2016 Year In Review

2016 was such a great year for me professionally and personally. I had many things happen this year that were firsts for me. Longest duration on a plane, first Microsoft cert, and many others.

This year I travelled to the following places:

Orange Beach, AL

Tampa, FL

Atlanta, GA

Chicago, IL

Aurora, IL

Decatur, IL

St. Louis, MO

Phoenix, AZ

Previously I have never travelled this much in a year, so this was a big change for me. I was able to see some great places, eat some fantastic food, and enjoy and learn about a lot of new topics like Office 365 and SharePoint 2016.

This year was also the first time I had ever tried to attempt a Microsoft certification. Back in the middle of the year I tried (and failed) to pass the 70-331 exam for SharePoint 2013. I was extremely disappointed that I did not pass this test. I had prepared extensively for it and plus I’ve been working with the product in one way shape or form since it was released in 2012, for almost 5 years with two different companies.

But on a whim around the same time I signed up for the 70-339 test, I saw that Microsoft was offering a free chance to demo the exams for SharePoint 2016. Everything that I had read and studied on the product so far made me think this could go right along with what I was doing for 2013. Well… kind of…

There are some similarities and differences between the products that’s for sure. This test was different, because since it was a beta exam, I wouldn’t know my score right away.

I had a pretty good feeling about it after taking the test, but then had to wait almost two months before I found out that fortunately, I passed. 🙂

During this year I also attended a training class to prepare for the coming of SharePoint 2016 and Office 365. It was held by Critical Path Training and instructed by Matthew McDermot. This was a great course and I highly recommend it to anyone who needs SharePoint training.

I was only able to go to one SQL Saturday or SharePoint Saturday event and that was SQL Saturday Chattanooga. It was a great event, and look forward to the event next year as well.

I will definitely have to head out to more events in order to learn more with the pace that things are changing. Too bad I couldn’t travel each month to an event…hmm….

I look forward to the challenges the new year brings.

 

Here’s to a New Year!

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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. 🙂

Thoughts after taking the 70-339

Recently I saw the following post online and thought I’d take a stab at trying my first MS cert exam:

https://borntolearn.mslearn.net/b/weblog/posts/beta-exam-for-70-339-managing-microsoft-sharepoint-server-2016-now-available

The overall test was difficult for me since I have had very limited exposure to the new 2016 SharePoint Server and Office 365. From that aspect, I think I didn’t do very well on this exam. But it was free with the code above and It’s given me a great understanding of how to prepare better.

On the other hand, since the bulk of my experience has been with SharePoint 2010 and 2013, I was able to answer several questions without too much difficulty. For several others, I was able to find the correct answer with my 2013 knowledge and review of topics from my notes.

Great breakdown on prep content can be found here:
https://borntolearn.mslearn.net/certification/p/wiki?es=sharePoint&ec=331

READ THE CASE STUDIES!!! Then, read your questions and then re-read the case study again! If you don’t get any other advice from this post, it’s that simply reading the business case related to a certain questions and comparing details of it to what you are being asked can help you find the correct answer by eliminating incorrect answers.

Of course I have to say I should have studied more and into a few topics more in depth for sure to better round out my knowledge for the test. I hope to use this information and knowledge I have now to prep and take the 70-331 and 70-332 exams and then if I didn’t pass, I will go for and retake the 70-339.

Hope this helps!