MCSA Windows Server 2016, Round 2?

N7ValiantN7Valiant Senior MemberMember Posts: 363 ■■■■□□□□□□
I've been putting some more thought into trying to go for this certification again as I had attempted the 70-740 about 6 months ago and failed:
http://www.techexams.net/forums/mcsa-2016-mcse-2016/132144-70-740-failed-605-700-a.html

At the time I had 3 sources I wanted to cover before the exam:
-CBTNuggets
-Books
-Labs

Since the scheduling was largely to the tune of my employer, I had only managed to finish the CBT Nuggets videos before taking the exam.

6 months further down the road with more experience under my belt, I'm wondering if it isn't time to try my hand at it again. I don't have access to CBT Nuggets this time around, but the flip side is that I can take the exams when I feel ready and not when my employer determines that I should.

Total IT Work Experience is till less than 1 year, but I feel very much motivated to move on from my current job, and this seems like the ticket I'd need to take that next step and have my resume seen by the right people.


My question is:
Is that enough to take it? This exam isn't a walk in the park and even though overall the score seems decent to me for a first-timer with no experience at the time, it seems like a common opinion from a previous taker that he took and passed the exam at the point when he no longer needed it (i.e. never really needed to study any of those things in order to know how to do it, except for things no one uses like Docker).
OSCP
MCSE: Core Infrastructure
MCSA: Windows Server 2016
CompTIA A+ | Network+ | Security+ CE
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Comments

  • Jon_CiscoJon_Cisco Senior Member Member Posts: 1,772 ■■■■■■■■□□
    People seeking certifications generally seem to fall into three categories.

    1 - I cheated to get a job (I don't want to know this stuff)
    2 - I took it because I was required to have the piece of paper. (Already have real experience)
    3 - I took it to expose myself to new things. (I want to learn)

    I personally fall into #3 and it sounds like you probably do to. I would suggest if you are on the system side of things you take the exam again. I would say it is hard for sure but I don't think there were any concepts that were impossible to grasp. It's just a lot of information if you are not already familiar with it.

    I took the MTA server exam in the winter just to give me a general overview of windows servers. Then I immediately started working towards my real goal of MCSA. For me it feels like 3 months is a good target for each test. For the 70-740 exam I felt like I needed to do more practice with server core. Almost non of the questions asked about the GUI.

    Good Luck!
  • N7ValiantN7Valiant Senior Member Member Posts: 363 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I feel like I'm standing on shaky ground as far as commitment is concerned.

    My main focus now is learning MDT and Powershell to automate parts of work at my MSP. As I recall, the MCSA Windows Server doesn't cover either in much depth as it seems to be more about how to properly setup Windows Server in an enterprise environment. I suppose as someone more interested in a junior sysadmin position, I feel like learning how to maintain a server is more within my reach rather than learning how to setup a server properly from scratch.

    The reason why I feel like my motivation would fall more into #2 (sans the experience) is because I don't feel it would really contribute much in my day job to learn this. Because as an MSP that services SMBs, we don't touch the majority of the technologies covered (Data Dedupe, SAN, Failover, nested virtualization, high availability, docker, server core, Hyper-V, etc). Hence a lot of what I learn will collect dust whereas learning Powershell has empowered me enough to write a simple startup script that checks misbehaving vendor software and starts it up after a server reboot.

    I was wondering if it would be possible to finish all 3 exams in 3 months (before my 1 year work anniversary), but I feel like that might just be putting myself under incredible pressure since there would be no allowance for failure or retakes. While it would mean I have to be stuck at a crummy work environment for longer, I was wondering if there's anything wrong with allotting the next year to do this properly? People do say that 2 years is the sweet spot at which you're not considered a job hopper.
    OSCP
    MCSE: Core Infrastructure
    MCSA: Windows Server 2016
    CompTIA A+ | Network+ | Security+ CE
  • N7ValiantN7Valiant Senior Member Member Posts: 363 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Skill-wise the benefits are questionable. But I suppose that depends on whether the cart is put before the horse? My supervisor admits that they've had people who had MCSAs and the like before but without the actual skill, so he wouldn't consider it to be worth it.

    But the reality is that your resume does need to pass the HR filter, and it's probably a fact that my resume wouldn't have been seen if not for the certs I already had.
    OSCP
    MCSE: Core Infrastructure
    MCSA: Windows Server 2016
    CompTIA A+ | Network+ | Security+ CE
  • Jon_CiscoJon_Cisco Senior Member Member Posts: 1,772 ■■■■■■■■□□
    While Server 2016 MCSA is a viable goal for your career it does not sound like it is your next step.

    Powershell is definitely a good thing to learn so I won't discourage you. I can relate to not using everything you learn. What I will say is that while I will never remember the configurations from MCSA I will probably remember the concepts.
  • N7ValiantN7Valiant Senior Member Member Posts: 363 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Career path is a bit tough to pin down maybe. My original love was and is programming. Powershell is very close to that IMO.

    My interest is in scripting and automation. We work with a shared mailbox that gets automated emails. I wasn't amused at manually sorting through hundreds of automated emails a day (which they've been doing for at least a year) so I figured out how to setup rules to sort the emails for me.

    I didn't think anyone should still be doing full manual installations of Windows in this day and age so I used ADK to create an answer file that can do a zero touch install from a Win 10 ISO on a USB and that eventually evolved to a full setup of MDT on a server that no one was using.

    I thought there was too much administrative overhead in keeping track of Bitlocker keys manually for a client so I expanded their schema and shoved the keys into AD.


    All things considered, I think I'm more focused on Windows Server rather than the Windows 10 MCSA simply because I'm an avid believer that every client should have a server be it "in the cloud" or not. That and all W2k8 should be put out of my misery.
    OSCP
    MCSE: Core Infrastructure
    MCSA: Windows Server 2016
    CompTIA A+ | Network+ | Security+ CE
  • onlycoderedonlycodered Junior Member Registered Users Posts: 3 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I actually have a similar situation to yours. I got involved in my MSP's MDT environment and have quite a bit of experience with that. I have found that the Windows Server MCSA exams are quite a bit more involved than the Windows desktop exams. I decided to pick the low hanging fruit first. I previously had my MTA from about four years ago and decided to pursue the MCSA: Windows 10 certification instead of server as I felt it would be easier to obtain. I was actually quite shocked when I went through all the material for both of those exams as they cover a lot of things that are more administration/server side. I would highly recommend going with the 70-698 and 70-697 exams first before working through the Server 2016 stuff but that's just my 2 cents.
  • backtrackerbacktracker Member Member Posts: 91 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I think you have enough of an interest and cross-over in your background to be successful at the Server MCSA. 605 is not a 'miserable' failure to the degree I'd give up. In fact, after you posted your initial result, I assumed you'd be back shortly with a "passed 740" post :)

    Your work and interest align very closely with the 695 exam objectives (MDT, WDS, Enterprise automated deployments). With the two Win 10 exams you'd get an MCSE Mobility- another possible option?
    MSM-ISS (Information System Security)-'07 Colorado Tech.
    MCSE | MCSA X3 | Security + | Network +
  • N7ValiantN7Valiant Senior Member Member Posts: 363 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Hmm, maybe. The Win 10 exam seems to be just 2 exams instead of 3.

    Although my main concern is that while I see the MCSA Windows Server floated around in some just postings as desirable qualifications I don't quite see the same for Win 10.

    I also happen to notice a pattern in which some of my clients have Windows 10 computers when their server is 2008 or 2012. This would tell me that the server OS might have a longer expected service life than the desktop OS. Hence the server certification might be harder to get a hold of, but it will be useful longer.
    OSCP
    MCSE: Core Infrastructure
    MCSA: Windows Server 2016
    CompTIA A+ | Network+ | Security+ CE
  • N7ValiantN7Valiant Senior Member Member Posts: 363 ■■■■□□□□□□
    It's 3 exams for the MCSE: Mobility. It's two for the MCSA: Windows 10.

    I think you just need to have a look at both certs and see which one applies to you more. If you work more with Servers go with that if you feel like Windows 10 isn't for you. Both courses offer some Powershell training so you won't be missing out, you will just slightly focus more on whatever technology you're working on. No matter what OS level people are using, there is going to be a switch eventually. My company is still on Server 2012 but I'm doing the 2016 cert to get myself ahead of the game. I don't see the point doing 2012 and have to do an upgrade exam a year or so down the line.
    Yes, there will be a switch eventually, but due to the fact that servers (unless the client is REALLY cheap) often outlast workstations due to the higher grade of their components and the fact that upgrading the OS of a server is rarely done, I figure a server certification would go a bit further.

    Even now with the Server 2019 looming over the horizon only a small handful of our clients have Server 2016.
    OSCP
    MCSE: Core Infrastructure
    MCSA: Windows Server 2016
    CompTIA A+ | Network+ | Security+ CE
  • Jon_CiscoJon_Cisco Senior Member Member Posts: 1,772 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I would focus on what your interested in doing.

    Studying for the server or OS exams will both give you knowledge that will be carried on into the future. I took my A+ in 2002. It was on Windows 98 and 2000. While the specifics are no longer relevant I still have all of the practical knowledge I learned from the exam and applied over the years.
  • malachi1612malachi1612 Senior Member SwitzerlandMember Posts: 430 ■■■■□□□□□□
    N7Valiant wrote: »
    Yes, there will be a switch eventually, but due to the fact that servers (unless the client is REALLY cheap) often outlast workstations due to the higher grade of their components and the fact that upgrading the OS of a server is rarely done, I figure a server certification would go a bit further.

    Even now with the Server 2019 looming over the horizon only a small handful of our clients have Server 2016.

    Looming over the horizon....Server 2019 is already here, it came out last month. I have been playing around with the trial for a few weeks.

    Still it be at least 18 months before any exams are written for it.
    Certifications:
    MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2016, ITIL Foundation, MCSA: Windows 10, MCP, Azure Fundamentals, Security+.

  • N7ValiantN7Valiant Senior Member Member Posts: 363 ■■■■□□□□□□
    o_O

    Pretty sure it got pulled along with Windows 10 1809 due to a bug that wiped out users' data.

    Or else I would have loaded it up onto my little MDT/WDS server.
    OSCP
    MCSE: Core Infrastructure
    MCSA: Windows Server 2016
    CompTIA A+ | Network+ | Security+ CE
  • malachi1612malachi1612 Senior Member SwitzerlandMember Posts: 430 ■■■■□□□□□□
    N7Valiant wrote: »
    o_O

    Pretty sure it got pulled along with Windows 10 1809 due to a bug that wiped out users' data.

    Or else I would have loaded it up onto my little MDT/WDS server.

    It did but you can still download the trial from 3rd party sites.
    Certifications:
    MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2016, ITIL Foundation, MCSA: Windows 10, MCP, Azure Fundamentals, Security+.

  • Rosco2382Rosco2382 Senior Member Member Posts: 205 ■■■□□□□□□□
    If you're not motivated, you shouldn't go for it if you really don't want it. As Thaonos says, the hardest choices require the strongest wills (yes I just quoted Avengers..).
    That quote is the best advice in this thread. 
  • eillinois31eillinois31 Junior Member MCP, MCSA 2016 (70-740 | 70-741 | 70-742), MCSE Core Infrastructure(70-744), VMware VCP-DVC 6.5Member Posts: 38 ■■■□□□□□□□
    If you feel like the MCSA for Windows Server 2016 won't benefit you, then there's no point in going for it. And no, you wouldn't be able to study and pass for all 3 exams within 3 months. I mean, it's doable if you put your entire life on hold and just want to earn the certification. If you want to learn the content properly with the right resources and remember what you learnt for your career, you're looking at 3 months per exam.

    If you're not motivated, you shouldn't go for it if you really don't want it. As Thaonos says, the hardest choices require the strongest wills (yes I just quoted Avengers..).
    Agree, 3 months per exam for the MCSA 2016, that's what I did in 2018. 
  • N7ValiantN7Valiant Senior Member Member Posts: 363 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Took and passed with 753 score today, which is a lot better than my earlier 600-ish.

    My takeaways are that books and videos are not enough, lab or firsthand experience is gold.  If you have a high spec enough computer to run Windows 10, Hyper-V, and 5 VMs, that should be a good lab environment.  Not sure how I feel about the cloud labs though, was kind of worthless at least with CBT.  Responses were laggy and aggravating.  Home lab is the way to go.
    OSCP
    MCSE: Core Infrastructure
    MCSA: Windows Server 2016
    CompTIA A+ | Network+ | Security+ CE
  • malachi1612malachi1612 Senior Member SwitzerlandMember Posts: 430 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Congrats!

    So what's next?
    Certifications:
    MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2016, ITIL Foundation, MCSA: Windows 10, MCP, Azure Fundamentals, Security+.

  • N7ValiantN7Valiant Senior Member Member Posts: 363 ■■■■□□□□□□
    70-741 of course.  Does seems like much of it will be easier to manage.  After all, trying to build a Hyper-V replica server/failover cluster in a virtual environment is some tough stuff even with nested virtualization.
    OSCP
    MCSE: Core Infrastructure
    MCSA: Windows Server 2016
    CompTIA A+ | Network+ | Security+ CE
  • MontagueVandervortMontagueVandervort Senior Member Member Posts: 399 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Congratulations!

    Always good when you can slay "the beast that got away".

    Good luck on the 70-741!
  • Rosco2382Rosco2382 Senior Member Member Posts: 205 ■■■□□□□□□□
    N7Valiant said:
    70-741 of course.  Does seems like much of it will be easier to manage.  After all, trying to build a Hyper-V replica server/failover cluster in a virtual environment is some tough stuff even with nested virtualization.
    Did you use the iscsi target built into Windows Server or did you use the StarWind virtual SAN?
  • N7ValiantN7Valiant Senior Member Member Posts: 363 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Rosco2382 said:
    N7Valiant said:
    70-741 of course.  Does seems like much of it will be easier to manage.  After all, trying to build a Hyper-V replica server/failover cluster in a virtual environment is some tough stuff even with nested virtualization.
    Did you use the iscsi target built into Windows Server or did you use the StarWind virtual SAN?
    Built-in iSCSi, but I didn't really leverage that in the virtual lab.  I mostly just used that feature to get a direct block level 10 GbE connection to my QNAP NAS.

    Passed the 70-741 too, studying for the 742 where I'm fairly strong on, so that's scheduled in 2 weeks.  I'm just cooling my heels for access to computers at the new job, so I figure I might as well push it and go for the 744 as well to finish off with an MCSE.

    My brain is on fire though.
    OSCP
    MCSE: Core Infrastructure
    MCSA: Windows Server 2016
    CompTIA A+ | Network+ | Security+ CE
  • N7ValiantN7Valiant Senior Member Member Posts: 363 ■■■■□□□□□□
    742 in 7 hours.  2 hours of sleep so far, bad cold keeping me up.  Wish me luck!
    OSCP
    MCSE: Core Infrastructure
    MCSA: Windows Server 2016
    CompTIA A+ | Network+ | Security+ CE
  • eillinois31eillinois31 Junior Member MCP, MCSA 2016 (70-740 | 70-741 | 70-742), MCSE Core Infrastructure(70-744), VMware VCP-DVC 6.5Member Posts: 38 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Good luck on the 70-742! I passed the 70-742 back in September(which made me MCSA), then the 70-744(MCSE) in January and now working on Vmware VCP 6.5. I find that the learning, labbing everything up, reading is more FUN than the actual exam itself :). Again, good luck! 
  • Jon_CiscoJon_Cisco Senior Member Member Posts: 1,772 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Good Luck today! Sucks your sick just do your best.
  • N7ValiantN7Valiant Senior Member Member Posts: 363 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Failed, 666/1000.  Must be a sign.
    OSCP
    MCSE: Core Infrastructure
    MCSA: Windows Server 2016
    CompTIA A+ | Network+ | Security+ CE
  • Jon_CiscoJon_Cisco Senior Member Member Posts: 1,772 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Sorry man. I have heard this one was tough. I don't have much experience with Active Directory so I'm looking forward to the test but definitely a little nervous myself.

    Good Luck on the next attempt 666 is ominous but not to bad.
  • eillinois31eillinois31 Junior Member MCP, MCSA 2016 (70-740 | 70-741 | 70-742), MCSE Core Infrastructure(70-744), VMware VCP-DVC 6.5Member Posts: 38 ■■■□□□□□□□
    It's definitely the toughest of the 3 tests. I know group policy, but they had their scenarios and they make it so convoluted. I barely passed that back in September(700 right on the dot, whew). You were close! 
  • N7ValiantN7Valiant Senior Member Member Posts: 363 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Yeah, the questions seem to have tricky wording even though people insist they don't do that anymore.  I've ordered another cert guide as the Sybex one doesn't cover the material thoroughly enough IMO.  Might be a bit hasty but I've cancelled by 744 since there's no point trying to tackle that one without the MCSA in hand first and plopped another 742 in its place next week.  Gonna try cover more ground on my weak areas (Install and Configure AD DS, Identity Federation and Access Solutions).

    I'm not so certain this exam was designed fairly since it covers a lot of material involving Azure/O365 integration with Federated Services when you can't even practice that without opening a whole other can of worms in Azure.
    OSCP
    MCSE: Core Infrastructure
    MCSA: Windows Server 2016
    CompTIA A+ | Network+ | Security+ CE
  • eillinois31eillinois31 Junior Member MCP, MCSA 2016 (70-740 | 70-741 | 70-742), MCSE Core Infrastructure(70-744), VMware VCP-DVC 6.5Member Posts: 38 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I've had good success with the measureup practice test(I used for 70-740/741/742/744), for me personally wouldn't rely on Sybex questions alone as that's not really how the exam is set up. The sybex questions more get you accustomed to the concepts and ideas, and the measureup test drill you on what you don't know and ask questions like on the exam. I remember the 70-740 and the measureup test, I was like "what kind of questions are these" and then once I took the exam, I was like oh I see, glad I used the practice tests. I used 4 measureup tests this pass year to get my first certifications(MCSA/MCSE) and they were very helpful.  Sorry to ramble, my whole 2018 year was focused on the MCSA 2016 so feel like I have alot to share :). Everyone learns differently, good luck at the next crack at it! As for the 70-744, search the site, put together a list of study materials when you get around to it. 
  • N7ValiantN7Valiant Senior Member Member Posts: 363 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Hmm, not sure how I feel about prep exams that you have to pay for and costs only slightly less than the actual exam itself.  I'll try to see if any of the free practice tests at my disposal is close to it, but I doubt I'd pay for one unless I've failed the same exam twice.
    OSCP
    MCSE: Core Infrastructure
    MCSA: Windows Server 2016
    CompTIA A+ | Network+ | Security+ CE
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