My Trek to MCSE 2012 (Again!!!)

cknapp78cknapp78 Member Posts: 213 ■■■■□□□□□□
I swear this is the last time I am starting one of these posts...

Been lurking around here for couple of years here goes. Time to finally get my certs done.

Long story short..
  1. I'm an independent IT Consultant focused mostly on the messaging side (Exchange, Lync, TMG/UAG, AD) with a little Networking (Cisco, Fortinet, Nortel) thrown in.
  2. I've tried to get my certs done for the past three years and something always comes up whether it's too much work, no work, no money, or family illness (wife had cancer and beat it).
  3. Never had the hardware to run a home lab. Always had some pieces but not everything I needed.
  4. Long term goal is to get my MCSE 2012 and my Exchange & Lync Certs. Had a goal of eventually going MCM or MCSM since I have been doing this for 16 years, but as we all know, MCM has gone the way of the dodo. Figured after all that is done, I should go after at least my CCNA and CCNP certs to flesh out my network background. Anything after that would be gravy.
No more excuses. Finally working again after 3 months off. Built out a nice 8-core AMD system to go along with the 10 TB of space sitting in my office. Have all the books and videos I need. Starting with the 70-410 exam.

Materials I have...
  1. Sybex Study Guide
  2. Microsoft 70-410 Training and Exam Ref Books.
  3. Trainsignal Videos
  4. Purchasing the CBT Nuggets and Safari Books subscriptions when I get paid in two weeks so I should not want for any training materials.
  5. Already built out a Hyper-V Server on Windows Server 2012. Created my base images already for Windows 2008, 2012, Windows 7 and 8.
Time to kick things off. Will try to update this at least twice a week to keep myself honest. Want to read through at least 2-3 chapters a night and then do labbing on the weekends. Should allow me to take the first test in a few weeks. Don't think it should take me more than a month or so per exam since I have been doing this so long (as long as I stick to a schedule).

One request from everyone at TE out there. Has anyone seen a training regiment put together for obtaining MCSE? I have seen a few out there for the Cisco Exams. Just looking for recommended practices on what to cover, when, review time, etc.. Just something for me to compare myself to.

Thanks in advance for all the comments. As always, let me know if I can help you in any way. Glad to lend a hand when I can.



  • MSSoftieMSSoftie Security+, ITIL v3 Foundations, MCSE Cloud Platform Infrastructure Charlotte NC areaMember Posts: 189 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Corey - I am in a similar situation. I must complete the MCSE Server 2012 Infrastructure certification in 12 months. I will be using the Sybex book as well and supplementing that with the TechNet articles suggested by Asif Dasl (also in this forum). I am also going to be following TechNet closely because it is my understanding that the R2 information will be tested sometime in January. I should have 70-410 and even hopefully 70-411 completed by then but very well may not. I will also be building a labbing machine with hopefully a couple of AD VMs, a couple of Server VMs and a couple of workstation VMs (both 7 and icon_cool.gif. I will purchase either CBT Nuggets or TrainSignal but likely not both. I am very interested in finding the same type of information. I don't think I could stand to read 2 or 3 chapters a night but I could easily go through a chapter and the TechNet articles related. I am also lucky that I will have some very solid SMEs with me during working hours. I will be keeping up with this thread for any advice. Maybe we can keep each other motivated. Do you already have goals in mind for completion dates? I am hoping for early November for the first and late December for the second. February for the third and every 2 months after that until completed.
  • Asif DaslAsif Dasl Member Posts: 2,116 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Hey Corey,

    Don't beat yourself up, it's hard to get time to do certs and you have had life events get in the way as well, I'm sure you would rather have your wife around than a couple of pieces of paper (congrats with that battle BTW).

    You sound like you have everything in place to get started, you should be able to get MCSA 2012 done by the end of the year. So this is your countdown! lol

    I am with you on this one too, I have delayed it long enough. I am out of work with a health issue and have a lot of hours to throw at this but I will be following this thread (I've subscribed to keep me honest too!). Check out my 410, 411, 412 threads. And hopefully by the new year we are both MCSA 2012! Then on to MCSE in the new year...

  • daviddwsdaviddws MCSA x2, MCITP, CIOS, CSIS, CNIP, CSSS, CLNP MCTS, MTA, MCP,  ITILv3, LPIC-1, VCA-WM, SCLA, CTS,  Member Posts: 303 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I am going for that goal as well (MSCA Server 2012) by the end of the year. I am hoping I can do this before the exams change over to R2 material. Next year I want to finish two exams to get the MCSE. I am still not sure which MCSE path I want to go though.
    Master of Information Systems Management
    M.B.A: Master of Business Administration
  • clouderclouder Member Posts: 84 ■■□□□□□□□□
    First of all, great to hear your wife beat cancer, that's fantastic! MCSA 2012 isn't too bad, though I haven't gone for the E yet. I used my laptop with a VMware workstation lab on it and it served me well. As for training materials, I used the green MS book for 410, then CBT Nuggets for all 3 tests. The Nugget videos did a pretty great job, even as a sole study source for 2 of the tests. The study materials for these exams are kind of slim pickings, unfortunately. Good luck!
  • cknapp78cknapp78 Member Posts: 213 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Thanks for the support all. Got off to a decent start last night and managed to knock off five chapters around emergency conference calls for work last night. Always fun. Anyone who wants to join me in this endeavor is more than welcome. Going to try and put together a schedule for myself over the next few days. Hoping to sit for my first exam in 6 weeks which would put me somewhere around the end of October. Figure if I can knock out all the reading and then lab and sit for videos like crazy the last 3 weeks I should be ok.

  • cknapp78cknapp78 Member Posts: 213 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Update 09-23-13.

    Decent progress over the weekend. Got 5 more chapters done on Friday and Saturday before I spent Sunday at my in-laws for mother-in-laws birthday. Also spent 3 hours watching my awful NY Giants get buried by the Panthers. Had planned to spend last night studying as well but I just wasn't in the mood and had a migraine from yelling at the TV for 3 hours.

    On a side my first three VMs built in Hyper-V for my lab and will start my lab portion of studying by the end of the week. Was planning on studying again tonight but I think I will make it a family night since my wife and kids have been really cool with me studying so much lately.

    One other side note...Even though I have been working on contract again for a few weeks, I just got offered a FT role as a salaried consultant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Seriously contemplating it since it has medical benefits to start and even though the salary pales to what I make in NJ, the cost of living in Baton Rouge is ridiculously low. Paying $1600 a month for a 900 square foot condo here on the Jersey Shore. For the same price in Baton Rouge, I can get a 3000 square foot Ranch house on 2 acres with a pool. Decisions, decisions....

  • MSSoftieMSSoftie Security+, ITIL v3 Foundations, MCSE Cloud Platform Infrastructure Charlotte NC areaMember Posts: 189 ■■■□□□□□□□
    As another person on your trek - I say " you have made some good progress". I had in-laws in town but I was able to do a good bit of TrainSignal videos with some corresponding TechNet articles to go with them. As a Panther fan - I say "Nah nanny boo boo "icon_cheers.gif. I am hoping to build up my virtual machines this weekend. I may actually have a box that can handle server as a physical machine and load it with RAM to put all my VMs there. We will see. If not, I will resort back to my original plan on putting Server on a SSD drive in my game machine and dual boot it for a while. Good luck with the move decision.
  • sacredboysacredboy Member Posts: 303 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Almost in the same situation as cknapp78, theefore, I wonder if it it makes any sense to follow only video studying (CBT+TrainSignal)? Just absolutely have no time for reading books and articles. Not novice in administering Windows environment but it was since MCSA 2003.
    Best, sacredboy!
  • cknapp78cknapp78 Member Posts: 213 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Another 2 chapters down last night. Seems like things are easier this time around even though I am even busier than usual. Wife has been really supportive about the study time too lately. Between that and a possible move cross-country, seems like the stars might be aligned for me to get this cert done finally. Then again, I might post next week that it has been the week from hell. I'll take what I can get now.

  • Chris O'SullivanChris O'Sullivan Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    In a very similar situation here. Have recently got back into studying and took my Win7 MCSA exams to get back in the swing of things as I have done no studying since my MCSE 2000 exams.

    Have to get my lab sorted out to a decent standard and about to take my 410 in the next week or so. Is passing the 3 exams a reasonable target by the end of the year, whilst working as well? Normally takes me about 2 months per exam or is that just the base (i.e. first exam) exam that takes the longest? Cannot really remember from my 2000 experience.

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