• I am excited to announce the arrival of the new SharePoint 2010 exam, joining our Microsoft Office Specialist 2010 line up. If you're like me, SharePoint has become a key, integrated platform to connect with coworkers on key projects, as well as store and share valuable information. And I love how well SharePoint 2010 seamlessly connects with Office 2010, including the same ribbon interface. Brilliant!

    Interested in taking the exam? Check out the exam objectives here. Need training first? Check out the Learning Plan, which links to a number of helpful articles. Microsoft Learning also has an e-learning collection that might be useful as well as a number of instructor-led courses. Ready to take the exam? Click here to find a test center via our MOS exam provider, Certiport.

    Questions? Please let me know. Happy testing!

  • Next week I join 150 fellow trainers at the MCT Summit 2011 in Sweden and then I head directly to the Caribbean, but not for a holiday...

    I play down the description "Caribbean", especially since the destination is Haiti.  We all should remember those terrible news reports following the earthquake disaster, a little over 18 months ago which literally knocked this already impoverished country onto its knees.  The earthquake took the lives of over 200,000 people leaving huge skills shortages and destruction.

    Microsoft and the international charity NetHope were quick to offer help to the Haitians and successfully organised a Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician (MCDST) boot camp last year.  Following the BTL post in March 2011, from Lutz Ziob, General Manager of MSL, discussing the graduation of 39 Haitian students from the NetHope Academy ICT Internship Program hosted by Ecole Supérieure d’Infotronique d’Haiti (ESIH), (see post), I suggested that it would be an idea to take some of these graduates and encourage them to become MCTs who could then help train other Haitians.  Little did I know that 3 months later this "idea" would come to fruition!

    Over the last month, we have agreed the date (4-8 July), a location (ESIH), recruited the participants and drawn up a program which will comprise of a mixture of the following areas:   

    •       MCT Program 101
    •       Trainer Preparation (based on the Windows 7 Configuration course)
    •       Classroom setup, management and delivery skills
    •       Windows 7 module teach backs
    •       Examinations (both Microsoft Technology Associate and the MCTS 70-680 will be offered)

    We selected from the many applicants, 13 learners - the majority of these have some, albeit limited training experience but what impressed us the most from the 13 was their passion and enthusiasm to join the MCT program and contribute to building a local community of IT Professionals and Developers within the country.  The aim of this initiative is that NetHope and Microsoft help provide the foundation for future ICT skills learning on the island.  Many of the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) helping in Haiti are in desperate need of skilled interns to work with them to rebuild the infrastructure which was severely damaged during the earthquake.  Whilst the boot camp is taking place, Ken Rosen, from Microsoft Learning, will provide guidance and support to Haitian Universities and Colleges to offer them the opportunity to become members of the Microsoft IT Academy Program which will help to strengthen the pipeline of qualified trainees and bolster the shortfall of skills.


    So, armed with a suitcase full of courseware books, MCT T-shirts and USB sticks and no sunscreen, I fly into Port-au-Prince on Sunday, start class at 8am Monday morning.  If all goes to plan I will finish training at 6pm on the Friday having helped the class graduate as trainers, ready to face the exciting world of being an Microsoft Certified Trainer! Geeked

  • A number of Web seminars are being developed for the coming release of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. These Web seminars are 60-90 minutes long and will help get your readiness on for this important release. Here are links to the Microsoft Partner Learning Center:

    Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Development

    • Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Development New Features -Part 1 
      In this on demand course, you will learn about the two Development Environments: Developer Workspace, and MorphX and Visual Studio. You will also learn about Table Relationships and Table Inheritance. Topics include: Changes to the AOT, Debugging, and Abstract Tables.
    • Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Development New Features -Part 2
      In this on demand course, you will learn about Valid Time State Tables, Unit of Work, Security and Attributes. Topics include: Manipulating data with X++, using the Query Class, Permissions, Privileges, and Policies.
    • Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Development New Features - Part 3
      In this on demand course, you will learn about: Eventing, Interop and Proxies, and X++ Compiled to .NET CIL. Topics include: Event handler nodes in the AOT, adding event handlers programmatically, and working with proxies.
    • Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Development New Features -Part 4
    • In this on demand course, you will learn about Client Changes. Topics include: Form types, list pages, table of contents, details form, simple list and detail page elements, dialogs, fact boxes, action panes and action pane strips, fast tabs, segmented entry control, .Net hosted controls, MSChart, Enhanced Preview, Export to Excel, and datasource changes.
    • Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Development New Features -Part 5
      In this on demand course, you will learn about Hosting .Net Controls, Services, Dimension Framework and Version Control. Topics include: Ports, the AIF Adapter Types, Custom Services, consuming Services using the BizTalk 2009/2010 WCF-NetTcp Adapter, Transformations, and Office Add-in.

    Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Supply Chain Management

    Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Global Address Book

    Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Financials Management

     Coming soon -- Tech Domain

  • Back in May, we ran our first quarterly Born to Learn poll and I promised to share the results and here they are!

    First, we asked how you’d characterize yourself:


     We also asked what roles you have:


    And where you’re located:

    But most interestingly, we asked what super power you would like to have.



    Out of the ones listed, the preference seems to be flying or teleportation, but I love ones other people entered for other:

    1. Know everything
    2. Ability to type up an email and have the reader take it exactly as I meant it.
    3. Understand all programming codes
    4. The Ability To Remember Everything In Order Of How It Happened and Retain my knowledge forever!!!!
    5. Sniff out bugs in code without missing one, without adding them and in record time
    6. A fix everything finger

    I love to have a fix everything finger too. Finally we asked for comments or jokes. I won’t post the comments (but we’re taking them seriously internally), but I wanted to post a couple of the jokes (at least the safe for work ones – but the other ones are very funny, just not appropriate):

    1. To learn to fly: throw yourself at the floor and miss. In order to miss: get distracted halfway. Getting distracted will almost guaranteed make you miss your goal. - after the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
    2. How do you spot an extrovert developer? He stares at *your* shoes when he talks to you!

    You're a funny group. Thanks you guys! :)

  • |

    The updated Virtual Business Card site has now launched.  A few of the changes you can expect to see are updated colors, features, and functions.   In preparation of Wallet Cards launching in July, you now have the ability to create and select the virtual business card that you would like to connect to the Microsoft Tag that will be located on your wallet card.  Not interested in purchasing a wallet card? You will still have the opportunity to create a VBC that mirrors the wallet card look and feel as well as use the VCF download feature, etc.  As always, we would love your feedback and thoughts.

  • Query suggestions come in two varieties: pre-query and post-query. A pre-query suggestion is a type-ahead feature that appears under the search box on the search page.  A post-query suggestion is similar, only it appears after you have executed a query.  Clicking on a post-query suggestion will execute that query for you.

    Query suggestions are based on previous queries so when you start you will not see any suggestions.  Using Windows PowerShell you can seed the suggestions manually to get things going.  Adding query suggestions manually is useful for getting started or determining how the feature works.

    To add a query suggestion manually, follow the steps outlined here:

    1. Store the FASTQuery SSA object by entering in the following command:
      $searchapp = get-SPEnterpriseSearchServiceApplication –Identity “FASTQuery”
      where Identity is the name of the FAST Query SSA, for example FASTQuery.
    2. Add your query suggestion using SPEnterpriseSearchLanguageResourcePhrase, using for example:
      New-SPEnterpriseSearchLanguageResourcePhrase –SearchApplication $searchapp –Language EN-US –Type QuerySuggestionAlwaysSuggest –Name “SharePoint”
    3. Run the timer to immediately activate your query suggestion using the following two commands:
      $timer=Get-SPTimerJob|? {$_.Name -eq "Prepare Query Suggestions"}
    4. Now go to your FAST Search page and perform a search using the phrase you suggested. The name SharePoint will be listed as a suggestion.

    If you would like to learn more about this and other troubleshooting tips, register for the Enterprise Search for IT Professionals instructor-led course through FAST University. For more information on this and other classes, contact a FAST University Education Consultant by emailing fastuniv@microsoft.com or visit the FAST University Learning Portal at www.fastuniversity.com.

    By David Codrington

  • |

    First and foremost a reminder that exams 271 and 272 will be retiring at the end of the month and these exams award the Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician (MCDST) certification.  If you are in progress to achieve this certification, you must take and pass both exams before June 30, 2011.

    The following is a list of exams that will be retired over the next year:

    Date of Change

    Exam Number

    Exam Name

    Type of Change

    Early June 2011

    Exam MB6-827

    AX 2009 Payroll

    Being Retired

    End of Sept. 2011

    Exam 70-403

    TS: System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008, Configuring

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-555

    TS: Microsoft Office Groove 2007, Configuring

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-556

    TS: Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007, Applications

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-557

    TS: Microsoft Forefront Client and Server, Configuring

    Superseded by exam 162

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-654

    TS: Windows Essential Business Server 2008, Configuring

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-655

    TS: Windows Vista and Server operating systems, Pre-Installing for OEMs

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 74-675

    Microsoft Response Point, Configuring

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-235

    TS: Developing Business Process and Integration Solutions by Using Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-241

    TS: Developing Business Process and Integration Solutions by Using Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 R2

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-271

    Supporting Users and Troubleshooting a Microsoft Windows XP Operating System

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-272

    Supporting Users and Troubleshooting Desktop Applications on a Microsoft Windows XP Operating System

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-431

    TS: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 ‒ Implementation and Maintenance

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-441

    PRO: Designing Database Solutions by Using Microsoft SQL Server 2005

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-442

    PRO: Designing and Optimizing Data Access by Using Microsoft SQL Server 2005

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-443

    PRO: Designing a Database Server Infrastructure by Using Microsoft SQL Server 2005

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-444

    PRO: Optimizing and Maintaining a Database Administration Solution by Using Microsoft SQL Server 2005

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-445

    TS: Microsoft SQL Server 2005, Business Intelligence ‒ Development and Maintenance

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-446

    PRO: Designing a Business Intelligence Solution by Using Microsoft SQL Server 2005

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-447

    UPGRADE: MCDBA Skills to MCITP Database Administrator by Using Microsoft SQL Server 2005

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-526

    TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 – Windows-Based Client Development

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-528

    TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 – Web-Based Client Development

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-529

    TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 – Distributed Application Development

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-541

    TS: Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 – Application Development

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-547

    PRO: Designing and Developing Web-Based Applications by Using the Microsoft .NET Framework

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-548

    PRO: Designing and Developing Windows-Based Applications by Using the Microsoft .NET Framework

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-549

    PRO: Designing and Developing Enterprise Applications by Using the Microsoft .NET Framework

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-551

    UPGRADE: MCAD Skills to MCPD Web Developer by Using the Microsoft .NET Framework

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-552

    UPGRADE: MCAD Skills to MCPD Windows Developer by Using the Microsoft .NET Framework

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-553

    UPGRADE: MCSD Microsoft .NET Skills to MCPD Enterprise Application Developer by Using the Microsoft .NET Framework: Part 1

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-554

    UPGRADE: MCSD Microsoft .NET Skills to MCPD Enterprise Application Developer by Using the Microsoft .NET Framework: Part 2

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-558

    UPGRADE: MCAD Skills to MCTS Windows Applications by Using the Microsoft .NET Framework

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-559

    UPGRADE: MCAD Skills to MCTS Web Applications by Using the Microsoft .NET Framework

    Being Retired

    End of June 2011

    Exam 70-626

    Consumer Sales Specialist

    Being Retired




    End of Sept. 2011

    Exam 70-282

    Designing, Deploying, and Managing a Network Solution for a Small and Medium-Sized Business

    Being Retired

    End of Dec. 2011

    End of Sept. 2011

    Exam 70-652

    TS: Windows Server Virtualization, Configuring

    Superseded by exam 659




    End of Oct. 2011

    Exam 74-924

    Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 – U.C. Voice Specialization

    Being Retired




    End of Dec. 2011

    Exam 74-544 and Exam 70-544

    TS: Bing Maps Platform, Application Development

    Being Retired




    May 2012

    Exam 74-404

    Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 – U.C. Voice Specialization

    Being Retired




    June 2012

    Exam 70-579

    TS: Windows Mobile 6.5, Configuring

    Being Retired

    June 2012

    Exam 70-580

    TS: Windows Mobile 6.5, Application Development

      Being Retired

    Additionally, you will begin to notice that certifications will begin to retire as well.  What this means is that you will not be able to earn the certification.  If you have already earned the certification, it will remain in the appropriate section on your transcript.

    Certification Name Retirement Date
    Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer on Windows 2000 Server December 31, 2011
    Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator on Windows 2000 Server December 31, 2011





    Be sure to take your exams before the retirement dates!

    Happy Testing!

  • Are you still pursuing a SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005, or BizTalk Server 2006 certification? What about your MCDST? Well, time's a wastin'. The exams that are required to earn these certifications retire on June 30th.* After June 30th, 27 different exams will no longer be available to take at Prometric. (Tick tock!)

    Haven't scheduled your test yet? Run, don't walk, to Prometric.com and schedule it right now. Sometimes the seats fill up close to the date when we are retiring a bunch of exams.

    For a full list of the exams that will be retiring on June 30th, check out our Discontinued Exams page.

    *With the exception of 70-536, which will still be available to support requirements for the Visual Studio 2008 certifications.

  • |

    Are IT Pros and Developers truly like oil and water? Not according to Scott Hanselman, Principal Program Manager and Matt Hester, Senior IT Evangelist, both from Microsoft. In this Bytes by TechNet interview, they discuss how the line between IT and development can get blurred. Both Matt and Scott share examples of how fellow IT Pros incorporate development into their scope and vice versa. If you've ever debated the relationship between IT Professionals and Developers, this is a great eye-opening interview to catch.

  • Every month, on the Third Thursday of that month, MCTs from all over the world tune in to hear about the latest in Microsoft technology, Training and Certification. For some it will be the middle of the night, others tune in during breaks and many view the recordings later on. It's a great way to share our passion and our knowledge.

    So MCTs, please join us this Thursday, we have a great series of presentations lined up for you! I look forward to seeing you - virtually - on Thursday :-)

    • Susan Ibach will speak about the goals and features of HTML5. Whether you are teaching Windows, Web or Mobile, don't miss "HTML5 What You Need to Know" in order to show your students how to use HTML5 today!
    • Have you ever wanted to know how to use virtualization and high availability technologies together? Join Syman Perriman when he talks about "Hyper-V with Failover Clustering - Planning your Highly-Available Virtualization Environment".
    • Tony Frink will present and demonstrate a proposal for including rich interactive content in MOC Courseware. If you want to have a chance to shape what MOC will look like in the future, you simply cannot afford to miss "Innovation and Interactivity in MOC Courseware".
  • On Monday 13th June 2011, the University of York, UK, hosted a round table event with 17 MCTs who specialise in training Microsoft Office technologies. 


    The trainers, many of whom had travelled from all over the UK, joined Andrew Bettany, member of the Microsoft Learning Advisory Council, and 2 special guests - Wendy Johnson, Senior Product Manager, Office Certification at Microsoft Learning (Redmond, WA) and Lee Stott, Academic Evangelist based at Microsoft UK.


    The discussion was organised to follow an IT Industry event at the University’s new Ron Cooke Hub building. During the afternoon which showcased what is new and "cool" in the Office/SharePoint arena - each presenter had just 30 minutes each to impress the audience of nearly 100 attendees. 


    Following the public event, 17 MCTs held an informal roundtable discussion with Wendy which provoked lively discussion and provided a range of suggestions and feedback regarding Microsoft Office Specialist certification, training and the value of being an "IW" (information worker) MCT. 


    Andrew Bettany, who organised the event, said "It has been a fantastic day.  Particularly great to see so many MCTs attend the event, readily engaging with each other, sharing ideas, best practice and exploring ways to develop and improve the program and community.  There was a real eagerness to repeat this type of event again."


    The discussions were extremely interesting.  It was clear that the academic sector has seen large growth, year on year, for "MOS" (Microsoft Office Specialist) certification, whilst the corporate adoption of MOS is less buoyant.  Over 75% of the trainers were freelancers who worked as end-user training experts on Office products for a wide range of small, medium and multinational corporate customers.  Collectively the group estimated that the audience had taught 250,000+ learners during their careers and yet it was estimated that less than 1% of learners followed the training to the goal of certification.  There were some fascinating insights from MCTs on how they value the status of being an MCT whilst at the same time most preferred to describe themselves as "Certified Office Experts" when they pitched for assignments.


    It was clear from the evening that improving communication is key as many of the audience were unaware of resources, blogs, wikis and even the recently announced  "free MOS voucher" for all IW MCTs for FY12.  Wendy certainly filled several pages of feedback to take back to the various teams back in Redmond, and Lee was busy messaging Greg Pearson the UK Lead for Microsoft Learning throughout the event!



  • Ever wonder how you can get more information about documents being processed in FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint?

    Here is one quick and easy way:

    1. At a Command Prompt, enable document tracing using the psctrl tool. If you would like more information about the tool use the -help option.

    psctrl doctrace on

    2. Conduct a test crawl of your content. Document tracing greatly affects processing performance, so use a small representative test set.

    3. After the crawl has completed, click Crawl Logs, and then click the number of successes.


    4. Each item will have an Item ID, URL, Content Source, and Last Time Crawled. Make a note of the Item ID you are most interested in. It may take a couple of minutes for the information to display.


    5. Use the doclog tool to get a listing of what items were processed by using the -l parameter. Notice the returned Item IDs match the Crawl Log. Again, if you would like more information about this tool use the -help option.

    doclog –l

    ProcessorServer demo2010a.contoso.com:13396
    Number of logs: 3

    6. Use the doclog tool to view a specific Item ID. The output can be very lengthy so you might want to redirect to a temporary file.

    doclog ssic://95 > temp.txt

    7. Examine the output file and you will find all the crawled properties and their values.

    INFO   Running customer-supplied command in a child process:
    Sentiment.exe %(input)s %(output)s

    INFO   Set "sentiment": '<Missing>' ---> 'Positive'

    8. When you are done troubleshooting use psctrl to turn document tracing off.

    psctrl doctrace off

    If you would like to learn more about this and other troubleshooting tips, register for the Enterprise Search for Application Developers instructor-led class through FAST University. For more information on this and other classes, contact a FAST University Education Consultant by emailing fastuniv@microsoft.com or visit the FAST University Learning Portal at www.fastuniversity.com.

    By Cindy Staley

  • Thanks for all of your support the last 6 months! Stay tuned for plans for Career Factor FY12.

    Season Finale Video released

    Watch the last video of Career Factor as it wrap-ups at TechEd North America. An amazing ending to 5 months of hard work with some very deserving people. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vNDnijCOCo

    Career Factor: The last week – farewell messages from the cast

    Read on for the last installment of Career Factor updates. These are the last messages from the cast as the show closes. Visit the website for full stories from each of the participants. Thank you all for following and we wish you the best for your personal careers.

    Steve – The Job Seeker, Australia
    Goal: Update skills and certifications to find a new job
    This week: Steve’s final Career Factor blog post, a video he shot at Tech·Ed, features his castmates as they answer five questions about their experience with the show.
    Eddie - The Do-It Yourself IT Pro, California
    Transition back into the IT industry, obtain TS and PRO level certifications
    This week: Eddie’s last post is a short reflection on his “wonderful ride”
    Simon – The IT Manager, UK
    Get his team (including himself) certified to maintain Microsoft Partner status
    This week: Simon’s last post with a sentimental goodbye to everyone involved.
    Rabeb – The Windows Phone 7 Developer, Tunisia
    Develop and release a WP7 app to the Marketplace
    This week: Rabeb’s last post thanks all those who have touched her heart the last 6 months
    Kevin – The Student, Texas
    Find a post-college job as an IT Professional
    This week: Kevin’s last post reflects on the past semester and his future after graduating from Dallas Baptist University.
    Bojan – The Microsoft Certified Master, UK
    Take the MCM course and pass the Exchange 2010 MCM exam
    This week: Bojan’s last posts complete his 3 post series on the Benefits of being an MCM. See part 2 (the community) and part 3 (the payoff), along with part 1 from earlier last month.
    Neil – The Windows Azure Developer, Canada
    Learn how to develop an application on Windows Azure and SQL Azure
    This week: Neil finishes the show by presenting at GITCA’s 24 hours in the cloud. You can see his presentation here.
    Caroline – The Office Competition Contender, Canada
    Compete at the 2011 Certiport Worldwide Competition on Office
    This week: Caroline ends with a retrospective look via a video montage.
  • This is the sixth in a series of blog posts authored by members of the IT Manager Advisory Council. We've asked them to share their insights and opinions on topics they are passionate about related to hiring & managing employees, and maintaining skills on their teams.  If you agree or disagree and have a different perspective - chime in and contribute your views.

    Finding the right new hire can be daunting and it certainly is a time consuming proposition. Good preparation can sure make the hiring process easier and in the long run take less time, as well as give you a better chance of finding the best person for the job.


    I’m Suzanne George and I have recently started working as a Senior Technical Architect for Perficient. So, as you can imagine, hiring and interviewing are very much top of mind.


    What Are You Looking For?

    It sounds simplistic, but you really have to carefully define the job you’re offering. Are you looking for a drone coder or someone who can architect code? When I hire a coder, I’m probably looking for someone who is self-sufficient and can write good code. If I have to redo it, that person doesn’t do me any good.


    One time I was applying for a job and they described the job –it was A, B, C—and it sounded interesting. I signed on, but when I got there, it was a drone job. My boss was in another city and I was stuck in a subdivision.  Frankly, I’m an over achiever, so this was not a good fit.  So, you want to make sure you don’t hire someone overqualified for a role. They’ll end up feeling frustrated when they can’t do what they know they can do, and they feel they are being held back. (Needless to say, I didn’t stay very long.)


    Many Are Called, But Few Are Chosen.

    Typically, I screen about 50 applicants and then bring in the top five that I think may be the right fit for the position. Some of the questions I typically ask during phone screening are “What are your career goals,” “What is your preferred working environment,” and ‘’What kind of position are you looking for?”  Of course I ask what certifications they have earned, as this indicates self-motivation, but I don’t rely on it alone. There must be ample proof in their resume of using what they’ve learned.


    Interviewing—More Art Than Science

    There is an art to interviewing. It’s not just the questions you ask, but often it’s how you get around to asking those questions. Of course, there are questions you cannot ask in the U.S.—and you’ll have your HR department in hysterics if you ask a candidate if they’re married, if they have children, if they intend  to have children… things like that of a personal nature. Undoubtedly, your company has a list of no-no questions.  Typically, we ask five specific questions that pertain to the job for which they’re applying. Here are three examples:


    ·         Have you gone to our website? What did you like?” What I’m really asking is, “Did you bother to research my company?” If the answer is, “It looks nice,” then I know they didn’t use our registration process. Probing further, I ask “What would you improve?” If they didn’t mention our login process (that I know needs improvement!), that tells me a lot about this candidate’s interest and initiative. (Someone applying for an accounting job would look at a company’s earnings report, right?)


    ·         “What do you feel you’re really good at?” Once I was interviewing a candidate who I knew was smart, but she had difficulty communicating. So, I followed up with “Let’s talk about SharePoint web parts,” something I knew she was comfortable with, and we got down to specifics. She may have been challenged communicating in words, but she sure could draw diagrams on the white board! Finding another way for someone to express themselves can produce real results.


    ·         “How would you …? I’ll give a software engineer candidate some spaghetti code—something like: main, call Function A, call Function B, call Function C—and ask them to make the code more efficient. If Function A is a one-liner, and they have to keep calling Function A, then maybe I might end up having to rework their code!


    Most hiring processes include several people on the “loop.”  During the post-interview debriefing amongst the interviewers, you can get the perspective of marketing, engineers, mangers, and even customers.  Each has a different focus. Everyone asks a “personality” questions, but in a different way. So the engineer might ask, “How would you communicate this particular task to marketing?” 


    No doubt you’ve learned plenty tricks of the trade in hiring, and so chime in on what has worked well for you.  I sure appreciated the folks who took the time to comment on my last blog entry, and hope to hear from some of you again.

  • The updated Member Site has launched!  Log into www.microsoft.com/certified to check out the new features, functionality, and design.  As always, we would love your feedback and thoughts on the new experience.  Please make sure to leave us your thoughts by clicking on the feedback button at the bottom of any of the pages.  You can look forward to additional updates and changes coming in the near future – so stay tuned! 

    What do you think?

  • Just one week after TechEd 2011, Microsoft Learning hosted another exclusive three-day Jump Start course and we are excited to announce the availability of the HD-quality video recordings -- FREE -- on TechNet Edge, MS Showcase, the Zune Marketplace, and iTunes! Additionally, every module will be made available (with assessment questions) on the Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) later this month!

    "Microsoft Office 365 for IT Professionals" is specially tailored for technologists looking for real-world proof of how cloud-based Office 365 enables organizations to solve more problems from more places. Microsoft Office 365 brings together cloud versions of our most trusted email, communication and collaboration software – Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online – with the Office Professional Plus desktop suite. This fast-paced, demo-rich online course features the best experts teaching the technical aspects of Office 365 for IT Professionals. The live online course was extremely successful, with over 1,600 people joining the three-day event and an overall NSAT of 164!

    Who is the target audience for this training?
    • IT Professionals, IT Decision Makers, Network Administrators
    • Microsoft customers and partners who need to determine how to best leverage the cloud. 

    What’s the high-level overview?
    • The 15-hour course is broken into three five-module sections: (1) Office 365 Platform, (2) Exchange Online and
    (3) Lync & SharePoint Online
    • “Team-teaching” approach led by senior Microsoft technologists with real-world experience
    • Every module is an engaging discussion, packed with best practices and real-world demonstrations
    • 82% said the course improved their perception of Microsoft’s approach to cloud computing
    Where do I go for this great training?
    The HD-quality video recordings of the entire course on TechNet Edge: “Microsoft Office 365 for IT Professionals” Jump Start

    If you’re interested in one specific topic, we’ve included links to each module as well.

    • Office 365 Jump Start (01): Microsoft Office 365 Overview for IT Pros
    • Office 365 Jump Start (02): Deploying Clients for Office 365
    • Office 365 Jump Start (03): Microsoft Office 365 Administration & Automation Using Windows PowerShell™
    • Office 365 Jump Start (04): Microsoft Office 365 Identity and Access Solutions
    • Office 365 Jump Start (05): Microsoft Office 365 Directory Synchronization
    • Office 365 Jump Start (06): Exchange Online Overview for IT Pros
    • Office 365 Jump Start (07): Microsoft Exchange Online Administration
    • Office 365 Jump Start (08): Microsoft Staged Exchange Online Migration
    • Office 365 Jump Start (09): Hybrid Options with Exchange Server & Exchange Online
    • Office 365 Jump Start (10): Exchange Online Archiving & Compliance
    • Office 365 Jump Start (11): Lync Online Overview & Configuration for IT Pros
    • Office 365 Jump Start (12): SharePoint Online Overview
    • Office 365 Jump Start (13): SharePoint Online Administration
    • Office 365 Jump Start (14): SharePoint Online Extensibility & Customization
    • Office 365 Jump Start (15): Office 365 Deployment Overview 
    • Link to course materials on Born to Learn

    Spread the word! This training covers brand new technologies – and it’s FREE – pass it on!

    1) Send a tweet! @MSLearning FREE "Microsoft #Office365 for IT Pros" course videos just released! @Office365 http://bit.ly/Jump-O365
    2) Post a blog.
    Point readers to “Microsoft Office 365 for IT Professionals” Jump Start on TechNet Edge.

    Question? Contact Sharon Harris (sharonl) or Frank Gartland (v-frgart).

  • Recently, Microsoft released a free planning guide for server farms and environments using Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010. The guide is designed for companies in the planning phase of deploying SharePoint Server 2010 and includes information about authentication and business continuity management.

    You may also be interested in a free ebook chapter from “Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Administrator’s Pocket Consultant” by William R. Stanek and Ben Curry. The chapter focuses on configuring core operations, including system settings, database management, and sent to connection. Simply sign up to access the chapter and other free “Spring Cleaning” resources. 

    Depending on the depth of information you’re seeking, numerous free Learning Snacks are available for SharePoint Server. For more specific information, check out online training with many courses priced under $50. 


  • |

    Being plugged in to the latest news, resources, and technology is very important. But an area that many IT managers may not be aware of is how the IT community can be an important benefit to their employees, teams, and companies. IT professional organizations and IT-focused user groups are an often-overlooked source of insight and value that should be sought out at all levels, for all technologists. In this IT manager chat, Kevin talks with Tim Vander Kooi, a long-time IT manager, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP), and chairman of the North America IT professionals user group community, Global IT Community Association (GITCA). Join this chat, and ask your questions of Kevin and Tim as they discuss the value of community involvement for IT professionals.

    Tune in live on June 29th  @ 11:00am (PST) with host Kevin Remde and guest Tim Vander Kooi.  Tim is a well-known speaker, community user group leader and long time IT Pro Manager.   Register now to join us live and hear how community involvement can benefit your employees and your company.




  • dMOC on KindleLast week, we offered up a sneak peek of the latest promotion Microsoft Learning has put together. Today, I'm happy to share a few more details. Here’s how it works:

    • Microsoft Learning Partners in the US can now buy (for their students) a digital Microsoft Official Course (dMOC), plus a voucher to take a Microsoft Certification exam, and receive a Kindle as part of the package
    • The Kindle comes preloaded with two version of the digital MOC courseware, one version in PDF (for use on the Kindle or a computer) and one version of the course optimized for readability on the Kindle itself
    • Students then choose if they’d like to consume their Microsoft Learning digital content on a computer, a Kindle, or both!

    To take advantage of this offer, Learning Partners  need to visit the campaigns section of Campaign Factory, which provides further instructions on the ordering process as well as other terms & conditions. As for Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs) listening in, we hear you! You asked if you could get access to the Kindle optimized courseware too and, for the duration of this promotion, we will make an MCT version of this Kindle-formmatted courseware available to you on the MCT Download Center within the next few weeks.

    This promotion enables Microsoft Learning to pilot a unique way to drive students into Learning Partners’ classrooms. This promotion is designed also to facilitate the adoption of dMOC. Some of Microsoft Learning’s most popular 5-day IT Pro titles will be made available as part of this offer, beginning with the following titles: 

    • 10135 Configuring, Managing and Troubleshooting Microsoft Exchange Server 2010
    • 10174 Configuring and Administering Microsoft SharePoint 2010
    • 6294 Planning and Managing Windows 7 Desktop Deployments and Environments
    • 6416 Updating your Network Infrastructure and Active Directory Technology Skills to Windows Server 2008

    If the initial promotion is successful, then in the July/August timeframe, the following courses will be added to the list:

    • 6231 Maintaining a Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Database
    • 6232 Implementing a Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Database
    • 6419 Configuring, Managing and Maintaining Windows Server 2008 Servers
    • 6421 Configuring and Troubleshooting a Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure
    • 6425 Configuring and Troubleshooting Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Domain Services

    As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave feedback in the comments section below. 

  • Don't forget that the DIY Career Factor contest ends June 15!

    It's easy to enter: Choose your prize (training and certification exams for Windows Server, Windows Phone, or Microsoft Office), tell us why you should win, and encourage your friends and networks to vote for you! Make sure you follow the rules--any entries using artificial means to collect votes will be deleted. Review the rules by clicking on the right-hand tab on the contest homepage if you have any questions.



  • |

    Earlier this year we asked the Career Factor cast to give us feedback on their journey so far and any advice they have for others following their paths. As their stories come to a close, we’re publishing their personal statements to help you get inspired to start your own journey. (Another great place to start is the DIY Career Factor contest, which ends June 15!)

    Today’s advice comes from Eddie and Neil.

    The DIY IT Professional - Eddie

    Eddie Boles's life journey took him from Harlem, New York to college in Berkeley, California and then a career in the Los Angeles entertainment industry. When the economic crisis hit in 2008 and production jobs dried up, Eddie and his family landed in San Diego, California with a desire to turn his interest in computers into a career. Over the course of Career Factor, Eddie got a full-time IT job, obtained his first certification, and just last week added a new life goal to his checklist: Join the Microsoft Certified community and become a trainer to help others like him.

    What was your starting point before Career Factor?
    Prior to Career Factor, I was an unemployed Entertainment Professional in the midst of re-educating myself in the hopes of beginning a career in IT.  With my mathematics background and love of computers, it made sense to pursue something in the tech field.  I was taking classes at New Horizons Computer Learning Centers, San Diego when the folks at Microsoft noticed me…

    What was your goal for Career Factor?
    My goal with Career Factor was to compliment the A+ and Network+ Certifications I was already pursuing with certifications in Windows 7 (MCTS), Server 2008, and the Office 2010 suite.

    How would you do this again, knowing what you know now?
    Regarding use of resources, the only thing I would have done differently was to take more advantage of all that was being offered from Microsoft.  They opened up virtually all of their eLearning materials to us as participants and I did used quite a few, but being so new to the industry, I don’t think I really understood the significance of what it all meant.  Had I the opportunity to do it again, I would have made sure that I maximized all of the resources offered.

    The Windows Azure Developer - Neil

    Neil Simon applied for Career Factor while he planned a move from his native Dublin, Ireland to Terrace, British Columbia, Canada. Despite a big move and adjusting to living in Canada while keeping up with his work back in Ireland, Neil set out to develop an app for Windows Azure and document it for Career Factor. Along the way, Neil connected with the GITCA "24 Hours in the Cloud" conference and presented a session on June 1.

    What was your starting point before Career Factor?
    Experienced developer with no experience with Azure

    What was your goal for Career Factor?
    To become an experienced and competent Azure developer.

    How would you do this again, knowing what you know now?
    Rely on the vast experience on the MSDN forums. Don't be afraid to reach out to MVPs, if it's a simple question, they'll easily point you in the right direction and if it's challenging, they'll learn as much as you. Develop early as Azure has its own areas of difficulty which will not necessarily become apparent until you go to implementation. Azure is not only different from most technologies users are likely to be used to, it has different limitations.

  • |

    Earlier this year we asked the Career Factor cast to give us feedback on their journey so far and any advice they have for others following their paths. As their stories come to a close, we’re publishing their personal statements to help you get inspired to start your own journey. (Another great place to start is the DIY Career Factor contest, which ends June 15!)

    Today’s advice comes from Caroline and Simon.

    The Office Competition Competitor - Caroline 

    Caroline Weilinger recently completed the Administrative Information Management (AIM) program at SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. In addition to her regular classes and a busy schedule of equestrian show jumping with her horse Quincy, Caroline is in training for the Certiport 2011 Worldwide Competition on Microsoft Office. With high scores on several MOS exams, Caroline is poised to make a strong showing as she progresses toward the finals.

    What was your starting point before Career Factor?
    My knowledge base in regards to the Microsoft Office Suite prior to Career Factor was not overly extensive. My experience with MOS was fresh, in that I was only just learning the material though my schooling in the AIM program at SAIT Polytechnic.
    What was your goal for Career Factor?
    Being in Career Factor has been a huge motivator for me. The goals that I had set for myself prior to Career Factor were far different than the goals I have for myself now. Prior to the show, the Microsoft Office Suite was new to me, as I had only just begun my studies in the AIM program in 2009. The courses offered in the AIM program have given me a momentous boost in my knowledge and confidence in the suite. I knew about the MOS certification exams through my instructors, and I knew I wanted to challenge them. What I did not know was that I would later be offered the opportunity to take part in a reality show that would follow my journey through taking these certification exams. Needless to say, what had gone from a hope to pass each exam had now turned into “I must get perfect scores on each of these exams in hopes to later compete in a Microsoft Office World Wide Competition!”
    How would you do this again, knowing what you know now?
    The resources that have become available to me were fantastic. If I were to go through this again I’m not sure that I would change much when it came to the resources I have used to prepare myself. Being a contestant on Career Factor really opened up a lot of doors for me in the sense that I may not have even known about a lot of the resources available to help me get the best education on the office suite as possible. I have also been very fortunate to have the help of all my peers and instructors here at SAIT. Without them I’m not sure that this journey through exams would be going so smoothly.  Some of the resources I have relied on in preparation for the exams are:

    • Measure Up practice exams
    • Ribbon Hero
    • G-Metrix
    • MS Learning Online courses
    • Textbooks provided by CCI Learning Solutions Inc.

    The IT Manager - Simon

    Simon Davis lives in England, works in North Wales, and manages a team of software engineers whose services are in demand around the world. (Ask him about spending time in a Malaysian prison!) As an IT manager, Simon's Career Factor goal was to help his employer maintain Microsoft Gold Certified Partner status by helping himself and his team obtain or update their Microsoft Certifications.

    What was your starting point before Career Factor?
    Prior to Career Factor I was an experienced .NET programmer holding an MCPD in Windows Forms development (.NET2/VS2005) managing a team of 8 developers who, although they had a wide range of experience in Windows development, were not certified.
    What was your goal for Career Factor?
    The goal that I set at the start of Career Factor was to get enough of my team (at least 4) certified on the latest (.NET 4) technologies such that we as a company would be able to retain our Microsoft Partner Network benefits.
    How would you do this again, knowing what you know now?
    MS Press Self-Paced training kits are invaluable
    Practise Tests from both the training kit and companies such as MeasureUp.
    E-learning and certification planner from the MS website
    Some sort of machine that allows me to find another 2 days a week to prepare for exams – Making/Finding the time to study is the hardest thing when juggling with a full time job that does not readily allow on-the-job study.

  • Microsoft Learning | FAST University offers a three-day instructor-led course on Fast Search for Internet Sites (FSIS) for IT Professionals. The course is designed for System Administrators, Search Deployment Specialists, and IT Professionals who need to perform installation, administration, monitoring, backup and recovery, and troubleshooting of FAST Search Server 2010 for Internet Sites. The course is also valuable for managers and supervisors who need to understand how FSIS functions in order to plan the system design, configuration, implementation, and operation.

    Course Objectives
    Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

    • Install FAST Search for Internet Sites
    • Architect a multi-node deployment that implements redundancy and increases processing capacity
    • Manage the content feeding, document processing, and indexing subsystems
    • Feed content using the Enterprise Web Crawler, File Traverser, and JDBC Connector
    • Back up and recover a deployment
    • Monitor a FAST Search for Internet Sites deployment
    • Use logs and other tools to troubleshoot issues

    During the class you will see demonstrations of a variety of realistic scenarios, practice these tasks via hands-on lab exercises, and check your comprehension by answering a series of review questions. Those students who successfully complete this course will be awarded 2.1 Continuing Education Units.

    This class is offered in both classroom and live-virtual classroom formats. If you are interested in learning more or registering please contact fastuniv@microsoft.com.

    By John Cosby

  • Today we announced that Microsoft Press books are now available on our E-Reference Library hosted by Safari Books Online. We've had our E-Reference Library service before, but now with Safari we can offer new subscription options, including one option at just $11.99 a month.

    What's the benefit of an E-Reference Library?

    • Search and access more than 500 reference books from Microsoft Press, and read the full content online.
    • Quickly find specific information within a book.
    • Easily search multiple books to find information on the same topic.
    • Cut and paste code.

     Our library also offers the following new features:

    • 615 Microsoft Press titles
    • Mobile support -- Read mobile-friendly books directly on cell phones and mobile devices with a mobile optimized website
    • Access to Rough Cuts - pre-published manuscripts that authors have released on Safari Books Online before the book is available in print

    Check it out at http://mseref.safaribooksonline.com/ and let us know what you think!

  • |

    Earlier this year we asked the Career Factor cast to give us feedback on their journey so far and any advice they have for others following their paths. As their stories come to a close, we’re publishing their personal statements to help you get inspired to start your own journey. (Another great place to start is the DIY Career Factor contest, which ends June 15!)

    Today’s advice comes from two of our students, Rabeb and Kevin.

    The Windows Phone 7 Developer – Rabeb Othmani

    Rabeb is finishing her college career with an impressive résumé: Microsoft Student Partner, Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist, Imagine Cup 2010 national winner, and now Career Factor star. As a young, experienced developer, Rabeb faces a promising career ahead.

    What was your starting point before Career Factor?
    I’m a computer engineering student and passionate about .NET technologies.
    I will graduate in mid-July and I aim to find a good opportunity as a .NET developer specifically as a UX specialist. 

    What was your goal for Career Factor?
    My learning goals are simple and clear: I want to master UX technologies such as Silverlight, WPF and WP7. At the same time, mastering those technologies means that I need to learn about .NET Framework, WCF … I set some goals for myself during the Career Factor besides working on my app; I decided to pass some certification exams related to my work. I’ll pass the 70-506 exam (Silverlight), the 70-511 exam (.NET framework 4.0) and the big challenge is the beta exam 71-599 (WP7).

    How would you do this again, knowing what you know now?
    Fixing goals is good but working to achieve them is better. In order to do so you need resources to help you with your learning path. Earlier in January, I got the resources I thought I would need: Silverlight, WCF and WP7 EBooks, some resources from the Microsoft Learning website, Prometric materials to study for exams and other resources but did I use them all? NOPE!! It’s normal since I’m working and I’m pretty much busy, it’s hard to find time to study. But it’s frustrating to have all those great resources and not use them. It’s like: “Oh God I wish I could read all this!!” My advice to you, especially if you are familiar with .NET technologies, is to start your project and whenever you need something just “Bing it” or “Google it” Stick out tongue it’s up to you.

    What I love about Microsoft when it comes to the academic and learning part is that you have all you need. People, use MSDN!! You will find everything you need there. Channel 9 is a great resource also. The .NET community is so big and very active: MVP, .NET developers’ blogs, the codeplex projects. That doesn’t mean that books and e-books are useless but I think it’s hard to find time for reading!
    In the end, choose whatever suits you and makes you comfortable Smile

    The Student – Kevin Dicken

    Kevin recently graduated from Dallas Baptist University, and after a mission trip to China this summer he will begin his career as a new IT professional. Kevin is building his résumé with Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certifications, and he hopes soon to obtain his first Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist certification.

    What was your starting point before Career Factor?
    Prior to Career Factor, Kevin had experience with supporting and rebuilding computers for peers. He had acquired technical experience as a computer lab technician, but also started to work with active directory and server technologies.

    What was your goal for Career Factor?
    Kevin set goals to finish his expertise in Windows technologies by passing general Windows exams: both Windows 7: Configuring (680) and Desktop Support Technician (685). After these, his next goal was to become certified for Server 2008: R2 and so on.

    How would you do this again, knowing what you know now?
    Looking back at January, Kevin saw that he took time determining which technology he wanted to pursue as his first certification. If he could do it over again, he would have pressed others he knew in the field and gone on-site with them, looking at server and IT professionals already in the field and seen how certifications help those who use it every day. This could hasten the lag time created when doubt over deciding a path arose. Careful prayer and community was the best help he could get. His professors, advisers, co-workers, and peers at college gave Kevin the advice and feedback he needed to explore his goals and situations with getting certified. Kevin wished he could have avoided looking three certifications ahead and focused more on the first certification at hand.