• We are looking for a few good people interested in taking 697 to help us evaluate the quality of our performance based testing (PBT) platform through online proctoring. Are you interested in demonstrating your skills related to Configuring Windows Devices in a new (and FUN!) way? Do you want to help us make improvements in the way we validate skills in general? Well, look no further... your opportunity is now! 

    Here's the deal...

    • The PBT version of 697 has a different exam number: 797, so this the exam for which you will need to register.
    • Both exams measure the same skills so preparing for 697 should prepare you for 797: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/exam-70-797.aspx
    • We want to ensure that we can deliver PBT through online proctoring, so you must be sure that your computer and testing space meets the requirements for OP delivery. Learn more here.
    • You can receive a 50% discount by using this voucher code: trypbt
    • The voucher is capped at 150, but you can still take this version of the exam if you want! You will just need to pay full price... but to experience the labs, it is totally worth it!
    • You must take the exam before June 30, 2016.
    • If you pass 797, it will count as credit towards the same certification requirements as 697.
    • This exam contains traditional Microsoft certification question types as well a section with a list of tasks that you must complete via virtual machines.

    Interested? If so, go to:

    1. Double check that your system meets the online proctored exam requirements.

    2. Register at: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/exam-70-797.aspx by selecting Schedule an Exam. You must take the online proctored version of this exam.

    3. Use Private Access Code AZLAB10-1

    4. At checkout use voucher code: trypbt to receive your 50% discount.

    Good luck!

    Note: If you have taken and passed 70-697, you cannot take this exam as they measure the same skills and meet the same certification requirements.

  • Microsoft is looking for qualified, certified, driven professionals who want to be part of the Microsoft Azure family – What better place to look than the MCP community! MCPs have an exclusive chance to connect with career opportunities on the Windows Azure team.  Check job profiles for possible matches, send us your CV and join the team that eats, breathes and sleeps in a mobile-first, cloud-first world. 

    What we’re looking for

    Do you want to create history and transform businesses through cloud computing? Are you an Engineer or Consultant who aspires to bridge the gap between customers and technology? Do you have 99 tech problems and Azure isn't one?

    Microsoft is proud to be recognized by Gartner as the only vendor selected as a leader across six of their Magic Quadrants for enterprise cloud workloads. In fact, Microsoft Azure is two times the scale of Amazon’s AWS business according to Gartner.

    How do we do it?

    So glad you asked! Microsoft Services is a diverse group of nearly 22,000 global technical architect, engineering, consultant and support professionals. Services employees engage in billions of customer interactions annually that span 191 countries, 46 languages by way of 74 global contact centers. At a foundational level, we exist to support Microsoft’s products and technology and bring the platform to life for our customers.  With the shift to the cloud, Services revenue mix in Microsoft has been increasing and will continue to increase. Currently, Services is a $5-billion-dollar business with 10% market share and double-digit growth. 

    How to apply

    Review the job profiles for possible matches, email us your CV and Azure certifications along with a brief explanation of which position best fits your skillset to AzureNxt@Microsoft.com – It’s as easy as that!

    Check out these job profiles and see if they're the right fit for you

    Data Solution Architect

    Are you ready to join the team that is at the leading edge of Innovation at Microsoft? Azure is the most innovative platform in computing today and Microsoft is hiring Cloud / Data Solution Architects. A Data Solution Architect (DSA) works within a team and drives high priority customer initiatives on Azure in collaboration with customers and the Microsoft field focused on Data Analytics.

    A Data Solution Architect (DSA) drives high priority customer initiatives, leveraging Azure data services to solve the biggest and most complex data challenges faced by Microsoft’s enterprise customers. The DSA is a technical, customer facing role, accountable for the end-to-end customer deployment and usage experience for Azure data services.

    DSAs own the Azure technical customer engagement including: architectural design sessions, implementation projects and/or Proofs of Concepts. The ideal candidate will have experience in customer facing roles and success leading deep technical architecture and design discussions with senior executives.

    Key Responsibilities  

    • Interface with Microsoft and partner sales/delivery teams to drive consumption of Azure data and analytics services, including SQL Database, Document DB, SQL Data Warehouse, HD Insight, Machine Learning, Stream Analytics, Data Factory, Event Hubs and Notification Hubs  
    • Architect scalable data processing and analytics solutions, including technical feasibility and proposal development for Big Data storage, processing and consumption (e.g., development of enterprise Data Lake strategy, heterogeneous data management, Polyglot Persistence, decision support/BI over Data Lake)  
    • Design, coordinate and execute pilots, prototypes or proof of concepts, provide validation on specific scenarios   Drive the quality of the onboarding plan (with Microsoft Consulting Services or partners)   Report on progress of customer as business objectives; Ensure plan execution by Partners     Document and share technical best practices / insights with Engineering teams and the solution architect community  

    Experience Required  

    • 5+ years of experience with deep understanding in databases and analytics, including relational databases (e.g., SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle), Data warehousing, big data (Hadoop, Spark), noSQL, and business analytics  
    • 5+ years of success in consultative/complex technical sales and deployment projects (where necessary, managing various stakeholder relationships to get consensus on solution/projects    
    • Understanding of big data use-cases and Hadoop-based design patterns   Knowledge of real time/stream analytics    

    Highly valued:

    • Experience using R; experience with Marketing or Risk analytics solutions for Enterprises  
    • Deep understanding of cloud computing technologies, business drivers, and emerging computing trends   Proven track record of building deep technical relationships with senior executives and growing cloud consumption share in large or highly strategic accounts   Problem-solving mentality leveraging internal and/or external resources   Exceptional verbal and written communication   Oversight experience on major transformation projects and successful transitions to implementation support teams   Presentation skills with a high degree of comfort with both large and small audiences  
    • Prior work experience in a DBA/Consulting/Architecture position within a software and/or services company such as Amazon, Google, IBM, Softlayer, Oracle, T-Systems, Wipro, CSC, HP, Infosys, ServiceNow, Dell, TCS, Rackspace, Cognizant, etc,


    • Technical BS degree, Computer Science or Math background highly desired MBA optional 

    Cloud Solution Architect

    Cloud Computing is the next step toward ubiquitous and pervasive computing. Azure is Microsoft’s world-class cloud computing platform used to build, host, and scale applications and is one of the major strategic initiatives in Microsoft’s Cloud First Mobile First strategy.   Azure is an open platform enabling hosting of both Windows and Linux applications and supports numerous languages such as .NET, Java, Node.js, and PHP.   Come join the Azure as a Solution Architect –Cloud and be front and center in our customer’s transformation to cloud-based architectures while at the same time playing an influential role in transforming Microsoft to a Cloud First Mobile First company.

    In this role, you will be driving high priority customer initiatives on Azure in collaboration with customers and the Microsoft field.   The Solution Architect- Cloud is a technical, customer facing role that will be accountable for the end-to-end customer cloud deployment experience.  You will own the Azure technical customer engagement including: architectural design sessions, specific implementation projects and/or Proofs of Concept (POCs). The ideal candidate will have experience in customer facing roles and success leading deep technical architecture and application design discussions with senior customer executives to drive cloud deployment.

    In this role, you will be responsible for the following:

    • Drive the deployment of the customers’ workloads into Azure and increase their consumption of the platform by:  Providing deployment guidance, supporting on the development of the customers’ cloud adoption model, providing appropriate recommendations to overcome blockers (i.e. Networking, Identity, Security, Compliance, etc.).
      Establish deep relationships with key ITDMs, who have the power to drive long-term cloud adoption within their company. 
    • Identify, validate and grow opportunities to accelerate consumption in high potential customer accounts, in partnership with the sales team, by driving solution architecture for pre-defined scenarios, for both infrastructure and applications. Build a Proof of Concept or a prototype, only if required. Enable the customer to envision their environment and services in Azure, while leveraging the greater Microsoft and partner resources (internal teams and partners).
      • Accelerate consumption in high potential customer accounts by providing deep technical expertise and support in one out of the following four areas of specialization:
        1. Datacenter Transformation (e.g., VM Deployments, Networking, ExpressRoute, HPC)
        2. Custom Applications (e.g., Websites, PaaS Deployments, Mobile Services, IOT)
        3. Media Services
        4. Security, Compliance and Privacy (e.g., Identity, Governance, RBAC)
    • Lead deployment of projects, creation of IP, and training of sellers and partners in your area of specialization
    • Keep up to date with market trends and competitive insights.
    • Coach other technical sellers to become certified in required Azure technical certifications.
    • Aspire for technical excellence to embrace the new and innovate the how. Continuous improve technology skills of the Tech Sales deep on core and broad on adjacent solutions by leveraging corporate and local programs (e.g. TR, Community connects, etc.). Enable and leverage a strong tech community cross workloads, across EPG as well as together with Partner (P-Seller).

    Key Qualifications: 

    •         Deep understanding of cloud computing technologies, business drivers, and emerging computing trends
    • Proven track record of building deep technical relationships with senior executives and growing cloud consumption share in large or highly strategic accounts
    • Proven track record of driving decisions collaboratively, resolving conflicts and ensuring follow through
    • Problem-solving mentality leveraging internal and/or external resources, where and when needed, to do what’s right for the customer and for the organization (i.e. think through workarounds, evaluate risk of various deployment options, etc.)
    • Exceptional verbal and written communication
    • Ability to connect technology with measurable business value
    • Demonstrated technical thought leadership in customer facing situations
    • Demonstrated ability to deploy workloads on public cloud


    • 5+ years of success in consultative/complex technical sales and deployment projects (where necessary, managing various stakeholder relationships to get consensus on solution/projects
    • 5+ years of architecture, design, implementation, and/or support of highly distributed applications (i.e. having an architectural sense for ensuring availability, reliability, etc.)
    • 2+ years of experience in “migrating” on premise workloads to the cloud
    • Deep technical experience in one or more of the following areas:
      • Software design or development
      • Application Design
      • Systems Operations / Management
      • Database architecture
      • Virtualization
      • IP Networking
      • Storage
      • IT Security
      • Linux
    • Working knowledge with AGILE development, SCRUM and Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) with one or more of the following programming languages:
      • .NET
      • C++
      • Java
      • JSON
      • PHP
      • Perl
      • Python
      • Ruby on Rails
      • Pig/Hive
    • Oversight experience on major transformation projects and successful transitions to implementation support teams
    • Presentation skills with a high degree of comfort with both large and small audiences
    • Technical BS degree, Computer Science or Math background highly desired, MBA optional  
    • Prior work experience in a Consulting/Architecture position within a software and/or services company such as SalesForce, Amazon, VMware, Google, IBM, Avanade, T-Systems, Wipro, CSC, HP, Infosys, ServiceNow, Dell, TCS, Rackspace, Softlayer

    Consultant & Premier Field Engineer job

    Geography/Location: US-Continental

    Title of Role: Premier Field Engineer

    Skillsets required for the role

    - Azure, Active Directory, Windows Server, Networking, Identity, Storage, other Cloud technologies

    - Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), Windows Defender and Enhanced Mitigation Experience (EMET)

    - Azure Technical Certification (70-532, 70-533 or 70-534)

    - Additionally: Microsoft Azure architecture and its components (Compute, Storage, CloudNet)  C# and .NET, PowerShell, CLI, Microsoft Azure

    Years of experience required: 3+

    Travel: Typical 70%

    ***must be a U.S. Citizen or Green Card holder to apply* 

    Summary of the team and what they do:

    We are looking for engineers who are passionate about customer service and technology. If you enjoy tackling tough problems and coming up with creative solutions, and want to help Microsoft improve our services and products, then you’ll be interested in becoming an engineer at Microsoft Services. Our engineers are onsite Trusted Partner who gain the customer’s loyalty by understanding their needs, solving their problems, preventing issues, and helping them get the most out of their technologies







    Azure Consultants

    Geography/Location: US-Continental

    Title of Role: Consultant

    Skillsets required for the role

    Azure, Active Directory, Windows Server, Cloud technologies, IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) OR PaaS (Platforms as a Service), client facing experience, deploying private and hybrid cloud solutions, current and deep large-enterprise experience with Azure, Hyper-V, working knowledge of scripting and automation technologies.

    Years of experience required: 5+

    Travel: 50-75%

    ***must be a U.S. Citizen or Green Card holder to apply***

    Summary of the team and what they do:

    Microsoft Services is the consulting, technical support, and customer service arm of the company. The organization helps customers and partners discover and implement high-value Microsoft solutions that generate rapid, meaningful, and measurable results. With its global partner network and support infrastructure, Microsoft Services enables the successful adoption, deployment, and use of Microsoft solutions and technologies for all customers, from the individual to the enterprise. Microsoft Services is designed to provide the right scope of services at the right time, including localized support solutions for businesses and consumers around the world.

    A Consultant at Microsoft acts as a trusted advisor, building and maintaining long-term customer relationships. Consultants utilize industry knowledge and produce appropriate customer business solutions. They also provide technical road maps to advise on the use and deployment of Microsoft technologies.





    Microsoft is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, national origin, marital status, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, or any other protected status.



  • Whether you’re an established IT professional or new to the field, Microsoft Official Courses will give you the expertise you need in a specific product or technology, and can help you prepare for Microsoft certification exams. Microsoft Official Courses are delivered exclusively by Microsoft Learning Partners and instructed by certified technical and instructional experts: Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs). When you take courses from MCTs, you can be confident that what you’ll learn will be accurate and incorporate all the latest developments and trends.

    There are 3 great ways to take Microsoft Official Courses through Microsoft Learning Partners. Get started by choosing which delivery method works best for your schedule and preferred learning style.

    1. In-person Classroom Training

    Microsoft Learning Partners offer a traditional classroom setting where you can achieve your training goals face-to-face with certified MCTs along with other students. Whether you want to learn a new Microsoft technology, prepare for your Microsoft Certification, or start a career in IT, training in the classroom is a great way to fuel your skills and career success. 

    Find a Microsoft Learning Partner classroom near you.

    2. Virtual Classroom Training

    If you prefer a virtual classroom setting or there are no training centers near you, Microsoft Learning Partners offer online training courses so you can learn from the comfort of your own home or office. You’ll find the same great course content delivered by certified MCTs that can help you stay ahead in today's competitive tech world. 

    Find a virtual classroom Microsoft Learning Partner.

    MOC On-Demand Courses

    3. Online, Self-Paced Learning

    You can build your Microsoft technology skills on your own schedule, wherever you happen to be located with Microsoft Official Courses On-Demand (MOC On-Demand). There’s no need to travel to a classroom or adhere to classroom hours, all you need is your computer and an Internet connection. Expect high-quality video and hands-on labs from certified MCTs, with knowledge checks along the way to give you solid credentials as you grow your IT skills.

    Find an On-Demand Microsoft Learning Partner.

    Have you discovered a training method that works best for you? Share your personal experience and inspire others to decide which training is right for their careers!

  • In this week's MCT Monday post, we caught up with MCT and Regional Lead Sharon Fry.

    My career path has been a twisty one. During and after attending community college part-time for a few years, I was working in entirely different fields, first bookkeeping, then various areas of the newspaper business. Computers kept showing up in all of my workplaces, and while most of my co-workers were intimidated by them, I understood them and their power very quickly. So although it wasn’t until about 2005 that I was “officially” a trainer/instructor, I had been teaching people how to use computers since the mid-80s.

    How did you first learn about MCT?

    I first learned about MCT when I began contract training for a local Microsoft Learning Partner. I had been certified as a Microsoft Office Specialist for about 5 years, and had started doing some training as a side job. One of the requirements for becoming a staff instructor for the Learning Partner was to become an MCT. So I took and passed a current Office exam, fulfilled my training experience requirement, submitted my application, and another MCT was born.

    What is the value of becoming an MCT?

    Of course, being eligible for certain jobs is the obvious value. For me, all of my certifications including MCT are a validation of my skills and knowledge. There are so many resources available to me as an MCT and MCP. By far, though, the greatest value I’ve found is the MCT community. It’s an outstanding group of people with a wealth of expertise, who are passionate about teaching technology and more.

    How long have you been an MCT?

    I became an MCT in 2009.

    What has been the impact in your professional career?

    Unlike the IT and Developer MCTs, as an Office MCT, it’s not generally a requirement for me to teach Microsoft Office courses. However, I know that having the certifications and the MCT has made me eligible for opportunities for which I would not have been eligible otherwise. And it certainly gives me an advantage and a distinction above others who do not, even when it’s not a requirement.

    What advice would you give someone who wants to become an MCT?

    One key factor in my becoming a trainer was getting used to talking in front of people. I have to credit my involvement in a local user group for the opportunities to gain that experience. If you can find a place to volunteer your time to practice public speaking and sharing (not showing off) knowledge, whether it’s at user groups, schools, senior centers, professional association meetings – do it.



    Sharon Fry
    MOS Master, MCT, MCP, MTA
    Independent Software Specialist & Instructor



  • |

    Based on feedback from our learning community, Microsoft is evolving our set of Windows 10 certifications, for both IT professionals and developers.


    For IT Professionals, we are announcing two paths to earning your MCSA: Windows 10 certification:

    • For those individuals who have already earned MCSA: Windows 8, they can upgrade to MCSA: Windows 10 by taking and passing:
    • For those individuals who do not have MCSA: Windows 8, they can earn MCSA: Windows 10 by passing two exams:

    The retirement date for exams associated with MCSA: Windows 8 (687, 688, 689, 692) has been updated to December 31, 2016.


    For developers, we are announcing two paths to earning your MCSD: Universal Windows Platform:

    • The current path involves taking three exams, with combined focus on enterprise development practices, as well as UWP and cloud services technologies:
    • This current path will remain in market until March 31, 2017, when Exams 354 and 355 are scheduled to retire.


    • The new path involves taking three exams, with primary focus on UWP and cloud services technologies:
    • The exam objective outline is as follows:
    • Develop a XAML Page Layout for an Adaptive UI
    • Implement Page Navigation and Lifecycle Events
    • Implement Data Access and Data Binding
    • Implement Feature Detection for Adaptive Coding
    • Manage User Input and Custom User Interactions
    • Manage Authentication and Identity Management
    • Passing this single exam will also award a Specialist certification
    • Exam 358: Developing Cloud Services (planned for beta in September 2016)


    All of the new exams will be supported by practice tests, as well as a combination of instructor-led and online training, shortly after their release to production. More information will be provided, as it becomes available.

  • |

    It’s time for the Microsoft Press round-up! Below you’ll find details about a developer-specific sale, a new free ebook, a new book, and a sample chapter. 

    Special offer

    Save 40% on Developer Best Practices Series

    Save 40% on all Developer Best Practices books and eBooks when you use code BESTDEVduring checkout. Offer ends June 4, 2016.

    The Developer Best Practices series helps programmers, testers, requirements analysts, managers, and others to bridge the gap between average or common software engineering practice and the bestsoftware engineering practices—focusing on methodology rather than any specific product.

    Shop here.

    New free eBook

    Windows 10 IT Pro Essentials Top 10 Tools

    Dive in to Windows 10 with award-winning journalist and Windows Expert Ed Bott in this highly curated free eBook covering the top apps, accessories, and utilities included in the box with Windows 10.

    The sheer volume of Windows programs and accessories says a lot about the power and complexity of Windows—a fact that every IT pro knows from firsthand experience. There’s a tool for nearly every task, and a large part of the process of becoming a Windows expert is knowing how to find the appropriate one when you need it.

    This eBook contains descriptions and hands-on advice to help IT Pros work faster and smarter. Some of these tools are for everybody—end users and experts alike—whereas some are strictly for professionals. A few are so specialized that you’ll only need them once in a blue moon. Collectively, though, they make up a toolbox that can save you (and your company) time and money.

    Download here.

    New book

    Microsoft Project 2016 Step by Step

    This is learning made easy. Get more done quickly with Project 2016. Jump in wherever you need answers–brisk lessons and colorful screenshots show you exactly what to do, step by step.

    Sample chapter

    UX-Driven Design

    In this chapter from Modern Web Development, Dino Esposito presents the concept of UX-Driven Design (UXDD), a top-down approach to implementing the supporting architecture for your chosen system.

    Read the chapter here.

  • We caught up with MCT Regional Lead, Brian Bork and asked him to share his experiences as an MCT

    How did you first learn about MCT?

    My first MS class was for a MCSE course for Windows NT 3.51, while taking that course, I enjoyed learning and talking with the instructor. At one point he suggested that I consider training others. While that was in 1995, and I didn’t become an MCT until 1997, it stuck with me as a possible future. Before those early training sessions, I didn’t know that normal people could become Trainers especially ones that are certified by Microsoft. So it gave me something to strive for. It took me until NT 4 (in 1996) to get my MCSE, but shortly after, I became an MCT and started teaching the classes that I had recently been taught.

    What is the value of becoming an MCT?

    MCT certification is always thought of as a “trainers” certification. In the past, I have heard others say “if you aren’t going to teach, MCT has no value” But it has always been said that if you really want to understand something, try to teach it to someone else. I certainly have learned more about products that I am certified in by presenting the information to varied audiences than I learn just by studying and working with the product. MCTs are, and should be, respected for their knowledge. That’s one of the best values. All of the software benefits and the community are icing on the cake, but the ability to  keep learning more, to present more, is the best value. 

    How long have you been an MCT?

    I started as an MCT in 1997. I updated every year until 2001. I then came back in 2002 for a year and finally came back in 2007 and have remained an MCT through to 2017, which makes this technically my 10 year anniversary! I think that it is important to realize that being an MCT was not always part of my career, but I keep coming back to be a trainer. 

    What has been the impact in your professional career?

    Training is important to me and for the last 10 years, being an MCT has been a major part of my career. I work with other MCTs and the networking community has really improved my ability to drive my career forward. I love the thrill of teaching classes and want to make sure that I am keeping in touch with others who feel the same way.

    What advice would you give someone becoming an MCT?

    Don’t become an MCT for fast money or fame. Always take an opportunity to network (events, TLG programs, Summits, etc.) Never stop learning! All good pieces of advice that are hard for new MCTs to understand, but they are basic principles of being an MCT.

    Follow Brian Bork on Twitter 



  • You may have heard the acronym or read it on a colleague's LinkedIn page - so what does MCT mean?  Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs) are the premier technical and instructional experts and the only trainers authorized to deliver Microsoft Official Courseware. Each year the community of MCTs deliver more than five million hours of training to Microsoft customers—critical to the adoption of Microsoft Technology.

    Who can become an MCT?  

    Anyone interested in becoming a Microsoft Certified Trainer must be able to demonstrate and document their expertise and ability to successfully instruct others in one or more of Microsoft's technologies. The ever evolving landscape of Cloud technology, IT solutions and Developer tools results in companies striving to hire well-trained, certified professionals to meet their needs.   This is where MCTs become so important.  If you are looking to increase your skill set or knowledge base - where do you go to get robust instruction on the latest technology trends?  You need well-trained instructors who can present courses on Microsoft products and technologies, you need MCTs. 

    Becoming an MCT means you are a credentialed instructor that has met the highest standards of the Microsoft Corporation and will allow you to teach at Microsoft Authorized Academic Training Program Institutions and at Microsoft Certified Technical Education Centers.

    So what are the full requirements to become an MCT? 

    MCT program entry requirements

    • Possess a current Microsoft Certification or qualification eligible for the MCT program.
    • Demonstrate instructional skills - go here for further details 
    • Provide reference supporting at least one year of instructional experience

    We're here to help you on your path to becoming a certified trainer.  Potential MCTs must first provide proof of their instructor credentials, submit the proper information and submit their application. After review and upon acceptance of your application, MCTs receive welcome kits and access to the MCT members' website.

    Certifications must be renewed each year. At least one course must be taught during the first year of certification. MCTs must allow students to evaluate their course, and they must maintain a high rate of customer satisfaction.  

    Visit the MCT page to learn more, ask questions and submit your application 

    Here's what MCTs have to say about the impact of joining the program

    Armando Lacerda, MCT

    Interacting with people who love technology and are eager to learn new stuff is what I enjoy. As an independent consultant I face many challenges and many specific scenarios, one at a time, but in the classroom we have this storm of scenarios and ideas flowing in every session. It is very exciting and beneficial.

    Rachel Jones, MCT

    Being an MCT provides the ability to stay current with state-of-the art technologies by providing resources and access to a community of like-minded individuals.

    Beth Canterbury, MCT

    As with any professional certification, it represents and endorses my knowledge and expertise, as well as my affiliation with Microsoft—of which I am very proud!


  • 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.


    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!