Languages – hindrance or help?

Having worked in other languages than my mother tongue since 1998, every time I learn something new I learn in a language other than my mother tongue. Meaning that I explain a flight path in English and French but can’t do it in Swedish. That I can speak about #GDPR and #privacy in English, but not in Swedish.

I consider myself fluent in English, but even so in instances like these I feel hampered by lacking language skills. There is also a question about the test creators, they are often created by English mother tongues, for English mother tongue. For obvious reasons the test creators are specialists in their area, but the test takers are not. Why isn’t that a factor? Yes, the test providers state prerequisites required for the tests but that is the factual background, languages don’t come into the picture.

How to solve that? Language tests to establish language proficiency? But will taking a test in a simplified language provide the same test? Won’t it give extra advantages to those test-takers compared to those test-takers taking the test in ”normal” language versions? Or can it said that 70% pass is 70% pass no matter what? It’s the language that is simplified, not the content.

Testing, and pausing and testing

The CompTIA package I bought has practice tests included. In my readings, I found that testing and pause is the best way to learn i.e. more learning than studying. And I like to learn so there is a reason for studying. In this case, I’d get a Security+ certificate with some knowledge behind the passing.

But, how long should the pause be to be efficient? 15 minutes? 15 days? Since I for some reason find this situation overwhelming, I have a tendency to procrastinate. Also, should you study just before making the practice test, so the testing becomes repetition?

So many questions, so few answers.

Show me the money!

Reading Global Knowledge’s report rather raised my mood showing a general trend of rising salaries across the entire IT industry. But of course, then came COVID-19 and things changed.

While average salaries rose in the first quarter of 2020. But according to Foote Partners some 505 tech certifications continued to decline in market value. Why is that? It’s difficult to say, but Foot Partners posit that as more get certified, less of interest it is. Supply and demand in other words…

The state of the matter is that no one seems to know whether it pays off or not. Every report I come across say something different and in the ensuing discussions about those reports, there is more point of views than people answering. I am a little surprised, however, that certifications that are generically applicable e.g. Project Management which is always a good thing to have, score so low.

Certs – waste of time? Or not.

Admittedly, my latest post was a bit of a downer. But the researcher in me wasn’t satisfied after all the answers I had received had all been highly personal. There’s’ nothing wrong with that, but as facts go personal feelings normally don’t count.

So what are the facts? Does certification pay?

Global Knowledge does annual research regarding certifications and salary. BTW @GlobalKnowledge, global contact forms shouldn’t have US states as a mandatory field… so I thought that report would be a good place to start.

The survey yielded 12,271 completed responses, with 54% coming from the United States and Canada and the remainder from countries around the world. The online survey was tabulated using IBM SPSS and Q Research software. Yes, it’s pro-COVID-19.

Many answers to my question on FB, came back and said that what really mattered was if you were good at your job. Certifications are secondary to that. /

Eighty-five percent of global IT professionals hold at least one certification, of which over half were earned in the past 12 months. Before COVID-19, 66% planned to get a new certification this year. Tech professionals still see the value of certifications and are pursuing them in various categories and technologies.

Certs – just a waste of time and money?

Having done a highly unscientific piece of research i.e. posting on Facebook, asking why people opted for professional certifications and if this investment paid off – it was rather depressing results. Not one, that answered at least, felt that certificates brought any value. If you started, out maybe, but having gained a number of years experience, certificates did nothing to either the CV or the wallet.

That is sad to hear. I hope it ain’t so…

How do you learn?

School, from 1st class all the way through university, was boring. Truly and utterly lacking in motivation. Teachers that had taught the same class for 20 years, never updating a syllable. Yes, I liked, still do, to learn new things. But what ever learning I walked away with, was almost a by-product of teaching.

I learned quick, and spent most of my time waiting for my peers to catch up with me in class. Bar mathematics, maths and anything related was difficult. But since I went to school when everyone was alike, teachers didn’t encourage you to do well. Nor did they seemingly care about anyone who had any type of learning disabilities. Looking back it’s a minor miracle that my generation can read and write.

Later, it later transpired that I have dyscalculia and that I needed glasses. But during the first 9 years in school I was ”just bad at maths.” And of course if all you hear is that you’re bad at something, it becomes the reality.  Just hearing that you’re good at something is a positive reinforcement. Well, at least it’s what I suppose.

Learning and studying

Also, school was all about studying, not learning. Thankfully more have caught on, a quick search on studying vs. learning – give 374’000’000 results and 985’000’000 results respectively. Because I remember those cramming hours, learning by heart, regurgitating then forgetting it forever. But at least you had a grade.


Why am I freaking out so much over this?

Over the years, I’ve trained myself to do a sort of mental flow chart where I ask myself – based on the information I possess here and now; what is the worst that can happen? This then gives a basis of actions. Once I mentioned this to a colleague he said this is a classical coping technique, by mentioning and stating our fears they become manageable. Like pronouncing Voldemort instead of ”He Who Must Not Be Named. ” So what is the worst thing that can happen here and now? Failing the exam, which means a retake.

Nothing strange at all, it happens all the time. Why is it so scary?







Is education really worth it?

With student debt rising and more or less costly certificates being all the rage – is it worth it? Is education worth the time and money we put into it? What is education’s ROI?

For someone that grew up in a family with the mantra ”no one can take away your knowledge or skills” education, manual or academic, was a given. I do give it to my parents, for them, manual training had the same value as academic. Knowledge and learning as such had value in itself.

Luckily I’m curious by nature so it wasn’t a big thing. But then I can’t control my nerves so exam results never were as good as they could have been.

Education keep employees from leaving

From a corporate standpoint, in-house education helps to keep staff turnover down. Incorporating training that develops employees toward long-term career goals can promote greater job satisfaction. A more satisfied employee is likely to stay longer and be more productive.

On a personal level, not all certifications are worth the time and effort. It all depends on your goal, where do you want to end up in the short and long term?

Not all certifications are equal

It’s like deciding you want to learn to cook. What does that mean to you? Is your goal to make a decent dinner (not mac and cheese) without burning something? Or do you want to take it further, learning different cooking techniques, maybe making fancy sauces and desserts? Or are you thinking of becoming a professional chef someday?

The level of expertise you want to develop determines the amount of time and money you’ll want to spend. You don’t have to start with taking out the credit card, check out what free resources there are in your chosen field. Personally, I’ve found public libraries to be fantastic resources.

#Security+ steps

I’m rereading CompTIA’s book. Have studied Darril Gibson’s ”Get Certified, Get Ahead.

I still don’t feel that I know anything. Onward, forward!

@darrilgibson @CompTIA 


My road to Security+

Last year I embarked on what would turn out to be a surprisingly stressful road to a Security+ certificate.

Having worked within IT for my entire career, way back when the screens were green, Internet was reached via dial-up and 8 Mb was gargantuan… I thought it was time to document that I knew what I say I know. And what better way than via a reputable certificate?

While my aim is to keep working with Governance, Regulations, Compliance, and policies a technological foundation is good. It helps me in developing policies that are understood and workable. Together with my background in change communications, these policies might be easier to implement.

Anyway – this is my road to a new certificate.


Nordic Gender Inequality

I am Swedish, and when I say I’m Swedish, eyes and faces lit up – Ah, the Homeland of The Equals. Where fathers stay at home with their children for months and no one thinks twice about it. Where instead of he or she, a gender neutral word has been introduced in the language. Where women detectives roam the streets (a step up from the polar bears), and where we all live in perfect homes furnished by Scandinavian designers.

Ah, the wonders of the country that takes over the world one four letter acronym at a time…

But then there is the truth. And the truth is seldom beautiful. The truth is that when it comes to gender equality in the workplace Sweden is a failed state. And there are numbers to prove it. In his excellent book ”The Nordic Gender Equality Paradox”  Dr. Nima Sanandaji clearly shows how the Nordic well fare states hold women back, rather than the opposite. Proportionally, Nordic countries tops only Cyprus when it comes to women amongst directors and chief executives. And they fall well behind more conservative neighbours like the Baltic. In fact in EU27 best in class in Bulgaria with almost 48%.

So what would any well-meaning government do to change this? Introduce new legislation. What else? But it is a legislation that a minority supports and I have yet to meet one woman that supports positive discrimination against us. Why should we support measures that promotes inequality and makes no difference when it comes to our accomplishments? No one seems to be able to answer these questions, because seemingly no one seems to ask it.  Besides no one has shown me WHY it is of importance to achieve this gender balance. It can be said that business have developed rather splendid these past 200 years without women on board, so why change a winning formula? Yes, I am convinced that balanced compositions are better and more effective than unbalanced. And I think it’s bad for branding when I see boards 100% male. But nowhere have I found support for my belief that balanced is better than not. And before we start setting unwanted legislation in place, how about some evidence?

Make no mistake, I’d love to sit on a board. But I want to be on that board because I bring valuable expertise to it. Not because of my combination of XY chromosomes. If that is the only reason it is degrading, unequal and arrogant.

EU launches partnership for €1.8 billion

EU launches partnership for €1.8 billion investment against cyber threats.