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13 industry recognized certifications available under Microsoft’s new digital skills initiative

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Microsoft
Microsoft: Certified Azure Administrator Associate - Image Credit: Thomas Maurer

Microsoft recently launched global digital skills initiatives meant to assist 25 million people acquire new skills and get prepared for Post-Covid-19 economy.  

The company is offering free access to learning paths and comprehensive resources to help people develop the skills needed for in-demand jobs.

The initiative also aims to help job seekers demonstrate their skills to potential employers. This part of our initiative has multiple parts, the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, explained during the event held last week.

According to Nadella, Microsoft will offer low-cost access to industry-recognized Microsoft Certifications based on exams that demonstrate proficiency in Microsoft technologies.

In his words, “We are making exams for these Microsoft Certifications available at a significantly discounted fee of $15 available to those who self-attest that their employment has been impacted by COVID-19.

“This represents a large discount on the price of exams that typically cost more than $100. We are committed to supporting the integrity of certifications by enabling proctoring safely in an online setting that is accessible from anywhere”.

Nadella further said that the $15 fee will be paid to and will enable third parties to scale to meet the potential surge in examination resources and will support the integrity of the certification by enabling proctoring via a safe, online setting that is accessible from anywhere.

“We will also work with governments, nonprofits, foundations, and other private sector partners if they wish to absorb this third-party cost.

“Participants will have the ability to schedule an exam from September to the end of the year, and exam takers will have until March 31, 2021 to complete the exam. This will provide access to the exams that provide five fundamentals certifications and eight role-based certifications.

These will include:

  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Fundamentals
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Fundamentals
  • Microsoft Certified: Power Platform Fundamentals
  • Microsoft 365 Certified: Fundamentals
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Power Platform App Maker Associate
  • Microsoft 365 Certified: Teams Administrator Associate
  • Microsoft 365 Certified: Security Administrator Associate
  • Microsoft 365 Certified: Developer Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Data Analyst Associate

These exams will be available initially in whole or in part in seven languages – English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Chinese (simplified), and Korean.

“We have found that these certifications are a powerful asset for job seekers and those looking to advance in an existing role. For example, in Global Knowledge’s 2019 IT Skills and Salary Report, more than half of IT decision-makers surveyed believe the main benefit of certified individuals is their ability to close organizational skills gaps seen in an everchanging technology environment.

“It also showed certifications helped make hiring easier, helping job seekers stand out. Among other things, these certifications, as well as completion of a learning path on LinkedIn Learning, can be added to an individual’s LinkedIn profile.

“We are also making available tools to help individuals identify and pursue potential jobs. This includes a recently developed job interview preparation-feature, powered by MSFT-AI, to prepare and practice for job interviews.

“It also includes a new feature we are announcing today called #OpenToWork, which enables job seekers to surface to employers the roles for which they would like to be considered. Through a simple LinkedIn profile photo frame, #OpenToWork enables job seekers to let employers and the LinkedIn network know they are actively seeking a new opportunity, indicate the type of job they are looking for, express their needs for support, and get help from the LinkedIn community to find new opportunities.

“We believe the strength of these resources is their comprehensive nature. To help people find and navigate all of our offerings, we have made all of these resources accessible from a single location: opportunity.linkedin.com.

“A job seeker or anyone looking to develop these on-demand skills can start here and will be guided through the learning paths based on the roles in which they are interested.

“In addition, Microsoft and LinkedIn will continue to provide on-ramps for people from nontraditional backgrounds to successfully transition from learning skills to landing a job.

“This will include the Microsoft Software & Systems Academy, or MSSA, which provides transitioning U.S. service members and veterans with technology skills. It also includes Leap, which Microsoft launched in 2015 to recruit, develop, upskill non-traditional talent, and create a connection to employability in the tech industry.

“And it includes REACH, which is a multi-year engineering apprenticeship program at LinkedIn” the Microsoft CEO said.

[Source: Microsoft]

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PIN, 13 other rights advocates condemn persistent arrests of journalists, threats on media freedoms in Zimbabwe

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PIN

BY: Chisom ADA

Paradigm Initiatives “PIN” and thirteen other global rights advocates have expressed great concern over the growing trend on threats on media freedoms and arrests of journalists and activists in Zimbabwe in recent months.

The statement was signed by Liberia Information Technology Student Union; Association des Utilisateurs des TIC – ASUTIC (Senegal)  Centre for Legal Support in Gambia; Equip Africa Integrated Development Initiative; AfroLeadership; Villes et Communes Magazine; Paradigm Initiative; Gambia Cyber Security Alliance; Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria; Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ); Centre for Impact Advocacy (CiA); Afrotribune; Association for Progressive Communications and The Committee to Protect Journalists.

The Coalition of organisations and institutions defending and working to advance human rights in the digital age, said these attacks bear no regard to Zimbabwe’s obligations to:

“Article 19(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to protect the right to freedom of expression including freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice or through any media whatsoever;

“Sections 61 and 62 of the Zimbabwean Constitution which guarantee freedom of expression and freedom of the media;

“Sections 57, 58, and 59 of the Zimbabwean Constitution which ensure the rights to privacy, freedom of assembly and association and freedom to demonstrate and petition;

The Coalition reminded the Zimbabwean Government of its obligations to the following regional instruments on freedom of expression; African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, Windhoek Declaration, African Platform on Access to Information and the Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression.

The Coalition noted in the last few days, the increase in random arrests, detentions and questioning of journalists and activists in the course of executing their duties.

“Specifically, in a space of seven days, we noted the arrest and detention of Hopewell Chin’ono – a respected journalist on July 20th, Jacob Ngarivhume- an opposition activist on July 20th and Blessed Mhlanga- a senior journalist on July 25. We are deeply concerned by the recent raid of the Journalist Mduduzi Mathuthu’s home and arbitrary arrest of his sister in connection with his whereabouts on July 30th 2020 ahead of a planned protest on the 31st of July 2020. These sustained attacks on journalists are a disregard for media freedoms.

“We are cognizant of  the Press Briefing on Zimbabwe by the Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Liz Throssell who expressed the UN concern over the arrests on 24 July 2020 condemning the suggestive acts that authorities in Zimbabwe are  using the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to clamp down on freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

“We take note of the 44th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution A/HRC/44/L.18/Rev.1  which reaffirms that the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular, the right to freedom of opinion and expression;

“We, therefore, echo the  laid out guidelines laid out inof Principle 20(1) and (2) of the Declaration Of Principles On Freedom Of Expression And Access To Information In Africa (the Declaration) adopted by the African Commission On Human And Peoples’ Rights at its 65th Ordinary Session held From 21 October to 10 November 2019 In Banjul, Gambia that the government of Zimbabwe must guarantee the safety of journalists and other media practitioners and take measures to prevent attacks on journalists and other media practitioners, including murder, extra-judicial killing, torture and other forms of ill-treatment, arbitrary arrest and detention, enforced disappearance, kidnapping, intimidation, threats and unlawful surveillance undertaken by State and non-State actors.

“We also wish to highlight 24 other attacks on media practitioners as documented by the MISA Zimbabwe between March 30th and July 21st  2020 when Zimbabwe went on lockdown. Since then, 3 other journalists were reportedly harassed by the State security agents in Zimbabwe as at 26 July 2020. Journalists including Frank Chikowore and Samuel Takawira are facing prosecution and charged with violating social distancing regulations after attempting to interview three opposition youth leaders who had been abducted and assaulted by alleged security force agents.

“We urge the Government of Zimbabwe to cease this obvious clampdown on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly especially leading up to the planned July 31, 2020 protest action. We refer to the Ministerial statement dated July 25, 2020, issued by Minister of Information, Publicity & Broadcasting Services- Hon. Monica Mutsvangwa, that explicitly states that Hopewell Chin’ono was not arrested for exposing corruption but rather for “using his social media accounts to incite Zimbabweans to violently overthrow the Government”. We wish to remind the Zimbabwean authorities of the aforementioned rights of citizens to assemble and protest peacefully; and the duty of law enforcement officers to provide the necessary protection during such times.

“We call for the Government of Zimbabwe to withdraw all malicious prosecutions against media practitioners and to release  Hopewell Chin’ono and Jacob Ngarivhume, and to drop all charges against Frank Chiktowore and Samuel Takawira.

“Further, we call upon the Government of Zimbabwe, especially during this crucial time of the COVID-19 pandemic- a matter of life and death, to respect and guarantee media freedoms by ceasing the unfair and unjustified intimidation of journalists to silence dissent. In addition, to avoid using the cover of ‘violating lockdown restrictions’ to mount violent attacks on media practitioners, at a time when citizens depend on them for news and information”, the statement reads.

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COVID-19: Google Doodle promotes wearing of mask

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Google Doodle
Google wear a mask Doodle

BY: Chisom ADA

Google is running a COVID-19 mask Doodle on 4 and 5 August to reinforce the messaging that wearing masks can save lives, in the midst of a resurgence of COVID-19 cases across the globe.

Google wear a mask Doodle

Google wear a mask Doodle

The Doodle went live across 60 countries including Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya at 3pm on Tuesday, 4 August.

The Doodle clicks through to a COVID prevention Search Results page.

Google is using the Doodle to promote protection of one’s self and others around them by knowing the facts and taking appropriate precautions.

Google also offered the follow advice provided by local health authority like the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

To prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Clean your hands often. Use soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Maintain a safe distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Wear a mask when physical distancing is not possible.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell.
  • If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention.
  • Calling in advance allows your healthcare provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This protects you, and prevents the spread of viruses and other infections.
COVID-19

COVID-19 statistics Nigeria, global

Masks

Google added that masks can help prevent the spread of the virus from the person wearing the mask to others.

“Masks alone do not protect against COVID-19, and should be combined with physical distancing and hand hygiene. Follow the advice provided by your local health authority”, the global tech giant said.

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Nanosatellite and Microsatellite market worth $4.8 billion by 2025

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Nanosatellite

The Nanosatellite and Microsatellite market is expected to grow from USD 1.8 billion in 2020 to USD 4.8 billion by 2025, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 21.3% during the forecast period.

The satellites are used for several applications, such as communication, earth observation & remote sensing, scientific research, biological experiments, academic training, reconnaissance, and various other applications by the defense, intelligence, civil, commercial, and/or government users.

Continuous advancements in the miniaturization of technologies, such as electronics, low-mission costs, and the increasing use of satellite constellations, are major drivers of the market, says MarketsandMarkets in the report.

Some of the prominent key players are:

  • GomSpace (Denmark)
  • Lockheed Martin (US)
  • L3Harris (US)
  • Sierra Nevada Corporation (US)
  • AAC Clyde Space (Scotland)
  • Planet Labs (US)
  • Tyvak (US)
  • NanoAvionics (US)
  • Innovative Solutions In Space (Netherlands)

Earth observation and remote sensing to account for the largest market size during the forecast period

Nanosatellites and microsatellites have brought novel opportunities for earth observation and remote sensing using inexpensive small satellites to capture images of the earth and gather specific data.

Nanosatellites and microsatellites are expected to play a major role in remote sensing missions due to their enhanced computational and communication capabilities, along with competencies in making decisions about the time and data to be shared.

Successful programs to develop and examine advanced hyperspectral imaging systems compatible with nanosatellite and microsatellite missions enable small satellites to generate high-quality complex images.

The commercial vertical to account for the largest market size during the forecast period

The geospatial technology using earth-imaging small satellites for agriculture, education, intelligence navigation, mapping, and other uses, has driven the commercial sector in the past decade.

Nanosatellites or microsatellites help commercial companies gather global real-time data and distribute the same at lower prices to customers across a wide geographic area.

Nanosatellites and microsatellites are used for commercial purposes, such as communication, in the form of voice, data, and videos, internet communication, and video chat. Between 2013 and 2017, almost half the nanosatellites were launched for military or civil missions and the remaining half for business purposes.

North America to account for the highest market share during the forecast period

North America accounts for the highest market share in the nanosatellite and microsatellite market.

The country leads in the adoption of nanosatellites and microsatellites and offers great opportunities for the overall growth of the nanosatellite and microsatellite market. North America has always been an early adopter of new technology or software, and the North American market grows at a faster rate initially as compared to any other region.

The demand for nanosatellites and microsatellites in North America is being driven by the booming digitalization across industries along with surging demand for earth observation satellites.

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