It has been a busy couple of months! The new job is going well. I am still learning a lot about our internal systems, helping users on the fly, sitting in on conference calls with vendors, and working in the data center here and there.
My job is to not only help maintain the current production environment, but should a new server need to be spun up or something breaks, it’s on me to fix the issue. It’s exciting but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make my Impostor Syndrome heighten. So, to calm my nerves and keep the feelings of Impostor Syndrome at bay, I’ve decided to take the MCSA Server 2016 exam.
What is the MCSA?
According to whatis.techtarget.com the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) is a certification program intended for people who seek entry-level jobs in an IT (Information Technology) environment. MCSA is a prerequisite for more advanced Microsoft certifications.
Here are a few versions of the MCSA that are available to certify:
- Server 2012
- Server 2016
- Office 365
- Web Applications
- SQL Server 2012-2014
*As of January 2019, the MCSA: Windows 10 was scheduled for retirement on April 30, 2019. Per Microsoft, the candidate won’t be able to take the exam after the retirement date but any certifications earned prior to their retirement dates will continue to appear on your transcript.
In order to earn the MCSA Server 2016, the candidate has to pass three exams:
- 70-740: Installation, Storage, and Compute with Windows Server 2016
- 70-741: Networking with Windows Server 2016
- 70-742: Identity with Windows Server 2016
Configurations are shown in both GUI and with PowerShell scripting. So learning PowerShell will be a thing.
- Additional information regarding the MCSA exams can be found here
- Information for Server 2016 can be found here
- CBT Nuggets blog post can be found here
Side note: The MCSA certifications do not expire.
Why MCSA 2016?
I love working on systems and networking. My time of working in support was spent troubleshooting and configuring servers. As a new System Administrator, I feel that it’s time to validate my skills and add more knowledge. If I have to learn how to implement and maintenance the server environment, I may as well earn a certification while I’m doing it. It would also be a good idea to be well-versed in both the network and systems side, which is beneficial with troubleshooting production issues.
Plan of Attack
I researched in different forums (Reddit’s MCSA subreddit and TechExams) to see how long it took others to complete the exam. The average response was between 8-12 weeks.
My goal is to complete all three exams in 12 weeks.
To make sure I commit to this plan, I went ahead and purchased the exam voucher for the 70-740. My first exam is scheduled for April 24. After I pass the first exam (claim it), I’ll start my studies for the 70-741 exam the Monday after and repeat the process.
If I do this correctly, I will be MCSA Server 2016 certified by June.
Loosely following Keeto’s Rule of 5 , this is what I’ll be using:
- Exam Objectives
- CBT Nuggets 70-740, 70-741, 70-742 videos
- Transcender practice exam (included with CBT Nuggets)
- CBT Nuggets Labs (available for each video)
- My own lab using VMWare Workstation Player 15
Speaking of CBT Nuggets, I decided to take advantage of their Accountability Coaching program that’s offered Nugget subscribers. Yesterday evening I had a call with my coach, and we discussed where I am in my career, where I’d like to be, and any certifications I was currently working on. After explaining my plan, we were also able to break down my studying into phases. I already speak highly of CBT Nuggets but having someone be available to help me evaluate my career goals and path is super helpful.
Back to studying I go. I hope you all are getting those certs, succeeding in your interviews and leveling-up. See ya!