Do IT: Breaking In – Certifications

Information Technology as a field offers a number of different paths that can be used to gain entrance into the field for beginners. In the late 1990s and early 2000s the most prevalent and popular path was through the use of industry certifications. Since the early 2000s the popularity of certifications has been decreasing as the tests are generally becoming easier and systems for “gaming” the test and even outright cheating have become common.

This is not to imply that certifications do not have their place. They still show initiative and other systems of showing competence can also be gamed or faked so certifications have their place. Over time industry certifications are likely to find a reasonable middle ground of usefulness without the unnecessary hype of 1999.

Certifications have the benefit of being able to cover very specific ground and can have value that few other resources can offer. Certifications range from simpler, single test based certifications that are designed to show knowledge of a single technology or large, in depth, multi-exam monsters designed to show knowledge in a specific family of technologies at a level unheard of in even the most demanding collegiate circles. Generally certifications are most valuable in general technology areas for people early in their careers to use as “foot in the door” tools or later on for mid-career professions to demonstrate in-depth knowledge of a specific skill that may be difficult to represent in any other way.

In this article we are only looking at using certifications as a means of breaking into the IT industry. Getting that first job can be difficult. Often, once the call is rolling, finding more IT work is easy. Each subsequent position is easier to find than the last. But the first one or two can be very difficult indeed and every tool at your disposal should be used. Certificates are one of the best tools. In fact, I would be very reticent to hire anyone without experience who has not taken the time and effort to get at least one or two certifications under their belt.

CompTIA A+: The most common “beginning” certification known widely in the industry is the A+ offered by CompTIA. The A+ is a longstanding cert and is designed to test the knowledge of a desktop technician supposedly at the level that should be obtained after the first six months of experience. In reality few companies would want to hire someone without the level of knowledge tested for in this exam. The biggest difficulty with the CompTIA A+ (and continuing on with later CompTIA certifications) is that the test is generally horribly out of date, based on a set of technology that only applies to Windows desktop support and often the questions of outright incorrect. People studying for the A+ must study from actual A+ materials as they will be stuck memorizing many CompTIA specific facts that must be forgotten as soon as the test is completed as they are either wrong, useless or irrelevant.

As much as the A+ is poor it has become the de facto standard certification for entering the industry. The theoretical purpose of the test, to examine basic desktop class hardware and software skills, is good and anyone working in the industry or even near the industry should have a good grasp of these everyday skills – even programmers and managers. But since the test is based on so much archaic knowledge and non-commercial grade systems it does not actually test the knowledge base that it would portend to. Often the material on the test is so old that no one with the first three or four years of their careers, even in the largest IT shops, would ever have had even the remotest access to some of the ancient systems that the test is based on. In Information Technology there is no room for people and certainly not tests that cannot keep up. But most of this knowledge can be memorized easily and once you are through the A+ test you can move on to bigger, better and more useful things.

Popular certifications following the A+ (it is almost always advisable to focus on getting the A+ over and out of the way as early as possible) include the CompTIA Network+, the CompTIA Server+ and the Microsoft desktop exam of the day. We will look at each of these certifications in turn.

CompTIA Network+: The Network+ is designed to be based on the expected knowledge of a technician with two years of industry experience. The exam is based solely on computer communications and networking. It is a broad and general test and, in my opinion, it is the most valuable test that CompTIA offers. The knowledge that is tested on the Network+ is knowledge that is useful to people in any IT field and I would love to see everyone taking this exam.

Unlike the A+ which is full of outdated and worthless knowledge my experience with the Network+ is that the subject material is much better though out and mostly relevant to the real world. In the process of studying for the Network+ it would be advisable to spend a good amount of time becoming very familiar with the subject matter as it will be useful again and again throughout your IT career. Often the Network+ is a “growth” certification and not a “foot in the door” cert but it can work wonders for someone trying to get off the ground who hasn’t found that first real position yet.

CompTIA Server+: The Server+ is not an exam for everyone. Programmers, Analysts and others may find the subject matter almost completely outside of their discipline and not useful to them. But for anyone looking to a career in the hardware areas or systems administration the Server+ can be quite useful.

The Server+ is designed to be roughly of the same “level” as the Network+ and picks up where the A+ hardware section leaves off. Instead of focusing on desktops and laptops the Server+, as its name suggests, spends it time looking at server class hardware tackling storage issues, redundancy and rack mounting among other issues. The Server+ also touches, just slightly, on server operating systems as a server technician will need, from time to time, to be able to access the systems themselves and not just the hardware that they run on.

Microsoft Desktop Support Exams: Microsoft offers a new professional certification exam with every major operating system release. At the time of the this writing Microsoft offers certifications for Windows 2000 Professional and Windows XP Professional – Vista certification is expected to be available very soon. In fact, they offer a second, more advance Windows XP exam for people who are interested in going further down that path. Since almost all desktop support personnel are involved in supporting primary if not exclusively Microsoft enterprise desktops this certification can be a real differentiator between candidates.

The Microsoft exams are very closely focused on the knowledge and skills that are needed for serious desktop support professionals to do their jobs efficiently. The Microsoft exams are extremely well written and are clearly peer reviewed extensively. Microsoft takes their certification process very seriously and their exams reflect this. It is a pleasure taking a Microsoft exam. In all of my exam taking experience while others, notably CompTIA’s, exams are loaded with poorly worded questions that have no actually correct answer possible the Microsoft exams have been flawless with every question, regardless of how difficult it was, clearly having a correct answer even when I did not know what it was. You never get the impression that you know more about the product than the test writers do when taking a Microsoft exam.

The Microsoft desktop support exams cover a lot of knowledge areas and are fairly challenging. But they are very valuable and can do wonders for the ol’ resume. Once you have the basics out of the way having a good, solid Microsoft exam or two under your belt can be just what you need to get into that first position or to advance on to your second.

Current Microsoft exams targeting the desktop include:

Windows Vista and 2007 Microsoft Office System Desktops, Deploying and Maintaining
Windows Vista Configuration
Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional

Of course, newer exams are more useful than older exams. By the time that you spend a few months preparing for an exam the focus will increasingly shift towards newer technologies so even if Windows XP offers the greatest installation base and demand in business when your studies begin Vista is much more likely to be valuable to you near the start of your career and will be increasingly so until another operating system replaces it.

Microsoft exams of this nature also have the very nice advantage of being part of the learning path towards larger and more difficult composite certifications from Microsoft such as the MCSA, MCSE and MCDST.

The Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Professional, or MCDST, was a two test composite certification (two Windows XP stand alone certifications) that demonstrated a real commitment to Windows XP support for the desktop. By taking each of the underlying exams you would gain a standalone Microsoft Certified Professional certification to put on your resume and with the completion of the second you would also achieve your MCDST status. Three resume “lines” for the price of two. A great value indeed.

With Microsoft Vista the certification structure has changed and the MCDST has been replaced with the MCITP or Microsoft Certified IT Professional: Enterprise Support Technician. The new structure is very confusing, unfortunately. It makes it much more difficult for aspiring IT professionals to be able to definitively know what certification paths will be most valuable to them. But it does allow for great levels of differentiation of a company takes the time to learn the meanings of the myriad certifications. The new MCITP still requires two exams but they are different exams than previously required and Microsoft’s current web site should be consulted.

April 2, 2007: The House Sale Falls Through, Probably

Apple and EMI come out today with the official announcement that they are providing DRM free music via Apple’s iTunes Music Store. Not only are they going to be selling EMI’s entire catalogue of over five million songs without DRM but they are increasing the quality of the music available through the iTunes Music Store for these DRM free songs from 128kbs to 256kbs. A very significant increase. At 128kbs the quality is rather questionable but at 256kbs only the most discerning listeners can here the compression and only on better listening devices. The cost for the DRM free music will be a little higher but without DRM and with the higher quality I will be surprised if many people care to save 30¢ per song. A normal 128kbs DRM song is 99¢ and the DRM free high quality version is $1.29. For once I can give a big kudos to Apple for doing the right thing. This is an idea whose time long ago came and went and finally someone in the big commercial arena is catching on. Now if they would just licensed that music at $4.00 for podcasting and vlogging they would really have something cool on their hands.

We don’t know anything for sure yet but as of today we are fairly certain that the sale of our home in Geneseo has fallen through.  We were supposed to know more long before the end of the day what the status was but no one got back to us.  I think that no one involved with the actual decision making was able to speak with each other today which has caused a lot of turmoil as we begin to think that the buyers are backing out.  We don’t really know anything for sure yet so it is too early to panic but it is definitely depressing being several days past the intended closing date and now have it look like all of the moving was for naught.  If the house doesn’t sell this week them we will most likely not put the house onto the market again for quite some time and we will be stuck deciding what to do with the empty house.

There is still plenty of opportunity for things to still proceed with the sale and we are hopeful.  But we are prepared for the “worst” and ready to accept our fate.  We are praying for the Lord to watch over us as such a huge financial object swings in the breeze.  We really hope that we will have an answer tomorrow so that, one way or another, we can move forward with our lives.

My day was pretty busy and I didn’t get to leave the office until after six thirty.  I have a lot to do tonight so I am posting early and won’t be writing tonight.  I am doing some security certification consulting and I need to spend some time dealing with that along with my usual laundry list of tasks.

I have started writing an essay series called “Do IT”.  I have always wanted to write a book about the IT field as a career objective full of seasoned advice and information that I would have liked to have had when I was first entering the field.  I have put a lot of time in my career into career counseling, teaching and mentoring and I think that I have a fair amount to offer.  I have worked in so many varied arenas over the years in all different sized and types of companies that I think that I have a lot more perspective on the industry than a lot of people.  I have seen more aspects of it than the average IT professional and I spend a lot of time thinking about the industry from an overarching perspective.  So, we will see how it goes.

Do IT: Information Technology Career Paths

Information Technology is a very large field but within the field there are common job categories and career paths. Over time new careers appear and a few old careers fall away and within broad career paths there are many areas of specialization. This article’s focus is to look at the large, broad categories to give new IT professionals or IT hopefuls a basic grasp of options within the field.

The categories here are separated by duty and represent the basic building blocks of the IT professions and disciplines. By no means is this meant to be representative of all job roles and career paths available to an aspiring IT professional or hobbyist but to provide some structure to make target careers less ephemeral. In the real world few, if any, IT professionals do the work of only a single job role without venturing outside its strict boundaries if such boundaries can even be argued to exist. In extremely large IT departments (those over 10,000 IT professionals) will often stick very strictly to descriptions such as these but small departments (say of only 10 IT professionals) may lump almost all skills into just two or three overarching job descriptions.

Programming: Of all professional areas within Information Technology the area of programming is surely the most well known to people outside of the profession. Programmers can work in numerous different technology areas, specialize in many different ways and can work with many different languages and platforms. Programming is often the area of IT that draws people into the field. Programming, more than any other IT discipline, is easy for people to begin learning early and is very accessible.

Programming, or coding, involves the writing of computer programs which can range quite significantly and job titles vary dramatically as the job descriptions begin to differ. Beginning professionals on the programming path are often just termed “programmers” and can expect to do programming projects that involve tiny pieces of larger systems. Programmers are almost always working on teams of programmers but can potentially live very solitary existences if such is desired. Programming professions allow for a very wide array of working environments. Programmers are more well suited to working flexible hours and from remote locations or “work from home” due to the nature of many programming projects.

As programmers progress along their career paths they can move up to positions like software developer, software engineer and software architect. Specialization within the programming realm can include system programming (working close to the hardware – highly technical), user interface programming (working closer to the end user experience – generally less technical and more creative and involved in the “human element”), database programmer, web application programmer, etc. Programming fields lend themselves to crossing into software design and management roles as well.

Systems Analysis and Design: Programmers may write software but systems analysts design it. Often the two roles are combined in what is called a “programmer analyst” as the roles are so closely identified. A systems analyst’s role is to define requirements and high level design for an application or program. Programmers are responsible with the low level design. A good analyst will have a very good understanding of programming, developer’s tools, architecture and more. It is a broad discipline that often involves a lot of customer or client interaction and the ability to translate requirements from clients outside of the IT field into useful requirements for design and for the programmers.

Systems Analysis is almost a management discipline and analysts will often cross that boundary many times during their careers. It is an exceedingly creative part of the IT field requiring a lot of critical thinking and “outside the box” contemplation skills.

Project Management: Any area of IT can have project management involved with it but this almost always applies to software project management or system project management. IT departments that include any number or programmers and possibly analysts will logically be charged with developing software. Project Managers oversee this process. Technical project management is generally closer to being a management discipline than an IT discipline but many PMs are highly technical and come from the core IT ranks as IT project management is so varied and different from project management in other areas such as engineering.

Hardware Support: Hardware support comes in two basic flavours – desktop hardware (which includes laptops and other commodity end user items) and server or datacenter support. Hardware techs range from consumer desktop support personnel that you will encounter at stores like CompUSA and BestBuy to server technicians working in the datacenters working with multi-million dollar hardware. the range is rather broad. Because desktop hardware has become so commonly known the “computer store” techs are generally not considered to be IT professionals any more than a car salesman would be considered a mechanic or a car designer. Sometimes a store tech job can provide leverage into the field but generally this is not the case. The technologies that are used in consumer PCs is enough different from enterprise business systems that the skills are generally not useful across the divide.

Some large companies maintain a staff of hardware technicians who work on desktop and laptop level hardware. Desktop class technicians are so identified with the CompTIA A+ certification that often times these job roles may be termed “A+ Techs”. This is generally a path towards the server technician positions. Server technicians need to be familiar with much more complicated and varied hardware and often work in large datacenters where there is little or no direct customer interactions. While desktop techs often interact to some degree with end users and desktop support technicians, server technicians generally interface only with systems administrators.

Networking: One of the core skill areas in IT is networking and communications. Networking is a relatively new discipline within the industry as computers used to exist primarily as stand-alone devices whether in homes or in business. But over the last few decades the idea of computers that are not a part of a larger network has gone from commonplace to practically unthinkable. Today even the most basic home computer is purchased to be an Internet connection node and not for the innate capabilities of the computer itself. Because of this networking has exploded into a very large, core discipline needing many qualified professional to fill out its ranks. Networking jobs generally fall into a few basic categories: network technician, network administrator and network engineer.

As you can guess from the job role names a technician’s general role is to deal with mostly “field” networking issues which often involves a lot of leg work, is more likely than other positions to place you in a remote office and often involves working with smaller categories of networking equipment but it is a stepping stone to high level networking positions. The network administrator is the position responsible for managing and running the day to day operations of the corporate network. Generally the network administrator is the last word in the company’s network operations. This can be a very senior position and while the job titles are few the discipline’s long term career growth is solid. A network engineer’s job would be to design a network. Often administrators and engineers are the same people but in large companies these roles are separated with engineers generally having a broader knowledge of network solutions and vendors and administrators having a more thorough knowledge of low level tuning and configuration of the equipment used at that time.

Systems: Possibly the largest of all IT disciplines is that of systems. The concept of systems is so large that it is difficult to define in any meaningful way and is often conceptualized as several sub-disciplines to make it easier to quantify. The basics are that the “systems discipline” involves any basic management of computer “systems”. This can mean management of end-user resources like desktops, laptops, PDAs, etc. as well as shared resources like servers. Generally a “systems” professional will work primarily with the computer’s operating system but this qualification is hazy at best. Any real work systems professional will have much overlap with other areas but core functionalities are generally more well defined.

Desktop and Deskside Support: The most common sub-discipline within systems is desktop support. This role is very difficult to separate from that of “Helpdesk” although the later is less of a distinct discipline but more of a delivery method of support. Most businesses separate helpdesk into a unified function that crosses many discipline boundaries.

Desktop Support involves the direct management of personal computers whether they are Windows, Mac, Linux, etc. A desktop technician will often work either directly with an end-users workstation or remotely via remote control technologies to help keep workstation resources working correctly, adding new software, etc. Desktop administration often deals with large numbers of desktop resources and generally handles password and account issues, large scale desktop changes, migrations, etc.

While desktop job descriptions are generally rather lean the field is actually extremely large. Almost every business requires a regular host of support personnel to keep the non-IT staff working on a day to day basis and will additionally utilize contract desktop support staff to augment internal resources as often “project” work will require far more people than a company can normally keep on staff. Many IT professionals who intend to enter almost any of the other disciplines will start their careers in the desktop support realm as it has the lowest “barrier to entry” into the field. But don’t be fooled. Just because it is easy to get into the beginning desktop support ranks there are many long term career opportunities within this field as well. Many professionals have long and rewarding careers without even leaving the desktop support arena.

In some large organizations there might even be a dedicated desktop engineering role specifically for those function of designing the operating system and application profile for corporate desktops. This position is almost always included in other job roles but can, potentially, exist on its own.

Server Administration and Engineering: The most visible and well known career path under the systems umbrella is that of server administration and its nature sibling, server engineering. These roles are so common that almost all businesses simply refer to them as system administration and system engineering.

Server support roles are involved with the designing, building (from a software perspective,) securing, deploying and managing the server resources of an organization. These servers come in a wide variety of types from Windows, Linux and Netware operating systems to application, database, web and email functions. Server support is a very large job role category that often spans entire careers from intern to retirement. This is one of the largest senior level career categories and is often a “target” career for people entering the IT field.

Pure server support roles as can be found in very large companies may be very strictly limited to supporting just the operating system and core functionality of a server. More often server system administrators will be involved in the running of extended functionality such as email, web, database and other software that is tied to the server.

Application Support: In large organizations when the system support role is strictly limited to the server’s operating system you will find dedicated application support personnel who generally specialize in a single application (such as Microsoft Exchange) or in a category of applications (such as Email) or in a suite of applications (such as Microsoft BackOffice including applications like Exchange, SharePoint, LiveCommunications Server, Project Server, etc.) More often you will find mixed server and application specialist who specialize on a particular platform and application combination such as iPlanet on Solaris or Apache on Linux, etc. Management Information Systems applications such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or Customer Resource Management (CRM) are common dedicated application areas as well.

Many companies have myriad internal applications that have been developed or customized either in house or through a consulting agreement and are considered to be a competitive advantage for the organization. These unique applications often require support as would any commercially purchased off the shelf application. In addition to the obvious role of application administration the role of application support is also common in large corporate entities. This is often called “operations” as this role functions almost as an organizational nerve center.

Database Administration: Known as a DBA, a database administrator is a special category of application administrator that is dedicated to the database technologies. Databases (such as Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, Sybase, MySQL, PostgreSQL, etc.) are such a critical, popular, important and unique application that the field is considered to be its own area. There are many skills unique to the DBA profession that are not used or not widely used outside of database administration.

Database Designer: In a role somewhat related to both systems analysis and programming is that of database designer. A database designer’s job role is to work with application designers and analysts to design the database portion of an application. Databases are extremely complex types of software that generally require careful management and tuning and individual databases require detailed design which can be a significant portion of the design of an application.

Web Designer: Unlike the web application developer which is a popular programming job role a web designer fulfills the very popular function of designing web pages themselves. This is often considered to be a fringe IT job role because it is equally related to publishing, marketing and other, non-IT disciplines but because a truly qualified web designer needs a to be very skilled technically it is, in my opinion, a true IT discipline. Web designers get probably more opportunity for artistic creativity than any other IT activity. Often web designers will slowly more into programming to enhance their skill sets and will begin to become user interface specialized web application developers. But the leap from non-programming web design to web application development is a large one not to be undertaken casually. It is truly a change of discipline but between two disciplines that are closely tied together. Web design is by far the most prominent IT discipline to make use of traditional artistic abilities.

Security: While almost every job role needs to make security a part of their own discipline the enterprise has a place for overarching security personnel as well. IT, because of its ties to the company’s most valuable non-people assets – data, is integrally tied to security. The role permeates the field and is broad in its implications. Security professionals must be aware of everything from physical security, system security, network security, database security, programming methods, etc. In today’s IT professional realm security has become an extremely hot topic and it is very likely to remain so indefinitely.

Help Desk: This task is often placed in its own category because of the nature of the position. Help desk generally refers to the job role of the technical support call center. Help desk roles generally range from customer application support to remote desktop support. A help desk and an operations center will often be paired together or combined into one entity. Using current remote desktop management technologies such as RDP the modern helpdesk has taken on many of the job functions previously covered by deskside support. As networks become more stable and power powerful and as desktop management becomes more ubiquitous and far reaching the abilities for the help desk to cover most day to day support functions increases. Often the helpdesk is used as an aggregation resource to provide a single point of contact for any needs originating from an non-IT end user.

LAN Administration: This mostly deprecated term was once popular for referring to the small and medium business combined job role of deskside and server administrator along with network technician. LAN Administrators were often required to be “jack of all trades” functioning as a single point of resolution for all “computer” problems in small businesses. Often this meant constant trips to user’s desks and wrangling with tiny mixed user server and network closets. As IT advances this role is becoming less popular but is likely to continue in smaller companies for some time. The term LAN refers to the “Local Area Network” and was meant to suggest that the administrator was responsible for all machines connected to and including the office’s network. LAN Administrators also have a tendency to occur at remote, branch office locations where a single person can satisfy almost all local IT needs and additional needs can be handled via helpdesk or remote administration.

Storage Administration: One of the newest professional areas now widely available as a specialty within IT is that of storage management.  Over the last several years new and highly specific storage technologies have emerged and have become a mainstay in the corporate technology environment.  These technologies are, to some degree, unique to storage dealing with large and fast storage hardware as well as network technologies adapted for dedicated use in the storage space.  Storage results in generally being a blend of systems, networking and a little server level hardware support.  This is a young and growing area within IT but definitely here to stay.

Do IT: Introduction to the Information Technology Industry

Information Technology, IT, is one of the most dynamic, varied and interesting career choices available today. IT is about much more than simply “working with computers”. IT is a career in “change management.” Everything about the IT industry involves constant change making every day hold the potential for something new and exciting. The industry is young – constantly evolving and reinventing itself.

IT offers a variety of career options ranging from the “hands on” paths including deskside support and server technician, customer service related tasks such as operations and help desk, technical support roles like network and systems administration, engineering positions like network and system engineering, software developing roles from web applications to system programming, creative roles like web design, etc. IT is generally highly technical while being infused with opportunities for social interactions and a high degree of creativity and critical thinking.

Because of the incredible variety that exists in the IT field it creates possibilities for working in a wide range of tasks that allow for career growth and advancement while avoiding boredom and stagnation. IT is an ideal career path for people who want to constantly strive to better themselves and are highly self motivated. IT is an extremely large field unto itself and is involved with all other industries which creates unique, blended, industry specific IT career paths in addition to pure IT disciplines widening the field even further. Popular specific blended IT career paths include hospital and medical care, IT management, financial and banking, security, government, sales and marketing, engineering and CAD, etc.

Information Technology is exciting and diverse. It is a growing field offering new jobs year after year. Currently there is a global need for qualified IT professionals and in the United States there is a significant shortage of candidates. IT offers opportunities through technical and management paths and many long term career goals. IT provides variety and endless challenge. IT, through its nature state of constant change, makes for continuing excitement.

More articles on the IT industry coming soon.

April 1, 2007: Trodain Castle

Dominica was up long before me this morning for a change. I slept in as I continue to attempt to catch up on missing sleep. It is cold in Newark again today. Not real cold. Not snow cold. But not warm like it has been.

This morning I took the opportunity to actually sit down and play a few hours of Dragon Quest VIII that I was unable to do yesterday. I put in maybe three hours. That was really nice to get to finally play that again. I was able to play enough that I was able to advance the story through the next “section” if you can call them that. I am now done with the first time through Trodain Castle which is considered one of the “dungeons”. I am still loving the game even now that I am about thirty-four hours into it. Dominica spent most of the time that I played watching from the futon. The game is so much like a movie that it can be quite addicting to watch as well. Although I tend to be really thorough when exploring the open spaces and it makes watching me play a lot more boring than when many other people play. The story tends to drag a bit as I make sure that I am not missing anything. But I like the slower gameplay. It is more relaxing and you get more game for your money. It also gives me a chance to enjoy the scenery and the score.

This afternoon Dominica, Oreo and I drove out west to go to Macy’s and to get dinner at Desert Moon Cafe. They have the best burritos of any chain that I know. The double stuffed tofu burrito con queso is hawesome. After that we hit Cold Stone Creamery next door for dessert.

This evening ended up being a little busy. I got paged out and had to work for about an hour supporting users in Tokyo. I almost never get a chance to support Asia. Most of my time is spent working with Europe so that was a nice change. Makes my job sound more exciting at least.

My new SSL-Explorer product that I got set up and working earlier this week died on me tonight. I have no idea what is wrong with that. I put some time in trying to fix that but eventually gave up. A new version of the software came out this weekend and I am just going to attempt to install that tomorrow when I have some actual time to work on it. The 3SP website that hosts SSL-Explorer had technical difficulties tonight so I couldn’t do the upgrade right away or else I would have tried that.

Both Dominica and I had homework due this evening so we both spent several hours working on getting that ready for submission. I am working really hard to keep up with the class and not turn in anything late. As long as I keep up it isn’t too much work at all. But it is hard to stick with it every day. Dominica is enjoying her Systems Analysis and Design class. I think that it is really giving her a better feel for more hard-core IT industry stuff.

I ended up working on SSL-Explorer and doing video compression and uploading until almost two in the morning. Friday is Good Friday and a bank holiday so I only have a four day week this week! Yay.