Category Archives: Certification

Modernize, Rationalize, Simplify: The New MCSE.

Clang!” Bring out your dead!” Clang! “But, I’m not dead yet!” Timeless comedy from Monty Python; it never gets old. Certifications, on the other hand, do have a lifetime – they get old and need to be updated, refreshed.

Microsoft have today released the new, streamlined Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) and Developer (MCSD) specialities. The five new credentials “are aligned to Centers of Excellence, used by the Microsoft Partner Network to identify technical competencies that are widely recognizable by both Microsoft partners and customers.”

certpath

You still need to pass a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) first, then choosing an elective, achieve one of the following:

  • MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure – focusing on skills validation for Windows Server and Microsoft Azure
  • MCSE: Mobility – focusing on skills validation for Windows Client and Enterprise Mobility Suite
  • MCSE: Data Management and Analysis – focusing on skills validation for both on-premises and cloud-based Microsoft data products and services
  • MCSE: Productivity – focusing on skills validation for Office 365, SharePoint, Exchange, and Skype for Business
  • MCSD: App Builder – focusing on skills validation for Web and Mobile app development

What about my old MCSE?? Your current MCP transcripts are being evaluated; those with active MCSE or MCSD certifications from the following list will be converted to the new MCSE or MCSD certifications for 2016 without having to take any additional exams.

  • MCSE: Server Infrastructure
  • MCSE: Private Cloud
  • MCSE: Data Platform
  • MCSE: Business Intelligence
  • MCSE: Enterprise Devices and Apps
  • MCSE: SharePoint
  • MCSE: Communication
  • MCSE: Messaging
  • MCSD: Universal Windows Platform
  • MCSD: Web Applications
  • MCSD: SharePoint Applications

“In addition, all individuals who have passed a qualifying elective exam since January 1, 2016 will be granted the corresponding new MCSE or MCSD certifications for 2016 without the need to take additional exams, if they have met all exam requirements.”

The cadence of change, in operating systems, in applications, has to be reflected in certifications. We need to stay current, to stay relevant. The rationalization of the MCSE/MCSD into these five specialities, and the ongoing renewing of those certifications is a great step in keeping up with those dynamic changes.

There is a lot more information being released, now and over the next few weeks. A good friend of mine, Larry Kaye, has written an in depth blog post covering more details. Go to Microsoft’s “Born To Learn” and read through it carefully.

 

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Building your own Test Lab – revisited!

The most common question I get asked in every course is: “Can we take the virtual machines with us?”. Short answer. No. The virtual environment I build up for each course actually belongs to Microsoft! But, you can build your own Test Lab and setup various scenarios quite easily. First, you need a decent pc. I7 processor, at least 16GB RAM and a quick HDD; big enough to store all your vhds (virtual hard disks). Operating system? If you’re running Windows 8 or higher, you have a built-in feature, Hyper-V, that can easily be turned on. If you would rather run a Server o/s (operating system) then you either have to use one of your company’s licenses, or download a 180 Evaluation version from TechNet.  You’ll need those evaluation versions in any case, because you’re about to build a Base Test Lab. Using the TLG (Test Lab Guide) available from Microsoft, you’ll be able to build, relatively quickly, an entire test environment. The graphic below shows what I mean:

BaseConfig_NewIcons_png-550x0

What’s even more exciting (in a geeky way!) is the new ability to build your test lab in the cloud!!

Azure_BaseConfig_png-550x0

Awesome! Once you have your Base Lab setup, BACKUP! and BACKUP again! You’ve just put a lot of hard work into setting you Lab up, don’t lose it.

Now that you backed up the Lab, you can start playing, building, breaking, and fixing your resources. If you want to extend the Base Test Lab, go back to the wiki and look at the additional Labs that have been written: Exchange, SCCM, ADFS, Direct Access, and a multitude of others! http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/1262.test-lab-guides.aspx

Take checkpoints (or snapshots) of your Lab before installing or testing, that way you can revert to a pristine Lab environment, ready for you to break it all over again. This has to be one of the best ways to learn, and a whole lot of geeky fun as well 🙂

 

get IT right!

Wayne

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Filed under Certification, Server 2012 R2, Windows 8.1

Ponder this … 1520 Lumia or an XBox?

Did you know Microsoft make full feature versions of its software available for you to download and explore? This is especially valuable both in broadening your experience before a course and providing experience with companion products after your course. Right now, if you download a product, Microsoft is giving away a Lumia 1520 and an Xbox to one lucky winner.

http://aka.ms/ddls-xboxcomp

get IT right!

Wayne

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MythBusters! 700 does not equal 70%!

Whaaat? Context please! OK, bit of background needed … Exams (wince) (groan) are something we professionals need to sit on a regular basis. Love them or hate them, the exams – especially when we pass! – are a validation of our knowledge and confirmation that the course and/or study we did shows our competency. For all too long, the 700 pass mark we strive for has been misinterpreted as being 70%, after all, the exams are out of 1000, so 700 = 70%. Strictly speaking, mathematically, it does. But, to Liberty Munson, Psychomagician Extraordinaire at Microsoft Learning (LeX), it means something totally different. Go to the LeX Born To Learn blog and watch the video, the ladies explain it much better than I could!

http://borntolearn.mslearn.net/btl/b/weblog/archive/2014/02/28/psychomagician-and-super-sigma-bust-the-myth-700-does-not-mean-70.aspx

get IT right!

Wayne

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70-410 R2 Changes

Exam 70-410 is the first exam for the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) 2012. The exam objectives are on Microsoft’s website: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012 under the “Skills Measured” area. You must be able to feel comfortable with each of those areas before attempting the exam.

New R2 specific content in Exam 70-410 covers the following areas:

  • Configure servers: Install and configure Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC)
  • Configure local storage:Create storage pools by using disk enclosures
  • Configure file and share access: Create and configure Work Folders
  • Configure servers for remote management: Manage non-domain joined servers
  • Create and configure virtual machine settings: Create and configure Generation 1 and 2 virtual machines; configure and use extended session mode
  • Create and configure virtual machine storage: Manage checkpoints; configure storage quality of service (QOS)
  • Create and configure virtual networks: Configure NIC teaming in virtual machines
  • Install domain controllers: Deploy Active Directory infrastructure as a service (IaaS) in Windows Azure

Good luck, pop back in and tell us how you went!

get IT right

Wayne

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R U RDY 4 R2?

That bit of “text speak” should have translated to “Are You Ready For R2?” in your own mind, hopefully it did! R2 means the second release of Windows Server 2012 and it will a huge impact on those looking at Certification on Microsoft products. If you are currently studying for a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) in Windows Server 2012 then you’ll need to read this post and be prepared to add some additional items to your study list.

Effective January 28th 2014, the following exams contain R2 content:

  • 70-410
  • 70-411
  • 70-412 and
  • 70-417 (Upgrade Exam from MCSA Server 2008)

To make it easier to read and to find the updates, I’ll break the original post into three smaller ones, each targeting a specific exam.

get IT right

Wayne

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Filed under Certification, Server 2012 R2