Sunday, September 27, 2009

Computer based training

I'm usually more sold on using books and class room training but there are times when having a on-line class is just easier. Since this semester, I'm taking two on-line classes, one for Linux shell scripting and another for Windows Server 2008 Active Directory. While both are fun classes, I wanted to really study for the Microsoft MCITP certification with the classes highly focused on the information on the certification topic.

After searching around I found a few sites that offer CBT classes. So I'm going to put down the prices for the Microsoft MCITP System Administrator classes as an example.

Testout - They offer two sets of training materials for the Server Administrator and the Enterprise Administrator. Prices are $995 and $1295, which is actually on the cheap side of classes. They include labs, exam questions, videos, and more.

LearnKey - From the web site I think this is a video series like the others but without labs or exam questions. The prices are $1395 for the Server Administrator and $2080 for the Enterprise Administrator.

TrainSignal - They offer the same videos as the others but also Transcender practice tests, labs and extra features like MP3 audio and other file formats to bring along. The pricing is $995 for the Server Administrator and the Enterprise Administrator is $1495. The hours on the courses by TrainSignal are longer and this seems like the best value for CBT (of course your experience may vary).

I'm right now studying for the Server Administrator certification and will be making a purchase soon, hopefully to further help me study.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Windows Server 2008 study guides

A forum poster on the TechNet forum posted a link to his web page with helpful Windows Server 2008 study guides.

Great news for me since he's written a guide for 70-640!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Learning on your own

I'm studying for the Microsoft MCITP certification exams and been using the self paced books from Microsoft. So far they have been very helpful but I also registered for a local community college course they uses the Microsoft Learning web site. The Microsoft Learning web site is a on-line course for the same topics as the book, Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Domain Services, etc. So far from taking the classes it's not too bad but there's a big different between using a book to learn and on-line.

One aspect I enjoy using a book is that it's something I can hold in my hand, sounds funny but I like that I can actually write in it. If I need to make a note about a tough question or good web site, I just write it down in the page. Also it's easier to study off-line when you just need to review a few pages in the book. Of course the down side is the limited interaction with the book compared with on-line classes.

The book does not offer video, example labs, additional documents, not including other technologies such as chat with other students. Overall, I still enjoy books but I think the additional help with an on-line class should help.

Certification practice exams

One part of studying for an exam is a practice exam. It's a how you prep yourself for the exam, but as you might know you can not actually have the real exam. In this case you can use various exam vendors. A nice bonus is with most books you purchase they offer a short practice exam, most of the time this exam is a bit shorter than the more expensive exams you purchase.

So if you already have a book with a practice exam is it worth the money to buy another practice exam? From my research, people say that while very close, a well know practice exam vendor will often have more realistic questions and therefore become a better prep material. I think it's worth the $50~90 per exam especially if that will help you save $100~200 to retake the exam over again.

One word, stay clear of brain dumps, or exam notes that just show the actual exam questions. These are sold by less popular exam vendors and are against the terms for many companies offering exams.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Good news (or bad) for the Microsoft certifications

Just saw a link posted on Ars Technica that the end of life for Windows Server 2000 will end July 13, 2010 and Windows Server 2003 will end July 14, 2015. Sounds like it's a way to go but honestly many companies will need to already plan the move to Windows Server 2008 well before the deadline. Most applications can run on 2003 or 2008 but the problem is more of home grown applications having issues with the new 2008 servers. I'm studying for my 2008 certification and this seems to be even bigger push to get it done, especially since the all servers will be upgrade soon.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Certification and some helpful Microsoft sites

Spending time to finish my MCITP certificaiton, I finally made the date of my test for next month giving me 30 days to study for this first test. I'm not too worried but I think I would like to attempt it just to get the worries out of my system. It's going to be tough month of study.

I also found a great site that shows step by step complete with screenshots how to administrate Windows systems.

It's actually really nicely done and helpful if you're a visual learner.