MCSA Certifications – April

 Just when I thought I had all the certifications figured out, Microsoft announced yesterday the addition of the MCSE: Business Applications (focusing on Dynamics 365) which includes two new supporting MCSA paths – MCSA: Dynamics 365 and MCSA: Dynamics 365 for Operations. Additionally, they’ve added the new MCSA: Data Science, which puts you on a path to earn an MCSE: Data Management & Analytics certification. Check out this new pdf that clearly outlines the requirements for each certification and the electives that can be taken to renew each MCSE annually. Bonus information on the pdf download is some other unannounced MCSA certifications including Cloud Database Development, Big Data Engineering, and BI reporting.

Columbus SQL User Group

On my way to the Columbus, Ohio SQL Server User Group to talk about “How to get Microsoft Certified”. Microsoft has recently streamlined the certification process and this session focuses on what you need to know to get Microsoft Certified on SQL Server. The presentation walks you through the certifications, exams, and resources available to get you ready for success. You can download the presentation here.

MCSA: Windows 2016

 Passed two exams this week during the MCT Summit. I started with the 70-740: Installation, Storage, & Compute with Windows Server 2016. This was the one I studied for on the train, because I thought I was a little rusty on Virtual Machines and Clustering. But it was the simple stuff like REFS and Data Duplication that was tripping me up during the exam. Today, I took the third and final exam needed for the MCSA: Windows Server 2016 certification. Which of course is the 70-741: Networking with Windows Server 2016 exam. Again, I breezed through the difficult parts of the exam only to be hung up on a silly subnetting question. It was like I forgot how to do math. But a few extra minutes double checking my work and I knew I had it right. So that is 9 exams and 9 certifications in the last 6 months. I think I’m going to take the rest of the year off from Microsoft exams.

MCSE: Productivity 2017

Passed the Exchange 2016 exam today with a very high score.What is humorous is that I thought it was tomorrow and had not really studied that much. I would say I took it cold, but I did just teach the Exchange 2013 class two weeks ago. One thing I was surprised about was that I thought I would only earn the Specialist certification for passing the 70-345 exam. However, since I already have the qualifying MCSA certifications, this exam re-earned my MCSE: Productivity for 2017. Not sure what I am going to do for next year. I might have to learn Sharepoint.

Passed 742 exam

So the first exam of the year is 70-742 – Identity with Windows Server 2016. A very good exam on Active Directory and Group Policy. I am taking the Window Server 2016 MCSA exams out of order, only because that seems easier for me. I am actually going to take an Exchange 2016 exam next and then come back to the other two Windows Server exams. I am so glad I have finally found some time to get to these exams. From what I can tell so far, they are not as difficult as the Server 2012 exams and are a fair test of knowledge.

Data Science Certificate

One of the interesting things about participating in a beta program is that not all the bugs are figured out. For those who participated in the three month accelerated data science program that finished on August 26, 2016, we finally received our certificates today. I have no idea what the significance of the November date on the certificate means, but I am just happy to be a Charter Member of the Microsoft Professional Program. Believe me, it was not easy. If you would like to participate in the program, you can sign up here.

Cloud Tech Summit – Chicago

I am very excited to be helping others learn new technologies and asisst them in earning new certifications. On January 19, 2017, I will be delivering two exam prep session at the Microsoft Tech Summit in Chicago. The first is for the 70-473: Cloud Data Platform exam and the second session is for the 70-475: Big Data and Analytics Solutions. Click on the appropriate link if you would like to download the powerpoint presentations.

During the session I focus on Microsoft websites, however, if you have a Pluralsight account I would recommend the following video sessions to study for the exams. For the 70-473 exam: SQL Azure by Scott Seely, SQL Server 2016 New Features by Leonard Lobel, Implement Storage for Azure by Tim Warner, and Practical SQL Server HA/DR by Russ Thomas. For the 70-475 exam: Start with the 70-473 videos and then add Applying the Lambda Architecture by Ahmad Alkilani, HDInsight Deep Dive with Elton Stoneman, and Real World Big Data in Azure by Elton Stoneman.

MCSA: SQL 2016 Development

 Last September I took the BETA exams for 70-761: Querying Data with Transact-SQL and 70-762: Developing SQL Databases. Well it looks like I passed them, because today I received an email saying I have earned my MCSA: SQL Server 2016 Database Development. I always like when I pick up a new certification, but it’s really cool to wake up and earn one you were not expecting. I am just now sure to count it towards my 2016 goals or 2017.

Exam Passed – 473

 Well, that was not as difficult as I thought it would be. I was able to pass the 70-473 exam for the Cloud Data Platform Specialist certification.  The first place to start if you are interested in passing this exam is Microsoft Virtual Academy. It has a great overview of the exam topics with some demonstrations. Next, spend some time with the Azure Documentation to walk through some very excellent tutorials.

SQL Saturday Atlanta #578

Attached is my presentation on SQL Server Certification that will be presented at SQL Saturday Atlanta: BI Edition this weekend. I have also provided useful links in getting certified on SQL Server.

Azure Exam Discounts

I am starting to work on the 70-473 exam and normally the exam would cost $165. With my MCT discount it would only be $82.50. However, right now Microsoft has a deeply discounted offer for select Azure exams. With this discount I was able to get not only the exam voucher for the 70-473 exam, but also the Measure Up Practice exam, and a free re-take for only $99. There is an even deeper discount if you are going to take 3 exams. Found out more here.

MCSA: Office 365

mcsa265 Really, can’t believe it has been close to 18 months since my last Microsoft Certification. (Not counting the new Streamlined Certifications that came out on September 26, 2016. Those were just updates to existing MCSEs.) But, I finally passed the two Office 365 exams (70-346 and 70-347) for the corresponding MCSA. I spent about two month total of study time. I started with the Microsoft Press book mainly because I picked up a free copy while attending Microsoft Ignite. However, If you join Microsoft Virtual Academy you can get a discount on Microsoft Press books and also watch all the great Office 365 videos while you’re there. Finally, I do have to give a Thank You to Pluralsight and Jeff Adkin for the great videos that really gave me a great foundation for the exams.

MCT RL Summit 2016

mctrlSwitching gears, hotels, and summits. It looks like about 45 of the 100 MCT Regional Leads showed up to the summit this year. Always a great time to see my friends from around the world. I can’t believe they seriously make fun of my Indiana accent. So far we have discussed the new streamlined certifications which I have blogged about previously. We have also talked about the 27 new courses coming out for Windows Server 2016,  SQL Server 2016 and Exchange Server 2016. I am going to be very busy reading all those books and gearing up to deliver those classes. But I look forward to an exciting and challenging 2017 teaching my favorite topics.

Microsoft Exam Prep

cxpobj-xuaaswkb Are you interested in becoming a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP)? Getting ready for a Microsoft Certification exam? Then you already know that having the requisite content knowledge is only part of the complete picture. You also need practical, hands-on technology skills and strong test-taking strategies. In this on-demand Microsoft Certification exam prep session, IT Pro and Microsoft Certified Trainer Timothy Warner and Microsoft Learning Senior Content Developer Christopher Chapman help you quickly ramp up on what you need to know to conquer Microsoft Certifications. Find out what they are, who they’re for, and how to become a better test-taker. Take a look at different kinds of questions and how to be prepared for them. Plus, get details on special deals, pricing, and registration, along with next steps in your Microsoft Certification journey.

Microsoft Exam Replay

466b4417-8857-4304-929b-f9cf9ec63d1a-large  To help you reach your certification goals, Microsoft Learning is introducing Exam Replay with two purchase options: Exam Replay – An Exam Replay is one exam plus a retake of the same exam. Buy these at the same time to give yourself an extra chance at success. Exam Replay + Practice Test – Pull out all the stops and give yourself every advantage. Buy an exam, a retake, plus a practice test together! The practice test is accessible online and valid for 30 days from activation, so you’ll have plenty of time to prepare. To take advantage of these Exam Replay options, visit the special offers page today.