Saturday, June 28, 2008

Passed My 24th Exam

Yesterday morning I took exam 70-431, SQL Server 2005 Technical Specialist, which I passed with flying colors: 940 out of 1000 points.

This was also my first encounter with real simulation-based questions! I have to say, it felt a bit uneasy at first and I backtracked a couple of times to make sure I answered my questions just right. It is soo easy to make additional unintended changes.

But in conclusion, I have to say that I like those questions. They test your knowledge of the technology in a much more real-world like fashion. And about those gradual changes like these in exam setups? Well, suffice to say that there is much more in store where that came from...

On a side note: the next exam will be a milestone! That will take me to 25 Microsoft Exams taken so far. I just have to choose a nice one. And I don't mean milestone. I'm open for suggestions.

By the way, if you take a look at the numbers of Microsoft Certified Professionals worldwide, you'll find that there is a great difference in numbers. A short list of some of the certifications I currently hold:

Certification Worldwide achievers

MCTS SQL Server 2005

29,038

MCTS MOSS Config

6,384

MCTS Team Foundation Server

315

MCITP Enterprise Admin

819

And for the bright ones among us: there is something odd about that page... can you spot it? The first one who tells me about it will get a candy bar if you're in the neighborhood.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Microsoft Certified Master: SharePoint Server 2007

The Microsoft Certified Master program has just launched. For now it only includes the following tracks:

But Per promises the Microsoft Certified Master: SharePoint Server 2007 track will be available soon! Be aware though, this is not for the faint-hearted:

"The prices for the programs are $18,500USD which includes 3 weeks of training, and the first attempts at each of the four required tests: 3 'written' tests and one lab based exam. Retakes cost $250 per written test, and $1,500 for the lab exam, and you are only allowed a maximum of three attempts per test. We know this isn’t exactly pocket change, but based on customer feedback from the Ranger program, we are confident that it is a good value to those of you who will go through the program. We recognize that the cost may be a barrier to entry to some people who could otherwise make the grade—but that is something we will have to live with in the short term; getting top notch subject matter experts in one place for three weeks, the hardware, etc. just don’t come cheap."

There does not seem to be a Developer-specific track yet. Not even an 'it-isn't-here-yet-but-will-be-soon'-track! All tracks look more or less Infrastructure-based and there is only a vague promise of a Dev MCM. Stay tuned...

Off topic: I learned of the Master Program being created at Microsoft about four months ago. I didn't want to disclose its existence before going live. Hey, you never know what those pesky NDA's can do now can you?

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Terminal Services, Silverlight, Microsoft Robotics Studio and Lego Mindstorms NXT

Narenda Wicaksono has made a video of  a nice mix-up between Terminal Services, Silverlight, Microsoft Robotics Studio and Lego Mindstorms NXT.

Oh and I passed 70-631 with flying colors today.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Windows 2008 MCITP: Server Administrator Charter Member

Looks like the results for the exams 70-646 and 70-647 are finally coming in: Prometric tells me I passed exam 70-646, Server Administrator. Another certification to add to the list. The certification doesn't show up on the MCP web site yet.

Still waiting on Enterprise Administrator though.

Update: I've passed 70-647 too! Yay! A refresh did the trick. Now only for that pesky Vista exam and I can put MCITP Enterprise Administrator on my personal Wall of Fame too.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Windows 2008 MCTS Charter Member

Yes! I just got the results back from the three Microsoft Windows 2008 TS beta exams: I passed all three of them! And oh how do I just love the 'Charter Member' addition. It just gives you that extra warm and fuzzy feeling...

  • Exam 070-640 Technical Specialist: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory
  • Exam 070-642 Technical Specialist: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure
  • Exam 070-643 Technical Specialist: Windows Server 2008 Applications
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    Monday, February 18, 2008

    Working with Microsoft on Windows Server 2008 exams in Redmond #1

    Some time ago I got an invitation from Taj Heniser, the Program Manager from the Microsoft Learning Group in Redmond. They requested me to participate in the development of Microsoft Certification exams for Windows Server 2008 in Redmond as an Subject Matter Expert (SME). Well, it didn't take long to make up my mind. GrandMasters took care of all the paperwork and I was pretty impressed by their continued assistance and overall professional attitude. Upon discovery that I needed a credit card, which I didn't have at the time, they went even further and booked the room for me in advance. Excellent service! Thanks Lisa and Linda.

    (In the Netherlands you usually use a debit card for most of your financial transactions and bank transactions are not done by bank check but carried out by direct bank transfers. Use of credit cards is on the rise however.)

    GreenlandI met up with Frederic Lapierre and Olaf Hubel from Microsoft at the  airport and had a pleasant chat with them while we waited for our plane to arrive. They both were going to Redmond for the internal Microsoft Technical Readiness Conference. It was good to see the both of you again.

    The flight was pretty good and uneventful. We flew over Greenland, which made for some pretty nice pictures. And I made good use of my Shure Sound Isolating Earphones, which I bought just for an occasion like this. The isolating properties are magnificent and the sound is very clear and well-balanced. Only when I took the earphones off, I noticed the loudness of the flight, which quite astounded me! The price was pretty hefty, but they are worth their money in gold. Highly recommended.

    To be continued...

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    Wednesday, January 09, 2008

    Examvaganza

    It's been nearly three weeks already since my last post. It's mainly because I've been very busy with a steady lineup of Microsoft exams. One of them is a regular exam, the rest are all beta exams. (For those interested what happens to the comments in beta exams, Gerry O'Brien has a post about it.)

    For those interested, the list of exams taken:

    And for the bright people among us: yes, I could just take the upgrade exam 70-649 "Upgrading Your MCSE on Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008, Technology Specialist" to get all three Windows 2008 Technical Specialist certifications at once. However, that would spoil the fun of taking the beta exams, now wouldn't it?

    I've got two beta exams left which I plan to take in the upcoming weeks:

    And the two Project Server 2007 beta exams, Designing Enterprise Project Management Solutions with Microsoft Office Project 2007 and Configuring Microsoft Office Project Server 2007 I mentioned a few months ago? I got them both.

    Sweet.

    What can I say? I love to learn and understand, and I love a challenge!

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    Saturday, December 01, 2007

    System Center Configuration Manager Beta Exam - Santos Martinez

    ...and since I'm on a roll anyway, another Beta exam invitation. Who wants to take a shot at it? A VHD is available.

    System Center Configuration Manager Beta Exam - Santos Martinez

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    "So, a booth babe and a geek walk in to a bar..." : Firecracker Disco: WS2008 Betas

    Trika has announced the availability of the three Windows Server 2008 Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist beta exams:

    The betas are open now until December 21.

    "So, a booth babe and a geek walk in to a bar..." : Firecracker Disco: WS2008 Betas

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    Friday, June 15, 2007

    More Beta Exams

    Just last tuesday I completed the second Microsoft beta exam in a row, titled "Designing Enterprise Project Management Solutions with Microsoft Office Project 2007" and a few weeks before that I finished the Technology Specialist exam, "Configuring Microsoft Office Project Server 2007". That brings the Beta Exam count to 6 exams taken so far. Not bad!
    I still need to catch up on the usual stuff, like an upgrade to MCSE2003 and the Sharepoint exams.

    There is a little story attached to last tuesday's exam: I was just about to end the exam and pressed the 'Ok'-button, thereby ending it. The window went away but basically nothing happened after that. At last I was greeted with a Window telling me that "The testdriver did not respond". Okay, this isn't a good sign. And remember, a couple of years back I did the Beta Exam "Designing Exchange 2003" and it crashed on me, bigtime. They researched the leftovers and after a careful postmortem analysis I was told that nothing could be salvaged. To ease the suffering I was given the opportunity to take the exam again, for free...
    To continue my story, I was already visualizing the agony of waiting, calling, calling again, only to be notified that my efforts were in vain. Could this happen twice?
    I leaped to the receptionist and explained the horrific situation we found ourselves in. She immediately took action and began calling in all kinds of resources. After two hours of deliberating, calling and testing, we came to the conclusion that there was a reasonably good chance my exam was safe. I went home.

    I called the testcenter a few days after the incident and confirmed that my exam was set as 'Tested'. What a relief!

    Now for the waiting on results.

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    Saturday, April 28, 2007

    Passed Exam 70-510: Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server

    Got a nice postmail this morning from the States, telling me that I passed Exam 70-510: Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server! I took the Beta Exam two months ago and finally I have the results in front of me, yay! I scored 826 points, not bad at all.

    The good thing about the Microsoft Exams Results these days is the detailed output you get with the test results. It is telling me that I've got a strong foundation (pun intended) in the technical skillset area, whereas my skills concerning process and project management need a bit more attention. This is consistent with what I know and what I need to improve upon.

    Lately I've thought a lot about which road I am going to take to develop myself further. I have a strong foundation in Microsoft Servers, coupled with a not-so-usual outgrowth to Microsoft Development. I have always liked dealing with the diverse issues that arise when these two area's meet. Consulting or Architecture seem the two most likely paths to pursue in the long run.
    But for now, a bit of celebrating is in order!

    Side Note: Out of the 11 Microsoft Exams I have taken (and passed) during my career, the last 4 were all Beta Exams. Guess that makes me a bit of an Beta Exam addict.

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