Monday 26 January 2009

Upcoming presentation on 70-536 @ NNUG

On the 5th of Feb 2009, I will be giving a presentation and exam cram for the exam 70-536 .NET Application Development Foundations.

I will be covering as much as I can in the 45 mins and will hopefully even get to answer some questions. Slides etc will be up after the talk.

Also on the night are some other very talented speakers. The line up as follows
  • 16:30 – 17:00: Pizza & mingling
  • 17:00 – 17:45: MCTS 70-536 Exam preparation session by Niall Merrigan from ErgoGroup
  • 17:55 – 18:40: Best Practices: SOLID Principles by Glenn Henriksen, ErgoGroup
  • 18:45 – 19:30: Test Driven Development/Design by Fredrik Kalseth, Capgemini
  • 19:40 – 20:30: Behavior Driven Development by Glenn Henriksen, ErgoGroup
All you have to do is sign up (its free), and show up (its easy!).

This event will be kindly hosted at the Capgemini offices in Stavanger

Sunday 25 January 2009

Career Assistance Package to be launched in Feb

So Microsoft are going to launch a new set of benefits called the Career Assistance Package which includes such offers like Second Shot and believe it or not up to 90% off eLearning Courses.

Mentioned first in this article, and then commented a bit more by Ken Rosen in this post, it seems it will be launched on the 4th of Feb.

Stay tuned

Friday 23 January 2009

Cisco Comeback offer

I know, I know, I do mostly MS Certs but this is a good offer for those of you whose Cisco Certifications have lapsed.

Cisco® Testing
“Come Back 2009” Promotion
Here’s how to redeem your Cisco “Come Back 2009” Exam:

Register for an exam at full price. If you fail the exam, you may schedule a free retake of the same exam by entering the promotion code: COMEBACK2009 at the time of registration.

Offer only valid for Career Certifications and Specialization Exams (not valid on online exams). NOTE: All exams needed for a certification must be taken to gain back your certification.

Thursday 22 January 2009

More free eBooks|

MS Press are celebrating their 25th anniversary and have 2 full free eBooks to download.

Offer expires 28th of Jan 2009 so get them quick!

Windows Server 2008 Core Administrator’s Pocket Consultant

SQL Server 2005 Integration Services Step by Step


Tuesday 20 January 2009

Upcoming certifications for Designers

According to Gerry O'Briens latest blog post there will be some exams for those designers among us.

No firm details yet but it is good to see that MS are looking at them.

Monday 19 January 2009

SQL 2008 Certifications

So another version of SQL Server means another set of certifications.

Like the SQL Server 2005 certification tracks there will be three also for SQL Server 2008.

These are
  • MCITP: Database Administrator 2008
  • MCITP: Database Developer 2008
  • MCITP: Business Intelligence Developer 2008
These exams are not yet live, tho should be quite soon as their beta periods closed last year.

Now where the SQL 2005 certification tracks had a common exam for their Database Admin and Database Developer pillars, there will be seperate exams on SQL 2008.

This is good news for most people, as when Database Admins were trying to get certified on SQL 2005, they had to learn a bit about SQL programming which wouldn't normally come into their remit.

So on SQL 2008 you also have 3 MCTS certs. Namely
What about upgrade paths. If you are only certified on SQL 2000 ie the MCDBA, there is unfortunately no direct upgrade path. You can upgrade to 2005 and from there to 2008 if you wish

If you have an MCTS on SQL 2005 there is no upgrade path as its a single exam.

If you have an MCITP on SQL 2005, its a single exam upgrade to your chosen certification.

There is a roadmap PDF/XPS which shows the different tracks in a nice visual way.

Also for those of you thinking of starting out in the SQL Server 2008 certification road there is a nice set of PowerPoint slides, recordings and other materials at the SQL Server Jumpstart site. It is free though registration is free :)

Sunday 18 January 2009

When is an MCP not an MCP

On a couple of the forums I frequent one of the common questions is "Will I get an MCP certification and MCTS if I pass X exam".

You dont get an MCP certification from an exam that gives you an MCTS. You do however get access to the MCP community site, and the benefits of such.

You get an MCP certification if you pass certain exams namely the older generation exams that dont give you an MCTS, MCITP or MCPD.

Now in the case of exams like 70-620 and 70-431 which are used as electives on other older certs such as the MCSA or MCAD respectively they dont give you an MCP either. Now on the documentation for MCP it says

"Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) candidates are required to pass one current Microsoft Certification exam* that provides a valid and reliable measure of technical proficiency and expertise."

However this is not the case in relation to the next gen exams detailed above. If you check your transcript you will not have an MCP cert only MCTS... but you can create the logo in the Logo builder.

Looking at this blog post might help too.

Saturday 17 January 2009

Feeds moved

I have updated my feeds with feedburner. If you experience any problems please resubscribe

Friday 16 January 2009

Certifications for Web Developers

One of the recurring themes I see coming up in posts on the forums I frequent is the "I am new to certification, I do x&y tech what should I do?" type questions.

So I have decided to put together a couple of links pages that show the different certs from the different vendors and hopefully that will put people on the right track. It can be very daunting when you are starting out as there is a multitude of different certifications from lots of different vendors.

I will try my best to include a short description if I can on the different certs/vendors. This list is by no means the full list of possible certfications buy gives an idea of what is out there.

Without further ado


Microsoft have a couple of different certifications for web developers on the .NET platform. These are
Both the MCPD and MCTS are offered for .NET Frameworks 2.0 and 3.5. The ones for web developers are
It is also possible to do the MCPD Enterprise Developer on either 2.0 or 3.5 as they encompass the web developer certification and have a broader scope of skills


Zend offer certifications on PHP5. The ZCE is the main certification on PHP5.


IBM offer certification on their WebSphere, Lotus, and other products. More information here


Adobe have their Adobe Certified Expert(ACE) and Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) certifications which are more aimed at web designers but might be handy for those of us gifted enough to actually make it look good


Sun have a couple of different Java certifications available.


MobiForge also have the dotMobi Mobile Web Developer certfication for those who do mobile web development.


CIW have different certifications available depending on what aspect of web developement you do
World Organisation of Webmasters (WOW)

WOW have quite a few certfications available too.

I hope this list helps. If I learn of more I will update this post

Thursday 15 January 2009

Followup on MCP Videos

A quick followup from one of my earlier posts

Our thanks to everyone who responded to the recent casting call for the Value of Certification video. We received responses from many qualified and eloquent MCPs and MCTs eager to say what Microsoft Certification has meant to them in their own career development and advancement. From these candidates we have selected our cast, and you can look forward to seeing an exciting and dynamic video soon as our cast members share their certification stories.

Meanwhile, if you have a webcam, we would very much like to hear your personal certification story. Here's how:

1. Create a short video clip (5 -10 seconds) in which you state your name, pause for three seconds and state "I'm an MCP and ______" (you get to fill in the blank)

2. You can fill the blank in with a statement regarding your career (e.g. "...and I just got promoted!") or something personal (e.g. "...and I hunt wild boar on weekends!")

3. Post your clip on

4. Send the link to If it is selected for use in our materials, you will be notified.

We may feature your video on our Microsoft Learning website worldwide, so please, record your story and send it in!

Wednesday 14 January 2009

Free Virtualization book

MS Press has another free book offer, honestly those guys and gals share the love! So if you are into Virtualization (or Virtualisation on this side of the water) this may be of interest to you.

Link here

Written by industry expert Mitch Tulloch with the Microsoft Virtualization Teams, Understanding Microsoft Virtualization Solutions will teach you about the benefits of the latest virtualization technologies and how to plan, implement, and manage virtual infrastructure solutions. The technologies covered include: Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2009, Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5, Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization, and Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. Register to download the e-book, and sign up for the Microsoft Press Book Connection newsletter which provides news about upcoming releases and other special offers.

Tuesday 6 January 2009

Second Shot continues

A quick glance at the Second Shot web page and I noticed that you could still sign up. So a quick check on the About Second Shot page details that the offer is valid until June 30 2009.

So what are you waiting for.

You have until June 30, 2009, to register, obtain an exam voucher, complete your first exam and retake your exam (if you did not pass on your first attempt).

There is no limit per person: If you register for this offer, you will receive one free retake for each paid exam that you take and fail.

To take advantage of this offer:

  • Step 1: Register for Second Shot on the Microsoft Web site and receive an exam voucher number.

  • Step 2: Schedule and pay for your initial exam through the Prometric Web site, call center,* or test center.
    Note You must have the voucher number before you register.

  • Step 3: Take the exam.

  • Step 4: If you do not pass the exam on your first attempt, register for your free retake exam through the Prometric Web site, call center,* or test center by using the same voucher number. Then, take your Second Shot!
    Note You must wait one day after taking your initial exam before you can register for your retake exam. This time is required to enter test results into the system.

Which exams qualify for this Second Shot offer?
Any Microsoft Learning IT professional, developer, or Microsoft Dynamics exam qualifies for this offer.

Sunday 4 January 2009

Exam tips 70-631 Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Configuring

First post of the new year!

This exam is based around Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and configuring it for use in an organisation. It deals a lot with Network Infrastructure and also with ideas such as a clustering and network load balancing.

It is a good exam to have as your elective for MCSA/MCSE and it is a requirement for those heading to do the Microsoft Certified Master in SharePoint.

Developers sometimes find this exam a bit on the tough side as it requires a good understanding on system administration and not just WSS 3.0

So where do you start.

First off, I would suggest reading this post on how to prepare for your exams.

Normally I would suggest getting a book, and this time there are a couple of very handy free options. You can download free books from MS here on Windows SharePoint Services. Also you can access the SharePoint Services technical library which contains lots of articles in relation to WSS. A downloadable book covering installation can be found here

You can see what is required for the exam from the exam matrix. As you can see from it, it covers quite a bit in relation to system admin.

Now as with any server based exam it is a good idea to set up your own network. For this, use a copy of your preferred virtualisation software such as Virtual PC and get a copy of Windows Server 2003, SQL Server 2005 (or Express Edition) and Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0 with SP1 applied. More information on editions and support for SQL 2008 can be found here

I would suggest making a base Windows image, and then a base with SQL Server 2005. This allows you to quickly set up a server farm when you need to start looking at bigger deployments. Also you should make sure that the lab is running as a functioning domain rather than in workgroup mode as this will allow better (and easier) options in relation to account setup etc.

You can learn how to deploy WSS 3.0 using this virtual lab.

Hope that helps