently employs CompTIA certified professionals to help defend their data. Perhaps most impressive is the fact that the military now requires many contractors to have this certification if they are required to handle sensitive electronic information.

Contractors who work with the DoD or Government will find the Security+ to be an excellent option in proving the seriousness at which the company handles their information. When applying for new contracts it is also critical that contractors show that they have an acceptable number of certified individuals to be capable of handling potential contracts. In the past decade standardized tests such as Security + have become more important than ever in proving one’s credibility towards a profession.

One reason this certification is so highly sought after is due to the fact that it is a difficult exam. CompTIA has maintained a high standard of testing requiring those taking the exam to display a multitude of knowledge. Setting out to take the exam is not a light endeavor and should only be pursued by those that are serious in the pursuit of the certification. The system of questioning used tests the all knowledge pertaining to information and security and is designed to weed out the less serious.

In today’s economy it is critical that companies pursue new and profitable contracts. Companies located in areas such as Northern Virginia could benefit significantly from such contracts. Competition is fierce and has resulted in businesses pursuing new revenue streams. A Government contract is one of the more consistent options. A DoD or Government contract can be the difference between a company going under and having a good year. Losing a contract over insufficient security training is both a waste and very painful to a company. Today you can’t afford to lose a contract over something so simple. This is why it is critical that modern businesses pursue those who have professional credentials such as the CompTIA Security + association.

A+ Certification and the Dod8570 Directive

May 8, 2010 by securitycert

The CompTIA A+ certification is not only an industry wide and highly recognized achievement of hardware and operating system proficiency, but the certification also meets the requirements of the DoD8570 directive. If you’re not familiar with it, The DoD8570 directive calls for all persons within the Department of Defense Information Assurance Personnel to exhibit a uniform level of competency. We will say a few brief words about the DoD8570 Directive and then a few words about the CompTIA A+ certification. Then we will talk about how the DoD8570 directive and the CompTIA A+ certification actually complement each other.

The CompTIA A+ certification has actually been around for a while. Due to the ever evolving and changing world of technology the actual material on the test occasionally changes to keep up with advances in technology. But the core test never changes and that is the A+ ensures that the right people have the right skills that are necessary to not only survive but to thrive in the ever changing world of technology. The certification introduces the student to the hardware that is needed to build a technology foundation that later on serves as the platform in which computer software will run on. Like anything else in life a strong foundation is essential and serves as the springboard in which future successes can be achieved.

The DoD8570 directive calls for a set of standards and competency for all personnel serving in the DoD information technology departments. This directive also serves as a means to ensure a minimum skill level is achieved by all potential and existing members. The directive further helps to provide competent and qualified persons when called upon. Finally, the DoD8570 directive serves as a means to increase the knowledge base of all current and future members.

The CompTIA A+ certification and the Dod8570 directive are similar in their core objective. Both essentially serve as a means to ensure that those who follow the programs from inception to completion will be far ahead of the competition. The certification and the directive both give their participants a strong foundation. Those who are already within the directive have the basic tools required to be successful in the certification process.

Finally, the CompTIA A+ certification is the right choice for any persons already working within the DoD8570 directive. And the A+ certification is the right choice for those persons just starting out within the DoD8570 directive.

CISSP and Information Assurance

April 6, 2010 by securitycert

The need for skilled IT Security personnel seems to increase daily.  Professionals used to be able to get by on just their experience alone when being awarded contracts or taking on new positions.  This is becoming very infrequent these days, as IT security certifications have now become the barometer for measuring one’s aptitude and capabilities.

Why is this the case?  Why is years of experience worth far less than a piece of paper; a certification?  The short and simple answer is that the pace and evolution of technology is so fast that is renders a lot of past experience obsolete.  Particularly, it means that experience is often seen as outdated, whether that’s actually the case or not.  This is where the certification process takes precedence.  When an employer or contractor sees that you have your Security+, CEH, or CISSP certification, that person knows that you have  a certain, up-to-date, skill set according to the established criteria and accrediting bodies.  Each of the above mentioned certifications has been standardized by CompTIA, The EC-Council, and (ISC)², respectively.

Another recent development has placed an even higher premium on certification and devalued experience; that would be the enactment of the DoD 8570 directive.  Essentially, this directive has made Information Assurance (IA) mandatory; it requires employees and contractors be certified if they work in and/or handle IT Security.  The actual certification required will vary based on job type, but typically the certification that one would need will either be A+, Net+, Sec+, CEH, or CISSP.

This article focuses on CISSP and its role and value as a high-level IT Security certification.  CISSP focuses on information security within an entire organization.  Oftentimes, there is a noticably large gap in the knowledge level, or protocol, or even just communication skills, between the upper management and it’s “in the trenches” employees.  That is to say that each level of an organization will most likely have different methods, terminology, and understanding in regards to information security at their respective level.  What CISSP does is it establishes a common knowledge platform for competence in information security.  This is a Worldwide and standardized basis for companies and organizations across all sectors; most notably applicable in the IT arena, but not limited there exclusively.  Organizations of any size that deal with sensitive data such as customer information, employee records, credit card or social security numbers will benefit by having a CISSP certified employee overseeing their operations.

The issue alluded to above is that the DoD 8570 directive is having a particularly and potentially devastating impact on uncertificed professionals already occupying those Information Assurance positions within organization.  The ones feeling the pressure the most are those working for government agencies or work for government contractors.  Many people are facing looming deadlines to comply with DoD 8570 to keep their jobs, even though their experience suggests that they have sufficient knowledge already.  More and more we are find that certification itself is the most important (only?) criteria.

The best advice one can take in this new climate of mandatory certifications is to take training classes and become certified.  If you already occupy one of these positions, there’s a very good chance that your company would be willing to pay for or reimburse you for taking a certification training course.  The irony of that statement of course is that they value your experience and would want to keep you in a job that they already know you can do.

Intense School Closes its Doors in Northern Virginia

December 30, 2009 by securitycert

Just last week, Northern Virginia lost one of its most relied upon IT training schools, Vigilar’s Intense School.  Located in Dulles, VA, Intense School was a main provider of IT training and certification classes in several areas including A+, Network+, Security+, CISSP, Cisco certifications, etc.  Their most notable offerings were the increasingly popular Ethical Hacking courses like CEH, CHFI, and ESCA.  In fact they were recognized as the Best institute in the entire country for their excellence in the areas of Ethical Hacking.  This is a very prestigious honor awarded by the EC-Council.

 So what will become of all the businesses and individuals seeking the certification courses formerly offered by Intense School?  The answer is: They will be just fine.  In fact there are a few other IT training companies located in that same area, most notably Academy of Computer Education (ACE).  This IT training school has had a presence in MD and DC since 2001, and recently opened a new location in Ashburn, VA. 

Academy of Computer Education provides A+, Network+, Security+, CCNA, CISSP and Microsoft certification training, and would be a great option for companies who used to use Intense School for their training.  Additionally, ACE was also recognized by the EC-Council for its outstanding work in the area of Ethical Hacking training.  ACE was given the ‘Circle of Excellence’ award back in September ’09, which is given to each of the Top 5 schools in the country.

Network+ Fundamentals – Building a Foundation in Computer Networking

November 30, 2009 by securitycert

If you enjoy problem solving and you are looking for a career in which you play a necessary role in the day-to-day operations of a business, you might consider training for your Network+ certification. Businesses in every industry rely on their computer networks to perform critical business tasks like managing inventory, processing payroll, and sharing files. These companies need qualified people to design, implement, and troubleshoot their networks. Obtaining a Network+ certification is a good first step to learning these vital skills.

Network+ training gives you the foundation you need to understand how computers communicate. You will learn how the Open Systems Interconnect (OSI) model divides responsibility amongst different layers to provide device and software developers with a common set of expectations. For example, network adapters operate at the Physical and Media Access Control (MAC) layers of the OSI model. Therefore, all network adapters must have a MAC address, which is an address that uniquely identifies that adapter anywhere in the world.

At the Network layer, each network adapter also has a logical address. The most commonly used protocol, Transport Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), allows you to assign this address either manually or dynamically. A manually assigned address is also known as a static IP address. In Network+ training, you will learn how to configure a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server to dynamically assign IP addresses and other configuration settings. You will also learn how to divide a range of IP addresses into subnets to segment the network.

At the Application layer of the OSI model, each application that participates in a network conversation does so by listening on and sending a message to a port. For example, Hypertext Transport Protocol (HTTP), the protocol used to browse the Web, typically listens on port 80.

Networks are sometimes complex and organic, with devices joining and leaving the network daily. Moreover, even on a simple network, things can go wrong. Because keeping a network running reliably is essential, an important part of your Network+ training will be learning how to troubleshoot and resolve problems.

After you have achieved Network+ certification, you will be qualified for a job as a Network Technician. You will also be well on your way to a career as a Network Administrator or Network Engineer. Network+ certification is an excellent jumping off point for advanced certifications like Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) or Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP).

Are you a person who loves to make things work? If so, consider Network+ training and certification as the first step to a challenging and satisfying career.

DoD 8570 Directive and its Impact on Northern Virginia Tech Businesses

November 23, 2009 by securitycert

The Department of Defense directive 8570 was instituted to provide guidelines for the qualification of personnel performing information assurance work for DoD and affiliated technical organizations and personnel. The directive lays out the necessary training and certifications required for both technical and management personnel who work in the government sector.

The directive covers full or part-time military service members, contractors, or local residents who work for a DoD affiliated business. Those with access to the DoD information network and who provide some form of security support need to have their full training and certification within three years.

The directive also stipulates that all positions be categorized as Technical or Management of level I, II, or III, and that personnel hired be qualified for each level by having the proper training and certifications. A standardization of the training and certification for each position is hoped to provide a consistent and secure environment for the DoD information network. Security+ Certification Training is a required component for all but the lowest level positions within this new framework.

Security+ provides the required level of training for building and maintaining secure networks. It also trains the IT professional to recognize and deal with network security threats. Implementing a required and established minimum level of IT Security knowledge is a large part of the reason that the DoD instituted directive 8570.

The directive, which was laid out in 2008, was planned as a way to provide a uniform level of security throughout the DoD information technology environment. Through training and certification by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) it was felt that a consistent and more secure network could be created for the DoD. With the threat of Cyber Terrorism and hacking by foreign government-sponsored individuals, the need for security of this vital network was viewed as an essential part for U.S. security in the 21st century.

Northern Virginia, with its wealth of government offices and contractors, is one area of the country that DoD 8570 has impacted most. Many defense organizations have their headquarters or an affiliate office in the area, which employ IT professionals for managing their network functionality and security. Since many of these offices access the DoD information network as part of their business, their workers are affected.

Several companies offer training and certification, including Security+ certification. Security+ certification is required for all Manager level employees as well as second level techs. In general the certification should be considered a necessary component to a skill set for all career minded IT professionals.

The Value of A+ and Network + Certifications

November 12, 2009 by securitycert

If you are considering a move to the IT field supporting various operating systems, computer hardware, networks, wireless devices, printers and more, you should consider the value of an A+ and or Network + certification. If you already have knowledge, you can use your A+ and or Network + certification to build on that knowledge, or you can start with limited knowledge and learn from the basics. As businesses continue to grow, so do their need for experienced and qualified IT support professionals. The information technology field is one that continues to grow exponentially. Businesses of all sizes have come accustomed to having the right tools to get their jobs done and at their disposal. With that being said, computers and their peripherals are the tools of choice to get these jobs done quickly and efficiently.

Here is a true scenario: You have 500 underwriters working for an insurance company that utilize a network printer. It is the end of the month and these employees are scurrying to get their important documents printed and in the mail. Using a trouble ticket system, such as Remedy; management opens a “Critical Ticket” because there are 150 jobs in the print queue, but nothing is being printed. Critical means 15 minute turnaround time. What do you do? You cannot afford to cancel all the jobs in the print queue. The underwriters are getting anxious and calling your boss.

Upon successful completion of the A+ certification exam you will be a master of hardware installation, able to perform routine troubleshooting, maintenance and repair on existing systems, be accustomed to the various operating systems available. You will have a full understanding of wired and wireless networking as well as the implementation of data and hardware security. An A+ and or Network + certification also increase your value, not only to yourself but to your prospective employer. Using your newly earned A+ certification you can and will be able to resolve the printer problem from the scenario above with little effort. You will resolve the issue in a timely and efficient manner, using the skills and confidence you have developed being an A+ and Network + certification engineer.

When you add an A+ certification and or Network + certification to your resume, you are telling a valued and potential employer that you have the skills to get the job done, no matter how challenging. Most of you already own a personal computer and have a building block foundation to become a PC support technician. You can build on that knowledge by getting your certification today.

Northern Virginia Training in the IT and Networking Sector

November 3, 2009 by securitycert  

Welcome to Northern Virginia Training!

On this site we will explore trends and topics that touch on the IT, networking, tech, information security and computer training industry as they apply to our Northern Virginia.

As we all know, Northern VA is one of the largest hubs for Information Technology in the country. There are a number of large IT training companies based here as well. IT and tech training plays such a major role on almost every IT professional all across the area, so the purpose of our site is to keep everyone informed of the latest in that industry.

Check back frequently for updates!