Today I passed the CISSP Certified Information Systems Security Professional exam.
I attended a week training course run by Les Bell (https://www.lesbell.com.au/) via ALC training (http://www.alctraining.com.au/course/cissp-certified-information-systems-security-professional/course-overview/). There was some excellent material in this course and Les also provides access to his online training portal that has some great resources. In addition, I spent around a two months studying and I found the material below to be the most helpful:
The last 3 sources are slightly dated as they talk about the 10 domains (as opposed to the new 8 domains) however I found the content was still relevant.
The exam, 6 hours and 250 questions long, requires real life work experience across all facets of IT – without this experience there is no chance of understanding the concepts and subsequently no chance of being able to answer questions on the extremely wide variety of topics.
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As you may know, the current iteration of MCSE certifications require recertification every 3 years. For the Private Cloud stream, this requires an exam – 70-981. I sat and passed this today.
Something that seems not to be published widely is that you can recertify some MSCE streams without sitting an exam – from https://www.microsoft.com/en-au/learning/certification-exam-policies.aspx
Q. Is it possible to fulfil the requirement without taking a recertification exam
A. Yes. Candidates can now get recertified by taking a series of courses with Microsoft Virtual Academy. Read the list of available certifications, required courses and additional details to get recertified through Microsoft Virtual Academy.
Preparation for the exam is difficult – there are no study guides or reference material – you are just ‘expected to know’.
My observation is that it is basically a mix of the 70-246 and 70-247 exams, not really any new material – pretty disappointing, some of the questions seemed familiar so I wouldn’t be surprised if the exam content has just been reused. The main areas covered are:
- System Center Operations Manager
- System Center Service Manager
- System Center Virtual Machine Manager
- System Center Orchestrator
- System Center Data Protection Manager
- System Center App Controller
- System Center Configuration Manager
- Azure portal
Would I sit this again? Probably not. While I’m sure the intention for recertification is well placed, it just seems like a money-grab – $206AU for the exam fee. There are no benefits to me as an IT professional apart from keeping the certification active – I haven’t learnt any new skills or gained any additional knowledge – I’ve basically sat the same exam that I sat 3 years ago and in that time there has been significant change to the System Center and Azure offerings but this wasn’t reflected in the exam.
A few days ago I completed the final exam and achieved my latest industry certification – “Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Private Cloud”.
The final exam that I undertook was 70-246 – Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud with System Center 2012. I found this exam easier than the 70-247 exam and it had a heavy focus on SCOM and a lighter focus on DPM, SCSM, SCORC, SCCM & VMM. I recommend a very good working knowledge of SCOM before attempting this exam and at least a good level of knowledge of the functionality and interoperability of the DPM, SCSM, SCORC, SCCM & VMM products.
Today I took and passed the 70-247: “Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud with System Center 2012” exam as part of my track to obtain the MCSE: Private Cloud certification.
I found the exam reasonably challenging. The exam focused mainly on VMM & App Controller, a fair bit of DPM, SCSM & SCOM and a little bit of App-V and SCORC.
There is an MVP who has broken down his experience of the exam – http://blog.scsmfaq.ch/2012/07/06/private-cloud-exam-70-247-my-experience/ – I would agree with the breakdown however my exam was 62 questions and included 2 large case studies.
I’d recommend a very good understanding and experience with VMM & App Controller, and at least a good logical understanding of the remaining technologies before sitting this exam.
This week I had a bit of free time so I booked and studied up for the Microsoft exam 70-243: Administering and Deploying System Center 2012 Configuration Manager.
I successfully passed the exam and achieved another certification – ‘Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist: Administering and Deploying System Center 2012 Configuration Manager’.
I felt the exam was one of the easier Microsoft exams I have sat (especially the SCCM 2007 one), I really think that anyone that has deeply used the SCCM 2012 product for 6 or more months would feel quite comfortable sitting this exam. Without giving away too much (I’m under NDA of course), I personally studied and would recommend having a good understanding of all areas covered under the ‘skills measured’ section of http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/exam.aspx?id=70-243#fbid=YEjNtAwNtTv?tab2 . I am lucky enough to have a good exposure to all of these areas in my profession.
Here are some more good links related to exam 70-243:
I’ve come across a couple of good free online training websites to update your skills for the System Center 2012 releases, which includes SCCM 2012.
The first is the Microsoft Virtual Academy – http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/ . In their own words – “Improve your IT skill set and help advance your career with a free, easy to access training portal. Learn at your own pace, focusing on Microsoft technologies, gain points and get recognition”. One of the track you can do is “Overview and Infrastructure Changes in SCCM 2012” which has 6 modules covering a lot of the functionality that SCCM 2012 provides. The direct link for this is – http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/tracks/overview-and-infrastructure-changes-in-sccm-2012
The second resource is the Microsoft TechNet Virtual Labs: System Center located at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/systemcenter/bb539977. There are 5 SCCM 2012 virtual labs available at the moment. In their own words “TechNet Virtual Labs enable you to quickly evaluate and test Microsoft’s newest products and technologies through a series of guided, hands-on labs that you can complete in 90 minutes or less. There is no complex setup or installation required, and you can use TechNet Virtual Labs online immediately, free”. Personally, I think these are great because you get to use the Microsoft virtual machines to do whatever you want, even if its not the lab material – so it save you time as you don’t need to run up your own test lab.
On a side note there is also the hydration kit available for SCCM 2012 RC 1 – see http://www.deploymentresearch.com/Blog/tabid/62/EntryId/48/The-Hydration-Kit-for-ConfigMgr-2012-RC1-is-available-for-download.aspx