What We’re Working On – March Edition

March 11, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Posted in Certification Paths, Kaplan IT Training news | 9 Comments
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The only hint of Spring around here is the calendar reminder to spring forward our clocks this weekend. So I hope that as you read this from whatever part of the world you find yourself in today, you’re safe, warm, and studying hard.

As for the latest developments in Development (heh), we released a few things, we’re working on a few things, and we’re sitting & waiting on a few more things. But I won’t bore you with the details, so here are the highlights:

The recently revamped CCNP practice test products (ROUTE, SWITCH, TSHOOT) have been published and are available for purchase HERE:

The certification track has undergone a lot of change, but this new approach by Cisco seems well received by IT professionals. We’re curious to know: what do you think about the new 3-exam track? Are you a newbie to certification and feeling relieved because taking three exams sounds way better than taking four? Are you a CCNP veteran and just blasé, confused, or frustrated by yet another change to the track? Let us know with a comment here, or drop Troy (mcmillantroy) an email at troy.mcmillan@kaplan.com, as he’s always interested in hearing your feedback.

George (gmonsalvatge) has finally been freed from the grip of Windows Server 2008 R2 and is focused on finishing up a couple of SharePoint 2010 products. I may have mentioned this in a previous post, but it’s worth repeating here – the SharePoint 2010 products on our project schedule for this year are the TS – Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Configuring (70-667) and the PRO – Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Administrator (70-668). Some of you have emailed to request the Developer practice products for this track, but as of this post those particular tests have not made it onto our 2011 project plan. But keep sending me your emails if you’re looking for study materials for 70-573 or 70-576. I really do track our customer’s interests. I take your requests and add them into our backlog so whenever we have some wiggle room in our schedule, I know exactly what you’re looking for us to publish!

Josh (codeguru) has successfully tackled through the most difficult topics in the 70-516 C#/VB practice test and is now breezing through the last few sub-objectives to wrap up development on this one and move on to the Windows Application PRO practice test product. The order of attack for the remaining practice test products in this track remains as follows:

  1. 70-518
  2. 70-521
  3. 70-519
  4. 70-523

What we really had fun with the last few weeks was the CompTIA A+ refresh videos. Well, fun for us, but torture for Robin, who (it turns out) hates hearing her recorded voice…honestly, that only made it funnier! But that’s neither here nor there. What I wanted to share with everyone was the link to all 4 videos on our YouTube channel. The conversations aren’t very long, and they’re certainly not boring. What they are is informative. You’ll get to see these two brainiacs sharing their knowledge about A+ exam history, trends, changes and its future. Don’t bother checking out this series if you’re looking for test questions and answers – we take our NDAs very seriously around here. But do take a few minutes to listen if you’re getting ready for the A+ exams or even if you have your A+ certification and want to stay on top of new topics.

One last thing, speaking of new topics – our friends at Train Signal (with the help of their friend Mike Rodriguez) posted a great list of March certification updates. Let me know if anything in this write-up catches your eye. There are a few things that were already on our radar, but our opinion isn’t the only one that counts around here, so can’t wait to here what you think.

Thanks for reading & happy Spring!


What We’re Working On – February Edition

February 10, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Posted in Kaplan IT Training news | Leave a comment
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Love is in the air this month, and we’re expressing our feelings through great new content to help you along the road to certification success!

We’re just days away from releasing a super-sized version of our CISSP practice test product. While our existing product covers all the topics and information you’ll need to pass your exam, the latest revision reorders the Objectives and includes the SubObjective changes seen in the updated ISC2 exam. So expect to see more items and a few new SubObjectives in the soon-to-released version of our CISSP practice test.

For those of you on the ASP.NET fast track, we have a couple of 3.5 upgrade products releasing this month; namely, Cert-70-566 and Cert-70-568 in C# and VB versions. Josh is also writing items for our 70-565 practice test. It’s too early to tell if he prefers the Enterprise Applications content to the ASP.NET Applications topics, but either way, I’m expecting to hear a big sigh of relief when he’s completed the 3.5 products and upgrades.

As you may have read in recent blog posts, Troy is already deep into study mode for the new CCNP certifications. We expect to see the first two new exams, ROUTE and SWITCH, release soon, followed by the brand-new addition to the track, TSHOOT, in the spring. We’ll do our best to keep you posted on any new release dates or other announcements regarding the changes to Cisco’s CCNP certifications as they become available.

The release of our first Windows 7 practice test, Cert-70-680, was well received, so I’m guessing you’re all anticipating the release of the next Windows 7 practice test. George is hard at work on the 70-685 practice test product and we expect to release that next month.

So while February brings us frigid temperatures and the end of NFL Sundays, we look forward to the warmth of the Olympic Couldron, your stories of IT certification study needs and concerns, and the release of new practice test products that help you succeed.

-Aima Rotella

The Times, They Are a-Changin’ for .NET 4.0 Certification

January 25, 2010 at 9:57 am | Posted in Certification Paths, Microsoft | 2 Comments
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Just as you’re trying to learn the intricacies of WPF and getting ready to hang that MCPD : Enterprise Application Developer 3.5 credential on your virtual wall, the new .NET 4.0 exams are announced. And, man, are there some changes coming this year!

Let’s start off with the core exams themselves, as reported last year by Gerry O’Brien:

  • 70-511 TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 4, Windows Application Development
  • 70-513 TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 4, Windows Communication Foundation Development
  • 70-515 TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 4, Web Applications Development
  • 70-516 TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 4, Accessing Data with ADO.NET
  • 70-518 Pro: Designing and Developing Windows Applications Using Microsoft .NET 4
  • 70-519 Pro: Designing and Developing Web Applications Using Microsoft .NET Framework 4

Conspicuously missing from this exam list are the exams 70-514 (TS: Windows Workflow Foundation) and 70-520 (Pro: Enterprise Applications). According to Born To Learn, at this time, Microsoft is not developing these two exams.  Windows Workflow Foundation is certainly a compelling technology, but its adoption has been crawling at a snail’s pace. The target audience for the Enterprise Application Developer is in doubt as well. You and I may know what an enterprise application developer is, but many employers simply do not.

If you’re wondering where the WPF and Silverlight exams are, these technologies will  be covered in the 70-511 and 70-515 exams, respectively. Of course, expect more AJAX in the 70-515 exam as well. There is even a confirmed rumor that the current base .NET exam, 70-536 TS: Microsoft .NET Framework: Application Development Foundation, will not be moving forward as a prerequisite for the .NET 4 certifications.

It is still early going, as the development sessions only just concluded and Visual Studio 2010 isn’t slated for release until April 12th, but I thought you might want the heads-up. The beta exams should be out in the October – December 2010 timeline.

Now you know what my New Year’s Resolution has to be for 2010:  to spend my holidays taking beta exams! Nothing like programming with some turkey in the stomach and eggnog in the head…

–Joshua Hester (codeguru)

Can I have fries with that .NET upgrade?

December 1, 2008 at 9:35 am | Posted in Certification Paths, Microsoft | Leave a comment
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Editor’s note: In honor of the real Turkey Day, here’s the follow-up to Josh’s previous post detailing trends in Microsoft’s .NET certification paths.

If there’s one thing in which to have faith in this downward-spiraling economy, it’s two basic drives of the human soul: the entrepreneurial spirit, and the love of fast food. Ray Kroc would be a good example of such a spirit. Starting as a small-time franchisee of the little-known McDonald’s restaurant in 1953, Mr. Kroc would later take over the restaurant chain from brothers Dick and Mac McDonald and build a multi-billion dollar empire based on busy people’s need for cheap, highly fat-saturated food, served right to the window of your car while idling on precious gas fumes. Okay, uh, let’s drive through that example…

With more cars stalled on the economic highway, IT certification has become more valuable.* As fewer lanes are opening up, the need to merge into existing traffic has become even more treacherous. How do you stretch your certification bucks, with times being what they are? After seeing the banquet of .NET certification options spread out on the table (see previous post), overflowing with casseroles of TS (Technology Specialist) and PD (Professional Developer) certifications, you’re probably wondering if there’s a something akin to a certification drive-thru: quick, cheap, and highly saturated.

If you have the know-how (and a good practice test like Transcender) but not the stomach for a buffet, .NET upgrade exams just may be the answer. Since breaking down the MCAD and MCSD certification into the smaller TS and PD dishes, Microsoft has also been steadily building upgrade exams to ease the transition. The 550 series exams are value meals that provide instant certification gratification for those with the appetite. These upgrade exams are also cheaper than the full-length TS and PD exams, being only $75 apiece (that’s 40% off the original price).

(Click the diagram for a larger image.)

Microsoft .NET 2.0 Upgrade Paths

Microsoft .NET 2.0 Upgrade Paths

Continue Reading Can I have fries with that .NET upgrade?…

Carving out the .NET Certification Path

August 19, 2008 at 8:47 am | Posted in Certification Paths, Microsoft | Leave a comment
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I know it’s a bit early, but in North America we have an autumn holiday tenderly called “Turkey Day.” This is a time where friends and family put aside differences and distances to share a large feast together in the pretense of harmony. The event usually revolves around the traditional meat of turkey, and the carving ceremony in my family has always been a moment of great anticipation and even greater contention.

So, sitting down at the .NET certification table, you might be wondering what happened to the big MCSD/MCAD turkey. Back in the day, the MCSD/MCAD certification represented a master developer, a jack-of-all-trades. So if you wanted a developer certification beyond the MCP, you had to eat the whole MCSD/MCAD turkey, even if you were just a Windows developer or only developed ASP Web sites; you had to eat both dark and white meat, leg and drumstick – everything.

With the introduction of the .NET Framework, the situation became even more complicated. Developing a Windows application became very similar to harnessing Web power, but you had to know everything about both to get the MCSD. The MCAD certification attempted to alleviate the pressure, but it was never as successful a certification as the MCSD.

So for the last few years Microsoft Learning has been busy carving the certification turkey, trying to spread the slices across a much wider spectrum of Microsoft technologies. We’ve entered a new age of smaller, more technology-specific certifications, so that there’s a little bit of certification for everyone to share. Rather than the MCSD and MCAD designation, there are now the TS (Technology Specialist) and PD (Professional Developer) designations.

So how is the certification table currently laid out? Something like this (click the image for a larger version):


Continue Reading Carving out the .NET Certification Path…

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