Greetings True Believers and new visitors,

For those new to my blogging, a short introduction is probably in order. My name is Michael Bender. I am an MCT and MVP based out of Madison, WI. I teach Windows Server classes and Virtualization classes at Madison College full time as well as doing some SMB consulting during my “free” time. While not well maintained, until recently, I do write a blog based around technology and general stuff I find interesting at itsallgeek2mike.com. You can also find me on Twitter via @MichaelBender.

So last year, I started a challenge to get people excited about the Microsoft Private Cloud certification that was released last spring. I learned a lot from that challenge. This time around, we are focusing on Windows Server 2012 and the MCSA: Server 2012 certification.

MCSA:Server 2012 is the one of the new certifications from Microsoft based on the Windows Server 2012 operating system. What I like about the new certification tracks are that they use a foundational learning style versus a pillared learning. As you move from one certification exam to the next, you build upon the knowledge of the previous exams. With the MCITP:Server Administrator exams on Windows Server 2008, you could take either of the first two exams in any order as they really provided no basis for the other. As a teacher, I find this new model a better model for learners.

The plan is for a series of blog posts every two weeks starting with today’s post. In general, the topic of each post looks to be like this:

  1. Part 1 – Introduction to the 90 day Challenge
  2. Part 2 – The Plan (AKA Passing multiple exams in 90 days without going Nuts!)/Where to Begin with 70-410
  3. Part 3 – Status Report/Where to begin with 70-411
  4. Part 4 – Preparing for the Exam and Current Status
  5. Part 5 – Exam Week/Status
  6. Part 6 – Where to begin with 70-412
  7. Part 7 – Countdown to Microsoft TechEd Exam Week/Status
  8. Part 8 – Wrap Up & Congratulations to the new MCSA’s

In addition to the bi-weekly blog posts here, I will be posting additional information from time to time on my own blog at itsallgeek2mike.com.

Along the way, I’ll be providing assistance in gathering the knowledge needed for the MCSA:Server 2012 certification as well as passing my insight as a veteran of Microsoft certifications and exams. Where applicable, I’ll be asking for insight from the audience as well as industry experts for their two cents. This will be accomplished through the Server Certification Study Group for MCSA: Windows Server 2012 on Born to Learn. The hope is to provide you a framework for studying for not just the Windows Server 2012 certification exams, but any certification exam.

So let’s break down the certification. The certification is made up of 3 exams. Those exams are as follows:

Exam 70-410: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012

  1. Candidates for this exam are Information Technology (IT) Professionals who have Windows Server 2012 operating system knowledge and experience and want to validate the skills and knowledge necessary to implement the Windows Server 2012 core infrastructure services.
  2. This exam is part one, of a series of three exams, which validate the skills and knowledge necessary to implement a core Windows Server 2012 Infrastructure into an existing enterprise environment. This exam will validate the initial implementation and configuration of the Windows Server 2012 core services, such as Active Directory and the networking services. This exam along with the remaining two exams will collectively validate the skills and knowledge necessary for implementing, managing, maintaining and provisioning services and infrastructure in a Windows Server 2012 environment.

Exam 70-411: Administering Windows Server 2012

  1. Candidates for this exam are Information Technology (IT) Professionals who have Windows Server 2012 operating system knowledge and experience and want to validate the skills and knowledge necessary to administer a Windows Server 2012 infrastructure.
  2. This exam is part two, of a series of three exams, which validate the skills and knowledge necessary to administer a Windows Server 2012 Infrastructure in an enterprise environment. This exam will validate the administration tasks necessary to maintain a Windows Server 2012 infrastructure, such as user and group management, network access and data security. This exam along with the other two exams will collectively validate the skills and knowledge necessary for implementing, managing, maintaining and provisioning services and infrastructure in a Windows Server 2012 environment.

Exam 70-412: Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services

  1. Audience Profile: Candidates for this exam are Information Technology (IT) Professionals who have Windows Server 2012 operating system knowledge and experience and want to validate the skills and knowledge necessary to configure advanced services in a Windows Server 2012 infrastructure.
  2. This exam is part three of a series of three exams, which validate the skills and knowledge necessary to administer a Windows Server 2012 Infrastructure in an enterprise environment. This exam will validate the advanced configuring tasks necessary to deploy, manage and maintain a Windows Server 2012 infrastructure, such as fault tolerance, certificate services, and identity federation. This exam along with the other two exams will collectively validate the skills and knowledge necessary for implementing, managing, maintaining and provisioning services and infrastructure in a Windows Server 2012 environment.

Note: If you have certain existing certifications, you may qualify for taking the 70-417 upgrade exam. We will not be discussing the upgrade again during this challenge, but you are welcome to join the challenge if you are preparing for 70-417. If you want more information on this exam, you can find the jumpstart videos by Rick Claus and Ed Liberman by clicking on the image below.

So do you think you are up for the Challenge? Do you have what it takes to take your career to the next level?

If you answered yes, join us for the next 90 days as we work towards becoming MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certified. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Watch the exam prep videos and sign up for “90 Days to MCSA” emails at http://90daystomcsa.com/
  2. Join the Microsoft Certified Study Group on Born to Learn. I will be moderating the forums for the 70-410, 70-411, and 70-412 exams. This will be a great place to ask questions, gain knowledge, and network with other 90day challenge participants
  3. Sign up for the free video training from my friends at TrainSignal.com. They have graciously provided each person that registers with a 90 day portal which includes videos on Windows Server 2012, Hyper-V, and PowerShell 3.0. Sign up for your 90-day training portal at http://www.trainsignal.com/blog/90-days.
  4. You can also join the conversation on twitter by following @michaelbender as well as adding the hashtag of #90Days2MCSA onto your tweets. Feel free to ask questions, make comments, or share information via twitter or the certification forums.

To see what people are saying about the challenge now, click here.

Join us in two weeks as we lay out Part 2, and build a plan for you to utilize for studying. If you want a sneak peak at building a plan, check out the blog post from last year’s challenge.

As always…Thanks for listening!

Mike