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(below COMMENTARY)


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September 27, 2002—In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY

  • Looking Forward

2. NEWS & VIEWS

  • Que to Revive Exam Cram Series

3. ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Planning on Getting Certified? Make Sure to Pick up Our New eBook!
  • Real-World Tips and Solutions Here for You

4. WHAT'S NEW FROM CERTTUTOR LIVE!

  • Featured Threads:
  • When One PC Can't See Another
  • Home Labs Are Crucial
  • Logon Delays
  • Hot Threads:
  • Heading for "the Beast"
  • Just Looking for Some Opinions on Desktop Computers
  • Breaking into the IT Field

5. RESOURCES

  • Tip of the Week: KVM Switches
  • Question of the Week: Exam 70-216

6. INSTANT POLL

  • Results of the Previous Poll: Service Packs
  • New Instant Poll: Hardware

7. NEW AND IMPROVED

  • Train for Security+ Certification

8. CONTACT US

  • See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

1. COMMENTARY
(contributed by Morris Lewis, morris@holistech.com)

  • LOOKING FORWARD

  • After writing this column for more than 2 years, I'm ready to move on to other challenges. During my tenure, we've seen the training business digress from the frantic feeding frenzy in which a certification and a pulse were enough to ensure a dozen job offers to the current slump in which we almost expect to see MCSEs on the corner with signs reading "will subnet for food." Signs of life are returning to the IT community, so I thought I'd leave you with some advice based on the lessons we've learned over the past 2 years.

    Perhaps the most significant lesson has been that not just anyone can manage a network, program a router, secure a server, or write a program. A few weeks of training and passing a handful of exams doesn't exempt you from spending the time required to assimilate new, complex concepts. Two years ago, I read about one training center's claim that an MCSE certification is a better choice than a college degree. That center is out of business now, and most of the students it trained are probably out of work because the training they paid for concentrated on certification and not learning the skills necessary to do a job. When the next "big thing" comes around, as it certainly will, realize that there's no substitute for the experience of solving real-world problems in an actual business environment.

    The lesson companies have learned in the past 2 years is that they can't rely on certification exams to determine the qualifications of potential employees. Nearly every company in America has a story about an employee who held the certification but couldn't do the job. Microsoft is just as guilty as the training centers for pushing its certifications as the key hiring criterion. In trying to relieve the strain on its technical support lines and sell even more copies of Windows, Microsoft touted MCSEs as eminently well suited to install, support, and manage Microsoft networks. Unfortunately for many companies, many of the high-profile security breaches that have occurred over the past 2 years have been at companies with certified administrators in charge of the networks. Even Microsoft realizes that it made a mistake.

    Despite these lessons, certification still matters. But now, instead of being the one most important criterion that employers look for, certification is one of several basic requirements. If you look through the classifieds and on the Internet job sites, you'll see few jobs that don't require certification. Two years ago, companies had to offer large salaries to get employees of other companies to consider changing jobs. Today, an open position might elicit dozens, even hundreds, of resumes, most of which list significant experience and multiple certifications. Clearly, companies continue to see the value of certification as a basic tool for weeding out job applicants, but certification is now just one component of an applicant's overall skill set.

    Another lesson is that training isn't a commodity. Effective training occurs only when training centers provide good instructors who share their own experiences and supplement their instruction with good courseware. If you survey the training centers in your area that have gone out of business in the past year, you'll probably find that they placed a higher value on low prices and high volume than on quality. If we accept the fact that certification is only one part of landing or keeping a job and that the purpose of training is to enhance our job skills, we must require training centers to be our partners in that endeavor. This requirement means we must force the centers to concentrate more on quality control than on filling seats if they want our money and time.

    Finally, the one good lesson that the onslaught of viruses, worms, and other security intrusions of the past 18 months has taught us is that it's in a company's best interest to keep good administrators and good programmers happy. Whether these employees learned their skills through classroom training or self-study, they've proved the basic tenet of IT: You can never stop learning, because there's always something you don't know. The companies that have evaded all the viral attacks, or that have suffered only moderate consequences of them, are the direct beneficiaries of the work that their administrators have put in.

    Good luck in all your efforts. And thank you for giving me some of your valuable time during the past 2 years.


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    2. NEWS & VIEWS

  • QUE TO REVIVE EXAM CRAM SERIES

  • Que announced that it will publish the popular Exam Cram series, which Coriolis abandoned earlier this year. The series, now called Exam Cram II, will feature many of the titles that became popular under Coriolis. For more information, see the Que Web site.
    http://www.quepublishing.com

    3. ANNOUNCEMENTS
    (brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

  • PLANNING ON GETTING CERTIFIED? MAKE SURE TO PICK UP OUR NEW EBOOK!

  • "The Insider's Guide to IT Certification" eBook is hot off the presses and contains everything you need to know to help you save time and money while preparing for certification exams from Microsoft, Cisco Systems, and CompTIA and have a successful career in IT. Get your copy of the Insider's Guide today!
    http://winnet.bookaisle.com/ebookcover.asp?ebookid=13475

  • REAL-WORLD TIPS AND SOLUTIONS HERE FOR YOU

  • Register online for Windows & .NET Magazine LIVE! Network with the finest gathering of Windows gurus on the planet. This event is chock full of "been there, done that" knowledge from people who use Microsoft products in the real world. Early-bird discount expires soon. Register now and you'll also receive access to sessions of concurrently run XML and Web Services Connections.
    http://www.winnetmagLIVE.com

    4. WHAT'S NEW FROM CERTTUTOR LIVE!

    CertTutor.net Live! is the Internet's number-one training and certification discussion board. Each week, CertTutor.net Live! receives thousands of posts about Windows XP, Windows 2000, Cisco Systems, and more. We've selected one of these posts to feature here in CertTutor.net UPDATE. To join in the conversation at CertTutor.net Live!, register at the following URL:
    http://www.certtutor.net/registration/index.cfm

  • FEATURED THREADS
  • WHEN ONE PC CAN'T SEE ANOTHER

  • Knowing how to troubleshoot this common networking problem is important. If you go about it properly, you can save a lot of time and energy by pinpointing the trouble spot quickly. See this thread for some troubleshooting tips.
    http://certtutor.net/forums/messageview.cfm?catid=14&threadid=35183

  • HOME LABS ARE CRUCIAL

  • After setting up a home lab for his studies, JDeSimonelaunched this thread, which demonstrates why hands-on practice with realistic situations is so important.
    http://certtutor.net/forums/messageview.cfm?catid=15&threadid=35086

  • LOGON DELAYS

  • Home labs are valuable because they let you experiment with a variety of configurations. Set up a full domain and practice logging on with various DNS settings to see how these settings influence the process. Setting up roaming profiles will also help you learn. See this thread for more ideas.
    http://certtutor.net/forums/messageview.cfm?catid=10&threadid=35210

  • HOT THREADS
  • HEADING FOR "THE BEAST"

  • http://certtutor.net/forums/messageview.cfm?catid=16&threadid=34820

  • JUST LOOKING FOR SOME OPINIONS ON DESKTOP COMPUTERS

  • http://certtutor.net/forums/messageview.cfm?catid=10&threadid=35272

  • BREAKING INTO THE IT FIELD

  • http://certtutor.net/forums/messageview.cfm?catid=37&threadid=35234

    5. RESOURCES

  • TIP OF THE WEEK: KVM SWITCHES

  • If, like most students in the IT field, you have two or more computers in your home lab, you should consider getting a keyboard/video/mouse (KVM) switch. For less than the cost of a monitor, you can easily switch between computers from one keyboard, mouse, and monitor setup. This tool saves not only money but also valuable desk space and electricity.

  • QUESTION OF THE WEEK: EXAM 70-216

  • This week's question will help you prepare for Exam 70-216: Implementing and Administering a Microsoft Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure.

    QUESTION
    The company you work for has offices in Cairo, London, Sydney, Moscow, and Osaka. Each of these offices maintains a Windows 2000 network environment and also has some legacy Windows NT 4.0 servers. A WINS infrastructure is in place to support the NT 4.0 servers, and each site has a WINS server. The WINS servers are configured with the following push/pull relationships:

    Server          Partner          Push/pull (minutes)
    Osaka           Sydney           45/90
    Cairo           London           60/90
    Cairo           Osaka            20/30
    London          Moscow           90/60
    Moscow          Sydney           60/60

    Your company places a workstation on the network in each city at exactly 10:00 P.M. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Each workstation registers with the local WINS server immediately. Given the replication schedule above, which WINS server will be the first to have all five new records in its WINS database? Assume that all replication cycles start at 10:00 P.M. GMT (hence Osaka pushes to Sydney at 10:45 P.M. and pulls from Sydney at 11:30 P.M. GMT), and assume that it takes 1 minute for the database to process the records (so if at the same time Moscow pulls from Sydney and London pulls from Moscow, new records from Sydney don't arrive at the same time at London but appear at Moscow only a minute after London has pulled the database).

    1. Cairo
    2. Osaka
    3. London
    4. Moscow
    5. Sydney

    ANSWER
    To arrive at the answer, map out the information you have as follows (where T equals time in minutes):

            T=0     T=20    T=30    T=40    T=45    T=60    T=90
    Cairo   C       C       CO      CO      CO      CO      COLM
    Osaka   O       CO      CO      CO      CO      CO      COS
    London  L       L       L       L       L       COLM   COLM
    Moscow  M       M       M       M       M       MCOS    MCOSL
    Sydney  S       S       S       S       COS     COS     COS
    T=0_: Records in place.
    T=20: Cairo pushes to Osaka.
    T=30: Cairo pulls from Osaka.
    T=40: Cairo pushes to Osaka.
    T=45: Osaka pushes to Sydney
    T=60: Cairo pushes to London,
          Cairo pulls from Osaka,
          London pulls from Moscow,
          and Moscow pulls from Sydney
    T=80: Cairo pushes to Osaka.
    T=90: Osaka pushes to Sydney,
          Osaka pulls from Sydney,
          Cairo pulls from London,
          Cairo pulls from Osaka,
          and London pushes to Moscow.

    The correct answer is D—Moscow.

    6. INSTANT POLL

  • RESULTS OF PREVIOUS POLL: SERVICE PACKS

  • The voting has closed in the CertTutor.net nonscientific Instant

    Poll for the question, "Have you installed Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1) or Windows 2000 SP3?" Here are the results (+/- 2 percent) from the 122 votes:

    • 73%: Yes
    • 15%: No, but I plan to
    • 12%: No, and I don't plan to

  • NEW INSTANT POLL: HARDWARE

  • The next Instant Poll question is, "Have you bought a new PC for home use in the past year?" Go to the CertTutor.net home page and submit your vote for a) Yes, b) No.
    http://www.certtutor.net

    7. NEW AND IMPROVED
    (contributed by Carolyn Mader, products@winnetmag.com)

  • TRAIN FOR SECURITY+ CERTIFICATION

  • LearnKey announced training for the Computing Technology Industry Association's (CompTIA's) Security+ certification. LearnKey's course features expert instructor Cameron Hunt, who provides knowledge and skills you'll need for certification. The five-session course ships in VHS format for $355. Online and CD-ROM formats will ship early next quarter. Contact LearnKey at 435-674-9733.

    8. CONTACT US
    Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:

    • ABOUT THE COMMENTARY — morris@holistech.com
    • ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER IN GENERAL — rcarson@winnetmag.com

    (please mention the newsletter name in the subject line)

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