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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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Brocade Certified vRouter Engineer Exam 170-010

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, Brocade is offering free courses and exams.

Even though I’m not actually working in networking, I decided to brush up my networking knowledge by taking the 170-010 Brocade Certified vRouter Engineer Exam. I haven’t really done much with networking and CLI configuration in the last 7 years, but I still know the concepts from school where we did CCNA, CCNP, CCDA, CCDP. It took me about 2 days to study and I passed with 76% (passing score = 62%). In hindsight I should have played around a bit more in the vRouter itself🙂

The exam wasn’t that hard, but a little knowledge about networking is expected, because the information provided by Brocade does not cover everything (or I missed something). For people who want to take the exam, you can use the resources described below. Make sure you’re very familiar with routing, OSPF, NAT and firewalling.

Brocade Certified vRouter Engineer Exam 170-010 Exam Objectives

Brocade Vyatta vRouter System Operations

  • Describe show command system usage
  • Identify key CLI operations
  • Describe the commit and save processes

Ethernet Concepts

  • Identify Ethernet operations
  • Identify VLAN operations and settings
  • Identify bonded interface operations
  • Demonstrate knowledge of configuration and operation using show commands

TCP/IP

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the relationship between Layer 2, IP and TCP/IP
  • Identify TCP and UDP differences
  • Identify address subnets

DHCP and DNS Troubleshooting

  • Describe troubleshooting of DHCP operations
  • Describe troubleshooting of DNS forwarding

Routing

  • Identify uses for routing
  • Identify show commands for use with routing
  • Identify configuration of different types of static routes

Firewalls

  • Describe firewall operations and troubleshooting using show commands
  • Describe firewall rulebase operations

NAT

  • Describe NAT concepts

Upgrades

  • Describe the Brocade Vyatta upgrade process

Logging and Packet Captures

  • Identify logging options for firewall and NAT operations
  • Identify methods to verify operations and troubleshooting

OSPF Single-Area

  • Describe OSPF show command output

 

Generic information

Collision & broadcast domain

 

Generic Brocade Certification information

Brocade Certification FAQ

Brocade Certification Exam information including number of questions, time and passing Scores

 

Brocade Certified vRouter Engineer Exam 170-010 resources

Free course and exam offer page

Brocade Certified vRouter Engineer 2013 (BCVRE) Exam : Objectives, Prerequisites, Curriculum, Study Tools & Testing

BCVRE in a Nutshell Study Guide

Vyatta 5400 vRouter product page , data sheet, trial download, licensing

Vyatta 5400 Manual Software Documentation

Firewall Basics Command Quick Reference

List of Useful MIBS

Management and Logging Command Reference

 

 

  • Describe how to configure OSPF
 
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Posted by on August 1, 2014 in Hardware, ICT, Network

 

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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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My ‘ITIL Foundation’ certification experience.

For quite some time, I was planning to get certified for the latest version of ITIL Foundation since I was “only” ITIL v2 certified. A couple of years ago I bought the v3 book and started reading, but for some reason I found it very boring and just couldn’t motivate myself enough to complete the book and get certified.

In the next couple of years I mainly focused on other certifications and ignored ITIL v3 until last week. I took my old book and started reading again. To my surprise everything seemed to be far more logical than back then and I went through the book very easily. Maybe it’s because of the added experience or maybe I just wasn’t motivated enough back then, but I even liked the content in the book.

After reading the book I tried some sample exams and these went great even though apparently my book was outdated since the ITIL Foundation book had been updated in 2011. Just to be sure I bought a new version of the book, but in my opinion there weren’t any big changes.

The exam itself was also very easy. So now I’m going back to focusing on cloud computing again🙂

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2014 in ICT

 

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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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