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Category Archives: Learning

Last week to buy Microsoft Certification Booster Pack promotion for your exam

Microsoft Certification Booster Packs are sold for $200-$225 depending on the package and your country. This basically means that:
For $200 you can choose between “1 Exam + 30 days access to online practice test” or “1 exam and up to 4 free retakes of that same exam”
For $225 you get “1 exam and up to 4 free retakes of that same exam AND 30 days access to online practice test”.

It seemed like the Microsoft Certification Booster Packs promotion would end 31-08-2016, but they extended it to 30-09-2016, making this week the last week you’ll be able to purchase it.
After purchase, you’ll have 6 months to use your booster pack(s).

For more information, see my previous blogpost https://blog.bjornhouben.com/2016/04/19/certification-my-thoughts-on-microsoft-certification-booster-packs/ or the Microsoft website https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/offers.aspx

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2016 in Learning, Microsoft

 

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Certification – My thoughts on Microsoft Certification Booster packs

Since March 7th, Microsoft is selling booster packs which can be bought until August 31. The exams can be taken up until six months after your purchase.

The following boosters packs are available:

  1. Practice Test + exam for $200
  2. Exam + 4 free retakes for $200
  3. Practice Test + exam + 4 free retakes for $225

As always there are pros and cons to this offering. These are things that have gone through my mind about these booster packs:

  • First of all, the retakes are not free because a regular exam costs $150 if you book it at Pearson Vue. Even though it is not free, it’s still a very good deal. If you would fail only once, you have saved money.
  • I would never choose option 1, I would always go for either option 2 or 3.
  • It can be good that people can get an exam with cheap retakes.
    • It might prevent (some) people from using exam dumps, because additional certification costs for a failure are not an issue anymore. This is especially true for people who have to pay for their own certification or for small companies with limited budgets.
    • It might help people that have the knowledge, but fail because their not used  to the way it is tested with Microsoft Certification Exams.
  • It might lower the value of certification
    • With that many cheap retakes the chance that you’ll pass (by chance) increases.
      • Especially since the number of exam questions is very limited, after a few retakes you could know most of the questions.
        • Which makes it easier for people to create exam dumps.
      • Without booster packs, the certification costs could become an issue.
        • This only affects people/companies where certification is an issue.
        • This could lead to people using exam dumps.

As with most things, when used for good it is a good thing. It will however be abused by some. Still this has always been the case and I feel it does not really matter. What I do believe however is that this large number of almost free retakes stresses again the need for a larger pool of Microsoft exam questions. But this has been a problem for a long time already and I doubt Microsoft will change this anytime soon unfortunately.

I wonder what other people think about this, so please leave a comment.

For more information on the booster packs see:
https://borntolearn.mslearn.net/b/weblog/archive/2016/03/07/introducing-new-microsoft-certification-booster-pack-offer

 

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VMware VCP Recertification deadline extended until May 8 , those who recertified before the extension get 65% off VCP6 migration exam

Recently I had to get recertified for VCP and even though I didn’t really want to …. I did so anyways as you can read in my previous blog post: VMware VCP5-DCV Delta Recertification Exam (VCP550D) available until March 10th + resources to prepare for it

Apparently there were some technical issues and VMware decided to extend the VCP recertification deadline until May 8, 2015. VMware understood this might frustrate people  who worked hard to meet the original deadline on time (before March 10th 2015), so they decided to give those people 65% off the VCP6 migration exam.

Even though I still don’t really agree with the recertification, this is a step in the good direction VMware. Keep it up.

For more information, you can read the original blog post: Short Extension For VCP Recertification Deadline (and a Reward for Those Who Met the Original Deadline)

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2015 in ICT, Learning, VMware

 

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VMware VCP5-DCV Delta Recertification Exam (VCP550D) available until March 10th + resources to prepare for it

Again I want to stress that I don’t agree with the way VMware is enforcing the recertification in this case as I’ve described in more detail here. Nevertheless I had to take the exam to keep my certification status, contribute to my company’s partner status and to prevent having to take another expensive course in the future to get certified. I have to admit I did learn about a couple of new things though.

But enough about that. Until March 10th it is possible to take the VCP5-DCV Delta Recertification Exam (VCP550D) that is based on new material between the vSphere 5.0/5.1 and vSphere 5.5 exams. Another benefit is that it is cheaper (90 euros) and that it can be taken online from any location.

I took the exam and passed, so I’m good for the near future. I am thinking about postponing vSphere 6.0 certification due to this re-certification policy though.

Here are the resources I used to prepare for the exam:

I know Veeam also provides VCAP5-DCA and VCP5-DCV study guides, but I haven’t used these yet.

I hope it’s useful to you. If you have any other useful resources or feedback, please leave a comment

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2015 in ICT, Learning, VMware

 

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Get Windows 8 MCSA certified between February 15th and May 31st and get a free Windows 10 exam

Microsoft has started a new campaign offering people that get Windows 8 MCSA certified between February 15th and May 31st  to get a free Windows 10 exam (697) when it is released. For more information about the offer see: https://borntolearn.mslearn.net/b/weblog/archive/2015/02/19/how-to-get-a-windows-10-exam-for-free

Based on the comments on the born to learn website it seems that this offer does not extend to people that are Windows 8 MCSA certified before February 15th … but I might be wrong. An alternative is to try to get access to free Microsoft Beta Exams by signing up as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) as described here: https://blog.bjornhouben.com/2012/09/17/how-to-get-access-to-free-microsoft-beta-exams/

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2015 in ICT, Learning, Microsoft, Windows

 

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Pluralsight is offering free access to 13 courses

Pluralsight is offering free access to selected courses. The offer is only available through April 30, 2015 and can be found here: https://offers.pluralsight.com/technet

There are 13 Pluralsight courses included with the TechNet benefit and I’m personally very interested in the ones about Azure. Here is the full list of the courses:

Microsoft Azure

Beginner

Intermediate

Windows Server 2012 R2

Intermediate

System Center 2012 R2 

Advanced

 

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Free PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) training on February 25th and 26th

Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) is hosting 2 PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) training classes on February 25th and February 26th:

  1. Getting Started with PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC)
  2. Advanced PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) and Custom Resources

The links above provide include a course outline and a link to register for the Jump Start. And even if you can’t join live, the recordings will always be made available at a later time so you can watch whenever it suits you better.

PowerShell DSC is becoming increasingly important and I personally also still need to learn more about it and look forward to it.

I hope it’s useful to you as well.

 

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Free – Brocade Network Function Virtualization (NFV) course and exam

A student of mine informed me that Brocade is providing a free course and exam again. This time it is for Brocade Network Function Virtualization”
A while ago they also provided a similar offer for “Brocade Ethernet Fabric” which is also still valid apparently.

Take advantage of these offers if they are useful to you 🙂

 

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2014 in Hardware, ICT, Learning, Network, Storage

 

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Book review : Cloud Computing Concepts, Technology & Architecture

CCCTA_cover

Title: Cloud Computing Concepts, Technology & Architecture
Number of pages: 
528
ISBN: 9780133387520
Released
May 2013

My opinion:

The book is well written, is vendor neutral, covers both business and IT aspects and contains many great diagrams. It also has a lot of useful references to external resources.
What I disliked, is that because of the vendor neutral approach some aspects are relatable enough (especially for people that don’t have a lot of working experience). I feel the book would have benefitted by providing more real-life examples of products or services.

The book is a good start for experienced people and will especially come in handy as a reference when getting involved in cloud computing projects. It will help understand vendor specific products and services better.

I would recommend people that are new to cloud computing (or that have very limited working experience) to first read a cloud essentials book like the one from Sybex before reading this book though.

To take a look at the book and its content, you can visit the book’s companion website: http://servicetechbooks.com/cloud

 

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Book review : Cloud Essentials – CompTIA Authorized Courseware for Exam CLO-001

9781118408735 cover.indd

Introduction

For those who haven’t read my previous blog posts, here’s a short summary. About 1,5 – 2 years ago I decided that I wanted to know more about cloud computing and get certified as well. I used freely available resources to attain these certifications:

In short, my conclusion was that the quality of the freely available resources were not sufficient. ITpreneurs were kind enough to provide me with access to their e-learning course and Train Signal (now Pluralsight) provided me with their video training. Reviews for both can be found here:

Even though both resources are good, I personally prefer a book over eLearning and video training. As such I picked up a copy of “Cloud Essentials : CompTIA Authorized Courseware for Exam CLO-001

Review

Number of pages: 268
ISBN: 978-1-118-40873-5
Released
: June 2013

My opinion:

The book is well written and knows to provide a very good basis of cloud computing both technical and non-technical. Even though the number of pages is limited, the most important aspects are covered in my opinion, which should be enough to provide insight and to pass the Exin and Comptia cloud exams.

What I disliked are some of the questions at the end of the book, because they are sometimes a bit strange. But as far as I can remember, this was also the case in the official exams … so better get used to it if you are going to get certified.

All in all, this is a very good book to get started with cloud computing.

 

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2014 in Cloud, ICT, Learning, Private cloud, Public Cloud

 

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