Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs) are the premier technical and instructional experts on Microsoft technologies, and are the only individuals authorized to deliver training with Microsoft Official Courses. MCT Sasa Kranjac—a preeminent Croatia-based IT Technical Trainer, Consultant, and Speaker—stopped by the Born to Learn blog to offer a wealth of training and certification tips, including an exhaustive list of free resources you shouldn’t miss. Take it away Sasa!
Study Tips: Blend your Learning Styles
When preparing for a certification exam, different people have different approaches. What works for one person may not work for another.
I would not recommend a single study resource or approach. Blended learning—combining different methods—seems to be the best for me. Both theory and practice are equally important, and to pass an exam you’ll need both.
It’s important to realize that you are not learning to pass an exam. You are learning to secure your future; to be successful at your job, to be knowledgeable, and to be an expert—you’ll need that knowledge throughout your career.
Think of knowledge as a pyramid. Why are pyramids so stable? It’s because of the wide base. As you go higher, the pyramid narrows. Theory is the foundation of your pyramid, and hands-on experience builds on top. You have to have solid theory knowledge on which to build your practical knowledge. You’ll probably pass an exam without reading a book or an article about underlying technology, but that won’t make you an expert and won’t benefit you in the long run.
Self-paced Study: My Preferred Learning Method
Self-paced studies are my preferred method because I can decide A) what I study and B) when I study. I read, listen and watch while going to/from work, not only when I’m studying for an exam. During these times, I focus on my weak spots to learn about the topics I don’t know so well.
This option is slightly more expensive but here is the crucial thing you need to be aware of: picking a class and a subject should be your secondary concern. Picking right instructor for a class you want to attend should be your primary concern. The instructor makes a difference and holds a lot of the value in the class you want to attend. Instructors can answer your questions and assist with his or her experience in your studies.
Just as with instructor-led, online classes are as good as the instructor.
My Most Valuable Resource: TechNet/MSDN Subscription
If I could pick only one resource that is MOST valuable to me, then TechNet/MSDN Subscription would be definitely the one I’d choose. With TechNet/MSDN Subscription you are in possession of almost all Microsoft products and operating systems, licensed for evaluation. That means that you get access to full-versions of software for 12 months with no feature limits. You also get other benefits, depending on the subscription level. Visit TechNet Subscriptions or MSDN Subscriptions to learn more about Subscription levels, benefits and prices.
TechNet Library and MSDN Library are competing for first place with TechNet/MSDN Subscriptions ;-)
I have already mentioned some of the important resources. There are numerous blogs, sites and places where you can read a lot about your preferred technologies, but I’ll mention some of the most popular and what’s most important, FREE, resources you shouldn’t miss.
IT Pro Resources
Fundamental Technologies: Technical References on TechNet
The links below points\ to some of the most important fundamental topics. You should get familiar with how TechNet Library topics are organized; something that’ll happen once you start reading and exploring. The resources below are not buried very deep in the library, but often are not easy to find. Although the core topics are placed under the “old” technologies/products section, they are equally important today.
If you need to learn the basics, don’t miss these:
Group Policy Collection
Windows Security Collection
Active Directory Collection
Print and Save TechNet Library Articles
I almost forgot to tell you about one really cool feature TechNet Library has. You can print and export multiple topics in PDF and HTML! Files you export retain links to selected topics; you don’t need to scroll much – just click on a topic in the Table of Contents and jump to sections.
Follow these steps to use the Print feature:
1. Navigate to your favorite topic in TechNet Library.
2. On the top right corner, below the Search bar, right-click on a downward-pointing arrow next to the printer icon and choose Print Multiple Topics. A brief introduction page loads.
3. Click START to begin selecting topics. After that, all you have to do is visit each page or topic you want to print/export and select it by clicking on + Add This Topic on the gray bar on top of the page. Once you add the topic you want, you can remove it by clicking – Remove This Topic if you do not want to export it.
4. When you have finished selecting all the topics you want to print, click Collection (x Topic(s)) where x is number of topics you have selected. On the Manage Collection page you can choose to export your collection to PDF or HTML, rename and rearrange collections, add more chapters or choose from Advanced options to refine and tune your selection.
5. Click Generate to export/print the topics. If you aren’t already signed in, you will be asked to sign in to generate the page and print.
Taking Your Exam
I have to admit: I did not study for my first exam, only because I had a lot of hands-on experience and I passed it relatively easily. That does not mean that the exam was easy, but I had a good working knowledge of the product, and that helped me a lot.
After getting a few exams on my transcript, and passing all on the first try, I failed an exam. What a shock! I could not believe that I could’ve failed an exam, and was furious. After passing the exam on my second attempt, I realized that being overconfident and acting as if I was in some kind of race did not help at all. If I had read the questions more carefully and took all the time I had on the exam, I knew I would pass. And I did.
I would say, even if you know a product by heart, take your time to read questions carefully and be sure you understand what the question is about. If you are unsure about the answer don’t be afraid to mark the question so you can return to it later.
We’re excited to introduce to you a new look for the Born to Learn community. We’ve made big changes to the design and navigation to make it easier to not just find what you want, but also to discover new articles, discussions, news, and expert advice.
Let’s take a stroll through the some of the new features, starting with the Born to Learn home page:
Get where you’re going faster. We’ve made it easier to access your favorite places on the Born to Learn Community—blogs, forums, study groups and more are a click away from the top navigation menu.
Keep up with new and noteworthy posts. Catch up with the latest posts on Born to Learn blogs and forums.
This is a good time to remind you that you can keep up with the latest activities by subscribing to RSS feeds or daily or weekly email digests—most subscription options are located at the top-right of the blog or forum.
New blog articles. We wanted to give you a simple way to keep up with all the new posts across Born to Learn blogs. The new blog module displays a tabbed view of the latest articles from some of the popular blogs.
Easier-to-browse blogs. Leaving no stone unturned, we’ve rolled out a new design and layout for the Born to Learn blogs. The clean look is easier to get around and improves the reading experience.
What do you think of the new look? Speak your mind!
Studying for your Windows Server 2012 MCSA designation via related books should not be your only method of study. While memorizing facts and figures is a great first start, however, nothing beats practical experience. Microsoft provides a slew of resources called IT Pro Camps, or CANITPRO Camps here in Canada, allowing attendees to run through labs provided being led by an instructor. Again, another great start, but still not enough hands on to gain practical experience. There is however another option.
Building a lab at home provides the ability to learn on your own time and pace. Most aspiring IT administrators think creating a home lab would be difficult and/or expensive. This process is actually easy to do and will provide you a tool to test out many labs provided in reading material and online. To setup your Windows Server 2012 lab machine be sure to keep the following PC requirements in mind:
Setting Up Your Lab
NOTE: This process installs Windows Server 2012 in a dual-boot scenario using Boot-to-VHD features in Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. While this process is not intended to disrupt your existing OS installation, these steps are for use at your own risk. No support or warranties are implied or provided.
Once completed, you now have a study tool that will allow you to conduct labs on your own time providing true hands on practical experience. Stay tuned as we will provide more Step-By-Step posts to take your learning to the next level and help you achieve your Windows Server 2012 based MCSA sooner.
Last week, I posted the first installment of The ACE Chronicles, introducing you to Psychomagician and Super Sigma on the ACE Team Blog. Based on the number of views, it seems most of you haven't found your way there yet... I am super excited about this series and our ability to be more engaged with our community. I want to be sure that you know about The ACE Chronicles!!!
Without further ado, meet Psychomagician and Super Sigma, superheroes tasked with investigating cases based on your questions about Microsoft certifications and exams. Not only will they answer your questions, they will also provide information on emerging issues. In other words, they will make sure you have the most up to date information about all things certification and exam, and they might even share some insights into life at Microsoft.
YOUR MISSION…if you choose to accept it:
Now, go watch that video…we’d love to hear what you think about ACE Chronicles!
MCP: 7882935Location: SwedenTwitter: @FredrikNilsson_ Blog: moln1
I actually started my Microsoft certification journey in October 2010 while I was employed at HP in Sweden. I was working within the Enterprise Services division with the Server Virtualization Solutions. The HP/Microsoft alliance manager asked a colleague and me if we had any interest in attending a Windows Server 2008 R2 Server Virtualization class. This class was my first real contact with Hyper-V and Microsoft Server virtualization.
A few weeks after attending the class, I decided to give the Hyper-V exam 70-659 a shot, and I passed. In the second quarter of 2011, after doing some self-study, I passed the Desktop exam 70-669; followed by the PRO exam 70-693. At that point, I added the title MCITP Virtualization Administrator to my resume.
My experience from Windows Server and Presentation Virtualization Solutions helped me out quite a bit, but my biggest help came from a site in Portuguese by Daniel Donda: MCSE Solution. I don’t speak Portuguese but, luckily, the web translation service does! After translating the site to English, I discovered some really valuable information on the exam topics and key resources for my studies.
Later that year, I attended Microsoft TechEd in Atlanta, where I met some awesome people, The Krewe, and really learned the value of the technical community. In 2012, I got involved in The Krewe community and joined the 60 Days to MCSE challenge. I was a bit too certain that I would pass the exams as easily as I did with my previous ones and, unfortunately, I failed to get my MCSE. I can tell you: it was painful to fail the exams. I had already passed exams from other vendors, and I had never failed exams before. I actually licked my wounds for six months before I got myself back on the horse.
I currently work at Lumagate in Sweden, a company focusing on System Center and I’m studying for the System Center Private Cloud exams 70-246 and 70-247. It’s been really great to build a training schedule and a lab that covers both exams.
The next step in my education plan is to study for the MCITP/MCSA upgrade exam 70-417. Since I don’t have a lot of experience with Windows Server topics, like Active Directory, I’ll be studying hard to make sure I’m prepared for the questions. The 90 Days to MCSA challenge will be a great help in preparing for that certification exam.
1) Set the date for the exam now. It’s a great strategy for getting yourself mentally prepared for the exam.
2) Create a training schedule. If you’re attending a trainer-led class, be sure to pencil in time for additional study. If you’re following a self-study plan, create a schedule that allows for a study-free day before your exam.
3) Build a lab environment and try different scenarios. You can usually employ scenarios from your day-to-day work or find some at TechNet Test Lab Guides, which is a great resource I use.
If you have any questions, please connect with me. See you around in the binary space!
MC ID: 6859838Location: NorwayTwitter: @msandbuBlog: Sandbu-Blog
I was working part-time at a helpdesk when I began my path to certification. It was 2008 and I attended a Microsoft Vista client training course in Norway. After the course, the instructor asked if I wanted to give the certification a try, and I figured “why not?”. I trained for a couple of weeks and aced the exam. As someone who doesn’t have a college degree, it felt good knowing that I had achieved these skills.
After my first exam, I investigated other Microsoft certifications. After passing two more Windows Server exams, I got a new job as a system engineer working with infrastructure management.Currently, I have taken more than 30 certification exams with Microsoft, Citrix, Cisco, EXIN and Comptia and I know there are more to come.
I feel fortunate because certification has provided me with new opportunities. I’ve had the pleasure of working part-time at Microsoft as an infrastructure ranger. Currently, I work as a technical advisor and a Microsoft Trainer. My current work allows me to incorporate everything I’ve learned through certification, as well as my on-the-job experience. Nothing feels wasted. Why am I am going to continue with certification? Certification allows me to keep my knowledge up-to-date and I like playing around with technology. Why not take the exam and demonstrate my expertise with the technology?
1) Find someone who has similar goals as you and become study partners. It’s always easier to study for an exam if you have someone to discuss ideas with.
2) If you are studying for a particular exam, use the Microsoft study guides. Don’t rely solely on hands-on experience to prepare you for your exam. Most of the Microsoft exams already have a study guide available. TrainSignal or CBT Nuggets also have good training books and videos.
3) Find a topic that interests you! If you don’t, your training will take a lot more time because you won’t be truly engaged. Microsoft has a wide range of resources to help you find the IT certification that suits your interests.
MC ID: 3724854Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USATwitter: @sharepointmctsBlog: http://www.sharepointfeed.com/
I remember my first certification exam. It was 2006 and I was just a few years into my IT career. I started with an IT Pro exam for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. I took the exam because I wanted to use Microsoft certification to validate my skills to myself as well as to my current employer.
I found the exam experience to be very rewarding and passing this exam allowed me to be promoted to a more senior position.
Since my first exam, I’ve passed 14 additional exams and achieved 5 certifications. These certifications have provided me with the opportunity to rapidly advance in my career and gain exposure to new opportunities. It’s also confirmed my belief that Microsoft certification is an ongoing measure of my experience and technical ability. In fact, certification has been so rewarding that I decided to become a Microsoft Certified Trainer to help others with their journey toward Microsoft certification.
I’m currently studying for my next certification, the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert – Private Cloud.To train, I’m using Microsoft Virtual Academy, which is a great resource and provides the most current information, directly from Microsoft, on a variety of technical subjects. This current certification relates directly to my job as I have started implementing a private cloud environment for my employer and it also allows me to continue my Microsoft certification journey.
1) Relax. If you haven’t taken a Microsoft certification exam yet, it may feel like a daunting experience. Remember that you have prepared yourself and this is your chance to show what you know.
2) Reference the “Exam Details” page that Microsoft Learning publishes for each exam. This page is very valuable and will help you understand what you need to study for the exam.
3) Find a buddy in the IT community to study with. I will expand your focus: you not only learn the topics you’re focusing on but gain additional knowledge from the topics your peer is focusing on, while helping each other achieve certification.
Let’s continue our discussion of ways to unintentionally violate our Exam Agreement (found here). A couple of months ago I talked about discussing the exam answers. To clarify, I want to make the distinction between studying with colleagues and friends before the exam, and divulging information you learned after having taken the exam. The first is perfectly fine—assuming you’re not revealing confidential information, which is what violates our agreement. Discussing what is on the test itself once you’ve taken the test is the behavior that could get one into trouble. I think everyone understands that.
Now, for example number two of ways to unintentionally violate our NDA.
Example 2: Using unauthorized materials in an attempt to satisfy Exam requirements (this includes using brain-dump material and/or unauthorized publication of Exam questions with or without answers)
Everyone knows not to bring cheat sheets into a testing environment. (Well, they should.) This is why at the testing center, you may be asked to empty your pockets, submit to a security wanding, and asked to put all your items in a locker. It’s pretty difficult to argue having answers or notes on you during the test is okay.
But what not be as clear as a violation is what one uses to study. I’ve talked about brain dumps before and how confusing they may be as legitimate study materials. Unfortunately people do use them to study for the test, not realizing to do so is a violation of our exam policy. I know this because sometimes I get inquiries from those who failed, wondering why they didn’t pass, because they studied using “[X] brain dump site.” Again, it’s just a matter of making sure everyone understands that using such sites is an actual violation, not just a poor study practice.
The same is true for materials obtained from anyone who attempts to sell or give away answers or questions to the test, no matter how they procured them. Using those materials violates our policy.
Interestingly, I sometimes get mails from folks who recognized answers on a test and they want to let me know. They didn’t realize they were studying from a disreputable source until they sat for the test and realized the answers were the same. Recognizing that this is an issue, they’ll let me know, and sometimes have even asked to re-test so that they can legitimately pass. This speaks to the integrity of our examinees, and I appreciate such tips so I can take action against those sites.
Got a tip for me? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Related info: Microsoft certification exam policies
There are many reasons to gain a Microsoft Certification - prepare for a new job, get ahead in your career, or to gain recognition by peers and managers. Whatever your reason, Microsoft’s reinvented certifications, announced in early 2012, have evolved to focus on technology solutions, and validates the breadth and depth of skills required to manage cloud, on-premise, and hybrid technology solutions.
While obtaining Microsoft certification is a measurable sign of achievement, earning your certification requires a great deal of time, energy, and commitment. You may already be taking the necessary steps to upgrade your certification to a MCSE: Server Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2012, or a MCSD: Web Applications certification or another distinguished certification. Prepare for your future by registering for your certification packs before May 31, 2013. By doing so, you will receive 15% off your certification, free exam retakes, plus you will have until December 31, 2013 to complete your initial exams and your free retakes.
Second Shot exam retakes are also available for single vouchers, if you have registered for a single exam voucher online or through a Microsoft Learning Partner, these vouchers, including free retakes, must be used by May 31, 2013. Sorry, no exceptions or extensions can be made.
Get the Second Shot Details at: http://aka.ms/SecondShot
If you are preparing to schedule your exams, keep in mind that ALL exam registrations are subject to seat availability at testing centers. Reserve your seat early if you plan to take your exam(s) (including retakes) by the deadlines:
Don’t let your vouchers go unused. Register and take advantage of great SQL Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 resources to give you the extra boost you need to pass your exams.
Related post: "Second Shot" is Back!
This week, President Obama’s Administration announced the IT Training and Certification Program, a partnership which will enable thousands of service members to earn industry-recognized information technology certifications before they transition from military service.
As part of this initiative, Microsoft Corporation has partnered with Global Knowledge and Prometric to define learning paths for several IT Professional roles that map to military occupation specialties, and donate instructor-led classes and exam vouchers to the first wave of transitioning service members who are participating in the pilot phase of the program.
These training resources will help service members meet the criteria and pass the exams to achieve industry-recognized Microsoft Certificated Solutions Associate (MCSA) credentials in Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2012. By earning a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) credential, service members will attain the technical skills and credentials needed to get hired in today’s competitive IT job market, while also gaining access to the MCP member site and associated benefits.
In addition to helping land their first IT industry positions, the MCSA credential will put service members well on their way to future career advancement by earning the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) credential in cloud-related areas of Desktop/Server Infrastructure, Private Cloud, Communication, Messaging, and SharePoint.
If you are a transitioning service member and want to learn more about the IT Training and Certification Program and associated Microsoft official skills training, please contact your branch of service training officer. A downloadable fact sheet is also available below.
To review related news on this training program, please visit:
- White House announcement
- Global Knowledge announcement
- Mashable article
- Washington Post article
- Huffington Post article
Greetings True Believers!
So it's been a while since I've checked in via a blog post. It's great to see many of you joining the conversation on twitter as well as on the Server Certification Group forums on Born to learn.
So what have I been up to? Well, I passed the 70-410 exam and had begun my path towards 70-411 when I got a curve ball. Between work and family, I had to reschedule my exam. Unfortunately, my options for test taking are limited, and the only available date for the exam was after my scheduled 70-412 exam. So I am in the process of re-working my plan so that I can study for both exams in tandem. I hope to have this available to share with you in the near future.
One helpful thing for my studies will be the recent release of the 70-411 and 70-412 by TrainSignal. If you haven’t signed up for the free video training from TrainSignal, check it out here. Along with the TrainSignal videos, I am using the 70-417 Exam Prep book by J.C. Mackin to prepare. While the book is designed for MCSA's upgrading from 2008 to 2012, all of the chapters map to the exam objectives for 410, 411, and 412. So I would recommend checking it out along with the wiki resources for each exam.
So the focus of today’s post will be exam taking strategies. I reached out to folks at MS Learning and TrainSignal, and they provide me with some resources to help you prepare for your exams.
A little something on My Test Taking Strategy….
As a veteran of multiple certification exams and an MCT responsible for helping students with their exams skills, I want to share my test day strategy. Hopefully, you can take some tips from it to improve your test day results!
Mike’s Exam Question Strategy
Here’s my strategy for each Question
The key to successfully completing a certification exam is providing answers to ALL questions to the best of your ability. That’s why we use the review option to comeback to questions you are unsure of. I can guarantee there are questions you could spend 10-15 minutes on, and you would still not have an answer. In that same time period, you may be able to cover 5-7 questions you do know the answers to. You need to get to the “low hanging fruit” questions and come back to the ones requiring more time. But always…ALWAYS…enter an answer for the question before moving to the next question. This ensures you have an answer for every question should your time run out.
Until next time…Excelsior!
Hey! Veronica here. I've just scheduled my pre-TechEd hair appointment, which already makes me more prepared this year than last. But let's talk about YOU.
Do you need another reason to register for and attend TechEd in New Orleans or Madrid this year? For thousands of current and prospective Microsoft Certified Professionals, TechEd is *the* opportunity to access a variety of exam prep resources and to connect with other MCPs and MCTs (trainers).
As just announced by the TechEd event team (North America | Europe), Certification Central will be back at TechEd 2013! In both New Orleans and Madrid, you will find:
So how do you take advantage of all this? What can you do now?
Consider this: a shiny new certification could help you get that next job, promotion or raise, and will certainly outlast any trinket from a vendor booth. Coworker: "How was TechEd? What did you do?" You: "Oh, it was awesome! Tons of learning, great networking, and I even got certified!"
Are you already an MCP? Talk to your colleagues and fellow attendees about the benefits of certification. Share this blog post with them now. If you use Twitter, don't forget to mention @MSLearning, plus #msTechEd (for New Orleans) or #TEE13 (for Madrid)!
You don't have to just take my word for it. Get the real story from two of your favorite Technical Evangelists, Rick and Joey, in the video below. See you at TechEd soon!
So, did the title of this post grab your attention? I hope so! Briana Roberts and I are launching ACE Chronicles soon, and we need your help! In ACE Chronicles, we reveal our superhero alter egos, but the only way we can to do this is with your help. Throughout this series, we will be investigating candidate questions about exams (from design to development to skills measured to preparation) and Microsoft's certification program and asking for your help along the way. We're hoping you'll come along for the ride and occasionally play our plucky side kick.
Our first mission--yes, we chose to accept it--is to find the best tips and tricks that candidates use to prepare for exams. Briana blogged about this on the ACE blog, but we've only gotten a few responses. Although we have some tips and suggestions that are based on the design and vision of the program (e.g., get hands on experience with the technology), we'd love to include some tried and true, practical, and specific tips beyond the 'practice, practice, practice' mantra. What else do you do to prepare for an exam? Do you watch people performing the tasks? Do you take training? Is it instructor led, online, or self-study? Do you read a book, white paper, TechNet articles? What has worked? What hasn't? I'm really curious about that one!
Imagine that you're new to the program... do you remember what it was like? Wasn't it overwhelming and a little scary? What would you tell yourself about preparing for an exam?
Please post your suggestions here or you can email to email@example.com. Help a superhero, and a future MCP, out! Share some of your lessons learned about exam preparation, and make the launch of ACE Chronicles amazing--because that's what I know you're waiting for... 'something amazing, I guess' [for those of you who know me...name that movie ].
For many, change is disruptive. While others look at change as an opportunity, change is either viewed as positive or negative and very seldom neutral. Over the past two years, Microsoft Learning has reached out to industry groups, trainers, partners, IT professionals and developers to get their thoughts, direction and feedback on the future of technology learning. These discussions were highly valuable helping us understand the changes that we needed to make as a company to better support the technology learning needs of our customers.
From our discussions and research completed last year, we introduced a new vision of how current or new technology professionals can gain one of the most credible certification in the industry. This vision pushed us to create a simpler certification path so those who want a credible industry certification would start with basic technology knowledge and for those who are seasoned technology professionals, they can upgrade their current Microsoft certification to our newest certifications. Microsoft Learning also put back into place several of our most valued certifications into the market, MCSE and MCSD that set the expertise bar for those technology professionals who possess the experience and knowledge to be called an expert.
Hello my name is Thomas Dawkins, I am a part of this new technical learning vision at Microsoft. I am a Sr. Certification Product Manager and have been with Microsoft for almost 15 years. I have over 30 years in the IT industry with a diverse background holding roles as a programmer, auditor and IT manager. Before coming to Microsoft, I was a MCSE and became a MCT to help others become experts in their field. Over the next several months, I will talk about the changes we've made to the Microsoft Learning certification program and how technology professionals, Microsoft Partners, recruiters and business owners are already seeing value in our certification program today. I will also be announcing new certifications, updates and retirements as a part of Microsoft's ongoing effort to keep you informed.
I look forward to sharing more with you in the future.
The 6th annual Global Knowledge and Windows IT Pro IT Skills & Salary Report is now available—and this year’s report is well worth your attention. More than 12,000 North American IT Pros responded—the largest survey of its kind in the industry—revealing the impact that training and certification has on one’s career path.
Here are just a few of the insightful findings in the report:
Training and certification make a difference in compensation. The survey reflects that, through skills training and certification, IT pros took on new job responsibilities, and as a result of their expanded role and duties, they also earned more.
Want a raise? Salary increases are more likely in such roles as front-line IT managers, analysts, systems architects, and engineers, and those in applications and development, security, servers, and storages—roles that also map to certification paths.
IT Pros are pursuing certification. Respondents have a tendency to make certification a practice because of its financial and career benefits.
Get the complete IT salary survey report now.
For those of you considering certification for the first time, the findings can provide the incentive to take the first step-- visit 90 Days to MCSA for an action plan to get trained and certified, and give your career the boost you deserve.
Exam security starts with preparation (i.e., ensuring that candidates are using legitimate materials and resources to prepare; training candidates to recognize those that may not be on the up and up), but this is only part of the security story. What happens at the test center matters, too. Microsoft’s exams are delivered through independent exam delivery providers worldwide. We rely on the practices of these testing centers to provide a fair and secure environment for all of our test-takers.
The testing centers are provided with security policies that must be enforced in order to acquire and maintain testing center status. Ongoing inspections ensure that each testing center maintains the security outlined by Microsoft and the exam delivery provider. In addition, proctors at testing centers are authorized to immediately take appropriate measures against candidates who violate testing rules.
You should expect that your ID will be verified, that you will sign a log-in sheet, your registration for the exam confirmed, and a locker provided for your possessions. You will not be allowed to take anything into the exam room with you except your ID and locker key. You will be asked to empty your pockets. (I was even asked to unzip my boots at one test!) Some testing centers may ask for biometric identification or pass a metal-detecting wand over your body, depending on the exam. In certain countries you may be asked to verify proof of residence, in accordance with our Out of Country Testing Policy. Mobile sites, academic sites, and event testing may have additional requirements. You should verify the testing experience with the exam delivery provider prior to your test, so that you know what to expect.
Knowing what to expect can help you identify if a testing center is not acting in accordance with these security policies. Testing center administrators act inappropriately when they fail to follow any security policies of Microsoft or the exam delivery provider. Examples could include, but are not limited to, overlooking inappropriate candidate identification; failing to ask for an ID from each candidate; failing to conduct periodic walkthroughs; failing to keep partitions between testing stations; overlooking the presence of crib sheets or electronic devices; providing answers or aid in any form with regard to any exam item; and allowing the release of Microsoft intellectual property in any form.
You have the right to a secure testing environment. If you have a concern about the security of your exam experience, please send an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If Microsoft determines that a testing center has acted improperly or fraudulently, Microsoft has the right to cease delivery of all exams at that center.
For specific information about the expectations for candidates, please contact the exam delivery provider, either Prometric or Certiport.
Guest post by MCP community member Steven R. McEvoy, Systems Analyst @ Christie Digital Systems
I was recently asked why I keep my certifications up to date. I work for a company I love; I enjoy my job and my boss and up through the chain. I get to play with all sorts of technology and since 2007 I have written 39 certification exams. The breakdown is as follows:
Across those exams I now hold over 30 designations. So when a former professor and a few friends asked why I continue to update my credentials it got me thinking. Why do I write certification exams? And the more I thought about it the more I realized there is no easy answer, but there are a number of different reasons:
I am going to expand upon each of those points and hope it will provide some insight into why I certify and why you should consider doing so also. I spent almost 20 years in university and college both full and part time. In fact, if I won the lottery I would go back to school full time. I love learning, reading and studying; in fact it is one of my favorite things to do.
The second reason is to stay current; I have been privileged to have been offered Beta exams from more than one organization. What I loved about those opportunities I have accepted is that you need to work hard from just the list of exam objectives and figure out the new generation of technology. Also outside of the beta exam option, the upgrade paths are always easier for me than waiting and starting over again. I know people who still proudly state that they are MCSE but what they do not say is that it was Windows NT or Windows 2000. What happens if for some reason their career path changes? Their designations are so out of date they cannot upgrade even if they want to. So it is always in your best interest to keep your credentials current.
The third and fourth reasons I pursue certification is new responsibilities at work. A good example is SQL Server, for both the 2005 and 2008 version of this technology. I wrote the first exam and then because I did not directly manage any SQL servers, never went further. It was always on my ‘to do list’ to go back and finish my SQL certification but I never got around to it. Then after a change in roles last year I was all of a sudden managing 12 SQL servers across different tiers for staging, development and production for different technologies. I really wish I had stuck with the plan and spent more time on SQL before I was primary for supporting it!
For the fifth reason: ties back to the two above. I find that if I buy the voucher and have 1 year to write the exam or exams if a pack is bought, then it forces me to spend the time. If I do not use the voucher and it expires, it is wasted money. Spending the money will kick-start the studying and push the commitment.
Finally, I find studying fun. I like being in learning mode. I like playing with new technology. This past year I have loved playing with Windows 8 and Server 2012 and learning both. On a side note, one of my professors, Jason Eckert, wrote a sheet for Certification Exam Preparation. With his permission I posted it a few years back but I still post it near my desk when in Certification mode.
Now I am also blessed in that my last few employers have compensated for exams once passed. So staying up to date does not have a big out of pocket cost to me. It was the commitment to time and effort. And for the last few years, part of my annual performance review goals has been at least 1 certification exam relevant to my role and responsibilities.
So now you know why I study and certify. And hopefully it will spur your own thinking as to why you do also, or if you do not, why not? Would love your feedback either way!
In case you’re interested, the designations I currently hold are:
Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate
Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP)
Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS)
Microsoft Office Certified Specialist
Windows Server 2003
Microsoft Certified Professional (Legacy)
And if all goes well I will be adding 3 or 4 more before the end of the year. But you can read more about that in my last certification update - Inner Geek - Updated December 2012.
Peace and Strength!Yours, learning to beSteven R. McEvoy
Every year, I update the FAQs related to exams on the Microsoft Learning website (did you know that we had these?). With the changes to the certification program and the redesign of the website, this year's changes were more substantial than most. In addition, I am often asked these types of questions...(hmmmm....maybe that's why they are called "frequently asked questions"), so I wanted to highlight the updates and remind everyone that these are the answers that they seek and they can be found on our website.
You'll find answers to these questions and more here.
Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to let me know what questions you have that I haven't answered here. I'm curious about what might be missing or where you'd like more information.
As always, I'm happy to answer any and all of the questions that I can (remember--there are some questions you have that I cannot answer, but I'll let you know if that's the case). Or, even if the answer is here and you just want to say 'hi,' I love those messages, too!
A little over a two weeks ago I blogged about Joey and I heading out across North America – and beyond. I thought it would be fun to write up a trip report and share it with you here on what we’ve accomplished so far, where we’ve visited and thank all the folks who have helped us along the way.
Before I do: Just a quick flash back and tip of the (green)hat to the first post (read it here) so you can see if we are headed to a city / country near you. New dates / registration links are being added as we get them confirmed.
I shot this photo out of the car window as Joey and I were driving off from the airport rental car parking lot. It will be a familiar sight to us over the next while – airports, rental cars, hotels and parking facilities (with possible weekend visits home to see the family).
A lot of people think traveling as part of your job is glamorous, you get to see lots of cities and lots of places, take in the sights and the culture as you are getting your job done. Actually, it’s not. In order to make the most of it - you have to make time for the important things to stay sane: Connecting and talking with REAL PEOPLE along the way – breaking bread with them and listening to them. Luckily – we worked this into the plan from the get-go so I get to check out local cuisine on this round as we’re meeting MCTs, MVPs, training center staff, college students, partners and consultants.
The secret formula we’re using is quite simple. Partner with an AWESOME Microsoft Learning Partner who can host us in their facility for these Office Hours Live events. Cross promote to get people interested in showing up and learning about Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 when we are in town. Finally – during the 3 hr window of time we set aside for this activity – engage in meaningful conversations – answering questions, collecting product / scenario feedback on what’s going on with these customers and what issues they are facing – oh yeah, all this while taking copious amounts of notes. I have to take a moment to give a special SHOUT OUT to 5PE / New Horizons for stepping up to kickstart this whole process – it wouldn’t have been possible without them!
But it doesn’t stop there.
I mentioned some “extra” stuff we’re doing while out on the road – to keep our sanity. Personally, nothing is more daunting then having to go out an eat by ourselves while on the road. We decided to take it up a notch: if we’re coming to a city near you, we’re putting the offer out to connect over drinks / coffee / dinner (dutch of course as we’re on a budget) and just geek out talking tech, issues, beer, philosophy – whatever. So far three cities down and counting:
One other fun thing we get to do while out on the road and working with learning partners is connect with Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs) in different geographies. We reach out to “regional leads” in advance to see what they’d like to setup for a get together. We had one recently in Kansas City were we delivered a custom “demo skills training” session to help hone their technical presentation delivery skills. It went over quite well – I’m looking forward to the next MCT meet up opportunity.
What’s a “life on the road” report without pictures? I’ve been snapping a few choice moments along the road and sharing them on my twitter feed. I thought I’d also take advantage of SkyDrive to make a quick little album of our travels. Check it out!
See you on the road – don’t forget to tweet @JoeySnow and @RicksterCDN if we’re in your local area so we can get together!
When we asked global market intelligence firm IDC to investigate the state of IT jobs in cloud computing, even those of us close to industry trends were surprised by the findings. 1.7 million unfilled cloud-related jobs in 2012. 7 million open cloud positions within the next three years. A near-crisis in IT hiring circles to find qualified candidates with essential experience, training and certification.
As illustrated in the infographic below, it all adds up to a world of opportunity. For companies struggling to fill cloud-related jobs, the next few years will be challenging; however for future and current IT professionals, career prospects couldn't be brighter.
That's why we produced this month's live event, Microsoft Certified Career Day 2013, where IT and cloud professionals gathered to discuss how the cloud is redefining IT jobs; and launched 90 Days to MCSA, a free program with the roadmap, tools and community support to get you cloud-certified in just three months. It all adds up to a clear view of your future: now's the right time to close the "IT Cloud skills gap" and get trained, get certified, and get hired.
Click the image below for a full-sized version or download the PDF. Want to embed this infographic on your website? Grab the embed code below!
One of the key steps when developing a psychometrically sound, valid, and reliable exam is the beta process. We rely on candidates who have skills and experience that map to the target audience to sit the first version of the exam. As these candidates take the exam, they leave a footprint that I'm able follow to evaluate the psychometric characteristics of each item. Is the item too easy? Too hard? Or, as Goldilocks would say "just right?" Does the item differentiate between high and low performers? Is it technically accurate? Is it keyed correctly? These are but a few of the questions I'm able to answer based on the data we obtain through the beta process. Because this data drives the final decisions about which items meet Microsoft's psychometric criteria, candidates who take the exam during this phase do not receive a score immediately; they must wait until the data have been analyzed and evaluated, the item pool finalized, and exams are rescored (only the items that are retained in the final item pool are scored).
However, there has been a lot of confusion about how and when candidates will receive their scores. Over the past few months, we've worked with Prometric to clarify the beta exam communications you receive at the end of the exam and better set expectations related to how quickly Prometric can apply the rescore process, upload your results into their and Microsoft's transcript, and mail printed score reports. The communications that you receive at the end of a beta exam have been updated to reflect these clarifications.
When can you expect your beta results?
Results for beta exams should be visible on your Microsoft transcript (if you've received a passing score) and on the Prometric site within two weeks after the exam's live publication date. You should receive your printed score report by mail within eight weeks after the exam's live publication date. This date can be found on the Exam Details page for that exam on www.microsoft.com/learning.
Whom do you contact if you have questions concerning beta exam results?
If you do not receive your printed score report within eight weeks of the exam's live publication date, contact Prometric (https://www.prometric.com/en-us/contact-us/Pages/default.aspx) for more information on when your results will be processed. If you have questions about your transcript, contact your Microsoft Regional Service Center (http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/help.aspx).
We also have an "Ask a Certification Expert" video on this topic. Check it out here!
Missed the live broadcast of Microsoft Certified Career Day 2013? Want to revisit the sessions? You're in luck! You can now watch the following recorded webcasts on your own time at aka.ms/mccd2013:
Take the next step: join the 90-day to MCSA challenge
Microsoft Certified Career Day 2013 spotlighted the opportunities for advancing your IT career through skills development, training and certification.To help you take the next step, we created a free program to get you get cloud-certified in just three months. 90 Days to MCSA gives you a clear roadmap, tools and community support to help you earn MCSA certification for Windows Server 2012 and SQL Server 2012. Visit www.90daystoMCSA.com and sign up for bi-weekly emails that walk you through the program--you'll be entered to win an Acer tablet just for signing up!
We’re headin’ out to select cities and venues across North America and quite possibly some of Europe too. Yup – we had such a great time during our online event we’ve decided to take it out on the road over the next couple of months.
Why? It’s two fold.
First: we’re out to dispel a lot of myths and misconceptions about Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 by having frank conversations and answering your questions. Yes – listening and answering what you want to know about Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012.
Secondly: we’re very interested in gathering your feedback about how we’re doing, what you like and don’t like about Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 and what you’d like to tell the product teams to help improve these products. We’ll be taking notes and documenting them along the way in order to share them with the product teams and program teams back at HQ.
So what are the details? We’re partnering up with various training organizations and Microsoft Learning Partners in order to be on hand to lead a discussion targeted at experienced IT Pros who want to ask technical questions regarding Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8. This exclusive session features Joey Snow and me (Rick Claus) engaging in dialog, debate and demos shaped by a global audience of esteemed IT Pros. These are FREE events but capacity is limited and registration is required.
Are we hitting a city / location near you? Register to reserve your spot. Links will become active as dates and locations are confirmed. As our seats are filled – we’ll close off the links and update the list.
Don’t see your city listed? These ones were selected in partnership with Microsoft Certified Trainer community and Learning Partners we had pre-existing relationships with. We hope to extend the tour to more cities near you based on the interest generated in this round. Tell your fellow IT Pros about what we’re up to and encourage them to sign up!
Remember: We’re only a group of TWO taking this on in partnership with Microsoft Learning and we can only hit so many cities unless we get approved for the “space-time-continuum-manipulation” device we asked for.
Are you a meticulous note taker (lots of scribbles in the margin)? Do you like to load up on caffeine and pull an all-night study or lab session? Do you need to interact with peers to keep you motivated and help with retention? Regardless of your personal learning style, we hope you’ll find (and contribute) great resources in the new Microsoft Certification Study Groups on Born to Learn.
The study groups are arranged by technology pillar (Client, Database, Developer, and Server), so you’ll easily locate content specific to your certification path by technology. For example, if you are interested in Windows Server certifications you can visit the Server Certification Study Group and select the resources for the exams that are relevant to you based on where you are on your path.
As you can see, there are discussion forums and exam prep wikis for each exam. You can ask questions in the forums and get answers from your peers or the moderators (Microsoft Certified Trainers or subject matter experts selected from the community).
The exam prep wikis will provide you with a list of general prep materials, as well as specific resources mapped to the exam objectives that other MCP community members have found relevant and helpful. New content is being added on an ongoing basis, so you may want to subscribe to these pages for updates.
This exciting new space has been built for you and your success. You can help us and the MCP community make it even better! How?
Check out the new study groups today!
Contributed by: Leann Turpin - Site Manager for the Microsoft Training and Certification community site, Born to Learn. Stay tuned for more exciting content and updates from your Born to Learn team!
Have you been paying attention to Born to Learn lately? If you have, you may have noticed that we just launched a few very cool additions to the blog related to exam development. First, we now have an ACE Team Blog (for those of you knew to Microsoft Certifications, 'ACE' is Microsoft Learning's exam development team...ACE--one the many acronyms at Microsoft--stands for 'Assessments and Certification Exams'), that you can find here
Second, most of you know me as the face of ACE--occasionally, you see other people from my team posting to Born to Learn, but mostly it's me. I love connecting with you, hearing what's on your mind, etc. As Microsoft's Psychometrician, I'm the expert on all things exam at Microsoft, so if you have questions, I've got answers--I can't always tell you those answers, but I'll always do what I can. Now, I want to introduce you to someone who will be actively joining me in the blogosphere--Briana Roberts. If you go to the ACE Team blog, you will see two posts from her that I want to highlight just in case you're not hooked into the aggregate RSS feed from Born to Learn (I have to admit that I wasn't and totally missed these posts!), which brings me to another addition to Born to Learn--the First Look Forum. Rather than repeat all the details in this post, I'll let Briana do the talking. We kicked the forum off with a bang--we have posted examples of several new question types that we are planning to pilot over the next few months. Let us know what you think! We'd love to hear your feedback.
Finally, a look ahead... Briana also posted about a project that we're working on together: ACE Chronicles. You want to pay attention to this one. We are having a blast planning this twist on the Ask a Certification Expert (ACE) Video Series that was so popular last year. This is another great opportunity to get answers to your questions, so let us know what you wondering about... Take a minute to 'meet' Briana, and stay tuned for the first edition of ACE Chronicles. I can hardly wait... will it whet your appetite to know that superheroes might be involved!?!
In case you can't access the embedded links in this post, here they are: