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Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) in general

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      20.07.2001 19:57
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      • "waste of effort"

      Disclaimer: Be prepared for a completely biased opinion! I hate PCs and I particularly hate Microsoft and I have been sent on Course 2152B (Implementing Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional and Server). The prerequisites of which include successful completion of course 2151 (Microsoft Windows 2000 Network and Operating System Essentials), or equivalent knowledge, which I don?t have. Oh joy! I decided on Monday morning that as much as I was annoyed about my boss sending me on this course and I was going to be away from my luscious Apple Mac G4 for a full four days, that I would try to have a positive attitude towards it. My boss as it happens had been (somewhat mis-) informed that if two employees qualify as MCPs (Microsoft Certified Professionals) that your company becomes a Microsoft certified Solution Provider. Not true but nonetheless there we were, in a class of eight people, eagerly awaiting the onslaught of the 2,500+ page training notes folder we had been given! The course itself was to be presented through lectures interspersed with demonstrations and practical exercises. The first thing I noticed was that our classroom mousemats had been designed by one of the guys I work with. That quite amused me but also reminded me of the lovely studio where I work and how much fun they would all be having. All I needed then to really bring me down was the announcement by the trainer that the course was actually a 5 day course but we were going to cram it all into 4 days. Great! Not only was it going to be difficult but it was going to be skimmed too! The first exercise was, as usual on the courses, was introductions. We had to tell everyone our name, company, job title and any previous experience with the product- in this case the Microsoft 2000 family of products (Server, professional etc.). And there was the first dilemma! Do I tell these people that I actually maintain a Mac network with PCs, running through a Mac server? Maybe not. And alt
      hough honesty is always the nest policy it surely wouldn't go against me if I just omitted a little bit of the truth now would it? I admitted I had no Windows 2000 experience, which opened a floodgate of other class members admitting the same! Luckily the trainer (why do I have a compelling urge to call him the teacher?) took this news quite well. He was very helpful and said even though we would struggle without the prerequisite qualification or experience, that he was happy for us to stop him at any time to clarify any concepts or terms we were unsure of. I was later to discover that this would have meant I stopped him roughly every 45 seconds but at least the offer was there! The next part confirmed my existing beliefs in the poor quality of Microsoft products, although I hadn't realised until then that their shoddy workmanship also applied to the course materials they produce in addition to their software. The first module of the course was to clean install (as opposed to upgrading from an existing product) Windows 2000 Advanced Server on our PCs. The course material contains 120-day evaluation copies of both professional and advanced server. What Microsoft hadn't accounted for was the possibility of boot software (Boot Magic in this instance) preventing installation. This theme continued through the entire duration of the course. Errors appeared on several members of the course's machines repeatedly (though never everyone, the same people or the same time!) yet Microsoft have provided no fallback for their software not doing as it should and there are no trouble shooting tips. In the long run this meant a lot of wasted time whilst the trainer fixed individual problems. In particular, the course involved obtaining and storing a set of scripts from the domain server which are suppose to configure the machine and install the necessary course materials. These caused permission problems on every exercise, and really illustr
      ated the poor quality of Microsoft's product and support. The course material itself was also of low quality with the slides being a Power Point presentation that my Gran (who has never used a PC before, and is partially blind) could probably make after 5 minutes training and access to the clip art folder. It was highly unprofessional with over-use of sound, clip art and colours. the course folder printed material contained spelling mistakes and discrepancies between the presentation, and the CD laboratory files. Also the trainer notes were littered with incomplete and sometimes technically incorrect answers. The teaching method itself is also questionable as the exercises take the form of doing something the wrong way until you reach a critical error, the starting again and doing it the right way. On a personal level this only served to confuse me and on reflection I cant recall which way of applying the things we 'learnt' is the correct one. The timescale in which we were covering the modules was not enough to learn both a right and wrong way of going about things. I really think they have taken 'learn by your mistakes' too far in this case! Also the method of learning was basically following a list of click-by-click instructions, which in reality requires little if any brainpower. This led t o a general lethargic attitude throughout the class and made the actual content of the lectures seem very boring. At times they became more of a stopgap between your next set of instructions than anything else! At one point in the course we spent nearly an hour doing a lab exercise on using the 'configure a printer' wizard! sad, but true and completely pointless! There were also occasions when we were hurried without completing exercises and reviews due to the tight schedule the course needed to adhere to. Overall I don't think this course does Microsoft any favours and it certainly doesn't give you any
      confidence in their products, support or ability as a training provider. As I mentioned, I am biased, but I really can't see this particular course being of use to anyone apart from an experienced administrator of a large corporate network that was due to migrate to Windows 2000. I wont say that I didn't learn anything, but what I have learnt is of very little use to me. I also can't comment on the value of the training as my boss paid and I don't know the cost. Let's just hope it was precious little! The course must be followed by exam 70-21- and 70-215 in order to gain the MCP qualification. If I take the exams I will update you! Thanks for listening, I know I rant on a bit...;) * 2152B Course Outline * Module 1: Installing or Upgrading to Windows 2000 Lab Installing Windows 2000 Module 2: Configuring the Windows 2000 Environment Labs Creating and Using Hardware Profiles Modifying Startup and Recovery Options Configuring Internet Options Module 3: Connecting Windows 2000?based Clients to Networks Labs Configuring and Testing IP Addresses Installing and Configuring Gateway (and Client) Services for NetWare Module 4: Creating and Managing User Accounts Labs Creating Local User Accounts Creating and Modifying Domain User Accounts Module 5: Managing Access to Resources by Using Groups Lab Creating a Global Group Module 6: Managing Data by Using NTFS Labs Using NTFS Permissions Configuring Disk Compression and Quotas Securing Files by Using EFS Module 7: Providing Network Access to File Resources Labs Sharing and Securing Network Resources Configuring Domain-based Dfs Module 8: Monitoring and Optimizing Performance in Windows 2000 Labs Using Task Manager and Event Viewer Monitoring System Performance Module 9: Implementing Security in Windows 2000 Labs
      Configuring Windows 2000 Security Settings Configuring Auditing Module 10: Configuring Printing Labs Installing Printers on a Print Server Installing a Client Printer and Managing Printers Module 11: Configuring Windows 2000 for Mobile Computing Labs Configuring Power Management Options Configuring Offline Files Module 12: Configuring and Managing Disks Labs Working with Dynamic Disks Creating and Mounting a New Volume Module 13: Implementing Disaster Protection Labs Implementing Fault-Tolerant Volumes Backing Up and Restoring System State Data Module 14: Installing and Configuring Terminal Services Labs Installing Terminal Services Installing an Application Module 15: Implementing Windows 2000 Clients Labs Creating an Answer File for an Unattended Installation Running the System Preparation Tool Module 16: Implementing Windows 2000?based Servers

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        04.04.2001 23:30
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        I have been studying for various MCP's over the last year now. Before I began studying I wasn't employed in a support or networking environment, so the intention was to use this as a way of getting my CV noticed. MCP's actually form the individual components of the full MCSE. To gain the MCSE in Windows NT4 you are required to pass 6 indidual MCP's. Microsoft have now seen fit to make the NT4 exams obsolete and you are only able to take core exams in Windows 2000. To my knowledge, you now need to gain 7 MCP's on the 2000 side to achieve the MCSE. As we all know Microsoft has domination in a lot of areas in computing, and the certification field is no exception. There are other exams out there, the most well known probably being Novell's CNA and CNE. Before embarking on study for Microsoft qualification it is definitely worthwhile checking out the others. Adding MCP to your CV will help it toward the top of the pile in the HR offices. MCSE will see it sitting proudly on top. However it is important to remember that reading and passing exams is no substitute for experience. If you intend to study for any of the networking exams I would advise getting hold of three pc's and making a mini network. Actually seeing and experiencing the topics covered in the books can really boost your progress. One of the biggest problems I found when I began studying was the distinct lack of useful study material. Granted, there are hundreds of books out there covering the exams but unfortunately most are inadequate. They tend either to contain too much information or information that does not actually pertain to the passing of the exam. This is mainly due to Microsoft's reluctance release exam details to publishers. There is one particular useful study aid I have found called Braindumps. This is a very contentious area as many have said it is cheating. Braindumps have been set up by many people a
        nd consist of a forum where people post (from memory) the questions they have received on their exam. These are then discussed and answers suggested. Personally I found these sites to be a great source of exam question preparation. Make sure you find out the answers to all posted questions and satisfy yourself that the answer is correct. In conclusion I would recommend studying for your MCP/MCSE. Whilst they are expensive and the failure rate is high they provide they perfect foot in the door. Just go to any job website and see how much money is being offered for holders of the MCSE - surely enough incentive in itself. Exam fee = £65.00 per exam Books for self study = approx £50 per module

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        19.09.2000 15:43
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        Well the M.C.P course is a very good course to do if you want a Career change. I am currently doing a course and I think that it is the best computer course you can do. But it can be expensive if you decided to do it through a proper college/university. I have chosen to do the course on my own as it is the cheapest option. The best place to go If you are wanting more info is www.microsoft.com search under M.C.P. and print out the Information there is a lot of info so you are best off printing it out. For M.C.P Training guilds your best bet is to go to a well known bookstore or www.amazon.co.uk, Don't rush into buying any books look around first because they can vary in price & choose what course you want to do as there is about 7 courses you can do.

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        31.07.2000 15:19
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        The MCP, being the modular bit of all other MS certifications is simply groovy in terms of what it can offer you. Just choose any topic i the MS catalogue and do a course, at the end of the course you sit MCP exams and get certified in the product. It's great for support types who want recognition of their abilities and even better for career progression. What I'd suggest is to get your employer to agree a development plan allowing you to sit MCP exams as and when agreed. If you're clever and you choose the right ones they can build into an MCSD or MCSE certification which is worth BUCKS for you in your job. The courses themselves aren't too difficult. You'll find yourself working out the usability functions of word but then might not expect to have to do diagnostics and troubleshooting. But yes, this IS a comprehensive course and you'll be pushed a little. Go onto the server technologies and you'll find it more of a detailed theory on a few topics and an overview of many more topics. I.e. details on subnetting and IP structures but then only an overiew of how they're implemented in a domain structure or a workgroup structure, then it's back to more detail for IP packet structures. A Great all-round certification if you can invest the money yourself or get an employer to pay.

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