Passing the 70-339 exam and becoming an MCP

Back on October 20th, I received an email that I passed the exam 70-339! I am very excited and thankful that I passed the exam to begin with. This was a beta exam for SharePoint 2016 offered through the born to learn blog at Microsoft that I took advantage of back in late June of this year and tried my darndest to study up on the exam for about a period of three and a half weeks prior to taking the test. I highly recommend going to the Born to Learn site every now and again to keep up with certifications and new releases in general. Plus, they do offers on books and free training resources from time to time that are fantastic. 

Previously back during late July I took the 70-331 exam and did not do as well as I thought I would do on the test. So since I had previously failed this test, I had my doubts about how I was going to be able to perform on this beta exam since many of the topics were new and the product had not been out for long.

 

I used the same study methodology for this test that I did with the 331 test that I failed. I focused much of my studying on the core areas of study (you can review them here). I took much of this and reviewed many of the new PowerShell features and commands that had been added to this new version so I wouldn’t get tripped up in that aspect of the test.

 

One helpful area that I had recommended to me was the previous talks on taking the 70-331 and 70-332 exams from Ignite and other conferences over at MSDN channel 9. Many of these reviews were given by presenters that you can go and review now for free. You can find some from Ignite 2016 here. These were helpful to get an idea on how some of the questions for the exam are presented.

 

The combination of the videos and studying the core areas for the exams helped me score high enough that I passed and am now an official Microsoft Certified Professional!

 

This is a huge milestone for me personally and has always been one of my personal goals I wanted to achieve as a technical professional. It’s also given me the courage and drive to continue forward and look into working towards a second certification exam.

 

If you are hesitant at all about taking these tests, I would say to go for it because it forces you personally to check and make sure you have the proper knowledge and skills to accomplish what you need to going forward. For anyone out there looking at one good luck and I hope you are successful just as I was.

 

Now onto the next test for better or worse.🙂

MS Ignite 2016 Day 5

Last day, a short day. Sad that it’s over, but glad to be heading home with so much new knowledge.I’ve heard that you get the short end of the stick by having to present on the last day, but I don’t think that’s the case. Today’s presentations were great! Starting off with:

Bridge the cloud Divide with hybrid BI in SP 2016 and O365

Presented by: Chris McNulty and John White

This great talk was about when and where to use many of the BI related tools and how they transferred from on premises to the cloud. There were so many great demos of this as well as some great previews of the new items that were coming soon related to Power BI and SharePoint Online that will improve the product from where it is now. Also had a good Q and A session afterwards and on how to get the most functionality out of SSRS by using both Native Mode and Integrated mode for the new 2016 version.

How to run a successful User Group

Presented by: Jason Himmelstein

This was a great talk that I wish we could have had more time to discuss. Jason has had several different experiences running user groups in his time in his career and so he gave out some great tips on things to do to keep people interested and eager about coming to meetings.

One other great part about this topic was other people from other user groups got up to share their tips and ask questions about how to better run their groups as well. This was only a short session, but I hope that in the future it could be longer for more people to share their experiences that they had. 

Join your Windows 10 devices to Azure AD for anywhere, Anytime productivity

Presented by: Jairo Cadena

This was a good talk based on how to integrate your new Windows 10 devices into either an Azure AD solution in the cloud or with a newer Federated AD solution with the newest version of windows server. Jairo took a good time to explain the architecture involved with a solution like this as well as giving a couple of demos on how this look from a client side perspective when joining a new AAD domain and other resources as well. It was interesting to see all of the security measures that someone could use in conjunction with Windows In Tune to make sure people are joined correctly and authenticated to company resources properly.

So this ends my Ignite Journey here in Atlanta, and all I have to say is wow! This has been such a great week of learning new and exciting things that are coming from Microsoft as well as more of the commitment that they are putting into making and improving SharePoint in every facet. I would say that if you aren’t currently working with the cloud in some way, shape, or form most if not all of the things announced and show this week make it very difficult to not start moving that way. Its eve more exciting to see that those features will eventually come back in some fashion to the on premises products and that Microsoft as a company is making bridging the gap between the two even easier with many of their gateway and integration products.

If I’m lucky enough to attend next year in Orlando in 2017 I can definitely see that by that time the improvements to the products shown here will create a great mix of things that people are going to want to continue to use.

Now in order to remember all of this I’m definitely going to have to go back and watch many of the sessions again at https://myignite.microsoft.com

Also I will have to make sure and add comments and questions to the new MS Techy Community site which can be found at: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com

-BJ

MS Ignite 2016 Day 4

Wow so much more content packed into one day. Here’s a short summary of the things I went to: 

Getting started with data security and compliance in SharePoint 2016

Presented by: Liam Cleary

This was a great talk on the aspects of security relating to SharePoint and the things that IT pros and other should have in mind when thinking about security as it relates to SharePoint. Liam brought up many good points as it relates to not just securing the servers of your application, but also the devices that connect to it. So much good content in this one, I will have to watch it online again soon.

Plan to drive user adoption in MS O365

Presented by: Erik Svenson

Good topic over how MS services and others can help with driving adoption and focusing on key areas to help make an implementation of O365 successful. Different aspects such as change management and user training were discussed along with different strategies on how to focus and push past any hindrances of either users or older business processes that may prevent people from adopting the resources in the cloud.

Deploy and Migration best practices for SharePoint 2016

Presented by: Jason Himmelstein and Todd Klindt

Very excellent session given by these two again over the different features and functionality when moving to the new 2016 version. This talk was different than the one on Tuesday where Jason and Todd discussed more architectural questions related to how people need to think about when moving to 2016. One big point that stuck out in my mind is with the new Min Role services and such, you shouldn’t think of a new 2016 farm in terms of your old topology. Because with Min Role, things can adapt and change as your services and resource usage change.

Another one I will have to go back and watch again online.

Learn best practices for creating and managing SharePoint site templates

Presented by: Sean Squires and Vesa Juvonen

This talk was a bit over my head, but it had great content in it. I haven’t dealt with site templates much but Sean and Vesa gave awesome examples of how to use these to benefit your users and allow self service site creation with options to your environment.

They also had someone from #M come up and give an example of how they used these site templates to go about creating a portal for their users to request new sites to be created and how to give them different options as well. I know more about this now and I am very excited to get the new things coming in Feature Pack 1 that will improve the ability for templates to be created and used going forward.

Learn from MVP’s: panel discussion on all things SharePoint

Presented by: Christian Buckley, Susan Hanley, Jason Himmelstein, Jennifer Mason, Benjamin Niaulin

This discussion was a Q and A format from these MVP’s on various questions related to SharePoint. I was excited because I was able to get one of my questions answered right away by the group on the confusing nature of permissions in O365 groups. They gave some great explanations on this and other topics that helped me understand the place where groups are trying to fit in now.

Later that evening was the Ignite Party at Centenial Park down the road. It was awesome and one of the best outdoor functions I have evr seen put on. There was so much to do and so many people around. There was music, games, food, and just about anything you can think of. All under the stars in a fun summer camp themed atmosphere.

What a way to end the week, but we still have one more day to go.

-BJ

MS Ignite 2016 Day 3

Todays theme: more talks, lots of good information 

Today was a jam packed sprint through so many sessions that I hope my One Note doesn’t blow up so I miss all the great things that were said and shown in the following sessions:

Discover what’s new and what’s coming with SharePoint Modern Team sites

Presented by: Jeremy Mazner

Loved this session mainly due to all the new features that were being shown in what is coming for new team sites in SPO. Things like the new document library interface, the ability to download multiple files in a zip format from the web, Pinning docs to the top to keep topics in front of users, and many other little things that make the new SPO look more professional I think.

There was also a quick demo of a Power App used to submit sales promo ideas with both a mobile and online interface. Very slick! I’m going to have to see if our tenant is on first release so we can start playing around with some of these new features.

Use Business Intelligence for process management

Presented by: Scott Elmers

This quick 20 minutes talk was a great discussion and demo of how Visio 2016 can be used to link data to things like org charts or other business related flows of information to show data based on certain colors or values of data that are pulled in from other sources. Scott gave some great examples and said pretty much any kind or source of data can be pulled from.

Ultimate Field guide to Office 365 groups

Presented by: Ben Naulin and Tony

I have to admit, that I know very little about O365 groups. After this talk though, I think I know more about them, but it almost seems like with the new features and functionality being added to groups now, it’s even harder to quantify what they do. I think I understand that MS want Groups to be containers for users to access resources within O365, but since it’s not similar across products in the cloud, it’s difficult to say that these are ready to start being used to their full functionality. Great talk though and lots of good info given, but I think Groups still need to be fleshed out and integrated more.

Pick the right Tool – O365: What to use When

Presented by: Michael Blumenthal

This quick 20 minute talk was a good strait forward talk on what tool in the MS cloud is best for what role. Things like communicating with users, but not spamming them and how to have developed discussions were used to link to things like Office Groups, Yammer, and SharePoint Online.

Learn 3 essential tips for user adoption of Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Office 365

Presented by: Susan Hanley

This was also another quick talk displaying some good ideas on how to bring users to SharePoint. They were:

Tip One: Solve a critical problem for the user with the solution

Tip two: Don’t ignore training, provide it in context of the scenario

Tip Three: Get some help. Leaders model behavior

Great talk and I wish this could have been a longer discussion, because it speaks to business problems, not technological ones.

Learn best practices for managing and administering SharePoint Online and One Drive for business

Presented by: Chris Bortlik

Of all the session that I saw today, this one had the most demos of the O365 and SharePoint 2016 content. Lots of good stuff and so much I could barely keep up. I think I’m going to go back and watch this session recorded later because there was so much good content.

Get the most out of the new Microsoft SharePoint

Presented by: Laura Rogers and Adam Hartmetz

Very good discussion on how to link business problems to technology problems. Laura and Adam also gave a good breakdown about how to recruit users in your organization to assist in developing talent and buy in from other users in your company. Some good demos of content and sites functions were given along with good Power Apps and Flow examples as well.

Best practices when migrating ECM Content to Microsoft SharePoint Server and O365

Presented by: Chris Givens

Great quick talk on the steps to think about when moving a lot of content into SharePoint that used to be in older or out of date content stores. Also gave vendor neutral ideas for solution, which is rare in a talk like this. Will have to look deeper into this. 

Wow that was another long day with great content. Tomorrow seems to be jammed packed as well.

Thanks,

BJ

MS Ignite 2016 Day 2

Talk, then sit. Then walk, then sit. Then walk more and sit. Rinse and repeat. 

Today was all about sessions here at MS Ignite on Day 2 and here are some of the talks that I attended during the day:

Keep your OneDrive Content Safe and Secure

Great session given on the topics of the new auditing and monitoring features coming to SharePoint on premises and Online to show how policies and other items can be created to keep users from accidentally leaking important work data to unauthorized users.

Really enjoyed the mobile device features to enable or disable apps on devices to make sure content is being shared correctly

Understand the Impact of the future of SharePoint

This roundtable session was given by 3 MVP’s to discuss what they see coming up in the future of the product and how this will affect customers. Many people shared stories from their companies in a Q and A format

Dive into Microsoft SharePoint Server 2016 Upgrade and Migration

Upgrade session given by Todd Klindt and Jason Himmelstein over the different areas of focus to keep in mind when moving to the new 2016 version. Also had great tips and tricks for people who were making the move to 2016 from either 2010 or even the 2007 version of the product.

Explore MS SharePoint Server 2016 and beyond

Great session given by Bill Baer and Troy from the product team describing bore of the new things in feature pack one coming in November along with the road map of all things SharePoint from then on. Also he mentioned that 2016 will NOT be the last on premises version of SharePoint, so it’s nice to know that we will all have something to work harder on for the next few years.🙂

Dive into MS Office 365 and SharePoint Hybrid Scenarios

Interesting Session given by Bill and Rick laying out some of the scenarios and steps to keep in mind when going from on premises to connecting things to the cloud. Discussed things like My Sites and One Drive in the cloud along with things to keep in mind when connecting search.

Also gave several great demos on how users perspective changes once things move to online dealing with video content and Delve as well.

Learn how to build a fast, responsive SharePoint Portal in SharePoint Online

Cool session given by some of the O365 team to describe how they have gone from working with regular SharePoint on prem to O365 development practices to try and make the pages of the new SharePoint 2016 and SharePoint Online load as fast as possible with minimal overhead.

Learn about Office 365 groups and how to use them

Great short talk given to introduce the idea of Groups and the presenter gave four scenarios how users might go about using them. It was nice to see this translated into real world scenarios so this made it easier to understand

Wow that was a long day, and I will be ready to rest and go at it again for day 3.

-BJ

MS Ignite 2016 Day 1

Well for the first day of ignite, I can pretty much sum it all up in one word. Wow! 

To begin the day with the keynote of the conference in an arena with 20,000 other people was truly amazing. If you would like to watch a replay of it, you can find it here:

https://ignite.microsoft.com/#fbid=LjEHvsDymJ4

 

Then from there, it’s an even more frantic day moving from session to session.

 

One great talk I attended was the roadmap update for SharePoint 2016 given by Jeff Teper and several other MVP’s. the link to this presentation is here:

 

Some great announcements coming out from this talk were for me the great ability now to do zero downtime patching in SharePoint 2016 with a 4 or even a 2 server farm. People will be able to do this with the new min role combo roles that they have coming out in November of 2016.

Another area of interest for me will be all of the new functionality and features given to Power Apps and Flow as well as more features being added to the mobile apps for SharePoint and others.

love the fact that Windows Server 2016 is now released to the public and out of tech preview! This means that everyone will now be able to bring up farms and other resources on all the 2016 products.

 

There were so many Azure related announcements, it made my head spin, so I will try to find a summary link and post it below.

 

Another highlight of the day was seeing the future of a lot of technologies in the innovation keynote. The link to that session is below:

 

They even brought Deon Sanders out on the stage to talk about playing fantasy football with an AI. Now that’s pretty cool.

 

As the videos and links to other talks become available, I will add them to this post. Now it’s time to start day 2 of ignite.

 

Enjoy!

 

-BJ

MS Ignite 2016 Day 0

Today I had the pleasure of attending a pre-conference as part of the ignite conference here in Atlanta about SharePoint 2016 Upgrade and operations deep dive. It was an all-day look into the aspects of SharePoint 2016 and what you can do as a professional to prepare yourself for the new features and some best practices to follow once you get ready to head down the road of moving to the newest version of SharePoint.

It was given by some great speakers such as:

Archana Aditi

Bill Bear

Neil Hodgkinson

Bob Fox

Todd Klindt

Troy Starr

Spence Harbar

Each speaker did multiple sessions on different content and aspects of moving to SharePoint 2016.

The subject areas covered in the talk were architecture considerations, prerequisites of the product, topology planning, upgrade, Office Online Server, patching, and new features.

Probably the most exciting part of the day was the demo of zero downtime patching and a small announcement that will be sure to make big waves once it comes out.

Min Role is a big part of SharePoint 2016, and during the talk today we were allowed to know that there are improvements coming to min role that will allow businesses with smaller farms be able to have zero downtime patching just like the bigger farms of the world with more than eight SharePoint servers!

THIS IS GOING TO BE HUGE!!! This will be a game changer I think as patching goes. It will finally allow many smaller farms to have less downtime and interruptions from patching.

Plus from what many people in today’s session said that I didn’t realize is that the QA testing for 2016 has improved leaps and bounds over 2013 and 2010 patching.

 

I’m so excited for this and hope to be able to demo this as soon as it is released.

 

Stay tuned!

-BJ