Microsoft Certification 101


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The MCSE is back! Microsoft has redefined the certification paths and brought back the MCSE for the ITPros and MCSD for developers. In this session I’ll help you understand the new certification paths and help you figure out how you can get certified. We’ll talk about what certification you might want to take, what exams are required, and some tips on how to study and take the exams.

Susan Ibach is a developer evangelist at Microsoft Canada. That means she loves to talk about Windows 8, Windows Phone, HTML5, and the cloud. She has worked as a consultant doing programming, testing, data conversions and roll-outs. She has also worked as a trainer teaching Oracle, SQL Server, .NET, and Business Analysis. When she is not staring at an LCD screen, she is probably doing martial arts with her kids, out running or enjoying her husband’s cooking.

The recording of the webinar is available here:

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Microsoft Certification 101

  1. 1. MicrosoftCertification 101
  2. 2. Who am I• Susan Ibach• Technical Evangelist• Microsoft Canada•• @hockeygeekgirl
  3. 3. Session Objectives And Takeaways• Session Objectives o Identify certification that matches your skills o Identify resources to help you prepare for your first certification exam o Identify strategies to help you take your first certification exam• Takeaways o Action plan to select, prepare for, and take your first step towards becoming Microsoft certified
  4. 4. You want a successful career • Getting certified builds your skills • Getting certified shows your employer (or potential employer) you are taking initative to keep up with technology
  5. 5. You already know a lot!
  6. 6. How do you turn that knowledge into certification
  7. 7. There are 4 steps to certification 4 - Take exam 2 - Find gaps 3 - Fill gaps 1 - Choose certification goal
  8. 8. 1 - Choose certification goal 1 - Choose certification goal
  9. 9. Which best describes you?• I have hands-on experience• I design solutions using the product• I am a Product Guru (I want to be the expert!)
  10. 10. Your answer determines your target certification level • Master: Master series Master • Expert: MCSE, MCSD, MCPD, Expert MCITP • Associate: MCTS, MCSA Associate
  11. 11. Regardless of your final goal, start withassociate exams• Shows you know “how” to work with the product• MCSA o Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows 8, SQL Server 2012 o Require 2-3 exams• MCTS (some of these exams retire in July 2013) o Exchange, Lync, Project Server, SharePoint o Require 1-2 exams
  12. 12. If you are a designer/architect, next, tackle the“Expert”• Experts know why and when to use products• Has one or more pre-requisites from Associate level certifications• MCSE o Desktop, Server, Private Cloud, SQL Server, Messaging, SharePoint, Communication• MCITP (many of these exams retire in July 2013) o Windows 7, Window Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Project Server 2007, Exchange 2007, SharePoint, Lync• MCSD o Windows Store, Web Applications• MCPD (many of these exams retire in July 2013) o Windows Developer, Web Developer, Azure Developer
  13. 13. Finally, if you want to be a guru, set Masters asa long term goal• Masters identify individuals with the deepest technical skills available on a particular Microsoft technology• Expert Series is a pre-requisite• Requires completing a 2-3 week course (or self- study) + a lab exam and computer based tests
  14. 14. Find the Associate Certification that bestmatches your skills• Visit Microsoft Learning site for a list of all the MCSA and MCTS Certifications and the corresponding exams
  15. 15. Which exam should you try first?• Windows Server o 2012: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012 (Exam 70-410) o 2008: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring (Exam 70-640)• Windows Client o Windows 8: Configuring Windows 8 (Exam 70-687) o Windows 7: Windows 7, Configuring (Exam 70-680)• Exchange 2010 o MCTS Exchange Server 2010, Configuring (Exam 70-662)
  16. 16. Which exam should you try first?• SharePoint 2010 o MCTS Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Configuring (Exam 70- 667)• SQL Server o 2012: Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012 (Exam 70-461) o 2008: SQL Server 2008 Installation and Maintenance (Exam 70-432)• Visual Studio 2010 o MCTS .NET Framework 4, Web Applications (Exam 70-515)
  17. 17. Which exam should you try first?• Web developer • Visual Studio 2010 MCTS .NET Framework 4, Web Applications (Exam 70-515)• Windows 8 developer o Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3 (Exam 70-480) o Programming in C# (Exam 70-483)
  18. 18. 2 – Find gaps 2 - Find gaps 1 - Choose certification goal
  19. 19. Check the exam preparation guide to see what is covered• The Skills Measured tab gives a list of the topics on the exam and the % weight on each topic
  20. 20. Take a practice test to find out what you don’t know• Microsoft has two partners that create practice tests you can use to study SelfTest Software and MeasureUp• You have to pay for them, but personally I find it worth a few bucks.• At the end of the practice test, use score sheet to identify areas for further study• For the newest certifications, there may not be practice exams yet, but when you are ready to study, go check to see if they have been released.
  21. 21. 3 – Fill gaps 2 - Find gaps 3 - Fill gaps 1 - Choose certification goal
  22. 22. Identify study materials• The Exam Preparation Guide includes a Preparation Materials Tab which lists recommended materials for study
  23. 23. What types of resources will be listed?• Learning Plans (free) – these are created by Microsoft Learning to point you to articles and materials for a particular technology or exam• E-Learning ($) – these are online courses you can take to learn a particular technology• Books (free/$) – MSPress and other publishers will produce good books you can study, e-books are sometimes free• MSDN (free) – MSDN articles and whitepapers• TechNet (free) – TechNet articles and whitepapers• MSPress Exam guides ($) – For the more popular exams, MSPress actually produces books to help you prepare
  24. 24. What if there are no resources listed!!!• Then you use the Skills Measured tab as your checklist• Download the software and try features for yourself• Then for study materials I recommend you just *Bing it!* o MSDN o TechNet o Blog Posts o (has tons of Windows 8 developer content) o You can often get free e-books for new content like Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 keep an eye on the Born To Learn blog
  25. 25. Here’s good free e-books for the MCSD & MCSE
  26. 26. Search for online labs like this one
  27. 27. Check for a Learning Plan• Search the Learning Catalog for a Learning Plan that corresponds to your exam or technology
  28. 28. Customize a practice test to quiz you on weak areas• Both Self Test Software and MeasureUp allow you to customize the practice tests to give you questions on a specific topic or subject area
  29. 29. 4 – Take exam 4 - Take exam 2 - Find gaps 3 - Fill gaps 1 - Choose certification goal
  30. 30. Second Shot is your friend• Watch for second shot promotions that can give you a free second try if you fail the first time.• Register for this BEFORE you schedule your exam.
  31. 31. Register for the exam• Register at• When you register you choose the testing centre where you want to take your exam, as well as the date and time.• Your best bet is to book the exam and then plan your study time. Booking the exam gives you a deadline.• A few of these exams are still in beta, so you may not be able to schedule them today. Most of them are live by end of October.
  32. 32. What to expect when you arrive• Arrive 15-30 minutes before exam starts• Bring Photo ID• Get a good night‟s sleep• Closed book exam• Cell phones must be turned off• You will receive a sheet for note taking during the exam
  33. 33. When you start the exam o DON‟T PANIC  You will not know all the answers  Don‟t give up half way through
  34. 34. All exams have similarities• 40-60 questions• 700 to pass (700 <> 70%)• 1-4 hours to complete exam• Some exams have simulations• You must scroll through entire question and answers before going to next question• Yes, when you finish you get an opportunity to review or go back to change answers• 80/80 Rule
  35. 35. Exam questions follow a standard structure• Background: Existing technology environment and business scenario• Problem Statement “You need to…”• One or more correct answers• Multiple incorrect answers
  36. 36. Answers can be provided in different ways• Multiple-choice, single-answer questions• Multiple-choice, multiple-answer questions• Hot area questions• Drag and drop questions• Build list and reorder questions• Case studies
  37. 37. There are some strategies you can use foranswering questions• Eliminate wrong answers• Spot the difference• Look for two answers that can‟t both be right (you can‟t set Security=Public and Security=Private at the same time!)• When in doubt, it‟s probably the new feature• Guess! You don‟t lose points for wrong answers• Your first guess is probably right• Mark answers you don‟t know for review, a later question might help
  38. 38. Sample questionYou are a database administrator for your company. Your company stores all itsproduct data in a SQL Server 2008 database named Products.Eric, a user in your database, complains that he is not able to access the tablescreated by another user, Adam, through a stored procedure. However, Adam isable to access the tables through the stored procedure. You need to ensure thatEric is able to access the data while minimizing excessive permissions. * Question courtesy of SelfTest Software
  39. 39. Sample question• What should you do? o A. Grant the CREATE TABLE permission to Eric so that he can create new tables. o B. Ask Adam to recreate the stored procedure with the RECOMPILE option. o C. Grant the db_owner role to Eric. o D. Ask Adam to recompile the stored procedure with the EXECUTE AS OWNER clause. * Question courtesy of SelfTest Software
  40. 40. Sample questionYou are the administrator of the Verigon Corporation. All user workstations havebeen upgraded to Windows 7. You want to control the .dll files that users areallowed to load on their workstations. What can you do to allow only approved.dll files to be loaded onto workstations * Question courtesy of SelfTest Software
  41. 41. Sample question• Choose two. Each correct answer is part of the solution o A. Enable the DLL rule collection in AppLocker in the Local Security Policy MMC snap-in o B. Create allow rules for each DLL that is used by any allowed applications in AppLocker o C. Create a new Internet Zone rule for each .dll o D. Set the security level to Disallowed in the Local Security Policy MMC snap-in o E. Set the security level to Unrestricted in the Local Security Policy MMC snap-in * Question courtesy of SelfTest Software
  42. 42. Sample questionYou are the Exchange Administrator for the Nutex Corporation‟s Exchange 2010organization. Your company has acquired a state-of-the-art high definitionprojector that can be used in meetings. You want to create a mailbox for theprojector so that users in the company can request its use.What must you do to create a mailbox with the least number of possible steps? * Question courtesy of SelfTest Software
  43. 43. Sample question A. Use Active Directory Users and Computers to create an account named Projector, then run the following script New-Mailbox –Name „Projector‟ –Alias „Projector‟ –UserPrincipalName „‟ - -Database „DB01‟ -Equipment B. Use Active Directory Users and Computers to create an account named Projector, then run the following script New-Mailbox –Name „Projector‟ –Alias „Projector‟ –UserPrincipalName „‟ - -Database „DB01‟ -Room C. Run the following script: New-Mailbox –Name „Projector‟ –Alias „Projector‟ –UserPrincipalName „‟ –SamAccountName „projector‟ –Firstname „projector‟ – Initials „‟ –Lastname „‟ - - Database „DB01‟ -Equipment D. Run the following script: New-Mailbox –Name „Projector‟ –Alias „Projector‟ –UserPrincipalName „‟ –SamAccountName „projector‟ –Firstname „projector‟ – Initials „‟ –Lastname „‟ - - Database „DB01‟ -Room
  44. 44. What happens at the end of the exam?• You have the opportunity to review questions and change answers• When you end the test you complete an online evaluation then you see your final score• Pick up a printout of your final score before you leave the exam room (even if you don‟t pass)• When you pass you will receive an e-mail within the next two weeks with your MCP registration information and certification information
  45. 45. When you pass are you certified forever?• The newest certifications (MCSE & MCSD) do require you to complete a recertification exam every three years.
  46. 46. Follow the steps 4 - Take exam 2 - Find gaps 3 - Fill gaps 1 - Choose certification goal
  47. 47. Get Certified!
  48. 48. Good Luck!
  49. 49. MicrosoftCertification101Susan IbachTechnical Evangelist,