So I worked for Microsoft for 6 1/2 years. Then I had my first contracting gig designing and installing Exchange 2007 for a UK Bank. Since then I have moved along on to Exchange 2010.
The MCM or Ranger program as it used to known (to me anyway) is the best of the best, the top gun of Microsoft Exchange! Even when at Microsoft and now being an independent contractor, it is something I have always wanted to do, but the sheer cost of the course, excluding flights, accommodation and the unpaid holiday I would have to take, make it too rich for my blood.I totally understand the course costing and are fine with that, I suspect the thing that gets me is that “some” Microsoft partners are able to get a discount on the course cost! Hey wonder if it would be done over live meeting, to a global audience, sitting at home or in a Microsoft office?
So I thought, how about the “poor mans” version, it could be interesting, and exam and a qual lab are doable! So I paid the $500 for 088-974 and booked it for 18th April at Prometric in London. So I take a day off and rock up at the allotted time, only to find out that my exam has been cancelled. They said they hadn’t had the “training” to be able to run the exam for me .. WTF i thought, I had a go and waited for them to call me to rearrange.
So yesterday 2nd May I took another day off and went for the exam. It appears I was the first to take it at Prometrc in London, so they have to run around to try and work out what they needed to do. This started with a biometric check, and the a hunt for passwords, but then I was off.
So 60 Questions and 3hrs (I need just over 2), with everything from DAG design to RBAC to Powershell cmdlets, Lync integration and UM. It wasn’t easy, some answers where calculated finger in air answers, but it wasn’t as hard as I thought. I would probably give a 7/10. What I was disappointed about is my exam had no mention of any RFCs and the documented readiness and exam preparation was over kill. I reckon you could get away with a good read of Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Inside Out. I would be nice to have a more concise list of stuff to read!
If I am honest to myself, I would be surprised if I passed, but I am going to have to wait 30 days to find out.
Its funny,thinking about my expectations for the exam, I’m not sure what they were. I know a few Exchange MCM and one in particular is awesome. I suppose I was expecting more real world questions, like a bunch of scenarios and design decisions to agree with or not, but that can be hard to articulate with multi-choice answers. Maybe some of the questions where you drag and drop answers or arrange things in order would be good. Some of questions, in the real world I would have just searched for the answer.
My impression of an MCM is someone that is like a Swiss army knife. They can standing in front of customers and sell exchange, they can design it, they can support it. They can also parachute in to hostile customers and fix issues, all knowing they have the backing and support of the Exchange Product Team. .. Doesn’t that just make you want to be one?! You could be one of the GI Joe or Jane of the Exchange world
I’ll get off my soap box now. If your up for it, give it a go! .. but be afraid very afraid, its not a walk in the park and you have to know your sh1t. The Exam and Lab rock in at $3,000 but just look at the rewards .. and I will keep dreaming of 3 weeks in Redmond doing it the “proper way”