2 Nov 2015

Why IT Certifications are a Great Thing to Have

As the economy slowly begins to repair itself from the 2008-2009 housing market crash, people are becoming less worried about getting a job and more concerned about getting the job. And in this technologically driven world, many of these people are finding themselves looking into the career field of Information Technology.

This is great, as the industry certainly needs professionals hungry for career advancement. However, the skills necessary to compete within IT are very complex, as basic computer training just won’t cut it in many professions today. For many of these people, the skills they need can be found within IT certifications.

IT certifications boost “common knowledge”

Not too long ago, saying you had knowledge of Excel spreadsheets was nearly a sure-fire way to get hired in many industries. People tend to forget that computer skills weren’t very common just a few years ago, and that having experience with them was a huge advantage in the job market.

Even children know how to run many applications on a computer.

Computers have become a part of everyday life.

Sadly, this is no longer the case. A Burning Glass Technologies report from March 2015 found that nearly 80 percent of modern middle-skill jobs require digital skills of some kind, whether they be in spreadsheets or even word processor proficiency.

That being said, this doesn’t mean getting certified in these skills is a useless endeavor. Quite the opposite in fact, as having advanced Excel training through a Microsoft Excel certification course puts you well ahead of the rest of the pack.

Receiving a certification in these areas shows you not only have initiative, but that you are better trained than other candidates who simply taught themselves and might have missed some things.

IT certifications command respect

Shakespeare might have been right to say “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” but certifications receive much of their respect from the names of the companies that license them.

Sure, knowing a lot about networking devices is a great skill to have if you’re attempting to work in that industry. However, being a Cisco certified network professional adds another layer of expertise to your already developed skill set (and your resume).

Cisco is well known for its work in cybersecurity, best shown recently when it shut down a hacker ring making about $30 million a year. These hackers were using something called ransomware to hold their victims’ computers hostage until payment was made, stopping only when discovered and shuttered by Cisco’s Talos cybersecurity division.

“A Cisco certification commands respect.”

By receiving Cisco certification training, you can leverage good press like this in your favor. A Cisco certification commands respect because the company does, and having their name on your resume is a great way to boost an employer’s confidence in your abilities as an IT professional.

If you’re considering taking your career to the next level but don’t know where to start, make sure to check out the list of computer training courses offered by New Horizons Computer Learning Centers. With years of experience training professionals in ad

Author: Kristen Hess

2 Nov 2015

Is Your Data Electromagnetically Secure?

Servers and other electronic, magnetic, and wireless equipment emit and are affected by electromagnetic radiation. This gives rise to three potentially serious problems: snooping, interference, and electromagnetic pulse (EMP) susceptibility. Fortunately, all three problems can be easily mitigated with a faraday cage. The idea is that surrounding your equipment on all sides with a grounded metal cage that conducts electricity essentially shields the equipment from electrical energy. As long as the equipment doesn’t touch the cage, wireless signals are prevented from getting in or out. Cages can also double as locked structures to keep unauthorized personnel away from sensitive equipment.

In addition to concerns about snooping, destruction of data through EMP is an important consideration. EMP has always been a risk due to the theoretical possibility that lightning or solar flares could trigger an electromagnetic pulse strong enough to damage computers and other electrical equipment. However, recent developments in directed-energy weapons and the threat of nuclear terrorism have heightened that possibility. In the past, nuclear preparedness seemed to be an irrelevant consideration, since nuclear war was considered an all-out event with such total destruction that securing data would be pointless. However, with third-world countries able to implement 70+ year-old fission technology, terrorist groups able to achieve nation-like status, and Russian military strategists considering the idea of “de-escalating” conflicts through limited nuclear attacks, being prepared for EMPs emanating from distant nuclear explosions perhaps becomes worthy of consideration in a disaster preparedness plan. The use of faraday cages, location of sensitive equipment on lower floors or underground, and redundancy at a distance can all play a part in such preparedness efforts.

You can download plans to build your own faraday cage at the following site:

There also special wallets and cases that you can use to protect small RFID devices from snooping or interference, such as at the following sites:

Ready-made faraday tents are also available, such as at www.paraben.com/stronghold-tent.html

2 Nov 2015

Creating your own formatting style

If you’ve ever wanted to create a formatting style that’s different than any of the currently available styles, you’ll be glad to know that there’s an easy way to do it.

  • First, select the cell that has the combination of formats that you want to include in the new style.
  • Then, choose Style from the Format menu and in the Style name box, type a name for the new style.
    • To define and apply the style to the selected cells, click OK.
    • To define the style without applying it, click Add, and then click Close.
  • Also, if no cells have the formats you want for the style, you can specify the formats when you name the style.

Learn more tips and tricks when you take a class with New Horizons.


Author: Kristen Hess

2 Nov 2015

Cisco Forecasts Exponential Cloud Growth

The shift to cloud computing is among the most prolific trends in information technology today. Organizations in both the private and public sectors have already begun migrating applications, services and data to the cloud in an effort to consolidate hardware resources, save money and improve sharing and collaboration capabilities.

Small and medium-sized businesses especially have employed cloud-based services that can scale to meet a company’s needs. Even the federal government is looking to cloud computing in an effort to save money on legacy IT infrastructure.

The dawning of an era

Denying the prominence of cloud computing would be like arguing that the world is not round, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. But for those who aren’t convinced, compelling new research that cloud computing is here for the long haul came courtesy of Cisco with the Oct. 28 release of its latest Global Cloud Index.

The company forecast that between 2014 and 2019, cloud traffic will increase from 2.1 zettabytes to 8.6 zettabytes. In other words, the amount of activity occurring via the cloud is expected to quadruple. In addition to the sheer immensity of the numbers, the rate of growth exceeds the rate of data center expansion, further highlighting the rapid pace of proliferation for cloud computing.

“Denying the prominence of cloud computing would be like arguing that the world is not round.”

Cisco cited a variety of factors that will contribute to the ascension of the cloud in IT infrastructure. Among these are increased use of public cloud among organizations, especially in the form of Software-as-a-Service deployments.

Private cloud is also expected to see growth, with more IT departments delivering corporate applications over virtual networks. Data center virtualization will also play a role, as more organizations choose to store information in virtual servers as opposed to legacy servers.

Mobility and the Internet of Things

No forward-thinking discussion of cloud computing would be complete without considering mobility, and the Internet of Things, or what Cisco refers to as the Internet of Everything. The increasing number of mobile devices – which could include everything from smartphones and tablets to smartwatches and fitness bands – will also catalyze cloud growth, according to the report.

Storage space is limited for smaller devices, so the ability to store applications and data in the cloud helps users access whatever service they may need on the go.

Cloud computing will play a central role in IoT growth.
Cloud computing and virtualization will play a big role in corporate mobility.

Likewise, the vast array of devices that will be connected by the IoT will generate immense quantities of data. Refrigerators, washing and drying units, garage doors, home security systems, automobiles, trains, trucks and city infrastructure – just to name of the objects that be connected by the IoT – will be communicating with other devices and with the people overseeing them. Machine-to-machine chatter will occur in offices, at home and within city infrastructure, and most of it will happen through the cloud.

What this means for IT professionals

With more traffic in the cloud, IT professionals with formal cloud computing training or any variant of a virtualization certification may be in high demand. This is especially true for IT wor

Author: Kristen Hess

1 Nov 2015

Create a new spot color with this keyboard shortcut (Illustrator)

When you add a new swatch to the Swatches panel, Illustrator tags it as a process color by default. You can easily change that when you create the new swatch by selecting Spot from the Color Type pop-up menu in the Swatch Options dialog box. Or, change it after the fact, by double-clicking on the swatch to display the Swatch Options dialog box. You can also get it right from the start, considering all you have to do is press and hold [command] ([Ctrl] in Windows) and click the New Swatch button at the base of the Swatches panel. When you do this, Illustrator tags your new swatch as a Spot color.

Learn more about Illustrator at New Horizons.



Author: Kristen Hess