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  1. Junior Member
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    #1

    Default Tell me how to start

    Because I have zero experience and zero certs, I don't think I can go for the MCSA 2012 Server since there is very little material out there; I need comprehensive study books.

    My plan is to earn an MCITP Server Admin on Windows 2008 since it only requires 3 exams (640, 642, 646). I can then simply upgrade to the MCSA Server 2012 with the 417.

    This will have the added benefit of fluffing up my terrible resume since as long as I pass the 3 exams before July 31, I'll automatically earn the MCTS's, MCSA 2008 as well. Though I'm not sure if an employer will notice that it's really just 3 exams.

    I plan to take one month of study for each exam. So three months for the MCITP/MCSA 2008 and then one more month for the upgrade to MCSA Server 2012 when hopefully more material will be out there.

    Is this doable? Stupid plan?
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  3. Senior Member Vik210's Avatar
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    #2
    With no experience MS exams can be bit challenging. Its certainly doable but need good reading and practicing. Have you looked at comptia exams? They seems to good options to start with.
    I started with MCSE 2003 exams but that was after an year of system admin job. I found my job experience very useful.
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  4. Questionably Benevolent Moderator Slowhand's Avatar
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    #3
    I think it sounds like a perfectly reasonable plan. You're absolutely right, there's still not a whole lot of references and material out there for Windows Server 2012, aside from TechNet articles which are often times a little too dense if you don't have a lot of experience. Starting with Windows Server 2008 material is an excellent idea for two reasons: it'll build up the background knowledge you need, generally you'll find that 60% - 70% of the "old" material is completely relevant and useful towards the newer exams; you'll also have valuable knowledge of the current server OS that a lot of companies are still running in their organization, many companies are slow to adopt the latest Windows Server OS if they spent time and money upgrading to the last one only a few years ago.

    Long story short: go for the MCSA: Windows Server 2008 first. You'll learn a lot, you'll be better prepared for the 2012 stuff, and as you mentioned, you'll get a big ol' pile of certs to list on your resume. In fact, if you can knock out the 2008 tests before next August, you'll earn both the MCITP: Server Administrator AND the MCSA: Windows Server 2008 certifications.

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  5. Senior Member
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    #4
    My suggestion will be to give the 70-640 first, once you have completed that you will be in a better position to judge how long it will take you to complete the SA Track. I was hopeful of completing the EA Track with 5 exams in 5 months initially, and I did manage to meet the timeline on my first two exams because I had spent 6 months preparing for it. But the Pro exam took a solid 2 months to complete knocking my whole time line out of sync (missed out on the buy one get one free voucher from MS).
    My point beings things change so keep it flexible as of now.
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  6. Junior Starcraft Engineer
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    #5
    You can't pursue the MCSA 2012 because one of the required exams isn't released -- forget the study material. Obviously it's not yet a viable choice. Sure, it will be released soon, but I don't see a drive to go for it yet. I think in the short term (most or all of 2013), 2008 skills will be more valuable anyway.

    Your path is good. Finish up MCSA 2008, upgrade to 2012, then think about MCSE Server Infrastructure.

    You don't need to pass by July. The exams for MCSA 2008 don't retire -- only the MCITP title does. If you pass by then, you get MCITP:SA and MCSA 2008 (two titles; same certification), as Slowhand said. If you don't, it's not a big deal. I'm not saying you shouldn't try -- frankly, 10-11 months is way more than enough time to pass MCSA -- I'm just clarifying that it doesn't matter much.
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  7. Senior Member
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    #6
    my advice to u is "get A+ and 70-642 first , then get an OJT / find a job as a desktop support or support admin"
    Study 70-640 and 70-646 while working.
    just after that, get MCSA 2012 and or VMWare / other MSs
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  8. Junior Member
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    #7
    Thanks for all the advice everyone. Even though i have no IT experience at all, I don't need a job for another year and don't really have much to do so hopefully it won't be too hard.

    Not sure if this question goes in this section, but the recommended resources for 70-640 seem to have quite poor ratings on Amazon. I really want to stick to just one book.

    I found others with better ratings such as:

    Amazon.com: MCTS 70-640 Cert Guide: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring (9780789747082): Don Poulton: Books
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  9. Senior Member
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    #8
    The reason for the poor rating is that 640 is a exam which needs a lot of hands on practice and not that much theory. For example Group Policy/DNS Infrastructure is barely 50 pages long, after going through that I was not able to answer a single question in the practice tests the material barely scratches the surface. It took a lot of Technet and Forums to get my knowledge exam ready. I think that is reflected in the review
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  10. Senior Member
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    #9
    Microsoft Press Books and Sybex books are good.
    u should study 70-642 first. 70-640 would be damn difficult with zero work experience (my own experience)
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  11. Questionably Benevolent Moderator Slowhand's Avatar
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    #10
    I'm going to agree with JayTheCracker's advice and also recommend starting with the 70-642 exam. There isn't quite as much to cover, and understanding the infrastructure topics will make the in-depth Active Directory stuff a lot easier to work with.

    The only thing I can add is that you may want to make sure you're familiar with users and groups in AD, and how to install the AD DS role, which I believe is the first four or five chapters in the MS Press 70-640 book. If I was going to teach classes on these exams, I'd probably include the basic configuration of the AD DS role in with the 70-642 material, just to make sure people understand the similarities and differences between local users and groups in the Windows OS and in Active Directory.

    Other than that, dig into the infrastructure and networking topics first and then begin studying Active Directory.

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  12. Junior Member
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    #11
    Ok, I'm going to start with the 70-642.

    I need a Kindle book so I'll try this one. It only has one review but the author's other books have good reviews and it's 2012 so it updated for R2. Thanks a lot guys.

    http://www.amazon.com/MCTS-70-642-Ce...crosoft+70-642
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  13. Junior Starcraft Engineer
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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by johnbarley View Post
    I don't need a job for another year and don't really have much to do so hopefully it won't be too hard.
    The experience you earn at that theoretical job will probably be more valuable than anything you'd do in the meantime.

    Besides, if you'll need the money in a year, making it now won't hurt.

    As far as study materials, the MS Press books are sufficient. However, given your lack of experience, you need to lab everything in them and then some.
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  14. Junior Member
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    #13
    Quote Originally Posted by ptilsen View Post
    The experience you earn at that theoretical job will probably be more valuable than anything you'd do in the meantime.

    Besides, if you'll need the money in a year, making it now won't hurt.

    As far as study materials, the MS Press books are sufficient. However, given your lack of experience, you need to lab everything in them and then some.
    Going to go with the 70-642 first as you guys recommend. I didn't buy the Microsoft one because it's not on Kindle. So far the book I bought by Dan Poulton sucks but I've only done one chapter.

    I really don't want to get a job yet as I'm too busy with other stuff. How can I best make up the lack of work experience with labbing? Just monkey around on my own?
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  15. Junior Starcraft Engineer
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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by johnbarley View Post
    I really don't want to get a job yet as I'm too busy with other stuff. How can I best make up the lack of work experience with labbing? Just monkey around on my own?
    Yes. Do the book labs, but then go beyond. Imagine how the technologies would be used in a corporate network, then implement them and actually use them at home, even if it's impractical or unnecessary. What will happen is you'll get to remembering the commands and buttons better than you ever will from studying, and more importantly gain a deeper understanding of how everything really works together. When it comes time to get a job, you'll also have some troubleshooting experience that will prove invaluable in the real world.
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