The 2017 Guide to Microsoft’s best Certifications

Microsoft was the first company to offer vender certifications in the information technology industry. Don’t just take my word for it: Steve Jobs said exactly the same thing when he and Bill Gates were interviewed on stage together in 2007.

It follows that Microsoft was also one of the first companies to launch a vendor-managed training and certification program for software products. Microsoft rolled out its Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) program in 1992, with the first exams covering Windows 3.1, LAN Manager, and SQL Server.

Microsoft realized early on that linking professional certifications to specific products would enable established veterans and the new breed of IT professionals to help validate their skills with Microsoft software.

Microsoft’s meteoric growth acted as the perfect promoter for the MCP program. As Microsoft products took over the market, increasing numbers of IT pros became interested in earning an MCP credential. Microsoft expanded the MCP program to include designations targeted at specific IT job roles — database admins, network admins, and software developers.

Things became a bit difficult for the Microsoft certification program during the dot-com era. The enthusiasm for everything technology or Internet-based led to a mad gold rush for IT certifications, especially those from major industry players like Cisco, Novell and Microsoft. A glut of freshly-certified but predominantly inexperienced technocrats stormed the industry, lured by the promise of high wages, free lunches, and stock options that would make them millionaires before they were 28.

The reputation of Microsoft’s MCP program, and other vendor-managed training and certification programs, took a hit during the irrational tomfoolery of the dot-com boom and bust.

The passage of time has restored some much needed sanity and stability to the IT industry, and has also re-established an appropriate value for Microsoft certifications. There is now a much healthier relationship between Microsoft, its certified professionals, and the companies hiring these professionals to support their technical infrastructure.

Today, the Microsoft Learning program is a popular and well-respected source of IT credentials. The company has worked hard to make its certifications challenging and relevant to the IT industry. And the industry has responded.

Some quick facts from the Microsoft Learning website reinforce the value of MS certifications in the working world:

● In a survey of 900 IT networking professionals, 60% said that earning a certification led to a new job.
● Some 67 percent of IT hiring managers rate certifications as having extremely high value in validating the skills and expertise of job candidates.
● On average, Microsoft certified technologists earn 15 percent more than their uncertified peers.

The advantages granted by achieving a Microsoft certification are obvious. But which Microsoft credentials are currently in the highest demand in the industry?

To answer this question, we ran through job listings at Dice, Monster, and other large IT career sites. We consulted the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and looked at the latest numbers for projected high-growth job categories. We also consulted several information technology managers who have been hiring our students. The managers ABCO talked with have an average of ten years of managerial experience in our industry.

Here is a breakdown of our ten picks for the most in-demand Microsoft certifications. Please note that this is not a ranked list. Any of these 10 certs can impact your marketability and earning power in the current IT landscape:

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert: Server Infrastructure

The MCSE has been a highly sought after and well-regarded industry credential since it was introduced. The acronym originally stood for Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, and the certification was primarily concerned with creating and administering Microsoft-based networks.

The MCSE has since been split into several different specializations, but the MCSE: Server Infrastructure is the certification that remains closest to its august progenitor. Fast Fact: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (USBLS) predicts a solid 8 percent growth in employment for network and computer administrators between 2014-2024.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate: Windows Server 2012

The MCSA was introduced with the release of Windows 2000, and was meant to be an intermediate certification that covered mid-tier Win2K client and server support. Like the more advanced MCSE credential, the MCSA has been split into other specializations over the years. The MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certification covers installing WS2012, administering the network(s) built on it, and configuring advanced network services.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer: Application Lifecycle Management

The MCSD certification has been Microsoft’s premier designation for software developers over the last 15 years. The MCSD: Application Lifecycle Management credential adds some specific components taken from that particular discipline, including software testing. Fast Fact: The USBLS is predicting a strong 17 percent job growth rate for software developers between 2014-2024.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate: SQL Server

Years ago, Microsoft had a certification called the Microsoft Certified Database Administrator or MCDBA. This certification was eventually retired, and Microsoft’s SQL Server product was represented by different credentials here and there. Today, the MCSA: SQL Server certification is aimed at database developers and analysts working with SQL Server 2012 or 2014. (As well as, very soon, SQL Server 2016.)
Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert: Data Platform

The second MCSE certification in our list is the MCSE: Data Platform credential. It is an advanced step up from the MCSA: SQL Server designation, which is a prerequisite for this higher-tier certification. The MCSE: Data Platform certification includes more advanced emphasis on developing databases with SQL Server, as well as designing entire database solutions. Fast Fact: The 2015 median annual pay for database administrators was $81,710, according to the USBLS.

Microsoft Specialist: Windows 7

This selection may surprise some readers, but a very large contingent of government, military, and corporate enterprises are still very reliant on Windows 7 as a client OS. These organizations did not make the move to Windows 8, and they are not ready or willing to jump to Windows 10.

Microsoft retired the MCSA: Windows 7 certification, likely as a prompt to IT professionals and other stakeholders. What remains is the Microsoft Specialist: Windows 7 credential, which can be earned by passing one of three currently active exams. Fast Fact: Windows 7 is still the installed OS on more than 48 percent of all desktop PCs, according to the latest figures from Net Applications.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer: Web Applications

The mobile computing boom has created a massive market for web apps. Consumers can’t seem to get enough new apps, and they have high expectations for continual development and improvement. The MCSD: Web Applications certification focuses on programming in HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS3. It also requires knowledge of developing software using Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, Azure.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert: Private Cloud

For being such an ephemeral thing, you can’t turn a corner without bumping into the Cloud. Your path to the MCSE: Private Cloud certification starts by first earning the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 credential. Candidates must then pass two exams based on working with private clouds created using Microsoft System Center 2012.

Microsoft Office Specialist

Many IT professionals look down their noses at the Microsoft Office Specialist certification, considering it to be of little value. Don’t you believe it — the MOS is a highly respected credential for entry-level and higher level employees. Fast Fact: According to research quoted by Microsoft, “Holding a MOS certification can earn an entry-level business employee as much as $16,000 more in annual salary than uncertified peers.”

Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate: Windows 10

It’s new. It’s improved. It’s Windows 10, and if Microsoft has its way — which it probably will, eventually — Windows 10 is coming to your enterprise sooner rather than later. The MCSA: Windows 10 certification will eventually become Microsoft’s premier network client OS credential. The certification is still under development as of this writing; only one of the exams is currently available, with another due to come online later in 2017.

Microsoft certifications are an excellent path for a new candidate to enter the information technology industry. ABCO Technology has experienced counselors and admissions representatives who will help you to determine, which certification path is the best one for you. Call our campus between 9 AM and 6 PM Monday through Friday. You can reach ABCO Technology by phone at: (310) 216-3067.

Email your questions to:
Financial aid is available to all qualified students.

ABCO Technology has moved. We are now located at
11222 South La Cienega Blvd. STE 588
Los Angeles, Ca. 90304.
Phone: (310) 216-3067.
Call us today to get started on your new career.

Employment for Certified Ethical Hackers

Employment for Certified Ethical Hackers
Jobs available for Certified Ethical Hackers, want one?

Have you ever had thoughts of becoming a hacker, an ethical one that is the key question? The EC-Council has released a certification called Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). Its goal is to certify security practitioners in the methodology of ethical hacking. This vendor neutral certification covers the standards and language involved in common exploits, vulnerabilities, and countermeasures.

If you have been to a bookstore in 2017, you’ve most likely seen that there is an abundance of books on hacking and “how to hack.” Until now, few organizations have worked toward quantifying ethical hacking, defining its legalities, or specifying its useful role in modern organizations. This is what the EC-Council is attempting to do with this certification. Keep reading if you want to learn more about this exciting opportunity.

Is port scanning legal?

Port scanning remains a questionable, legal subject. There is little debate that it’s usually the first step in any cyber-attack penetration. By itself, it may not constitute an attack. It’s not very different than going from house to house knocking on doors. As a question of its legality, the Georgia District Court case of “Moulton vs. VC3,” the judge declared a port scan in the case legal because it did not “impair the integrity or availability of the network.” The judge ruled that since there was no damage to the target, it could not be illegal.

Not all states, service providers, or organizations share that view. Some ISP’s will terminate the service of individuals performing port scans. Prudence is the best course of action. It’s best not to perform a port scan without the consent of the network owner. It’s interesting to note that if you search on “port scanning,” the popup ads displayed tend to be those of law firms and legal aid providers!

Why Must We Have Ethical Hackers?

Organizations must secure their IT infrastructure and networks. Just as corporations employ auditors to routinely examine financial records, so should corporations audit security policy. We have all seen the havoc that a lack of real financial audits can cause. Just as accountants perform bookkeeping audits, ethical hackers perform security audits. Without security audits and compliance controls, no real security exists. This is a big problem.

There are plenty of individuals waiting to test and probe your organization’s security stance. These individuals range from government and corporate spies, to hackers, crackers, script kiddies, or those who write and release malicious code into the wild. Their presence in your network is not a great thing!

Who Are Ethical Hackers?

An ethical hacker is most similar to a penetration tester. The ethical hacker is an individual who is employed or contracted to undertake an attempted penetration test. These individuals use the same methods employed by hackers. In case you were unsure; hacking is a felony in the United States. Ethical hackers have written authorization to probe a network. Only then is this attempted hack legal, as there is a contract between the ethical hacker and the organization. In 1995, long before today’s more stringent guidelines, one individual received 3 felony counts, 5 years’ probation, 480 hours of community service, and a $68,000 legal bill for failing to insure proper authorization. Don’t let this happen to you!

How is Ethical Hacking Performed?

Primarily, ethical hackers are employed in groups to perform penetration tests. These groups are commonly referred to as “Red Teams.” These individuals are being paid by the organization to poke, prod, and determine the overall level of security. Again, what is important here is that they have been given written permission to perform this test and have detailed boundaries to work within. Don’t be lulled into believing that the penalties for illegal penetration are low, it is a serious felony!

What is on the Test?

The Certified Ethical Hacker exam consists of 21 domains covered in 50 questions. It has a two-hour time limit. These questions are multiple choice. During the test, you are allowed to mark questions if you’re not sure of an answer and return for a later review. The format of the questions is choose one or choose all that apply. The domains were compiled to evaluate the full range of security testing. One must also demonstrate how hacker tools work and demonstrate knowledge of professional security tools, as well as how these tools are utilized. The 21 domains are as follows:

1. Ethics and Legal Issues
2. Foot printing
3. Scanning
4. Enumeration
5. System Hacking
6. Trojans and Backdoors
7. Sniffers
8. Denial of Service
9. Social Engineering
10. Session Hijacking
11. Hacking Web Servers
12. Web Application Vulnerabilities
13. Web Based Password Cracking Techniques
14. SQL Injection
15. Hacking Wireless Networks
16. Virus and Worms
17. Hacking Novell
18. Hacking Linux
19. IDS, Firewalls, and Honeypots
20. Buffer Overflows
21. Cryptography

These domains comprise a full body of ethical hacking knowledge. It’s good that the exams first domain is centered on ethics and legal issues. This is an important domain. Always make sure you have written consent to perform any type of penetration test or security audit.
Want to Learn More?

There is not an all in one study guide online or review for this test at the current time. ABCO Technology offers a complete certification course, which will prepare you for this exam. ABCO Technology presents this material in a practical manner so you will acquire the needed skills to succeed in this field. If you live outside of Los Angeles, there are many ways to start obtaining the knowledge needed to pass the exam. One point of review is the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST-800-42 is a good foundational document on ethical hacking. It even includes recommendations for tools intended for self-evaluation. NIST breaks penetration testing down into 4 primary stages:

Security Testing Methodologies

All security-testing methodologies have similar elements. These include: Plan, Organize, Gather Information, Test, Analyze, and Report. To learn more about security testing, review the following documents.

Octave – Operationally Critical Threat, Asset, and Vulnerability Evaluation

OSSTMM – Open Source Testing Methodology Manual

NIST sp800-26 – Self assessment guide for information technology

NIST sp800-42 – Security Testing

TRAWG – Threat and Risk Assessment Working Guide

•Planning – As the old saying goes, success is 90% preparation and 10 % perspiration. What’s the point? Good planning is the key to success. Know where you are going, what your goals are, what the time frame is, and what the limits and boundaries are!
•Discovery – This stage is broken down into two distinct phases: •Passive – During this stage, information is gathered in a very covert manner. Examples of passive information gathering include (1) surfing the organization’s Web site to mine valuable information and (2) reviewing their job openings to gain a better understanding of the technologies and equipment used by the organization.
•Active – This phase of the test is split between network scanning and host scanning. As individual networks are enumerated, they are further probed to discover all hosts, determine their open ports, and attempt to pinpoint their OS. Nmap is a popular scanning program.

•Attack – At this point, the ethical hacker will attempt to (1) Gain Access, (2) Escalate Privilege, (3) Browse the system, and finally (4) Expand influence.
•Reporting – This may be the final step listed, but it is not least in importance. Reporting and documentation should be carried out through each step of the process. This documentation will be used to compile the final report. This report will serve as the basis for corrective action. Corrective action can range from nothing more than enforcing existing policies to closing unneeded ports and adding patches and service packs.

Final Thoughts

I am glad to see the EC-Council release this certification. This is an area where continuing education is needed. Several ABCO Technology students recently took this exam, they passed, and believe the test is adequately challenging for a baseline of skills. The bottom line is that if you have some security experience, have taken the CompTIA Security + or the TICSA exam, and have an interest in penetration testing, this would be a solid career next step.
ABCO Technology offers the Certified Hacker class. If you are interested in working in a fast growing field of cyber security, it’s time to contact ABCO Technology. You can reach our campus by telephone at: (310) 216-3067 from 9 AM to 6 PM Monday through Friday.
We are located at:
11222 South La Cienega Blvd. STE # 588,
Los Angeles, Ca. 90304.
Email your questions to:
Financial aid is available to all qualified students
Become a certified ethical hacker today!

Optimizing webpages for user intent.

Optimizing webpages for user intent.
basic strategies

User intent. Also known by marketers as searcher intent, is a theory that actually stands up to the more primitive pre-Penguin and Panda tactics of optimizing purely for keywords.

User intent and optimizing for it has come into being via a combination of three key important factors:
◾Latent Semantic Indexing, Hummingbird, Rankbrain. All have fantastic and mysterious sounding names but all underpinned by the fact that Google’s algorithm is made up of much more than high school algebra. Google is clever, very clever. The algorithm understands more than just the specific keywords that a user types into the search bar.
◾As a result of the aforementioned ability, people trust Google. They may not trust them as a business that will pay their fair share of tax but they trust the search engine to understand their query and as such will ask more complex questions rather than utilising pure keywords. To ‘Google’ is a verb in the Oxford English Dictionary!
◾The internet and Google (among other search engines) have made unfathomable amounts of information accessible to the masses. As a by product, Google is often the first port of call for more than just purchasing actions. More on this later.

Voice search has further raised the bar for user intent with more types of unseen searches due to the conversational nature of voice search. As such, if you are still basing your SEO strategy around keywords you should probably start to think much deeper about user intent.

Finally, and this is an important one. Optimizing for user intent is not just about providing solutions or using synonyms. The majority of SEO campaigns are built around driving revenue and whilst rankings are great and indicative of campaign success, in reality you won’t retain clients without providing ROE and ROI.

Fully optimizing for user intent requires an understanding of how your potential customers buy via your inbound marketing channels. As a result, make sure that you have identified these sales funnels as they are crucial for capitalizing on optimizing your website for user intent in search.

User intent: An overview of the basics

What is user intent? In short it is the reason why someone is searching for something in Google. What are they actually trying to achieve as a result of typing (or saying) that search term?

Traditionally, the intent has been categorized as either navigational, informational or transactional although some like to define commercial intent or use different terminology such as ‘to buy something’, ‘to do something’, ‘to find something’, ‘to learn something’, ‘to go somewhere’ and so on.

These questions or intents can then help you to identify your Buyer Personas and the stage that they are at within your inbound funnels. Again, various inbound funnels utilize different terminology, but I am a fan of Hubspot’s methodology:

How do you figure out what the user intent is behind a search term? Honestly, it’s pretty easy. Just about everyone uses Google. Put yourself in the searcher’s shoes and ask yourself, “if I used that search term, what would I be looking to do?”

Also look at the types of search results that Google returns for a given search term; this is a great indicator of the user intent that Google itself attaches to that particular query.

Focus on VALUE for the user

Even if you don’t read on, here is a very simple tip that should permeate your entire SEO strategy. Ask yourself this question:

Does what I’m doing here add value for the user and if so, how can I make it as valuable as possible?

If you are taking into account what your user is looking to achieve and therefore providing as much value for the user as possible (forget SEO and rankings for one second), you will put yourself in a great place to have a successful campaign both now and into the future.

It is the primary focus for Google as a search engine, so you should make it your focus as well!

An easy place to start is evaluating each piece of content that you are writing. Does it complete the journey that the user is taking? If not, are there quick call to actions to pages that will make your customer perform the action you want them to perform? Your content will preferably be the former, providing solutions and value directly to the searcher.

In addition, if you continue to put the user first (instead of being keyword-focused) you will naturally create better, deeper, more complex and solution led content, thus satisfying the aforementioned LSI, Hummingbird and Rankbrain. Write for search engines first and you run the risk of lowering the content quality, in turn lowering the quality of your results.

How to align your SEO strategy with user intent

Targeting transactional search terms

For years SEOs have focussed on the sharp end of the funnel. and for good reason: the search terms with transactional intent bring in revenue. Let’s be clear, these search terms should remain a staple of any website focussed on ROI.

However, there are a few optimization tips associated with transactional search terms. As above, they are all focused around value for the user:
◾How easy is it to make a purchase from that specific page?
◾Are the call to actions clear?
◾Have you provided the user with all the information required to make that purchasing decision?
◾Is the language used focused around the purchase?

As SEOs, we have to make it abundantly clear to Google that if someone types in a purchase based search term, that our page is the best result for that particular search term.

I hate to hammer it home, but it is the webpage that will complete the desired outcome for the user and therefore offer the most value.

Targeting informational search terms

This is where a sit down with your stakeholders and the drawing up of a content strategy that is aligned to your user intent (and therefore inbound funnels) can unlock serious content marketing magic.

Real results you say? Surely informational searches only result in you giving away free information? Exactly.

Let me take you all the way back to the inbound methodology and the fact that people use Google as a source of information. Creating great informational content can have the following impact:

Providing value earlier in the consumer buying process

They may be wanting to research a product or service prior to making that buying decision. The more awesome information you give them the more aligned with your brand they become. When the time comes for that purchasing decision guess who they will lean more favorably towards? Of course there is a little caveat in that all other things are equal.

Earning links

Even if no sales come as a result of your informational content (unlikely), if it is good enough it will earn links as people reference the content…actually enough to provide further value for their own users. These links will subsequently improve the authority of your website and help you rank for transactional search terms. It’s a warped digital version of karma.

Understand your user flows

This is particularly relevant for transactional and informational search terms. Top notch SEO incorporates more than just onsite optimization, content creation and link building. It should pull in all marketing channels, including design. It’s all well and good generating traffic, but it counts for nothing if the website does not convert them.

Identify your key user flows and actions that you want your users to complete on your site according to where they are in the funnel. Are they an informational searcher? The website needs to encourage them to continue their hunt for information on your website or start to transition them further down the funnel to a purchasing decision.

Really understanding user intent and user flows will only help you with your conversion rate optimization.

Adjust your appearance in search

In the same vein as design supporting CRO, your appearance in search should be aligned with the user intent. The two standard influencers here are your title tag and meta description, although additional factors such as schema markup can also be implemented.

For example, if the search term is transactional make sure that the metadata is enticing and is communicating purchase driven vocabulary. Whereas if the search term is informational make sure that it hints towards how the information on the corresponding web page will solve the searchers’ problem.

Use your outreach skills

I thought we were talking about content here? Yes, on the whole we are but there are opportunities within link building as well. Some users will turn to Google not simply to provide them with the best result, but also a list of the options available to them. Common examples of how a small change to the wording can result in this alteration to user intent are as follows:

Tailor New York City > Best Tailor New York City
Tailor New York City > Tailors New York City

The addition of an adjective or the plural version of a keyword can often result in lists being supplied by Google. Not all of the results will be these lists, but for those not already in the top results they do offer an opportunity.

Contact these sites to get listed – we saw a considerable increase in conversions by doing this for a software platform client recently.
Don’t forget local search

Mobile search vs desktop search is a mainstream conversation nowadays, with some stats showing that mobile search has a 75% chance of action being taken by the user.

With this in mind, don’t forget to optimize your local listing in order to sweep up all of the traffic (over 50% globally now) using Google via mobile devices.

Some useful tools

Keyword research is critical in identifying valuable search terms, whatever the corresponding user intent is. We have listed a few options below, hopefully you are already using these tools alongside Google’s Keyword Planner, Moz’s Keyword Explorer or whichever tool you use to look at traffic. These tools can provide content ideas that will drive your campaign:

Answer The Public

Using a who, what, when, why, how style format, Answer The Public will give you a list of search terms. Use these prompts to create content ideas.

In a similar vein to Answer the Public, will display search volumes (if you pay for it) and commonly asked questions that relate to your keywords.


Buzzsumo allows you to view the most shared pieces of content via social for a given subject. Don’t just rely on data fed to you, check how popular these subjects are in real life!

Google Autosuggest

Use Google’s own user oriented functionality to understand the commonly asked questions and search terms for a given subject. Start typing and let Google do the rest.

Impressions via Search Console

We always warn against purely using Search Console and Google Analytics data as the basis for decisions moving forward, purely because it is reactive data.

However, you can look at search terms for which you are gaining impressions but potentially a low CTR and adjust the content accordingly. It may be as simple as making your metadata more attractive in the SERPs.

Horses for courses

The base theories will have to be adapted slightly to suit your particular needs. Some businesses may focus on impulse buys where others are deemed comparison goods and will benefit more from informative, longer sales processes. It is a ‘horses for courses’ scenario.

If you understand what you are trying to achieve via your SEO campaign, the journey taken by your user during the buying process, the various relevant searcher intents and align your strategy accordingly, it will place you in a great position to increase organic traffic and also your conversion rate.

ABCO Technology offers a comprehensive program for Certified Internet Webmaster, which includes SEO and Social Media strategist. If this is an area of information technology that interests you, contact ABCO Technology. Reaching our campus is easy. Call us by telephone from 9 AM to 6 PM Monday through Friday at: (310) 216-3067.

ABCO Technology is located at 11222 South La Cienega Blvd. in STE # 588.
Los Angeles, Ca. 90304.

Email your questions to:
Financial aid is available to all qualified students.
Learn to build highly successful webpages today!

Cyber Security job demand red hot

Cyber Security job demand red hot, another day, another Hack Attack

The HBO hack may have been worse than the initial leaks of a few unaired TV show episodes suggested by the network. A security company hired by HBO to scrub search results for the hacked files from search engines has told Google that the hackers stole “thousands of Home Box Office (HBO) internal company documents.”

The disclosure came as part of a DMCA take-down notice sent to Google Tuesday to force the search engine to take down links to the leaked files. For our readers who are not familiar with DMCA, it stands for the Digital millennium Copyright act, which protects copyrighted material from being illegally published.
The take-down notice also detailed that the hackers did away with “masses of copyrighted items including documents, images, videos and sound.”

The company in question, IP Echelon, is frequently being used by HBO to remove links to infringing material from Google. An HBO spokesperson declined to comment on the take-down notice and the nature of any files stolen by the hackers when contacted by several news organizations Wednesday “due to an ongoing investigation.”

Word of HBO getting hacked first broke Monday morning, when the hackers approached media outlets with the news that they had broken into HBO’s networks and released episodes of “Ballers,” “Insecure,” and “Room 104” as well as the script for an upcoming episode of “Game of Thrones.”

Also released by the hackers: Two episodes of “Barry,” the hit man comedy starring Bill Hader that is not scheduled to air until 2018 on the network.

The hackers appear to have also leaked personal information of a senior HBO executive. That information, published online in a text document, contains access information to dozens of online accounts, including paid newspaper subscriptions, online banking, and personal health services. At least one of these accounts may also have given the hackers access to the executive’s work email.

The perpetrators of the hack have claimed that they were able to access some of HBO’s key network infrastructure, and steal a total of 1.5 terabytes of data, and have suggested that they will release additional information in the near future. An image file published as part of the leaks seems to corroborate at least the first part of that claim, as it appears to show screenshots of HBO’s internal administration tools, listing employee names and email addresses and their functions within the organization.

Thousands of potentially sensitive internal documents, employee data and possible access to internal corporate emails were removed by hackers. All of this brings back memories of the famous Sony hack. Back in 2014, a group of hackers thought to have been backed by North Korea broke into the networks of Sony Pictures. The group subsequently released tens of thousands of emails, as well as scripts and video files, contributing to the ouster of Sony Pictures chief Amy Pascal.

HBO acknowledged the hack on Monday, and said that it was working with law enforcement and private firms to remedy the situation. “Data protection is a top priority at HBO, and we take seriously our responsibility to protect the data we hold,” the company said in a statement.

Cybercrimes of this type, create strong demand for cyber security professionals. Cyber security pros are becoming extremely valuable in the job market of 2017. HBO will hire additional network administrators who have cyber skills. Society is storing vast amounts of data online and that data needs to be protected.

cyber security jobs do not require a college degree, however in many cases the correct certifications will take the place of a four-year college degree. Ensuring that you receive the correct certifications, which will provide employable skills is the job of a solid ACCSC accredited computer training institution who is familiar with what it takes to join the increasing work force of cyber security professionals.

If you are interested in a career in cyber security, it’s time for you to contact ABCO Technology. You can reach our campus by telephone from 9 AM to 6 PM Monday through Friday. Call us at: (310) 216-3067.

Email your questions to:
Financial aid is available to all students who qualify.
ABCO has moved to a new and modern facility located at:
11222 South La Cienega Blvd. in STE #588.
Los Angeles, Ca. 90304.

Classes are held seven days per week to accommodate those who are working during the week.

Cyber security jobs are growing fast. Train today and get one of these exciting cyber security networking positions!

Optimizing your business for Global SEO

Most online sites at some point in their business development will want to expand, and one of the most recognized tactics to accomplish this goal is by offering products to an international audience.

However, it’s not a simple task by any stretch of the imagination. This post will help you understand the risks, research and steps involved in expanding your business into a global market.

Considerations and research

Is it the right time to go international? Is there a need to go international? This question depends on your focus for the future and the current needs of the business.

If you are increasingly having visitors to your site from international locations, now may be the correct time to start implementing an international SEO strategy.

There are, of course, a few things that you need to take into account – such as:
◾Are you able to implement ALL technical fixes?
◾Do you have the resources to carry out the work and manage each variation in the future?
◾If targeting a different language, do you have a competent person to translate?
◾Is the business ready to carry out international orders and process transactions?

Once you have checked all the above, it’s essential to conduct further research. As with any new website idea or build, it’s all about making sure it’s a worthwhile venture.

One of the biggest research areas will be around keyword research to find out if there is demand in the locations that the business will be expanding into. It’s important to note that the keyword research should be done in the language you will be targeting, and location.

If all the above is confirmed and ready to go, the next stage is to plan the implementation.

Website structure

You may have seen a number of different implementations of international SEO, each having different pros and cons. I tend to lean towards using subdirectories; however, it strictly depends on the type of targeting you will be using.

These are the main structure types:
◾ccTLD – Domain variations such as,
◾Sub domain –,
◾Subcategory –,

We have provided code illistrating the set up for a website using the subcategory URL structure for the UK and France. It’s important to note our main website is sitting on a .com as this tends to be the norm now. However this would work in the same way for

We’ve done this with variations that include both language and location, but this can be done with just language or simply location.

This would mean that we add the following code to our website:

We can also add an X-default tag to this piece of code to be safe. This will tell search engines that if there is a URL that is not using this structure that it should default to the URL specified. This would change our code snippet to:

It’s important to note that this is only for the homepage of our example website. Internal links will also need to use this code but with the URLs changed so they reference the specific URL rather than the homepage.

We have also left the homepage as a dot com because in the past we have seen drops when a site has also used the new URL structure for the homepage. If we were to change to it would mean having to pass through a redirect.

It’s much easier to do this within the CMS you are using; however, if needed you may use a bulk href lang tool.

Sitemap implementation

When people talk about using sitemaps and international SEO, they tend to be referring to implementing localization through the use of sitemaps. This is another way of accounting for different languages and countries if hreflang is not a possible solution.

The solution works in a very similar way to hreflang, but sits within a sitemap rather than in the website’s source code. We tend to only suggest using this method if hreflang is completely out of the question.

Metadata & content

We have already carried out our keyword research to find out where the demand is based on different languages, this is where new metadata needs to be used for each language variation. It’s also important that the right variation of the word is used, for example when targeting the USA from a site that uses UK or Canadian English.

The on-page content also needs to reflect the language that the user is on. If the hreflang is marked up to say the page is in French, it needs to be written in French. It sounds simple, but you would be surprised how many people get this wrong.

It’s also very important to make sure you have the in-house resource or outside help to be able to get this all done before launch. Yes, it is possible to gradually amend the content, but for users this could be extremely annoying – imagine their frustration in landing on a language they cannot understand.

As well as translating the content, it should reflect the audience you are targeting and their behaviors. User behavior varies from country to country and is something that needs to be taken into consideration when generating on-page content.

There are many differences that may not be apparent straight away. However, the best tip I can give is to not translate directly from English as what you are saying may not make any sense in another language.

It’s also highly important to take cultural differences into account when writing new content or trying to sell a product in a different market. People from different countries will look at areas of the website in different ways such as: security, payment gateways, type of language used, shopping cart structure and many others.

This is why it’s worthwhile speaking to people from the country you are trying to target and getting somebody local to write the content and provide feedback. It all comes back to doing your research beforehand.

This section is very much dependent on the type of business you run. However if you have a physical location in the new countries you will be targeting it’s very important.

Google My Business allows businesses to create a listing giving full details of their company along with the location. This will be important in building up an organic search presence in a new location. There are plenty of posts on local SEO so I won’t go into it too much here, but these are the main steps:

◾Create the location here
◾Add as many details as possible
◾Add the address to the most relevant page on your website
◾Mark the address up with local schema
◾Obtain links from relevant websites in the area or region

Carrying out the above steps will help the new location build up a stable base of links that can be built on top. I would also suggest creating relevant social profiles and local listings if relevant.


Making sure you are fully prepared is by far the biggest step in scaling a business to target an international market. Without the correct preparation, there is a strong chance that you won’t achieve what you initially set out to do.

International SEO is not a simple process by any means and it can easily go wrong. However, if you are in the position to expand your business into an international set-up, there is lots of money to be made.

ABCO Technology offers a comprehensive program for website development, which includes search engine marketing. Call our campus between 9 AM and 6 PM Monday through Friday. You can reach us at: (310) 216-3067.

Email your questions to:
Financial aid is available to all qualified students.
Learn to build international websites today!

Red Hat certification opens the door to high paying information technology jobs

Red Hat offers certifications on virtualization, storage, cloud and the company’s open source-based operating systems. This certification article will give you a basic overview of Red Hat with the popular RHCE and RHCSA certifications, which will help your career path in the field of information technology.

Red Hat, Inc. provides open source software solutions to more than 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies, including Internet Service Providers, airlines, healthcare companies and commercial banks. The company has been around for over 20 years and is well known for its Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) distribution.

Red Hat provides a fully open technology stack, which you can alter to suit your needs — you’re not locked into the vendor’s vision of the software. Red Hat’s portfolio of products and services also include JBoss middleware, cross-platform virtualization, cloud computing (Cloud Forms and OpenStack) and much more.

Red Hat offers a number of professional certifications based on its software products including operating systems, virtualization, storage and cloud-based solutions.

Red Hat Certification Program Overview

The Red Hat certification program is aimed at system administrators, engineers, architects, enterprise developers and application administrators, as well as cloud and virtualization administrators, who use RHEL in the IT infrastructure. The program aims to ensure candidates are proficient in RHEL by requiring performance-based certification exams. Whereas many certification exams ask multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank questions about specific technologies, Red Hat requires you to perform and complete real-world tasks using Red Hat technologies in order to pass its exams.

Red Hat traditionally offered certification exams only upon completion of a specific training course. Now you can take a series of Red Hat exam courses from ABCO Technology. The exam session is performed on a secured system in a professionally proctored testing center, which is administered by Pearson Vue. ABCO Technology is one of those testing centers. Other centers are located in select cities throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.

Once you earn a Red Hat certification, you become a Red Hat Certified Professional. This gives you access to Red Hat Certification Central, which allows you to connect with potential employers, join the Red Hat community, create study groups and collaborate on projects. In addition, you can explore Red Hat’s training options and easily schedule individual exam sessions. Discounts on recertification exams are offered as well.

Red Hat Administrator, Engineer And Architect Certs

The largest group of Red Hat certifications is geared toward system administrators, engineers and architects. Some of the most popular and sought-after Red Hat certifications reside in this category, such as the Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA), Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) and Red Hat Certified Architect (RHCA). Other certs include Red Hat Certified JBoss Administrator (RHCJA) and Red Hat Certified Virtualization Administrator (RHCVA).

In addition, this category includes a variety of Red Hat Certificate of Expertise credentials in Hybrid Cloud Management, Camel Development, Configuration Management, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Diagnostics and Troubleshooting, Performance Tuning and more.

RHCSA: Red Hat Certified System Administrator

The RHCSA certification is designed for experienced Red Hat administrators and is required by some organizations to meet U.S. Department of Defense Directive 8140. It’s also a prerequisite credential for the Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE).

Red Hat recommends three training classes to prepare for the RHCSA certification. The Windows admin classes are Red Hat System Administration I (RH124) and Red Hat System Administration II (RH134). Candidates may also take a Linux/UNIX admin class — RHCSA Rapid Track Course RH199 — to prepare for the RHCSA exam.

To obtain RHCSA certification, candidates must pass the 2.5-hour RHCSA Exam (EX200).

RHCE: Red Hat Certified Engineer

The RHCE certification is geared toward experienced senior system administrators, and fulfills requirements of U.S. Department of Defense Directive 8140.

To obtain the RHCE certification, you must first become RHCSA certified. The recommended training for the RHCE certification is based on your skill level. Windows admins with minimal Linux experience should take the Red Hat System Administration I and II (RH124 and RH134) courses, along with the Red Hat System Administration III (RH254) course to prepare for the exam.

Linux or UNIX admins with one to three years of experience should take both the RHCSA Rapid Track Course (RH199) and the Red Hat System Administration III (RH254) courses to prepare for the exam. RHCEs looking to recertify, or candidates who’d like the opportunity to engage in a lab-based review before taking the RHCE exam, should take the RHCE Certification lab (RH299).

The certification lab is a four day, instructor-led opportunity to work through all of the labs from the Red Hat System Administration I, II and III courses, along with the Rapid Track course.

To complete the RHCE certification, you must pass the 3.5 hour RHCE Exam (EX300), which is currently based on Linux 7.

RHCA: Red Hat Certified Architect

The RHCA certification is the pinnacle cert in the Red Hat Certification program. To qualify for the RHCA, candidates must possess a current RHCE or Red Hat Certified JBoss Developer (RHCJD) credential. Depending on the concentration chosen, five or six exams are required to obtain RHCA certification. Currently, the RHCA is available in five concentrations: Datacenter, Application Platform, DevOps, Cloud and Application Development. Additional prerequisites for the RHCA vary by concentration but generally include a combination of exams, other certifications or certificates of expertise in various Red Hat disciplines.

If you are a serious network administrator who wants to bring your information technology career to a new level, it’s time to contact ABCO Technology to ask about our Red Hat certification programs. Call our campus between 9 AM and 6 PM Monday through Friday. You can reach us by phone at: (310) 216-3067.

ABCO Technology is located at 11222 South La Cienega Blvd. in STE # 588
Los Angeles, Ca. 90304.

Email all questions to:
Financial aid is available to all students who qualify.
Your Red Hat certification is waiting for you. Call today and get started.

Database Administrator jobs rapidly growing in 2017

Database administrators are growing in importance and salary for the past decade. The question many students want to know concerns, which database is the best one to obtain a vendor certification. Before we look at this question, let’s examine the career in a holistic view by analyzing the big picture.

Pros / Database administrators have the potential to earn a high wage.

Cons / Some database administrators are required to be on-call 24 hours a day.

 Verdict, you should Pursue this field if you have great attention to detail and enjoy organizing all types of information.

A database administrator builds and maintains custom databases to meet the specific data needs of a company or organization.
The job requires certification in one or more kinds of platforms, such as Oracle or Microsoft, as well as good communication skills to determine the multiple purposes that a system will be used for within an office. Increase in demand is expected in computer careers such as this over the next 10 years, although there are fewer database administrator jobs anticipated than in other similar fields, such as a network security specialist or a telecommunications specialist.

Databases streamline the data-entry process by making data in like fields similar in format, which is essential in accessing and sorting data more efficiently. Common types of systems are those that maintain inventory at a retail store, data on a shopping cart website or a data warehouse that stores accounts payable and accounts receivable information. In addition, the health care field is experiencing a large pickup in demand for database administrators because of the huge amount of regulations requiring reporting of all treatments and procedures.

If you are employed in these types of IT jobs, you transfer data from one system to another during an upgrade. In addition, you provide maintenance to databases such as when one malfunctions or when additional functions need to be added, including a different kind of report or a new field on a form. You also manage access to the system. Because databases usually contain confidential or sensitive data, different kinds of access are established for employees with different security levels.

According to the US Department of labor, starting salaries for database administrators average $42,930 annually, and you can expect to earn up to $118,720 depending on your region in the United States. If you are employed in a full-time, permanent position, you are often eligible for health insurance and other benefits.

Presently, 118,700 database administrators are employed throughout the United States, and 19,900 job openings are expected to be created by 2022. A range of companies and organizations that need to store data may hire you, or you may work for a consulting firm, which builds databases for business clients. You are most likely to be hired by a college or university, an insurance carrier or a merchant wholesaler. The states with the highest concentration of database administrators include the District of Columbia, California, Colorado and Virginia.

Individuals in these types of computer jobs often receive a bachelor’s degree in information technology at an accredited university, or you can enroll in an accredited vocational school offering specialized programs for database administrators.

Certification is also needed in one or more platforms such as Oracle and Microsoft. An understanding of internet programming languages is also helpful for managing online systems, which are becoming more and more prevalent.

Database administrators who are employed in a permanent position by a company to maintain an internal database often work full-time. Depending on the size of the company and whether the company is international, you may be required to work swing or graveyard shifts. For those who maintain online systems which are accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, individuals are often required to be on-call when they are not in the office. If a database malfunctions, you may work over a weekend or holiday to get that database functioning properly again.

ABCO Technology offers a comprehensive program, which will enable you to acquire the skills, certifications and confidence to apply for a job as a database administrator. If you believe this career path is for you, it’s time to contact ABCO Technology. You can reach our campus by telephone at: (310) 216-3067 from 9 AM to 6 PM Monday through Friday. If email is your desired way to communicate, email your questions to:

Financial aid is available to all students who can qualify for it.
ABCO Technology has recently moved to a new and expanded campus. ABCO is located at 11222 South La Cienega BLVD in STE #588 Los Angeles, Ca. 90304.

Database professionals are in demand, join this group today and change your working life.

Linux Jobs are in demand in 2017

According to a study conducted earlier this year by Dice, the tech career site, 93 percent of hiring managers are looking to employ Linux professionals. If you want one of those high paying jobs, a great way to increase your chances to get that job offer from that company of your dreams is to go to human resources with either the CompTIA Linux + or as a Certified Red hat Network Administrator.


The fact that Linux jobs are in demand has not gone unnoticed. According to Dan Brown, The Linux Foundation’s PR & Marketing Manager, “The Linux Foundation’s Intro to Linux courses, which can help with basic prep for the CompTIA Linux + or Red Hat Systems administrator Exam, has had over 270,000 registrations from 100+ countries.” That has made this course the biggest ever for Linux. The enrollments show a high employer demand. Candidates wouldn’t be taking these courses unless they were told to by human resource departments.

Why are some many people interested in obtaining Linux certifications?

The answer boils down to one important area of information technology, which the media reports about as Cyber security.

Cybercrime is on the rise. Linux is an open source operating system, which network administrators can configure in certain ways to make it very difficult for hackers. Hackers want easy targets and a system using Linux, which is properly configured, is not an easy target. Therefore, companies are turning to network administrators who are proficient in both Windows and Linux operating systems. In many large companies, Linux runs in the background. The average employee working at one of these companies will believe the company’s operating system is Windows when in fact the system’s back end is operated with Linux. Complex systems using dual operating systems create jobs, which only the right trained information technology professional can fill.

While these Linux Foundation certifications are designed to be complementary to the lower-level Linux Professional Institute (LPI) certifications, they’re more comparable to high-level certifications such as Red Hat’s Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) in that they’re quite difficult to pass.

If you are someone interested in working with open-sourced information technology, getting those certifications will be your key to success. The best way to accomplish your goal is to find a school who offers instructor led hands-on training. Hands-on training offers many benefits, especially when the training is taught by a live instructor. Live instructors will pass on their actual work experience. With most certification exams, the methods for performing a particular on the job task are very different from what is on the test. In order to successfully pass this exam, a candidate must learn the material with two mindsets.

The first being to acquire the knowledge and skills to do the job. The second path is to learn how to past that exam, which will stand in your way if you don’t understand the procedure.

If you want to become certified for Linux, it’s time to call ABCO Technology today. You can reach our campus by telephone at: (310) 216-3067 from 9 AM to 6 PM. Email your questions to:

Financial aid is available to all students who can qualify for the financial assistance.
Apply for a great job today, get trained and certified in Linux!

Cyber Security Success Story

cyber security success
Sometimes the right certification can make the difference between unemployment and career success.

In April 2015, a woman with a master’s degree in computer science walked into ABCO Technology. She told me she’d been on the job market for nine months and sent out 750 resumes. But at that point, she’d received no solid job offers. How, then, was she going to turn her academic training into a cyber security success story?

Industry Certifications make a Big Difference

After a long discussion, we determined that she wanted to work in the field of network administration with cyber security. Like many students who had worked very hard to obtain an advanced degree, she was reluctant to place her trust in the certification process. She had trouble with the fact she spent all of that time and money attending school, only for a very disappointing outcome. It took a lot of documentation and a bit of hand holding, but she enrolled at ABCO and started in the networking and cyber security program.

The student began her courses, and within 11 months she completed a solid list of certifications, including

and finally the Certified Information Systems Securities Professional/CISSP.

Our student then applied to the US Department of Defense for a DOD 8140 cyber security clearance. Within 4 weeks she received the DOD 8140 cyber security clearance.

Candidate Finds Cyber Security Success in the US Military

Candidates who receive this clearance have their contact information placed on a special directory maintained by Sans Institute. Before long, an Air Force Recruiter in Las Vegas gave our student a call. The recruiter told her about an opportunity to work in Cyber Security at Creech Air Force base in Nevada. The job offer had several excellent benefits, and our student was excited to accept the offer.

As of August 2016, she is very happy in her new role as a cyber security professional. I don’t know the specifics of her job or the nature of the security work she is doing.  But I can tell you that this was one case where becoming certified in a list of information technology areas was a definite life-changing event.

ABCO Technology – Equipping Students with IT Skills since 2000

Since its founding in 2000, ABCO Technology has witnessed countless situations where students changed their lives by achieving certification in a field of information technology.

The manner whereby candidates receive jobs has completely changed over the past 15 years. It used to be that the 1980s and even into the mid-90s, employers were willing to train a college graduate from square one to work on their products. However, changing business conditions combined with the fact that the average person no longer remains on a particular job for their whole career has caused the training landscape to change dramatically. Today, employers want their candidates to have a set of predetermined skills and qualifications before applying for a particular job. This condition is particularly true for information technology. In summary, the certified candidate gets the job.

Acquire the necessary skills and get certified for that great information technology job you’ve always dreamed about.

If you would like in a solid career in information technology, pick up your cell phone and call ABCO Technology. You can reach our campus from 9 AM to 6 PM Monday through Friday. Alternately, you can email us at:

Get certified and change your life today.

8 Tips on Acing IT Certification Exams

IT Certification Exam

The information technology industry has moved toward strict standards for IT certification in many areas. Employers from over 2,000,000 companies in the United States will not hire someone for a particular job in information technology unless they can show certification. After all your education, how do you make sure you pass the exam on the first try?

Becoming certified involves passing a particular certification exam offered by a vendor of either software or equipment. For example, CompTIA, Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle and even Linux offer certification exams.

The venders listed above moved toward this business model because having certified professionals handling product saves both time and money.

In fact many insurance companies along with leasing firms require certification as a condition for equipment they use. Completing a class in a particular area of information technology will not be recognized by most employers as a qualification for hire. All classes are not taught in the same way and certain instructors may not have covered all of the material necessary for a new candidate to do a specific job.

How to Ace an IT Certification Exam

1. Pick a Good School

Find an accredited school that features certified trainers for your particular subject. Ensure your instructor has at least five years of practical experience and 2 years of teaching experience in your selected program.

2. Attend Classes

It’s amazing that people will pay good money to get a higher education, but skip class anyway. Learning from a textbook and trying things out at home can help you pass the exam; taking part in discussions, getting to know your instructor and participating fully will enrich your experience. Don’t shortchange yourself: show up to class, arrive early, and participate.

3. Make sure the school you select assigns labs

Labs are the hands-on components of IT education, and the groundwork of a career in IT. Complete all lab assignments. Students who fail certification exams admit they only read through lab assignments and didn’t actually complete them. This is a crazy decision when your career will depend on your practical experience.

4. Write practice exams, often

Take your practice exams over and over, until you receive a score of 95% or higher. When you take the actual certification exam, I guarantee your score will drop by a factor of at least 10%. Everyone gets a bit nervous when taking a new exam. If you are overly prepared, your tension on test day will decrease.

5. Do extra work in your subject

You can join a chat group on your subject, read professional blogs and use the Internet to conduct additional research about the topics covered in your class and program. In addition, reach out to people who have taken your certification test and ask them for suggestions.

6. On exam day, relax

When taking your exam, don’t be in a hurry. Whether the exam gives you 90 minutes or 3 hours, use all of your time.

7. Read the instructions

Be sure to follow the exam’s instructions. I know of one student who failed a Cisco exam because he didn’t follow the exam’s instructions.

8. Be passionate about your subject

My final tip is to have passion for your subject. If you have a vision of yourself engaged in this type of work three or five years from now, this will give you that added incentive to do that extra work, which will bring you to the promised land of certification.

Are you interested in learning information technology and gaining a new career, which will change your life? If so it is time for you to take that big step and contact ABCO Technology. You can reach us by telephone at (310) 216-3067 from 9 Am to 6 PM Monday through Friday. If communicating by email is easier for you, send your questions to ABCO Technology. Email your questions to: