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Microsoft Tech Ed Conference 2012 – An Experience I will never forget

Microsoft Tech Ed Conference 2012 was held in Orlando Florida this year, and I had the prestigious privilege, and opportunity to attend once again, for the fourth time.  This conference is a yearly conference that is normally held in North America, and Europe.

I am privilege because the company that I worked for considered me valuable enough to invest in my advancement in this industry, by allowing me to attend this conference once again.

I had attended three other Microsoft tech Ed conferences in the pass that were held in three other US States, but the Microsoft Tech Ed Orlando conference will be in my memory banks for many years to come.

I will never forget this experience, especially the “Closing Party”, which was held at “Islands of Adventures”, Universal Studios.  This was a private party held only for the attendees. The cost of the closing party was also included in the conference fees. Whatever city the conferences are held in, Microsoft always holds the closing party at a major attraction within that city.

My definition of the Microsoft Tech Ed conference may be different from other definitions. This is the definition according to “me”, and my experiences at Tech Ed.  The Microsoft Tech Ed Conference was created by Microsoft Corporation for the education and benefit of the Information Technology Industry professionals, who worked with Microsoft products and technologies.

Technologies like Exchange Server, Active Directory, Microsoft SQL Server, and many other technical tracks were available at the conference.  You can imagine where most of my time was spend at the conference.  You guess right.  I spend the majority of my time at every Exchange Server breakout session that was available.

Break Out sessions are similar to mini seminars.  These sessions are held individually for each technology at Tech Ed, and are always fill to capacity.  Sometime there are over five hundred persons in each session. No need to worry about seminars that you would like to attend if it conflicts with each other. All recordings are available afterwards for each technical track.

At Microsoft Tech Ed Conferences, upcoming Microsoft technologies are released.  These new technologies are only released to the attendees of the conference first, then to the general public.

If you are employed in an Information technology department, and working with Microsoft products, then you must attend a Microsoft Tech Ed conference. Attending technical conferences like Tech Ed will motivate you for months after the conference.

There were over seventeen thousand participants in attendance this year from all over the world. This year’s conference by far was one of the better conferences that I had attended.

This was also the 20th year that the conference had been held, so this one was called their 20th year anniversary celebrations.  I was so happy to have been a part of this year’s conference, because I had the opportunity to walk around the seminar with an alumni badge. Once you had attended two or more conferences, then you were considered an old scholar, or alumni. Microsoft Tech Ed North America offers you the opportunity to network with peers in our industry, especially the regular attendees.

I also had the privilege of spending my breaks through the seminar in the alumni lounge.  This lounge was specifically prepared for the comfort of the alumni’s.  Unlimited snacks and drinks were available at no cost to the alumni’s. In fact breakfast and lunch was served to all attendees as a part of the conference fee.  Imagine feeding over seventeen thousand attendees. I was really impressed with the services of the hostess and hosts that directed us to the buffet lines, which moved very fast, indeed.

You would have never “died of hunger” at the conference waiting in line because the lines moved by so quickly.  There were hundreds of buffet lines available in the conference meals hall for our convenience.

Tech Ed Orlando will go down in history as one of my most memorable experiences.  To get the best out of Tech Ed, all you have to do is focus on the technical tracks related to your area of expertise.

As I said in one of me earlier paragraphs.  My focus was on Exchange Server.  Tech Ed will deliver much more in relation to training that any other classroom training. It allows you the opportunity to network with the creators of the product.  Who knows their product better than the creator of the product?

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Exchange Server 2010 Certification Path for the Information technology Professional

Exchange server 2010 certification path was designed specifically with the Information technology professional in mind. Certification paths are available for Exchange Server 2007, and Exchange Server 2010, as off the writing of this article.

Hopefully, if you are searching for information on how to become exchange server certified, then you are probably not new to exchange server. If you are new to exchange server then I will assume that you have already done your research on what an exchange server is all about.  In the event you have not done your research, then I will briefly explain.

Basically, exchange server is a client server application that was designed for the enterprise, to run its mission critical email system.
To be successful as an exchange administrator it is advisable that you always strive to upgrade your certification to the latest available certification, once you have achieved it.

If your certification is not upgraded, then you will not be marketable, and your skills will become obsolete.

Levels of Certifications

Being certified in exchange server will let prospective employers know that you have the skills, and abilities necessary to manage and install an enterprise messaging infrastructure. Certification paths when followed correctly, along with many dedicated hours of study will lead to examination passes.

The exchange server 2010 certification path consists of four basic parts. The four parts or levels consist of the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialists, Microsoft Certified IT Professional, Microsoft Certified Master, and the Microsoft Certified Architect.

The first two parts are very easy to achieve, if followed correctly.  The other two parts require much more time, and in-depth study.
Paths to becoming certified as an exchange server professional will change, as the creator of the exchange product releases new updates to their software.
Using a planned certification path will simplify the direction that you should take in becoming certified, in any computer technology subject, not only exchange server.

To achieve the best success when preparing for an exchange server exam, it is advisable that you follow the certification path that has been designed by the creator of the certification. This is true with any certification track.  The manufacture of the certification track always knows the best path to take in order to pass their certification examination.

To achieve the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialists certification, or M-C-T-S certification you are required to sit and pass one examination.  The number of the exam is 77-662, and the name is “TS Configuring Microsoft Exchange server”.

The Microsoft Certified IT Professional or M-C-I-T-P exam is the second level of IT certification for exchange server 2010.  To obtain certification for this exam, you are required to sit and pass exam number 70-663 entitled, “Designing and Deploying Messaging Solutions with Microsoft Exchange Server 2010”.
To prepare for a successful pass in either of the first two examination tracks, Microsoft has recommended that you either seek to do Classroom Training, E-learning, or use a Microsoft Press Book for examination preparation.

If you are on a low budget, then purchasing a Microsoft Press Book will be less costly than the other two options. The only drawback of using the press books would be that you will have to setup some sort of virtual lab using virtual machines, to complete the exercises in the book.  If you are not one of those technically advanced individuals, then this would present a challenge.

E-learning can be used in place of not being able to setup a lab to complete the exercises, using the Microsoft press books. Virtual machines are automatically included online when doing the e-learning studies to prepare for the examination. If you are a person that learns by simulations, then this kind of training may work best for you.

Normally with the five days Classroom Training you may be required to travel to another town, or city to complete the training.  In my opinion, if you are able to afford classroom training, then I highly recommend this option.  With this option, you are able to ask the instructor as many questions as you wish. This will help in the understanding of the material much better. No need to worry about setting up virtual machines.  The virtual machines are available as a part of the course to complete the exercises, during the training. Virtual machines are setup using physical host machines.

When I mentioned host machines I am referring to a very large and powerful computer system that has many virtual machine installed. Virtual machines running on physical host machines can cut the cost of running many computers on its own physical machine tremendously.

Even though these preparation tools are suggested by Microsoft for successful completion of the exams, many other persons have successfully passed these examinations by using other third party tools, and instructional materials.

Third party refers to any material or software used to prepare for an exam that was not created, or recommended by the manufacturer of a program that you are using.

To locate other third party exam training solutions for either of the first two exams, all you have to do is type the keywords, “exchange server 2010 exam preparation “,into search engines like Google or Bing, and you will be amazed of what other materials are available on the internet, to train for this exam.
The third level of certification for exchange server 2010 is the Microsoft Certified Master, or M-C-M.  The requirement for certification for this level is slightly more difficult than the other two levels.

Before attempting to pass the M-C-M, you should have already achieved the first two certifications in the track.

You are required to attend a three week training program, and also sit and pass three computerized examinations during the training.  Then you will also have to pass a final lab examination for successful completion.

The fourth and last level of certification is the Microsoft Certified Architect, or M-C-A. All you have to do in order to achieve this certification is pass the M-C-A Board Exam.  The first three parts of the track is also required for entry into this program.  This exam is conducted by Microsoft, and other professionals working with exchange server.
Exchange server 2010 Certification path is the best path to follow if you really want to be successful in any exchange examination.

If you enjoyed this article, then you may also like reading another article that How Exchange Server 2010 Certification can benefit you as an IT Professional.