I've been toying around with the idea of making some changes to the score reports because the results from our Exam Satisfaction Survey (yes, I look at this data very carefully and use your feedback to make decisions about how to improve the quality of content and exam experience, so you really should be completing it when you get the email from comScore asking you to do so!) consistently show low levels of satisfaction with the usefulness of the score reports. Honestly, this is a common result for most certification programs. After all, what is likely to be the most helpful--seeing the specific items that you missed--is something that few, if any, certification programs will ever provide. But, I do have some ideas on how I might be able to make some improvements...
Before I spend too much time and resources on my ideas, I'd like to hear from you. Your input will help me shape my ideas and transform them into something better.
So, here's your opportunity to tell what you'd like to see included in our score reports. It can be anything from learning resources to specific ideas around what we should be telling you about your exam performance to understanding what your score means to something that I can't even begin to imagine (I hope you have ideas like that!). What would increase the usefulness of the score reports? What would you like to see on them? Have you ever received a score report that you loved or thought was particularly helpful (if you want to send me a copy, I'd love to see it (firstname.lastname@example.org)? What did it contain? Why did you love it? Why was it useful?
Caveat #1: No promises. I'm thinking big changes in the type of information that is provided, but it is very likely that some of what I'd (or you'd) like may not be possible systematically. Whatever we do has to be scalable and something that can be generated automatically based on your exam performance. Nothing is certain.
Caveat #2: Any changes we make to the score reports (again, I'm thinking big) will take some time to roll out if we can even implement them. Don't expect changes overnight.
Caveat #3: I will never be able to tell you the specific questions that you missed and why (exam security and the integrity of the program make this impossible). Think big, but keep this in mind.
I had a fun chat this morning with a few hundred Microsoft Learning Partners to see how much interest there was in offering a Free Virtualization exam to all their current and former ITPro students...not only were they interested, but almost 90 Learning Partners jumped in already today on behalf of their customers. You won't see a public announcement about this special opportunity to take exam 70-659 MCTS: Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization until after Oct 1st so keep a look out on Microsoft Virtualization Training & Certification for more details. Forgive me for taking a little more space, but I thought I would give you the early locations in case you're interested. If you've ever been a student at any of the following organizations, contact them next week and ask about how you can take the Virtualization Challenge for free:
FAST University would like to thank all of you who attended our September 21st free technical webcast on FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint Service Pack 1 Improvements.
This webcast explored major improvements and fixes included in the Service Pack 1 including:
The webcast also described how to obtain the Service Pack, as well as the migration steps for custom extractors.
For your convenience, the recording of the webcast is now available online at the following locations:
For customers and partners: Click Here
For employees: Click Here
For more details on Enterprise Search training, please email us at email@example.com.
As you may or may not be aware, FAST University offers a live virtual option for all of our traditional instructor-led courses. If live virtual is the correct option for you, there are some things you will need to do in order to prepare to attend a live virtual class. First, we will discuss the System Requirements. They are as follows:
Next, we will discuss the classroom delivery tools. They are as follows:
It is strongly recommended that you test your service connectivity and VoIP in advance and before the start of class. Please contact a FAST University Education Consultant at firstname.lastname@example.org a few days prior to the start of your virtual class to arrange to test your connectivity and VoIP.
In addition to the above, it is also strongly recommended that you find a quiet place in which to attend class, where you will have limited interruptions. Also, to avoid any performance degradation and to limit other distractions, you should shut down any other software applications.
To learn more and register for live virtual classes available from Microsoft Learning | FAST University, navigate to www.fastuniversity.com or contact an Education Consultant at email@example.com.
By Mark Stoddard, MCT
Hi - I'm Mark Protus and want to introduce myself to the community. I'm a Lead Customer Marketing Manager at Microsoft Learning and have previously worked with professionals in both the Developer and IT Pro communities. In my new role, I'll be orchestrating customer and readiness materials for courseware, exams, and related tools and campaigns. The first campaigns I'll be leading will revolve around the launch of SQL "Denali" and Windows 8.
Rather than push schedules and readiness information outward, I'd really like to hear from you to create a dialog. In addition to campaign and program details, I'd like to know about the information you need and want. I'm open to ideas we can share to help Microsoft Learning do a great job communicating program information and ultimately, help you to be the best solution provider, trainer, educator, or partner.
As a convesration starter...here are a couple of interesting links:
I'm really excited about my new role and I'm looking forward to working with you!
If you’re a long-timer reader of this blog, you probably know that we often post about great opportunities and benefits available to our Microsoft Certified Trainers. If you’ve ever thought about joining our premier technical/instructional community, there’s a fantastic opportunity coming up next month in San Francisco! Head on over to MCT Christopher Harrison’s blog to learn about the upcoming MCT Summit and Train-the-Trainer event—hope we can welcome you to the MCT community in person next month!
Synonyms are a list of words attached to a keyword. Keywords are words or phrases that you have identified as typical terms within your organization.
Keywords provide definitions for common terms that are used within your organization. Each keyword entry can also be associated with synonyms. If a term in a search query is defined with synonyms, the synonymous terms will be added to the query.
Synonyms are generally defined in order to accomplish a specific business purpose, such as:
Keywords can only be used within the site collection where they are defined. Keywords are used manually to improve the search result.
When users search for the keyword, results from all synonyms will also be displayed in the search result. When users search for a two-way synonym, results from the synonym will be displayed in addition to the results from the keyword and all other synonyms. When users search for a one way synonym, only results from the synonym will be displayed.
Query terms must match the keyword or its synonym exactly. Partial matches against the keyword or synonym will not yield results. Keywords can only be used within the site collection where they are defined.
There are two Keywords options under the Site Collection Administration in the Site Settings page:
To access the Site Settings page, navigate to your site, click Site Actions, and then click Site Settings.
When you add a keyword phrase, you can define one-way or two-way synonyms, and a keyword definition. Separate multiple synonyms with a semi-colon. Keyword definitions will take effect immediately.
To add a keyword:
If you try to define a phrase as a keyword when it is already a synonym for another keyword, you will see an error message. An Edit Keyword hyperlink to the related keyword definition is provided. You can click this link to jump to the related keyword definition and remove the synonym if appropriate.
Learn more about these and other Enterprise Search topics in one of our Microsoft Learning | FAST University classes. To register online visit www.fastuniversity.com or contact an Education Consultant for assistance at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By David Codrington
We're looking for volunteers to help us with the development of a new Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)* exam covering HTML5/CSS fundamentals. If you've taught introductory HTML5 or CSS courses in a high school, community college, or other learning environment, we want you! Candidates for this exam are seeking to prove core HTML web development skills.
MTA is the first Microsoft certification targeted specifically at students who are new to IT. The exams validate the foundational knowledge needed to begin building a career using Microsoft technologies. We recommend that candidates have some hands-on technology experience prior to taking these exams. MTA provides an ideal stepping stone to our MCTS certifications and to a career in IT.
Please email me at email@example.com by end of day September 27th PST if you'd like to participate in developing this exam. Please provide a brief summary of your relevant experience.
And if you know someone who you think would be interested in volunteering for this, please send them a link to this post. We want to hear from as many people as possible.
*If this is the first you've heard about MTA, you can find out more about it here on Born to Learn.
Microsoft technologies are evolving more quickly than ever. In order to maintain the value of your certifications, we need to ensure that Microsoft certifications keep pace with changing technologies and remain a meaningful indicator of a candidate’s continued competence.
In late July, we invited you to participate in a survey to gather customer and hiring manager feedback about implementing a recertification requirement for advanced level Microsoft certifications. I was very pleased that over 900 of you participated. Respondents included individuals who have work experience on every Microsoft technology area, and individuals holding every type of certification we have ever offered. We also heard from Microsoft Certified Trainers, hiring managers, and even some people who don’t hold any Microsoft certifications at all.
The blog post where we originally invited folks to participate had a fair amount of comment activity—much of it from people opposed to the idea of requiring candidates to demonstrate continued competence. However, the survey results tell quite a different story. I’d like to share some of the high-level results with you:
Quite frankly, some of the results surprised us. We’re now in the process of carefully considering how to incorporate your feedback into the program.
Thanks very much for taking the time to share your opinions with us.
Microsoft Learning is hosting a brand new class in the popular “Jump Start” series. Because we received such rave reviews from the “Microsoft Virtualization for VMware Professionals” Jump Start delivered earlier this year, our latest course is sure to be another smash. Here are the details:
Why get certified in Microsoft Virtualization? In just three short years, Hyper-V marketshare has grown over 16% (IDC WW Quarterly Server Virtualization Tracker, March 2011). This shift to Microsoft Virtualization has been clear the past six months as IT Professionals are flocking to the Hyper-V certification and Microsoft Private Cloud solutions. It’s easy to see that organizations who invest in IT Professionals with proven skills in current virtualization and Private Cloud skills will be a step ahead in this ever-changing cloud world.
Why is this Jump Start a good time investment? This accelerated Jump Start is tailored for experienced IT professionals who are familiar with Microsoft server technologies, Hyper-V, Virtual Machine Manager and Remote Desktop Role Services. Taught by highly-respected technologists, Symon Perriman and Philip Helsel, this course will be a fast-paced and demo-rich experience covering the skills domain required to ensure students have the expertise and confidence to become a MCTS: Windows Server 2008, R2, Server Virtualization. You’ll also receive the opportunity to register for a weekly Virtualization coaching newsletter and exam voucher activation instructions during the training.
A few years ago, Scott Campbell was laid off from his job as a debt collector in Sacramento. As a former high school dropout with only a GED – he found himself faced with limited career prospects.
Scott fell back on his amateur experience with computers and eventually found his way into some short-term IT support roles. However, he was forced to move from contract to contract and was unable to break through the glass ceiling for those who do not hold a degree.
That’s when Scott decided to take control of his future.
Last month, Scott sent an email titled “I owe you a huge thanks!” to the woman who unknowingly helped him to change his life. The email was signed, “Scott Campbell - Microsoft Support Engineer.”
In the email to Microsoft Product Marketing Manager Victoria Pohto, Scott reminded her that at the 2010 Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) event at the University of Houston “we had a friendly wager if I could walk in and pass a Microsoft cert test with no lead time/prep time.”
Scott had entered the University of Houston at the age of 27 and, by the time of the bet, was president of university’s AITP chapter. He had the idea for the initial wager “off the top of [his] head” but was only expecting a “Microsoft t-shirt or something” in return. Victoria upped stakes and offered a free invite to a Microsoft Learning virtual career conference if he were to pass the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) exam.
In a recent telephone interview, Victoria admitted that Scott “seemed a little nervous about the test” but she remained confident in his abilities as he had a clear “passion for technology and had been able to accomplish a lot as the local AITP president.”
Scott accepted Victoria’s challenge and along with approximately 50% of the other 250 students who took the MTA test that day… he passed.
According to Scott, Victoria’s subsequent invitation to the tech conference turned out to be “the best opportunity of [his] life” because it led to the chance to “join Microsoft… and hopefully start a lifelong career.” Scott is now working on his Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) SharePoint Administrator certification.
Regarding certification, Scott states, “Nobody should ever pass up an opportunity to document their knowledge. Certification can be a path to a career by itself or a path to a better career if you already have a degree.”
Victoria was more than pleased to hear about the result of her impromptu bet with Scott. She remarked, “I knew he had it in him. Actually, I had a feeling he’d be a slam dunk.”
As for his next steps, Scott says, “I’d like to pay it forward and help show others that even if you don’t have a typical career path or typical education, through hard work and certification you can still have a rewarding career in technology.”
Microsoft Learning’s FAST University would like to invite our Enterprise Search customers and partners to join us on Wednesday, September 21, 11 AM – 12 PM EDT (GMT-5), for a free technical webcast on FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint Service Pack 1 Improvements.
This webcast will explore major improvements and fixes included in the Service Pack 1 including:
The webcast will also describe how to obtain the Service Pack, as well as the migration steps for custom extractors.
To join the webcast, please click on the link below and follow the provided instructions:
Free Technical Webcast on FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint Service Pack 1 Improvements
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any assistance.
With the start of school, we're reminded that reading, writing, and arithmetic are the foundations of basic skills-orientated education programs. But in the 21st century, there is a fourth component: information technology and digital literacy. And it's technology education that is at the center of the IT Academy Program and what makes today's announcement so exciting.
Washington State Rolls Out Nation’s Largest Microsoft IT Academy Program
"Today, Microsoft and the State of Washington Office of Superintendent and Public Instruction (OSPI) announced that the Microsoft IT Academy will be available to all staff and students in public high schools, skills centers and tribal schools across Washington state. This deployment marks the largest statewide rollout of the Microsoft IT Academy program. Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia also announced a similar statewide rollout in furtherance of the state’s commitment to producing the most technology savvy and literate workforce in the world.
The Microsoft IT Academy will be available to over 300,000 Students and over 19,000 teachers in over 700 public high schools, skills centers and tribal schools across Washington state, making the deployment the largest statewide Microsoft IT Academy program. By implementing the Microsoft IT Academy program, students in schools across Washington state and Virginia will have access to IT training and certification. Giving students this opportunity to develop IT skills has the potential to narrow the gap between the world of education and the world of work, while boosting the employability and global competitiveness of the future workforce. Through the Microsoft IT Academy training, students can potentially earn college credits applicable in higher education or receive IT certification to enter the workforce better prepared for one of the most demanding fields in today’s economy.
Microsoft joined Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn in making the announcement during a press conference at Ingram High School in Seattle, WA. Governor Bob McDonnell announced the news in Virginia."
Visit the Microsoft Learning Newsroom for details on today’s news and a video that provides perspectives from students and teachers who have participated in the joint Washington State and Microsoft IT Academy program.
When implementing search, it is not always necessary to provide continuous feeding around the clock. In many cases off hours feeding can be used. The advantages of off hours feeding include:
Scenario Contoso Electronic Supply is an electronics distributor with customers throughout North America. Their parts catalog includes over 100 million items. The production database is updated and backed up every night between 8:00 pm and 11:00 pm EST. Typically, under 2 million documents are updated (new records added, existing records modified or old records deleted). All updates need to be included in the index by the next day. Normally, the database and index do not need to be updated during the day. Based on current traffic through the website and telephone sales, FSIS needs to support a peak of 300 queries per second during the day. At night the query rate drops to under 100 queries per second. Each machine in the ESP farm has at least 2 dual core processors.
Assuming each QR Server can average 50 queries per second, then 7 QR Servers (includes 1 extra for fault tolerance) are needed during the day and 3 QR Servers are needed at night. Assuming each document processor (DP) can handle 10 documents per second, each host can handle 288,000 documents per hour (10 document/sec/DP * 3600 sec/hour * 4 core * 2 DP/core = 288,000 document/hour). During the night 3 hosts are available for document processing (7 QR Servers – 3 QR Servers = 4, reserve one as a document processor backup) which can handle 864000 documents/hour. Processing 2 million documents should take less than 3 hours.
Procedure The whole process of backing up the database, feeding all the changes to FSIS, backing up the index and updating the index on the search servers can be accomplished in less than 8 hours using a procedure similar to this:
Related Topics For more information about document feeding and index backup strategies you should attend FST-EDU-301A FAST Search for Internet Sites for IT Professionals. The class will answer your questions related to off hour feeding, such as:
To register online visit www.fastuniversity.com or contact an Education Consultant for assistance at email@example.com.
By Brian Barry
After talking to customers, New Horizons found that many customers get busy in the days and weeks right after taking their training classes, and by the time they are free to go sit for a certification exam, they are worried that have forgotten much of the information they need to pass the exam.
To help remedy this, New Horizons is working with Microsoft to provide free mentoring sessions to any student (does not matter if they took their training from New Horizons) to refresh their knowledge before taking the certification exams.
What it is:
What it is not:
Current Mentoring Topics:
Check out the schedule, get more information on the program, and register here.
It’s time to put all that great product knowledge to use and get recognized for your achievements by taking and passing a certification exam. Sign up today.
By any standard, Andrew Bettany is an IT professional at the very top of his game.
Andrew manages the IT Academy at the University of York, is a respected IT consultant and is an in-demand freelance trainer. Since 2005, he has been a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) with a burgeoning list of specialties.
However, Andrew’s greatest pride lies not in his personal successes but in helping others to learn and achieve.
Case in point, he recently volunteered his time at a certification bootcamp in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Rather than just certifying Haitian IT professionals in Microsoft technologies, he helped teach them to become Microsoft Certified Trainers themselves.
Born to Learn caught up with Andrew (on the road in South Africa) to hear about his personal path to certification and how he’s giving back by “training the trainers.”
Andrew, tell us about where you’re from and your first experience with computing.I was born and raised in York. My first computing experience was in about 1983 when I got my hands on a ZX Spectrum 48k. I loved that little machine, alas I found the main use was to learn BASIC and play games.
When did you first realize you could use you computer skills to teach others?My first instructor experience came when I was a Regimental Signals Instructor in the Armed Forces Reserves. Traditionally, I used vu-foils and chalkboards to train other soldiers in radio communications. But I started using a new device called a "laptop" and built a library of PowerPoint 2.0 slides for other instructors to use.
Did you proceed from there with formal technical training?In my early 30s, I was still doing accounting work at an insurance company. They were unwilling or unable to let me attend any formal training on networking or server skills. So, at first, I attempted self-study and often I practiced on the live system!
It was extremely difficult and problematic. I had no help or support, so if I ran into a problem or unfamiliar concept in the book, I had to jump past it. That certainly hindered my efforts and left me frustrated.
When did you decide to get Microsoft Certification?Through a turn of fate in November 2004, my late sister, Vicky, spotted an advertisement in her local newspaper offering Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) training. It was fully funded through a European Union grant. When she mentioned it to me, I immediately applied.
The selection process consisted of an interview, technical presentation and an afternoon of assessment. Out of 150 applicants, I was selected as one of the eight to attend the intensive four-month course.
What has certification meant to you?Quite simply, it has changed my life. I have much more enjoyed my last six years of being certified than all of the years before.
Certification was the catalyst; I firmly believe that it is what you do with it once you have a certification that makes the difference. There are many opportunities out there, but they need to be seized upon and then nurtured to develop relationships. For the last five years I have been building those relationships.
Since certifying, I have represented the MCT community in numerous countries from USA to South Africa to Switzerland and, most recently, Haiti.
Tell us about what you aimed to accomplish in Haiti. We want to help Haitians to build back their economy better than before the earthquake.
All of the 13 Haitian IT professionals who participated in the week-long boot camp successfully achieved a passing performance. Five are now MCTs, which more than doubles the number of trainers on the island.
Those five people can now train many more IT Professionals than I could ever instruct by myself. Several of the newly minted trainers will be assisting with the next IT Pro bootcamp. It is being organized by NetHope with assistance from Microsoft in September of this year. I wish them well.
I hope that certification can change their lives in the same ways it did for me.