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The big question rises how to become the Microsoft certified , All Microsoft certifications are acquired by simply taking a series of exams. If you can self-study for said exams, and then pass them, then you can acquire the certification for the mere cost of the exam (and maybe whatever self-study materials you purchase).

You’ll also need, at minimum (in addition to the MCTS), the CompTIA A+, Network+ and Security+ certs; as well as the Cisco CCNA cert.

Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) – This is the basic entry point of Microsoft Certifications. You only need to pass a single certification test to be considered an MCTS and there are numerous different courses and certifications that would grant you this after passing one. If you are shooting for some of the higher certifications that will be discussed below, then you’ll get this on your way there.

Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD) – This certification was Microsoft’s previous “Developer Certification” meaning that this was the highest certification that was offered that consisted strictly of development-related material. Receiving it involved passing four exams within specific areas (based on the focus of your certification). You can find the complete list of courses and paths required for the MCPD here.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) – This is Microsoft’s most recent “Developer Certification” which will replace the MCPD Certification (which is being deprecated / retired in July of 2013). The MCSD focuses within three major areas of very recent Microsoft development technologies and would likely be the best to persue if you wanted to focus on current and emerging skills that will be relevant in the coming years. You can find the complete list of courses and paths required for the MCSD here.

The Microsoft Certifications that you listed are basically all of the major ones within the realm of development. I’ll cover each of the major ones and what they are :

Most people, however, take some kind of course. Some colleges — especially career and some community colleges — offer such courses (though usually they’re non-credit). Other providers of such courses are private… some of them Microsoft Certified vendors of one type or another, who offer the courses in such settings as sitting around a conference table in their offices. Still others specialize in Microsoft certification training, and so have nice classrooms set up in their offices.

There are also some online (and other forms of distance learning) courses to help prepare for the exams.

The cost of taking classes to prepare can vary wildly. Some are actually free (or very nearly so), while others can cost hundreds of dollars. It all just depends on the provider.

And here’s a Google search of MCTS training resources (which can be mind-numbing in their sheer numbers and types, so be careful what you choose):

There are some pretty good, yet relatively inexpensive, ways to get vendor certificate training. Be careful not to sign-up for something expensive and involved when something cheaper — like subscribing to an “all the certificates you care to study for one flat rate” web site — would, in addition to purchasing a study guide or two at a bookstore, likely be better.

If you want a career in IT, then you need to have both an accredited degree in same (preferably a bachelors over an associates), and also a variety of IT certifications. The MCTS is but one that you will need.

You should probably also get the Microsoft MCSE and/or MCSA. The ICS CISSP. And the ITIL.

There are others, but if you have those, you’ll be evidencing a broad range of IT expertise that will be useful, generally. Then, in addition, if the particular IT job in which you end-up requires additional specialist certification, then you can get that, too (hopefully at the expense of your employer who requires it of you).

Then, whenever (if ever) you’re interested in a masters in IT, here’s something really cool of which you should be aware…

There’s a big (and fully-accredited, fully-legitimate) university in Australia which has partnered with Microsoft and several other vendors to structure distance learning degrees which include various certifications; and in which degrees, considerable amounts of credit may be earned simply by acquiring said certifications. It’s WAY cool.

One can, for example, get up to half of the credit toward a Masters degree in information technology by simply getting an MCSE (though the exams which make it up must be certain ones which correspond with the university’s courses). I’ve always said that if one were going to get an MCSE, first consult the web site of this university and make sure that one takes the specific MCSE exams that this school requires so that if ever one later decided to enter said school’s masters program, one will have already earned up to half its degree’s credits by simply having the MCSE under his/her belt. Is that cool, or what?

I wouldn’t rely on them over experience (which is far and away the most valuable asset out there) but they are worth pursuing especially if you don’t feel like you have enough experience and need to demonstrate that you have the necessary skills to land a position as a developer.

If you are going to pursue a certification, I would recommend going after the MCSD (Web Applications Track) as it is a very recent certification that focuses on several emerging technologies that will still be very relevant (if not more-so) in the coming years. You’ll pick up the MCTS along the way and then you’ll have both of those under your belt. MCPD would be very difficult to achieve based on the short time constraints (passing four quite difficult tests within just a few months is feasible, but I don’t believe that it is worth it since it will be “retired” soon after).

No job experience at all is necessary for any of the Microsoft Certifications, you can take them at any time as long as you feel confident enough with the materials of the specific exam you should be fine. The tests are quite difficult by most standards and typically cover large amounts of material, but with what it sounds like a good bit of time to study and prepare you should be fine.

Certifications, in addition to degrees, are so important in the IT field, now, that one may almost no longer get a job in that field without both. The certifications, though, are so important that one who has a little IT experience can get a pretty good job even without a degree as long as he has all the right certs. But don’t do that. Definitely get the degree… and not merely an associates. Get the bachelors in IT; and make sure it’s from a “regionally” accredited school.

Then get the certs I mentioned (being mindful, if you think you’ll ever get an IT masters, to take the specific exams that that Strut masters program requires so that you’ll have already earned up to half the credit just from the certs).

If you already have two years of experience in working in the .NET environment, a certification isn’t going to guarantee that you will get employed, a salary increase or any other bonuses for achieving the honor. However, it can help supplement your resume by indicating that you are familiar with specific technologies enough to apply them in real-world applications to solve problems.

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National IT consulting company that focuses on helping small and medium businesses is seeking a full time MCSE, MCSA, or MCITP Qualified Information Technology Consultants to help a range of small and medium businesses to maintain IT environments powered by the latest Microsoft technologies, including, Microsoft Windows Server 2008, Windows server 2012, Microsoft Exchange 2010 and Microsoft Exchange 2007. Cooperate closely with customer’s IS group or provide comprehensive IT outsourced services. Key areas of expertise include Exchange, Active Directory design, security, server monitoring, and system infrastructure.

Benefits of Teaming with Progent
Progent is an innovative computer consulting and information technology outsourcing firm based in San Jose, California, with offices nationwide. Unique models for customer acquisition, service delivery, virtual office infrastructure, and consultant compensation have enabled Progent to be among the fastest growing and most successful Microsoft Gold Partners in the U.S. Our shared knowledge base and collaborative approach to problem solving has helped Progent to retain a strong staff and a loyal client base.

Job Title
MCSE, MCSA, & MCITP Qualified Network Consultant

Job Code
P014

Status
W2

Work Location
San Jose, CA

Essential Functions & Responsibilities
Progent is looking for Consultants who have a mix of advanced technology, IT operations and strategic business skills. The role requires broad and deep technology and IT operations knowledge, and the ability to architect solutions by mapping common customer business problems to reusable services focused on operational effectiveness and business value. Demonstrated ability to engage in senior level business and technology decision maker discussions related to IT operations, best practices, business value, and end-to-end information technology security is also a must. Consultants are key enablers for other consultants and partner staff. They manage the complete lifecycle of large and complex projects. Consultants have a passion for the customer which is demonstrated through professionalism and striving for excellence in all aspects of the customer experience.

The Consultant applies advanced analysis skills and experience in principals of IT operations to define appropriate customer solutions. To be credible, he or she must have current and deep experience with operating and optimizing Microsoft Technologies within complex Microsoft and heterogeneous infrastructures. The ideal candidate will also bring strong applied expertise in the following areas:

– ADFS/RMS Experience – Preferred
– Also ADAM, ILM, MIIS, DNS, Trusts and GPOs
– Directory Services and Branch Office Deployments
– IT operations and optimization

The Consultant assists account teams to identify, pursue and close strategic business development opportunities while continually driving add-on business within existing accounts. To accomplish this, Consultants must be effective in fostering executive level relationships. When asked, Consultants help translate business requirements into engagement outcomes for inclusion in contracts and/or statements of work (SOW). In some cases, Consultants may also assist in contract negotiations. Consultants maintain product group relationships and may act as subject matter experts assisting service line management in definition and development of service and/or solution offerings. Consultants are able to deliver articulate and effective strategic presentations to audiences of all sizes.

The Consultant must have proven experience working on projects through the entire project lifecycle, while maintaining high customer satisfaction. The role requires an individual who is resourceful, confident under pressure, and has demonstrated skill in both crisis management and expectation management.

Demonstrated ability to engage in IT and business executive discussions related to availability, agility, business value, security management, disaster recovery, and the value of process in an enterprise environment is also required. In this senior role, the consultant must share best practices with team members to help enhance the quality and efficiency of customer support. The Consultant may assist account teams in growing existing accounts and developing new ones. To accomplish this, the Consultant must be effective in fostering executive level relationships, and in some cases assist in contract negotiations. This is a role that requires excellent written and verbal communication skills, along with a demonstrated ability to achieve high customer satisfaction in high pressure environment is essential. This position requires self-motivation and ability to work remotely with other team members.

The successful candidate will also have the ability to discuss the strategic application of an optimized, operationally sound, efficient, and secure Infrastructure environment with senior IT and Business leaders. This is a senior role and it requires an individual who is resourceful, confident under pressure, and has demonstrated skill in both crisis management and expectation management.

The role requires both broad and deep technology knowledge and the ability to architect a solution by mapping a customer business problem to an end-to-end technology solution. The individual will diagnose and correct performance problems. Each consulting engagement is customized to serve the client’s unique needs. The role requires a technically strong Consultant who is resourceful, confident under pressure, and has demonstrated skill in IT Infrastructure Design and Deployment.

Relationships
Reports to:
Vice President of Consulting Services

Works Closely with:
Vice President of Operations, Business Development Representatives and other engineers.

External Relationships:
Clients, technology resources, and vendors.

Qualifications/Education
Minimum Work Experience Requirements:
10+ years experience in desktop, server administration and IT Infrastructure support (new software installation, machine setup, problem isolation and resolution).

Strong technical troubleshooting and diagnostic skills, ability to implement quick workarounds to technical problems .

Ability to troubleshoot application problems including workstation program compatibility issues, server issues, data service issues, and connectivity problems

Experience in business software support (Microsoft products)

Experience in a variety of client environments

Familiarity with remote monitoring tools and remote troubleshooting techniques.

Demonstrated ability to operate effectively in a virtual office environment, providing consistent follow-through and utilizing remote access and wireless connectivity technology.

Strong verbal and written communication skills.

Accustomed to working in a team environment.

Demonstrated dedication and commitment to providing continuous operations.

Works independently and demonstrates strong sense of ownership and initiative..

 

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Education:
Cisco certification (CCDA, CCNA, CCDP, CCIP, CCNP, CCSP or CCIE), and/or

Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP:EA), or Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MSCE), and/or

Security certification (CISSP, CISM)

Other technical certification as approved by Progent Professional Development oversight

Two-year degree in computer science/technology, or equivalent experience.

For consideration, interested persons should send resume and cover letter to the email address listed above.

This exam is known as Designing a MCSE 2003 Windows Server 2003 Active Directory and Network Infrastructure. This is exams is for MCSE certification on windows server 2003 as credential to those IT professionals working in complex networking environment of medium to large scale companies.

About MCSE
Microsoft Certification is an official document to those Microsoft certified professionals working in typical and complex working atmosphere and MCSE applicant are suggested to have at least one year experience and proper knowledge implementing and administering networking environment with the following features.


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250 to 5,000 end users
3 or more physical locations
3 or more domains controllers

Networking services and possessions like messaging, database, proxy server, file and print server, internet, intranet, remote access and computer management Necessities for connectivity like to connect branch offices and individual users like remote locations to corporate networks via internet

In addition MCSE candidate should have one year experience in the following areas. Implementing and administering a desktop operating system Production an Active Directory and network infrastructure. Also after passing 70-297 Exam you will get credential to MCP certification recognized as Microsoft Certified Professional along with MCSE windows 2003 certification.

Note
Information you should visit their official website. Also Microsoft has not yet set up format in which exams will be presented. You can use 70-297 practice exams for exams preparation or preparation guide, regardless of its format.

Tips to pass Microsoft 70-297 Exam
Make use of practice exams, study guides, tutorials , selftest software, selftest engine to prepare yourself well before applying for this exam. Microsoft recommends selftest softwares and selftest engines and practice exams for exam preparation.

The exam guide for the Microsoft Windows 2003 Design Active Directory test measures an individual’s ability to analyze the business requirements and to design a directory service architecture including unified directory services, such as Active Directory and Windows NT/2000 domains connectivity between and within systems, system components, and applications data replication, such as directory replication and database replication. In addition, the 70-297 test measures the skills required for analyzing the business and technical requirements for desktop management, designing a solution for desktop management that meets business requirements, designing a directory service architecture, and designing service locations.By using free Microsoft practice tests, you must be able to pass the exam and provide yourself with better job opportunities.

Last week saw the opening rounds of a new war between incumbent virtualization player VMware versus Microsoft.  VMware fired the first shot in a New York Times story and immediately followed up with a whitepaper attacking Microsoft with a list of complaints. Microsoft responded with this blog.  I wanted to get to the bottom of this and e-mailed both VMware and Microsoft requesting a teleconference. VMware was brave enough to step up, while Microsoft declined to meet and merely pointed me to its blog response.  I’ll do my best to represent both sides fairly, although Microsoft declined to meet or answer any direct questions even after I sent them an e-mail with questions from my VMware meeting.

I got VMware on the phone and the first thing I asked them about was the concern about VHD (Virtual Hard Drive) restrictions.  VHD is a Microsoft virtual hard drive format that’s free for any virtualization vendors to use, but VMware is actually complaining about Microsoft’s free virtual demo appliances.  Microsoft’s demo appliances for things like Windows XP trial VM will run only on Microsoft’s Virtual PC. They aren’t licensed for any other Virtual Machine host and will deactivate themselves if they detect.  I pointed out that these were somewhat special cases and this applied only to free demonstration virtual machines, but VMware felt that this could set a bad precedent because future commercial appliances can be delivered via VHD and Microsoft might apply the same kinds of restrictions to lock out other virtualization vendors.

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I asked Microsoft if it will put this hypothetical concern to rest, but I got no answer.  I also asked Microsoft why it would turn down an opportunity to reach a much wider audience with its free demo machines, since VMware is popular with many hardcore Windows administrators. I didn’t get a response on that either.  VMware started its Virtual Machine Center way back in 2005, and I was already calling on Microsoft to permit demo appliances, though it didn’t happen for another year.  Unlike Microsoft, VMware has opened its VMDK (Virtual Machine Disk Format), which opens VMware’s massive virtual machine center for Microsoft to convert into its own VHD format–though it’s actually up to the appliance vendors to permit this type of conversion or not.  While Microsoft is within its rights to put limits on its own demo appliances, it should answer the hypothetical question on commercial appliances.

Next, I asked about were the mobility restrictions on virtualization with Microsoft software.  According to VMware, Microsoft puts a 90-day restriction on Virtual PC migration for Microsoft software, so if you move a machine once, you can’t move it again for the next 90 days.  Since one of VMware’s differentiating features in its enterprise server software is the ability to migrate Virtual Machines on the fly within a fraction of a second for hardware independence, these mobility restrictions in Microsoft software neutralize that VMware advantage.  Current Microsoft virtualization and even the upcoming Windows Hypervisor in Longhorn server lack this mobility feature. One could be cynical and read this as a convenient way for Microsoft to neutralize one of VMware’s advantages.  Perhaps when Microsoft eventually starts offering its own way to migrate virtual machines on the fly, we might just see those mobility restrictions conveniently lifted.  Since I can think of no other logical explanation for this kind of mobility restriction from Microsoft, I tend to think that neutralizing enterprise VMware mobility features is the likely explanation.  Again, Microsoft declined to answer any questions.

I moved on to the concern about Novell making deals with Microsoft on virtualization, and VMware responded that it wasn’t really sure about the details of that arrangement.  Since the Novell/Microsoft deal is extremely controversial with the open source crowd, it seemed like VMware was just trying to mobilize the OSS movement against Microsoft and didn’t really have any specific charges on this issue.

The final complaint was about a new set of Windows virtualization APIs, or “enlightenments,” as Microsoft calls them, which is much like the concept of paravirtualization in Xen virtualization.  I covered this new Microsoft Virtualization architecture in depth during WinHEC last May.  I recall standing there between four VMware engineers and four Microsoft engineers when all these details were released in a technical session, and it was definitely a sight to behold.  I asked Microsoft at WinHEC if these new APIs will be available to other virtualization vendors, such as VMware or Xen Source, and Microsoft responded yes but said the technology has to be licensed.  That means if VMware wants to leverage these new APIs put into Windows Longhorn Server and a smaller subset of them in Windows 2000 and 2003 for improved memory and storage performance, it would need to pay licensing fees.  I looked at the VMware engineers after hearing about this and I could just feel the tension.  Since Microsoft spent time and money developing these APIs, and it’s their IP (intellectual property), I asked VMware–a company with its own IP –  if it feels entitled to use these new APIs for free.  VMware declined to respond directly but replied that its customers would like to see these APIs open to all virtualization vendors.

To me, this is complex issue with no simple answers, because if we believe in intellectual property, Microsoft has the right to license a technology as it sees fit.  On the other hand, Microsoft could make it impossible for other virtualization companies to run Windows in an enhanced way if it sets some astronomical licensing fees for the new virtualization APIs–though I can’t agree with the other extreme, that this technology somehow has to be free.  VMware can certainly afford to pay the licensing fees; it just means it won’t be able to give away a free version of its Hypervisor with the enlightenment APIs.  This concerns them because the virtualization market has gotten so competitive that the price of Hypervisors has been driven to zero and the only place left to make money is in the surrounding management software.  This could mean that Windows Hypervisor will be one of the few Hypervisors with the unique ability to run the open source kernel virtualization enhancements, as well as the Windows enhancements, while the other virtualization competitors will be able to offer only the open source enhancements.

Microsoft was given an opportunity for rebuttal but declined that invitation.  They’re welcome to change their mind, and they know how to contact me.  I will update this blog with any additional information.

[Update 3:45PM – Microsoft responded to my inquires with the following email.]

Microsoft believes the claims made in VMware’s whitepaper contain inaccuracies and misunderstandings of our current license and use policies, our support policy and our commitment to technology collaboration.  We believe that we are being progressive and fair with our existing licensing and use policies and creating a level playing field for partners and customers.  We are deeply committed to providing high-quality technical support to our customers who are utilizing virtualization technology.  In addition, we are committed to working collaboratively with industry leaders to foster an environment of interoperability and cooperation that best serves our customers.

We believe it’s better to resolve VMware’s claims between our two companies so that we can better serve customers and the industry. EMC is a longtime partner with Microsoft, as an extension of our partnership with EMC we have been communicating and working directly with VMware. We are committed to continuing to collaborate with VMware as we have been doing on regular basis. Consistent with this, Microsoft believes that we will be able to accommodate a mutually agreeable solution between our two companies and clear up any existing misunderstanding with regard to the points raised in the whitepaper.

Since this doesn’t specifically address the questions raised in this blog, I responded with the following questions.

* Will MS extend those VHD restrictions beyond mere demo appliances in the future?
* Why restrict demo appliances from other Hypervisors?
* Why the 90 day restriction on moving machines?
* Is there a standardized price for other virtualization players to license Windows enlightenments?

Microsoft has declined to answer these specific questions.

Professionals who want to get in-depth knowledge of Microsoft technologies and want to enhance their IT carrier should opt for Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist or MCTS certification. This certification will enhance your knowledge in a particular Microsoft technology like Windows Vista, SQL Server, Windows mobile etc. Getting certification will show the commitment towards your willingness to study more and also will expertise you in a specific area where you can get command over it. MCTS certification will provide the foundation for Microsoft certifications. MCTS candidates are capable of implementing, building, troubleshooting, and debugging a particular Microsoft technology. As an MCTS, you become part of the Microsoft Certified Professional community, with access to all related benefits, information, and activities and there is no need to earn extra title for Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP).


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To earn the certificate you have to give exams. Before giving exam you have to decide in which technology you want to get certified. Choose the certification exam you would like to take. There is one functional exam, and then you build from that exam to get the various form of MCTS designation. Total 17 designations are offered by Microsoft which is a wide range. Some of the exams are combination which will allow you to get a base certification now and expand it later.

For a good preparation of MCTS certification, take an assessment quiz offered by Microsoft which will let you know where you stand in terms of technology do. If you are a self learner then Microsoft provides self guided books and practical exams considerably at less money which includes official self-paced study guide, practice tests with multiple, customizable testing options and a learning plan based on your results, 450 practice and review questions, case scenarios and lab exercises, code samples on CD, 90-day evaluation version of Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition, fully searchable eBook otherwise opt for training courses and attend the classes. Main exam will be of maximum four hours. Candidate can go before that time if completed earlier. MCTS certifications will be valid till Microsoft continues mainstream support for related technology.

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