Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Get the New Microsoft Certifications for 2017

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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!

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Firebrand named in Top 20 IT Training Companies of 2016 for a 7th time!


Earlier today Firebrand Training were listed in the Training Industry’s Top 20 IT Training Companies of 2016! This excellent news marks the 7th consecutive year Firebrand have been named in this prestigious list and celebrates our continued commitment to being the best.



The 2016 Top IT Training Companies list recognises the most prominent names in IT training,” said Ken Taylor, President of the Training Industry Inc. “These companies provide some of the highest quality corporate training available, often adapting their offerings to meet the specific training needs of their customers”.

Training Companies across the world were scored against the following challenging criteria:

  • Leadership and innovation in IT training 
  • Breadth of IT training and delivery methods offered 
  • Company size and growth potential 
  • Quality and number of clients/users 
  • Geographic reach 
  • Awards, recognition and competitive differentiation 

The IT training market is one of the largest and most constantly evolving segments within the training industry” said Chief Executive Officer, Doug Howard. “These organisations are the key players in this space in part because they have demonstrated the ability to innovate and respond to market needs.

James Lapwood, the UK Marketing Manager of Firebrand Training said:

Being named one of the Top 20 IT training companies in the world is an amazing achievement and shows Firebrand’s continued growth and commitment to high-quality, accelerated training. Winning this award for the seventh year in a row is a terrific reward for all those that have so worked hard to provide great training for all of our students.

This is the second award Firebrand have won this year. In August, Firebrand were named Accredited Training Centre of the Year by EC-Council for a record-breaking 8th consecutive time.