Back in late June I published that I was going to revisit the wonderful world of certification after abstaining for close to four years, and thought I would share the experience, knowing there are quite a few of you in the same boat out there.
FIrstly, I found it much harder to get back in to the groove of studying and exam preparation, in fact it wasn't until the looming deadline of the exams was only a few days away that I really jumped into it. I didn't want to miss the opportunity to finish a few exams pass by, so it was into the MS Press training kits that I purchased that I dived, keen to get my certifications current, starting with Windows 7. I started with Windows 7 because I thought it would possibly be the best (read easiest) re-entry. One of the other reasons that drove this is that we are seeing that many customers are ready for Windows 7 deployments, but many of us hadn't spent alot of time with the Windows 7 deployment tools. As I was in the OEM Engineering Services group for the WIndows Vista and WIndows 7 releases I certainly got alot of exposure to the updated OPKs (the OEM version of WAIK), I hadn't spent alot of time with MDT, which I knew was a weakness.
As I did the exams, a couple of things hit me pretty hard. Firstly, as our roles change and we move away from deeper technology into more generalist roles, there are things we forget, or things we hadn't even considered staying current on from a technology perspective. Secondly, the exams were much harder than I remembered them being. Part of it may related to role changes and not working as deeply with the technologies, but it also seemed that the knowledge base the exam was pulling from was very broad. I see this as a positive thing though, because I wouldn't have gotten through these exams without doing some preparation beforehand, and I really should have done a bunch more.
The end result? I have added three new certifications to my list of Microsoft certifications, MCITP Enterprise Desktop Support Technician on Windows 7, MCTS WIndows 7 Configuration and MCTS Windows 7 and Office 2010 Deployment. I have to admit that I did screw something up during the process, which was working on the assumption that one of the upgrade exams I did would also give me MCITP Enterprise Desktop Administrator on Windows 7, but that can be purely attributed to human (me) error (very wrong). What that means is that while I've still got my brain in study mode I will get 70-686 Windows 7 Enterprise Desktop Administrator done, and maybe revisit old times and sit MCTS 70-683 Windows 7, Preinstalling for OEMs, considering that I'm already up to my ears with WAIK, DISM, IMAGEX and other related technologies due to the other exams I've sat.
If you haven't done exams for a while and want to see what options are open, make sure you take a look at the Certification Planner which shows your progress towards different certifications, you may be closer to some than you realise. After I finish all of the Windows 7 exams I've listed, I'll be turning my attention to the virtualisation exams, and move my Windows Server 2003 certifications up to 2008.
So here are the updated logos I now have, with more to come.