Want to be an MCT? Here’s your chance!

The upcoming 2011 North American MCT Summit offers a unique opportunity for anyone seeking to become a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT). Prior to the event, on October 18, there will be a 1.5 day train-the-trainer (TTT) boot camp. This will, assuming successful completion of the session, satisfy the presentation skills requirement for becoming an MCT.

Because the boot camp will be right before the MCT Summit, held October 19-21, upon completion you can then attend the Summit where you’ll be able to connect with other MCTs and continue to expand your skill set.

The cost for the event is $700,which includes the TTT event, your MCT fee through the current enrollment period (which ends in April of 2012), and entry to the MCT Summit. Learn more about the MCT Summit at http://www.mctsummit.org/.


Need A Second Shot?

Microsoft Learning and Prometric have brought back the “Second Shot” offer until June 30, 2011.  Sign up for an exam and pay 15% of the regular exam price in addition and you can re-take your exam if you don’t pass it the first time.
Personally, I’d rather have less Second Shot offers and have the second shot be free, instead of the 15% surcharge for the off chance I don’t pass.  Of course if you are serious about getting some exams under your belt, you might want to consider the certification packs – up to 20% off and the second shot is free for packs of 2-5 exams.

Blog Highlights for October

October is just flying by, but I thought I’d take a moment to toss out a some other great blogs and recent posts that have caught my eye in the last few weeks.  (Many are by some of my fellow Microsoft MVPs, too!)
For those of you in the Exchange camp, check out BlankMan’s Blog, by Nicolas Blank, an Microsoft Exchange MVP. He’s recently posted a link to the Exchange 2010 Architecture Poster and a overview about Exchange 2010 SP1
Thinking about IPv6? Don’t miss out on some recent posts on www.howfunky.com, the blog by Microsoft MVP, Ed Horley.  Are you an ostrich or not when it comes to IPv6? You might want to find out.
Maybe you are on the certification path, if so, don’t miss out on some of the posts on the Born to Learn blog, geared to keep you up to date with the latest in Microsoft certification.  Born to Learn recently highlighted MVP Justin Rodino, who will be presenting a session on Windows 7 at the upcoming Certified Career Conference on November 18th.
Finally, since I’ve spent a lot of time in airports this month, I’m finding the TSA Blog to be particularly interesting. Learn about upcoming technologies, changes in protocols and tips on packing so you can breeze through security. Maybe I’ll cross paths with you at the airport.

Can Your Certification Exams Go Further?

Looking for the chance to have that latest Microsoft certification do even more for you?  How about counting towards college credit?

In case you missed this post from the Born to Learn Blog, 21 Microsoft certifications and exams, including several of the new MCITP or MCTS certifications can be added to your transcript with the American Counsel on Education.  This transcript can then be submitted to other traditional institutions for review toward a computer science degree.

I was excited to see that even the older MSCE certification can count, but only if you’ve achieved it in the last 3 years.  In addition to the Microsoft Technical Certifications, there is a selection of Microsoft Office Certifications that can also count towards credit.

The process to register and submit your exams for credit is pretty straight forward, just follow the instructions in the post by the Born to Learn Blog.  Go forth and study!

Certification – Where to Get Training?

Enjoyed a great PacITPros meeting this week and had several members ask me about certification, specifically how to prepare for exams for relatively low cost. Of course, effective studying means you need to know your best way of absorbing information – some people read, some like hands-on, some like the lecture setup. Personally, I’m a “reader”, but here is a list of resources that should have a little something for everyone.

Microsoft Learning Snacks – Short Silverlight presentations on a variety of products and technologies.

Online Training – browse the training catalog for free or low-cost online courses. Also check out the e-reference library, which requires a subscription, but there is a 10-day free trial.

TechNet Virtual Labs – Want to play with software but don’t have any machines? These 90 minute labs might just be the thing.

Microsoft Springboard – Geared to provide whitepapers, videos, forums and other resources for Windows client operating systems. The forums have over a 90% answer rate! Also, don’t miss out on the free Proof-of-Concept Kit for deploying Windows 7 and Office 2010. Complete with virtual machines, you can practice deploying Windows 7 and using several of the deployment tools.

TechNet Library – technical documentation for IT pros for all the Microsoft products and technologies. It can be dry, but it might just be the explanation you are looking for.

Good luck on your next exam!

Wow…Time Flies!

When did it become June already?

The month started out with a bang – if you are a Bay Area techie, hope you didn’t miss out on the PacITPros meeting on June 1st. We enjoyed a presentation by Mark Vinokur with Citrix who covered XenDesktop and XenClient and demostrated how at Citrix, employees can simply subscribe to a service IT provides, and how IT can assemble the right desktop to the right user on the fly.

Next week, I’ll be heading out to New Orleans to attend TechEd. It’s going to be a busy week, but if you are going to be there, be sure to swing by the TLC area where I’ll be helping out at the Springboard booth. I’m hoping I’ll be able to find some time to blog about what’s going on and some of the sessions I’m planning to attend, so stay tuned!

Finally, I’m bummed that Microsoft has suspended 83-640 and is reverting back to 70-640 starting yesterday (June 2nd). Granted the exams cover the same skills and objectives, so it won’t affect your certification goals, but I really enjoyed taking that exam back in it’s beta days. It really felt like how I regularly worked and I thought it would really let IT Pros show their true colors while testing. Not everyone is a great standardized test taker and the simulation exam went a long way toward making the test close to “real-life”. I hope they work out the kinks and get it back online soon.

Gearing Up for Vitualization Certification

There are several virtualizations exams available from Microsoft, some shiny and new and one that’s been around for a bit of time now. There is indication that there will be an new MCITP certification that’s not yet on the Microsoft certification list – MCITP: Windows Server 2008 R2, Virtualization Adminstrator.

At the moment, there are 3 exams that count toward this certification, though without final say from Microsoft website, I’m currently thinking that the full certification is not fully baked yet. However, no reason you can’t get started. In the past, I’ve taken 70-652 (TS: Windows Server Virtualization, Configurating) which is a stand-alone Technology Specialist exam for virtualization with Hyper-V on Windows 2008. It does not cover Server 2008 R2 technologies.

The other 3 exams, are new and are specifically geared toward Windows Server 2008 R2.

  • 70-669 TS: Windows Server 2008 R2, Desktop Virtualization
  • 70-659 TS: Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization
  • 70-693 Pro: Windows Server 2008 R2, Virtualization Administrator

There is very little study/prep materials available for these exams at the moment, however expect you’ll need to know about configuring and managing Hyper-V and RDS, as well as VDI, MED-V and App-V technologies.

Don’t forget, the Microsoft Second Shot offer is still available for exams taken through June 30th. Drop me an email if you need a voucher number for the second shot offer.

Microsoft Expands “Elevate America” Program to California

Looking for more technology training and certification opportunities? An article on SFGate.com yesterday details the expansion of Microsoft’s Elevate America program to California.

This program offer vouchers for online training and certifications for a variety of Microsoft business software. While predominately for business products like Microsoft Office, some vouchers will be available for IT Professional training.

Vouchers will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis through CareerOneStop and you can search for locations in your area. Other states that are currently distributing vouchers as part of the program are Colorado, Iowa, Georgia and Michigan.

You can also follow the Elevate America (@elevateamerica) program on Twitter.

Certification Discounts

There are a few Microsoft and Prometric exam discount programs going on right now. If you have plans for working on a certification in the upcoming months, these deals might help you along.

  • Microsoft Second Shot – good for exams taken by June 30, 2010. You have to take the first attempt of the exam (and the 2nd attempt if needed) by the deadline.
  • Prometric 15% Off – schedule your exam by the end of February and take it by April 30, 2010.

These offers can’t be combined, but if you’ve got a few exams in the pipeline you might be able to take advantage of both.