Tags: exam expirations, exam retirement, recertification
Key certifications receive new lease on life
Microsoft announced that they have extended the life of certifications that were previously slated to expire in 2017. These exams will now expire on July 31, 2018:
- 70-680: TS: Windows 7, Configuring
- 70-685: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Support Technician
- 70-686: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Administrator
- 70-488: Developing SharePoint Server 2013 Core Solutions
- 70-489: Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Advanced Solutions
The good news is that you now have over a year to study for and secure these key certifications – and Transcender has a full range of practice tests, e-learning, and practice labs to help you succeed.
Windows Server 2008 to be retired in mid-2017
All of the following exams will retire July 31, 2017:
- 70-640: TS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring
- 70-642: TS: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure, Configuring
- 70-646: Pro: Windows Server 2008, Server Administrator
- 70-694: Virtualizing Enterprise Desktops and Apps
Microsoft changing Windows 10 certification paths; Windows 8/8.1 certifications to retire in December 2016November 16, 2016 at 1:19 pm | Posted in Certification Paths, Microsoft | Leave a comment
Tags: exam retirement, mcsa, windows 10, Windows 8
Disclaimer: Exam retirements are subject to change without notice. Please go to the Official Microsoft Retired exams list to confirm or deny a specific test’s retirement date, as it may have changed since this post was originally published. Click our blog’s Certification Paths category to find the latest posts by date on this topic.
Test takers, take note: Windows 8 and 8.1 certifications are being retired in December, while Windows 10 certification paths are changing. If you are only one test into the two-test sequence, be sure to schedule your exam before the retirement.
These exams will no longer be available after December 31, 2016:
- 70-687: Configuring Windows 8.1
- 70-688: Supporting Windows 8.1
- 70-689: Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows 8
- 70-692: Upgrading Your Windows XP Skills to MCSA Windows 8
If you have passed either the 687 or the 688, but you do not pass the sister exam, you will not have a valid certification after December 31.
What to do if you still need that MCSA: Windows 8 in your certification wallet
You may not know that if you hold an older certification – even as far back as Windows 2000 – you can bypass the two-exam path to a MCSA: Windows 8 and take a single upgrade exam.
You can take the 70-692 and earn the MCSA: Windows 8 if you hold any of these old-school certifications:
- MCDST: Windows XP
- MCSA: Windows 2000
- MCSA: Security on Windows 2000
- MCSA: Messaging on Windows 2000
- MCSA: Windows Server 2003
- MCSA: Security on Windows Server 2003
- MCSA: Messaging on Windows Server 2003
- MCSE: Windows 2000
- MCSE: Security on Windows 2000
- MCSE: Messaging on Windows 2000
- MCSE: Windows Server 2003
- MCSE: Security on Windows Server 2003
- MCSE: Messaging on Windows Server 2003
You can take the 70-689 and earn the MCSA: Windows 8 if you hold any of these more recent certifications:
- MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator on Windows 7
- MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician on Windows 7
- MCSA: Windows 7
What to do if you want to jump to the MCSA: Windows 10
There are now two distinct paths for the MCSA: Windows 10 certification. If you have already earned the MCSA: Windows 8, you can upgrade to MCSA: Windows 10 by taking and passing this exam:
If you’re starting at square one, you can earn the MCSA: Windows 10 by passing two exams:
- Exam 698: Installing and Configuring Windows 10 (available in beta in June 2016)
- Exam 697: Configuring Windows Devices
That’s right – there is no separate “upgrade exam” that takes you from an MCSA: 8 to an MCSA: 10. The 70-697 will either upgrade your prior cert, or knock out half of the testing requirements for a brand-new MCSA.
What to do if you’re still in a Windows 7 shop
While you will no longer have the ability to earn Windows 8 and 8.1 certifications, Microsoft has not announced any immediate plans to retire the MCITP in Windows 7. The MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician on Windows 7 and MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator on Windows 7 are still valid certifications and can be earned with a two-test sequence:
MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician on Windows 7:
MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator on Windows 7:
Note that the MCSA: Windows 7 is listed as a “retired certification” on the Microsoft legacy certifications page. (For more information on Microsoft’s newly streamlined certifications, read this post on Born To Learn.)
Note that as of this writing, there do not appear to be any direct upgrade exams from the MSCA: Windows 7 (or its equivalent MCITPs) to the MCSA: Windows 10. Your best bet there is to take the two-exam sequence starting with 70-689 (upgrade to MCSA: Win 8 from MCITP: Win 7) and 70-697 (upgrade from MCSA: Win 8 to MCSA: Win 10). Remember that you need to pass 70-689 before December 31, but you can take the 70-697 at any time in 2017.
Bundle and save with exam vouchers and practice tests from Transcender
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-The Transcender Team
Tags: ccent, ccna, icndv3
Cisco has officially retired the old CCNA exams (100-101 and 200-101, or the combined 220-120), so the opportunity to take the ICNDv2 has come and gone. The new path to Cisco’s flagship certification is the ICNDv3 path. As of October 2016, you need to pass one of these combinations to earn the CCNA Routing and Switching certification:
- Exam 100-105: Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1 (ICND1)
- Exam 200-105: Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 2 (ICND2)
- Exam 200-125: CCNA Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices: Accelerated (CCNAX)
Passing the 100-105 exam alone will also earn you the Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician (CCENT) certification.
How much change should I expect for the ICND1?
For the first exam, Cisco has rearranged the material and condensed the objectives from seven to five. Here’s a comparison of the old and new objectives:
OLD: 100-101 ICND1 v2.0
1.0 Operation of IP Data Networks
2.0 LAN Switching Technologies
3.0 IP Addressing
4.0 IP Routing Technologies
5.0 IP Services
6.0 Network Device Security
NEW: 100-105 ICND1 v3.0
1.0 Network Fundamentals
2.0 LAN Switching Technologies
3.0 Routing Technologies
4.0 Infrastructure Services
5.0 Infrastructure Management
While at first glance it might appear that the CCENT removed troubleshooting questions entirely, the new exam simply integrates troubleshooting into each objective. For example, Objective 2.0: LAN Switching Technologies will have you troubleshoot interface and cable issues (collisions, errors, duplex, speed), while in Objective 1.0: Network Fundamentals, you’ll have to troubleshoot IPv4 and IPv6, as well as “apply troubleshooting methodologies to resolve problems:”
- 1.7.a Perform fault isolation and document
- 1.7.b Resolve or escalate
- 1.7.c Verify and monitor resolution
The changes in the objectives typically just mean reorganization of the old material, but there have been a few additions and deletions of topics for this exam, which I’ll explain.
Key Topics Removed from ICND1 or Moved to ICND2 Exam:
OSPF (single area) and other OSPF topics were moved into ICND2. Instead, RIP is used to introduce CCENT candidates to IP routing protocols.
Dual Stack was removed from ICND1, since there are many different IPv4 to IPv6 transition technologies being used.
Cisco Express Forwarding (CEF) has been removed.
Key Topics Added:
- High level knowledge of the impact and interactions of infrastructure components in an Enterprise network, specifically:
- Access Points
- Wireless Controllers
- Awareness of the Collapsed Core architecture compared to traditional three-tier architectures. This option collapses the Distribution and Core into a single tier, with the Access as the second tier.
- Configuring and verifying IPv6 Stateless Address Auto Configuration (SLAAC).
- Coverage of anycast IPv6 addressing.
- Knowledge of Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP). An L2 discovery protocol is used in addition to Cisco Discovery Protocol.
- Knowledge of RIPv2 for IPv4 as the primary focus for understanding of how routing protocols work.
- DNS and DHCP related connectivity issues.
- Syslog message logging for device monitoring.
- Skills and knowledge of device management related to backup and restoring device configurations, IOS feature licensing, and configuring time zones.
How much change should I expect for the ICND2?
While the number of objective domains has remained 5 in the update of the 200-101 (ICND2) to the 200-105 exam , those domain topics have changed and also the content. The comparison of the domain changes are as follows:
OLD 200-101 ICND2 v2.0:
1.0 LAN Switching Technologies
2.0 IP Routing Technologies
3.0 IP Services
5.0 WAN Technologies
NEW 200-105 ICND2 v3.0:
1.0 LAN Switching Technologies
2.0 Routing Technologies
3.0 WAN Technologies
4.0 Infrastructure Services
5.0 Infrastructure Maintenance
Topics have been both moved and deleted.
Key Topics Removed from ICND2:
Frame-Relay and Serial WAN technologies are no longer covered.
VRRP and GLBP have been removed from First Hop Redundancy Protocols. Only HSRP remains, since it is most commonly deployed.
Key Topics Added to ICND2:
- Knowledge of dual-homed vs single-homed Intelligent WAN topology options.
- Basic knowledge of external BGP (eBGP) used to connect Enterprise branches.
- Expanded VPN topics to include DMVPN, Site-to-Site VPN, and Client VPN technologies commonly used by Enterprises.
- Understanding of how Cloud resources are being used in Enterprise network architectures, including:
- How cloud services will affect traffic paths and flows
- Common virtualized services and how these coexist with a legacy infrastructure
- Basics of virtual network infrastructure (Network Function Virtualization)
- Awareness of Programmable Network (SDN) architectures including:
- Separation of the control plane and data plane
- How a controller functions and communicates northbound to network applications and southbound to the R&S infrastructure using APIs.
- How to use the Path Trace application for ACLs which is a key new network application enabled by the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller – Enterprise Module (APIC-EM). This tool automates the troubleshooting and resolution of complex ACL deployments.
- Understanding of QoS concepts related to marking, shaping, and policing mechanisms used to manage congestion of various types of traffic. The need for QoS and how it is used for prioritizing voice, video and data traffic. Plus an understanding of the automation
How much change should I expect for the combined exam?
The 200-125 exam, like its predecessor the 200-120, covers all topics from the 100-105 and 200-105. The content is organized in the following domains:
1.0 Network Fundamentals
2.0 LAN Switching Technologies
3.0 Routing Technologies
4.0 WAN Technologies
5.0 Infrastructure Services
6.0 Infrastructure Security
7.0 Infrastructure Management
Everything that has been written about the prior two exams applies to the 200-120.
What if I passed some of the old exams, but need the new certification – or to recertify?
Cisco has developed a handy tool, called the Associate-Level Certifications Exam Logic Tool, that lets you plug in your exact combination of exams to predict which ones you’ll require: http://www.cisco.com/web/learning/tools/ccna_tool/index.html
CCNA Routing and Switching is a three-year certification. When three years have passed, you must recertify. This page has the information you need to help you plan your recertification path.
And, finally, here are the links to the CCENT and CCNA Transcender practice exams. Keep your eyes peeled for special holiday exam pricing, and be sure to sign up for our mailing list if you aren’t receiving deal notifications!
Until next time,
Tags: free stuff, mcsa, SQL server 2016, windows server 2016
Microsoft recently announced an incentive for IT pros working toward their MCSA in Windows Server 2012 or their MCSA in SQL Server 2012/2014: finish your certification by June 30, 2016, and earn a free voucher for the 2016 upgrade exam.
Upgrade path for Windows Server 2016
The MCSA in Windows Server 2012 requires three exams:
- 70-410: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012
- 70-411: Administering Windows Server 2012
- 70-412: Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services
If you have all three under your belt by June 30, you’ll qualify for a free voucher to sit exam 70-743: Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA: Windows Server 2016. No exam details are available at this time.
Upgrade path for SQL Server 2016
The MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014 also requires three exams:
- 70-461: Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014
- 70-462: Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014
- 70-463: Implementing a Data Warehouse with Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014
Interestingly, although only one upgrade exam number is shown for SQL Server 2016 (70-762), it looks like there are actually three separate upgrade options:
- Earn an MCSA: SQL Server 2016 (Database Development) by taking 70-762: Developing SQL Databases
- Earn an MCSA: SQL Server 2016 (Database Administration) by taking 70-762: Provisioning SQL Databases
- Earn an MCSA: SQL Server 2016 (Business Intelligence Dev) by taking 70-762: Developing SQL Data Models
Again, Microsoft hasn’t released any exam objectives or details at the time of this post.
Do I have time to study?
Absolutely. Transcender has a full range of practice tests, e-learning, and virtual labs for each track, including a 30-day online access version of the practice tests:
What if I already have an MCSA in 2012 / 2014?
The wording was “between now [June 2] and June 30, 2016,” so this offer is probably limited to people who haven’t yet passed all the required tests. You can see Microsoft’s original post at the Born To Learn blog, and ask whether the offer extends to those who already have their certification in hand. However, as a certified professional, you should already be receiving emails from Microsoft each time a free beta exam is released (like the recent offer for the 70-698), so if you don’t qualify for this deal, odds are that a similar one will come your way.
~ The Transcender Team
Tags: free stuff, mcsa, windows 10
Are you a Windows 8 MCSA? If you are, and you earned your MCSA: Windows 8 certification between February 15, 2015, and May 31, 2015, you can take Exam 70-697: Configuring Windows Devices for free. Doing so will earn you the MCSA: Windows 10 certification.
To take advantage of this offer, you MUST sign up using the link on the Microsoft site, and you MUST take (and pass) the exam no later than May 31, 2016.
Because you are limited to one free exam attempt, you may want to take advantage of Transcender’s full range of prep materials. We offer the Microsoft Practice Exam for 70-697 MSCert: Configuring Windows 10 Devices, an online Practice Lab with virutalized machines, and professional e-learning courses with 18.5 hours of instruction.
If you earned your MCSA: Windows 8 after the cutoff date, you can still register to take exam 70-697 and earn the MCSA: Windows 10 – which is still a solid move for your certification career.
Tags: a+, CompTIA
As I explained in my last post, CompTIA has released a new version of the A+ certification by rolling out the 220-901 and 220-902 exams on December 15, 2015. The old 220-801 and 220-802 exams are still available, but they will retire on June 30, 2016 in the United States.
In this post, I will cover the first two objectives for 220-901, Hardware and Networking. I’ll give you the entire overview of each objective, list each subobjective, tell you where each topic fell in the old A+ 800-series (if applicable), and put all changes or additions in RED ITALICS.
I will not call out any deleted topics, although CompTIA has removed some topics (for example, floppy drives and SCSI). This is because I am not really sure if those topics were actually removed from the exam, or if they are just so insignificant that they aren’t called out in the objective listing, but are still floating around in some test questions. Remember that CompTIA’s objective listing contains a disclaimer that says,
“The lists of examples provided in bulleted format below each objective are not exhaustive lists. Other examples of technologies, processes or tasks pertaining to each objective may also be included on the exam although not listed or covered in this objectives document.”
For this reason, I didn’t want to focus on what was removed. My exam experience has shown that the bullet lists are not exhaustive. Spending time focusing on what was removed may give you a false sense of security by making you think you don’t need to study those topics. So I am just ignoring any topic removals.
First, a note about “Bloom’s Levels”
In this and subsequent posts, you’ll see me refer to topics changing their Bloom’s level. In the instructional design world, Bloom’s taxonomy is a model for describing the depth or complexity of a learning outcome, much like the OSI model describes the level at which a network component operates. Level 1 is basic memorization (what is a router?), where level 6 is complete mastery of a concept (designing a network from scratch).
If I mention here that a Bloom’s level has changed, it generally means that CompTIA is asking for something more complex than memorization. While these changes shouldn’t scare you, there is a bit more “rubber meeting the road” to the higher Bloom’s levels. For example, instead of recognizing various LCD technologies from a list, you may be asked to evaluate which LCD is the best choice for a given scenario. Instead of answering a question about how CIDR notation behaves in abstract, you may be asked to configure a subnet mask.
220-901 Objective 1: Hardware
A+ 220-801 covered hardware in its own domain and included BIOS, motherboards, RAM, expansion cards, storage devices, CPUs and cooling, connectors and cables, power supplies, custom configurations, display devices, and peripherals. In A+ 220-901, hardware has been expanded to include UEFI and printers and multi-functional devices (which was its own objective in 220-801). In some cases, minor wording changes occured at the subobjective level.
1.1 Given a scenario, configure settings and use BIOS/UEFI tools on a PC. – From Objective 1, subobjective 1 in the old version. The Bloom’s level for this objective increased, because the “Given a scenario” qualification is now part of this objective. Instead of simply identifying what a setting does, you will likely be asked to choose the correct setting for a given set of conditions. There is only one new topic:
- Secure boot – added to BIOS security sub-section
1.2 Explain the importance of motherboard components, their purpose, and properties. – From Objective 1, subobjective 2 in 220-801. The Bloom’s level (and therefore the difficulty) for this objective changed as well, because the “Explain the importance” phrase is used instead of “Differentiate between” (demonstrating knowledge without application) in the old version. One new topic was added:
- Mini-ITX – added to Sizes section
1.3 Compare and contrast various RAM types and their features. – From Objective 1, subobjective 3 in 220-801. One new topic was added:
- Buffered versus unbuffered – added to Types section
1.4 Install and configure PC expansion cards. – From Objective 1, subobjective 4 in 220-801. One new topic was added:
- Storage cards – added
1.5 Install and configure storage devices and use appropriate media. – From Objective 1, subobjective 5 in 220-801. New topics include:
- Hybrid and eMMC – added to Solid state/flash drives section
1.6 Install various types of CPUs and apply the appropriate cooling methods. – From Objective 1, subobjective 6 in 220-801. The Bloom’s level for this objective changed because the “Install” phrase (using acquired knowledge) is used instead of “Differentiate among” (demonstrating knowledge without application) in the old version. New topics include:
- Intel 1150, 2011 – added to Socket types section
- AMD FM2, FM2+ – added to Socket types section
- Disable execute bit – added to Characteristics section
- Fanless/passive – added to Cooling section
1.7 Compare and contrast various PC connection interfaces, their characteristics and purpose. – From Objective 1, subobjective 7 in 220-801. New topics include:
- Analog and Digital (Optical connector) – added to Audio sub-section
- NFC – added to Wireless connections section
- Quality and DRM – added to Characteristics section
1.8 Install a power supply based on given specifications. – From Objective 1, subobjective 8 in 220-801. One new topic was added:
- Dual rail – added to Specifications section
1.9 Given a scenario, select the appropriate components for a custom PC configuration, to meet customer specifications or needs. – From Objective 1, subobjective 9 in 220-801. The Bloom’s level for this objective was raised to include “Given a scenario.” New topics are:
- Multicore processor – changed from Powerful processor in Graphic / CAD / CAM design workstation section. This change simply updates the test’s language to current PC technology, as all “powerful” processors today will be multicore by default.
- Multicore processor – changed from Powerful processor in Gaming PC section. Again, this is not new knowledge, but rather an update of the test’s nomenclature.
- Meets recommended requirements for selected OS – changed from Meets recommended requirements for Windows in Standard thick client section. This is an important change because it shows a shift back to including other operating systems besides Windows, which hasn’t been the case in the past few A+ releases.
- Meets minimum requirements for selected OS – changed from Meets minimum requirements for running Windows in Thin client section.
- Network connectivity – added to Thin client section.
1.10 Compare and contrast types of display devices and their features. – From Objective 1, subobjective 10 in 220-801. The Bloom’s level for this objective changed because the “Compare and contrast” phrase is used instead of “Given a scenario, evaluate” in the old version. New topics include:
- TN vs. IPS and Flourescent vs. LED backlighting – added in the LCD sub-section
- Refresh / frame rates – added frame rates
- Aspect ratios (16:9, 16:10, and 4:3) – added specific ratios
1.11 Identify common PC connector types and associated cables. – From Objective 1, subobjective 11 in 220-801. New topics include:
- Adapters and converters (DVI to HDMI, USB A to USB B, USB to Ethernet, DVI to VGA, Thunderbolt to DVI, PS/2 to USB, and HDMI to VGA) – all added, and all reflective of the cables commonly available in today’s computing environments.
1.12 Install and configure common peripheral devices. – From Objective 1 subobjective 12 in 220-801. New topics include:
- Biometric devices, Motion sensor, Touch pads, Smart card readers, and Digital cameras – added to the Input devices section
- Smart TV and Set-Top Box – added to the Input & Output devices section
1.13 Install SOHO multifunction device / printers and configure appropriate settings. – From Objective 4, subobjective 2 in 220-801. The Bloom’s level for this objective changed because the “Given a scenario” phrase has been removed. In addition, multifunction devices have been added and configuration knowledge is required. The new topics include:
- Configuration settings (Duplex, Collate, Orientation, and Quality) – added to the Use appropriate drivers for a given operating system section
- Infrastructure vs. adhoc – added to the Wireless sub-section
- Cloud printing/remote printing – added to the Device sharing section
- TCP/Bonjour/AirPrint – added to the Sharing local/networked device via Operating System settings sub-section
- Data privacy (User authentication on the device and Hard drive caching) – added to the Public/shared devices section
1.14 Compare and contrast differences between the various print technologies and the associated imaging process. – From Objective 4, subobjective 1 in 220-801. The wording changed to “Compare and contrast” from “Explain the differences between,” but in my opinion, this change did not affect the Bloom’s level. New topic is:
- Virtual (Print to file, Print to PDF, Print to XPS, and Print to image) – added
1.15 Given a scenario, perform appropriate printer maintenance. – From Objective 4, subobjective 3 in 220-801. New topics include:
- Inkjet (Clean heads, replace cartridges, calibration, clear jams) – added
220-901 Objective 2: Networking
A+ 220-801 covered networking in its own domain and included network cables and connectors, TCP/IP, TCP and UDP ports and protocols, wireless networking standards and encryption, SOHO wireless/wired router installation and configuration, Internet connection types, network types, network devices, and networking tools. In A+ 220-901, minor wording changes occurred at the subobjective level. All changes are in RED ITALICS.
2.1 Identify the various types of network cables and connectors. – From Objective 2, subobjective 1 in 220-801. This subobjective had no changes.
2.2 Compare and contrast the characteristics of connectors and cabling. – From Objective 2, subobjective 2 in 220-801. Slight wording change at subobjective level, but no change in the Bloom’s level. New topics include:
- CAT6e, CAT7 – added to Twisted pair section
- Splitters and effects on signal quality – added to Twisted pair and Coaxial sections
2.3 Explain the properties and characteristics of TCP/IP. – From Objective 2, subobjective 3 in 220-801. New topics include:
- Public vs. private vs. APIPA/link local – added link local
- Subnet mask vs. CIDR – added CIDR
2.4 Explain common TCP and UDP ports, protocols, and their purpose. – From Objective 2, subobjective 4 in 220-801. New topics include:
- 22 – SSH; 137-139, 445 – SMB; and 548 or 427 – AFP – added to Ports section
- CIFS and AFP – added to Protocols section
2.5 Compare and contrast various WiFi networking standards and encryption types. – From Objective 2, subobjective 5 in 220-801. New topics include:
- 802.11ac – added to Standards section
2.6 Given a scenario, install and configure SOHO wireless/wired router and apply appropriate settings. – From Objective 2, subobjective 6 in 220-801. The Bloom’s level for this objective changed because the “Given a scenario” qualification is now part of this objective. New topics include:
- NAT / DNAT – added DNAT
- Firmware – added
- UPnP – added
2.7 Compare and contrast Internet connection types, network types, and their features. – From Objective 2, subobjective 7 and 8 in 220-801. New topics include:
- Tethering – added in the Cellular subsection
2.8 Compare and contrast network architecture devices, their functions, and features. – From Objective 2, subobjective 9 in 220-801. New topics include:
- Patch panel– added
- Repeaters/extenders – added
- Ethernet over Power – added
- Power over Ethernet injector – added
2.9 Given a scenario, use appropriate networking tools. – From Objective 2, subobjective 10 in 220-801. New topics include:
- Cable stripper – added
- Tone generator & probe – added generator
- WiFi analyzer – added
As you can see, I am just covering the high points and not delving too deeply into these topics. My point here is to help those who already know the A+ understand exactly what new topics they need to study. CompTIA has started a series of Webinars called Deep Dive: A Look Inside the A+ 900 Series Objectives that cover these topics much more deeply than I do. You can access these Webinars by joining the CompTIA Instructor Network at http://bit.ly/1Sxj3h9.
Remember, this post is part of a series of posts I will be completing. Here are the details for those posts:
- The New A+ 900 Series: What’s New (Part 1 of 5) – already released post that contains introductory information that you need to know
- The New A+ 900 Series: What’s New (Part 2 of 5) – this post that contains information on 220-901 objective 1 and 2
- The New A+ 900 Series: What’s New (Part 3 of 5) – the next post that will contain information on 220-901 objective 3 and 4
- The New A+ 900 Series: What’s New (Part 4 of 5) – the post that will contain information on 220-902 objective 1 and 2
- The New A+ 900 Series: What’s New (Part 5 of 5) – the final post that will contain information on 220-902 objective 3, 4, and 5
To help you get through the holiday doldrums and start your 2016 study schedule off right, we just launched our 220-901 practice test! It includes performance-based questions and covers all the 220-901 topics.
Thanks again for reading!
Tags: a+, exam expirations
It’s that time again! CompTIA has released a new version of the A+ certification by rolling out the 220-901 and 220-902 exams on December 15. The 220-801 and 220-802 exams are still available, but will retire June 30, 2016 in the United States. This deadline should give you enough time to finish studying for the 800 series if you have already taken one test, because you cannot mix and match exam versions. If you pass the 220-801 or 220-802 exam, you must pass the other 800-series exam to obtain your A+. If you pass the 220-901 or 220-902 exam, you must take the other 900-series exam to obtain the A+.
To help you get through the holiday doldrums and start your 2016 study schedule off right, we just launched our 220-901 practice test!
Once again, with a new release, we see another small shift in the structure and topic coverage of the two exams. Years ago (and I am going to date myself here), the two exams were referred to as a Hardware exam and a Software exam. While I think the topic coverage is moving in this direction again, CompTIA is NOT referring to them in these terms, and all documentation from CompTIA will refer to them as 220-901 and 220-902. Broadly, though, I think of the tests as “hardware and networking” and “software and security.”
For the 220-901 exam, you will be expected to understand installing, configuring, and troubleshooting desktop, laptop, mobile device, and printer hardware, as well as basic networking topics. The breakdown of the exam’s topics are as follows:
- Hardware – 34%
- Networking – 21%
- Mobile Devices – 17%
- Hardware & Network Troubleshooting – 28%
For the 220-902 exam, you will be expected to understand installing, configuring, and troubleshooting Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Mac OS, Linux, and mobile device operating systems. (Notice that Windows 10 is NOT included in this list.) It includes virtualization, cloud, and. server technologies. It also covers security, including security devices and configuring and troubleshooting security components. Finally, it covers those soft skills and operational procedures required by the IT technician. The breakdown of the exam’s topics are as follows:
- Windows Operating System – 29%
- Other Operating Systems & Technologies – 12%
- Security – 22%
- Software Troubleshooting – 24%
- Operational Procedures – 13%
When the 800-series A+ was released back in 2012, many test candidates decided to knock out both exams on the same day because there was so much overlap between the topics being covered. For those exams, this was probably a good strategy. But with the 900-series exams, the structure has changed enough that I would suggest that you prepare to take them separately, NOT on the same day. As you can see from the topic listings above, there is hardly any overlap between the two exams.
Over the next few weeks, I will be posting four more parts to this series and discuss changes to each topic area in depth:
- Part 2 – 220-901 obj 1 (Hardware) and obj 2 (Networking)
- Part 3 – 220-901 obj 3 (Mobile Devices) and obj 4 (Hardware & Network Troubleshooting)
- Part 4 – 220-902 obj 1 (Windows Operating Systems) and obj 2 (Other Operating Systems & Technologies)
- Part 5 – 220-902 obj 3 (Security), obj 4 (Software Troubleshooting), and obj 5 (Operational Procedures)
CompTIA has launched a new CompTIA Instructor Network (CIN), which I encourage all CompTIA instructors to join. It’s easy as going here to sign up. It is a great way to network with other instructors. Recently, they started a Deep Dive series of Webinars on the new A+ exams! To access the A+ Deep Dive series, go here.
Watch for my upcoming posts!
CompTIA Linux+, SUSE, and LPIC-1: Three certifications for the price of one – with a special deal on top!December 18, 2015 at 3:57 pm | Posted in Certification Paths, CompTIA, LPI, Vendor news | Leave a comment
Tags: linux+, LPIC, suse
When even Microsoft is getting into the Linux game, you must know that Linux certification is one of those hot certs that all the cool admins and devs are getting. What you may not know is that a Linux certification is, hands down, the best value we know of in the certification sphere. Thanks to a partnership between three major certifying bodies – CompTIA, Linux Professional Institute (LPI), and SUSE – you can now pass one series of exams to earn three industry certifications from all three vendors at the same time.
CompTIA and LPI first partnered on the joint certification project in 2010, at which time passing the Linux+ exams from CompTIA also earned you LPIC-1 credentials. The 2015 revision loops SUSE into the game, so you now have the ability to earn THREE separate vendor certifications in one exam sitting. (In case you’re confused, SUSE and LPI previously shared a joint certification program, as did LPI and CompTIA – but not all three together.)
So what exactly do I get, and what’s the catch?
You’ll need to pass the two 2015 Linux+ exams offered by CompTIA, LX0-103 and LX0-104. (The 2010 versions were named LX0-101 and LX0-102.) When you do so, you’ll be able to add these three certifications to your resume, LinkedIn account, and brag sheet:
- SUSE Certified Linux Administrator (CLA)
- LPI’s LPIC-1: Linux Server Professional Certification
- CompTIA’s Linux+
There’s no catch, but you do have to arrange your ducks into a particular row, and you must take the CompTIA exams in particular – you cannot earn the LPIC-1 from LPI and then apply to retroactively earn the Linux+ certification. Here are the exact steps listed on CompTIA’s website as of this writing:
Being who we are, we tested these steps ourselves before blogging about it. Here’s the cheat sheet:
- Configure your CompTIA account settings so that they know to forward the results to LPI. It’s a dropdown box under the Settings tab of your CompTIA cert account.
- Wait a bit. (I got my email from LPI in about 48 hours.)
- Look through the email. You should get instructions and a link to verify your credentials with SUSE.
- Sit back and celebrate the holidays like a Linux pro!
Is there a difference in the cost?
If you went straight to each vendor and took their exams without the three-in-one deal, you’d pay $376 for EITHER the two-exam CompTIA series (LX0-103 and LX0-104) or the LPIC-1 series (Exam 1 and Exam 2). If you only wanted the SUSE certification, it’s a relative bargain to take their standard test ($125 in the US). Please note that these are US prices, and don’t include any special voucher deals, discounts, sales, or student bundles.
So if your budget extends to the two-exam series, then it makes no financial sense to leave the three-certification package on the table.
Okay, sold! Where do I start?
First, an unscheduled commercial break. (We have bills to pay around here.) If you’re in the market for training material, Transcender is offering a special discount on Linux practice tests, eLearning, and practice labs.
From now until December 31, 2015, you can pick your deal (or mix and match). We’re offering $25 off all practice tests (excluding 30-day and CD/voucher bundle), including LX0-103. And we’re offering a special 20% off discount on our newly released LX0-104/LPI 400-102 practice test (excluding 30-day and CD/voucher bundle). As of today that discount also extends to our eLearning and practice lab products for Linux.
To activate your discount, click through the shiny red button (or use promo code PRODUCT20). The deal expires at 10 PM CST.
To add products to your page, choose either LPI or CompTIA / Linux+ from the main menu, then select the relevant product from the desired test.
We also offer eLearning packages for each exam, and a separate series of online practice labs that let you develop proficiency with hardware that you may not have available to practice with otherwise.
Whether or not you choose to take advantage of our study products, you should DEFINITELY take advantage of the three-in-one Linux certification partnership – a deal we’ve never seen replicated in the professional IT certification world.
We wish you best of luck with your Linux certifying!
Tags: certification retirement, desktop aten't dead, exam retirement, mcse
If you’ve been working toward your MCSE in Desktop Infrastructure, you will need to finish your exam cycle sooner rather than later. Microsoft has announced that the certification itself will be retired on January 31, 2016, along with two of its key exams.
The five exams in this certification sequence are:
- 70-415: Implementing a Desktop Infrastructure – retires January 31, 2016
- 70-416: Implementing Desktop Application Environments – retires January 31, 2016
- 70-412: Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services R2
- 70-411: Administering Windows Server 2012 R2
- 70-410: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012 R2
The other three exams in the path – 70-410, 70-411, and 70-412 – are also key exams for other MCSA and MCSE certifications. As of this writing, Microsoft has not announced a retirement date for those exams.
What happens when a certification retires? Even if an exam that is part of a certification you earned is retired, your certification is still valid. When an exam you passed is retired, the exam record remains on your transcript.
Tags: Certification Paths, exam retirement, MCITP, mcsa, MCTS
Disclaimer: Exam retirements are subject to change without notice. Please go to the official Microsoft Retired exams list to confirm or deny a specific test’s retirement date, as it may have changed since this post was originally published. Click https://transcender.wordpress.com/category/certification-paths/ to find the latest posts by date on this topic.
If you’ve been working toward a certification in certain MCPD, MCITP, or MCTS tracks, you will want to take note of the following upcoming exam retirements. As always, having a retired exam in your certification track does not invalidate the certification – but if you miss the window to take the exam, you will have to hope the tests you’ve already passed also count toward a current certification track.
Windows Server MCTS, MCITP, and 2003 MCSA
The following Windows Server exams are retiring on July 31, 2015:
- 70-643: TS: Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure, Configuring
- 70-647: Pro: Windows Server 2008, Enterprise Administrator
- 70-649: TS: Upgrading Your MCSE on Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008, Technology Specialist
- 70-659: TS: Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization
- 70-669: TS: Windows Server 2008 R2, Desktop Virtualization
- 70-693: PRO: Windows Server 2008 R2, Virtualization Administrator
These exams affect the following tracks:
MCITP: Enterprise Administrator on Windows Server 2008 – the 70-643 and 70-647 are two of the required exams for this five-exam track. It’s not yet listed as a “legacy” certification, but unless you have the other three exams under your belt, you may be better off aiming for the three-exam track MCSA: Windows Server 2008. (If you do earn the MCITP: EA, you get dual credit for the MCSA: Windows Server 2008.)
MCITP: Virtualization Administrator on Windows Server 2008 R2 – 70-659, 70-669, and 70-693 are the last of the available exams for this three-exam track. As with the MCITP: EA, you lose the chance to finish this track after July 31. Past that date you’ll have to earn the three-exam track MCSA: Windows Server 2008.
If you have the MCITP: EA, the MCITP: VA, or the MCSA 2008, you can take exam 70-417 to upgrade to the MCSA Windows Server 2012. There is no expiration presently listed for that upgrade track.
The 70-649: TS: Upgrading Your MCSE on Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008, Technology Specialist provides combined credit for the 70-640, 70-642, and 70-643 exams – but only if you also earned the MCSA in Windows Server 2003. Those exams count toward the MCITP: EA or MCITP: VA, which in turn are equivalent to the MCSA: Windows Server 2008.
Windows Client MCTS
The following Windows client OS exam are retiring on July 31, 2015:
- 70-681: Windows 7 and Office 2010, Deploying
The retirement of this exam will retire the MCTS: Windows 7, Configuration certification. The only remaining Windows 7 MCTS will be the MCTS: Windows 7, Configuration (70-680).
This retirement does NOT affect the current Windows 7 MCITP certifications, Enterprise Desktop Support Technician (70-680 and 70-685) and Enterprise Desktop Administrator (70-680 and 70-686).
Visual Studio MCPD
The following Visual Studio 2010 exams are slated to retire:
- 70-518: PRO: Designing and Developing Windows Applications Using Microsoft .NET Framework 4
- 70-519: PRO: Designing and Developing Web Applications Using Microsoft .NET Framework 4
These exams represent the last chance for you to bump your Visual Studio 2010 MCTS certification to either MCPD: Windows Developer 4 or MCPD: Web Developer 4, so if you plan to earn either of those designations, be sure to schedule the applicable exam before July 31, 2015.
SQL Server MCTS, MCITP
The following SQL Server exams are retiring on July 31, 2015:
- 70-433: TS: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Database Deployment
- 70-450: PRO: Designing, Optimizing, and Maintaining a Database Administrative Solution Using Microsoft SQL Server 2008
- 70-451: PRO: Designing Database Solutions and Data Access Using Microsoft SQL Server 2008
The 70-433 is required to earn the MCTS: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Database Development and counts toward the MCITP: Database Developer 2008. The 70-450 and 70-451 are required for both MCITP tracks for SQL Server 2008. Your only other certification option for SQL Server 2008 is the two-exam MCSA: SQL Server 2008.
Microsoft recently announced that the MCSA: SQL Server 2012 will be the final MCSA track for SQL Server. For SQL Server 2014, only the pro-level MCSE: SQL Server 2014 will be offered. You can read the FAQ for more information on the upcoming change.
SharePoint MCTS, MCITP, and MCPD
No exams are scheduled to retire in this category until January 2016.
Lync and Lync Server
Microsoft released an update to these retirements on July 1:
The retirement date of Microsoft Lync 2013 exams have been moved to November 30, 2015. This is good news for those who want to achieve Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Communication in this calendar year. You now have more time to prepare, but be sure to schedule your exam appointment soon! For more details about this retirement date change and the specific exams involved, please see the announcement on Born to Learn blog.
Microsoft will retire all of these exams on July 31, 2015:
- 74-322: Microsoft Lync Server 2010—Advanced Design and Deployment
- 74-335: Lync Network Readiness Assessment
- 70-336: Core Solutions of Microsoft Lync Server 2013
- 70-337: Enterprise Voice Online Services with Microsoft Lync Server 2013
- 74-338: Lync 2013 Depth Support Engineer
These retirements will conclude the availability of the Lync Depth Support Engineer and Lync Network Readiness Assessment specialist certifications. Going forward, Lync will be merged with the MCSA: Office 365 certification and the MCSE: Communication Solutions Expert certification.
Retiring in 2016
Looking ahead, Microsoft has announced that they plan to retire several more exams in January 2016, including 70-662, 70-663, 70-667, 70-668, 70-459, and 70-460. However, exam retirements are always subject to change, so be sure to check the retirements announcement page a minimum of three months before you plan to take an older certification exam.
~Ann and The Transcender Team
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