Thinking about Microsoft Server Cert, but should I wait?

ITNewbie2ITNewbie2 Member Posts: 53 ■■□□□□□□□□
I know Windows server 2008 and 2012 is not going anywhere soon even when server 2016 eventually comes out, companies will keep using 2008 & 2012 for years, but I am wondering if I should wait on studying for the MCP & MCSA exam until there's more clarification from Microsoft with regards to certification requirements for server 2016. Assuming they will have new cert requirements, I don't know if this will be the case?

Since we are at near the end of 2015 already, should I wait a bit longer, or do you think a cert in server 2012 will go a long way anyway, so just do it? I have no idea what's a good book or place to start studying for MCP/MCSA, any recommendations? Amazon rates highly the book published by Sybex (the book cover has a light tower on it), but I actually have a CCNA book published by Sybex and didn't like the way the book was formatted at all, instead I bought a set of Cisco published certification guide. Thanks for any input.
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Comments

  • innocentdevilinnocentdevil Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    getting 2012 certs out of the way will only benefit / prepare you in getting 2016 certs out of the way as and when.
    if you are not 2012 certified then I presume there will be combined exam which you will have to take to get 2016 certified.
    I would do it IMHO.
  • Mike-MikeMike-Mike Member Posts: 1,860
    good question, I had this same concern.

    Although I vowed to never take another Microsoft exam after Windows 7, I think that some Server certs would really tighten up my resume
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  • devilbonesdevilbones Member Posts: 318 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Mike-Mike wrote: »
    good question, I had this same concern.

    Although I vowed to never take another Microsoft exam after Windows 7, I think that some Server certs would really tighten up my resume

    Story time. What happened?
    icon_study.gif
  • Mike-MikeMike-Mike Member Posts: 1,860
    devilbones wrote: »
    Story time. What happened?
    icon_study.gif


    I just had a very hard time with the 70-680. Took me multiple tries to pass it. And I hated their exam layout, with questions that seemed more designed to confuse you rather than prove you know the material.
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  • ITNewbie2ITNewbie2 Member Posts: 53 ■■□□□□□□□□
    getting 2012 certs out of the way will only benefit / prepare you in getting 2016 certs out of the way as and when.
    if you are not 2012 certified then I presume there will be combined exam which you will have to take to get 2016 certified.
    I would do it IMHO.

    Thanks for the comment. You are right, it doesn't hurt to get server 2012 out of the way. It's good knowledge to have anyway. Prior to starting this thread, my main concern was if I take a 2012 course now, then the exams say next year, then 2016 comes out! Will I be screwed? But I guess even if I waited until server 2016 comes out, Microsoft will test us on 2012 anyway when you want to get certified for server 2016, is this correct?
  • ITNewbie2ITNewbie2 Member Posts: 53 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Mike-Mike wrote: »
    I just had a very hard time with the 70-680. Took me multiple tries to pass it. And I hated their exam layout, with questions that seemed more designed to confuse you rather than prove you know the material.

    I am a bit worried about this too. I have known three guys that didn't pass their first exam on Microsoft servers. They all said it was hard as heck.

    Anyone have any suggestions on what's a good book or place like youtube to start studying for the material?
  • pjd007pjd007 Member Posts: 277 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I think it's fair to say there's no easy MS exams and a lot of people will fail there first exam (I did), if it were easy then everyone would do it so you just have to be prepared to graft and keep at it.

    With regards to 2016 certs, from my own personal experience i won't be attempting them until 18 months after they're released unless I'm pushed to do them by my employer, it took MS about 2yrs to get the 2012 exams into a position where they're more achievable IMO but hopefully they'd have learned from that.

    Also study materials were sparse for 2012 and R2 after the exams had been released so this is another factor.
  • devilbonesdevilbones Member Posts: 318 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Mike-Mike wrote: »
    I just had a very hard time with the 70-680. Took me multiple tries to pass it. And I hated their exam layout, with questions that seemed more designed to confuse you rather than prove you know the material.
    Yes. My first experience was with the XP exam. I knew that OS inside and out. I got like a 480 on the exam. It seems that all the questions could be right but they want the M$ answer. After learning HOW to take a M$ test I did pretty good and only failed the Server 2003 test once after that. All others I passed on my first attempt. The best way for me to learn is to:
    1. Take a practice test.
    2. Read the content that is covered in the exam.
    3. Watch some online videos (SkillPort, CBT Nuggets, Youtube, etc.) with the exam content to reference.
    4. Take another practice test.
    I like taking exams, I have only failed about 3 and that is because I didnt study, I went in all cocky thinking I knew the material better than I actually did.
  • TimothyCTimothyC Member Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
    As an MCSA in Windows 8, with an MCT that relies on an active MCSA, I feel the pain regarding MS's ambiguity with certifications. I went with Windows 8 instead of Server 2012 for MCSA because it focused on BYOD and O365/Intune, which I believe is the future of the industry (Azure AD). The 697 exam will overlap nicely with what I already know.

    My point is this: If you get the 2012 MCSA, your path to 2016 will be shorter. While MS is notorious for using cert paths to drive the market (retiring Windows 8 after one year), they always give you an upgrade path. I don't see a benefit to waiting.

    EDIT: I just saw in another forum that they actually pushed the MCSA retirement dates for Windows 8!

    http://www.techexams.net/forums/windows-8-exams/114763-70-687-70-688-70-689-now-retiring-2016-a.html
  • Dakinggamer87Dakinggamer87 Gaming Tech Expert Silicon Valley, CAMember Posts: 4,016 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I haven't taken a MS certification in years but I would do Server 2012 if I had to choose a path with what is currently available in the market. Most of the companies I work for still use 2003/2008 and some with 2012. I personally used the Microsoft Official Press books and kits along with watching online videos from sources such as CBT Nuggets, Skillsport, or whatever would help me practice with labs and different scenarios. ;)
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  • Louie1277Louie1277 Member Posts: 505 ■■■□□□□□□□
    You are right taking a MS exam is some time hard. I know for myself I have already failed twice. Score gets better every time but i'm doing a little more lab stuff.

    devilbones is right lab and exam test are always good. If you don't mind me asking devilbones where is a good place to purchase such exam.. I have about 1 month before I take the exam.
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  • ITNewbie2ITNewbie2 Member Posts: 53 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Hi Guys, to all who replied. Thank you all very much. I think I am much more comfortable starting my MS 2012 study now. It's good to know that most companies will be behind the technology for some time (sometimes it's just for the better) and there's still plenty of time for server 2016 to become mature, so timing isn't a big issue at this point.
  • DojiscalperDojiscalper Member Posts: 266 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I see the same thing, many companies still using 2003/2008. Many of the jobs I'm looking at still use 2008 or older. For many companies upgrading is very hard, not just expensive.
    I haven't taken a MS certification in years but I would do Server 2012 if I had to choose a path with what is currently available in the market. Most of the companies I work for still use 2003/2008 and some with 2012. I personally used the Microsoft Official Press books and kits along with watching online videos from sources such as CBT Nuggets, Skillsport, or whatever would help me practice with labs and different scenarios. ;)
  • TechGuru80TechGuru80 Member Posts: 1,539 ■■■■■■□□□□
    The new server version will take maybe 2-3 years (from release) to be mainstream because upgrading takes time...especially if there are major changes. 2012 will be around for a while and if you get certified now you will be fine. Microsoft usually keeps the older version out for a while.
  • netsysllcnetsysllc Member Posts: 479 ■■■■□□□□□□
    The Microsoft press books are worthless. Mastering Server 2012, MS virtual academy and technet are the resources you will need.
  • OctalDumpOctalDump Member Posts: 1,722
    ITNewbie2 wrote: »
    a cert in server 2012 will go a long way anyway, so just do it?

    There's a lot that remains similar between versions, what you learn for 2012 will help you with 2016. I expect that there will be a delta exam for 2012 -> 2016 since there has been for the last n versions of MCSA Server. As you say, 2008 and 2012 will remain in place for a quite a while yet.

    Personally, I'd avoid the Sybex guide or if you do get it also get another guide. Actually, more than 1 book is a good idea, since they rarely cover everything. My preferred guides are the official ones from MS Press. They also do courseware with online labs, but I'm not 100% how that all works.

    Apart from reading, you'll want hands on, so download a trial of Server 2012 and set up a lab (Hyper-V would be ideal) with at least 2 servers and 1 client. Using the snapshot feature of Hyper-V you can backtrack easily when experimenting.

    The other study aid that many find useful is the practice test engines like Boson and Transcender.
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  • TacoRocketTacoRocket Member Posts: 497 ■■■■□□□□□□
    It's kind of a unspoken rule but Microsoft supports exams about two generations out. Along with EOL for a lot for their products being close to 10 years. So 2012 is not bad since 2016 and even 2020 version will still have support all the way back
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  • ITNewbie2ITNewbie2 Member Posts: 53 ■■□□□□□□□□
    OctalDump wrote: »
    Personally, I'd avoid the Sybex guide or if you do get it also get another guide. Actually, more than 1 book is a good idea, since they rarely cover everything. My preferred guides are the official ones from MS Press. They also do courseware with online labs, but I'm not 100% how that all works.

    Apart from reading, you'll want hands on, so download a trial of Server 2012 and set up a lab (Hyper-V would be ideal) with at least 2 servers and 1 client. Using the snapshot feature of Hyper-V you can backtrack easily when experimenting.

    The other study aid that many find useful is the practice test engines like Boson and Transcender.

    I agree on the Sybex guide, didn't like them as much when I used it to study for CCNA. You are right, having more than 1 source of studying material always helped me too. Will look into as many options as there are before settling into one, including MS press and Boson test engine (heard a lot of people mentioned Boson on this forum. Thanks.
  • ITNewbie2ITNewbie2 Member Posts: 53 ■■□□□□□□□□
    TacoRocket wrote: »
    It's kind of a unspoken rule but Microsoft supports exams about two generations out. Along with EOL for a lot for their products being close to 10 years. So 2012 is not bad since 2016 and even 2020 version will still have support all the way back

    That further puts me at ease about studying for 2012. Thanks.
  • ITNewbie2ITNewbie2 Member Posts: 53 ■■□□□□□□□□
    netsysllc wrote: »
    The Microsoft press books are worthless. Mastering Server 2012, MS virtual academy and technet are the resources you will need.

    I browsed the title Mastering server 2012 on amazon, it varies widely on the price for the same book, I don't know why. Would you be able to supply the ISBN on the book you are recommending? Thank you.
  • ITNewbie2ITNewbie2 Member Posts: 53 ■■□□□□□□□□
    TechGuru80 wrote: »
    The new server version will take maybe 2-3 years (from release) to be mainstream because upgrading takes time...especially if there are major changes. 2012 will be around for a while and if you get certified now you will be fine. Microsoft usually keeps the older version out for a while.

    Just what I need to know. Thanks.
  • ITNewbie2ITNewbie2 Member Posts: 53 ■■□□□□□□□□
    TimothyC wrote: »
    As an MCSA in Windows 8, with an MCT that relies on an active MCSA, I feel the pain regarding MS's ambiguity with certifications. I went with Windows 8 instead of Server 2012 for MCSA because it focused on BYOD and O365/Intune, which I believe is the future of the industry (Azure AD). The 697 exam will overlap nicely with what I already know.

    My point is this: If you get the 2012 MCSA, your path to 2016 will be shorter. While MS is notorious for using cert paths to drive the market (retiring Windows 8 after one year), they always give you an upgrade path. I don't see a benefit to waiting.

    EDIT: I just saw in another forum that they actually pushed the MCSA retirement dates for Windows 8!

    http://www.techexams.net/forums/windows-8-exams/114763-70-687-70-688-70-689-now-retiring-2016-a.html

    Question, what type of career path or day to day job activities can one expect with a MCSA in desktop OS? I have no clue, as I always thought that once you get a MCSA or MCSE, you will become a sys admin or similar, because you will then be maintaining stuffs like group policy and active directory plus other server related things.
  • joeswfcjoeswfc Member Posts: 118 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I would definitely go for the 2012 cert, then there will most likely be an upgrade to 2016 which will mean you have cert in 2012 and one in 2016.
    I have looked into when the 2008 and 2012 exams were released and it seems that they don't tend to be released until September (so 2016 will be September 2016) so you more than likely won't be certified until 2017.
    Even when 2016 is released, I would think that it will not really be used by many places for a while after, my old company has only just upgraded from 2003 to 2008! And you may find it difficult to get a lot of information on 2016 for a while after it is released, I like using CBT nuggets and the videos for that will probably not come out until 2017.
  • techfiendtechfiend Member Posts: 1,481 ■■■■□□□□□□
    MCSA Desktop: Likely help desk, desktop support, desktop\workstation engineer.

    From what I've read the 2016 new features are mainly enhancing 2012 services. I think it would be a fairly easy upgrade path, definitely easier than 2008 -> 2012.
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  • ITNewbie2ITNewbie2 Member Posts: 53 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thanks guys. I just bought the Server 2012 study guide for exam 70-410. I'm going to try to first get a MCP, since that only requires one exam, then decide if I should take the other two exams for a full MCSA. I also bought study guides for CCNP. The plan is 1. find a entry level job. 2. Study and get a MCP in 6 weeks. 3 Study and take all three CCNP exams within six months. I hope I am not being too amibitious. It took me five months to study and pass my CCENT and CCNA exams starting from zero knowledge. I'm hoping this would make CCNP a bit easier now, but I have heard it's pretty hard. Exam 70-410 is also pretty hard. I know a bunch of guys who didn't pass on their first try, and Microsoft is still offering free retakes until early 2016, I think.
  • Dakinggamer87Dakinggamer87 Gaming Tech Expert Silicon Valley, CAMember Posts: 4,016 ■■■■■■■■□□
    ITNewbie2 wrote: »
    Thanks guys. I just bought the Server 2012 study guide for exam 70-410. I'm going to try to first get a MCP, since that only requires one exam, then decide if I should take the other two exams for a full MCSA. I also bought study guides for CCNP. The plan is 1. find a entry level job. 2. Study and get a MCP in 6 weeks. 3 Study and take all three CCNP exams within six months. I hope I am not being too amibitious. It took me five months to study and pass my CCENT and CCNA exams starting from zero knowledge. I'm hoping this would make CCNP a bit easier now, but I have heard it's pretty hard. Exam 70-410 is also pretty hard. I know a bunch of guys who didn't pass on their first try, and Microsoft is still offering free retakes until early 2016, I think.

    Ambitious but if you have the drive and work hard it's possible!! icon_thumright.gif
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  • joeswfcjoeswfc Member Posts: 118 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Another thing that you could think about...
    With you being new to this, you could also look into the MTA Windows Server which gives you the basic knowledge of Windows Server. Even if you don't want to do the exam, it might be an idea to learn the material so you have the basic knowledge, then look at the material and exam for the 70-410.
    Just an idea :)
  • ITNewbie2ITNewbie2 Member Posts: 53 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Ambitious but if you have the drive and work hard it's possible!! icon_thumright.gif

    Thank you for the encouragement. I'll try my best.
  • ITNewbie2ITNewbie2 Member Posts: 53 ■■□□□□□□□□
    joeswfc wrote: »
    Another thing that you could think about...
    With you being new to this, you could also look into the MTA Windows Server which gives you the basic knowledge of Windows Server. Even if you don't want to do the exam, it might be an idea to learn the material so you have the basic knowledge, then look at the material and exam for the 70-410.
    Just an idea :)

    I almost forgot about the MTA option. But since I already bought a book to study for the 410 exam, I will have a look at the book first, then decide whether it's more practical to go with an MTA instead of an MCP. I have to balance the amount of time I have between studying for CCNP and getting a entry level Microsoft Cert.

    Would HR people look at someone with a MTA, assuming they want an network engineer with some Windows server knowledge. Which one do you think would be more practical, a MCP, or MTA?
  • joeswfcjoeswfc Member Posts: 118 ■■■□□□□□□□
    ITNewbie2 wrote: »
    I almost forgot about the MTA option. But since I already bought a book to study for the 410 exam, I will have a look at the book first, then decide whether it's more practical to go with an MTA instead of an MCP. I have to balance the amount of time I have between studying for CCNP and getting a entry level Microsoft Cert.

    Would HR people look at someone with a MTA, assuming they want an network engineer with some Windows server knowledge. Which one do you think would be more practical, a MCP, or MTA?

    Is the MTA the same as an MCP? I always thought an MCP just meant you had passed a Microsoft exam...

    I'd say if you feel confident that you've learnt enough for the 410 then go for that because then you are only 2 exams away from MCSA whereas MTA would still leave you 3 exams away. I think MTA could help to have on your cv though if you mention you are in progress with MCSA, I have always put in progress certs on my cv and then updated it to 1 out of 3 and 2 out of 3 as you pass them. I got my current job when I had passed 2 of the exams as they were looking for someone who had MCSA or was working towards it, and a bonus was that they paid for the last exam for me icon_smile.gif
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