Archive for the ‘Certification’ Category

70-410 & 70-417 TechEd Sessions

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*Free* Learning Resources

April 25, 2013 Leave a comment


I get a lot of questions in my job as an MCT about recommending resources to people who want to either study for exams, or just further their understanding about new technologies. Just today a friend of mine in the US wanted to know about some resources he could use to help prepare him for his upcoming Windows 7 exam.

It got me thinking. Sometimes it’s great to go on a 5 day course (well I would say that, I teach ‘em!). Without doubt, you get unrivalled knowledge from a super qualified Microsoft approved instructor who is typically a top bod in their field on the chosen subject.

However, that doesn’t always fit for some folks due to time and monetary constraints. Let me point you folks to four (thanks ‏@Shih_Wei for the correction!) super cool resources you may not know, and will allow you to learn in your own time, at your own pace, sat in your comfy armchair at home.

1) Free E-Books. Check out these titles from MS Press that you can download and read offline for nowt!

2) Springboard. For all things Windows, you just can’t beat it. There are tutorials, articles, videos, walkthroughs and much, much more. IT Pro’s should know this and have it bookmarked in their browser for sure. Check it out!

My personal favourite up there now is the Windows 8 jumpstart event. A whole day of recorded video content on the coolest OS from Microsoft yet.

3) MVA. If you’re not already using it, go give it a visit, it’s the Microsoft Virtual Academy. Some superb content on all kinds of topics from developer content to Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 and more. Check your stats out against your friends, your country and the world with the self-assessments on there too! You may even see some of the content I wrote too.

4) 90 Days to MCSA. The push to get certified in 90 days to attain MCSA – with a little help from your friends at Microsoft Learning. Great video and other resources to help you study and achieve your goals. Join in the fun!

Well, if you get through that lot, let me know and I’ll fix you up on one of my courses too!

Categories: Certification

Windows Server Certification Paths

December 10, 2012 Leave a comment


I just saw this on the Microsoft Born To Learn website and had to share it.
It’s a great infographic showing where you need to start, or how you can upgrade your knowledge and certification to Windows Server 2012. Enjoy!

Windows Server Certification and Career Paths

Windows Server 2003/2008 Exams Due to Expire

September 26, 2012 Leave a comment

If you follow me a bit, then you will know how committed to exams I am in my career. I have been a Microsoft Certified Professional, and Microsoft Certified Trainer for over 16 years. I lost count how many exams I have done past 50.

Times change, and new products are coming through the pipeline as we speak, for example, Windows 8 general availability is 1 month away exactly as I write.  Just so you know, many of the Windows Server 2003 & 2008 exams are due to retire next summer. Why tell you now? Many people are currently studying and committed to tracks involving Windows Server technologies. Pull your finger out and get them done!

The good news, is that not all Windows Server 2003/2008 exams are going, just those that do not map to the MCSA: Windows Server 2008 certification. So it will still be possible to study and earn (and of course retain!) certifications like the MCSA on Windows Server 2008, but you should also be looking to the future as well.  Microsoft have already released a swath of new exams for Windows Server 2012, including the 70-417 upgrade exam.

Courses are of course(!) in the pipeline, but you may be interested in the free online Jump Start event in the meantime on Oct 23-24. Details here with Microsoft’s Rick Claus and Train Signal’s Ed Liberman.

Below is the full list of retiring exams due to expire July 31st 2013.

70-169: TS: Windows Small Business Server 7, Configuring

70-290: Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment

70-291: Implementing, Managing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure

70-293: Planning and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure

70-294: Planning, Implementing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Infrastructure

70-297: Designing a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory and Network Infrastructure

70-298: Designing Security for a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network

70-299: Implementing and Administering Security in a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network

70-643: TS: Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure, Configuring

70-647: Pro: Windows Server 2008, Enterprise Administrator

70-648: Upgrading your MCSA on Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008, Technology Specialist

70-649: Upgrading your MCSE on Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008, Technology Specialist

74-679: Windows Server 2008 Hosted Environments, Configuring and Managing

70-690: Windows Server 2008 HPC Environments, Configuring and Managing

70-691: Windows Server 2008 HPC Environments, Developing

70-699: Windows Server 2003, MCSA Security Specialization Skills Update


Categories: Certification

The Value of Certification

February 9, 2012 Leave a comment

In this article, we want to explain what the value of certification is, and what it means to be certified

First, let’s drill down on what certification is, and what it means to be certified.  Being certified is having successfully taken one or more certification exams. For Microsoft technologies, this can mean a MOS (Microsoft Office Specialist), MTA (Microsoft Certified Associate), or MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) exam.  Perhaps even higher up the certified ladder, there is also MCM (Microsoft Certified Master) or MCA (Microsoft Certified Architect).  Check out this link for more detail on the above programs.

The various Microsoft Certification tracks

Passing one of these exams and achieving certification is for most people, the culmination of hard work in study and real world experience, to prove their skills in a measured and standardized way.  The audience for this newsletter is going to be people interested in pursuing certification in IT Pro MCP exams, in technology areas like Windows 7, and Windows Server.

The Microsoft Certification program is global and offers localized examinations in a choice of languages.  Importantly a Microsoft certification is recognized internationally.

Certification is so engrained in many areas of professional life, which we often just take for granted. For instance, you would expect your doctor to have attended and passed exams at medical school. Likewise, at the time of writing, I am about to board a plane. I hope there is a qualified pilot aboard!

Is running your company’s network, or rolling out Windows to the desktop any different? The person at the helm should be someone the company can have a degree of assurance in to complete their job successfully. Certification can certainly help this. It’s no guarantee that that person won’t make mistakes, but statistics tell us that an IT department with certified staff is much more likely to be more productive, than one without certified staff. 1

Looking from another perspective, some people are able to drive proficiently without a valid drivers license, but would you allow them to drive your son or daughter to the prom without a licence?  Just as the drivers license can be the gateway to the open road, professional qualifications can open the door to careers that experience alone does not open.

Remember, certification itself will not guarantee a job, or a job promotion. It’s true though, that it is proven to help open doors, and opportunities that would not otherwise be visible. This has certainly been the case for both of us, and we see it every day in the classroom with our students.

Just as with any learning, it is often the first certification that is hardest to achieve.  Both of us have over 20 IT qualifications each, and the first few were harder to pass than the later ones.  Does this mean exams are easier now?  This is a common misconception – the answer is not at all!  The years of IT experience gained alongside regular study and exam preparation help the process to become easier.  This continued “professional development” together with experience can look great on your resume.

Where should you start?  A wise man once said, start with the end in mind….So decide what technology you either enjoy, currently work with, or that you would like to specialize in.  Then establish the certification path which you need to follow.  Behind each certification will be suggestions for learning which could offer traditional books/ebooks, instructor led training or e-learning to mention the key methods.  Work out a study plan which fits with your schedule and then set yourself a goal to take the test!  A couple of months should be ample per certification but of course this will vary between learners.

Categories: Certification, MCT

TechEd NA – here I come!

March 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Got confirmation today that I’ll be staffing again at TechEd in Atlanta in May.
Look out for my Cram4Exam session on April 4th in the lead up on the Exchange Configuration MCTS exam 70-662 in the meantime.

Going yourself?
Download the countdown gadget here

Categories: Certification, TechEd


Got the 686 and 663 exams done last week, and passed both, so that’s another 2 MCITPs under my belt. Nerd smile
Not too difficult, not so easy either, but happy to have got both out of the way!
What’s next?Sarcastic smile
Categories: Certification