Thursday, 23 March 2017

Firebrand Training launch Microsoft Software Tester Apprenticeship with Testhouse

The demand for software testers is increasing but businesses across the UK are failing to get the testing and DevOps skills they need because of a lack of qualified professionals.

In response to this demand, Testhouse, a Microsoft Gold ALM Partner, and Firebrand Training, leaders in accelerated learning, have launched the Microsoft Software Tester Apprenticeship.



The launch of this programme aligns with Microsoft’s National Empowerment activity, which sees over 4,500 young people start a Microsoft-backed apprenticeship across over 2,500 Microsoft Partners and customers this year. This apprenticeship will also be delivered in time for the imminent arrival of the Apprenticeship Levy.

The Microsoft Software Tester apprenticeship is designed to bring new software testers and DevOps specialists into IT, at a time when these professionals are more essential than ever.

Built around the National Apprenticeship Standard for Software Testers, this apprenticeship programme is designed by Firebrand -- a Microsoft Gold Partner -- to align directly with job role demands of employers.

“We can’t wait to get new software testers and DevOps specialists into the industry to fill the digital skills gap and contribute to Microsoft’s target of 30,000 new apprenticeships by 2020” says Stefano Capaldo, Firebrand’s Managing Director.

“Firebrand are already receiving interest from employers for this new apprenticeship. We’re excited to have our first Azure apprentices starting soon.”

Get Microsoft Software Testing skills in your organisation


As apprentices learn how to design and execute tests on business applications and services, students on this programme will develop into software testing and DevOps professionals.

The rapid increase in popularity for Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 has led to a lack of knowledge in the solution’s software testing tools. To meet this demand, apprentices will receive considerable training on this industry-standard platform.

Jim Cowdery, Head of Business Development at Testhouse, says:

“We are very proud to work with both Firebrand and Microsoft to provide much needed skills in the marketplace and offer businesses affordable testing solutions.”

Built by Testhouse and Firebrand, the programme also includes £10,000s worth of government-funded software testing training, including:


Firebrand’s Microsoft Software Tester programme is also fully customisable, so you can tailor it to suit you as an employer.

Plus, apprenticeships are not only for new staff. Savvy organisations can put existing employees on this Microsoft Software Tester Apprenticeship, boosting their testing skills with government-funded training.

Who is Firebrand Training?


Firebrand Training is the fastest way to learn. Firebrand’s apprentices train at twice the speed, getting industry-recognised certifications at an all-inclusive residential training centre. For more information on Firebrand’s unique accelerated learning take a look at the video below:


Since launching in 2001, Firebrand has trained more than 62,000 students and saved a total of 1 million hours. Firebrand Training is also a Microsoft Gold Training Partner and has provided accelerated apprenticeships since 2012.



Get more information on the new Microsoft Software Tester Apprenticeship, including how to access £10,000s of government-funded accelerated training. Or learn more about the Apprenticeship Levy with this this guide.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Firebrand launch new Microsoft Azure Apprenticeship programmes

The use of cloud technology is rapidly increasing but businesses across the UK are failing to progress their cloud projects because of a lack of skilled Azure professionals.

“Today 80% of our customers have already deployed or fully embraced the cloud – by 2020 the idea that a company has ‘no cloud’ would be as rare as a ‘no internet’ policy is today” says Gavriella Schuster, Corporate VP of Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Group.

But despite the rapid uptake of cloud technology, the industry is experiencing a massive skills shortage. Azure skills were the hardest to source, according to a 2016 study of Microsoft Partners from Curotalent.

Microsoft is committed to closing the skills gap with their pledge to create 30,000 new digital apprenticeship roles by 2020. As part of this, and in time for the imminent arrival of the Apprenticeship Levy, Firebrand have launched four new accelerated Azure apprenticeships.

“We’ve developed these accelerated Azure apprenticeships to reflect the knowledge and skills demanded by UK businesses.

“We’re excited to see these apprenticeships shape and develop Azure skills for the next generation of IT professionals" says Stefano Capaldo, Firebrand’s Managing Director.








Built by Firebrand -- in partnership with Microsoft – these new Azure apprenticeships are the first of their kind to align to existing National Apprenticeship standards. Each apprenticeship also includes £10,000s of accelerated Microsoft Azure training and certification.

How to get new Azure skills in your organisation, fast


Four new Azure programmes, built around in-demand job roles and designed by industry trailblazers, are now available to employers and apprentices.


Azure Infrastructure Technician

Azure Infrastructure Technicians learn to support internal and external customers by resolving virtual and on-premise queries. Apprentices will also study virtual machine (VM) administration.

Accelerated training includes:
Apprentices on this programme will develop into your next helpdesk technician, infrastructure technician or Azure network support professional.


Azure Software Developer

Azure Software Developers learn to design, build and test Azure solutions and applications. These apprentices will also learn how to build and host application infrastructure in Azure.

As well as official Microsoft Azure courses, accelerated training includes:
This programme will teach apprentices how to become an Azure mobile/application/systems/web developer.


Azure Cyber Security Technologist

Azure Cyber Security Technologists will use their specialist cloud knowledge to identify cyber threats and risks to organisations and people. Azure Cyber Security Technologists will also specialise in cloud platform and infrastructure security.

As well as official Microsoft Azure courses, accelerated training includes:
Typical job roles for apprentices on this programme include: cloud security architect, cyber operations manager, penetration tester and security engineer.


Azure Network Engineer

Azure Network Engineers focus on virtual networks whilst learning how to design, install and support communications within an organisation. Azure Network Engineers will become experts in network configuration and administration.

As well as official Microsoft Azure courses, accelerated training includes:
Apprentices on this programme will develop into network technicians, network administrators and systems engineers.


Are you planning for the Apprenticeship Levy yet?


With the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in April 2017, all businesses in the UK are now hugely incentivised to hire apprentices.

The Levy will change the way apprenticeships are funded. Here are three things employers need to know:
  1. Employers with a UK wage bill of over £3 million will pay the monthly levy
  2. Levy payments will be 0.5% of their annual pay bill
  3. Employers will control payments in a digital account where funds can be spent on apprenticeship training
  4. Non-levied employers will only pay 10% of the cost of apprenticeships, government will pay the remainder
Use your Levy on Azure apprenticeships, close your cloud skills gap, and move ahead with your Azure projects. Find out how you can hire and train Azure apprentices at little-to-no-cost right now.

Friday, 10 February 2017

EC-Council launch Certified Hacking Forensics Investigator (CHFI) v9 Update

As businesses wake up to the growing and imminent threat of cyber crime, cyber security is a top priority, now more than ever.

In 2004, the global cyber security market was worth just $3.5 billion. But, by 2020 it will be worth a staggering $120 billion according to Wired.

Because of the new and innovative ways businesses are experiencing hack attacks, it’s important that both security and response measures remain up-to-date.

EC-Council’s recent update to the Certified Hacking Forensics Investigator (CHFI) is a prime example of the security industry looking to keep your knowledge current and up-to-date on the latest techniques.

What to do after the worst happened?


The CHFI certification validates your skills in conducting a digital forensics investigation. From understanding which scripts to run in the all important moments following a breach to piecing together clues to catch a trespasser, digital forensics is your first response. 

Digital forensics detectives draw on a wide range of investigation and analysis techniques to identify an intruder's virtual footprints, in the hope of gathering potential legal evidence. 

Put into context, CHFIs are effectively virtual detectives. Just like you’d want an investigator on the case if jewellery was stolen from your home, you’ll want a CHFI if you’re the victim of a cyber breach.  The only difference is, even the most expensive pieces of jewellery can’t compare to the millions it can cost if you’re hacked.

The CHFI course covers major forensic investigation scenarios and presents a methodological approach to forensics. You'll cover searching and seizing, chain-of-custody, acquisition, preservation and analysis and reporting of digital evidence. 
   
There’s always an opportunity for a hacker to penetrate your system. When your organisation is hit by a cyber breach, the real issue is how you respond to the attack.

What are the new updates?


The new CHFI version 9 update has a number of key changes.

Firstly, this update introduces new content. You’ll dive into the latest forensics examination techniques, with new operating systems including Linux and MAC Forensics. In the previous version (v8), only Windows forensics was addressed. 

Furthermore, a host of new modules have been added to this course to reflect industry developments. The three modules added are database, cloud and malware forensics. With UK businesses at a cloud adoption rate of 84% and with 54% being hit by ransomware attacks, it's easy to see why these modules have been added.  

EC-Council have also added more than 40% new, hands-on labs to the program. These descriptive and analytical labs are well tested and results oriented. Even with these new labs however, EC-Council have in fact reduced the total number of labs and modules. From 22 modules, 42 labs and 2400 slides, they've now got 14 modules, 39 labs and only 1222 slidesThis change seeks to make the information more concise and digestible, whilst still covering all of the key areas in the same depth. 

 

Why is it essential to your cyber security in 2017?


In a world where 90% of all criminal cases have at least one form of electronic evidence (The Guardian), the importance of being able to conduct a digital forensics investigation is growing rapidly.

Furthermore, the digital forensics market is expected to grow around 15% globally from 2015 to 2020 as businesses quickly realise the importance of cyber forensics. 

Learn how to protect against a cyber attack, fast


Achieve the CHFI certification in just 5 days with Firebrand Training, or check out the extensive cyber security portfolio we have to offer. 

Here's what others thought about the CHFI course: 




   

Monday, 16 January 2017

The 5 cyber security statistics you need to know in 2017

‘Cybercrime is the greatest threat to every company in the world’ says IBM’s CEO, Ginni Rometty. If you’re already working on boosting your security – or haven’t started yet – now’s the time. Here’s five reasons why…


1. Cybercrime cost to hit £2.41 trillion a year - Juniper Research


Cybercrime is expensive. Get hit and you’ll feel it in your profits. For example, a successful DDoS attack will force your systems offline and can cost you upwards of £100,000 every hour. 2016 reported a 22% increase in cybercrime and it certainly didn’t go unnoticed in the media. Big names like Yahoo, TalkTalk, Tesco, Netflix, Sony and even the presidential election were victim to cyber-attacks.

Get EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker certification to help defend against attacks.


2. Cyber security spending to exceed £815 billion by 2021 - CSO Online


Businesses continue to realise the need to spend more on cyber security products, like software and training. In 2016, over £6.5bn was spent worldwide on information security (Gartner).

Despite this growing demand for training, a 2016 government report highlights that there’s still much to be done for businesses. With just under a fifth of businesses ensuring their staff take part in cyber security training in 2016, staff and the general public are still too unaware of their responsibilities in this regard.  

3. Unfilled cyber security jobs to reach 1.5 million by 2020 - (ISC)² 


There’s a severe shortage of qualified cyber security professionals. What’s more, the average salary for a CISSP certified professional is now £62,500.

The effect of this shortage means businesses are struggling to implement the security measures needed. A recent study by Cybersecurity Ventures of over 1,000 IT Professionals globally found that IT security managers reported significant obstacles in implementing desired security projects due to lack of expertise (34.5%) and inadequate staffing (26.4%).


4. Four billion people online by 2020 (Microsoft)


Double the current number of people will be online by 2020. As 91% of attacks begin with email phishing (Mimecast), the potential exploitation for hackers here is massive. Avoid social engineering attacks by educating your employees on information security.

More worrying statistics concerning the growing number of employees online and with access to sensitive data, came from AXELOS. They found that 75% of large organisations and nearly a third of small organisations suffered staff-related security breaches in 2015 and 50% of the worst breaches of the same year were caused by human error.   

A simple and cost-effective way to test your employees cyber security knowledge is through EC-Council’s Certified Secure Computer User (CSCU) test. This will help benchmark the cyber security awareness and competence of your workforce.


5. 200 billion IoT devices will need securing by 2020 (Intel)


More internet connected devices – from thermostats to fridges - in the hands of the public means more opportunities for hackers to infiltrate home networks.

Take a look at the recent hack of the DNS provider Dyn, which brought down major organisations, as a result of an army of 100,000 IoT devices being hacked. Dyn Vice President Scott Hilton stated that the compromised devices had been hit with the notorious Mirai malware that scans for IoT devices that are still using their default passwords. It then enslaves those devices to a botnet army, which was used to force Dyn offline.

As technology develops and individuals and businesses increasingly adopt these novel technologies, the phrase, “with great power, comes great responsibility” has never rung truer. 

Are you prepared for the next cyber-attack?  

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

24 Microsoft exams retiring in 2017

It's been a busy 2016 for Microsoft, a major certification restructure was announced in September, which will see the retirement of all 13 existing MCSD and MCSE certifications on March 31st 2017.

These were replaced with a streamlined set of 5 certifications aligned to the latest job roles and the removal of recertification. Despite this huge shake up, built on by a new technology launch across every core Microsoft platform, the number of exam retirements is surprisingly light.

The reason, exams and curriculum aligned to the retiring MCSE and MCSD certifications are simply being reshuffled under the new certifications as electives. With that in mind, let's take a look at the changes.


Dynamics

With the launch of Dynamics 365, combining the existing CRM and ERP platforms, it is unsurprising that we see a range of retirements affecting CRM 2013 and AX 2012.

Retired on December 31, 2016
MB2-700: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Applications
MB2-701: Extending Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013
MB2-702: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Deployment
MB2-703: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Customization and Configuration
MB5-705: Managing Microsoft Dynamics Implementations
MB6-700: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 Project
MB6-702: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Financials
MB6-703: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Trade and Logistics
MB6-704: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 CU8 Development Introduction
MB6-884: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Lean Manufacturing
MB6-885: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Public Sector
MB6-886: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Process Manufacturing Production and Logistics
MB6-889: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Service Management

Retiring on March 31, 2017         
MB6-701: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Retail
MB6-705: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 CU8 Installation and Configuration


SharePoint

Despite the launch of SharePoint Server 2016, there are currently no plans to retire exams aligned to SharePoint 2013. The only retirements associated with platform are in the form of recertification exams for the MCSE and MCSD certifications, which are no longer a requirement.

Retiring on March 31, 2017
70-383: Recertification for MCSE: SharePoint
70-384: Recertification for MCSE: Communication
70-385: Recertification for MCSE: Messaging
70-517: Recertification for MCSD: SharePoint Applications


SQL Server

As with SharePoint, we see only the planned retirement of recertification exams. Despite the existence of SQL Server 2014 and the arrival of SQL Server 2016, there are still no plans to retire exams aligned to SQL Server 2012 and the associated MCSA.

Retiring on March 31, 2017
70-469: Recertification for MCSE: Data Platform
70-470: Recertification for MCSE: Business Intelligence


Visual Studio and .NET

The most interesting exam retirements planned for Visual Studio are 70-354 and 70-355, which align to the Universal Windows Platform. These will coincide with the retirement of the MCSD: Universal Windows Platform.

In place of these exams comes 70-357: Developing Mobile Apps, which forms the second requirement for the new MCSA: Universal Windows Platform.

Retiring on March 31, 2017
70-354: Universal Windows Platform – App Architecture and UX/UI
70-355: Universal Windows Platform – App Data, Services, and Coding Patterns
70-490: Recertification for MCSD: Windows Store Apps Using HTML5
70-491: Recertification for MCSD: Windows Store Apps Using C#
70-494: Recertification for MCSD: Web Applications
70-499: Recertification for MCSD: Application Lifecycle Management

Retiring on July 31, 2017
70-488: Developing SharePoint Server 2013 Core Solutions
70-489: Developing SharePoint Server 2013 Advanced Solutions


Windows

With a rather quiet exit, the MCSA: Windows 8.1 retired on December 31, with the removal of exams 70-687 and 70-688.

Retired on December 31, 2016
70-687: Configuring Windows 8.1
70-688: Supporting Windows 8.1
70-689: Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows 8
70-692: Upgrading Your Windows XP Skills to MCSA Windows 8


Windows Server

Despite being almost 8 years old, numerous planned and failed retirements, MCSA: Windows Server 2008 is finally set for legacy status. The retirement of aligned exams 70-640, 70-642 and 70-646 is scheduled for July 31, 2017.

Retiring on March 31, 2017
70-980: Recertification for MCSE: Server Infrastructure
70-981: Recertification for MCSE: Private Cloud

Retiring on July 31, 2017
70-640: TS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring
70-642: TS: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure, Configuring
70-646: Pro: Windows Server 2008, Server Administrator


Other

Retiring on January 31, 2017
74-697: OEM Preinstallation

Retiring on March 31, 2017
70-673: TS: Designing, Assessing, and Optimizing Software Asset Management (SAM)

Retiring on July 31, 2017
70-243: Administering and Deploying System Center 2012 Configuration Manager

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Top 10 IT Certifications of 2017


With 2017 fast approaching we've listed our Top 10 certifications that we believe will best equip you in the new year. We've included certifications that range across various technologies and develop different skills such as security, networking, project management and cloud. Let us know in the comments what you think of our list. 

1. (ISC)2 CISSP

A recent report from recruitment firm Robert Half found that 77% of UK Chief Information Officers (CIO) believe that “they will face more security threats in the next five years because of a shortage of IT security talent”.

(ISC)2’s CISSP certification is a gold standard for IT professionals in high managerial and technical security roles. This certification proves deep competence, skills, experience and credibility to design, engineer, implement and manage their overall information security program.

The Information Commissioner’s Office recently identified that cyber security breaches increased 88% since the beginning of 2015. So, it’s unsurprising businesses are looking to bolster their security policies and defence by employing those certified at the highest level. As a result, we’re positive that CISSP will continue to be an excellent route to reach the top security roles in this industry.




2. EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)


EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker
certification prepares you to identify weaknesses or vulnerabilities within a business’ network. The difference is that rather than exploit these security gaps, you use these skills to protect a business and patch any potential exposures.

EC-Council have dedicated thousands of man hours into researching the latest trends and uncovering the covert techniques used by the underground community to come up with the latest Version 9 exam and curriculum.

It’s no doubt this certification will continue to gain popularity in the IT industry, and recent large scale hacks with the likes of Yahoo, Tesco, Netflix, Reddit and TalkTalk proves the need for increased cyber security skills.

3. Cisco CCNA (Routing and Switching)

Cisco’s CCNA (Routing and Switching) certification teaches you the skills for network support positions and is the starting point for many successful careers in networking.

The skills shortage the UK are currently in the midst of means that demand for professionals with a certification in networking will continue to grow. A Cisco report found that in 2015 there was shortage of 1.2 million professionals skilled in IP networking – with the number expected to grow in the coming years.

This certification acts as a solid foundation to any networking career, so it’s certainly one to target in 2017!

4. The Open Group TOGAF 9.1 Certification

Thousands of companies now use The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) and as a result the demand for those certified and familiar with the TOGAF framework has continued to grow throughout 2016.

This certification dives into four Enterprise Architecture areas:
  • Business – processes, design and optimisation
  • Applications - creating strategic architectures
  • Infrastructure - networks, hardware, security, server locations, operating systems and capacity
  • Data – placement, requirements, maintenance and reporting

The trend of more businesses adopting Enterprise Architecture skills like those in TOGAF mean this certification can propel almost any career in the IT industry. Skills and knowledge in the Architecture Development Method (ADM), The Enterprise Continuum and the TOGAF Resource Base can help you get a better return from your IT operations, helping things run faster, cheaper and reducing risk. 

5. Microsoft MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure

One of Microsoft’s latest certification additions is this MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, which develops your expertise in Microsoft’s cloud-related technologies and managing a modern data centre.

With a wide range of electives to choose from to get this certification, it’s one that will unquestionably be held by a knowledgeable, expert group of professionals.
Microsoft’s recent drive in Azure computing, with an investment of $3 billion in Europe data centres, means the Azure route will likely be one that experiences high levels of interest. Similarly, the need to offer greater security to business networks means the Securing Windows Server route may be equally popular in 2017.

Microsoft recently streamlined their technical certifications, so if you aren’t already familiar with the changes, check them out here



6. EC-Council's Certified Network Defender

Launched this year, the Certified Network Defender certification is expected to follow the CEH in becoming one of EC-Council’s most demanded products.

Developing skills in network security controls, protocols and devices, risk and vulnerability assessments and choosing appropriate firewall solutions, you’ll act as the first responder to any network security incidents.

As business environments increasingly adopt Cloud technologies and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) becomes commonplace, businesses need to improve their network security. First responders are crucial in this respect and have the potential to significantly mitigate damages following a security breach.

This certification comfortably makes the Top 10 list and should definitely be a cert you keep your eyes on!  

7. Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server 2016

Another one of Microsoft’s new certifications is the MCSA: Windows Server 2016, which develops the fundamental skills needed to develop and manage your Windows Server environment.

Windows Server is a robust technology that consistently experiences steady demand and is highly valued within the IT industry.  

This certification is an excellent place to learn the skills to install, upgrade and migrate servers, configure Nano Servers and manage advanced AD DS infrastructure.

This certification is also a stepping stone to the MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, which this certification acts as a prerequisite for. 

8. AXELOS PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner 

The PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner certification is one that covers the basic methodology and terminology of PRINCE2. 2016 saw an increased demand in project managers due to the growing scale and complexity of projects being undertaken today. Demand is so large that it’s expected 15.7 million new project managers will be needed across the globe by 2020.

The skills you’ll learn ensure projects have a common and consistent approach, regular reviews or progress against plans and the assurance that projects must have a business justification.  

This certification is also increasingly demanded because of its relevance across industries. Unlike many technical certifications it can be applied across the board, and therefore makes those who hold it, that much more employable.

Firebrand is the only provider to offer both the foundation and practitioner course in just three days and we’ve currently certified over 1,500 students. 

9. Microsoft MCSD: App Builder

Learn to create and implement modern web applications as well as develop the skills to build a modern mobile and web applications service with the new MCSD: App Builder certification.

A study by Gartner found that the market demand for mobile app development will grow at least five times faster than internal IT organisations’ capacity to deliver them.

The MCSD: App Builder is the top certification in developing the skills to design and implement application architecture, security and user experience, and we’re confident it will skyrocket in 2017. 

10. CompTIA Security+

CompTIA’s Security+ certification develops the skills to troubleshoot security events and incidents and operate within applicable policies, laws and regulations.

This certification is vendor-neutral and is developed with the input from industry, government, academia and front-line practitioners. This means you can be sure it’s content reflects the current needs of the industry and it's also largely why this certification will almost certainly continue to perform outstandingly in 2017.

Some of the key topics covered include network security, threats and vulnerabilities and application, data and host security.

Firebrand is a CompTIA platinum partner so you’ll benefit from the highest level instructors and the most up-to-date curriculum. 




Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Get the New Microsoft Certifications for 2017

Click to enlarge
Microsoft recently announced significant changes to their technical certifications. In short, Microsoft streamlined certification pathways, launched a range of new Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) and Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) certifications, retired 13 existing certifications and restructured the way you certify and re-earn certifications.

In a recent blog post we outlined these changes, covering what’s new, what’s retiring, how you can achieve these new certifications and the process of re-earning your certs.

Today, we’re excited to announce your fastest route to earning these new MCSE and MCSD certifications, whilst helping you master the latest Microsoft technologies ready for 2017. Read on to discover the accelerated route that’s right for you.

Your fastest route to new Microsoft Certifications


MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure

MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure This certification validates the skills necessary to run a highly efficient and modern data centre.

You have two distinctly different accelerated pathways to earn your MCSE Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification. 


Azure Cloud Platform - On this route you will master Azure across infrastructure and development. You’ll also learn to architect Azure solutions for the modern Enterprise organisation.

This course is 50% faster than traditional training and you will leave both MCSA: Cloud Platform and MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certified in just 7 days. 

 Windows Server 2016- this pathway will focus you on learning the skills aligned to the Installation, Storage, Compute, Networking and Identity in Windows Server 2016. You will then focus on developing the skills to Secure Windows Server 2016, critical in a world full of cyber threats. 

This 15 day route is 25% faster than traditional training, during which you will work to achieve both the MCSA: Windows Server 2016 and MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure. 


MCSE: ProductivityThis credential validates your skills to move your company to the cloud, increase user productivity and flexibility, reduce data loss, and improve data security for your organisation.

You’ll quickly learn the skills to transition your businesses’ communications to the cloud. First you'll master Office 365 and earn the corresponding MCSA , before tailoring your route to the MCSE: Productivity certification, choosing to develop skills aligned to one of the following three technology platforms:

Exchange Server 2016 - on this 11 day route, you’ll learn the skills to design and implement an Exchange Server 2016 messaging environment – 45% faster than traditional training. In working with the technology, you’ll touch on key proficiencies, including how to design and configure advanced components in an Exchange Server 2016 deployment. You'll cover advanced topics covering compliance, archiving, advanced security and discovery solutions. 

SharePoint Server 2016 - this 11 day accelerated route focuses on developing your skills in designing SharePoint infrastructure as well as planning authentication and security, managing search capabilities and monitoring and optimising a SharePoint Server 2016 environment. 

Skype for Business 2015 - here, you have the choice to focus on Deploying Enterprise Voice with Skype for Business 2015 or Core Solutions of Microsoft Skype for Business 2015. Both offer a 9 day route to MCSE Productivity which is 50% faster than traditional training.




MCSE: MobilityEarning this credential demonstrates you have the skills needed to manage devices in today’s bring-your-own-device (BYOD) enterprise. 

First, you'll unlock the skills aligned to the MCSA Windows 10 platform and accelerate your 9 day path to achieving the MCSE: Mobility certification. Choose to develop your skills for Enterprise scale businesses across device management, deployment or administration.

Deploying Windows Desktops and Enterprise Applications - on this route you’ll develop the skills to assess operating system and applicant deployment options, determine the most appropriate deployment strategy and implement a deployment solution for Windows devices and apps that meet your environment's needs.

System Center Configuration Manager and Intune - here you will learn the skills to configure and manage clients and devices by using Microsoft System Center v1511 Configuration Manager, Microsoft Intune and their associated site systems.

 Planning for and Managing Devices in the Enterprise - learn the skills to use Enteprise Mobility Suite to manage Windows 10 devices, users and data. You will expand your knowledge and skills helping you to plan, deploy, and manage devices and applications in medium to large organisations.

Whichever route you choose, you’ll achieve your MCSA Office 365 and MCSE Mobility certification 50% faster with Firebrand, qualifying you for roles including cloud administrator, cloud architect, computer support specialist and information security analyst.


MCSE: Data Management and AnalyticsThe MCSA DMA certification will validate your broad skill sets in SQL administration, building enterprise-scale data solutions, and leveraging business intelligence data—both on-premises and in cloud environments.

Choose your fastest way to master the new SQL Server 2016 platform and tailor your route to MCSE with a choice of developing skills across Business Intelligence, Database Development or Database Administration.

Depending on the MCSE elective you’ve chosen you can further advance your skills in your chosen area in just 8 days. 



MCSD: App BuilderEarning the MCSD App Builder validates that you have the skills needed to build modern mobile and/or web applications and services.

With Firebrand, you'll learn to create and implement web applications that scale using the Azure cloud platform to achieve the MCSA: Web Applications certification and MCSD: App Builder.

Your chosen elective will be Developing Windows Azure and Web Services. You’ll learn how to design and develop services that access local and remote data from various sources. You’ll also get an insight into developing and deploying services to hybrid environments, including on-premises services and Windows Azure. 

This 9 day track is the fastest and most popular route to achieving the MCSD App Builder credential.

Why get Certified with Firebrand Training?


As Microsoft Gold Learning Partners and leaders in accelerated training, we not only offer you the fastest route to your MCSE and MCSD certifications, but we can ensure you’ll have the latest Microsoft Official Curriculum (MOC) and receive excellent training from our experienced Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCT).

Our unique Lecture | Lab | Review technique combines both theoretical and practical exercises to accelerate your learning and develop the hands-on skills required for when you return to work.

You’ll also take all of your exams on-site during the course, which will be covered by your Certification Guarantee.

If you have any other questions about the new streamlined certification paths, you may want to check out this Microsoft blog with the top 12 questions about the new cert changes. Or, if you’re more of a visual learner, the video below discusses the new changes and why they were made with the Director of Microsoft Learning, Shelby Grieve. 







Tuesday, 15 November 2016

10 tips to pass Microsoft’s MCSA 70-740 Exam

Microsoft’s 70 740 exam: Installation, Storage and Compute with Windows Server 2016 is the first exam of three exams you are required to pass to achieve the MCSA: Windows Server 2016 certified. 

Passing this exam proves you have the skills and knowledge to:

·         Install Windows Server 2016 in host and compute environments
·         Implement storage solutions
·         Implement Hyper-V
·         Implement Windows containers
·         Implement high availability
·         Maintain and monitor server environments

Once you’ve passed this exam, you’ll be able to move on to exams 70 741: Networking with Windows Server 2016 and 70 742: Identity with Windows Server 2016.  

This exam is currently in the beta phase of development meaning it is not yet available to the public. In preparation for its release, however, we've gathered the 10 most useful tips and resources currently available.

1. Microsoft’s Virtual Academy


Microsoft offer a free learning resource, called the Microsoft Virtual Academy. Here you can find videos, presentations and learning materials for the full range of Microsoft technologies, including Windows Server 2016. These resources not only introduce you to the key exam information but also provide helpful and educational insights into many key topics.

For Windows Server 2016 and your 70 740 exam there are a host of useful resources that can bolster your knowledge. The What’s New in Windows Server 2016 provides an in-depth introduction of the changes you’ll see from the previous Windows Server 2012 and features that have recently been added to the Windows Server 2016.

The content in this free resource is an excellent starting point for your exam prep and alongside our other tips will ensure you’re ready to ace the exam!

The recent release of the MCSA 70 740 exam means the content currently available is limited. While we wait for Microsoft to populate the Virtual Academy with relevant information we've found this excellent 70 740 exam prep resource to keep you busy. 




2. Use a revision guide


Study guides can act as incredibly useful resources that allow you to structure your revision in a way that best appeals to you. Revision guides point out key areas you should focus on and will guide you through the knowledge you need to know for the exam. Below are two of the most useful revision guides, which we believe you will largely benefit from.

Exam Ref 70 740 Installation, Storage and Compute with Windows Server 2016 is the newest 70 410 book from Jason Kelington and the Official study guide for this Microsoft certification. “Featuring concise, objective-by-objective reviews and strategic case scenarios and Thought experiments, exam candidates get professional-level preparation for the exam”.    

You can purchase this 70 740 study guide on Amazon here. The ISBN is 978-0735698826




A second resource and one that’s equally helpful is the bestselling MCSA Windows Server 2016 Study Guide. This guide covers 100% of all exam objectives and “goes far beyond concept review with real-world scenarios containing expert insights, chapter review questions, hands-on practice exercises and a searchable glossary”. Written by William Panek, a Microsoft MVP, you can be sure that the content will be closely aligned with what you’ll face in the exam.

You can purchase this 70 740 study guide on Amazon here. The ISBN is 978-1119359340 



3. Join a forum 


What better way to prepare for the 70 740 exam then to join other like-minded individuals preparing for the same exam. Joining a forum is an excellent way of accessing this community. You’ll be able to work through challenging aspects together, ask questions and bounce ideas of each other. You’ll also hear from what others who have both passed and failed the exam have to say.

The TechNet forums are an excellent resource in this regard and offer guidance and information that can be insightful for those that are both looking to get certified or simply resolve technical issues. There’s a wide range of topics and with so many active members there’s a high chance somebody has already answered your questions.

There are articles on all aspects of Windows Server as well as your specific exam or areas you may be struggling with. Currently there is no Windows Server 2016 forum but there remains plenty of information about the Windows Server 2016 in the Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server General Forum, which can be found here.


4. Take a practice test



Practice 70 740 test questions are useful resources to familiarise yourself with the exam format, and prepare you for the types of questions you’ll get when you take the exam. Even more importantly, however, it’s a great way to identify gaps in your knowledge that you can then work on.

GoCertify offers 70 740 test questions. Once you’ve done some revision and feel you have a good understanding of the exam material, this is an excellent way to test your knowledge and identify areas that need improvement.

MeasureUp is a similarly useful resource and as the provider of official Microsoft practice tests it offers a far wider range of questions and different packaging and pricing options to get you started. With the exam still in the beta phase, however, MeasureUp do not have practice questions live on their website. We suggest you check this page regularly as they’ll no doubt be looking to update this as soon as the exam becomes available.


MeasureUp’s practice exams are well-respected and are a great way to dig your teeth into some meaty and useful revision. 

5. Take a course


At the end of the day there is no real alternative to immersing yourself in a training course led by certified instructors with a wealth of knowledge and experience on your specific certification.

You’ll sit in a classroom, away from any distractions, with peers that are focused on passing the same exam. You’ll also benefit from hands-on experience and invaluable instructor knowledge.

Firebrand offer an accelerated 11 day MCSA: Windows Server 2016 course. Firebrand also offer courses aligned to the 70 740, 70 741 and 70 742 exams individually.  




6. Avoid Brain Dumps


You should look to avoid brain dumps at all costs. Not only are these illegal in the context of examinations, they are also entirely useless in giving you the skills you’ll need to apply your MCSA Windows Server 2016 in real-world scenarios. If its discovered that you have been using a 70 740 brain dump, you will be disqualified from your exam.

7. Download a trial session of the software


An excellent way to prepare for the exam is to get familiar with the software you’ll be tested on. You can download a trial version of the Windows Server 2016 software here

The trial version limits you to 180 days, which is more than enough to get experienced with some of the features. Focus on experiencing parts of the software relevant to 70 740 exam and this software will offer useful practical revision that will certainly help when it comes to the exam.

Follow the exam objectives as a guide for what to revise. 


8. Join a study group


The value of joining like-minded individuals as you prepare for your exam should not be underestimated. Study groups allow you and others to share tips, experiences, challenges and questions with one another.

Born to Learn is a training and certification community that discuss relevant certification news and articles.



Under the “Study Groups” tab you’ll be able to select the technology and the subsequent exam you’re focusing on. Here, you’ll be able to start discussions or add to on-going discussions with others that are interested in the same software and exam as you.

Unfortunately, there is currently no study group available for the Windows Server 2016. There’s no doubt Microsoft will be looking to introduce this soon, so keep checking this page! 


9. Do some practice labs


Practice labs are an excellent way to get familiar with software in an environment that allows you to make mistakes.

While training courses such as Firebrand’s offer practical tasks with the supervision of an instructor, MeasureUp have a series of practice labs you can complete by yourself. These practice labs are aligned specifically to the different exams. Although currently unavailable for the 70 740, 70 741 and 70 742 exams, check back at a later date.
   
It’s also definitely worth heading to TechNet Virtual Labs where you can access labs aligned to Windows Server 2016. Best of all, this resource is entirely free so make the most of it!



With the Windows Server 2016 exams currently in the beta phase, it’s just a matter of time before we see these practical labs become available on MeasureUp.

10. Follow an Expert

A good way to keep up-to-date with the latest Microsoft developments is to follow an expert's blog. Robert Smit is a Senior Technical Evangelist and Microsoft MVP as of 2009 and updates his personal blog on all things Windows Server/System Center and Azure. 

Smit uses this platform as his own personal notebook as well, so although some of the content may appear to be Smit thinking out loud - it is an excellent resource for your Windows Server exam prep. 

Keep up to date with this blog and you'll get the inside scope on a wide range of information helping with exam preparation and developing your skills once you're MCSA certified!