MCSA for non administrators

Hi Everyone,

I had never worked as a sys admin before but was looking to obtain more hands on skills in Microsoft. I work in Security, and my hope is that knowing a deeper understanding of the Server OS will help me in my current role. Have any of you known of many folks goig for the MCSA without any sysadmin experience? I know this is a difficult cert to attempt to obtain, but the hands on knowledge it presents appears to be a good return on investment. Let me know your thoughts.

Bill

Comments

  • AndersonSmithAndersonSmith Member Posts: 471 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I've known people both on this forum and off who have gotten the MCSA without any System Admin experience. As long as you're able to setup a decent lab environment for yourself you'll be ok. It just may take you slightly longer than a System Admin with a few years of experience but it's totally able to be done. Good luck!
    All the best,
    Anderson

    "Everything that has a beginning has an end"
  • billyr2009billyr2009 Member Posts: 120
    Thanks so much for your reply. I was wondering if you had any tips on passing the exam? I will try to go through training and they offer a lab environment I believe.
  • MeanDrunkR2D2MeanDrunkR2D2 MCSA: Server 2012, MCITP: EDA KCMember Posts: 897 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I haven't passed yet, but am planning on doing the upgrade (70-417) for Server 2012 the middle of next month. My advice would be to get a good book, watch the videos from either Pluralsight or CBT nuggets (Pluralsight has a 3 month free trial right now, but I forget how to sign up for it as it's something I saw on Reddit), and lab everything I can think of in regards to the exam objectives. Technet and Microsoft Virtual Academy are huge for me on that.
  • Louie1277Louie1277 Member Posts: 499 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Trust me you don't have to be a system admin to take this exam. I myself was moved up to a new position as network admin. Never really worked on servers. But once I started to study for this exam I learned a lot even more then my other co-workers. At the moment i haven't passed it a couple times but I keep trying. I'm really putting in the time when I can to pass this exam next month. It feels like i been at it for a long time.

    Just study and lab when you can. if you could load the OS then you are half way there... That's the biggest thing i think loading the GUI and core one plus moving around. Good luck!
    2018 Goals: 70-410 [X], 70-411 [],70-412 [] :bow: 410- Passed!!!!!!

    My Goal for the Future
    2018 - *MCSA*(WHO KNOWS WHEN) KEEP FAILING!!!!
    2021 - *Security+*
    2022 - * Pen Tester*
  • AndersonSmithAndersonSmith Member Posts: 471 ■■■□□□□□□□
    billyr2009 wrote: »
    Thanks so much for your reply. I was wondering if you had any tips on passing the exam? I will try to go through training and they offer a lab environment I believe.

    Check out my post after I passed the 410 here. I go into a good bit of detail in that post of my study material and habits. Hope that helps.
    All the best,
    Anderson

    "Everything that has a beginning has an end"
  • Louie1277Louie1277 Member Posts: 499 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Check out my post after I passed the 410 here. I go into a good bit of detail in that post of my study material and habits. Hope that helps.


    Oh ya I read your post at least twice a week on your study habits and other stuff just to keep myself going. Great job on breaking it down.
    2018 Goals: 70-410 [X], 70-411 [],70-412 [] :bow: 410- Passed!!!!!!

    My Goal for the Future
    2018 - *MCSA*(WHO KNOWS WHEN) KEEP FAILING!!!!
    2021 - *Security+*
    2022 - * Pen Tester*
  • MicronewbMicronewb Member Posts: 41 ■■□□□□□□□□
  • Louie1277Louie1277 Member Posts: 499 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Well so far pluralsight has been good with the short videos. The only thing gets confusing when they are talking about the servers how to setup on in the lab. But once you have them laid out it's easy...
    2018 Goals: 70-410 [X], 70-411 [],70-412 [] :bow: 410- Passed!!!!!!

    My Goal for the Future
    2018 - *MCSA*(WHO KNOWS WHEN) KEEP FAILING!!!!
    2021 - *Security+*
    2022 - * Pen Tester*
  • MicronewbMicronewb Member Posts: 41 ■■□□□□□□□□
    It worked! Got 3 months of Pluralsight. Gonna check it out tomorrow
  • AndersonSmithAndersonSmith Member Posts: 471 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Louie1277 wrote: »
    Oh ya I read your post at least twice a week on your study habits and other stuff just to keep myself going. Great job on breaking it down.

    Thank you, I was hoping others would benefit from it!
    All the best,
    Anderson

    "Everything that has a beginning has an end"
  • AndersonSmithAndersonSmith Member Posts: 471 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Louie1277 wrote: »
    Well so far pluralsight has been good with the short videos. The only thing gets confusing when they are talking about the servers how to setup on in the lab. But once you have them laid out it's easy...

    I didn't follow Pluralsight's lab setup. I guess I should have mentioned that it my original post. Most of the labs can be done with only a couple server VMs and 1 client VM. I also didn't use VMWare, I just used VirtualBox
    All the best,
    Anderson

    "Everything that has a beginning has an end"
  • MeanDrunkR2D2MeanDrunkR2D2 MCSA: Server 2012, MCITP: EDA KCMember Posts: 897 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I also use VirtualBox, mostly because it's just dead simple to use and set up and doesn't really eat too many resources. I did the same, a couple of server VM's, a win 8 client VM. One of the server VM's I did have as a server Core instance so it would force me to figure out the powershell and how it all works. I really like the videos that they have though, they are really pretty good and so far they don't annoy me as much as one of the guys from CBT nuggets that goes off on weird unrelated tangents at times.
  • AndersonSmithAndersonSmith Member Posts: 471 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I really like the videos that they have though, they are really pretty good and so far they don't annoy me as much as one of the guys from CBT nuggets that goes off on weird unrelated tangents at times.

    I've never used the CBT Nuggets but I had heard from several people on this forum that the instructor tends to waste time going off topic so I've stayed away from them. In addition to the Pluralsight videos I also used Infinite Skills videos from John Savill. They were very "to the point" as well and helped clear up some additional questions I had about some topics.
    All the best,
    Anderson

    "Everything that has a beginning has an end"
  • MeanDrunkR2D2MeanDrunkR2D2 MCSA: Server 2012, MCITP: EDA KCMember Posts: 897 ■■■■■□□□□□
    He does do that, far too often, but what was my choice a few years back when Pluralsight wasn't really competitive like they are today. I also like how Pluralsight just launched their certification path the past week for regular users (not business) as it actually lays out the videos in the order they should be played so you can more easily follow along. Sometime soon we will finally get the business plan set up for my work so I can have more access to the virtual labs that they offer.
  • Louie1277Louie1277 Member Posts: 499 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I notice that couple nights ago when i log in. I notice the whole path thing ... So far it's been good but gets confusing some parts when they switch from a domain server to regular... They don't really show you how to install it until later videos. I like it so far better then CBT's one. I would of love to have access to the virtual server to better follow when they switched.


    Hopefully they will be done with the question section soon.
    2018 Goals: 70-410 [X], 70-411 [],70-412 [] :bow: 410- Passed!!!!!!

    My Goal for the Future
    2018 - *MCSA*(WHO KNOWS WHEN) KEEP FAILING!!!!
    2021 - *Security+*
    2022 - * Pen Tester*
  • billyr2009billyr2009 Member Posts: 120
    Thanks everyone for your replies. Just one question and it may come off as very newbish, so you had mentioned to lab everything.

    1) I am starting off with the Mark Minasi Mastering Windows Server 2012 R2. How would I lab this? In my head, I would obtain a 180 day license of Server 2012 r2 and use virtual box to create several virtual machines. When you say that you lab the book, do you mean the examples such as Figure 2.2, actually go in and do this hands on? For example, the first chapter he just briefly touches on whats new in r2. But, as I moveforward he has more screen shots from an actual 2012 r2 system.

    2) The exam ref are to be used towards the end of my studying adventures for these exams? :)
  • MeanDrunkR2D2MeanDrunkR2D2 MCSA: Server 2012, MCITP: EDA KCMember Posts: 897 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I personally would/and do lab from examples given on Technet that touch the objectives for the exams. Some may be overkill, but I want to pass so that's why I'm taking as long as I have for the exam to make sure that I understand everything thrown at me. I think I'm ready and will be sitting this exam this Friday. (70-417). My path is a bit harder because since I have a prior MCITP cert, I can do the upgrade exam which is basically all 3 exams in one. That's a ton of information to have in my head. Right now I'm going back over the new tech that was introduced in 2012 and R2 and knowing it as deep as I can. So things like Azure, and what the powershell commands and structure is so I can understand the common ones and what switches do what.
  • motheomotheo Member Posts: 15 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Great post Bill
    Thanks everyone for contributing, i am benefiting a lot from these reads.
  • AndersonSmithAndersonSmith Member Posts: 471 ■■■□□□□□□□
    billyr2009 wrote: »
    Thanks everyone for your replies. Just one question and it may come off as very newbish, so you had mentioned to lab everything.

    1) I am starting off with the Mark Minasi Mastering Windows Server 2012 R2. How would I lab this? In my head, I would obtain a 180 day license of Server 2012 r2 and use virtual box to create several virtual machines. When you say that you lab the book, do you mean the examples such as Figure 2.2, actually go in and do this hands on? For example, the first chapter he just briefly touches on whats new in r2. But, as I moveforward he has more screen shots from an actual 2012 r2 system.

    2) The exam ref are to be used towards the end of my studying adventures for these exams? :)


    I didn't use the Mark Minasi book for any of my exams, but I labbed everything by following along with the Pluralsight and Infinite Skills videos, plus the Exam Ref books, plus Technet articles. Then, I would tear it down and lab it again by using Powershell only. Most of the time I had to look up how to do things in Powershell myself on Technet but I did watch a couple training videos on Pluralsight and Infinite Skills to get an overview of Powershell in the first place. Like I said, I've never seen the book but I imagine it probably lists certain tasks in a step by step fashion so if that's the case then yes, absolutely lab it out by following those steps and if you run into any problems or errors be sure to look them up online. A lot of people use VMware and Hyper-V to build a lab but for all 3 of my exams I just used VirtualBox, which is free, on a laptop with 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD with a quad core 2.3GHZ processor. Most of the labs I found and training videos I followed wanted 5-7 different virtual servers setup but I was able to really use just 2 or 3 VirtualBox servers and then 1 Windows 8.1 Client Virtual Server. I just added more roles on less servers. So for example, a lot of the labs wanted me to setup a separate file server but I just used one of my domain controllers instead. Obviously you probably wouldn't want to do that in production but for the lab it worked just fine.
    All the best,
    Anderson

    "Everything that has a beginning has an end"
  • billyr2009billyr2009 Member Posts: 120
    Thanks again all for your insights. I just started going over material. I went ahead and started the 2012 R2 test lab guide. Even though they use VMware workstation, I am using Virtual Box. Not much beats free. :) In gonig through this setup, for example of your DHCP1 virtual machine, it lists how to set up through GUI and in through Powershell. I know it has been mentioned how important knowing how to work in Powershell is. When you guys were studying, did you write down the powershell commands in a mini study guide per say and studied them at a later time? I am thining of doing this and I am curious if this would be a good idea, let me know your thoughts? Or on the other hand is it too much overkill?
  • AndersonSmithAndersonSmith Member Posts: 471 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Yes, I kept track of all the Powershell commands and what they did in a Notepad document and reviewed it several times. Once you get the basics of how the Poweshell syntax works it's honestly not too difficult to figure it out. For me, I had relatively no experience using it so I also watched a course on Pluralsight that was an introduction to Powershell and also found an Infinite Skills video that was an introduction. These definitely helped me learn Powershell. I only had to watch about half of each course to get an understanding of what I needed to know for System Admin type work that would be relevant for the exam. As long as you can do anything with Powershell that you can do in the GUI you'll be fine for the exam. It's really not as bad as some people have said as long as you study it.
    All the best,
    Anderson

    "Everything that has a beginning has an end"
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