Lack of Exchange on my resume is killing me in the job market

JubeiYagaruJubeiYagaru Posts: 47Member ■■□□□□□□□□
Does anyone have any recommendations on how to get the experience and education needed for Exchange administration ? I've had recruiters call me for various System Admin positions, and the only thing that seems to be the deal breaker is my lack of Exchange. My previous work experience and team did not grant me any hands on with Exchange at all. Being honest, I have no idea where to even start. Tried watching some CBT vids a few months back on it, but it was really boring and even over my head. I feel like the videos were expecting prior knowledge and hands on when I'm looking for something to study that will initially hold my hand a bit.

If anyone has any recommendations on foundations level books, as well as a recommended lab setup. Please let me know. If I can at least get basic admin stuff down, I dont think I'll be passed over so quickly for some of these job positions. It seems so far all the recruiters are asking for is people who can do Exchange provisioning and general troubleshooting. At least that is how it was explained to me.

Comments

  • markulousmarkulous Posts: 2,389Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Build your own Exchange server. I'm not sure if you're in school but I know WGU gives out a copy of Exchange (2010 I believe) for free. Since you'll need licenses for Outlook/Office, you'll probably want to use OWA mainly on the client side. I have experience with O365/Exchange so it was pretty straight forward to set it up, create a couple distros, SGs, etc. Even without that experience, it's not too difficult. It's fairly user-friendly IMO.
  • JubeiYagaruJubeiYagaru Posts: 47Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    markulous wrote: »
    Build your own Exchange server. I'm not sure if you're in school but I know WGU gives out a copy of Exchange (2010 I believe) for free. Since you'll need licenses for Outlook/Office, you'll probably want to use OWA mainly on the client side. I have experience with O365/Exchange so it was pretty straight forward to set it up, create a couple distros, SGs, etc. Even without that experience, it's not too difficult. It's fairly user-friendly IMO.

    Lost me at "SG's"

    So many acronyms in this industry...even some that repeat with different meaning.

    I'll peek through my MSDN account and see what I've got access to , at least OS's I know I've got keys to from my account. Since it was a developer account from my time at Citrix, I'm sure Exchange has to be there.

    Do ya feel once I have a lab setup, the videos might make more sense ?

    Since my semester just ended this week, I've got no summer classes. Figure I'd take the time to tackle some new technologies over the next 15 weeks, and I'd really like Exchange to be on that list if its not too daunting.
  • markulousmarkulous Posts: 2,389Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Sorry, SG= Security Group. Security Groups, Distribution Groups, mailboxes, and Shared Mailboxes are the main things you'll create.

    It really depends on your learning style. Me personally, if the videos just dive right into it and expect you to already have it setup, I'd personally google how to setup an exchange server and mess around with it first. That way, you'll have some base knowledge when you start watching.
  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Senior Member Posts: 6,834Mod Mod
    Many moons ago I read about Exchange and wasn't quite getting it. Once I started looking at the implementation we had in the office lab a lot of stuff made sense. Later on I deployed 2003 in my home lab, made it fully functional with one of my domains, then installed 2007 side-by-side and performed a migration. It was a beautiful thing.

    Exchange 2010 is still out there on Microsoft's site. If you run Hyper-V you can find an Exchange trial VHD. There's also 60 day office trials so if you run all this stuff on VMs you could easily go around the need for licenses. Finally, don't forget there are some Exchange labs at https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/virtuallabs.

    I say definitely watch the videos but supplement them with lots of online content and perhaps a book or two. That in addition to the lab, is a recipe for a win.
  • NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Posts: 3,263Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    There is a MCTS Exchange Server certification if you wanted to go that route. https://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/mcts-certification.aspx
  • JubeiYagaruJubeiYagaru Posts: 47Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    cyberguypr wrote: »
    Many moons ago I read about Exchange and wasn't quite getting it. Once I started looking at the implementation we had in the office lab a lot of stuff made sense. Later on I deployed 2003 in my home lab, made it fully functional with one of my domains, then installed 2007 side-by-side and performed a migration. It was a beautiful thing.

    Exchange 2010 is still out there on Microsoft's site. If you run Hyper-V you can find an Exchange trial VHD. There's also 60 day office trials so if you run all this stuff on VMs you could easily go around the need for licenses. Finally, don't forget there are some Exchange labs at https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/virtuallabs.

    I say definitely watch the videos but supplement them with lots of online content and perhaps a book or two. That in addition to the lab, is a recipe for a win.

    Any book recommendations ? I very much like the idea of doing a few practice runs with Exchange migrations. Plenty of contract positions pop up around here looking for people who do O365 / Exchange migrations.
    There is a MCTS Exchange Server certification if you wanted to go that route. https://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/mcts-certification.aspx

    I'd considered it, but I felt the MCTS material I had was over my head since I'd never touched Exchange before. It's something I want to consider, but after I have the foundations down.
  • N2ITN2IT Posts: 7,483Inactive Imported Users
    Aren't most organization going to the cloud based exchange, using 3rd party vendors? Rackspace etc.

    I would think having an understanding of vendor management and working with their support team would be number 1.

    Unless you are going to/trying to work for one of an MSP who offers exchange in it's portfolio.
  • JubeiYagaruJubeiYagaru Posts: 47Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    N2IT wrote: »
    Aren't most organization going to the cloud based exchange, using 3rd party vendors? Rackspace etc.

    I would think having an understanding of vendor management and working with their support team would be number 1.

    Unless you are going to/trying to work for one of an MSP who offers exchange in it's portfolio.

    Dunno, but I've been working with 7 different recruiting companies since my contract ended in October, and no one can seem to place me. I'm either over qualified or underqualified for everything I've been presented, so I've had very few interviews. Exchange keeps biting me though, as I get calls every other day from people asking if I have exchange experience. Just feels like a major gap that I had no hands on with during my time as a Jr. Systems Admin @ Citrix. My team was more or less the IT team for the Engineering side of the house, however Exchange was handled by Corporate IT, so my team never saw any Exchange / Lync.

    Feel like SQL falls into that category also of things missing from my resume. I get calls at least once a week asking if I have any DBA experience.
  • N2ITN2IT Posts: 7,483Inactive Imported Users
    SQL is a niche thing, you just don't learn SQL at a competent DBA level. I wouldn't beat yourself up over that, Exchange is very similar, it's fairly niche. It sounds like to me they are asking to much of their candidates. I wouldn't stress it to much, obviously you want to make yourself marketable so that comes into play, but don't go wild trying to meet all the demands on these companies, you'll only stress yourself out.
  • JubeiYagaruJubeiYagaru Posts: 47Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    N2IT wrote: »
    SQL is a niche thing, you just don't learn SQL at a competent DBA level. I wouldn't beat yourself up over that, Exchange is very similar, it's fairly niche. It sounds like to me they are asking to much of their candidates. I wouldn't stress it to much, obviously you want to make yourself marketable so that comes into play, but don't go wild trying to meet all the demands on these companies, you'll only stress yourself out.

    Only getting stressed due to being out of work for so long. Start to feel a bit desperate to fill those niche areas when the income stops, lol.
  • markulousmarkulous Posts: 2,389Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    To be an Exchange admin is probably niche, but I don't think basic Exchange troubleshooting or account creation is at all, which is what I assume they are asking for. Most places I've seen use Exchange or O365.
  • kurosaki00kurosaki00 Posts: 973Member
    If you just want to put the word exchange in your resume, just deploy it on a VM and play with it.
    Basic stuff in exchange are very easy and straightforward.
    Something neat to do is play with it with powershell.
    meh
  • JubeiYagaruJubeiYagaru Posts: 47Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    kurosaki00 wrote: »
    If you just want to put the word exchange in your resume, just deploy it on a VM and play with it.
    Basic stuff in exchange are very easy and straightforward.
    Something neat to do is play with it with powershell.

    Sounds like a good idea. I'm polishing my powershell skills now, so this would give me a few more things to try with it.
  • kurosaki00kurosaki00 Posts: 973Member
    Sounds like a good idea. I'm polishing my powershell skills now, so this would give me a few more things to try with it.

    Btw I just say to put it on your resume. Please dont go saying Super Over 9000 Exchange Admin-Engineer-person. I just meant like adding it as a skill or just saying Know how to admin accounts on exchange, something like that.
    meh
  • JubeiYagaruJubeiYagaru Posts: 47Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    kurosaki00 wrote: »
    Btw I just say to put it on your resume. Please dont go saying Super Over 9000 Exchange Admin-Engineer-person. I just meant like adding it as a skill or just saying Know how to admin accounts on exchange, something like that.

    Of course not. I wont add anything to a resume that I can't demonstrate in the middle of an interview. So if I listed Exchange for example, I would put a quick synopsis of what I could do. "Create mailboxes, SG's, basic provisioning and administration"

    But that would only be after the fact...I'm not putting any of that on there today.
  • ChinookChinook Posts: 206Member
    I know in the SMB market, Office 365 growth is huge. I am shocked at how high the adoption rate of the product has been when compared to just 5 years ago. I can foresee a day when Exchange is close to non existent except in the Enterprise (where it will be a specialization). You may want to look at the Office 365 MCSA.

    The bulk of the work in Exchange is creating accounts, mail stores, permissions & general administration. The basic admin is not difficult, it's the architecting stuff that's complex.
  • N2ITN2IT Posts: 7,483Inactive Imported Users
    Chinook this is already taken place. The company I work for which is top fortune 20 and ALL of our subsidiary have all gone to Exchange / Office 365. It seems to make more sense. My friend works for a large credit company as well, fortune 500 and they are migrating to this as well.
  • ClaymooreClaymoore Posts: 1,637Member
    Chinook wrote: »
    The bulk of the work in Exchange is creating accounts, mail stores, permissions & general administration. The basic admin is not difficult, it's the architecting stuff that's complex.

    Yes, architecting can be complex but t's also no longer necessary with Office 365. There is plenty of Exchange admin work to do in the cloud, but no need for architects to design or manage migrations to new versions. One of the reasons I am changing my focus from Exchange to AWS.
  • nsternster Posts: 231Member
    This is interesting, and kind of worries me about my situation.

    I feel like I haven't gained any experience/knowledge in the Exchange department. I've created a few mailboxes, logon scripts and played with send as or full access rights etc, but all that stuff was extremely easy and I already knew it. I've changed Calendar permissions with the Exchange Powershell thing, again something I already knew anyways. But that already sums up all the experience I've had, and I'm the one that handles Exchange related issues usually and it's been 2 years I've been here.

    What aspects of Exchange should I brush over so that I can say I can kind of administrate a basic Exchange server?
  • ChinookChinook Posts: 206Member
    N2IT wrote: »
    Chinook this is already taken place. The company I work for which is top fortune 20 and ALL of our subsidiary have all gone to Exchange / Office 365. It seems to make more sense. My friend works for a large credit company as well, fortune 500 and they are migrating to this as well.

    I have heard of several large companies migrating to Office 365. I'm in the process of studying for 70-346 & provided you use the Enterprise level product, I can see it being ready for the Enterprise. Even the migration process is pretty smooth. It makes sense. You've got great uptime, you have access to the latest greatest version of Office & most importantly (from a client perspective) you have a predictable monthly costs.

    Now if they would just write some books for the exams the world would be a great place.
  • N2ITN2IT Posts: 7,483Inactive Imported Users
    Chinook exactly and we get free access to Sharepoint and other enterprise type applications as long as our vendor management team pays the annual invoice. Migrating from 2010 SharePoint to 2013 was a breeze.
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