• Editor's note:  The following post was written by MCTs BRIAN SVIDERGOL, BOB CLEMENTS, and CHARLES PLUTA. This is part two of a two-part series. Read part one here

    There are several methods that can be used to prepare for an exam. What I’ve found that helps tremendously is to act like I’m creating the exam items. An excellent technique is to look at each skill that is being measured, and dissect each one. For any way that you can configure a device or policy, learn each method. There are typically at least two ways, sometimes even three, to perform the same action. This could be through the user interface, Windows PowerShell, or even a command-line utility. Being able to perform the same task (or skill) using all of these methods gives you an amazing advantage when you actually take the exam.

    We kept these techniques in mind when writing the book, to ensure that not only are we transferring the conceptual and design-level knowledge, but giving you information to test in a lab environment. When studying for any exam, it is my opinion that a lab environment is critical to getting hands-on experience with the technologies. Your lab doesn’t need to be a giant complex environment; a single server VM and a single client will suffice. This is especially true with more cloud technologies, as Intune, Azure, and Office 365 are all included in the skills measured.

    You may notice that the book, and the exam, covers a wide range of technologies. This can be from local configuration of devices, centralized management through traditional tools, and even the latest cloud-based management tools. Chapter 6 was my favorite to write, because of this range. We cover just about any method of updating a device that you possibly can by using the available Microsoft tools.

    Let's talk about two of the exam’s sections:  Design for Device Access and Protection, and Plan for Apps. To start, I take time to review each of the topics for the skills. This consists of me printing out a copy of the skills measured and writing a series of notes related to each of the topics. Notes that I will later use as additional reference points. Next, I work on tuning my lab environment to meet the technologies covered in the exam. In the case of the 70-398 exam, I spent a lot of that time in Azure, Intune, and Office 365. While I have my own accounts for these cloud services, I sometimes use trial memberships for situations where I want to look at the initial setup and prerequisites. When I need to utilize a local lab I leverage client Hyper-V under Windows 10, which I make a point to install on all of my Windows devices. Of the sections, section 2 “Design for Device Access and Protection” caught my interest the most. I enjoy working with Intune and was in the midst of preparing for the exam when support for Mac OS X was introduced. This gave me the opportunity to work with some new features. Section 5 “Plan for Apps” covers a number of technologies that have been a part of the enterprise market for some time, but are not always in the limelight. I’m glad to see the exam includes technologies like App-V and UE-V.

    For this book we worked as a team to provide a solid prep resource the 70-398 exam. Over the past few years the three of us have worked together on similar projects, so we knew straight away that the material was a good fit. Having a team provided us with some unique benefits. First, we started this project by reviewing and discussing each of the skills in the OD. As we went through the list of technologies it was relatively obvious which author would be assigned to each skill based on their areas of expertise. Second, we leveraged each other’s experience to bounce ideas around and get different perspectives on the areas the exam was covering. Lastly, we leveraged collaboration tools like digital white boarding and document sharing to share ideas and work on chapter material. Prior to any content submissions we would share our material among the team for feedback and suggestions.

    The Exam Ref 70-398 book can be a big help in your preparation. Have fun studying for the exam! Not all exams are fun to study for, but this one is! If you use our Exam Ref 70-398 book to prepare, we’d love to hear your feedback. Good luck!

    The study guide is available for purchase from the Microsoft Press store.

    Remember, if you’re already certified on other Microsoft products you are qualified for a coupon code from the Microsoft Press Store!

     

     

  • |

    It’s time for the Microsoft Press round-up! Below you’ll find information about a new free eBook, last call for our Earth Day sale, and a sample chapter.

    New free eBook

    Introducing Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview

    Get a head start evaluating Windows Server 2016—guided by the experts. Based on Technical Preview 4, John McCabe and the Windows Server team introduce the new features and capabilities, with practical insights on how Windows Server 2016 can meet the needs of your business. Get the early, high-level overview you need to begin preparing your deployment now!

    Download here.

    Earth day sale

    Go green and load your digital library with new and top-selling titles from Microsoft Press! For a limited time, save 45% on eBooks storewide when you use discount code EARTHDAYduring checkout.

    All titles are delivered in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI formats to read on your favorite device. This offer ends April 30, 2016.

    Start shopping.

    Sample chapter

    Create and format notes in OneNote

    OneNote notebooks give you the tools you need to record, organize, and build on your thoughts. After you create a notebook, you can start adding notes. The most direct way to start adding notes is to click anywhere on the active page and start typing. After you add your notes, you can move them to another location, copy all or part of a note, and change the formatting as needed.

    This chapter guides you through procedures related to creating, cutting, and copying notes; applying text formatting to notes; creating lists and outlines; changing paragraph formatting; and deleting formatting and items.

    Read it here.

  • Editor's note:  The following post was written by MCPs BRIAN SVIDERGOL, BOB CLEMENTS, and CHARLES PLUTA. This is part one of a two-part series

    The 70-398 exam covers a wide range of technologies. Some old. Many new. That makes it a fairly tough exam. Especially if you haven't worked with the technologies and have only read about them (or, even worse, never heard of them before). If you’ve ever read exam preparation tips for Microsoft exams, you have seen the recommendation to review the “Skills Measured” section of the exam’s web page.  Review this section! I can’t reiterate that enough. 

    From my perspective, the first section of the exam – Design for Cloud/Hybrid Identity – is going to be one of the toughest for many people. That’s because it deals with many new technologies. Technologies that are changing rapidly. For the first section of the exam, it is critical to have hands-on experience. Every hour of hands-on experience is probably worth 4 hours of reading. I was lucky enough to have hands-on experience with most of the technologies. I even deployed and managed Azure Multi-Factor Authentication in production environments back when it was still PhoneFactor (Microsoft purchased PhoneFactor and turned it into Azure Multi-Factor Authentication). Some of the newest features, some of which were still in preview while writing the book, I had to explore for the first time. My advice is to go through each section of the exam, list out the technologies covered, then implement them. After you have them implemented, loop back to your study material (books, labs, TechNet, MVA, study groups). That enables you to walk through the step-by-step exercises, labs, and look at the technologies while you read about them.

    For the study guide, I focused on two sections of the exam – the first one and the third one. The third section of the exam is titled “Design for Data Access and Protection”. This section may be one of the easier sections of the exam, mostly because the majority of the technologies have been around a long time and many administrators have hands-on experience with them already. My advice is to spend less time focused on this section of the exam. Spend just enough time to refresh your memory (and/or get rid of rust). For newer technologies (or less implemented technologies), such as Network Unlock, spend a bit more time and make sure you are comfortable with it prior to the exam! Don’t go into the exam figuring that you can bomb out on a couple of areas and still pass. That could lead to a retake of the exam! For both chapters, I used Visio to diagram several scenarios to make understanding and remembering all of the concepts easier.

    The study guide is available for purchase from the Microsoft Press store and retailers worldwide.

    https://www.microsoftpressstore.com/store/exam-ref-70-398-planning-for-and-managing-devices-in-9781509302215

    Remember, if you’re already certified on other Microsoft products you are qualified for a coupon code from the Microsoft Press Store!

     Read part-two in this series

     

  • |


    Editor's note:  The following post was written by MCP and Microsoft Premier Field Engineer, Jason Krause

    My path from MCP to Microsoft full-time employee (FTE) was a ten-year journey.   Years ago, I was hired into a support position that encouraged all of the technicians to pursue the MCDST certification, and I passed the first of the required exams on January 27, 2006. After passing my first exam, I was hooked on the process and continued to study and test my way through many other career paths and responsibilities. I was hired by Microsoft as a Premier Field Engineer on January 19, 2016 based, in part, on my certification history.

    How has becoming an MCP impacted your career?

    Certification has helped me in many ways, some of which are more tangible than others. I believe the greatest personal benefit has been that certification offers a clear goal and set of objectives that everyday work may not. Setting clear objectives with a time line is one of my biggest personal drivers. Without time bound goals, I would probably have a more difficult time keeping on top of technology changes in the depth that my career has required.

    One of the more intangible benefits is keeping up on technology.  This benefits me in my current position as well as pursuing future opportunities. Sometimes you need the certification to get the job, and other times being certified places you ahead of other candidates by demonstrating initiative.

    What tools and resources helped you along the way? 

    Throughout my certification history I have used almost all the different resources out there to prepare myself, but the process that I have found to be most success is to read the Microsoft Press books, perform the labs, and use practices test to gauge readiness. The best series Microsoft Press offers currently are the Training Guides, followed by the Exam Ref series. When building labs to explore the technology, I normally use a combination of Client Hyper-V and Azure. MeasureUp and Transcender both have a history of delivering quality practice exams. I am also a big fan of Microsoft Virtual Academy.

    Advice for people working toward their first certification

    There is no better way to address uncertainty than through action. Creating labs may take time and have many detours, but it is all time well invested towards learning the technology. If you are worried about testing performance, go ahead and buy the second shot. That will let you fail quickly, study harder, and come back prepared to succeed. I usually walk into each exam knowing that if I do not pass, I have another date on the calendar targeted for my exam retake.

    My last piece of advice would be to start small with something you already know fairly well. An entry level certification may not be your goal, but it is a great foundation to build on as you gain knowledge and confidence.


  • Add “getting certified” to your plans for Microsoft Ignite 2016.

    We’re excited to bring certification and training resources to you again in 2016 at Microsoft Ignite in Atlanta, GA. The best part? All Microsoft Certified Professional exams will be offered at a 50% discount exclusively for Ignite attendees.

    During the conference, stop by our “Certification Central” to find a study hall full of learning resources, exam prep sessions delivered by Microsoft Certified Trainers, and an onsite testing center managed by our team. All practice tests will be free to attendees who activate them in the study hall. Exam appointments will be available Monday through Friday, and pre-registration will open in July 2016.

    Look for more announcement in the coming weeks, including pre-registration instructions. We’re coming for you, Atlanta! 

    Register for Ignite 2016 Now

  • A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting with MCTs from across Australia, New Zealand and beyond for a two-day summit at the Microsoft Office in Sydney. This event was full of rich content, lively discussion, and tremendous networking opportunities for all.  During the Summit, I observed a community of experienced, passionate and talented trainers eager to provide world class experiences to our customers. What a passionate and knowledgeable community we have! The feedback and discussions on the MCT program and LeX strategy were invaluable.

    Perhaps the most valuable portion of the event was the opportunity for all attendees to build and strengthen relationships. Each break and social event fostered outstanding networking and provided a step in the right direction in strengthening the MCT community in the Asia Pacific Region.

    In addition to a great event, the Aussie MCTs proved to be very hospitable showing me around Sydney, teaching me the rules of AFL, and even sharing some key Aussie slang….

    MCTs came prepared to share their experience and knowledge in deep-dive sessions that spawned many fruitful and poignant conversations. This was an exceptional educational opportunity for me and I am grateful for all the participants and the learnings I brought home with me.

    MCT Lead Sessions

    • Teaching for Retention - Chris Barker, MCT
    • Azure ARM Templates - James Finley, MCT
    • Authoring MOC - Orin Thomas, MCT, MVP, RD
    • Enterprise Mobility Services - Mark O'Shea, MCT, MVP
    • LODS Lab features and Updates – Kyle Rosenthal, MCT

     

    This great event was made possible by the MCT community, Microsoft Australia, Learn on Demand Systems, Gooroo and LeX. A special Thanks to Wayne McGlinn, Glenn Morris, Orin Thomas and all the other MCTs for planning and executing such a great event. Also, I want to thank Chee Sing, Sara Arnold and Jeff Alexander for giving us such a strong representation from Microsoft. Lastly, thanks to Matt Coulter for guiding me on an awesome adventure after the event.

  • |

    It’s time for the Microsoft Press round-up! Below you’ll find information about our Earth Day sale, a brand new eBook, and a sample chapter. Enjoy!

    Earth day sale

    Go green and load your digital library with new and top-selling titles from Microsoft Press! For a limited time, save 45% on eBooks storewide when you use discount code EARTHDAYduring checkout.

    All titles are delivered in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI formats to read on your favorite device. This offer ends April 30, 2016.

    Start shopping.

    New free eBook

    Creating Mobile Apps with Xamarin.Forms

    Written by legendary author Charles Petzold, this 1200-page eBook is a deep dive for C# programmers who want to write applications using a single code base that targets the three most popular mobile platforms: iOS, Android, and Windows, encompassing the Universal Windows Platform and Windows Phone. Produced by Xamarin and Microsoft Press.

    Download PDF here.

    Sample chapter

    Enhance Message Content in Microsoft Outlook 2016

    This chapter from Microsoft Outlook 2016 Step by Step guides you through procedures related to personalizing default message formatting, applying thematic elements to individual messages, creating and using automatic signatures, incorporating imagery in messages, and changing message settings and delivery options.

    Read the complete chapter here.

  • Gooroo is a platform dedicated to building ‘richer’ careers for the world’s tech professionals.  Using big data, neural networking and deep learning, Gooroo matches tech talent to companies in a whole new way.  Gooroo's intelligent matching engine now sorts through over 7,200 quality courses and prioritizes training options to increase your chance of getting the job you're after.   MCPs get fast track access to Ambassador status.  I sat down with Gooroo CEO, Greg Muller to discuss the exclusive benefits for MCPs:


    Core features

    Platform features include:

    • Intelligent job matching, ranking and notifications
    • Tech article publishing (GoorooThink)
    • Personalized professional Bio (focused on verifying tech skills and achievements)
    • Personalized tech skills and demand analytics
    • Status tiers that include opportunities to earn financial rewards and community recognition
    • Personalized training recommendations (coming in March 2016)
    • Plus a number of exciting new features we can't talk about yet!!

    Start discovering now at Gooroo.io

  • Last week I had the opportunity to join 5000 developers at the 2016 //BUILD Conference in San Francisco, California. It was a great learning experience involving new technology announcements, engaging conversations with attendees and colleagues, and hands on opportunities to explore new tools and APIs.

    Figure 1 Moscone Center West, //BUILD 2016 Conference Location

    It started with the “Pay it Forward” women’s event on Tuesday night (my unofficial Day 1) featuring a panel of women in technology leaders and an opening talk by Karen Catlin, a TedX speaker and women in technology advocate.  I really appreciated hearing Karen’s perspective and advice for the audience, and it certainly resonated with me, especially this slide describing “where the magic happens” as being outside of your comfort zone.

    Figure 2 Karen Catlin - Magic Happens Outside of your comfort zone

    It reinforced the importance of ‘bursting that bubble’ to immerse yourself in experiences that challenge your own thinking and expose yourself to diverse perspectives, something I had shared in my own talk on the DNA Diversity of Engineering teams at the CTO World Congress in February.  I also enjoyed talking with other women engineers to understand the tools and technologies they’re using day to day to build the next games, apps, and services for their respective companies – many of whom share common challenges that my own engineering team faces as well and provided insight into how they’re addressing them.

     Figure 3Learning Happens Here Booth - Microsoft Virtual Academy

     

    Day 2 and Day 3 followed with a flurry of keynotes, sessions, and conversations at the Microsoft Learning (“Learning Happens Here”) booth in the Hub.  Highlights included the announcements around the new Cortana Intelligence Suite, the Microsoft Bot Framework, Xamarin (free for everyone!), Azure enhancements (Azure IOT Suite, Power BI embedded, and more), new features in Visual Studio as well as additional building blocks for productivity and conversation with Office Graph.

    Finally, with the conference coming to a close, it was a last chance to connect with developers at the “Learning Happens Here” booth and quickly try out a few “experiments” with the new Microsoft Cognitive Services and Skype Bots Framework through the Emotion Photo Booth and Project Murphy.  I’ll let you be the judge on how well I emoted the requested emotions in the picture below!

     

     
    Figure 3 Learning Happens Here Booth - Microsoft Virtual Academy

    And now as I return to Redmond, I’m inspired by Satya Nadella’s closing remarks to “take your passion and empathy and go after opportunities we see and dreams we have.” Technology has the power to transform lives, as vividly demonstrated in a Seeing AI video with Saqib Shakih, a blind developer at Microsoft, who together with colleagues built an app leveraging the intelligence APIs from Microsoft Cognitive Services to provide detailed descriptions of events, people, and objects of the world around him as visible to his Pivothead smart glasses and smartphone. It enabled him to have richer interactions with the surrounding world. I look forward to imagining what’s possible and how some of our new technologies, frameworks, and APIs can also be leveraged to enhance the learning experiences my team engineers.

    Figure 4 Emotion Photo Booth - Emotion Challenge with Microsoft Cognitive Services

    I hope you share this enthusiasm and consider how you too can build our future and use technology to #MAKEWHATSNEXT.

  • |

    Last night I had the honor of hosting the ‘Pay it Forward’ women’s event at the 2016 Build Conference in San Francisco.

    What a night!

    Karen Caitlin at Women@Build 2016Our own Stacey Mulcahy, Senior Technical Evangelist at Microsoft,  moderated the event which explored how women in technology can work together to create a more diverse work environment and tech industry. It was a topic discussed by Karen Catlin, an advocate for women in technology and a TEDx speaker; Monique Woodard, Partner at 500 Startups;  Jennifer Marsman, Principal Technical Evangelist at Microsoft; Rachel Thomas, teacher at Hackbright Academy, Data Scientist & Software  Developer; and Kimberly Bryant, Founder and Executive Director of Black Girls Code. 

    As you can imagine, the conversation that resulted was beyond inspiring.

    Not only did all the panelists share a sense of responsibility and excitement about encouraging other women in the technology industry and encouraging girls to pursue a technical education but it seemed like everyone in the room jumped at the opportunity to share their thoughts. 

    And while so much of what was said was excellent, some of the advice that resonated with me included:

    • “Women need to step out of their comfort zone and that’s where the magic happens.” – Karen Catlin
    • “Be your best and most authentic self at work.  If you aren't in an environment that makes you come alive, find something else.  Tap into what makes you your best self!" – Kimberly Bryant
    • “At some point in your career, do public speaking. Pass something on to other people.  You can be an expert in some topic.  Blogging is similar in that you are publicly expressing yourself.  Take those risks!” – Jennifer Marsman
    • “We have to put the oxygen masks on for ourselves first, then help others” – Kimberly Bryant
    • “You need to be present so that others can hear your successesand failures.  Just so they don't think it's only successes.” – Jennifer Marsman
    • Don’t be intimidated by the skills that others have. Instead, surround yourself with people who believe in you because the truth is, you probably already have something to offer or can certainly learn the skills you need to be successful. Don’t shy away from those opportunities to grow” – Karen Catlin
    • “Be a mentor for other women in technology – you get as much as you give” – Kimberly Bryant
    • “Advice is optional - you don't have to take it.  There is plenty of bad advice that can and should be ignored!” – Monique Woodard

     

    Alison Cunard at Women@Build 2016

    Hearing both men and women passionately acknowledge and show a commitment to be deliberate about fostering diversity, and to measure everything with an eye toward gender and minorities within their teams was inspiring.

     

    But what was equally inspiring to me was watching my 22-year old daughter Kari, who works at Yelp, hear these smart, talented and influential leaders share a collective vision and then seeing the virtual roadmap of ideas and creative thinking that resulted. She took away ideas about how she can be even more successful in her budding career while infusing collaboration and fostering diversity in everything that she does so that she, too, can ‘pay it forward.’


    Of course there was more advice given and I expect to see the theme of diversity and inclusion to continue to not only be a focus at Build but for Microsoft as we continue to move forward. In fact, during this event, Microsoft also announced a donation to Black Girls Code to encourage the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs and developers.

    Of course, despite all this positivity and collective commitment, I recognize we are far from meeting our goal of a truly diverse industry. I’d love to carry on this conversation and hear about your experiences and recommendations for how we, as a community, can be more supportive of each other and continue to pay it forward.

  • |

    It’s time for the Microsoft Press round-up! Below you’ll find the latest information about a new book, a sample chapter, and an MVP guest blog post. Enjoy!

    New book

    Exam Ref 70-398 Planning for and Managing Devices in the Enterprise

    Prepare for Microsoft Exam 70-398—and help demonstrate your real-world mastery of planning and designing cloud and hybrid identities and supporting identity infrastructure for managing devices. Designed for experienced IT pros ready to advance their status, this Exam Ref focuses on the critical-thinking and decision-making acumen needed for success at the Microsoft Specialist level.

    Focus on the skills measured on the exam:

    • Design for cloud/hybrid identity
    • Design for device access and protection
    • Design for data access and protection
    • Design for remote access
    • Plan for apps
    • Plan updates and recovery

    Sample chapter

    Enhance Message Content in Microsoft Outlook 2016

    This chapter from Microsoft Outlook 2016 Step by Step guides you through procedures related to personalizing default message formatting, applying thematic elements to individual messages, creating and using automatic signatures, incorporating imagery in messages, and changing message settings and delivery options.

    Read the complete chapter here.

    MVP guest blog post

    End of Excel VLOOKUPS – Power Pivot Relationships

    This is the 55th article in our series of guest posts by Microsoft Most Valued Professionals (MVPs). This post is by Power BI MVP Rob Collie and Avi Singh.

    Do you suffer from Excel VLOOKUP fatigue? The life of an Excel user inevitably involves combining data from various sources. And that typically involves a generous use of VLOOKUPs.

    Well, meet the “new” Excel! Our superhero has a new sidekick – Power BI. You can build Power BI solutions, using the standalone tool, Power BI Desktop. But you can also harness the strength of Power BI from within Excel, using available add-ins.

    Read the full article here.

  • |

    When I first joined the workforce in the mid-80s as a software engineer, I was the only woman on my team. At the time, it wasn’t unusual for there to only be a few female engineers in any company. And truly, this hasn’t changed much – women in technology are still an enormous minority.  And yet something amazing is happening. The benefits of a diverse workforce are genuinely becoming recognized and diversity is even becoming a business imperative.

    This week, Microsoft is hosting the Build 2016 Conference in San Francisco, where over 5,000 developers from around the world are gathered to learn more about our platform strategy and participate in immersive hands-on experiences.  As part of this effort, I am honored to host an event geared specifically to women in technology and how we can collectively ‘Pay it Forward,’ helping to attract and retain female talent in this industry. 

    Tonight, this event will feature key female technologists and entrepreneurs who will share their own real world experiences and interactions with the aim of creating an even more diverse environment of excellent talent in the tech industry.  The panel discussion has a wide range of impressive female leaders, including:  Karen Catlin, advocate for women in technology andTEDx speaker; Monique Woodard, Partner at 500 Startups;  Jennifer Marsman, Principal Technical Evangelist at Microsoft; Rachel Thomas, teacher at Hackbright Academy, Data Scientist & Software  Developer; and Kimberly Bryant, Founder and Executive Director of Black Girls Code. 

    I’m excited for tonight’s event and will share my experiences from the evening!


  • Dynasource is not your average career advancement platform. It connects you with many of Microsoft’s top partners who need talent, who need it fast, and who need you! MCPs can use Dynasource to connect with Microsoft technology firms seeking professionals with skills and expertise that complement their current business needs.

    In this fast-paced, cloud-first world, Microsoft partners need certified professionals they can trust. Your MCP status makes you stand out in a crowd and distinguishes you as a knowledgeable and credited professional. Access the Dynasource platform and set up your profile today by using the Dynasource link displayed in your MCP Profile.

    There are over 1,000 partners on the platform waiting to be added to your network. Join forces with Partners looking for professionals like you who can get the job done. Dynasource membership is free for MCPs through August 1, 2016. Learn more about this offer, platform capabilities, and opportunities for MCPs on Dynasource.



    About Dynasource:

    Dynasource was founded by two savvy IT professionals who, thanks to their previous affiliation with Microsoft, realized there was a specific need but no specific solution. Short for dynamic resourcing, Dynasource offers a marketplace for software and technology eco-systems, facilitating matches between jobs and hyper-specialized professionals and vice-versa. Microsoft technology firms are able to leverage the platform in order to connect with resources, driven by Microsoft-specific scenarios.

    Stay tuned for more announcements about Dynasource, the MCP profile, and other career resources.


  •  

    Two years ago I started a journey to see if Microsoft Certifications could count towards a College degree. I thought this would be a short journey. Little did I know the opportunities and obstacles that would detour me along the way.

    I had the opportunity to speak at several SQL Saturday events where I was able to meet and learn from so many fascinating people. I was asked to serve as an MCT Ambassador at Microsoft Ignite 2015 where I was also able to finish earning my MCSA on Windows 8.1. This turned out to be perfect timing as my company needed me to teach the Windows 8.1 course a few weeks later in Washington DC. I can’t even begin to explain how humbling and inspiring it was to visit so many national landmarks.


    Later in the year, my boss asked me to teach a custom SQL Performance Tuning class. This project derailed me for most of the winter months as I built and fine-tuned the class. However, this turned out to be a rewarding experience in of itself that only increased my understanding and knowledge of SQL Server.

    However, my biggest obstacle was an Algebra class that tested me on more than just my math skills. It tested my resolve and my optimism. I studied for months and every day I became more frustrated that I was not making a dent in my understanding of even basic formulas. Did I give up? Absolutely, I did. Every single day I gave up and the next day I would sit myself back down and start again. I studied each day until I got so frustrated I would throw my book across the room. But every day, little by little, I worked at it.  I would pick up one more piece of the puzzle. What I didn’t know the day before, surprisingly I knew the next day.

    One more page, one more problem. I worked at it. Until finally, I felt I was ready to schedule the exam. As a side note, a day or two before the exam, I realized I was still unsure on a few of the more advanced items, but I got by with a little help from my friends. So just a quick thank you to Sean, Kent, and the rest of those who helped me with those final study sessions.

    Final score: 78%. There was much rejoicing and dancing throughout the land. It took a little longer than expected, but I tried and succeeded.  We always remember the difficult challenges many years down the road.

    Whether it is a college degree or a Microsoft certification, there will be opportunities and obstacles that will stand in your way. It does not matter the path you choose, there will be times of frustration and pessimism, but the most difficult step in any journey is the first one.


  • Few things are more satisfying than watching your app become a favorite after the hundreds of hours you spent pouring over the details to make sure every line of code works, the user experience is clean, and the interface looks just right.

    If you’re one of the thousands of app developers who have used Visual Studio to make that happen, you already have the technical skills and knowledge necessary to push your career forward. Now’s the time to earn Certified Visual Studio Specialist status to let the world know you’re ready to make the future.

    We have two exams with helpful preparation tools to get you going. Here are the details:

    Exam 480 — Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3. This exam is for you if you’ve got a few years of experience programming business/application logic for a variety of application types and hardware/software platforms using JavaScript. You should also have at least a year or two of experience developing with HTML in an object-oriented, event-driving programming model.

    In order to pass, you’ll need to know how to:
    • Implement and manipulate document structures and objects
    • Implement program flow
    • Access and secure data
    • Use CSS3 in applications

    There’s also Exam 483 — Programming in C#, for developers with more than one year of experience programming the essential business/application logic for a variety of application types and hardware/software platforms using C#.

    In order to pass, you’ll need to know how to:
    • Manage program flow
    • Create and use types
    • Debug applications and implement security
    • Implement data access

    Earning this certification is a great way to stand out from the crowd, whether you’re looking for a new challenge at a new company or to make yourself more valuable where you’re working now. Find the exam prep resources and study groups here.

    We’d love to hear from you once you become a specialist! Please come back and share your story here.

  • |

    Get Certified!

    Now, more than ever, trainings and certifications are vital to fuel a successful career. Microsoft certifications make technology professionals more likely to get hired, demonstrate clear business impact, and advance their careers.

     

    But where do you start?

     

    Jump start your career with an exclusive Microsoft Azure certification at the 2016 India Openness Days and learn how to build and move Open Source solutions to Microsoft Azure & leverage the full power or Microsoft’s broad and flexible cloud platform.

     

    Microsoft Open Days will give you an in-depth understanding of the Open Source Azure offerings ranging from Linux to Node.js and Java to PHP.  Dive deep with expert-led sessions to Lift and Shift Linux Workloads and crux of DevOps on Azure.

     

    Engage with Microsoft MVPs (Most Valuable Professionals) and discover the benefits of becoming an MVP.    

         

             

  • Earning any kind of specialist certification is a great way to stand out from the crowd, whether you’re looking for a new challenge, a new job, or a way to make yourself more valuable to your current employer. With the growing importance of the cloud, Azure is a must-have certification for anyone looking to prove their skills.

    You’re probably familiar with all the great things Azure brings to a business, including the collection of integrated cloud services. You’ve worked with those solutions and have earned technical skills and knowledge, and maybe you’re thinking now is the time to validate that experience.

    Here’s what it takes to become a Certified Azure Specialist: schedule, prepare for and pass one of these three exams:

    Exam 532 — Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions. This is for you if you’re experienced in designing, programming, implementing, automating, and monitoring Azure solutions. Before taking this exam, you should be proficient with development tools, techniques, and approaches used to build scalable and resilient solutions.

    In order to pass, you’ll have to know how to:

    • Design and implement a website
    • Create and manage virtual machines
    • Design and implement cloud services
    • Design and implement a storage strategy
    • Manage application and network services

    Exam 533 — Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions — is for you if you have implemented an infrastructure solution in Azure, if you’ve implemented and monitored cloud and hybrid solutions, and if you’ve supported application lifecycle management.

    This exam tests your knowledge of how to:

    • Implement a website
    • Implement virtual machines
    • Implement cloud services
    • Implement storage
    • Implement an Azure Active Directory
    • Implement virtual networks

    Exam 534 — Architecting Microsoft Azure Solution — is for people interested in validating their Azure solution design skills.

    To get certified by passing this exam, you’ll need to already be familiar with the features and capabilities of Azure services, like being able to identify tradeoffs and make decisions for designing public and hybrid cloud solutions. You’ll also be expected to be able to define the appropriate infrastructure and platform solutions to meet the required functional, operational, and deployment requirements through the solution lifecycle.

    In order to pass, you’ll need to know how to:

    • Design Azure infrastructure and networking
    • Secure resources
    • Design an application storage and data access strategy
    • Design an advanced application
    • Design websites
    • Design a management, monitoring, and business continuity strategy

    Don’t forget to take advantage of the great learning resources we offer, starting with exam prep videos and study groups right here.

    It would be great to hear from you after you pass one, or all, of these exams! Please visit here and share your story.

    Good luck!

  • |

    It’s time for the Microsoft Press round-up! Below you’ll find the latest information about promotions, new books, free ebooks, sample chapters, author videos, and other content from Microsoft Press.

    Special offer

    Save 35% on Developer Reference series

    Save 35% on all Developer Reference series titles when you apply discount code DEVSALE during checkout. Offer ends March, 31, 2016. Start shopping!

    New book

    Modern Web Development: Understanding domains, technologies, and user experience

    Master powerful new approaches to web architecture, design, and user experience
    This book presents a pragmatic, problem-driven, user-focused approach to planning, designing, and building dynamic web solutions. You’ll learn how to gain maximum value from Domain-Driven Design (DDD), define optimal supporting architecture, and succeed with modern UX-first design approaches. The author guides you through choosing and implementing specific technologies and addresses key user-experience topics, including mobile-friendly and responsive design. You’ll learn how to gain more value from existing Microsoft technologies such as ASP.NET MVC and SignalR by using them alongside other technologies such as Bootstrap, AJAX, JSON, and JQuery. By using these techniques and understanding the new ASP.NET Core 1.0, you can quickly build advanced web solutions that solve today’s problems and deliver an outstanding user experience.

    Microsoft MVP Dino Esposito shows you how to:

    • Plan websites and web apps to mirror real-world social and business processes
    • Use DDD to dissect and master the complexity of business domains
    • Use UX-Driven Design to reduce costs and give customers what they want
    • Realistically compare server-side and client-side web paradigms
    • Get started with the new ASP.NET Core 1.0
    • Simplify modern visual webpage construction with Bootstrap
    • Master practical, efficient techniques for running ASP.NET MVC projects
    • Consider new options for implementing persistence and working with data models
    • Understand Responsive Web Design’s pros, cons, and tradeoffs
    • Build truly mobile-friendly, mobile-optimized websites

    Sample chapter

    Exam Ref 70-697 Configuring Windows Devices: Manage Identity

    Identity is an important concept in Windows, and the Manage Identity objective domain will test your understanding of how identities are managed in Windows to provide users with a consistent and secure environment. You’ll also need to know how to support Windows Store and Office 365 apps, install apps into images, and support authentication and permissions mechanisms in Windows.

    Read the complete chapter here.

    ICYMI: User Program

    Microsoft Press User Group Program

    The Microsoft Press User Group Program welcomes all IT professional, developer, and home and office user groups or communities interested in building their technical skills and knowledge of Microsoft technologies. Benefits for program members include:

    • Complimentary review copies
    • Member discounts
    • Exclusive content
    • And more!

    Group Leaders: Let's get started! By registering your group, you agree to receive a quarterly email newsletter to learn about community news, member offers, and new books and eBooks.

    For more information on the Microsoft Press User Group program, contact community@microsoftpressstore.com.

    Thank you for being an active voice in the IT community!

  • Think about this: 72 percent of employers use IT Certification as a requirement for certain jobs. And once you get that job, reports say that getting certified is one of the fastest ways to get a raise.

    Start down the path to becoming a Microsoft Certified Windows 10 Specialist, and get the advantages that certification brings.

    We’ll help you out by providing you the study tools you need to pass Exam 697 — Configuring Windows Devices.

    This exam tests and validates your ability to build solid identities, protect content, and develop a mobile device management policy, as well as your ability to virtualize with Hyper-V and manage applications using the Company Portal and the Windows store.

    In addition to your working experience, you should have this technical knowledge:
    • Experience with Windows desktop administration, maintenance, and troubleshooting
    • Basic experience and understanding of Windows networking technologies
    • Introductory-level knowledge of Active Directory and Microsoft Intune

    Here are some of the things you’ll need to know to pass this exam:
    • Manage identity
    • Plan desktop and device deployment
    • Plan and implement a Microsoft Intune device management solution
    • Configure networking
    • Configure storage
    • Manage data access and protection
    • Manage remote access
    • Manage apps
    • Manage updates and recovery

    To help you get ready, we’ve gathered prep resources and established a community of IT pros who are there to share their strategies for passing this exam.

    It would be great to hear back from you once you become a Windows 10 Specialist! Please come back and share your story here.

    Good luck!

  • We all know that getting certified can give your career (and resume) a boost. If you’ve been interested in getting certified – or want to continue to the next level of certification - but were unsure or waiting until you had some wiggle room with studying and practicing for the exam, that time is now. We’re excited to introduce a brand new offer: Microsoft Certification Booster Packs!

    The new Booster Pack gives you more options and better odds at your Microsoft Certification exam: from practice tests to retake opportunities, you choose what you need to help you succeed. The Booster Packs are available for purchase from March 7 to August 31, 2016. Here are your choices:

    Practice test + An MCP exam voucher
    The practice test is accessible online and valid for 30 days from activation, so you’ll have plenty of time to prepare.

    An MCP exam voucher + 4 exam retakes
    With 4 retakes you’ll get plenty of chances at success.

    Practice test + An MCP exam voucher + 4 exam retakes
    Pull out all the stops and give yourself every advantage. With a practice test you can spend quality time preparing, plus 4 exam retakes give you exam-day peace of mind.

    No matter which option you choose, the odds are in your favor. Visit our special offers page to learn more and purchase your own Booster Pack today! 
     
    **Microsoft exam retake policies apply. See the FAQ and complete terms and conditions for the offer.

  • Nesta palestra estaremos conversando sobre toda a transformação na contratação e recrutamento para vagas técnicas no Brasil e na Microsoft Brasil. Venha escutar e conversar pessoalmente com Vinicius Vaz, recruiter da Microsoft para a area técnica, qual o impacto da nuvem no mercado de trabalho atual e também, qual a nova visão estratégica e mudanças anunciadas pelo Satya Nadella. Nesta palestra exclusiva para Microsoft Certified Professionals tambem estaremos anunciando os novos beneficios disponiveis como o MCP Profile e a nova parceira com o Gooroo alem de conversar sobre o papel da diversidade em empresas.
    Voce que e MCP nao deixe de participar!

    Sao 2 horarios disponiveis no dia 10 de marco no auditorio da Microsoft em Sao Paulo.

     

    Primeira opcao de horario – das 9am das 10:30am

     

    Segunda opcao de horario – das 11am as 12:30pm

     

    A inscricao e obrigatoria pelos links anexos!

     

    Participem! Sorteio de brindes e camisetas!

  • We are packing up our "learning lounge" and heading to Visual Studio Live! Our first stop: Las Vegas!

    VS Live Las Vegas is happening March 7-11. Our team is bringing all sorts of (free) learning resources and fun swags. Just look for a comfy couch and a neon sign!

    If you're an MCP attending the conference, stop by our booth and show us proof of certification (wallet card or transcript) for the MCP-only swag: a cool t-shirt (pictured below)! There will be a whole collection of fun stickers and swags for everyone. You're also invited to chat with us about your learning goals, questions about certification paths, etc. Larry Kaye and Christopher Harrison will both be there with me.

    Speaking of Christopher Harrison (aka @geektrainer), be sure to catch his session titled "Knockout in 75 Minutes... or Less." Just head to room Bronze 1 at 1:30 on Tuesday, March 8!

    There are two ways to spend your Wednesday lunch hour with us, too:

    • "Birds of a Feather" Lunch, Platinum Ballroom, 12pm. This is your chance to chat with Christopher Harrison at the table.
    • Focus Group Lunch, Palace 3, 12pm (by invitation only)

    Even if you won't be there in person, follow @MSLearning and #VSLive on Twitter. Want to know more about the event itself and register for future stops? Visit the VS Live! website.

    See you there!

  • |

    It’s time for the Microsoft Press round-up! Below you’ll find the latest information about promotions, new books, free ebooks, sample chapters, author videos, and other content from Microsoft Press. Enjoy!

    Special offer

    Save 35% on Developer Reference series

    Save 35% on all Developer Reference series titles when you apply discount code DEVSALE during checkout. Offer ends March, 31, 2016. Start shopping!

    New free eBook

    Deploying Windows 10: Automating deployment by using System Center Configuration Manager

    Get a head start deploying Windows 10—with tips and best practices from experts in the field. This guide shows you how to deploy Windows 10 in an automated way without impacting end users by leveraging System Center Configuration Manager, which is the most used product to deploy Microsoft operating systems in the industry today.

    Download here.

    New Program

    Microsoft Press User Group Program

    The Microsoft Press User Group Program welcomes all IT professional, developer, and home and office user groups or communities interested in building their technical skills and knowledge of Microsoft technologies. Benefits for program members include:

    • Complimentary review copies
    • Member discounts
    • Exclusive content
    • And more!

    Group Leaders: Let's get started! By registering your group, you agree to receive a quarterly email newsletter to learn about community news, member offers, and new books and eBooks.

    For more information on the Microsoft Press User Group program, contact community@microsoftpressstore.com.

    Thank you for being an active voice in the IT community!

    New book

    Microsoft OneNote Step by Step

    The quick way to learn Microsoft OneNote!

    This is learning made easy. Get productive fast with OneNote and jump in wherever you need answers. Brisk lessons and colorful screenshots show you exactly what to do, step by step--and practice files help you build your skills.

    • Access local and online OneNote notebooks from any device
    • Create notes that include handwriting, drawings, screen clips, audio clips, video clips, and structured equations
    • Revise, reorganize, flag, format, search, and share your notes
    • Customize OneNote for the way you like to work
    • Get more done by integrating OneNote with Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook
    • Share notes by using email, Microsoft OneDrive, and SharePoint
    • Look up just the tasks and lessons you need

    Sample chapter

    The OWIN OpenID Connect Middleware

    This chapter from Modern Authentication with Azure Active Directory for Web Applications, by Vittorio Bertocci, will reveal the various layers of the object model for you, showing how you can fine-tune the authentication process to meet your needs.

    This chapter focuses on the OpenID Connect middleware and supporting classes. These are the cornerstones of ASP.NET’s support for web sign-on.

    Read the complete chapter here.

  • What drives people to take the journey to become a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP)? For many it’s a credential that verifies expertise in Microsoft products to industry professionals, employers, and colleagues. For others it’s a way to challenge themselves to learn the latest technologies—to broaden their skillset beyond the familiar. Still others see the MCP status as a gateway to advanced specialized certifications, such as the coveted Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE).  

     Whatever your reason, it’s a journey worth taking. When you pass your first qualifying MCP exam, you immediately gain access to job-enhancing benefits.

    • Community. Make connections with your peers and broaden your experience through the Born To Learn community portal, which contains blogs, forums, study groups, and other resources. Open up doors with networking for just-in-time expertise and guidance.

    • Resources. Access your own MCP member dashboard. Take advantage of tools for generating and sharing official transcripts and certificates. Accelerate your career by creating a public MCP Profile, posting certifications on LinkedIn, and benefitting from job matching services such as Gooroo.io.

    • Offers. Capitalize on special offers on Microsoft training, books, certification products, and more.

    Like any journey, becoming an MCP starts with a few steps: 

    Plan your certification path. Think about your passions and goals. Is your future in cloud computing, server infrastructure, app development, business intelligence? Plan your route using our Certification Roadmap.

    Prepare for certification exams. Choose a study method that works for you—traditional classroom training or on-demand options through Microsoft Learning Partners. For self-guided options, search courses available through Microsoft Virtual Academy, join a virtual study group, and purchase study guides and practice tests.

    Schedule your exam appointment. Register for an MCP exam in advance through our official exam delivery provider, Pearson VUE. Choose either in-person appointments at a testing center, or the online proctored option..

    Being an MCP has changed my life in ways that make me excited about Microsoft, about the products, about wanting to learn new things all the time. It opens doors for me that I never would have had, had it not been for the MCP program. The MCP community is one of the most important things that I treasure. –Sondra Nelson, MCT

     

    Start your MCP journey today. Choose a certification option and download the Microsoft Certification Roadmap.

  • This upcoming Wednesday I get to break out my parka and high school French as I head back to Montreal for ConFoo. ConFoo is a non-profit conference focused on web development, and offers sessions on topics ranging from resume building to node to everything in between.

    I’m going to be joined there by Susan Ibach, who has both more experience with cold weather and speaking French. Between the two of us, we’ll be doing three Python Django sessions which work as a perfect series. Susan will be delivering a session walking you through the Django ORM, which will help you work with your data. And then I’ll be doing two sessions, one on templates and forms, and the other on the Django admin site, so you can create a front end for said data. In addition, Susan will be doing a session on Azure machine learning.

    We’re both thrilled to have the opportunity to connect with everyone there, and hopefully have a little fun. And, if you’re looking to learn Django, you can check out our MVAs, Developing Websites Using Python and Django, and Django in the Real World. If you’re at ConFoo, come say “hi”!