Posts Tagged ‘gordon snyder’

IT Certifications Help Employees Stand Out In a Crowded Marketplace

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Computer networks are integral to business and demand for employees in the field of Information Technology is expected to increase as firms continue to invest in new technologies. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook employment of computer network, systems and database administrators is expected to grow by as much as 30 percent by 2018 – much faster than the average for other occupations.

Want to stand out from the competition when pursuing an IT position? Look to certifications. “The job market today is highly competitive even in higher demand areas like information technology and networking,” says ATETV Advisor Gordon Snyder, Director of the National Center for Information and Communications Technologies at Springfield (MA) Technical Community College. “An effective way to distinguish yourself from others is to earn certifications in computers and networking, in combination with a degree. These certifications compliment academic work, showing a potential employer your knowledge, skills, ability and ambition.”

Certifications are offered through product vendors, computer associations and other training institutions, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics today, many employers regard certifications as the industry standard – and may even require employees to be certified. Certifications are also important for advancement.

We asked Gordon Snyder to recommend certifications that can help employees launch their IT careers – and advance their careers. Here are three he suggested, two entry-level and one advanced.

A+ Certification (entry level)

The A+ certification is globally recognized as the mark of a skilled entry-level technician and is a mandatory hiring requirement for a variety of entry-level IT jobs. An A+ certification demonstrates that an employee has acquired entry-level skills in the essential IT domains: hardware and PC repair, software and operating systems, network administration, information security and desktop troubleshooting. A+ certified technicians also develop customer service and communications skills to help in their day-to-day interactions with both technical and non-technical employees.

What skills that are measured by A+ certification?

• Understanding the fundamentals of computer technology, networking and IT security;
• Understanding of the operating system functionality and troubleshooting methods;
• Ability to identify hardware, peripheral, networking and security components;
• Ability to categorize various types of storage devices and backup media;
• Ability to explain the types and features of motherboard components; knowledge of how to perform proper computer safety procedures and best practices;
• Possession of practical interpersonal communication skills;
• Ability to install, configure, upgrade and maintain PC workstations, the Windows operating system and SOHO networks;
• Ability to install and configure input devices, such as mouse, keyboard, biometric devices and touch screens;
• And ability to use a variety of troubleshooting techniques and tools to effectively resolve PC, OS and network connectivity issues.

What jobs are available for candidates with this certification? An A+ certification can help job-seekers who are looking at positions as an IT Support Specialist, a Help Desk Technician, a Desktop support Specialist, a position in PC and Hardware Repair, or a Field Service Technician.

Network+ Certification (entry level)

Another certification that demonstrates competence as an entry-level network professional and provides an IT professional’s expertise in managing, maintaining, troubleshooting, installing and configuring basic computer networks. Network certification is the gateway to numerous career credentials and a key step toward a career in networking and telecommunications.

Which skills are covered in Network+ certification?

• Management and troubleshooting a basic network infrastructure
• Installation, operation and configuration of a wired or wireless network
• Ability to identify and explain common networking protocols and parts
• Ability to identify and troubleshoot performance and connectivity issues
• Ability to install, configure and differentiate between common network devices
• Ability to describe networking technologies and basic network design principles
• Acquisition of the knowledge to adhere to wiring standards and utilize network testing tools

CCNA Certification (Advanced)

The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) is an advanced certification to enable employees in the IT field to broaden their skill sets in the management and optimization of network systems. CCNA is globally recognized as the mark of a competent and qualified network technician and can be an important step forward toward a career in network administration or network engineering.
CCNA shows employers that workers have gained abilities in the installation, configuration, operation and troubleshooting of routed and switched networks. CCNA-certified professionals also have the abilities to make connections to remote sites via a WAN (wide-area network, a network of computers within a very large area such as a state or country), can deal with basic network security threats and can understand fundamental wireless networking concepts and terminology.

For more information on IT certifications and the IT field, check out the following resources:
IT Career Finder
PC World Magazine
ICT Center, Springfield Technical Community College

Gordon Snyder: Bringing Social Media to ATE and Education

Monday, November 16th, 2009

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One of the most innovative sessions at last month’s ATE Conference in Washington, D.C., was the discussion titled “Online Impact – Tapping Twitter, Facebook and Other Tools.” The moderator of that panel, Gordon F. Snyder, Jr. shared with us more information about how educators can bring social media into the classroom.

Gordon is the Director of the National Center for Information and Communications Technologies at Springfield Technical Community College in Massachusetts. (He’s also an ATETV advisor.) He also practices what he preaches on his blog and in his Twitter feed.  Gordon told us that, when it comes to social media, students are far ahead of their teachers. “The role of social networking in education will be huge in five years,” he says. “A lot of us older faculty don’t understand it, so we don’t use it.”

Another problem is that many schools block access to social media and disallow mobile devices in the classroom. “I think it’s being done to conserve bandwidth,” he says. “As younger digital natives move into faculty positions, this will change and the use will become mainstream.”

Gordon pointed us to marketing pro Rohit Bhargava’s Five Stages of Twitter Acceptance as a possible way forward for educational uses of social media. “I think you experience these five stages with any social media application,” Gordon says. “The first step is always trying something out, with subsequent steps being about learning how to use it.”

For Gordon, Twitter has changed the way that he interacts online. “A year ago I would read something and then write a blog about it – maybe 500 or 600 words. Today I read something and tweet it with a short description and a link to the original piece.”

He’s also seen some innovative uses of Twitter in classes and presentations, including the Twitter “backchannel”: a live stream of tweets from the audience, projected on a screen behind the presenter. “Backchannels can be very interesting, allowing attendees to maintain conversations while listening to the speaker,” he says. “It also gives attendees the opportunity to question the presenter in real time without interrupting the presentation.”

Gordon is also a big fan of YouTube, calling it “a wonderful classroom resource.” “You’ll find excellent content in most science, math, engineering and technology subjects there. You’ll also find the ATETV videos there!”

Gordon’s advice for educators looking to incorporate social media into the classroom is to separate the personal and the professional – but not to worry too much if their students blend the two a bit. “Students tend to be more personal and also a little more informal. This can be good but can also quickly lead to all kinds of problems if things get out of control. Most students are pretty good about knowing where the line is and not crossing over it.”

When it comes to social media in the classroom, there’s a lot that educators can learn from their students. The trick is learning how to listen.

ATETV Episode 5; Plus, ATETV Reports Live From the 2009 NSF ATE Conference!

Monday, October 19th, 2009

ATETV episode 5 is up, and this week we’re reporting on three different ATE success stories. First, we meet a young single mother studying process technology to improve life for her and her family. Then we see how the geospatial technology is bringing the centuries-old craft of surveying into the 21st century. Finally, we learn how internships are getting ATE students into jobs even before they graduate.

In other news, Wednesday through Friday this week the American Association of Community Colleges and the National Science Foundation are holding the 16th National ATE Principal Investigators Conference in Washington, D.C. The theme of this year’s meeting is “Technicians and the Green Economy,” and the conference organizers have followed through by “greening” proceedings, down to the 100-percent recycled reusable water bottles handed out to all participants.

In addition to discussing the meeting’s very timely theme, participants will attend sessions about making the most of their NSF grants, showcase their projects and network with ATE professionals in their fields from across the country. There’s even a session on making the most of social networking tools like Twitter and Facebook, led by ATETV advisor Gordon Snyder and featuring Mike Qaissaunee, the star of last week’s cloud computing segment.

In order to bring you an insider’s perspective on this week’s event, we’ve recruited two ATE students who will be in attendance to serve as ATETV correspondents. Josh Cleburn is a student at Lee College in Baytown, Texas, just outside Houston. Josh is the president of the school’s section of ISA — The Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society.

Also reporting for us is Cristina Curatolo, who is representing Nashville State Community College at the conference. Originally, from Romania, Cristina is a student in NSCC’s Visual Communications program specializing in Multimedia Design. “For me this is a real honor and shows me how much my instructors respect the work that I have done,” Cristina said of attending this year’s conference. You can see an example of her work on her iTunes podcast.

Thanks to Josh and Cristina for their help, and check back in here for more from this year’s conference.  Our correspondent team will be sending live updates throughout the conference via Twitter and uploading photos via Facebook after the event.

We are also starting a discussion in the forum called ATE Conference: Technicians in the Green Economy.  Students, teachers, and other conference attendees can share their thoughts in this thread and keep us updated throughout the week.

We also would love to see your photos and hear your updates in our Facebook fan page.  Feel free to post photos and share your experiences with us.  For those “tweeting” from the event, follow our hashtag #ATEPI to stay up to date!