Microsoft’s long-running Windows Server 2008 certification to retire July 2017

June 27, 2017 at 8:20 am | Posted in Certification Paths, Microsoft, Vendor news | Leave a comment
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A whopping nine years after its introduction, Microsoft is drawing the certification program for Windows Server 2008 administration to a close. As of July 31, 2017, you will no longer be able to take the exams or earn the MCSA: Windows Server 2008.

The retiring exams are:

  • 70-640: TS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring (Transcender practice exam available here)
  • 70-642: TS: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure, Configuring (Transcender practice exam available here)
  • 70-646: Pro: Windows Server 2008, Server Administrator (Transcender practice exam available here)

If you only need one or two of the exams to earn your MCSA in Windows Server 2008, then don’t delay. Earning that credential will enable you to sit for exam 70-417: Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows Server 2012 and upgrade to the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 in one step. However, a number of earlier certifications will also qualify you for this exam, so be sure to review the list of prerequisites first if you still have two exams to go on the MCSA: 2008.

After July 31, the MCSA in Windows Server 2008 will join the list of legacy certifications. It will still be a valid credential for your resume and will appear on your transcripts in the Active section.

MCSA 2008

At the same time as it shutters the MCSA: Server 2008 certification, Windows will also close down the 70-694 exam, Virtualizing Enterprise Desktops and Apps. This exam focuses on Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) Service Pack 2 (SP2), Microsoft User Experience Virtualization (UE-V), and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) as part of Windows Server 2012 R2, and earns a credit toward an MCP certification.

Happy certifying!

-the Transcender Team

Kaplan IT Training Announces New Blog Column Focusing on Women In Technology

March 30, 2017 at 10:58 am | Posted in Certification Paths, cybersecurity, Knowledge, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Welcome!

Women At Work In Engineering and Technology is our new blog column created especially for women working in these specializations and those who are interested in taking on the challenge. As we bring Women’s History Month 2017 to a close, this is the perfect time to introduce our new column. Let’s make Women’s History Month every month for women in technology.

Worker Shortage

Although many women are currently work in the area, education and corporations are investigating ways to encourage more women and girls to choose tech as a career option. Women have played a large part in engineering, technology, science and math, but until recently were often overlooked. The recognition is growing and so are the opportunities. There are definite shortages of technology workers, most assuredly women are missing at larger rates than men. How can we address this?

There are companies and institutions that have chosen to provide virtual classes for beginners as well as advanced learners that teach coding. Coding literacy is in demand and companies are finding innovative ways to fill the void. This is an example of how important technology has become in our world. Currently, there is a lack of employees that can take on the roles of software engineers and system administrators. Fortunately for those who acquire these skills, the need is increasing.  Other areas that contain critical shortages include cyber security and data management.

Educational Efforts In Public School Education

There are efforts in K-12 education in many schools across the nation to bring coding and advanced technology classes to students. These efforts are boosted by the United States push towards S.T.E.A.M and S.T.E.M.

S.T.E.A.M. is education’s way to encourage students’ to embrace careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, The Arts, and Math. This usually takes place in lower grade levels through middle school. S.T.E.M. is the acronym given to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math studies in high schools. Students are surrounded by technology, but oftentimes they are not aware of its power or relevance. Many educational institutions believe that if introduced early enough, students will take advantage of the knowledge over the course of their education and be more apt to be successful in an increasingly technical world. Girls, in particular, are targeted because of the scarcity of females that continue to enroll and stay on track in these courses.

Women Where Are You?

As young women and girls enter the technology field it becomes quite apparent that they are surrounded by fewer female faces. Support is often lacking, and roadblocks appear because of lack of access to find pathways to assist in continued progress.  Mentorship and encouragement is extremely important,

We Want To Help

Our goal with our new column is to provide information that can uplift women and girls in the field of technology. We will be discussing technical trends, careers, certifications, and training. We will keep you up to date on what it takes to find yourself and be successful in a technology focused career.

We will also reach out to our readers to find out your challenges, issues, personal stories as you navigate the world of technology. Technology surrounds us. We are mastering it and thriving. It’s time for us to let the world know while encouraging others. Look for us. We are here to share your stories and give you information that you can use.

 

 

Microsoft extends Windows 7 and SharePoint Server 2013 certifications to mid-2018

January 30, 2017 at 2:50 pm | Posted in Certification Paths, Microsoft | Leave a comment
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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

Continue Reading Microsoft extends Windows 7 and SharePoint Server 2013 certifications to mid-2018…

Microsoft changing Windows 10 certification paths; Windows 8/8.1 certifications to retire in December 2016

November 16, 2016 at 1:19 pm | Posted in Certification Paths, Microsoft | 1 Comment
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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:

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:

  • 70-680: Windows 7, Configuring
  • 70-685: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Support Technician

MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator on Windows 7:

  • 70-680: Windows 7, Configuring
  • 70-686: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Administrator

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

Be sure to subscribe to email updates from Transcender to receive future sale alerts, bundles, deals, and discounts!

Windows 7 Practice Exams and Bundles

Windows 8 Practice Exams and Bundles

Windows 10 Practice Exams and Bundles

Happy certifying!
-The Transcender Team

Introducing the new CCNA: ICNDv3 exams, 100-105 and 200-105

October 12, 2016 at 8:27 am | Posted in Certification Paths, Cisco | Leave a comment
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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)

or

  • 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
7.0 Troubleshooting

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:
    • Firewalls
    • 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
4.0 Troubleshooting
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!

Transcender Practice Exam for 100-105 NetCert: Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 1 (ICND1) v3.0

Transcender Practice Exam for 200-105NetCert: Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 2 (ICND2) v3.0

Transcender Practice Exam for 200-125 Composite Cisco Certified Network Associate Exam

Until next time,

–Troy McMillan

Lightning deal: Microsoft offers FREE upgrades for 2016 MCSA in June

June 16, 2016 at 8:35 am | Posted in Certification Paths, Microsoft | Leave a comment
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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.

Happy certifying!

~ The Transcender Team

Announcing Microsoft’s FREE upgrade exam for Win 8 MCSAs

March 30, 2016 at 4:23 pm | Posted in Certification Paths, Microsoft, Vendor news | Leave a comment
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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.

The New A+ 900 Series: What’s New (Part 2 of 5)

January 28, 2016 at 1:08 pm | Posted in Certification Paths, CompTIA, Study hints, study tips | 1 Comment
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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 (16:916:10, 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 HDMIUSB A to USB BUSB to EthernetDVI to VGAThunderbolt to DVIPS/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 padsSmart 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 (DuplexCollateOrientation, 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 filePrint to PDFPrint 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
Closing Thoughts

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:

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.

cert-220-901

Thanks again for reading!

-Robin Abernathy

The New A+ 900 Series: What’s New (Part 1 of 5)

December 22, 2015 at 4:49 pm | Posted in Certification Paths, CompTIA | 2 Comments
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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!

cert-220-901

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:

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!

-Robin

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
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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.

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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:

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:

  1. Obtain an LPI ID.
  2. Once you have passed both Linux+ exams, log into your CompTIA certification account. Choose Demographics | Settings. On the Settings page check the box to have your information forwarded to LPI, then click Submit.
  3. Upon receipt of your LPIC-1 apply online for your SUSE CLA.

Being who we are, we tested these steps ourselves before blogging about it. Here’s the cheat sheet:

  1. 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.
  2. Wait a bit. (I got my email from LPI in about 48 hours.)
  3. Look through the email. You should get instructions and a link to verify your credentials with SUSE.
  4. 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.

Click here to activate your 20% discount

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.

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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!

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