Limited time remains to earn many MCTS, MCPD, and MCITP certifications before July 31

June 9, 2015 at 4:14 pm | Posted in Certification Paths, Microsoft, Vendor news | Leave a 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 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 70-66270-66370-66770-66870-459, 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.

Happy certifying!

~Ann and The Transcender Team

Other posts you may interested in:

Customer asks: Is now the time to study for Windows Server 2008 certification, or Server 2012?

Customer asks: What Windows Desktop Client exam should I take for the MCSA or MCTS?

Select Microsoft virtualization, SQL Server 2008, Windows Server 2008, and Windows 7 exams to retire this month

January 6, 2014 at 10:09 am | Posted in Certification Paths, Microsoft, Transcender news, Vendor news | 7 Comments
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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 https://transcender.wordpress.com/category/certification-paths/ to find the latest posts by date on this topic.

If you are working on any of the following certifications, then set your calendar reminders and schedule your exam dates, because several Microsoft exams are retiring January 31, 2014. While you may still be able to get a certification in that technology, such as the still-current MCSA in SQL Server 2008, you will not be able to earn older MCITP or MCTS credentials.

(Note that Microsoft has not entirely abandoned the one-test MCTS certification track. We’ll cover the non-expiring MCITP and MCTS tracks in an upcoming post.)

The following certification tracks are either expiring completely, or are losing one of their required tests to expiration:

  • MCITP: Database Administrator 2008
  • MCITP: Database Developer 2008
  • MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician on Windows 7
  • MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator on Windows 7
  • MCITP: Enterprise Administrator on Windows Server 2008
  • MCITP: Virtualization Administrator on Windows Server 2008 R2
  • MCTS: Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization
  • MCTS: Windows Server 2008 R2, Desktop Virtualization
  • MCTS: Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010, Deployment
  • MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuration
  • MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure, Configuration
  • MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure, Configuration

The retiring exams include:

  • 70-450: PRO: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Designing, Optimizing, and Maintaining a Database Administrative Solution
  • 70-451: PRO: Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Designing and Optimizing Database Solutions
  • 70-643: TS: Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure, Configuring
  • 70-647: PRO: Windows Server 2008, Enterprise Administrator
  • 70-649: 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
  • 70-681: TS: Windows 7 and Office 2010, Deploying
  • 70-682: PRO: Upgrading to Windows 7 MCITP Enterprise Desktop Support Technician
  • 70-693: PRO: Windows Server 2008 R2, Virtualization Administrator

For a complete list of retiring certifications, see this page: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/mcts-certification.aspx.

For a complete list of retiring exams, see this page: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/retired-certification-exams.aspx.

MCTS, MCITP, MCPD: What is dead may never die, but rises again, more certified than before

August 14, 2013 at 8:15 am | Posted in Certification Paths, Microsoft, Vendor news | Leave a comment
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Just over a year ago, George posted a comprehensive list of the exams scheduled to retire on July 31, 2013, which can be summed up as “looks like practically everything.” For a while, it also appeared that all Visual Studio 2010 exams would expire last month.

However, Microsoft listened to customer feedback and extended, or suspended entirely, retirement of some of the more sought-after tests. Next, it turned out that the demise of the MCTS and MCITP was greatly exaggerated as well. While many of the exams for those technologies did expire, Microsoft softened the rollover by shifting many existing 2008 exams to the resurrected MCSE and MCSA certifications, and extended deadlines for certifying in key technologies into 2014.

These zombie tests have escaped the headsman’s axe… FOR NOW. We suggest you not delay your study plans, because by 2014 they may be going back into the grave, never to rise again.

What is dead may never die, but rises again, stronger than before....

What is dead may never die, but rises again, stronger than before….

When you play the game of certs, you upgrade….or you die

While most Visual Studio 2010 exams are gone, if you currently hold an MCPD certification on Visual Studio 2008, you can still upgrade your certifications to Visual Studio 2010.

  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0: Upgrade Paths
    • 70-521: Upgrade: Transition your MCPD .NET Framework 3.5 Windows Developer Skills to MCPD .NET 4.0 Windows Applications Developer. Exam retires July 31, 2014.
    • 70-523: Upgrade: Transition Your MCPD .NET Framework 3.5 Web Developer Skills to MCPD .NET Framework 4 Web Developer. Exam retires July 31, 2014.

And although the component exams are retired, those who hold an MCSE on Windows Server 2003 can still take the three-in-one 70-649 to earn the triple home run of three MCTS (Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Configuration, Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure Configuration, and Windows Server 2008 Application Platform Configuration ).

  •  Windows Server 2003 MSCE to Windows Server 2008 MCTS: Upgrade Path
    • 70-649: TS: Upgrading Your MCSE on Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008, Technology Specialist (hurry; retires January 2014)

I Want My MTV..C…ITP…TS

If you are still seeking the elusive one-test certification, the MCTS, these options are still alive and kicking. Expiration dates vary between January and July 2014, and in some cases are still listed as July 2013 on the individual exam pages, so please confirm availability with Microsoft or Prometric:

  • 70-177: Earns the MCTS: Microsoft Project Server 2010, Configuration
  • 70-433: Earns the MCTS: SQL Server 2008, Database Development
  • 70-506: Earns the MCTS: Silverlight 4, Development
  • 70-643: Earns the MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure, Configuration (note: as of this writing, this exam is listed as expiring in the overview, but is shown as live until January 2014 on the Microsoft master list)
  • 70-659: Earns the Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization
  • 70-662: Earns the MCTS: Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, Configuration
  • 70-667: Earns the MCTS: SharePoint 2010, Configuration
  • 70-669: Earns the MCTS: Windows Server 2008 R2, Desktop Virtualization
  • 70-681: Earns the MCTS: Windows 7 and Office 2010, Deployment

If you are still working toward an MCITP, these component exams have been extended until January 2014:

  • 70-450: PRO: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Designing, Optimizing, and Maintaining a Database Administrative Solution
  • 70-647: Pro: Windows Server 2008, Enterprise Administrator
  • 70-663: Pro: Designing and Deploying Messaging Solutions with Microsoft Exchange Server 2010
  • 70-668: PRO: Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Administrator
  • 70-682: Pro: Upgrading to Windows 7 MCITP Enterprise Desktop Support Technician
  • 70-693: Pro: Windows Server 2008 R2, Virtualization Administrator

Finally, although the component exams may have been salvaged and reassigned to different certifications, you only have until January 2014 to earn the MCITP or MCTS credential itself. After that date, even if the same exam is still active, it will count toward a different certification.

They’re Dead, Jim

These exams ARE RETIRED as of July 31, 2013. Requiescat in pace.

Windows Client:

70-270 – Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows XP Professional
70-620 – TS: Configuring Microsoft Windows Vista Client
70-622 – Pro: Microsoft Desktop Support – ENTERPRISE
70-623 – Pro: Microsoft Desktop Support – CONSUMER
70-635 – TS: Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2008, Desktop Deployment
70-660 – TS: Windows Internals
70-683 – TS: Windows 7, Preinstalling for OEMs

Windows Server:

70-169 – TS: Windows Small Business Server 7, Configuring
70-290 – Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment
70-291 – Implementing, Managing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure
70-293 – Planning and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure
70-294 – Planning, Implementing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Infrastructure
70-297 – Designing a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory and Network Infrastructure
70-298 – Designing Security for a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network
70-299 – Implementing and Administering Security in a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network
70-648 – Upgrading your MCSA on Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008, Technology Specialist
70-656 – TS: Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, Configuring
74-679 – Windows Server 2008 Hosted Environments, Configuring and Managing
70-690 – Windows Server 2008 HPC Environments, Configuring and Managing
70-691 – Windows Server 2008 HPC Environments, Developing
70-699 – Windows Server 2003, MCSA Security Specialization Skills Update

Visual Studio:

70-502 – TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 – Windows Presentation Foundation
70-503 – TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 – Windows Communication Foundation
70-504 – TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 – Workflow
70-505 – TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, Windows Forms Application Development
70-536 – TS: Microsoft .NET Framework – Application Development Foundation
70-561 – TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, ADO.NET Application Development
70-562 – TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, ASP.NET Application Development
70-563 – Pro: Designing and Developing Windows Applications Using the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5
70-564 – PRO: Designing and Developing ASP.NET Applications Using the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5
70-565 – PRO: Designing and Developing Enterprise Applications Using the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5

SQL Server, Lync, and Office Communications Server:

70-451 – PRO: Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Designing and Optimizing Database Solutions
70-452 – PRO: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Designing a Business Intelligence Solution
70-664 – TS: Microsoft Lync Server 2010, Configuring
70-665 – PRO: Microsoft Lync Server 2010, Administrator

The official list of retired Microsoft certification exams is here.

Customer asks: What Windows Desktop Client exam should I take for the MCSA or MCTS?

April 15, 2013 at 9:37 am | 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 https://transcender.wordpress.com/category/certification-paths/ to find the latest posts by date on this topic.

In response to a recent post, blog reader Raj asked,

Please tell me which certification is best for Windows 7 – MCSA or MCTS ?? And how many exams I need to give to pass that particular exam. Also, I would like to know the validity of that certification.

The good news is that until January 31, 2014**, you don’t have to choose; the same exam counts towards both certifications. The Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) credentials are one-test certifications: one exam, and you’ve earned it. These are the same exams that are being phased out by Microsoft in favor of the new MCSA/MCSE certification family. The MCSA/MCSE credentials will require that you pass a minimum of three exams.

During the overlap period, however, select MCTS exams will serve double duty and count toward both certification families. We love a 2-for-1!

**ETA 8/15/2013: as Microsoft has changed several of the exam retirement dates since this post was written, please be sure to check the exam retirement master list or contact Microsoft directly to ensure the exam you need is still active.

What about the MCITP for desktop clients?

The MCITP desktop certifications (Windows Vista and Windows 7) are dependent on their underlying MCTS certifications, so these are being phased out as well. You only have three months left to take a Vista exam; all Vista-related exams are retiring on July 31, 2013.

The MCITP for Windows 7 is retiring on January 31, 2014. Please note that the actual exams are not being retired on that date; they’re being repurposed to the new certification paths of MCSA and MCSE. So after January 31, 2014, you won’t earn the MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator on Windows 7 or the MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician on Windows 7 certifications, but you can still take Exams 680, 685, and 686.

Also, any MCTS and MCITP certification will stay on your Microsoft transcript after the certification itself is retired, and you can mention it on your resume and to hiring managers for as long as it seems relevant to do so.

How does the MCITP relate to the MCSA?

Until January 31, 2014, the MCITP: EDST and the MCITP: EDA in Windows 7 are both functionally equivalent to the MCSA: Windows 7. To earn the MCSA: Windows 7, you have to pass this exams:

plus one of these two exams:

If you have already passed these exams, you should have received a notice from Microsoft that you were retroactively granted the MCSA as well.

The MCITP: Enterprise Support Technician on Windows Vista and the MCITP: Consumer Support Technician on Windows Vista are not functionally equivalent to the MCSA for Windows 7, and Microsoft has not announced an upgrade path (as of the time of this post).

Why should I still care about MCTS?

The MCTS is the last of the one-test certifications. If you need a Microsoft certification under your belt today, the clock is ticking down to do so. Because the Windows 7 MCTS exams count towards the MCSA in Windows 7, you lose nothing by taking them.

There are only two MCTS level exams for Windows desktop operating systems:

If you don’t have experience in Windows 7 desktop client, you can take the 70-620 for a few more months.

Okay, so what test do I take today?

Continue Reading Customer asks: What Windows Desktop Client exam should I take for the MCSA or MCTS?…

Customer asks: Is now the time to study for Windows Server 2008 certification, or Server 2012?

September 27, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Posted in Certification Paths, Microsoft, Study hints | 40 Comments
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Editor’s note: 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.

In response to a recent post, blog reader Zappy asked,

I am new to Windows Server certifications and I currently hold none. I am thinking of getting certified but I am not sure if I should begin with Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2012. I have a fair amount of experience in 2008. What would you suggest?

The knee-jerk response is “Forget 2008; study for the cert that will have the longest shelf life.” However, there are a few factors to consider before writing off a 2008 certification entirely. Those factors are:

  • the number of exams required to earn a certification
  • the desired time frame for earning a certification
  • the user’s level of experience with 2008 versus 2012
  • how soon the user can expect 2012 to be the standard in his or her particular industry

For the sake of demonstration, I’m going to look only at Windows Server certifications, and not specialties such as Lync, .NET, SharePoint, or Exchange. (You can find more information on those certification paths here.) I’m also going to stick with entry-level and mid-level certs, since you’d be earning those anyway as you blaze towards the MCSE or MCM.

(Remember: These recommendations are for someone who, as of late 2012, has not yet taken any Microsoft exam and needs to factor exam retirement dates into a certification strategy.)

Do it now: Be off like a shot

No matter which path you decide to pursue, do it now. The perfect time to buy your first Microsoft exam voucher is during the Second Shot promotion. That means that if you take an exam between now and May 30, 2013 and fail it, you can sit for a free retake. You can buy Second Shot assurance for a single exam or for a multi-exam voucher pack (which typically earns you a bulk discount on exam fees as well).

It only takes one

Remember that passing one certification exam, even if it’s part of a multi-exam certification track, earns you the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) credential. As a member of the Microsoft Certification Program, you have access to MCP Flash emails from Microsoft, and you can share your transcript with others to show your progress towards a specific certification.

Single-exam certs: testing the Microsoft waters

In the “need a cert now” category, you can obtain a Microsoft certification with just one test — and it will count toward a higher-level certification, should you choose to pursue one. However, one-test certs are only offered for Windows Server 2008. The three server specializations are:

Remember that these exams include Windows Server 2008 R2 material, so you absolutely must be familiar with R2 before sitting an exam.

Our recommendation: if you’ve never sat for any Microsoft test and don’t know what to expect, combining Second Shot with a one-test cert might be the perfect low-stress entrance strategy, even if it “only” earns you an MCTS Server 2008 credential. If you go this route, choose either the 70-640 or the 70-642, since these also count toward the newly fledged MCSA in Server 2008 (more on that in the next section).

70-643 alone is not relevant to the MCSA 2008, so look at the exam’s objectives, and only choose it if you need this certification in your current job (and your boss is paying).

Three to five exams: not all middle-tier certs are created equal

Things get a bit murky as you move up the Server 2008 certification ladder. Having divided Generation 2008 certifications into five MCTS (entry level) and three MCITP (mid level) exam tracks, all covering different job roles and skills, Microsoft recently collapsed the varied tracks back into a revised MCSA, and added the upper-tier MCSE options. However, the MCITP tracks are still active. Depending on the track, each MCITP will either be phased out in July 2013 or rolled into the new generation of certifications.

You can obtain an MCITP in a Windows client or in Server 2008 R2 by taking three to five exams. The three server paths are Enterprise, Server Admin, and Virtualization Admin.

Earning the MCITP: Server OR the MCITP: Enterprise automatically snags you an equivalent MCSA: Windows Server 2008. However, Server can be earned in only three exams, while Enterprise takes five. A MCSA: Server 2008 plus the 70-417 upgrade exam can then earn you the MCSA: Server 2012.

The MCITP: Virtualization also allows you to upgrade to MCSA: Server 2012 — but, confusingly, you can’t upgrade it to an MCSA: Server 2008. Microsoft has dropped it from this list of current MCITP tracks; also see this blog post.

Our recommendation: Continue Reading Customer asks: Is now the time to study for Windows Server 2008 certification, or Server 2012?…

Exchange Server 2010 Pro Designing (70-663) and TS: Configuring (70-662) exams: take a tip from the masters

April 22, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Posted in Certification Paths, Microsoft | Leave a comment
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You know how Phil Mickelson recently won the Masters golf tournament, despite not playing well this year overall? I think he just rode the momentum of having won the Masters twice before. Me, I recently took the 70-663 exam, Pro: Designing and Deploying Messaging Solutions with Microsoft Exchange Server 2010. When I was doing my studying for this test, I notice that there was a lot of overlap with the objectives of the 70-662 exam, TS: Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, Configuring. Because I had just recently taken 70-662, I risked cutting down my study time for the 70-663 and just hit the topics that weren’t on the 662 list. Like Mickelson, I rode that momentum, and the gamble worked: I passed.

If it’s at all financially feasible, if you’re prepping for the 70-662 exam, you should plan to take the 70-663 shortly afterward. Here’s why. The 70-662 exam asks you questions on how you may perform specific tasks.  For the 70-662 exam, you will need to know concepts of Exchange Server 2010 installation, message routing, and each Exchange 2010 server role. These concepts will be tested again on the 70-663, but this time the exam focuses on your understanding of how to plan and deploy different Exchange server roles, message security, and high availability of different server roles. Unlike the 70-662, you may not need to know specific switches of Exchange cmdlets, but you will have to know how to these concepts fit within a specific designing or deploying scenario.

The thing is, if  you go into the material for the 70-662 with the aim of understanding the concepts from the ground up, you’ll be studying for the 70-663 by default. If you want to get the Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP): Enterprise Messaging Administrator 2010 certification, you have to pass both the 70-662 and the 70-663. Passing the 70-662 exam is not easy, but if you’ve mastered that, then knocking out the 70-663 exam doesn’t require a lot of extra effort. Just keep the momentum going.

An example of the type of question you would see on the 70-662 test would go like this: Continue Reading Exchange Server 2010 Pro Designing (70-663) and TS: Configuring (70-662) exams: take a tip from the masters…

The New MS Certifications for Dummies

October 16, 2008 at 4:11 pm | Posted in Microsoft | Leave a comment
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Having outlined the basic types of IT certification exams, I’m now going tackle the current status of Microsoft certifications. This is directed at those of you who have been certified in the past and are thinking of brushing up, as well as first-time cert-seekers.

Roughly two years ago, Microsoft drastically altered their piece of the certification landscape. The monolithic and sought-after flagship brand certification, the MCSE, was replaced by a bewildering (to some) array of “job specific” certifications. Some IT professionals, career counselors, and employers are still trying to get a handle on this new series of certifications, which was revised again last month with the introduction of the Certified Master concept.

According to Microsoft, industry data showed that hiring managers disliked the MCSE concept, complaining that a MCSE title did not specify where, in the array of Microsoft products, a job seeker was actually proficient. To address this problem, MS created a new certification path designed to allow “specializations.” Without digging too deeply into all the certifications available (including upgrades and phase-outs), let’s look at the basic structure as it now stands.

The new series is organized in four levels meant to represent increasing capabilities in the technology. (There are four, even though they are represented in a three-tier graphic on the Microsoft Learning Web site.)  The four levels and their descriptions are:

  • Technology Series – These exams demonstrate basic understanding of a particular product. This is the entry-level certification to the specified technology (e.g. SQL Server 2008). Successful completion yields a MCTS (Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist) certification in several “flavors.” For example, for SQL Server 2008, you can obtain a MCTS in Active Directory Configuration, Network Infrastructure Configuration, or Applications Infrastructure. Each indicates a different specialization, and an employer might choose between two candidates in a more targeted manner than if both held an MCSA or MCP.
  • Professional Series – These exams demonstrate a deeper understanding and also come in specializations. Successful completion yields a MCITP (Microsoft Certified IT Professional) certification or a MCPD (Microsoft Certified Professional Developer) certification. These also have several flavors. As examples of specializations under Server 2008, there are Support Technician, Enterprise Administrator and Server Administrator. Again, this may affect hiring decisions made by a company looking for one focus over the other. Continue Reading The New MS Certifications for Dummies…

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