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The three new OPPO flagship phones with models of PEGM10, PEGT10, and PEEM00 have been appeared on the network and have passed the 3C certification. So we are guessing these refer to the OPPO Find X3 series and it will come in March. At present, the appearance and some parameters of this phone have been leaked.
The Find X2 released in 2023 has achieved a good sales performance with its high-quality 2K screen and powerful camera. This year, the OPPO Find X3 will be upgraded again on the original basis, bringing unexpected surprises.
The OPPO Find X3 screen will support a full-link color management system. It will make the color display effect of pictures and videos even better. In addition, the OPPO Find X3 Pro will still come with a 6.7-inch 2K high-quality screen that supports 120Hz refresh rate. There is a built-in 4500mAh battery, which supports 65W wired fast charge and 30W wireless fast charge.OnePlus 9 Pro, coming in March to April
The OnePlus flagship phones always boast of their outstanding screen and smooth experience. But their camera modules have always been mediocre. This time, the OnePlus 9 Pro is going to fix this. The brand new Snapdragon 888 flagship machine will bring extraordinary imaging experience. The OnePlus 9 Pro will jointly develop a camera with the Hasselblad.
The new OnePlus 9 Pro still uses a hyperboloid hole-punch screen design on the front, with a 2K screen resolution. It still comes from Samsung. On the back, the phone will carry a matrix quad-camera. It consists of a 48MP main camera + 48MP wide angle + ultra wide angle + portrait lenses combination. The front camera has a 32MP resolution.
The OnePlus 9 Pro will come standard with a 4500mAh battery. It will support 65W wired fast charge + 40W wireless fast charge.Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro, coming in May
Considering that the Xiaomi Mi 11 is in a hot selling stage, Xiaomi decided not to release other flagship phones such as the Mi 11 Pro so quickly. We are waiting for it around May.Gizchina News of the week
The new Xiaomi 11 Pro will definitely have a major camera upgrade. The main camera still has a 108MP resolution. It should have new breakthroughs in telephoto and wide-angle shooting.Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, coming from August to September
Well, this is going to be the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra. As you can see from the picture, the phone has a huge camera module on the back. And there is a small rear secondary screen on the right side of the lens. The camera module comes with the words ‘120X’, hinting it will support a 120x zoom.
In addition, this new Xiaomi machine supports 67W wired (or 120W) + 67W wireless + 10W reverse charging. The phone will have a built-in 5000mAh battery.Huawei P50 Pro, coming in March to April
At the beginning of February, we saw a rendering of the Huawei P50 Pro. Compared with the P40 series, the back side still uses a matrix camera module. The front side uses a curved centered hole screen.
Judging from the renderings, the Huawei P50 Pro uses five cameras on the back, one of which is a periscope telephoto lens. The main camera may use a brand new 80MP CMOS and supports up to 200x digital zoom.
The Huawei P50 series will come with the same 5nm Kirin 9000 processor of the Mate 40 series. However, due to the current shortage of Huawei chips, there are reports that Huawei may switch to MediaTek SoC.
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With everything from the flagship iPhone, iPad, and MacBook assuming a “Pro” tag, it was only a matter of time before Apple’s most popular wireless earphones joined the bandwagon as well. Days after iOS 13.2 beta gave credence to the rumors of the higher-end AirPods, Apple launched AirPods Pro via a press release. Much to no one’s surprise, the wireless earphones sport an all-new design along with some notable features that make it stand out. But those extra goodies warrant a premium price tag – $249. If you are planning to buy the earphones but aren’t sure which one of the two – AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro – can offer the best bang for your bucks, you have arrived at the right place. Putting AirPods Pro vs AirPods 2, we have taken a close look at what they offer and more significantly; what separates them from each other.AirPods Pro vs AirPods 2 : What’s the Difference Between the Two?
The first thing that struck my mind when I first heard the release of Apple’s new wireless earphones was – “What is so pro about AirPods Pro?” Maybe the Cupertino-based company is trying to target a new segment of customers who don’t mind spending some additional bucks for high-end features. Or, maybe the company wants to streamline its entire lineup of products that can entice both budget-minded and flagship lovers alike.Compatibility
This one is surely going to disappoint many iPhone owners (and some might even end up wondering why their more than capable iPhones have been left out). One of the biggest differences between AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro is compatibility. While the former works seamlessly with even older devices like iPhone 5, the latter supports iPhone 8 or newer, which leaves even capable iPhones like iPhone 7 with A10 chip in the lurch. So, if you are all set to purchase the AirPods Pro, do not forget to check out the compatibility.
iPhone 5 and later
5th-generation iPad and later,
All iPad Pro models
1st-gen iPad Air and later
iPad Mini 2 and later
6th and 7th-gen iPod touch
iPhone 8 or later
iPad Mini 5 or later
10.5-inch iPad Air 3
12.9-inch iPad Pro 2 and 3
10.5-inch iPad Pro
11-inch iPad Pro
iPod touch 7Design
Probably the most striking difference between the AirPods and AirPods Pro is the design. Whereas the former look old-fashioned and lack ergonomic profile, the latter sport a trendy design. The Pro variant looks more compact and feels way more comfortable to wear courtesy the ergonomic form-factor. They also come with three sizes of silicone tips to offer optimal fit to the ear cavity.
Depending on your convenience, you can switch between the silicone tips – small, medium and large – to have a comfortable fit. They are designed to provide a great seal for active noise cancellation (more on this later). And with the vents in the tips, the pressure is equalized on both the sides of the earphones. Unfortunately, that is not the case with the regular AirPods. While they fit most people, they don’t fit everyone. Moreover, there is always a fear of losing them due to their slippery and less ergonomic design.
Design-wise, the regular AirPods pale in comparison. Even though they are quite popular, one thing that can’t be denied is that they have probably the worst design among all the premium wireless earphones. While I have always loved them due mainly to the seamless music listening experience and fairly impressive sound quality, I have never come to terms with their odd design. And if you ask most users, you may get the same answers.
So, if you wish to be in sync with the trendy design and also would like to have a super comfy tip to wear the earbuds for hours, AirPods Pro should be your pick. That’s as straightforward as it can ever get!The Core Functionality
This one is a no brainer, is it? As both the AirPods Pro and AirPods 2 come with the H1 (headphone) chip, their basic functionality is the same. So, you can seamlessly connect your wireless earphones with your iPhone or other compatible devices. It also offers a voice-activated Siri for controlling music. H1 chip is said to cut down audio latency for gaming by up to 30% which could be a great deal for gamers. Other goodies include the built-in optical sensor and motion accelerometer that work in sync to offer a much-improved audio experience.
The main thing that has changed is the way you control your music and summon Siri. While the older AirPods 2 had a touch sensitive earbud which you could tap to control music, the new AirPods Pro move the touch sensitive area to the stem. So, now instead of tapping, you will be using tough and hold gestures to control music. The change is neither good nor bad. You just have to adjust to the new gestures and that’s all.Active Noise Cancellation
What gives AirPods Pro a decisive edge over the cheaper siblings is the active noise cancellation. The wireless earphones detect noise from both outside and inside the ear. Then, they create an equivalent “anti-noise” before you hear the sound. Thus, you can enjoy a peaceful conversation or listen to your favorite podcasts even at a crowdy place.
Furthermore, the earphones come with a transparency mode that can let you hear the outside sound. So, you can comfortably interact with the people around you. To enter transparency mode on AirPods Pro, users need to simply press and hold the force sensor on the AirPods Pro. Do note that the force sensor not only makes it easier to switch between ANC and Transparency modes but also enhances other tapping actions.Sound Quality
Without an iota of doubt, AirPods Pro deliver better sound quality than their cheaper siblings. With the Adaptive EQ and a custom high dynamic range amplifier, the earphones provide crisp and clear sound. It also powers a custom high-excursion, low-distortion speaker driver that refines audio quality by removing the background noise. According to Apple, the driver offers consistent, rich bass down to 20Hz and crisp mid- and high-frequency audio.
Considering the regular AirPods have never received high praise for their sound quality, the battle of sound quality seems to be a lop-sided affair at least on the paper. But there are a couple of things that need to be reiterated before making a sure-fire conclusion. First and foremost, the regular AirPods with the charging case are more than $100 cheaper (currently priced at $144 on Amazon). And second, the price that AirPods Pro warrants puts them in the elite league where it’s up against the premium earphones like Powerbeats Pro (currently priced at $199.95 on Amazon) which is known to have excellent sound quality.Sweat And Water Resistance
AirPods Pro are sweat and water-resistant with a rating of IPX4 under IEC standard 60529. While they are more than good enough to survive sweat and even take on rains (to a good extent), they are definitely not meant for water sports and swimming. Also, bear in mind that the charging case isn’t sweat and water-resistant. So, handle it with care.Battery Life
In terms of battery life, the battle between the regular AirPods and AirPods Pro seems to be quite even-steven. According to Apple, the Pro variant delivers the same battery life as the standard model with up to five hours of listening time. But when the active noise cancellation mode is on, the Pro version provides up to four and a half hours of listening time and up to three and a half hours of talk time on a single charge. And with the wireless charging case at the disposal, they also deliver up to 24 hours of listening and around 18 hours of talk time.
Comparatively, Powerbeats Pro offers up to 9 hours of listening time (more than 24 hours with the included charging case). While AirPods Pro are able to hold the fort against the standard AirPods, they look pale in comparison to Powerbeats Pro when it comes to battery life.Repair Cost
Expectedly, the AirPods Pro earbuds also demand higher repair costs. Without AppleCare+, you will have to pay $20/$30 more than what you had to pay for the standard AirPods. The out-of-warranty servicing cost for each AirPod Pro is $89 as against $69 for the AirPod. The repair cost of the wireless charging case for AirPods Pro is $89 vs $69 for the wireless charging case of the regular earbuds. Given the high servicing cost, it seems apt to go for the $29 AppleCare+ so that you can get your earbuds repaired at less amount (up to $60).Price-to-Value Proposition
However, if you are craving to have the same core features that the AirPods Pro deliver without having to dole out a lot of bucks, then go for the AirPods 2 as you can get it for just $140 right now. As for whether AirPods Pro offers the best price-to-value proposition or not, check out our best AirPods alternatives to find out for yourself.
SEE ALSO: 10 Best AirPods and AirPods 2 Leather Cases You Can BuyAirPods Pro vs AirPods 2: Which One Did You Get?
Real-world data shows the most crucial sources of traffic for e-commerce websites
E-commerce/online retail is a booming sector. But because the latest marketing techniques change so rapidly, it can be tricky to keep up with the latest trends whilst also keeping your feet on the ground.
Datareportal’s 2023 global overview shows that search engines and social networks are the 2 biggest sources for self-reported online brand research. But how are users navigating to e-commerce websites?B2C top traffic sources
Hubspot’s 2023 user survey, compiled by 400+ users, primarily of B2C audiences, demonstrates a mixed bag in terms of traffic attribution.
The biggest question mark is a sizable chunk of 22% direct traffic, which could include:
‘Dark’ social (untrackable social shares)
Direct links from pdfs, shared documents, or other non-trackable sources
But interestingly, after direct, we see the next top 2 website traffic sources, organic and social, mirroring the report above.
One benefit of our RACE Growth System is that you can use data to monitor your customers’ experiences of your brand during each stage of your marketing funnel. So you can quickly identify which channels or experiences you want to optimize to achieve your goals.
We have dedicated modules focusing on improving reach, interaction, conversion, and engagement for search traffic, social, email, and more, as part of your 90-day marketing strategy action plan.Create your 90-day plan with the RACE Growth System
Download your free RACE Growth System guide today and unlock our three-step plan of Opportunity, Strategy and Action to grow your business.
Download guide Traffic sources for different types of e-commerce website
If you’re looking for traffic breakdown data segmented by type of website, you might want to take a look at Wolfgang Digital’s E-commerce 2023 KPI report, based on data from their European and US-based international clients. This giant KPI report took over 2 years to complete and is yet to be rivaled as a global source for e-commerce traffic statistics.
It’s based on an analysis of over 250 million website sessions and over €500 million in online revenue over the 12 months from July 2023 to June 2023.
The data clearly shown the importance of paid and organic search marketing which account for over 50% of retail visits. Interestingly, retailers without a physical presence seem to struggle more with generating organic search, relying on paid search more heavily than any other type of retailer.
Email marketing and social media are surprisingly low in comparison – they may be under-represented depending on how well tracking of these channels has been set up in their retail clients.
Paid and organic search are also important for retail sales, but referrals from other sites i.e. including affiliate marketing are lower here.B2C social media growth
The growth of social commerce, highlighted in our 2023 social commerce trends, demonstrates a new way for customers to interact with brands. Marketers investing in in-app experiences may see a decline in actual website traffic, but if done right social commerce UX will help increase sales from other pipelines.Create your 90-day plan with the RACE Growth System
Download your free RACE Growth System guide today and unlock our three-step plan of Opportunity, Strategy and Action to grow your business.
Download guide 2024 data overview
Yotpo collated data from 65 million ecommerce orders representing $2 billion dollars in transactions over 120,000 ecommerce stores and established what the industry average is for digital media.
The results make for slightly surprising reading. On the face of things, Social makes up a healthy 6%, but this is still a relatively small slice of the overall pie. Paid makes up 5%, which leaves considerable room for growth, whilst email makes up a rather small 3%. The email figure is down to the data source – if you take a look at the Custora data on what influences sales it gives a different picture showing the importance of email to Ecommerce. It would be interesting to see the conversion rates by traffic, as it may be that referrals from emails are on the site because they’ve decided to purchase, whilst those from other sources may be more likely to be there to browse or research. I was slightly surprised that search didn’t make up a larger share since it is how most customers generally start their buying journey. Investing in better content marketing efforts could be more than worth it for many ecommerce stores, if done well it will attract quality links and boost SEO.
Relying too much on one source of traffic leaves you exposed to risks, just because a channel is fantastic for generating traffic today doesn’t mean it will continue to be. Some sites lost out when Panda put penalties on certain SEO linking practices. Others lost out when Facebook decided to massively restrict organic reach. If your site had relied exclusively on one of these sources of traffic then the changes will have put you in some serious trouble.
The best way to avoid these risks is by hedging your bets by acquiring your traffic from a considerable variety of sources. But what is a good variety? That’s where the data comes in.Direct
The big surprise in many ways is how large a proportion of traffic comes from direct. 40% of traffic came from direct, which accounts for more ecommerce traffic than any other single source. Direct in theory is the people who have typed in the URL directly to their browser, but in reality, it means anyone who arrives at the site from a source that cannot be tracked. The source of this traffic is generally links that have been sent to friends/colleagues and then copied and pasted into web browsers. Traffic of this kind is generally referred to as ‘dark social’, as it is comprised of links that are shared socially, but cannot be tracked. This means ‘dark social’ actually accounts for a considerable percentage of direct traffic.Dark Social
By its very nature, it is difficult to accurately account for what percentage of your direct traffic is actually ‘dark social’. However with direct accounting for 40% of ecommerce traffic, it seems likely dark social is making up a large proportion of the total. A general rule of thumb is that for every three people reaching your site via social, a further 7 will be arriving from ‘dark social’, which will appear as direct. If this is true for ecommerce traffic then dark social accounts for half of all the direct traffic, which is 20% of the total traffic. This makes dark social the 3rd largest source of ecommerce traffic by a considerable margin. Bear that mind when designing your landing pages and crafting the copy for your social shares. Social is probably more important to your bottom line than you think.Other statistics on the most popular traffic sources and media channels for retailers?
If you’re not aware of it the excellent Custora Ecommerce Pulse shows orders by channel and is also of interest for retailers to benchmark against. This is the latest data in 2024 compared to 2024.
It’s a compilation showing traffic or media sources from some of the top US retail sites which drive sales.What channels draw the most engaged traffic? How important is mobile?
Mobile has been a buzz word in digital for several years now, to the point where it seems almost outdated to talk about how important it is as everyone should know by now. Mobile now makes up the majority of visits across the web, but this is not the case for ecommerce. Because of the fiddly nature of payment forms, mobile accounts for slightly over 1/3rd of all ecommerce visits. If your rate of mobile traffic is lower than this it might be worth seeing if your site needs further optimisation for mobile. Responsive design should be your first priority, and if this is already in place then it may be worth a bit of user testing to see if the customer journey is as smooth on mobile as it is on desktop.
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If you’re in the market for a new laptop, you’d be forgiven for feeling a little bewildered by the amount of choices. There are, after all, a huge selection of models on the market, what with hardware makers pushing out dozens of new models every year.
The good news is that you don’t need to look at every single laptop out there in detail, because you can quickly narrow your options down by asking a few questions about what you want in your next computer.Consider both portability and power
Every laptop is a compromise between portability and power, and they all vary on where they draw that line. A faster and more capable machine needs bigger internal components and more room to keep them cool—which means it will end up larger, heavier, and more battery-draining than a less-powerful computer.
As portable computing power has improved over the last few years, this compromise has become less of an issue. Today, decent processors and graphics chips slip into svelte laptop frames. Still, if you want a laptop capable of the most demanding tasks—primarily gaming and video editing—it’s going to have to be relatively chunky.
You can find laptops to suit every point along the portability-power scale, so you’ll need to decide which is most important to you. How much of your time will you be spending carrying your laptop from place to place? Will it have to last a long time between battery charges? How much heavy use do you want to get out of it? Answer those questions, and you’ll be able to quickly pare down the list of suitable choices.Pick an operating system
If you’re already comfortable with an operating system, you may prefer to stick with it rather than switching things up. Bahman Adlou via Unsplash
Your choices for a laptop operating system are Windows, macOS, and Chrome OS, and they’re all speedy, stable, secure, and reliable. Each OS has its pros and cons, and it’s hard to definitively rank them in any objective way. Ultimately, most people tend to just stick with what they’re already familiar with, which can make picking a new laptop a little easier.
Windows remains the most popular of the three, which also means it’s the biggest target for malware and viruses, so make sure you have a robust security system in place (the built-in protections will be fine for most users). As many different manufacturers make Windows devices, you’ll have a broader range of laptop designs to pick from—standard ones, folding laptops that double as tablets, and more.
Apple’s macOS has a stronger reputation for stability and security, and it comes with a host of software, from office apps to music-making tools (compare the best laptops for music production). On the flip side, there’s a smaller choice of laptop designs to pick from, and prices tend to be toward the higher end of the scale. This OS plays well with other Apple devices (from the iPhone to the HomePod), but less well with non-Apple gadgets.
Chrome OS is essentially just the Chrome web browser, so you’re limited to web apps (no Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop here), but it also means the lightweight, streamlined OS needs little in the way of maintenance. Chromebooks running Chrome OS are available in a variety of designs and are usually competitively priced, too.
That’s a whistle-stop tour of your three main options, but it should give you a flavor of what each has to offer. Unless you’re buying your first ever laptop, you’re already going to be familiar with at least one of these operating systems. If you’re thinking about switching to something else, try a test run on a laptop owned by a friend or family member to see how you like it.
Microsoft, Apple, and Google all make laptops to show off their respective operating systems: Check out the MacBook Pro for macOS (from $1,299 from Apple), the Surface Laptop for Windows (from $999 from Microsoft), and the Pixelbook Go for Chrome OS (from $649 from Google). They should give you a better idea of what each platform can do.
Related: Best 2-in-1 laptopsSelect your specs
When choosing a processor, make sure you know what generation it is and what all those numbers mean. Roman Spiridonov via Unsplash
Browse through the laptops at your local store, and you’ll see a whole host of specifications—but don’t get overly worried about the small print. As a useful shortcut, just look at the prices, which will often tell you which computers are more powerful than others. Still, it helps to know a little bit about what you’re dealing with.
The central processing unit, also known as the CPU, or simply, the processor, is the brains of the operation, controlling all the calculations that hum through your laptop’s circuitry. To find out how capable a computer’s CPU is, look for references to a clock speed (in gigahertz), which is how fast it does its thinking. Also keep an eye out for the number of cores, which are basically mini CPUs: More cores means more simultaneous thinking.
These specs are often hidden behind brand terms, like Intel’s labels of i3 (low-end), i5 (mid-range), i7 (high-end), and i9 (power users). Watch out for the generation of the chip, too (Intel’s 10th-gen CPUs are the top of the line in 2023)—a new generation means better performance with less battery drain. That’s why, when a new generation of processors arrives, you’ll often see laptop prices updated across the board.
Another important spec is the RAM, which essentially controls how much your laptop can think about at any one time. More RAM means more support for lots of browser tabs, bigger images, more open applications, and so on. Basically, RAM lets you have a lot more going on without forcing your machine to come to a grinding halt. The absolute minimum these days is 4GB, though if your needs are even somewhat demanding, you’ll probably want to go above that.
Next up: The graphics processor, or GPU, which is basically just a CPU dedicated to graphics. It’s important for gaming and video editing, but not so important for anything else. If visuals are important to you, make sure you look at resolution, which is measured in pixels. More pixels means a sharper screen (and unfortunately more of a drain on the battery). If you see an otherwise decent-looking machine for a relatively low price, the discount may be because the screen resolution isn’t up there with the best.
There are a few other specs to consider. The hard drive size indicates the amount of room a computer provides for files and applications. If you’re planning to keep your videos, photos, and music on your machine (as opposed to storing them in the cloud), make sure the hard drive you buy can handle all your data with room to spare. Also pay attention to the number of input and output ports a laptop has, especially if you’re planning to connect it to a lot of peripherals (like external hard drives or wired speakers).Don’t forget price and hands-on appeal
The one big factor in your decision that we haven’t really talked about yet is price. If you’re on a budget, this is another way to quickly narrow down your choice of laptops. To save some cash, look for older models that have since been superseded by something new. This is a particularly good option if you know you won’t be taxing your laptop too hard and thus won’t need cutting-edge specs.
Two final tips: Use laptop reviews in tech publications to get a sense of which machines are currently more impressive than others, and actually walk into a store to handle some sample laptops. This can give you a feel for screen sizes, build quality, and so on—even if you intend to buy online.
Network security is the foundation for protecting a company from the assaults of malicious hackers and other behavior that might occur online. Given the forecasts that cybercrime will cost the global economy $6 trillion by 2023, it is not difficult to see why network security has become such a hot subject in recent years. On the other hand, there is an overwhelming number of credentials for cybersecurity, which is to be anticipated given the vast number of different types of assaults.
Even though it is helpful to have a broad selection of alternatives to select from when it comes to cybersecurity problems, the sheer quantity and diversity of these choices can make it tough to navigate. Because there are so many options, settling on a selection will prove challenging. What kinds of credentials are considered to be the most essential when it comes to the protection of a computer network? Which one (or ones) are going to be the best fit for the needs that your organization has? Is there a certification in cyber security that is of the highest level and can be used in any environment?Network Security
The latter can take the form of either staff being informed on best security procedures or trained specialists handling network security.Best Network Security Certificates
You’ll need to acquire the necessary knowledge and experience in network security before you can expect to earn a high salary in the industry. This is when learning how to protect a network comes in handy. A course in network security certification will provide you with the foundational knowledge necessary for these roles and a certificate that you can show to potential employers.Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
IT security specialists with the job description of trying to get into systems to identify flaws are sometimes called “white hat hackers.” They are hired by businesses and organizations to identify security flaws and provide mitigation strategies. It’s hardly surprising that this credential is in high demand, given the growing significance of cybersecurity.CISSP stands for “Certified Information Systems Security Professional.”
This credential is intended for seasoned security experts who oversee the creation and implementation of an organization’s security practices, policies, and standards. IT security experts looking to further their careers will find this book indispensable.Certification for Information Systems Managers (CISM)
This certification is a must-have if you work in IT and are responsible for managing security at the corporate level. In addition to developing corporate best practices, they collect, create, and supervise security systems.Expert in Cloud Security (CCSP)
As more and more businesses move their operations to the cloud, this qualification has become increasingly desirable. IS and IT experts who are interested in applying industry standards to their work in cloud security architecture, design, operations, and service orchestration are the intended audiences for this training. This is required if you plan on utilizing cloud-based resources.CISA” stands for “Certified Information Systems Auditor,
IT specialists whose expertise is mainly in auditing, quality assurance, and security would benefit most from this qualification. It teaches you how to manage and oversee enterprise IT systems and conduct a thorough security review.COBIT 5 Certification Training
Obtaining Your COBIT 5 Certification Professionals in IT auditing, development, management, and leadership may all benefit from this certification in training. Using cutting-edge ideas and theories in corporate governance, COBIT 5 increases the worth of data. Trust in and appreciation for information systems are both boosted by this accreditation, which includes management practices and supplies universally accepted concepts, procedures, and analytical tools and models.CompTIA Security+ How to Choose the Right Certificate
One of the best ways to show that your knowledge and abilities in the field of cybersecurity are respected and valued by employers is to get certified. When deciding on a credential, take these factors into account.
Step 1 According to your degree of expertise − First, get a credential that validates your expertise. By obtaining a certification, you are confident you can set yourself up for future success when attempting more challenging exams. If you’re starting in the field of information technology, it is helpful to familiarise yourself with some of the most basic certifications available.
Cost The certification process can cost several hundred dollars, not counting renewal fees. It’s crucial to make a well-informed decision when investing in certification because doing so might result in more excellent career opportunities or higher income.
Step 2 Focus − A more general certification may be preferable if you are starting in cybersecurity or aiming for a managerial position. You may reach a point in your job where you want to focus on one particular area. Employers will recognize your expertise more highly if you have earned a certification in your field of study.
Step 3 Possible Employers − Do some research on companies you’re interested in working for (or job titles you’re interested in applying for) to get a feel for the typical credentials they want from prospective employees.
It takes me two subway rides, a fifteen-minute walk, one very large cup of coffee, and knocking on two incorrect office doors to arrive at the offices of the Program for Jewish Genetic Health in the Bronx. I am there for a genetic screening designed to indicate which genes I could pass on to a potential child. And though I scheduled the appointment weeks ago, my circuitous arrival builds up the suspense—and my anxiety. Why am I doing this gene test, I think to myself. I’m just opening a can of worms. Will knowing more about the genes I carry actually do me any good?
The genetic counselor, Elisa, walks me through my family’s medical history. Do my parents have any genetic conditions that I know about? How about my siblings? What was the cause of death for any deceased grandparents? Then she pulls out what she calls the “menu”—a piece of paper that lists the 38 diseases for which I can get tested. These gene tests make the most sense because, based on my genetic background, I might be a carrier. The conditions range from those that would threaten a child’s life, such as cystic fibrosis, to ones that may detract from the child’s quality of life but not end it early, such as Gaucher’s disease. I read through the options and decide to get tested for all of them, the whole panel. I sign a document, then go get three small vials of blood drawn. In a few weeks, I will find out which diseases I could possibly pass on to my future offspring.Who Needs Genetic Tests?
For one reason or another, millions of people worldwide are getting their genomes completely or partially sequenced. “The number of genetic tests has been exponentially rising in the last decade,” says Susan Klugman, the director of reproductive genetics at Montefiore, where I got my genetic test. Tests are cheaper now than they ever have been, and researchers are starting to understand more about what kinds of conclusions we can draw from the results. Though companies like 23andMe have made genetic information available to those who are simply curious, testing’s main use is in medicine; a patient’s DNA can help a doctor diagnose medical conditions and select the best possible treatment. Though it’s useful even now, this genetic information is becoming more important than ever; the future of medical care, from pharmaceuticals to family planning, is increasingly tailored to our genes.
Though many of us are familiar with the small, specific genetic tests that claim to predict if you’ll go bald or how hard it would be to quit smoking, we tend to know less about the kinds of genetic tests our doctors may ask for.The future of medical care is increasingly tailored to our genes. What Can They Test For?
Genetic carrier screenings and similar prenatal screenings were the first type of genetic test to become widespread. Expectant parents can test their genes to see which diseases they risk passing on to their child and plan pregnancies accordingly; prenatal screenings are conducted when a mother is already pregnant, often in the early stages of pregnancy, to test the fetus for those mutations. For the handful of diseases that medical professionals check for in these tests, the gene variants tend to be highly “penetrant,” says David Mittelman, the chief scientific officer for biotech company Tute Genomics —if a baby receives one mutated gene from each parent, he’s very likely to have the disease associated with it. These diseases, which include Tay-Sachs disease and sickle cell anemia, are often very severe.
Genetic tests can also help doctors diagnose a patient. Sometimes patients themselves request these tests before they show any symptoms of a disease, but it’s one for which they predict they have a high risk. For example, a patient may request a test for the BRCA 1 and 2 mutations if she has seen multiple family members struggle with breast cancer. Finding out if she has the mutation would help that patient understand her level of risk for breast cancer so that she can take preventative measures before the onset of the disease, such as medication that could stave off its onset, or, if her risk is particularly high, a preventative mastectomy.
In other cases, a patient is already presenting symptoms, and the doctors want to diagnose the disease to find the best possible treatment. Genes are particularly helpful in diagnosing cancer. Though what we think of as “cancer” is actually hundreds of diseases with different causes and compounding factors, in all of them the genome is altered in some way to make otherwise normal cells grow out of control.
“Genetic tests can help doctors identify and classify the trigger for the cancer and may reveal information about how to best treat it,” Mittelman says. Genes can point oncologists towards the drugs that will work best to combat the tumor, which can make the difference between a patient that has succumbed to the disease and one who survives it. In fact, there’s a whole field of medicine springing up around finding the best treatment based on genetic information, called personalized or precision medicine.How Well Do They Work?
Whether patients are looking for family planning or to find the best course of treatment, most of these tests are highly effective. But they aren’t foolproof. “Most of the time people get a genetic test because they want a certain answer,” Klugman says. “Sometimes that answer is yes, sometimes it’s no, sometimes it’s in the realm of the unknown.”
A clean bill of health for a genetic carrier screening.
Here’s what Klugman means. Genetic carrier screenings look for specific mutations that are known to be highly penetrant and are found at a particular place in the genome. Though these results aren’t foolproof (the mutation could still exist elsewhere in the genome), other types of genetic tests can have even less certain results, like those for mutations that could make a woman at higher risk for developing breast cancer. Certain types of BRCA mutations are linked to increased risk of breast cancer, others are not, and still others are called “variants of unknown significance.” So far, the links between these variants and the disease in question are not well understood and still being investigated, so doctors and patients may not know how to use that information to improve prevention.Will This Change Everything?
Until now, researchers have been focused on a few mutations known to cause disease. But the future of genetic testing is getting much more complicated, in part because now researchers can quickly decode a person’s entire genome, instead of being restricted to just a handful of conspicuous alleles. With so much more data, medical professionals can start to assess a patient’s risk for specific diseases based on her genes. “Risk assessment is often more complex because it’s often tied to complex traits,” Mittelman says. Each individual has a small combination of mutations, and each of them affects which others are expressed. That could have big effects on where the environmental factors fit in and, eventually, whether or not a person develops a disease. “You need a lot of data to figure out how those mutations fit together. Right now, that’s still too complex to interpret,” Mittelman says.
Researchers are already starting to connect that deluge of genetic data to disease and treatments, but they often need a way to process that data. More companies are jockeying to be the premiere data processing tool that assists researchers in this process. On the cancer side, IBM just put its Jeopardy-winning Watson to the task of matching cancer mutations to the right combination of drugs to treat the disease. This means that doctors will be able to tell which treatments will work most effectively on each individual patient, but it will also mean that they’ll get a better sense of a person’s risk for developing a particular condition later in life.
Prenatal testing is also getting more sophisticated. Current tests, which can be conducted after 9 weeks of pregnancy, extract the baby’s DNA from the mother’s blood to see if the child has the genetic markers for conditions such as Down syndrome. But soon, those tests will be able to test for many more mutations on the baby’s entire genome, says Sara Katsanis, an instructor in science and society at Duke University who focuses on the policy of genetic testing. More people are decoding their baby’s genome before the child is even born—in cases of in vitro fertilization, before an embryo is implanted—and are able to ensure that a baby with a fatal genetic disease is never born or, if that baby is born, that they can start treatment as soon as possible to minimize the condition’s effect.
Katsanis predicts that, in the next 20 years, more extensive prenatal genetic tests will go beyond severe diseases and allow parents to select children with specific and desirable traits. The debates about prenatal testing that have been going on in this country for decades will continue and intensify, she says. “If there’s a genetic test in 20 years that can predict with 70 percent certainty who will develop bipolar disease, is that something you would want to select in your child?” Katsanis says. “It’s uncharted territory, no one knows the answer to that question. It’s up to society and regulators to decide which traits will be on the menu, which things we say are socially acceptable.”It’s up to society and regulators to decide which traits will be on the menu,
Today, when a person gets a genetic test, the results are usually only shared with the patient and her doctor. But soon, Katsanis predicts, our medical records will hold our entire sequenced genome, along with archives of our childhood vaccines and surgical procedures. This information will be useful to have on hand because it would allow doctors to pinpoint cancerous or disease-causing mutations by comparing a patient’s genome from different times in his life. “It’s a changing landscape—genetic privacy is going to go away eventually. It will all be in the electronic medical record,” Katsanis says.
But genetic tests are already moving outside the realm of physicians. Companies like 23andMe have already been at the forefront of direct-to-consumer genetic tests, though the FDA has stymied some of their efforts out of concerns for misinterpreted results. Mittelman anticipates that these sorts of tests will become more common, but genetic counselors will become even more important in helping people understand what their results really mean.So? Are You OK, Alex?
Two weeks after my test, I got a call from my genetic counselor: My test came back all negative, like about two-thirds of people who are tested at that center. The counselor congratulated me on my clean bill of health, though she warned me that my results don’t mean that I’m free of all disease-causing mutations. Even for the conditions I was tested for, mutations could be lurking elsewhere in my genome. These caveats echoed a sentiment that experts had mentioned many times before: before genetic tests can reach their full potential in the medical realm and beyond, people need to have a better understanding of how genetics work. This knowledge may help them be less wary of them, which is a good thing, because it’s only a matter of time until genetic tests become so commonplace that we no longer worry about them. “The genetic tests now and those of the future are predictive—that means they don’t imply any sort of certainty [about risk or disease],” Katsanis says. “Until people understand that genetics aren’t a crystal ball, people will continue to fear the information.”
Personally, I’m glad I got the carrier screening. For now, the information isn’t particularly useful, but if I decide to have a child, it will surely come up again with my partner. Given the way medicine is going, it seems increasingly likely that I will have my whole genome sequenced at some future date, which will reveal more about my disease risk and possible treatments. It’s only in this context that the information makes sense for any patient. “Our future has ACG and T in it, not just ‘normal’ written next to it,” Katsanis says. In a very plausible (maybe even inevitable) future where scientists have been able to decode the human genome and connect those genes to health, “normal” won’t cut it—for us to understand how our genes relate to health, we have to know how they relate to one another, and be unafraid of what we find.
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