Microsoft offers some great accelerated classes called “Jump Starts” through its online learning division for a mere $99. Last week (October 25) they announced some new dates for their extremely popular 70-659 exam “Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization Jump Start.” On November 2 (Wednesday) and December 1 (exactly one month from tomorrow) you can tune in to learn about this exam from Microsoft Technical Evangelist Symon Perriman and MS Technical Instructor Philip Helsel on this topic.
You might ask: “What makes the Jump Start a good enough deal that I’m willing to blog about it?” Here’s why: by itself the day of training (8 hours) is probably worth $99. But when you sign up for the Jump Start, you also get an exam voucher for the related exam (70-659) as well. And because normal retail pricing for that exam is $150, you’re sort of getting the training for free, and a $51 discount on the exam along with it.
This is simply too good a deal to pass up. Register now to get in on the training, and the exam discount. The hours may be a bit wonky (8am – 4pm PDT on 11/2/2011 and 10pm-6am EDT on 12/1/2011) depending on your time zone, but the value of this offering is indisputable. Be ready to hit the ground running in this class though: it is designed for those who already know their way around MS virtualization tools and techniques, not for rank beginners.
As of January 1, 2011, the CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications must be renewed on a three-year cycle. What I didn’t know until one of my HP Learning Center students asked me, was that you can count the CEUs (“Continuing Education Units”) you must earn to maintain cert currency more than one toward keeping multiple CompTIA Certifications current. Of course, you can always elect to re-take the latest exam every three years instead, if you prefer…
Keeping an A+ current requires earning 20 CEUs over the three-year renewal period, while maintaining the Network+ and Security+ require 30 and 50 CEUs respectively. But if you go all the way to keeping your Security+ current, and also hold the A+ and Network+, those 50 CEUs cover you for all three credentials in one swell foop.
Here’s the relevant language from the CompTIA CEU FAQ:
Q: I hold multiple CompTIA certifications. Am I required to renew each of them?
A: No. Individuals with multiple CompTIA certifications are encouraged to participate in CE at the highest level of certification held. For example, someone who holds CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Security+ certifications would be required to meet only the continuing education requirements for CompTIA Security+.
Completion of CE for CompTIA Security+ would grant the participant with a CompTIA Security+ce, and simultaneously grant a new CompTIA A+ce and CompTIA Network+ce. Please note you must have a certification for it to be applicable as part of the CE program. No certification is granted through CE participation, only renewed.
It’s always good to know how things really work when it comes to important details like maintaining cert currency, so I’m glad to share this with my readers.
When I posted a notice to LinkedIn yesterday to announce a new story for Tom’s IT Pro entitled “Most Bang for Your IT Certification Bucks” I got a very nice reply from online friend and occasional collaborator Joli Ballew who not coincidentally just earned her MCT (Microsoft Certified Trainer) credential and is also teaching full-time at Brookhaven Community College in Farmer’s Branch, TX.
She told me about a set of classes taught through their Microsoft Academy affiliation that cost $200 to study up for various Microsoft certs on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008. The classes cost $200 each, and students not only get a free copy of Windows Server 2008 (original and R2) and a copy of Winodws 7 Professional, they also get free access to the rest of the Microsoft software catalog with, as Joli put it in an e-mail to me “…product IDs that do not expire.” And of course, those same students also get access to high-quality instructor led training and a fully-equipped study lab that lets them learn to use this stuff in a well-run and -supervised environment, with access to instructors or lab assistants if they run into trouble, or get stuck trying to figure something out.
Sure, you can only take advantage of the Brookhaven offerings if you live in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex area, but that’s not really the point of this blog, even if it is a true killer education deal. The real point of this blog is that over 2,000 community colleges in the US belong to the Microsoft Academy program as well, and also offer similar deals to would-be certification candidates ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. As you’re planning your next certification campaign, or thinking about how to prep for a cert exam, don’t forget to check out these amazing educational outlets, with all of the great instructors and resources they have to offer!
Posted here by mistake. Please see the true posting for this item over on my Windows Enterprise Desktop blog. Sorry for the mixup.
Whether you’re going for MCITP on Windows Server 2008 R2 Server Administrator or the more up-market Enterprise Administrator version, MS press has a newly updated training kit for you. For the Server Administrator credential, you need the 3-Pack version (70-640, 70-642, and 70-646); For the Enterprise Administrator credential, you need the 4-Pack version (which adds 70-643 to the elements already present in the preceding 3-Pack list, and includes 70-647 for Enterprise Admins instead of 70-646 for Server Admins ).
3-Pack left, 4-Pack right
Here’s some brief skinny on those five exams, listed in Numerical order:
|Windows Server 2008 R2 Exams|
|Exam ID (linked)||Title|
|70-640||TS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring|
|70-642||TS: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure, Configuring|
|70-643||TS: Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure, Configuring|
|70-646||Pro: Windows Server 2008, Server Administrator|
|70-647||Pro: Windows Server 2008, Enterprise Administrator|
FWIW, the MS Press Training Kits usually rank in the top 5 resources for the exams that they cover, and they’re also usually attractively priced, too. So if you’re preparing for either the MCITP: Enterprise Administrator on Windows Server 2008 (4-Pack) or the MCITP: Server Administrator on Windows Server 2008 (3-Pack), you’re likely to find them both useful and informative preparation tools. For more info, and pointers to retail providers of these materials check out this Born to Learn blog post “Available now: Training Kit 3-Pack and 4-Pack for Windows Server 2008 2nd Editions.”
For those to whom too much of me is a good thing, or to the insatiably curious, I recommend the two Webinars I’ll be doing pretty much back-to-back next Tuesday, October 25. One of these will be for Pearson IT Certification, in my role as IT certification blogger, author, and champion/creator of the Exam Crambook series. The other is for SMB network management, monitoring, and utility powerhouse company Spiceworks, and sponsored by the printer division at Dell.
Here are some details for both of these one-hour Webinars:
11:00 AM CDT Pearson IT Certification “Planning Your Next Certification Campaign”
What you’ll get from me here is a description of how to establish goals and evaluate certification progess. In particular, I’ll discuss how to conduct a self- or readiness-assessment for IT certification, developing a study plan, and establishing a personal support system. I’ll also explain how to implement such a study plan, and then provide pointers to resources to help you along this path. Should be fun! Here’s the registration page.
01:00 PM CDT Spiceworks “Best Ways to Reduce Printer Costs By Up to 40 Percent”
In this Webinar, I take a look at how organizations can reduce their printing costs substantially, and cover lots of nitty-gritty detail that explains exactly how this can happen. I’ll look at printer monitoring and management techniques, discuss smart ways to curb printing costs, explain how electronic routing and distribution can render some hardcopy output unnecessary, and even get into how using draft mode and so-called “eco-fonts” can cut down on toner or ink consumption. Same thing goes for default use of duplex mode, printing 2 or 4 slides per page in PowerPoint, and so forth and so on. Attendees should walk away with some good ideas on how to reduce printing costs, and with pointers to tools and information to help them turn such savings loose in their own organization. Not to stretch your credibility overmuch, but I’m gonna do my best to make this fun and fact-filled, too! Here’s the sign-up link.
I hope you’ll join me for one or both of these Webinars online. If you do, please also be sure to pepper the Q&A session with your questions, comments, and concerns. I like a lively online interchange. Thanks!
For this blog I’ve signed up with countless PR groups and agencies to be kept abreast of IT certification stuff. More frequently than I expect, this link-up actually produces useful information, as a recent email from Waggener-Edstrom (Microsoft’s PR agency, among others) reminded me. It pointed to a new Microsoft Learning White Paper entitled “Cloud Computing: What IT Professionals Need to Know,” which indeed includes oodles of info about cloud-based or -related technology offerings from Microsoft, job skills profiles, and interesting coverage of how these things tie into Platform-as-a-Service and Software-as-a-Service (PaaS and SaaS, respectively).
The conclusion of this paper reads as follows, and sums up its content and coverage nicely:
As is historically true, the world of IT is changing. Those who discover and master the skills needed to bridge the gap between the now and the not yet will secure their future — and the future of their companies.
Though it does include plenty of focus on and coverage of Microsoft-specific cloud tools and technologies, these occur more by way of illustration and example than by way of “the hard sell” in this paper. Anybody who’s curious about what you do need to know to work with cloud technologies, and where they fit into the overall framework of current and future IT practice could do a lot worse than to read this white paper. I would have liked something with more focus on IT certification, but you can also find a specific “Microsoft Cloud Services: Training and Certification” page on the MS Learning site to identify cloud-related courses and credentials. After reading the white paper you’ll be able to make more sense of those things, and better able to relate them to current or desired job roles as well.
Thanks to Ken Rosen of Microsoft Learning whose recent Born to Learn blog posting (10/13/2011) clued me into an interesting article at Business Insider entitled “Job Listings Prove That Microsoft Still Matters.” Written by BI staffer Matt Rosoff, this story points to the following numbers on Dice.com as evidence that MS certs still have some clout in the workplace:
- more than 10,000 listings for developers with .NET skills (up 29% from 2010)
- more than 8,000 listings for those with C# skills (26% higher than 2010)
- over 6,000 listings for ASP.NET skills (up 24% from 2010, with anecdotal evidence that demand for .NET-savvy developers is booming, to head off a shortage of people with such skills)
- 4,000-plus listings for SharePoint (46% higher than 2010, which makes it a booming specialty
Very interesting! Developers: start your engines!
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you already know I’m working with Jeff Carrell and a couple of other IPv6 stalwarts (Mark Mirroto, and Tom Lancaster, both CCIEs, to be specific) on a revision to my college textbook Guide to TCP/IP. It’s going into a fourth edition, but this time we’re reworking the book completely — you guessed it — to switch the emphasis and the bulk of its coverage to IPv6. It’s a mammoth effort, and it’s been a real learning experience for all of us, but it’s forced us to turn over and tune up our own knowledge bases, as we prepare to teach others how to learn and use IPv6 properly on their own networks.
With one third of global companies already doing “something” with IPv6, and the other two-thirds planning to do likewise in the next 2-3 years, it’s time for EVERYBODY to start thinking about why, how, and when to add IPv6 capability to their networks. In the same vein, it’s also time to start thinking about getting IPv6 through your internet service provider or ISP as well. And like many companies, many ISPs offer only token support for IPv6, or may have pilot projects up and going, but haven’t yet adopted IPvt6 fully either.
That’s where this extremely handy questionnaire from Cisco comes into play. entitled “What to Ask From Your Service Provider About IPv6” it covers all of the questions you’ll need to get answered before you can even think about routing IPv6 traffic on and off your own networks. In posing these questions, it also points you to a lot of stuff you need to learn about, and either implement or complement on your own networks, too. It’s a great piece of work, and should go into the IPv6 toolkits for anybody who’s tasked with or interested in what’s involved in adding IPv6 support to an existing network.
I’ve been reading a lot of fuss and blather lately about the so-called “post-PC” era, but I can’t say I really understood what the fuss was about until I spent about 45 minutes working my way through a Special Report in the latest issue of that wonderful new magazine called The Economist this weekend. It’s called “Personal Technology: Beyond the PC” and is currently available only to subscribers to the print edition (like many subscription-oriented magazines, The Economist makes its latest edition available first in print, and then posts the digital version once the latest magazine edition hits the newsstands). This particular item appears in the October 8th -14th (2011) edition, so the digital version should post some time on or after October 15.
The point they make in their well-researched and -written study is that it’s not a case so much of the PC being dead but rather, that the kinds of functions for which consumers use PCs (Web surfing, e-mail, social networking, and so forth) are mostly being performed on smartphones and tablets nowadays, which are equally capable at handling these non-compute-intensive tasks and activities. It’s also a matter of huge scale: even though half a billion PCs may sell per year, these numbers are dwarfed by the appetite for smart phones (with over a billion units sold yearly right now, and forecasts for two billion yearly in the near future) and may soon be matched or overtaken by tablets as well.
What all is means is that a new era of low cost computing that doesn’t require PCs is getting underway. And even though the costs to users are low, the extreme volume means that companies that cash in on this phenomenon (of which Apple is a nonpareil example, it now fluctuating between number 1 and number 2 in the world in terms of market capitalization with Exxon/Mobile) can realize amazing sums of money, and can thus also invest large amounts in the R&D necessary to keep innovating, developing new technology, and improving on existing hardware and software capabilities.
What it really comes down to is this: there’s a big new technology game to play, and like it or not, IT professionals are going to have to learn to play it. The combination of cheap, powerful enough, and untethered devices with cloud-based access and storage to provide them with software and data is going to change the face of the world as we know it today, and IT must change along with it. I have to believe this means that entirely new knowledge bases will have to be created, and then mastered, and that training and certification will follow suit. We already see flashcards and practice test apps aimed at iOS, Android, and so forth: soon, we’ll see the focus turn toward other technologies that make use of these platforms for important and substantial work tasks.
Guess what? It’s time to get on the post-PC bandwagon, and start learning as much about the underlying infrastructure, security, controls, and management capabilities as possible. Otherwise, you risk being overwhelmed or left behind as the tide comes up and rearranges the landscape as we know it today.