+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 15 of 15
  1. Senior Member cknapp78's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    195
    #1

    Default Journal for Exchange Certs

    After being a consultant for years and self-employed, I finally decided to take the plunge and become a salaried Architect/Consultant for a nationwide MSP. Specifically hired on for my experience with Exchange, Lync and Active Directory (16 years with Exchange). As most of you know, I haven't had a need for certifications in the past or haven't had the time to pursue them since I typically worked 2 full time contracts at the same time. Bottom line...good salary, work from home 2-3 weeks per month, minimal travel and I don't have to move from our new home here in Louisiana.

    Caveat #1 - Need to get my Exchange 2013 certs (70-341 and 70-342) immediately.
    Caveat #2 - After the Exchange certs, I have to get my AD certs (70-410, 411, & 412)

    Have been with the company for a month and a half and there are a few really good perks.

    I get at least half of my billable time set aside each week (when not traveling) for studying.

    I also was sent a new Lenovo Workstation Laptop with 8 cores, 32 GB RAM and a 1 TB SSD with Windows 8.1 and Hyper-V installed.

    Plan is to take one if not both of the Exchange tests before Jan 1, 2015. Not required but if I accomplish this, I get a 10K bump in salary.

    Study Materials I have access to...

    1. Pluralsight Membership
    2. CBTNuggets Membership
    3. Mastering Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 - Sybex Book
    4. Inside Out - Microsoft Exchange Server 2013: Mailbox and High Availability.

    Figured I would use this forum to track my progress, keep me honest and also pass along my experiences since the Exchange section of this forum seems to be almost dead. Hope I can help any of you in the same boat. Please feel free to comment or provide feedback.
    Reply With Quote Quote  

  2. SS -->
  3. Nidhoggr, the Net Serpent Claymoore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    1,622

    Certifications
    AWS Architect, MCSEx3, MCITPx6, MCTSx17
    #2
    I took both tests the same day when they were in beta a couple years ago. With your experience and 6 weeks of study, you should be able to complete both by the end of the year. I have some links I sent the admins at my current client who are trying to learn Exchange. I'll post them when I get a chance.

    Do you have any experience with Office 365? I wouldn't have passed the exam without having configured several O365 tenant and hybrid relationships, and gone through migrations.
    Reply With Quote Quote  

  4. Senior Member cknapp78's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    195
    #3
    That's the one thing with Exchange I haven't done. Going to start hitting the Office365 stuff very hard. My boss just took the exam a few months ago and he said that it was one of the hardest exams he has ever taken from Microsoft. Any other advice you have would be greatly appreciated. I know we have talked a few times about Exchange and MSPs in the past. Thanks for the input.
    Reply With Quote Quote  

  5. Nidhoggr, the Net Serpent Claymoore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    1,622

    Certifications
    AWS Architect, MCSEx3, MCITPx6, MCTSx17
    #4
    Reply With Quote Quote  

  6. Nidhoggr, the Net Serpent Claymoore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    1,622

    Certifications
    AWS Architect, MCSEx3, MCITPx6, MCTSx17
    #5

    Default Exchange Guided Walkthroughs

    The RCA was originally written to test external connectivity, but now has an internal test and an NDR message header analyzer

    Remote Connectivity Analyzer
    https://testconnectivity.microsoft.com/


    Some of these are written for Office 365, but the information is the same for on-premise. Choose the Enterprise plan to have the full on-prem feature set

    Mail Flow GWT
    Microsoft Support

    Outlook Connectivity GWT
    Microsoft Support

    Shared Calendar and Contacts
    Microsoft Support

    Shared Mailbox
    Microsoft Support

    Send As
    Microsoft Support

    Access another mailbox
    Microsoft Support

    Resource Mailboxes
    Microsoft Support
    Reply With Quote Quote  

  7. Nidhoggr, the Net Serpent Claymoore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    1,622

    Certifications
    AWS Architect, MCSEx3, MCITPx6, MCTSx17
    #6

    Default Exchange Design Guidance

    Reply With Quote Quote  

  8. Nidhoggr, the Net Serpent Claymoore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    1,622

    Certifications
    AWS Architect, MCSEx3, MCITPx6, MCTSx17
    #7
    The exams have been updated to include SP1 content. Be sure to review the SP1 changes, like the return of the Edge Transport role (who asked for this back?), that may not be in the classes or books.

    I don't know how deep the Mastering book goes. I don't think you can go wrong with both of the Inside Out books for an Exchange deep dive, but I don't know how useful they will be for exam prep. I usually like the Administrator Pocket Consultants for the 'How' questions of the admin exam and the Inside Out book for the 'Why' questions of the design exam. I can't give you a recommendation beyond that. Although I have both of the Inside Out books, I haven't read them, and I do not own the Pocket Consultants.

    https://www.microsoftpressstore.com/...-9780735681750
    https://www.microsoftpressstore.com/...-9780735681682
    Reply With Quote Quote  

  9. Senior Member cknapp78's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    195
    #8
    @Claymoore - Thanks for the awesome information

    @Everyone Else - Been a rough couple of days getting studying in.

    Between kids being home for Thanksgiving break all of this week, taking care of a sick wife, finding out my Uncle passed away yesterday....life just finds a way to interrupt sometimes. Either way...managed to knock off 4 CBT Nuggets videos and about 100 pages of Mastering Exchange 2013 book. Making a serious effort this time to take good notes. It's been a long time since I've been in college so my note taking skills are a little rusty. I'm sure it will come back to me in a couple of days.

    Thanks to all those who have PM'd me. If I don't post again before Thanksgiving, a Happy Holiday to all of you and yours.
    Reply With Quote Quote  

  10. Senior Member cknapp78's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    195
    #9
    Been really busy the past 10 days or so but managed to knock off the following...

    200+ pages of Mastering Exchange 2013
    8 CBT Nuggets videos

    Coming up against a few problems. It's been a long time since I was in study mode (over 15 years since I left college). My note taking seems to be coming back to me. Having some issues grasping some advanced concepts of Exchange even though I have been doing this for a long time. I am beginning to wonder if this is because I have never formally trained for any IT Cert. Even though my wheelhouse is MS Exchange and Lync, I am curious if anyone thinks it might not benefit me by going back and studying for my MCSA first? I have a fair amount of Active Directory experience but I am kind of hitting a wall with some of the more advanced AD concepts that come into play with Exchange. At this point, I am ready to give up my Personal Development Plan bonus. I would rather study things in the correct order, really grasp them, and knock out the exams on my first try.

    So my self-suggested plan would be the following...

    1. 70-410
    2. 70-411
    3. 70-412
    4. 70-341
    5. 70-342

    I think heading back and learning Windows Server 2012 Advanced concepts would really help me grasp Exchange 2013 a lot better. I have worked with Exchange everyday for over 15 years but as most of you know, these exams can test some really obscure information. I find myself rocking out the everyday Exchange stuff but don't want to waste an exam attempt.

    Thoughts?
    Reply With Quote Quote  

  11. Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    6
    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by cknapp78 View Post
    Been really busy the past 10 days or so but managed to knock off the following...

    200+ pages of Mastering Exchange 2013
    8 CBT Nuggets videos

    Coming up against a few problems. It's been a long time since I was in study mode (over 15 years since I left college). My note taking seems to be coming back to me. Having some issues grasping some advanced concepts of Exchange even though I have been doing this for a long time. I am beginning to wonder if this is because I have never formally trained for any IT Cert. Even though my wheelhouse is MS Exchange and Lync, I am curious if anyone thinks it might not benefit me by going back and studying for my MCSA first? I have a fair amount of Active Directory experience but I am kind of hitting a wall with some of the more advanced AD concepts that come into play with Exchange. At this point, I am ready to give up my Personal Development Plan bonus. I would rather study things in the correct order, really grasp them, and knock out the exams on my first try.

    So my self-suggested plan would be the following...

    1. 70-410
    2. 70-411
    3. 70-412
    4. 70-341
    5. 70-342

    I think heading back and learning Windows Server 2012 Advanced concepts would really help me grasp Exchange 2013 a lot better. I have worked with Exchange everyday for over 15 years but as most of you know, these exams can test some really obscure information. I find myself rocking out the everyday Exchange stuff but don't want to waste an exam attempt.

    Thoughts?
    This is one of the best threads on the internet Thanks for the updates, I can't wait until you take the exams!
    Reply With Quote Quote  

  12. Senior Member cknapp78's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    195
    #11
    @Grimmy - Thanks for the kind words. I figure I might as well share some of my experiences so that all of us can critique and learn. Thanks again.

    @Everyone - Another rough week. In the middle of a complex AD migration at work right now so things have slowed down a bit. Managed to knock off another 100 pages of the book. Finished building out my lab in Hyper-V on my laptop. Still having some issues with advanced concepts but getting there. I figure I will give it another week or so before deciding whether or not to jump ship and go the MCSA route first.
    Reply With Quote Quote  

  13. Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    143

    Certifications
    MCSE: Sharepoint 2013, MCSE: Server Infrastructure 2012, MCSE: Messaging Exchange 2013, VCP5, MCITP: EA, CCNA, N+, A+
    #12
    cknapp,

    Compared to you I'm fairly new to exchange but one piece of advice: 70-341 is the hardest IT exam i've ever taken, while 70-342 was somewhat easy. Spend most of your time on this one, if anything. 70-342 may be more difficult if you dont have a large UM background though, as some others on this board have mentioned.

    I apparently passed my exams RIGHT before SP1 and SP1 content was added to the exam. I guess I was lucky that all the original materials out there like CBT nuggets covered everything.

    I did use pluralsight for 70-342, mostly for J.Peter's UM 8 hour course. Very helpful.
    Reply With Quote Quote  

  14. Senior Member cknapp78's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    195
    #13
    3 weeks since my last post. Lots to update on but not much regarding my Exchange Certs.

    Life has gotten in the way again. Wife's cancer has come back after being in remission for 3 years. Between the surgery and now starting up chemo and radiation again, it's been a little hectic. The kids are also still on Christmas vacation from school until Jan. 7th. Plus I have family in town from up north until the 3rd.

    Either way...excuses aside. Managed to read a few more chapters. Finished the Pluralsight for 70-341 and start the CBTNuggets videos. Have to say I like the presentation style of the CBTNuggets videos much better. But I do feel that the Pluralsight videos give more detail.

    On a side note, I have been working with Exchange since version 5.5 back in 1995. I think I am finally getting burnt out. It isn't that I can't do the work. I've been an architect/consultant for years now and work for a MSP now. I just feel like I am finally getting tired of Exchange and Active Directory.

    I have been considering for years the idea of going the Cisco route. I think I could easily apply my Microsoft Infrastructure skills and dive head first into Cisco. I have really been inspired by alot of the CCIE Journals on here. In the meantime, I will finish up my MCSE: Messaging, but I firmly believe my future lies on the networking side. I just can't see doing Exchange for another 15 years. I'm only 36 but I feel like I'm over 50 most days when I work on migrations, designs, etc...

    Any thoughts?
    Reply With Quote Quote  

  15. Nidhoggr, the Net Serpent Claymoore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    1,622

    Certifications
    AWS Architect, MCSEx3, MCITPx6, MCTSx17
    #14
    I can understand being burnt out on Exchange and looking for something else to do. I have primarily been an Exchange consultant for the last 6 years and I'm moving on to other things. I have been delivering Office 365 migration projects for the last 3 years and I'm just not excited about another year of 2-3 week O365 implementations. Office 365 doesn't reduce the need for Exchange admins - there is plenty of Exchange management required in Office 365 - but it is reducing the need for Exchange architects. Many businesses are moving to O365 and most should consider it. It would be a better experience than many of the poor on-premise implementations I have seen.

    I don't know what your Cisco experience is, but I'm guessing it's less than your Exchange experience and would be a step back. My Cisco experience was brief and years ago, my CCNA is long expired, so I would barely qualify for an entry level network job. I'm not cutting my pay in half for that. I'm looking at other technology where my Microsoft experience counts and there is both less of a job candidate market and fewer overall experienced individuals. I was considering Lync and Azure before circumstances pointed me towards Amazon Web Services. Take a look at the cloud options - AWS, Azure, OpenStack to name a few - and see if a new way to implement IT gets you excited about going to work again.
    Reply With Quote Quote  

  16. Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    6
    #15
    Quote Originally Posted by cknapp78 View Post
    3 weeks since my last post. Lots to update on but not much regarding my Exchange Certs.

    Life has gotten in the way again. Wife's cancer has come back after being in remission for 3 years. Between the surgery and now starting up chemo and radiation again, it's been a little hectic. The kids are also still on Christmas vacation from school until Jan. 7th. Plus I have family in town from up north until the 3rd.

    Either way...excuses aside. Managed to read a few more chapters. Finished the Pluralsight for 70-341 and start the CBTNuggets videos. Have to say I like the presentation style of the CBTNuggets videos much better. But I do feel that the Pluralsight videos give more detail.

    On a side note, I have been working with Exchange since version 5.5 back in 1995. I think I am finally getting burnt out. It isn't that I can't do the work. I've been an architect/consultant for years now and work for a MSP now. I just feel like I am finally getting tired of Exchange and Active Directory.

    I have been considering for years the idea of going the Cisco route. I think I could easily apply my Microsoft Infrastructure skills and dive head first into Cisco. I have really been inspired by alot of the CCIE Journals on here. In the meantime, I will finish up my MCSE: Messaging, but I firmly believe my future lies on the networking side. I just can't see doing Exchange for another 15 years. I'm only 36 but I feel like I'm over 50 most days when I work on migrations, designs, etc...

    Any thoughts?
    I think you are on the right track. Create a 5 year plan/goals where you see yourself. That will outline what track you should take. I have been following your thread and let me say, Family will always come first. Thoughts and prayers for your family to gather the strength for your wife's next battle. Technology will always be here, but family is irreplaceable.

    I say scale back on the training and refocus the goals. I am focusing on knocking out a number of chapters per night. That gives my brain time to process the rest of my life. Then I will go back and watch the videos in a similar schedule. If I feel the need, I will combine the video/book training again on a schedule.

    Schedule, schedule, and schedule. Map out as much as you can, because schedules always change!
    Reply With Quote Quote  

+ Reply to Thread

Social Networking & Bookmarks