Thinking Technology

Archive for the ‘IT Certifications’ Category

Subject Matter Expert

Not a lot of technology talk on my technology blog – That’s kinda sad……

Plenty of teaching talk, Talk about a FULL TIME JOB! Teaching really can eat up a lot of your life if you let it, some times even if you don’t let it! But the term is certainly winding down, I’ve posted all my learning modules and just have a last final to write. Then its all grading all the time. Starting with this week.

But lets get to the subject line, Subject Matter Expert. Have you ever wanted to be an authority on a subject, to know a subject intimately? Most recently I’ve had the strongest desire to dive into a topic and examine it t the most fundamental level.

In every job I’ve had, I’ve been a generalist and quite reactive. No real time to devote to studying a subject at length. I’m settling into this whole teaching thing and seeing time to devote to professional development. I’m already seeing the challenges of staying current with my knowledge and skillz. This is one way to try and stop gap the losses. So my topic of choice, Active Directory. The plan is to start with improving my foundation knowledge. There’s a lot of potential in the topic.

 Initial Reading:

Active Directory Administrator’s Pocket Consultant (Administrators Pocket Consultant) [Paperback]
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Microsoft Press; 1 edition (January 14, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0735626480
ISBN-13: 978-0735626485
Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches

 So far this is a reassurance of what I already know. Also this leads me back to possible Microsoft Certs. I’m always on the fence about the true value of a cert in my position as a full time instructor. We’ll see where my quest for knowledge leads me.

I did dust off my Self Test Cert study software. I purchased a full package  while back. Installed all of the test packages and performed an update. Who knows if I’ll use ‘em, but its done.

I guess I blinked

Because it’s already week 6 of the Term! Holy Crap! I’m keeping pace. Having a co-teacher has certainly helped lighten the load, but I’m still pretty dang busy.  It wears me out, but I’m enjoying teaching. It’s fun & certainly an occupation that offers challenges and rewards. Seeing students understand a concept, or even better get a job as a direct result of what they learned from me, equates to warm fuzzy.

EdD – I’ve made up my mind, I’m going for it. Starting in Summer I plan to begin a doctorate program to get my EdD in Community College Leadership. I’ll look to focus on technology in some way, shape or form. We’ll see how it plays out. It’s a daunting undertaking for sure. Watching Cyn (my wife) work through her program is both, inspiring and terrifying all in the same breath. I see the value down the road of having a doctorate.

Subject Matter Expert – Ever want to be an authority on a subject, or series of subjects. I’ve wanted to expand my knowledge in a subject so that I could talk in depth about something meaningful. I’ve picked my topic, Active Directory! I teach it, I want to know more than just the surface details, Domain Controllers replicate. I want to know the replication process, the message sent between servers. All of that.

So how do I become the subject matter expert. Reading everything there is to read about Active Directory. The best start is the textbook I’m using for one of my classes. Reading…. There it is again. I don’t do enough of it. I’m doing more professional reading than I have in the past. Not as steady as I would like, but its an improvement over – NOT READING AT ALL! So I’m moving it along.

I’ll keep you posted on….. (provided I can come up for air more frequently)

The IT certification ship has sailed. I have a hard time justifying the expense and time expenditure reqiured to successfully get IT certs at this stage in my career. For someone working in the field, looking for a job, certs make sense. Maybe in the distance future, my mindset will change. But I don’t think so.

Man Overboard!

I could use a life raft! I’m drowning in all of it!

I don’t think that would bother me as much as the attention to detail mistakes I keep finding. Being on time is good, but having so many mistakes…. not good, not good at all. So I’m working that.

Today I’m taking a step back, taking a look from a different angle.

Hopefully this helps, because something has to give!

What have I been up too?

I’ve got visitors at the house until the end of next week, which has pretty much halted my Cert Study.

BUT, the course development marches on. I’ve got the 240M lab environment done! Two domain controllers, one client and a fully populated Active Directory database. I was able to import users, computers, groups and organizational units. The 288M lab environment is almost done, one domain controller, one client and one server configured to be a router. Throughout 240M and 288M students will make changes the environment via lab assignments. This is a major change from the old approach and I’m hoping it’ll be better received. I should give them more of a real-world feel to the course.

Responses to my courses have always been pretty diverse, I’ve learned a lot. I didn’t learn anything. Blah, blah blah! I read every comment and analyze it for validity and accuracy. In most cases, I find I can agree with the comments and immediately begin to think about how I can address the concerns of the student.

The changes I’m working on, will got a looooong way to address these changes.

Cert Study Day 1

I plan to roll into the Fall term with at least one new cert test completed. On the not gonna happen side, it’d be cool to bang out three and get a new Cert added to my name, but baby steps.

So I made my return to Cert study this morning, bright and early. I picked Test 70-640. Based on my current knowledge, I figured this would be the easiest test for me to jump back into and pass.

Step 1: Where do I stand with my current knowledge. I purchased Selftest testing software for all of the server 2008 exams.

I took the test in certification mode with is similar to the real test environment – 50 questions, timed. My biggest challenge is always being able to sit still for that long, took me over an hour to get through 50 questions. Throughout the test I felt pretty good. There were plenty of questions I wasn’t 100% positive on the correct answer but felt good with the choice I made. READING the question AND answers carefully. Sounds like a gimme, but it doesn’t always happen. I was very careful in my approach and took extra time with any question that had similar answers.

In the end 70%, not bad for not approaching this material in a loooooong time. I did perfect on DNS, no surprise there. Everything else was between 50% and 80%. I’m going to start my study with the objective I did the worse in, additional Active Directory Services.

Time to find my study materials.

Certification Study Materials

I’m currently working on Exam 70-640: TS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring


Here is what I’m using:  

Kaplan – IT Learning – SelfTest Software:

70-640 Microsoft Certification Practice Products – TS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring


Kaplan was purchased by Transcender, a fairly popular and well known materials provider. After some research I found Kaplan’s product to be comparable and better priced so I’m giving it a shot.


MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-640): Configuring Windows Server 2008 Active Directory (Hardcover) ~ Tony Northrup (Author), Dan Holme (Author)

Hardcover: 860 pages

Publisher: Microsoft Press; 1 edition (June 14, 2008)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0735625131

ISBN-13: 978-0735625136


I’ve used the MS Press materials for a last few Certs and found it works rather well.

My current work in Progress – MCITP: Server Administrator

The Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) credential provides the ideal way to demonstrate your ability to use Windows Server 2008 to excel in a specific, market-relevant job role. We offer two paths: each builds on MCTS prerequisites and is relevant to professional roles in today’s IT marketplace. Use the following table to identify the certification that best fits your current role and career goals.


MCITP: Server Administrator – Validates your ability to handle day-to-day management of the server operating system, file structure, and directory services; handle software distribution and updates; monitor servers; provide tier-2 troubleshooting support; support engineering and change-management projects; build and configure servers; implement auditing policy; perform scheduled vulnerability-assessment scans; and monitor logs for firewalls and intrusion-detection systems.


(In Progress) Exam 70-640: TS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring

Exam 70-642: TS: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure, Configuring

Exam 70-646: PRO: Windows Server 2008, Server Administrator



Welcome to my Technology Blog

I started a blog a while back to cover certifications, teaching and misc tech stuff. It was easily overrun with my personal life. So I decided to seperate the tech blog From my day to day life blog. (Hopefully I won’t have to blogs setting around collecting dust).

The plan is to cover Certification Stuff, General Technology & Teaching Technology.