This week all MCPs will receive access to the Virtual Business Cards (VBC) so if you're new to the VBC, welcome! This post will give you a walkthrough of what Virtual Business Cards are all about.
If you're familiar with VBCs, scroll down - we've added a few new enhancements you should be aware of.
Finally, if you're new to the blog - welcome! Take a look around the blog and the forums. We strive to give you news about the world of Microsoft certifications and uncensored behind the scenes look at what we do here at Microsoft Learning. When you're done, share your VBC in the forums!
First, what can VBCs do for you?
You can access VBC either from the MCP site or by navigating to http://mcpvirtualbusinesscard.com (please use the Live ID that is associated with your MCP profile).
What are Virtual Business Cards? They are a tool that you can use to create, customize, and share your credentials online in a visually striking manner. We really want you to show off what you’ve accomplished and let everyone know that you know what you’re talking about. The VBC platform creates for you two elements. The first is the actual Virtual Business Card itself.
Each card will have an associated profile page.
This profile page can act as your resume online. You can select what certifications appear on this page and you have open space to enter whatever information you like, like your resume or recent accomplishments. You can even include a link to your official transcript. Since this page is hosted from a Microsoft-owned URL, this is your way to show that it’s official information.
How does it work? There is a step by step process of creating and customizing your card. All of your personal information is optional and you can enter whatever you like.
You can also choose which certifications appear on your card and on your profile page.
You can add your own ‘look and feel’ to your business card by choosing from over 100 avatars and 25 different templates.
Once you’ve created the card, it’s now time to share them. At the top of this page, you can actually make your URL more easier to link to by setting a username or keyword. After you set this, your profile page will be accessible via an easier link to remember.
From here you can also choose how to share your card. We’re looking into other ways to share so if you have any ideas, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
One interesting feature we haven’t shown you yet is that you can see how many impressions your card and profile site have received. We are counting all of this information and we’ll show you how well you’re doing:
It’s pretty simple and straightforward. Dig into VBC and let us know what you think! We have some time to make some enhancements between the next release so if you have any ideas for how to make this even better, shoot us an email at email@example.com.
Virtual Business Card update
Greetings from TechEd North America in Orlando, Florida. I’m very excited to announce two new Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) certifications based on Windows Server 2012. These certifications, and the training associated with them, provide IT professionals with new opportunities to grow and validate skills for modern IT and datacenter environments. The new certifications are the latest offerings in our reinvented Microsoft Certification Program.
As with all of our certifications, the MCSE can be the differentiator in hiring decisions and career momentum. Across the IT industry, it is becoming more important for IT professionals to have the necessary technology skills to address the increasingly blurred lines between work and life in their organizations and create dynamic, secure, available, and cost-effective infrastructure solutions. The MCSE certifications on Windows Server 2012 can help technology professionals to enable a modern workstyle and a cloud-optimized datacenter.
Here are the two new certifications:
Please keep checking back for more news about the Microsoft Certification Program. And as always, please let us know what you think.
Please reference the updated post here for information - http://borntolearn.mslearn.net/btl/b/weblog/archive/2011/05/24/updates-to-the-transcript-and-certificate-updates-need-your-feedback.aspx
Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be updating our certification transcripts and certificates, and you’ll probably notice some small but in some cases significant changes. For the full scoop and a sneak peek at the new look, keep reading!
Changes to Transcripts
Based on customer feedback, we’re consolidating the certifications on your transcripts, uniquely identifying each of them, and adding an inactive date where appropriate. I’ll explain in detail, but first let’s do a before-and-after comparison:
Notice how clean the new transcript looks on the right with certifications consolidated by track (MCITP, MCTS, MCSA: Security). This should make your transcript much easier for you, your clients and employers to read and understand.
Next, notice how we’ve organized all the various versions of, for example, MCTS underneath the “Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist” heading. Again, that’s to make the transcript easier to follow. We call the top-level boldface certifications your “certification tracks,” and the different flavors underneath are your individual “certifications.” In the example above, “Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist” is a certification track with two certifications (“SQL Server 2005” and “Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, Configuration” underneath it.
Now some new pieces of information we are adding for each certification include:
1. Technology – This is the version of the product you’re certified on, for example Windows Server 2008.
2. Certification Number – This is like a serial number, uniquely identifying each certification you earn. It’s not your MCP ID—that’s your personal identifier—and it’s not the same thing as an exam number either. Someone else who earns the exact same certification will still have their own unique certification number—no two certification numbers are alike. (In case you’re wondering, certification numbers will be randomly generated—there’s no rhyme or reason to the numbers assigned). We’re adding this field because it’s required for our ISO 17024 certification (yes, even certification programs can be certified themselves!), but the cool thing about it is that it gives us the potential to modify our transcript sharing tool down the line so that you can enable people to verify an individual certification without sharing your entire transcript (but that’s in the future).
3. Inactive Date – This is a big change: many of our certifications now feature an “inactive date” which signifies either that your certification is no longer in mainstream demand, that Microsoft no longer supports the product on which the certification is based, or that you have not met recertification requirements (if any). You won’t always see this field on your transcript—only if and when we’ve determined an inactive date for that certification. For affected certifications, you’ll start seeing inactive dates show up in June. (You can find more information on inactive dates here.)
Let’s take a moment to discuss the Inactive Date, because I’m sure that some of you are reading that phrase and thinking “that’s Microsoft-speak for decertification date.” It isn’t—in fact, even if all of your certifications go inactive, you’ll still have access to your MCP benefits, and your inactive certifications will still appear on your transcript. All that’s changing is that we’re signaling to you, your clients, and employers that these particular certifications have outlived their market relevance. Just to clarify what we mean by market relevance is that in most cases Microsoft isn't even supporting the technology through mainstream support. In other cases, it may be that the way that the technology was used (many years ago or with cloud it could even be a few months ago) when it was first released has changed, because we all know that technology is ever evolving and changing at such a rapid pace. This means the certification may have validated how to use the technology in a different way and since then we have not re-validated the skills necessary to use the technology in the market.
Changes to Certificates
We’re making three small changes to our certificates, two of which mirror the changes we’re making to the transcripts, specifically the certification number and inactive date. However, we’re also adding a new piece of information that’s on your transcript today but not on your certificate: your certification achievement date. In other words, your certificate will now display the date on which you earned your certification. See below for an example of what this will look like:
If you’ve already printed or ordered your certificates, that’s fine—there’s no need for you to print or order replacements. (You can if you want to, of course, but the standard shipping fees apply if you choose to order one.) Just like with the transcripts, you’ll see these new changes in April (with the exception of the Inactive Dates, which will begin populating in June).
So that’s the complete rundown of what’s changing… so what do you think? We’d love to read your feedback, so please share it below!
We are delighted to announce the latest offering in our reinvented Microsoft Certification Program, the Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD): Web Applications certification.
Today's customers expect high-quality, interactive line-of-business and consumer applications. With Visual Studio 2012, developers can use a single integrated solution to create modern, interactive web applications that seamlessly integrate with data-driven services. The MCSD: Web Applications certification is for developers who want the skills to build applications demanded in today’s market using MVC, Azure, HTML5, and CSS3.
Candidates must pass the following three exams to earn the MCSD: Web Applications certification:
Earning an MCSD: Web Applications certification helps developers build the skills needed to create tomorrow’s apps and provides a competitive advantage in the industry. Developers who achieve this challenging certification must regularly demonstrate their up-to-date and relevant skills on rapidly changing development technologies through recertification. The certifications will be achievable when the final versions of the exams release in mid-October.
The free beta period is running right now through August 12th for Exams 486 and 487, and there are still a limited number of free seats available! Register today with the promotional codes below to take these exams for free. Note that you will not receive your score until the live version of these exams are released.
The free beta period is already completed for Exam 480. (Missed it? Make sure you complete a Microsoft Learning SME Profile and keep it updated so we can send you a notification next time!) The good news is that you can still take the 480 beta exam, though at the regular exam price. Look for a 71- prefix when you register at Prometric.com, rather than the 70- prefix you see above. The live version of exam 480 is due out later this month, so you won't need to wait long to receive your result.
If you already hold an MCPD: Web Developer 4 certification, you're in luck. You can take advantage of a two-exam upgrade path. Upgrade exams will be available shortly after the live release of all the underlying exams.
Visit our new MCSD: Web Applications page for full details on this exciting new certification.
Do you have experience using Visual Studio 2012? Want to help me determine which the questions that will appear on certification exam? If so, I have just the thing for you! We currently have seven Visual Studio 2012 certification exams in beta. By using the code in the table below, you can take the beta exam for free. But HURRY! The seats are available on a first come, first served basis, and the opportunity to take them for free will expire when all of the seats have been filled or on the expiration dates listed below (we've extended some of these dates), whichever comes first. To register for one of these exams, go to: http://www.register.prometric.com/, and follow the prompts.
483: Programming in C#
484: Essentials of Developing Windows Metro style Apps using C#
485: Advanced Metro style App Development using C#
486: Developing ASP.NET 4.5 MVC Web Applications
487: Developing Windows Azure and Web Services
To learn more about the certifications that you can earn by taking these exams (and yes, if you pass the required exams in beta, you will earn the associated certification!), see Krista's post. Good luck!
If you have any questions about the beta process, let me know!
Wondering what impact mentoring can have? Here’s a great example from NetHope, one of our 20|20 partners. In this case, the mentoring was a little more than a cup of coffee, but your mini-mentorship can still have a huge impact on the lives of emerging IT pros!”
IT Mentor and CIO, Fonkoze, Haiti
September 2011. Francis Ollivier, CIO at Fonkoze a Haitian microfinance organization, has already been an IT mentor to five NetHope Academy interns. The experience was all around positive for Francis, the host organizations and for the interns. Two new interns just started their internship adventure with Francis at Fonkoze. Francis encourages other IT managers to become IT mentors:
“My goal was to find someone to replace me.
Francis Ollivier (center) with interns John Wolf and Emmanuel Charles
As an expat working for an NGO, I knew my assignments were temporary and I wanted them as such for a better sustainability – so I was always looking for local resources with the right skills to take my place. In the last three years, the first time I’ve been successful in finding that person was when working with interns from the NetHope Academy Intern Program. The program provides internships, training, and job opportunities for unemployed youth in the IT sector.
I’ve been an IT Mentor to five interns so far – three at the Canadian Red Cross and two at the IRC in Haiti.
My advice to other organizations that are thinking about sponsoring an intern is this: Interns are not just extra workers. They’re not just a cheap resource. If you share your knowledge and invest in your interns, you can get much more out of the arrangement.
But you need an IT Mentor to make it work.
My advice to future IT Mentors is that sharing is a two-way street. Be open and humble – be willing to share what you know with your interns, and be willing to learn from them as well. Being willing to teach your interns management and organization skills will maximize their productivity. These qualities are just as important as their technical skills development—and sometimes even more important.
I was happy not only with my intern’s technical skills, but also their dedication. We had to kick some of them out of the office every night at 7:00pm. Some were spontaneously planning work on days off to avoid disturbing the users. They were very dedicated, really committed.
Last year, all of my interns received job offers, with one of them replacing me as the local IT manager at CRC. Based on the positive experiences I’ve had, we are bringing on two interns at Fonkonze, which is a Haitian microfinance organization. I’m looking forward to another successful experience this year. And who knows, my next replacement may just walk through that door!”
Learn more about NetHope Academy Haiti
Original post http://nethopeacademy.org/about/faces-of-nethope-academy/francis-ollivier/
It is with great pleasure that Microsoft Learning announces the release of course 80424A: Product Configuration in Microsoft Dynamics® AX 2012.
About this Course:
This two-day instructor-led course provides students with the knowledge and skills to use the intermediate and advanced functionality of the product configuration feature in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. The course focuses on basic setup, building a product configuration model, preparing a product configuration model for release, and configuring lines on the AX client and the Enterprise Portal.
Course Syllabus: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/Course.aspx?ID=80427A&Locale=en-us
Note: This course is available now for download on PartnerSource and CustomerSource, and will be oderable on 26 July 2012.
Thanks, and I hope you enjoy the course.
Claire Bremer Nielsen,
Senior Content Project Manager || Microsoft Learning
It’s a new era for developers. The consumerization of IT has changed the technology landscape in a big way, and customers have higher expectations than ever before. They want fast, light, stunning applications that deliver high value and are accessible on any device. For developers, this can mean an opportunity to turn bright ideas into applications.
As Microsoft celebrated the release of Visual Studio 2012 at today’s virtual launch event, Microsoft also has cause to celebrate our new Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD) certifications, designed for the future of the applications marketplace. The new MCSD is available in two tracks, each designed for developers:
The MCSD provides an objective, meaningful way to identify advanced technical competence and significant real-world solution-building expertise. But that’s not all—in the process of achieving your MCSD, you’ll build the skills you’ll need to succeed in this new era. Preparing for your MCSD is a great way to learn how to take advantage of the new and exciting possibilities for developers in Visual Studio 2012 and Windows 8.
Stay relevant. Build the skills you need to create tomorrow’s apps by preparing for and earning an MCSD certification!
Yesterday, we released our next certification under our new branding - Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) on Windows 7.
Many of you now have this certification on your transcript and may be wondering what it is and how you earned it. As part of our efforts to grandfather our existing customers into the new program, we are awarding those individuals that have already passed the approprite Windows 7 exams, the MCSA: Windows 7 certification.
Here are the MCSA: Windows 7 requirements:
MCSA: Windows 7
MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator (Exam 70-680: Windows 7, Configuring and Exam 70-686: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Administrator)
MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician (Exam 70-680: Windows 7, Configuring and Exam 70-685: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Support Technician)
Some questions you may have are
For those that have earned the MCSA: Windows 7 certification, you will be able to earn the new MCSA: Windows 8 certification by taking and passing one exam - exam 689.
Here is the upgrade path to the MCSA: Windows 8 certification.
MCSA: Windows 8
Exam 689: Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows 8
This exam has not been released yet, check back later this year for more information.
Our web pages are in progress and should be updated with the latest information in the next day.
Lots going on so let me know what questions you have.
Have a great day!
With the 20th anniversary of Microsoft Learning upon us, we are heading into an unprecedented year in terms of new products and respective training and certification opportunities. Developers and IT Professionals have never had more opportunity to increase core skills and enable career success. Our goal continues to be developer and IT Professional empowerment and success through training and certification and we are very pleased to announce that Microsoft is bringing back its hugely popular Second Shot promotion—giving anyone a free extra chance to pass that exam! The Second Shot offer is valid through May of 2013 and we hope that many will take advantage of the opportunity.
Alison CunardGeneral ManagerMicrosoft Learning, Worldwide Marketing & Sales
Second Shot is available for single exams and featured certification packs.For more info and to get your voucher, visit http://aka.ms/secondshot .Spread the word on Twitter with hashtag #SecondShot.
Most of the exams for SQL Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008, Visual Studio 2010, Windows Server 2003, and Windows Server 2008 will be retiring on July 31, 2013. Exams for SharePoint Server 2007 and Project Server 2007 will be retiring on January 31, 2013. After these exams retire, the certifications towards which they count will no longer be available to be earned. Already started on your certification path? That’s okay! You’ve still got plenty of time to achieve it, so go for it. If you earn a current MCITP or MCPD certification while it is still available, in most cases a shorter upgrade path with be available to our new MCSE and MCSD certifications.
Upcoming exam retirements
The Microsoft Certification team continually monitors industry trends and then revises exams and certification requirements to keep pace with changes in technology. On a regular basis, new exams are introduced and older exams are revised or retired. Certifications you have earned remain valid even if qualifying exams have been retired. When an exam you passed is retired, your transcript retains the record of the exam and identifies the exam as retired.
Five exams are scheduled to retire on September 30, 2012, including Exchange Server 2007 exams. Nine exams are scheduled to retire on January 31, 2013, including SharePoint Server 2007 and Project Server 2007 exams. Forty-nine exams relating to SQL Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008, Visual Studio 2010, Windows Server 2003, and Windows Server 2008 are scheduled to retire on July 31, 2013. Note that both exams and dates planned for retirement may be subject to change.
Availability of related certifications
SQL Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and Visual Studio 2010 certifications
We will be retiring all of the Visual Studio 2008 exams and most of the Visual Studio 2010 and SQL Server 2008 exams on July 31, 2013. As of that date, the following certifications will no longer be available to be earned:
New Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) and Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) certifications for SQL Server 2012 are already available, and new Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) certifications for Visual Studio 2012 are coming soon.
Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 certifications
We will be retiring all of the Windows Server 2003 and most of the Windows Server 2008 exams on July 31, 2013. As of that date, the following certifications will no longer be available to be earned:
New MCSE: Private Cloud and MCSA: Windows Server certifications are already available, and other MCSE certifications covering other solutions are coming soon.
Microsoft Learning partnered with the Microsoft Server and Tools team and Developer and Platform Evangelism (DPE) to deliver the “Windows Server 2012 Jump Start: Preparing for the Datacenter Evolution” on June 20-21, 2012. Thanks to an amazing product and a phenomenal team effort, this event shattered two Jump Start records with 2,064 attendees from 103 different countries and an amazing 189 NSAT!
We are excited to announce the release of the HD-quality video recordings available on TechNet Videos now!
Special thanks and congratulations to the instructor team of Rick Claus (Microsoft Senior Technical Evangelist) and Corey Hynes (President & Lead Architect for holSystems). Both have led Jump Start courses before (check out Virtualization for VMware Pros and Cloud 101) and the audience absolutely loved their engaging, conversational style, clear explanations, scenario-based discussions, and of course, lots of cutting-edge demos.
Windows Server 2012 Jump Start | Target Audience & High-Level Overview• Designed for Microsoft Partners, early adopters, and experienced IT Pros/ITDMs familiar with Microsoft server technologies• All twelve (12) modules are under an hour and packed with engaging discussion and real-world demos -- watch them all!• 85% said the course motivated them to deploy WS2012 sooner than originally planned!• 63% said they are more likely to virtualize on Hyper-V 2012 sooner as a result of what they learned!• 34% had attended previous Jump Starts
Links to Every Module from this Jump StartThe HD-quality video recordings of this course are published to TechNet Edge and are highly recommended. Windows Server 2012 is a game-changing release for so many reasons and this course will help experienced IT Pros truly understand why -- check it out!
• Windows Server 2012 Jump Start (01): Core Hyper-V• Windows Server 2012 Jump Start (02a): Virtualization Infrastructure, Part 1• Windows Server 2012 Jump Start (02b): Virtualization Infrastructure, Part 2• Windows Server 2012 Jump Start (03a): Storage Architecture, Part 1• Windows Server 2012 Jump Start (03b): Storage Architecture, Part 2• Windows Server 2012 Jump Start (04): Continuous Availability• Windows Server 2012 Jump Start (05a): Multi-Server Management, Part 1• Windows Server 2012 Jump Start (05b): Multi-Server Management, Part 2• Windows Server 2012 Jump Start (06a): Security and Access, Part 1• Windows Server 2012 Jump Start (06b): Security and Access, Part 2• Windows Server 2012 Jump Start (07): Remote Connectivity and Networking• Windows Server 2012 Jump Start (08): IIS, DHCP and IPAM
Help us spread the word! Send a tweet! Post to your blog!#WindowsServer2012 #MSJumpStart videos just released! @RicksterCDN & @holSystems prepare for #WS2012! http://aka.ms/WS2012JS-Video
This week, we welcome Marcos Turato, Bob Simms, James Carrion, and Nico Davis to the Winners Circle. They all took time to help aspiring IT pros by telling their certification tale.
A few highlights:
Marcos said, “Since I took my first Microsoft certification (70-642) in November last year…job opportunities [have begun] to appear more naturally. I will continue to search for new Microsoft Certifications for Servers and for Virtualization to meet new challenges and climb in my career.”
Nico holds over 20 certifications, which you can see here, and said, “I love the feeling when you walk out of the test center with a report print out that says \Passed\.”
Bob’s certification got him out of a job he didn’t like and into one he loves:
“The first Microsoft course I attended was NT 3.51 in \'96. Customers started asking for certified consultants. Before then I had no idea that NetBUI and NETBIOS were two different words, never mind topics. I passed a couple of exams and for the first time in my life I could put letters after my name. Later, stuck in a job I didn’t enjoy, I was approached to train career changers. Soon I was in front of bricklayers and graduates wanting a job in IT. Here was the perfect job where I could unite my two passions--IT and showing off. I’ve met people who were trained by me 10 years ago who thanked me for their start. Can anything be more rewarding than that?”
And here’s James Carrion Kindle winning submission:
“I have been intimately involved with Microsoft certification since 1996. Getting certified is as relevant for me today as it was back then launching my career to greater heights and providing me the confidence to meet the technical challenges I encounter daily. I have run the gamut of Microsoft certs from Windows NT MCSE back in the day to a recently acquired Microsoft Certified Master R2 Directory. The products become more complex the exams more difficult but the rewards remain the same. I love being able to diagnose deep and difficult technical issues that I have never encountered before by reaching back into my brain to pull out a nugget of tech knowledge that I never had to use before - but know from having prepared for a Microsoft exam. As a technology instructor/consultant for the last 16 years, I have helped thousands of tech professionals prepare for their Microsoft certification exams and the satisfaction of seeing their careers blossom has been a reward in and of itself.”
Do you have a good certification story? Share it and you could win!
It is with great pleasure that Microsoft Learning announces the release of course 80307: Enterprise Portal Development in Microsoft Dynamics® AX 2012.
This two-day course introduces the student to the uses of the Enterprise Portal in Microsoft Dynamics® AX 2012. It begins with an overview of installing the Enterprise Portal. The student will then learn about the development environment of Enterprise Portal and will be able to build and customize the appearance of a functional web site using new and existing Enterprise Portal application objects. Students will also learn about Microsoft Dynamics AX User Control elements available in Visual Studio as well as how elements in the Application Object Tree (AOT) can be deployed across environments.
Note: This course is available now for download on PartnerSource and CustomerSource, and will be oderable on 28 June 2012.
It is with great pleasure that Microsoft Learning announces the release of course 80419: Manufacturing and Execution in in Microsoft Dynamics® AX 2012.
This is two-day instructor-led course, provides students with the necessary tools and resources to perform basic tasks in the Manufacturing execution flow in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012.
Course Syllabus: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/Course.aspx?ID=80419A&Locale=en-us
Note: This course is available now for download on PartnerSource and CustomerSource, and is orderable.
Thanks, and I hope you enjoy the hands on labs.
This important Jump Start video series helps IT Pros learn how to enable employees to leverage their own PCs, slates, smartphones and social networking needs (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) on the job while providing the added protection of enterprise-grade security. It's clear that organizations should proactively address the "consumerization of IT" in a way that sparks creativity, encourages collaboration, and promotes innovation, but what approaches satisfy essential security, compliance and other requirements?
Since this is one of the most pervasive trends facing IT organizations today, Microsoft Learning partnered with Technical Evangelist David Tesar from Microsoft's worldwide Developer & Platform Evangelism (DPE) team to lead six demo-rich and engaging sessions. For each module, David is joined by one of Microsoft's leading authorities (and personalities) on the topic.
Embracing the Consumerization of IT Jump Start
What’s a “Jump Start” Course? Training specifically designed for experienced technologists whose jobs demand they know how to best leverage new, emerging Microsoft technologies. These advanced courses assume a certain level of expertise and domain knowledge, so they move quickly and cover topics in a fashion that enables teams to effectively map new skills to real-world situations.
It is with great pleasure that Microsoft Learning announces the release of course 80426A: Time and Attendance in Microsoft Dynamics® AX 2012
This is a hands-on lab to introduce the concepts and terms associated with Time and attendance and to demonstrate the features of Time and attendance in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. This is a series of hands-on labs that cover the functionality of the module. Each hands-on lab is a separate download.
Note: This course is available now for download on PartnerSource and CustomerSource only.
As part of our annual commitments, everyone on my team is required to sit a Microsoft Certification exam...in other words, to "eat our own dog food." This year, I decided to take 70-646 because the new director for the Product Development Group in Microsoft Learning (my boss's boss) had taken this exam and had some very specific feedback that I wanted to better understand. Because I also commit to passing the exam that I take, I typically opt to take an Office exam to meet this commitment. So, this would be the first time that I would take one of our truly technical exams as part of our "eat your own dog food" requirement.
As some of you know, 646 is Windows Server 2008, Server Administrator Pro Level exam. It's one of our longer exams because it includes case studies and non-case study items as well as variety of item types, such as multiple choice, choose all that apply, drag and drop, build list, etc. Here's what I learned and what I'm changing as a result of this experience:
1. Forcing candidates to scroll to the end of an item before moving to another is irritating and annoying...really, really irritating, especially when you are essentially at the end of a question, but you haven't actually scrolled to the magical bottom that allows you to move to a different question. So... no more of that. You will NO longer be forced to scroll to the end of an item before moving to another. This functionality was designed to ensure that candidates read the entire item before proceeding, but I think I can trust you to be responsible to read the item...after all, your ability to answer correctly is clearly tied to whether or not you actually read the item in its entity. This was so annoying, in fact, that I'm expecting to hear a "woots," "hurrays." and other expressions of joy as people read this blog!
2. In the past, case studies were timed separately, meaning that you had to complete each case in the time allotted. However, if you were able to complete a case more quickly than in the allotted time, you "lost" that time (it didn't carry over to other cases or non-case study items). We timed cases separately to help candidates manage their time on the exam (i.e., to be sure that they didn't spend too much time on any one case at the detriment to the other cases/items on the exam). Although the time we provided was a data driven estimate designed to ensure that most could finish the case in the time allotted, some candidates had too much time for some cases and not enough time for other cases. No more. Cases will no longer be timed separately. You can take as much time or as little time as you want on a particular case and any remaining exam time can be used on other cases or non-case study items. Time will no longer be "lost." Again, I'm empowering you to be responsible in managing your time during the exam. Use it when and where you need to. Just remember...don't spend too much time on any one case (they will still be in separate sections so once you leave it, you can't go back) because there may be more items/cases on the exam. We do let you know how many items on remaining on the exam, but because you can't leave a case and come back to it, you'll have to manage your time carefully to be sure you have time to answer all the questions on the exam.
3. The instructions have been streamlined. We provide you the information that you need to know to take the exam...everything else can be found in our FAQs at http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/help/self-help-faq.aspx (by the way, there's a lot of great information here; you got questions, we got answers. If you can't find it here, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and ask your question.)
4. The tutorial at the beginning of the exam, unfortunately, cannot be modified as it's something that Prometric owns and is included with the delivery of all their exams regardless of the client. As a result, it needs to include information about item types that Microsoft doesn't include on their exams or may not be the exam that you're actually taking. To prepare for the items that you may see on Microsoft exams, review our item type tutorial rather than the one at the beginning of the exam.
All of these changes are rolling out with the new user interface that Stephanie Jordan blogged about earlier this week. So, they don't apply to all exams, but if you're taking an exam with the new UI, these changes apply.
And, if you're curious, I didn't pass. I haven't used the technology, I did next to no preparation, so this wasn't a surprise...my exams work! Unqualified people shouldn't be able to pass. And, I am clearly unqualified.
Exam 70-246: Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud with System Center 2012 is now available in Prometric testing centers. This exam is designed to test the candidate's knowledge and skills on monitoring and operating a private cloud with System Center 2012.Candidates for the 70-246 exam have Windows Server, System Center 2012, security, high-availability, fault tolerance, and networking experience in an enterprise environment, candidates should also have basic Microsoft SQL Server and Windows PowerShell knowledge, and application configuration experience. Candidates are also familiar with ITIL and MOF concepts. These candidates might be the Active Directory Administrator, Virtualization Administrator, Enterprise Administrator, or System Center Administrator for their organizations
Exam 70-247: Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud with System Center 2012 is now available in Prometric testing centers. This exam is designed to test the candidate's knowledge and skills on configuring and deploying a private cloud with System Center 2012. Candidates for exam 70-247 use System Center 2012 products to install and configure a private cloud solution. They design, configure, and deploy the underlying infrastructure fabric of networking, storage, and compute resources. They standardize and automate configuration and deployment of applications. Candidates for this exam have Windows Server, Active Directory, System Center 2012, security, high availability, fault tolerance, and networking experience in an enterprise environment, basic Microsoft SQL Server and Windows PowerShell knowledge, and application configuration experience. Candidates are also familiar with ITIL and MOF concepts.
To schedule your exam, visit Prometric’s Web site.
The MSL Certification UX team is pleased to announce customer availability of our new exam interface! Starting with the exams listed below, candidates will experience some cool new features:
Updated look and feel: graphics, logos and colors have been updated to match our website and other program communications.
The end of forced scrolling between questions: you can scroll or not at your discretion, no more warnings about “you have not viewed all of the material”. Watch for a background story about this from Liberty.
Mouse wheel support: for scroll-inclined test takers, the mouse wheel will be functional at test centers where scroll-wheel mice are available.
Optimized intro screen: we took a fresh look at the intro screens and realized that we could provide the same information on a single page (and we won't make your scroll through it, either).
Keyboard shortcuts: we had few, and now even more shortcuts are enabled – you can navigate the entire exam using only a keyboard. Tip: for a complete list of keyboard shortcuts, open the “Help” window during the exam and click on the “Keyboard Shortcuts” tab.
A clear transition into the exam: A new Start Exam page appears between survey/intro screens and the exam, clarifying when your exam begins. It also displays helpful exam information - such as time available, number of questions and sections – so you can strategize before the test clock starts ticking.
Simpler review screen UI: The review screen that appears at the end of each exam section (or end of the exam, if a single section) has been reduced to essential categories: complete, incomplete, and marked for review or comment. You can click on numbered links in the table to jump directly to items or review sets of questions by clicking on category buttons at the bottom of the screen.
Updated user instructions, content has been rewritten to match the new implementation and make it easier to find the information you're looking for. A table of keyboard shortcuts has been added to the Help tab.
The rollout is limited to a few exams in English only (localized titles are coming soon) - you can experience the new UI in the following:
70-246 Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud with System Center 2012
70-247 Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud with System Center 2012
70-457 Transition Your MCTS on SQL Server 2008 to MCSA: SQL Server 2012, Part 1
70-458 Transition Your MCTS on SQL Server 2008 to MCSA: SQL Server 2012, Part 2
70-459 Transition Your MCITP: Database Administrator 2008 or MCITP: Database Developer 2008 to MCSE: Data Platform
70-460Transition Your MCITP: Business Intelligence Developer 2008 to MCSE: Business Intelligence
70-461 Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012
70-462 Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases
70-463 Implementing a Data Warehouse with Microsoft SQL Server 2012
70-464 Developing Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases
70-465 Designing Database Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server 2012
70-466 Implementing Data Models and Reports with Microsoft SQL Server 2012
70-467 Designing Business Intelligence Solutions with Microsoft SQL Server 2012
Existing exams will remain in the "Classic" UI for a while longer, but most will be updated over the next few months. Watch for more exams in all supported languages with the new interface later this summer.
And thank you to you: Many of these updates were made in direct response to user comments from this blog and members of our SME community (be sure to sign up for our SME database if you haven’t already, link). Thank you for filling out exam comments, participating in our surveys and focus groups, and sharing your opinions with us.
There’s still plenty more to do (bending the system to our will...), but we hope you enjoy our first update in a while (>10 years?!). If you’ve seen the new UI this week, please let me know how your exam went and what you think!
Microsoft Learning’s year-long celebration of our first 20 years of certification—20 Years|20 Ways—is focused on creating better careers and better lives for IT pros, developers and students around the world. Creating a successful career can be complicated. But there are a few key ingredients to success that are true whether you’re looking for your first job or your next. One of those is having an on-line presence that impresses.
If your on-line presence needs a boost, give it a sure-fire spit shine with Way #13’s ‘Update to Impress Checklist’.
1. LinkedIn: If you don’t have a profile, create one. If you do have one, make sure it’s current, and includes a list of your certifications or a link to your MCP Virtual Business Card.
2. About.Me: Quickly and easily create a personal page. Big plus—ability to add eye-catching graphics.
3. Personal Blog: If you have one, make sure your bio is current and points someplace where a potential employer can read all about you (e.g. LinkedIn or About.Me.)
4. For MCP members:
It doesn’t take long to work your way through these three or four items, but the pay-off can be huge.
For more tips on personal branding on the social web, listen to the keynote address "Building the Brand of You!" by Stephen Rose at our 2012 Microsoft Certified Career Conference. To access to recording, visit the site and click on the "Microsoft Certified Career Conference" tile in the middle (login or registration required).
Do you have any other tips for making a great online impression? Share with us in a comment below!
Do you wish you could ask a real, live person who has had a successful career in IT how the heck they’ve done it? Now’s your chance!
On August 28, you can ask Buck Woody your questions about careers, training, and certification during one of two tweetchats. Join #20Yrs20Ways from 7-8am and/or 6-7pm PDT and get your questions answered.
If you don’t yet know Buck, you’re in for a treat. He’s a Senior Technical Specialist at Microsoft. He’s also an author, a blogger, a teacher, a sought after speaker and was just a judge on the reality show Be the Next Microsoft Employee. He holds more certifications than he can count and has worked in IT since they had to shout 0’s and 1’s at each other across the room. As he says, “I’m very old, and know all the secret things.”
Get ready for these fun and informative hours with Buck by following @MSLearning and @BuckWoody on Twitter, and watch for hastag #20yrs20ways. Come find out what Buck’s secrets to success are on August 28!
Update on 6/20 -- The event is full! For questions and live tweeting, please use hashtag #WS2012JS.
Microsoft Learning and the Windows Server Product Marketing team are excited to bring you a new two-day Jump Start covering Windows Server 2012! Of course, the entire IT industry is excited about this new release and we believe this Jump Start will show you why. On June 21-22, from 9:00am – 4:00pm PDT, join Microsoft Senior Technical Evangelist Rick Claus and Microsoft Partner Corey Hynes as they walk you through their personal favorite feature sets and answer why and how each can improve your day-to-day IT environment.
Cloud-Optimize your IT with Windows Server 2012!
COURSE OUTLINE (details)
Day One Morning | Beyond Virtualization• Game changers in the next release of the Hyper-V role on Windows Server 2012• Massive scale increases, networking improvements, replication and disaster recovery is all in the boxAfternoon | Manageability• Learn how you can manage a few systems up to a hundred – all from one console• Server Core installs scaring you off? Learn about all your installation and management options• Windows PowerShell automation and management at scale – all with built in tools• Clustering—Cluster-aware updating• Networking, Network Teaming, network configuration, SMB MultiChannel and RDMA
Day TwoMorning | Storage• Learn how Continuous Availability of File Services improves workload reliability and performance• Storage groups, disk provisioning, iSCSI and SAN integrationAfternoon | Remote Users • Remote connectivity options for your workforce (DA)• VDI and Remote Desktop Services deployment and changes
What’s a “Jump Start” Course? Training specifically designed for experienced technologists whose jobs demand they know how to best leverage new, emerging Microsoft technologies. These advanced courses assume a certain level of expertise and domain knowledge, so they move quickly and cover topics in a fashion that enables teams to effectively map new skills to real-world situations.
I often see or hear of requests on forums and social media sites asking for “answers to exam xxx” or “where are the best brain dumps?” A lot of these requestors just want an easy way to pass an exam without working for it and know full well what they’re doing. Some actually want training material or practice items, and don’t realize what they are asking for. And, some want brain dump material, but don’t realize why asking for it is a bad idea.
So what is a brain dump, and why do we care? A “brain dump” is a term commonly used for a site or material where real exam questions and answers are provided (in most cases, for a fee). The promise to a user is that by memorizing the answers, one can pass the exam. Brain dumps are not legitimate training or test prep resources for two reasons. First, no legitimate training or test prep site will have the actual test questions and answers, because no IT certification programs voluntarily release them. Therefore, a brain dump with actual test questions and answers has obtained them nefariously, and by purchasing them, the purchaser is abetting in fraudulent activity. Secondly, and most importantly, by memorizing answers a test-taker has not learned the material, has not demonstrated competence in the content domain, and has not earned the certification legitimately, thereby diluting the hard work that the truly qualified have put forth to pass the exam.
How does one recognize brain dump material? Like I said, no legitimate training or test prep site will have the actual answers from a test. Look for promises like:
The words “brain dump” are another sure way to know that the site isn’t on the up and up. The key is that if it sounds too good to be true, it is.
The best way to prepare for an exam is to find the right training: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/training.aspx
Use of brain dump material is a violation of our exam policy and can result in the loss of one's certification and a lifetime ban from Microsoft’s Certification Program. I won’t tell you how we know when someone has used a brain dump to pass an exam, but we know. While we work hard to prevent brain dumps from obtaining our material in the first place, and then removing it when it appears, we also put the responsibility on test-takers to act responsibly and with integrity. It’s important to everyone that those certification initials after one’s name were earned honestly.
Bottom line on using brain dump material? Don’t do it. It’s just not worth it.
Have a security concern you want to report to MSL? Email me at email@example.com.