At 9:15am On 3/23/18 I attended the Certiport certification lab presented by Certiport at the 2018 NCCIA Conference located at Asheville-Buncomb Technical Community College in Asheville, NC.
Microsoft Office Specialist status in Word 2016 Achieved!
I chose to attempt this exam because of my success with the interactive PowerPoint certification program I had taken earlier. During the course of this examination I had to clearly establish my ability to perform a number of Word tasks, such as creating and managing documents, formatting text, paragraphs and sections, creating tables and lists, applying references and inserting and formatting objects.
The straightforward Word evaluation challenges individuals to complete a comprehensive project that depicts real-world functionality with project and standards-based outcome testing. Probably the most difficult thing about this product certification was the unrelenting amount of projects required to achieve success, each with multiple courses to completion and numerous tasks which needed to be completed to receive the material. Worst still, was that this timed examination required all the materials to be completed in a timely manner, as one might find in the workplace. Not knowing a particular function might easily eat up time during the examination and stop you from being able to complete numerous projects in the time required. I was pleased with my progression.
The Official Breakdown of Subject Matter
Certiport’s official exam study page for this test: Word 2016: Core Document Creation, Collaboration and Communication; Exam 77-725 outlines the following fundamentals will possibly be covered:
Create and Manage Documents
1.1 Create a Document
1.1.1 Create a blank document
1.1.2 Create a blank document using a template
1.1.3 Open a PDF in Word for editing
1.1.4 Insert text from a file or external source
1.2 Navigate Through a Document
1.2.1 Search for text
1.2.2 Insert hyperlinks
1.2.3 Create bookmarks
1.2.4 Move to a specific location or object in a document
1.3 Format a Document
1.3.1 Modify page setup
1.3.2 Apply document themes
1.3.3 Apply document style sets
1.3.4 Insert headers and footers
1.3.5 Insert page numbers
1.3.6 Format page background elements
1.4 Customize Options and Views for Documents
1.4.1 Change document views
1.4.2 Customize views by using zoom settings
1.4.3 Customize the Quick Access toolbar
1.4.4 Split the window
1.4.5 Add document properties
1.4.6 Show or hide formatting symbols
1.5 Print and Save Documents
1.5.1 Modify print settings
1.5.2 Save documents in alternative file formats
1.5.3 Print all or part of a document
1.5.4 Inspect a document for hidden properties or personal information
1.5.5 Inspect a document for accessibility issues
1.5.6 Inspect a document for compatibility issues
Insert and Format Text, Paragraphs, and Sections
2.1 Insert Text and Paragraphs
2.1.1 Find and replace text
2.1.2 Cut, copy and paste text
2.1.3 Replace text by using AutoCorrect
2.1.4 Insert special characters
2.2 Format Text and Paragraphs
2.2.1 Apply font formatting
2.2.2 Apply formatting by using Format Painter
2.2.3 Set line and paragraph spacing and indentation
2.2.4 Clear formatting
2.2.5 Apply a text highlight color to text selections
2.2.6 Apply built-in styles to text
2.2.7 Change text to WordArt
2.3 Order and Group Text and Paragraphs
2.3.1 Format text in multiple columns
2.3.2 Insert page, section, or column breaks
2.3.3 Change page setup options for a section
Create Tables and Lists
3.1 Create a Table
3.1.1 Convert text to tables
3.1.2 Convert tables to text
3.1.3 Create a table by specifying rows and columns
3.1.4 Apply table styles
3.2 Modify a Table
3.2.1 Sort table data
3.2.2 Configure cell margins and spacing
3.2.3 Merge and split cells
3.2.4 Resize tables, rows, and columns
3.2.5 Split tables
3.2.6 Configure a repeating row header
3.3 Create and Modify a List
3.3.1 Create a numbered or bulleted list
3.3.2 Change bullet characters or number formats for a list level
3.3.3 Define a custom bullet character or number format
3.3.4 Increase or decrease list levels
3.3.5 Restart or continue list numbering
3.3.6 Set starting number value
Create and Manage References
4.1 Create and Manage Reference Markers
4.1.1 Insert footnotes and endnotes
4.1.2 Modify footnote and endnote properties
4.1.3 Create bibliography citation sources
4.1.4 Modify bibliography citation sources
4.1.5 Insert citations for bibliographies
4.1.6 Insert figure and table captions
4.1.7 Modify caption properties
4.2 Create and Manage Simple References
4.2.1 Insert a standard table of contents
4.2.2 Update a table of contents
4.2.3 Insert a cover page
Insert and Format Graphic Elements
5.1 Insert Graphic Elements
5.1.1 Insert shapes
5.1.2 Insert pictures
5.1.3 Insert a screen shot or screen clipping 5.1.4 Insert text boxes
5.2 Format Graphic Elements
5.2.1 Apply artistic effects
5.2.2 Apply picture effects
5.2.3 Remove picture backgrounds
5.2.4 Format objects
5.2.5 Apply a picture style
5.2.6 Wrap text around objects
5.2.7 Position objects
5.2.8 Add alternative text to objects for accessibility
5.3 Insert and Format SmartArt Graphics
5.3.1 Create a SmartArt graphic
5.3.2 Format a SmartArt graphic
5.3.3 Modify SmartArt graphic content
Microsoft Office Specialist certification is the only official Microsoft-recognized certification for Microsoft Office globally. All in all, this test was a great deal harder than I suspected, but then again it was a Specialist Designation. To succeed I truly needed to have an in-depth understanding of the Microsoft Word environment and the ability to complete tasks independently based on written instructions only. This included demonstration of the correct application of principle features in Word 2016 by creating and editing 2-to-3-page documents for a variety of purposes and situations. Document examples included professional-looking reports, multi-column newsletters, résumés, and business correspondence.
MOS 2016 certification exams seem to introduce a performance-based format for improved testing of a candidate’s knowledge, skills and abilities using the MOS 2016 programs. MOS PowerPoint 2016 exam task instructions generally did not include the command name as in previous versions. For example, function names were avoided, and were replaced with descriptors instead. This meant I had to understand the purpose and common usage of program functionality in order to successfully complete the tasks in each of the projects, and there were many projects to be completed in the time allowed.
The materials had an excellent amount of in-depth knowledge requirement,s and while I suffered a bit with the knowledge of managing multiple papers at once, I was able to break through with a score in the mid 800s. It was a good challenge, and I felt my skills were pushed, especially since this was a time-sensitive examination.
At 4:00pm On 3/21/18 I attended the Certiport certification lab presented by Certiport at the 2018 NCCIA Conference located at Asheville-Buncomb Technical Community College in Asheville, NC.
ESB Mastery status in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Certification (ESB) Achieved!
I chose to attempt this exam because the ESB certification is built to test and validate knowledge in entrepreneurship and small business management, and as a senior partner within a design firm, as a design firm owner, and as an individual who works relentlessly with small business clients, I felt I would have a good handle on these objectives. Tested core concepts included entrepreneurship; recognizing and evaluating opportunities; planning for, starting, and operating a business; marketing and sales; and financial management.
The Official Breakdown of Subject Matter
Certiport’s official exam page for this test: ESB Certification outlines the following fundamentals will possibly be covered:
- Identify the characteristics of entrepreneurs
- Given a scenario including a self assessment outcome, identify the strengths, weaknesses, and risk tolerance the selfassessment identifies and how to compensate with services
- Given a scenario, recognize a business opportunity
- Identify the risks, benefits, opportunities, and drawbacks of being an entrepreneur
- Identify the benefits and drawbacks of different types of opportunities (e.g., start a new business, buy an existing business, and buy a franchise)
- Given a scenario, analyze the demand for the goods or service and opportunities in an environment
- Given a scenario, identify the customers or potential customers for a business
- Given a scenario, recognize a value proposition
- Identify the purposes and value of a business plan
- Identify the appropriate legal structure, benefits and drawbacks for different legal structures for a business
- Given a scenario, identify different types of licenses and regulations that are required
- Identify the benefits and drawbacks of various sources of start-up funding: Equity (friends/family, angels, venture), Debt (bank, credit cards, personal loans), and Grants (government, foundation, corporate)
- Given a scenario, identify support that is available for the business on a local, state, and federal level
- Identify the ethical practices and social responsibilities of a business
- Identify potential exit strategies for a business
- Given a scenario, identify key positions and human capital needs(including compensation and benefits)
- Given a scenario, determine whether work can be completed by the owner or whether employees or service providers are needed
- Given a scenario, identify the taxes that are required
- Given a scenario, identify intellectual property issues of trademarks, copyrights, and patents
- Given a scenario, identify standard operating procedures (e.g., setup, conduct, internal controls, separation of duties)
- Given a scenario, identify the factors that lead to sustainability
- Given a scenario, identify milestones as part of a growth strategy
- Given a scenario, develop a sales strategy and identify characteristics of a successful sale
- Given a scenario, identify and analyze the costs/benefits of finding customers/li>
- Given a scenario, identify how to retain customers and develop a relationship with repeat customers/li>
- Given a scenario, determine value and methods of communication including: web sites, brochures, social media, and advertising
- Given a scenario, interpret basic financial statements such as income statements and balance sheets
- Given a scenario, identify the factors that influence credit ratings and the importance of a positive credit rating
- Given a list of expenses, identify which are fixed versus variable
- Given a scenario, identify the factors that impact the price to the customer
- Given a scenario, identify and analyze cash flow including: accounts receivable, accounts payable, inventory, and debt
- Given a scenario, create a cash flow budget
- Given a scenario, identify the break-even point for the business
All in all, this test was well worth the time and effort. ESB is the first certification product in the new Certiport Business Fundamentals Certification Program, and the ESB exam is intended for use primarily in academic settings including secondary schools, vocational schools, community colleges, and technical colleges. I was to have key conceptual knowledge of entrepreneurial and small business principles, as well as real-world experience as a small business manager in order to take and pass the exam. I feel validated that the skills and knowledge I have gained working in a service and trade profession as my own boss as well as working with small businesses is recognized by a premiere training institution.
Session entitled: Managing Disciplines You Don’t Understand, ECGC, 4/24/14. Professional development on leadership with Dustin Clingman. This session was principally for producers and anyone managing a multi-disciplined task force.
Leaders and leads are primarily the target for this talk. Clingman posed the question: “What shall we rant about?” asking leads and leaders what some of the major complaints about their jobs happen to be.
Major responses included:
- Team members (or team as a whole) don’t do what they say they will
- They don’t follow through
- They provide work that does not meet specs
- They fail to communicate (problems, solutions, issues, or at all)
- Excuses (there’s always an excuse)
- They do not meet established schedules
Many team members do not understand that leaders and leads are on the spear’s tip to meet deadlines and produce quality work.
What is the role that we play as the lead? We have the ability to explain and understand the scope and intent of the project, goals, parameters, and the timeline. We have to make sure team is happy or healthy (preferably both).
In reverse, what are the staff saying about the leaders?
- Producers suck.
- Producers suck. (this is not a typo, these are the top 2 complaints)
- Producers talk, and they don’t listen
- Producers don’t defend us
- We’re always being crunched
- What do they do?
- I’ve never worked with a good producer.
Where does that energy come from? Those commenters are not bad apples or poor designers or crybabies. Those responses are from qualified employees. Producers are middle managers- buffers and barriers between workers and the management team. Many producers take so much time managing and not enough time leading. So, I have renamed this discussion and professional development session:
LEADING DISCIPLINES YOU DONT UNDERSTAND
“Producer” is a term pulled from the movie-making and video industry. Perhaps because we see video games as elaborate and award-winning as movies. Real producers gather the money to make a film come to the screen, and then take an elaborate amount of the attention. So, we are not paying for the production costs, but maybe taking credit though.
Not all producers have experience with each and every discipline in the game industry. Just ask a developer. It can be said that the level of happiness for Developers is measures by the number of WTFs per minute. The important thing to remember here though, is that we are all different, and we are all the same. Many of us chosen to be leaders have little or no experience- and some of us no interest- in leading. If successful, we charge ahead from game to game, we don’t backfill or teach people how to be great leaders. There is little in the budget or time for leadership training, and most of us achieve training within the the community.
TESTING: BOON OR BUST?
Myers-Briggs and True Colors tests are good to point out blind spots in our views, and different needs for staff members based on emotional behavior. BLAME-CULTURES are the worst. Don’t take the test if you work in a blame culture location. People will lump together into hate groups and strike out or shun those who think differently. Bad information in these climates can be used to reinforce grouping behavior, and it will be painful in the end.
Most leaders are FORCED into the role. Some choose it. It is lonely being OF the people but at the spear’s tip, leading the group. As a leader, you need to recognize the personality and humanity of those under you. They will not think the same of you. 😦
The boss needs to know the people. Spend time investing in personal relationships, get to know them (that is their lives) outside of work, etc. Don’t be a buddy over a boss, but fraternize in limited amounts. This will pay big dividends. Once you can recognize their qualities and individuality, they are willing to work harder.
Give clear directions, and Grow a Spine
Decide a production methodology that works and then find a way to sell it to your management and team. “But, we’ve always done it this way” are the seven most dangerous words in business.
Grow a spine when either side fights back. If you’ve agreed on a path, take it- don’t let management above roll your team, and don’t let the team force you away from your path. Hold people accountable and support them. Spinelessness is not leadership. Negotiation and compromise ARE leadership. It is evil to be disengenuous to your team and crumble to the boss. Be swift, spare no souls who stand in the way. People are often afraid to tell the truth, especially if it is about failure, disagreement on keen points, or needing more than you initially planned. IF you tell the truth, you can return to the team as a hero
Protect the creative environment
Find out how your people like to work best, and enable that to happen. Get buy-in from the rest of the studio or at least your neighbors. Examples of this might include: quiet time from 2-5pm, low/high light, headphones
Keep YOUR personal life together
You can’t lead when you’re not in your right mind. All your hard work on relationships in your workplace can be ruined by a glib comment or two. Know how to keep things separated. If you’re the leader, you never get a pity party. EVER. There is a lot of stress in leadership, but you cannot let that affect your workplace
Get rid of troublemakers
If you have non-performing indvidual, do not balk about getting them on a performance plan. Mental anguish arises and team morale quickly declines when one person isn’t pulling their weight. Developers don’t like conflict, because that’s your job as a manager. Everyone would rather do more work than have to put up with someone dragging them down.
Don’t over-manage/be a control freak too often
If you come from another discipline, use it. Don’t ever argue over colors or words.
Learn how to play poker
For leaders, this is a must. Life itself is a game of incomplete information. How people behave or patterns they exhibit become their behaviors. How they play poker is how they think about life
Play to the strengths of the team
set them up for success at least on this project. FInd the path that works and speed things up. Some team members thrive under controlled crunch. Find out ow your team works best and then create those conditions.
DON’T BULLSHIT ANYONE OVER ANYTHING. EVER.
This will trivialize them. If you don’t know, ask them questions and make them teach you,
So leadership tactics formed easily in the first part of this discussion, but lets talk specifically about how to manage and lead disciplines if you are unfamiliar with the archetypes.
Managing the artists
Artists need space and they space out more than you like. Save them from themselves, get involved early and give good boundaries to your art requests. Be very specific about what you want to see, how many variations, how many ideas, etc. Rework drives them BONKERS, especially when this is preventable.
When engineers explain their ideas and plans passionately, ask them to deconstruct this for the lay person. Don’t be afraid to ask them what the options are. Look to them as technical mentors and ask how you can learn more about a particular subject. Beware the coding zinger joke.
Designers want rules, but they are often tempted to break them. Give them Bite size work, and embrace the protypes! Support them, organizational chart pending. Understand that they exist to give order to the game. They are frequently Tauran, liking stability, sameness, comfort.
Managing sound designers
Audio guys want respect. Bring them into the process early so they can be part of the ideas and concept from the very beginning. People usually want to build the game THEN add the sound, like a movie. The more immersed the sound designers are, the better the product will be. Be very, very clear with your feedback.
How can you get people to separate their ego from the end product? Well, you can’t. Leadership starts at the top. I never introduced a person as someone who works FOR me, but rather I introduced them as someone who works WITH me. If ego is trumped at the top, it will trickle down. Leadership should be humble, willing to do everything they ask others to do. Preferably the interview process will allow you to throw someone under the bus and tout themselves so you can get an idea of what they’ll be like in your organization, but good luck getting that to happen…