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Entries in certification (2)


Passed MCSE SharePoint 2013 exams

This morning I passed the Advanced Solutions of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 exam. That (finally!) completes the requirements for the MCSE SharePoint 2013 certification. The "E" is supposed to stand for "Expert". The reality is that SharePoint is looking more and more like an iceberg to me: I feel like I'm exploring more deeply into the tip and there's a vast swath of SharePoint-ness that I've not yet seen or have only partially glimpsed. 

My weakest area is in "BI" (Business Intelligence) in the SharePoint arena. I missed over half of those questions. Fortunately I was stronger in other areas. So my first next step is to read up more and experiment more with BI. Microsoft has added a LOT of BI capabilities, accessible within and outside of SharePoint. Much of this is in the Excel space and/or SQL Server (Power View, Power Pivot, Power Query). I need to learn a lot more about all of them! 

I'm also very much looking forward to diving into the learning toward achieving the MCSD SharePoint 2013 certification. That one focuses on the development side; development has always been more enjoyable to me. I've been a hardware guy, and a systems guy, but dev is what I love the most. So that will be fun. I have spent the last 9 months working toward the MCSE, knowing that I'd forget many pieces of that material but it would serve as a solid foundation for the dev pieces. 

And, after 20 years of taking tech certification exams, I have finally today stumbled on the way to be able to take an exam that can last for more than 2 hours and not find myself needing to visit the restroom. Instead of my normal morning coffee, I went light on the fluids. There's a Starbucks very close to the exam center, so I stopped in there and grabbed a double espresso just before the test time. That woke up my brain, gave my bloodstream its dose of happy caffeine, and did not leave me wishing during the last half of the exam for a larger bladder! Too much information?


MCSA in Win Server 2012 complete. On to MCSE in SharePoint 2013...

After months of reading, videos, practice, a 9-day "boot camp" course, more study, and feeling like I must have read every Technet article in existence - twice - I've finally passed all three exams to earn the MCSA Windows Server 2012 certification. And I even passed one of the exams on the first attempt (it took two attempts for each of the others :)

OK, so that's done. But my reason for working to get the MCSA was really because it is required in order to earn the MCSE in SharePoint 2013 (along with passing another couple of exams). Whew! On to the next chunk of studying!

To start with, I'm going through the video courses on Pluralsight; they've got 12 hours or so of videos covering the material for the 70-331 exam (Core Solutions of Microsoft SharePoint 2013) and then another series of videos for the 70-332 exam (Advanced Solutions of Microsoft SharePoint 2013). Once I've viewed the 70-331 videos at least once, I'll work my way through the Exam Ref from O'Reilly.

I'm hoping that by the time I've been through the videos, poured over the book, and read any related Technet articles (along with mucking about in SharePoint), that perhaps there will be some practice tests available. I'd purchased a 3-pack from MeasureUp for the MCSA exams; granted, the MeasureUp practice exams are not as challenging as the actual tests, but when I start going through them they are a definite challenge. I like Transcender exams better, since they are hard. But it appears that neither MeasureUp nor Transcender nor Kaplan currently have practice exams for 70-331 / 70-332. I did buy the SecondShot exam vouchers, so if I fail an exam the first time (which is what usually happens to me with Microsoft exams), then I can take the exam a second time at no extra charge. But I'd rather have the added confidence that comes from practice exams (and the initial humiliation when first going through them).

But no need to worry about that for now. I've got a lot of work to do!