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  1. Junior Member
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    #1

    Default Easiest vs Most Valuable path to MCSA?

    Hi Folks,

    Was wondering if you could assist me in determining a few things, first of all what options are available for achieving an MCSA: 2012/2016 certification? which are the most common exams to take? are there alternatives? which are easier to digest? but also which would be more challenging and beneficial to learn in the long run?

    I guess what I'm asking is, sure one could take a certificate to do with say Windows 10 towards X qualification, but will it really benefit me in the real world VS more server oriented exams?

    The end goal is to go down the route of MCSA: 2012, upgrade to 2016 and then perhaps MCSE: Infrastructure and Cloud? what are your opinions on this? please advise?

    I do have access to Comptia material too, however it was suggested that if I could manage the Microsoft certifications that they wouldn't be of much benefit?

    I have both physical and virtual environments I can take advantage of for labbing purposes, any materials that you can recommend on the matter would be greatly appreciated too.

    Thanks to all in advance.
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  3. Junior Member Erind's Avatar
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    #2
    Hi,

    I'm in the same boat and my plan is MSCA : 2012 ( exams 70-410, 70-411, 70-412) then MSCE :Cloud and Infrastructure (as far as im aware you only need one exam to get the cert for 1 year as per recent changes). Skip 2016 for now as it is early and still not adopted in the market.

    As per study material get the CBT nuggets videos as they are great, just don't use the James Conrad videos for 70-410 as they've been phased out (the new videos are from Garth Schultze). In my opinion you should also check the the Powershell videos from the same source as you might want to have solid foundations in the scripting language beforehand.
    Regarding labs i think 2 physical machines with plenty of VMs should be enough, you could do with one but having 2 physical PCs will give raise to scenarios you want to practice on like virtual and physical networks interactions and more.
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  4. Junior Member
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    #3
    Thanks for replying, CBT Nuggets have been mentioned MANY times, would you say they are definitely worth the monthly subscription cost? I'll have to make sure I set down a schedule and not procrastinate too much as that could easily get expensive if I leave it sitting around

    Still, with the free week trial I'll give it a shot and see how I get on.
    Last edited by UKIkarus; 06-20-2017 at 09:13 AM.
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  5. Junior Member Erind's Avatar
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    #4
    Definitely give it a try, they are by far the best videos around however you WILL need extra material in the form of study guides and you will need to read a few articles around the web.
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  6. Junior Member
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    #5
    I have a few e-books I have managed to scour the net for and save for reference purposes, I have read that a few people use the "Don Poulton - MCSA 70-410: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012 R2" quite a bit? do you have any experience with this book? can anyone advise here as to which materials would be good for giving a structured layout I can work through to get to the end goal?

    Preferably I'd need to get some for each of the exams but 710 would be a start I just don't want to go buying loads if they're not going to assist, any recommendations would be great!
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  7. Senior Member
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    #6
    OKay if you are interested in getting the MCSA 2012 and then upgrading to the MCSA 2016, I would suggest studying for and taking the 70-410, 70-411, and 70-412. A lot of people take the 74-409 in place of the 70-412 as they find it to be easier. The upgrade exams are built around the assumption that you followed the standard server path and thus include content relating to that path. The upgrade exam for 2016 includes the upgrade material for stuff found in the 412 exam. You'll be in a better place to pass if you are up to speed on all of that.

    As for the MCSE, first of all the MCSE doesn't expire after a year. You can retake the exam every year but from the way I understand it, it does not expire. As far as which test to take, I recommend the 70-744 (Server 2016 Security) or one of the Azure exams. The 70-413/414 are functionally abandoned and no new content is being developed for them and what's out there is awful.
    2017 Goals: MCSA : Server 2016; MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure BOTH COMPLETED!
    2018 Goals: Security+
    Completed: MCSA 2012 (01/2016), MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure (07/2017), MCSA 2017 (09/2017)
    Future Goals: CISSP, CCENT
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  8. Junior Member
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by poolmanjim View Post
    OKay if you are interested in getting the MCSA 2012 and then upgrading to the MCSA 2016, I would suggest studying for and taking the 70-410, 70-411, and 70-412. A lot of people take the 74-409 in place of the 70-412 as they find it to be easier. The upgrade exams are built around the assumption that you followed the standard server path and thus include content relating to that path. The upgrade exam for 2016 includes the upgrade material for stuff found in the 412 exam. You'll be in a better place to pass if you are up to speed on all of that.

    As for the MCSE, first of all the MCSE doesn't expire after a year. You can retake the exam every year but from the way I understand it, it does not expire. As far as which test to take, I recommend the 70-744 (Server 2016 Security) or one of the Azure exams. The 70-413/414 are functionally abandoned and no new content is being developed for them and what's out there is awful.
    Yeah, that's what I thought... I could always do the upgrade exam after the MCSE right? as for the 70-410,411,412 can you recommend any good books or material I can use to get me moving in the right direction.

    I deal with most of the things they cover day to day in my working environment, but I'm worried I'll go barking up the wrong tree only to come into the exam unprepared for the questions they might throw at me.
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  9. Senior Member
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    #8
    I tend to recommend the MOAC books as I have had good luck with them. In all honesty the books have prepared me only so much for the exams. Focus on the objectives listed and lab those in detail. Get familiar with Powershell and know how to use the different commands associated with the exam objectives. Use practice tests to hone in your studying and that will give you a good idea of what to expect.

    As far as the MCSE, you can get an MCSE first and then get the 2016 upgrade. Though with the 70-744 it does cover 2016 content so the MCSA in 2016 will benefit you.
    2017 Goals: MCSA : Server 2016; MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure BOTH COMPLETED!
    2018 Goals: Security+
    Completed: MCSA 2012 (01/2016), MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure (07/2017), MCSA 2017 (09/2017)
    Future Goals: CISSP, CCENT
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  10. Junior Member
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    #9
    Thanks for the recommendations, do any of you have anywhere that I can find some practice questions/tests in order to get an idea of where I need to focus my studies?
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  11. Senior Member
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    #10
    There aren't a lot of legitimate practice questions out there for free, unfortunately.

    The best option would be to look into one of the pay for practice tests.
    - Boson
    - Measureup
    - Transcender

    They vary in price but all hover around $100-120 USD. They aren't perfect and definitely have quirks but they are some of the best way to validate a skillset.
    2017 Goals: MCSA : Server 2016; MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure BOTH COMPLETED!
    2018 Goals: Security+
    Completed: MCSA 2012 (01/2016), MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure (07/2017), MCSA 2017 (09/2017)
    Future Goals: CISSP, CCENT
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  12. Junior Member
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    #11
    Thanks very much

    I don't have much experience in the realm of Windows Server Management besides the basics with a pre-configured server and GUI as required by my place of work/job

    So I decided to setup a virtual environment with the following
    • Windows Server 2012 Instance (core installation)
    • 2x Windows 10 Enterprise Clients
    • A Private V-Switch isolating these to a sand-boxed environment (purely so I don't break the company network and get in trouble )
    I then, without any search engines or prior knowledge decided that I wanted the machines to be able to communicate on the Virtual network.

    So far I have managed the following purely via commandline/powershell using the built in help/trial and error

    • Configured the device names using "netdom"/rename-computer
    • Configured static IP's using both "NetSh" as well as "Set-NetIPInterface" and set the server/clients on a seperate subnet (10.0.0.0 + 10.0.2.0)
    • Configured Firewall settings to allow Remote desktop using 'enable-networkfirewallrule -displaygroup "Remote Desktop"'
    • Enabled remote desktop and user authorization via "set-itemproperty" and registry browsing
    • Setup ADDS with a forest, added a DC and configured a new user with "User level" authentication, set the password and configured the account to require a new password on login before setting it to "Active"
    • Setup the DNS info on the server and configured the server to use itself as the primary DNS via loopback (is this right?)
    • Setup a DHCP IPV4 Scope for the client machines on 10.0.2.1-10.0.2.100 range
    • Assigned the clients a DHCP allocated address (to test it all worked) and joined them to the domain.

    Can any of you advise as to what you would recommend I look into from this point, or should I just work my way through some of the exam preps/books as provided and follow the main objectives until I become totally familiar with each of the requirements?

    I'm pretty much just messing about at the moment to see what I can do and where I struggle before diving in, also trying to see just how much is possible purely with powershell 4.0
    Last edited by UKIkarus; 06-29-2017 at 04:03 PM.
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  13. Senior Member
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    #12
    I highly recommend just looking at the exam objectives for the exam and just going line by line and trying to make sense out of every line. You want to focus on making sure you know the powershell for stuff, at least at a surface level. They will ask you to go into some detail occasionally but normally you don't need to know the full syntax and obscurities of each command.

    Along with labbing and powershelling the objectives as best you can, make sure you are reading plenty of technets and what not. That is generally where the exam questions derive from. While labbing is a huge benefit don't forget that there is some rote memorization associated with the exam too.
    2017 Goals: MCSA : Server 2016; MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure BOTH COMPLETED!
    2018 Goals: Security+
    Completed: MCSA 2012 (01/2016), MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure (07/2017), MCSA 2017 (09/2017)
    Future Goals: CISSP, CCENT
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  14. Junior Member
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    #13
    Quote Originally Posted by poolmanjim View Post
    I highly recommend just looking at the exam objectives for the exam and just going line by line and trying to make sense out of every line. You want to focus on making sure you know the powershell for stuff, at least at a surface level. They will ask you to go into some detail occasionally but normally you don't need to know the full syntax and obscurities of each command.

    Along with labbing and powershelling the objectives as best you can, make sure you are reading plenty of technets and what not. That is generally where the exam questions derive from. While labbing is a huge benefit don't forget that there is some rote memorization associated with the exam too.
    Sure, will do

    The more I can absorb the better, I'll make sure I have a look through them alongside the labbing and other materials.
    Really liking the "Whatif" feature of powershell, helps to understand the syntax of anything I find confusing.
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