Showing posts with label "microsoft training". Show all posts
Showing posts with label "microsoft training". Show all posts

Friday, 19 May 2017

Firebrand Launch the Azure Academy

We’re living in a mobile-first, cloud-first world. According to Forbes, the cloud computing market is set to reach 127.5 billion by 2018 and 42% of UK and US companies are actively looking to hire professionals with cloud computing skills.

Microsoft’s public cloud offering Azure is leading the way with 120,000 new customer subscriptions per month. Demonstrating the strength of Azure, 90% of Fortune 500 companies are currently using the platform.

For those unfamiliar with Azure, it’s “a growing collection of integrated cloud services – analytics, computing, database, mobile, networking, storage and web – for moving faster, achieving more and saving money”.

In this post we’ll take a look at Azure’s growth and how rapidly expanding demand for Azure cloud professionals is creating a skills gap. 

The growth of Microsoft Azure

In July, Microsoft announced that Azure revenue and usage again grew by more than 100% in the past quarter. Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella attributed the growth to a mixture of high demand for cloud platforms combined with Azure’s ability to offer solutions that reflect the realities of today’s world. 

Testimony to this high demand and growth, is Microsoft’s recent announcement of the first complete cloud offering delivered from a global provider within the UK. These datacentres, which adhere to Microsoft’s stringent Trusted Cloud principles, means Azure can now offer customers 28 regions – with six more coming soon. More than any other major cloud provider.  

As mass adoption continues to accelerate, so too does the demand for cloud professionals with well-developed skills in Azure solutions. In a recent study by the managed cloud provider Rackspace, jobs specifying Microsoft Azure experience increased demand in the UK by 75%.

Lagging significantly behind this demand however, is the number of qualified individuals capable of supporting a business’s Azure needs. Rightscale found that the number one challenge for companies looking to bolster their cloud capabilities is the shortage of appropriate skilled job candidates.

Furthermore, while Microsoft’s Azure certifications provide excellent insight into the cloud platform, professionals and businesses alike are increasingly looking to further their Azure knowledge and subsequent application.

Microsoft offer a series of highly-demanded Specialist Azure certifications; Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions, Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions and the MCSD Azure Solutions Architect – aimed at demonstrating how to competently implement and administer Azure in a business environment. However, the demand for more in-depth, technical know-how surrounding Azure has seen Firebrand training in partnership with Microsoft develop the Azure Academy.

The birth of Firebrand’s Azure Academy 

Azure Academy is a new, accelerated product created by Firebrand Training in partnership with Microsoft and partners. The Azure Academy introduces the cloud platform in a greater and never-before seen depth.

The accelerated nature of Firebrand Training means each deep dive is just 4 days. Moreover, the content provided includes more than 80% in-depth technical content not found in the Microsoft Official Curriculum.  

Our UK Commercial Manager, James Lapwood said: "We’ve worked with Microsoft and partners in creating the accelerated Azure Academy. The content of the programmes - from Apprenticeships through to expert-level Deep Dives - has been developed based on what the market has asked us for. All delivered at twice the speed of traditional training".  

This Academy, which should be seen as an extension of the MCSD Azure Solutions Architect, is made up of three deep-dive programmes:
  • Infrastructure and Networking
  • Data Platform
  • Application Development

Let’s take a look at them in a little more depth:

The first of the three brand-new Microsoft programmes is Infrastructure and Networking. The course will focus on topics such as:
  • Cloud computing environments
  • Azure storage, backup and recovery
  • Automation, PowerShell and the Azure CLI
  • Microsoft Cloud Estate

You can see the full curriculum here.

The second deep-dive program is Data Platform. This programme will develop understanding of Azure data services, analytics and IoT – plus a detailed look at security. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Implementing Azure SQL Database
  • Azure Redis Cache
  • Azure HDInsight
  • Azure BizTalk Service

Check out the full curriculum.

The third and final Azure Academy programme is Application Development. Aimed at developing your knowledge of designing cloud application in Azure, some of the topics you’ll focus on include:

  • Availability
  • Data-management
  • Messaging
  • Resiliency

Integrated into each deep dive program is a focus on Azure security. With security in the Cloud seen as the second largest cloud challenge to businesses, the need for a holistic understanding of security is imperative.

Check out the full curriculum

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, 17 July 2015

Microsoft unveil new MOCs at WPC 2015

This year the 2015 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference was held in Orlando, from the 12th July until the 16th. Whilst we were expecting news on SQL Server 2016, Windows Server 2016 and SharePoint 2016, Microsoft also unveiled new MOC titles.

In this blog we’ve compiled a list of the newly announced MOC’s, including discussion and speculation. Microsoft has not yet stated which certification, if any, each MOC is relevant to.

Windows 10

Windows 10, Microsoft’s new multi-platform operating system, is planned for release on 29th July. Microsoft revealed new MOC titles to accompany the launch of Windows 10, which should align to MCSA, MCSE and MCSD certifications.

Expected to be released around September this year, Microsoft revealed these new MOC titles:

  • Installing and configuring Windows 10
  •  Deploying and Managing Windows 10 in the Enterprise
  •  Partner Applied Workshop: What’s new in Windows 10
  • Supporting and Troubleshooting Windows 10 in the Enterprise
  • Deploying Windows Desktops and Enterprise Applications
  • Administering System Center Configuration Manager and Intune

As Windows 10 is an upgrade for Windows 8.1, one would assume that certifications like MCSA: Windows 8.1 would be updated too. The first two MOCs in the above list are similar to those in MCSA: Windows 8.1 titled “Configuring Windows 8.1” and “Supporting Windows 8.1”. This supports the thinking that these new MOCs are direct upgrades.

Plus, the “Supporting and Troubleshooting Windows 10 in the Enterprise” could be an addition to the MCSA: Windows 10, whilst the “Partner Applied Workshop: What’s new in Windows 10” MOC appears completely new.

The current version of “Deploying Windows Desktops and Enterprise Applications” is included in MCSE: Enterprise Devices and Apps certification. It looks likely that we will now see an update of this certification that includes these new MOCs.

Windows Server/System Center

These MOCs apply to another new release for Microsoft, Windows Server 2016, as well as System Center:

  • Fundamentals of a Windows Server Infrastructure 
  • Fundamentals of Windows Server Storage and Virtualisation 
  • Configuring and Managing Windows 10 Devices (ecm) 
  • Planning and Implementing a Microsoft Infrastructure 
  • Planning and Implementing an Advanced Microsoft Infrastructure 
  • Planning and Implementing an Enterprise Windows Infrastructure 
  • Managing and Maintaining a Windows Cloud Infrastructure 
  • Upgrading your MCSA/MCSE to Windows Server Vnext

We can only assume that the first three courses in the list apply to the new MCSA: Windows Server 2012 R2 course because the current MOC titles are worded slightly differently; “Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services” and “Administering Windows Server 2012” for example.

The new Windows Server 2016 (WS2016) is expected September/October and the new MOCS normally arrive 3-6 months after the technology, so expect these in 2016. These could possibly be upgrades to the curriculum for “MCSA Windows Server 2012 R2”, “MCSE:Server Infrastructure”, “MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure” and “MCSE: Private Cloud”. However the names are so far removed, it is hard to tell what Microsoft has planned.

“Upgrading your MCSA/MCSE to Windows Server Vnext” is an upgrade path from Windows Server 2012 to Windows Server 2016. If you have an existing MCSA or MCSE relating to Windows Server 2016 (could also be related to Windows Server 2008), this will be the course for upgrading your certification.

Data Platform

SQL Server 2016 is scheduled for released in September or October this year. This means certifications like MCSA: SQL Server, MCSE:Business Intelligence (SQL Server) and MCSE: Data Platform (SQL Server) will be updated. The newly unveiled MOC titles are:

  • Updating your MCSD to SQL Server 2016 (this is an upgrade path) 
  • Install and Configure SQL Databases 
  • Query Data with Transact-SQL 
  • Analyze and Visualize Data with Power BI 
  • Developing SQL Databases 
  • Developing Data Clients with MVC and LINQ 
  • Performance Tuning and Optimizing SQL Databases 
  • Developing Non-Relational Databases 
  • Provisioning a SQL Database Infrastructure 
  • Operating a SQL Database Infrastructure 
  • Implementing SQL Server High Availability 
  • Implementing a SQL Data Warehouse 
  • Implementing Data Models and Reports 
  • Delivering Dashboards and Self-Service BI

Again, we are likely to see the new MOCs arrive in early 2016, 3-6 months after SQL Server 2016’s release. Many of these titles are similar to those in current SQL Server certifications -  e.g. “Querying Microsoft SQL Server” and “Implementing Data Warehouse with Microsoft SQL Server” in the MCSA: SQL Server certification.

Expect some to be added to other certifications, but it is difficult to predict exactly how and where. In addition, “Updating your MCSD to SQL Server 2016” is clearly an upgrade path for the new technology.


Lync Server began the transition to Skype for Business Server on April 14th 2015. Businesses now benefit from a familiar Skype interface, a more global reach and continuity from existing Lync features. At WPC Microsoft revealed these new Messaging MOCs:

  • Core Solutions of Microsoft Skype for Business 2015
  • Managing Office 365 Identities and Services
  • Core Solutions of Microsoft Exchange Server 2016
  • Advanced Solutions of Microsoft Exchange Server 2016 (no exam)
  • Core solutions of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2016
  • Advanced Solutions of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2016 (no exam)

In line with this, the MCSE: Communication certification will be updated, probably with “Core Solutions of Microsoft Skype for Business 2015.”

The second MOC on the list, “Managing Office 365 Identities and Services” is included within the current MCSA: Office 365 certification. It’s safe to assume that there is a direct update on the way for this certification.

“Core Solutions of Microsoft Exchange Server 2016” and “Advanced Solutions of Microsoft Exchange Server 2016”, are directly linked to the MOCs within the existing MCSE: Messaging. Finally, the last two MOCs are part of the MCSE: SharePoint course. We can be confident that this is a direct curriculum update for the existing MCSE SharePoint certification.

It’s worth noting that currently, both the “Advanced Solutions” of Microsoft Exchange/SharePoint Server MOCs, align to an exam. Whereas, the versions revealed at WPC the 2016 technologies do not align to an exam. Perhaps this will become clearer when Microsoft Exchange Server is released around September or October.

We’ll keep you updated with anymore MOC news coming out of WPC and beyond.  As always, expect accelerated Firebrand courses for Microsoft’s newest technologies.

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Moving on from MCSA Windows Server 2012


The MCSA Windows Server 2012 qualification has proven exceptionally popular with the technical community over the last 18 months. Rightly so, as the qualification gives students a solid grounding in all aspects of Windows Server 2012 roles and features, and once the certification has been attained, students can be confident in capably working with the operating system.

Since its release in 2012, many have now held the MCSA certification and have been using the associated technologies for an extended period of time. This segment of the server community frequently seeks the qualification or qualifications that are next on the ladder.

Taking the next step

MCSA Windows Server 2012 is the prerequisite qualification to a range of MCSE qualifications, including: MCSE: Messaging and MCSE: Communications, which are tracks for those specialising in Exchange Server and Lync Server technologies. MCSE: SharePoint is also an option for those planning to work with SharePoint on a regular basis. All three of the aforementioned MCSEs are clearly defined and easy to differentiate from each other.

There are however a series of Microsoft qualifications that are not so easy to differentiate, as they appear to have considerable crossover. These are the qualifications we will be taking a closer look at in this article. They include the MCSE: Server Infrastructure, MCSE: Private Cloud, and Microsoft Specialist: Server Virtualization with Windows Server and System Center qualifications.

Know the right direction

In order to pick which qualification is right for you, take a look at your job role and ask yourself the following questions:
  • How much do I work with System Center 2012 R2?
  • How much do I work with Microsoft Virtualization technologies?

If you work primarily with Microsoft infrastructure, using Microsoft Virtualization and want to evaluate the System Center 2012 R2 suite: MCSE: Server Infrastructure is the choice for you.

If you work primarily with Microsoft infrastructure and you use Hyper-V and Virtual Machine Manager to manage your virtualization environment. Or you currently work with a third-party hypervisor and will be transitioning to Hyper-V and Virtual Machine Manager. In this case, Microsoft Specialist: Server Virtualization with Windows Server and System Center is for you.

If you work in a data centre managing the virtual environment for your internal business units or for your customers. You now wish to gain an in-depth knowledge of the System Center 2012 R2 product suite. Then MCSE: Private Cloud is for you.

To read the full article written by Firebrand’s lead Windows Server Instructor Mike Brown, check out

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Monday, 4 October 2010

MCPs Gain A Virtual Business Card

The Microsoft Born to Learn blog details the availability of Virtual Business Cards (VBCs) for Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCPs). In order to build your own VBC, visit the MCP site or

It lists the benefits as:

  • The best way to share and prove your credentials
  • It is creative and vibrant
  • You can establish yourself as a brand
Virtual Business Card

The business card is intended for use on email signatures, blogs, forums etc. You can also share the card via a URL, an embeddable javascript or in PNG format. Each card is linked to an associated profile page. This is designed to act as an MCP's online CV.

You can select which of your certifications appear on the page, and you can add whatever additional information you like.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

1,000 pointer at the UK training centre

Firebrand Training has had another 100%-er at its UK training centre! Peter Van Der Merwe scored a perfect score of 1,000 out of 1,000 on the "Designing and Developing Enterprise Applications Using the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5" exam. He was studying for the Microsoft MCPD .NET 3.5 Enterprise Applications Developer certification.

Congratulations Peter!

Peter van der merwe

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Read about Firebrand on

Firebrand Training is featured on The case study looks at the benefits of gaining a Microsoft certification.

This details how Firebrand Training's unique accelerated learning methodology allows students to gain a Microsoft certification quickly. It includes an interview with Firebrand CEO, Robert Chapman: “All of our Microsoft courses lead to certification because of the high value certification offers to individuals and companies. If we did not offer certification, I would feel that we are not doing the best we can to help professionals and organizations benefit from their investments in skills and technologies.”

The full case study can be viewed at the Microsoft Case Studies

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Microsoft Office 2010 Web Apps looks like a great freebie

Microsoft chose the wrong day to officially launch Office 2010 Web Apps. Monday 7 June just happened to be the same day that Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone 4, which, needless to say, kind of stole the limelight.

Office Web Apps is a free service available at (for the US, UK, Canada, and Ireland). Just log-in with your Windows Live ID, and you're ready to create Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote documents online.

These are stripped-down versions of the full Office 2010, but they are rumoured to be the largest JavaScript Web apps ever produced.

The apps run quickly, and are all set amongst the familiar Microsoft Office environment. With a generous 25GB of free storage space - via SkyDrive - there is plenty of room for you to take your office online. And guess what - it even seems to work well on mobile devices.

See a screengrab below, provided by TechRepublic.

Microsoft Office 2010 Web Apps

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Microsoft MCAS Reverts Back to MOS

Since the beginning of June, the title of the certification program Microsoft Certified Application Specialist (MCAS) has been reverted back to Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS).

Moving to the term 'MCAS' was never popular. Microsoft states that: "The Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification now extends to all versions of Microsoft Office, including the 2007 Microsoft Office System and Microsoft Office 2010, as well as Windows desktop operating systems."

MCAS holders are now automatically considered MOS 2007 certified. However, those that want a new certificate are being told that they will need to purchase one for a small fee.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Microsoft Second Shot ends this month

Microsoft will be ending its Second Shot offer on Wednesday 30 June. The offer allows students to sit any IT Professional, Developer or Business Management (Dynamics) certification exam and get a FREE retake if they fail.

As we enter June, there is now only a month to make the most of this offer - with students needing to take their first exam and - if necessary - their retake exam before 30 June 2010.

To gain one of the remaining seats call us on 080 80 800 888.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Microsoft SharePoint 2010 launched

The long-awaited launch of Microsoft SharePoint 2010 took place this week. Microsoft describe the latest offering as the "Business Collaboration Platform for the Enterprise and the Web." Microsoft says that the benefits of integrating SharePoint 2010 into your business include:

Deliver the Best Productivity Experience
​SharePoint 2010 will look and feel similar to the Microsoft Office platform familiar to millions.

Cut Costs with a Unified Infrastructure
​SharePoint 2010 reduces costs by consolidating intranet, extranet, and internet sites on a single platform.

Rapidly Respond to Business Needs
​SharePoint 2010 applications can be used out-of-the-box, or can be fully customised for specific business needs.

See the video below to learn the economic impact of using SharePoint 2010.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Are you going MAD? Try using the Microsoft Abbreviation Dictionary

If trying to remember all of the Microsoft abbreviations are making you go cross-eyed, try using the Microsoft Abbreviation Dictionary.

It has been produced by ResourceIT to assist people in understanding 'Microspeak'. Give it a go - test your knowledge by having a look through the dictionary.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Rate your salary: MCSE certification

The GoCertify website lists the average salaries for those with some of the most highly sought-after certifications.

On the MCSE certification page, salaries are listed for job roles such as IT Manager, Systems Engineer and Network Administrator. Information is provided by PayScale.

With Firebrand Training you could be MCSE certified and recognising your earning potential within only 14 days.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Video: Firebrand Training looks towards Microsoft WPC Awards 2010

Firebrand Training has been entered into the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference Awards 2010.

The latest video on the Firebrand Training YouTube channel is now online, and explains the unique Acclerated Learning methods used by Firebrand Training to deliver Microsoft certifications faster than anywhere else.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Good news for professionals with IT certifications

A report by Mile High Research shows steady growth in job opportunities for those with the top IT certifications.

Mile High Research has created a list of In Demand IT Credentials, based on the average weekly number of job postings where one or more certification credentials were specified.

Denny Schall, Chief Learning Officer at Mile High Research, says: “We have seen a 6.8% average weekly growth in internet job postings that specify our In Demand IT Credentials for jobs posted in the United States. IT Professionals who hold one or more of these credentials have skills that are the most in demand by recruiters and hiring managers.”

Certifications in the top ten In Demand IT Credentials included: Microsoft, (ISC)2, Cisco, CompTIA and ISACA.

Firebrand offers accelerated training opportunities with all of the providers listed above. Visit the Firebrand website to make yourself in-demand.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

microsoft training

Firebrand Training, a Microsoft Certified Partner for Learning Solutions offer a wide range of accelerated Microsoft Training courses.