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Where to start? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi,

    Looking to get some MS Certifications, in specific MCSA 2008 server.

    However, I don't have a ton of experience with MS Servers so I would like some recommendations on where to start training.

    Is it practical to start right into the 3 exams or is there somewhere else I should start first? Perhaps a bootcamp of some sort?

    Any help is appreciated.

    Luis


    LRZ

    Wednesday, January 16, 2013 8:42 PM

Answers

  • Start with a book and a free trial of 2008 R2 installed on a virtual machine or spare computer.

    I suggest starting off with 70-642, purchase the MS Publishing Book (2nd edition), read the material, do the labs with your trial version of R2 then take the test.

    I will warn you that no one book will cover the entire exam - it's an EXTREMELY broad exam. Make sure you get some supplemental text (I'm using Sybex William Panek's book) and to do those labs over and over and over again. Once you've learned the material - go over it again. Overkill is the best method IMO of passing these exams.

    MS also has free virtual machines out there that you can use at any time. You have to have an MS account, but you can access their virtual servers and actually do practice labs on the virtual servers. I actually do other labs with these virtual machines b/c you can do whatever you want on them, so no need to stick to what MS is giving you in the lab - do whatever you want :)

    Virtual labs are here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/virtuallabs/bb512925

    I'm trying to finish the same certification math of MCSA 2008. Let me know if i can be of any help.

    Wednesday, January 16, 2013 9:03 PM
  • Hi,

    You can still READ / Search on topic with regards to Windows Server 2008 on TechNet. 

    Check out - http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/categories

    As the forum categories are being locked for new posting as there are forum categories for Windows Server 2012. 

    Other than that, Bing is a good source where you can search for related knowledge. 

    Cheers.


    Regards,
    Milton Goh
    MCSE, MCSA, MCITP, MCTS, MCP
    Blog: blog.nerdytwo.com
    Twitter: @miltongoh

    Thursday, January 17, 2013 3:12 PM

All replies

  • Start with a book and a free trial of 2008 R2 installed on a virtual machine or spare computer.

    I suggest starting off with 70-642, purchase the MS Publishing Book (2nd edition), read the material, do the labs with your trial version of R2 then take the test.

    I will warn you that no one book will cover the entire exam - it's an EXTREMELY broad exam. Make sure you get some supplemental text (I'm using Sybex William Panek's book) and to do those labs over and over and over again. Once you've learned the material - go over it again. Overkill is the best method IMO of passing these exams.

    MS also has free virtual machines out there that you can use at any time. You have to have an MS account, but you can access their virtual servers and actually do practice labs on the virtual servers. I actually do other labs with these virtual machines b/c you can do whatever you want on them, so no need to stick to what MS is giving you in the lab - do whatever you want :)

    Virtual labs are here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/virtuallabs/bb512925

    I'm trying to finish the same certification math of MCSA 2008. Let me know if i can be of any help.

    Wednesday, January 16, 2013 9:03 PM
  • Thank you very much Terahertz PC for the info.

    I've purchased some books and was planning on going that route as well as finding an online training centre.

    I hope to fast track the exams but what do you think a *reasonable* amount of time to prep would be before taking the exam(s)?

    The virtual labs is a great find!


    LRZ

    Wednesday, January 16, 2013 9:14 PM
  • If you have zero server experience, i would say if you committed to really studying (at least an hour a night and a few hours each weekend day) you could probably get one certification done in maybe 2 months? Hard to say, it depends on person to person. Some people can read a book in a weekend, remember everything and take the exam the next day. Depends on how you learn.

    Right now MS has a second shot program available. Register here: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/second-shot.aspx

    Once registered you'll get a voucher code in your email. When you sign up for the exam through Prometric you can enter in your voucher code. IF you fail the exam you can retake it for free (assuming you follow MS's guidelines for retakes). This way you can study the material as much as you feel necessary then go take the exam. Once you do that you can get a feel for how much YOU should study for these exams.

    Wednesday, January 16, 2013 9:39 PM
  • Wish I was one of those people who could prep in a weekend...but unfortunately I will probably need about 2 months.

    The second shot voucher is also a great find!

    Thanks again for your replies...very much appreciated.

    Luis


    LRZ

    Wednesday, January 16, 2013 9:48 PM
  • Don't rush into things, try to have a fair grip of what Windows Server has to offer. With the foundation built, upgrading to server 2012 in future will be fairly easy. Which books are you using? For Windows Server 2008, you should use the Training Kit by Microsoft. 

    Check out this - http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/book.aspx?id=15646


    Regards,
    Milton Goh
    MCSA, MCITP, MCTS, MCP
    Blog: blog.nerdytwo.com
    Twitter: @miltongoh

    Thursday, January 17, 2013 3:23 AM
  • This is the set of books I've purchased "MCITP Windows Server 2008 Server Administrator: Training Kit 3-Pack: Exams 70-640, 70-642, 70-646" which I believe is the same as the one you've provided the link for.

    My plan is to go through these books and try one exam at a time. If I have too many gaps in my knowledge, I will look for some more basic books before tacking the exams.

    I'm also looking at purchasing a subscription to Safari Books online to give me access to more books and labs when the time is right.

    I've also located some online courses, but they are a bit expensive and I wont know if they are needed until I'm hip deep in studying MS Server 2008.


    LRZ

    Thursday, January 17, 2013 1:41 PM
  • Just my 2 cents worth of advice. I think the training kit + countless hours of exploring on your own lab is good enough. 

    Plus there are tons of reading materials online at TechNet, videos at Channel9. Thus, don't just think that paid stuffs are better for all the time. 

    :D

    Cheers.


    Regards,
    Milton Goh
    MCSA, MCITP, MCTS, MCP
    Blog: blog.nerdytwo.com
    Twitter: @miltongoh

    Thursday, January 17, 2013 2:49 PM
  • True words!

    Thanks for your input.

    One last question: is this a good forum for posting training specific questions? I mean, if I am stuck with understanding a technical concept, do you recommend this forum or perhaps somewhere else for nitty gritty tech training/exam questions?

    Regards,

    Luis


    LRZ

    Thursday, January 17, 2013 3:07 PM
  • Hi,

    You can still READ / Search on topic with regards to Windows Server 2008 on TechNet. 

    Check out - http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/categories

    As the forum categories are being locked for new posting as there are forum categories for Windows Server 2012. 

    Other than that, Bing is a good source where you can search for related knowledge. 

    Cheers.


    Regards,
    Milton Goh
    MCSE, MCSA, MCITP, MCTS, MCP
    Blog: blog.nerdytwo.com
    Twitter: @miltongoh

    Thursday, January 17, 2013 3:12 PM
  • Hi Luis,

    I'm also planning to get some MCSA certification  with no/little  server experience. I am thinking to get MCSA Windows Server 2012 because then I don't need to upgrade for next 4 years and can reduce studying one upgrade exam. What you think?   I have gathered a good amount of study materials to start  with 70-410.

    If you think to do MCSA Windows Server 2012 and interested to do a group study online over the SKYPE, then we can help each other through discussion and sharing ideas and solving questions.

    Please email me at mypc9000@gmail.com if you are interested.

    Thank you and looking forward to hearing from you.

    Regards,
    MCSAspirant
    Houston, TX


    • Edited by MCSAspirant Tuesday, January 22, 2013 10:01 AM
    Tuesday, January 22, 2013 9:59 AM
  • Hi MCSAspirant.

    You know, I was thinking the same thing about going with 2012 rather than 2008 but decided to go with 2008.

    Here's why:

    • 2008 will be in service for a few more years while industry wait for a "stable" version of a new version....so, it's going to be out in the work force for a while yet.
    • I am hoping to get employment opportunities soon rather than later, so in my case I can't wait for 2012
    • More resources for 2008 out for MCSA than for 2012 version (that will change I agree)
    • 2008 to 2012 upgrade should be relatively *simple*

    I would have liked to partner with you for a study group, but we wont be doing the same version.

    THanks for the offer and best of luck!

    Luis


    LRZ

    Tuesday, January 22, 2013 5:11 PM
  • Please be aware that most MCSA/MCSE certifications require at least 1-2yrs experience with the technology covered in exams (by experience I mean working with the product on a daily basis in an enterprise environment, not studying, bootcamps and/or doing labs).  Given this, I do not believe you will gain enough experience in 2 months to pass an exam.

    if you are serious about wanting to get certified, you should first look at finding employment as a Junior Tech Support or Help Desk person to gain some experience.  You can then use this experience in conjunction with your study to help you pass the required exams.


    When you see answers and helpful posts, please click Vote As Helpful, Propose As Answer, and/or Mark As Answer

    Jeff Wharton
    MSysDev (C.Sturt), MDbDsgnMgt (C.Sturt), MCT, MCPD, MCSD, MCITP, MCDBA
    Blog: Mr. Wharty's Ramblings
    Twitter: @Mr_Wharty
    MC ID: Microsoft Transcript

    Monday, January 28, 2013 10:45 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks Jeff, but it's a bit of a catch 22. Employers are looking for certification before providing an opportunity to get the 1-2 years experience. I'm hoping that the certification on a resume will open some employment doors which until now have not been open to me.

    I know this is not the ideal approach, but to be honest, the job market is not geared to giving someone a chance anymore without some credentials first.

    L.


    LRZ

    Monday, January 28, 2013 11:14 PM
  • If the positions you're applying for require certifications (therefore experience) then you are applying for the wrong type of positions.  You need to aim lower and apply for positions which require minimal experience and no certifications.

    It is very easy for someone to determine whether a person has practical experience or has managed to secure some certifications via study.  if a person does succeed in getting employment based of certifications gained via study (and not experience), it's unlikely they'd hold that position for very long as they will not possess the "real" experience required to work in a technical position. 

    I understand that certifications on your CV may make you more "attractive" for a position however without the technical experience to back-up you certifications, you may find yourself with "short-term" employment which will also look bad on your CV.

    Good luck with your studies and I hope all goes well :-)

    Edit: I should probably also add that unfortunately due to certification "cheats" and "exam piracy", a person with a number of certifications however no (or very little) practical experience may be seen (irrespective of whether they are or not) as someone who has obtained their certification(s) "illegally".  This is why I look for practical experience first, then qualifications and certifications, and then get candidates to take a 1hr practical exercise before I make a decision about hiring them.


    When you see answers and helpful posts, please click Vote As Helpful, Propose As Answer, and/or Mark As Answer

    Jeff Wharton
    MSysDev (C.Sturt), MDbDsgnMgt (C.Sturt), MCT, MCPD, MCSD, MCITP, MCDBA
    Blog: Mr. Wharty's Ramblings
    Twitter: @Mr_Wharty
    MC ID: Microsoft Transcript



    Monday, January 28, 2013 11:26 PM
    Moderator
  • In an ideal world I would agree with you regarding having relevant experience and a formal education (read:certification).

    However, at this point my hope is to get my foot in the door.

    IMHO having little to no experience and a certification is better than having little to no experience and no certification.

    I do intend to be honest and up front with my lack of experience when I apply for a job and hope my experience and skill set in other areas mitigate my lack of server hands-on experience.

    Thank you for your feedback.

    L.


    LRZ

    Monday, January 28, 2013 11:53 PM
  • Hi LRZ,

    I'm also seriously thinking the same as yours for Server 2008.

    I appreciate if you please mail me at mypc9000 at gmail dot com

    Thanks & regards,

    MCSAspirant

    Thursday, February 7, 2013 12:55 AM