MTA OS Fundamentals (98-349): Same Name, Same Exam Number, Not The Same Content

by Jason - Dec 12, 2016


Whenever I am asked to write an entry for this blog, I usually do the writing mid-week. But, last week our great crew was busy filming the course I get to tell you about today, and that is the updated version of the MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate) Operating System Fundamentals course, which maps to MTA exam 98-349.

Most of the time, when we put together a new version of a course, it is for a new exam (specifically name or number). This time, though, the exam name and number are the same. What changed, then? Oh, about half of the test objectives as the exam has been updated to include Windows 10 content and remove content that just applied to Windows 7.

For example, exam topics such as Aero configurations, Windows Media Center, and Windows XP mode are all gone as they are not in Windows 10, but features such as Insider Preview, Current Branch, and Windows Store apps are exam topics. Furthermore, the wording of many exam topics has changed to “Configure….” rather than “Understand…”, placing a greater emphasis on knowing how to do operating system configurations in Windows 10, not just knowing what they are.

Now, the specifics: There are six domains on this exam:

  • Understanding operating system configurations
  • Installing and upgrading client systems
  • Managing applications
  • Managing files and folders
  • Managing devices
  • Understanding operating system maintenance

This course covers these domains thoroughly, through the video training (which we just completed filming), pre-assessment and post-assessment tests, practice labs, and a project workbook with plenty of practice exercises for configuring Windows 10. All of these tools will help you pass the 98-349 exam and increase your employability as, according to Microsoft, Windows 10 has been deployed to over 400 million devices in its first year of release. Thus, businesses which need desktop support technicians and computer repair shops definitely need people who are skilled in configuring Windows 10, which this course and certification will provide.


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Get a Microsoft Certification? Get Your Acclaim Badge!

by Jason - Nov 11, 2016


Last week in this blog space, I wrote about the new, streamlined certification paths Microsoft recently released. This week, I have another piece of Microsoft certification news to share with you, and that is, Acclaim badges!

What do Acclaim badges give you? Industry recognition of your newly earned certification. Instead of your having to log on individually to any social networks you may be a part of and individually post your new accomplishments, Acclaim allows you to connect to your social networks (I am on LinkedIn, for example), and add these badges to your profile. To give you a personal example: This year, I renewed my Microsoft Office Master Certification. To do this, I had to pass (hold on while I count…) three core exams and two expert exams (I actually took all five core exams for a total of seven Microsoft Office certifications). Now when it comes to telling anyone about this through social media, well, I’m lazy. But, thanks to these Acclaim badges, I can just log in to Acclaim, find my new certification, and connect to LinkedIn and post the badge there. In fact, I am in the process of doing this as I write this. Here is what the pending badges screen looks like:

Microsoft Acclaim Badges

All that has to be done is to click the Accept button, log into whatever networks you have for social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or others) and from there, you can post these badges to your social media profiles.

There is the option of emailing these badges to others or posting these badges on a website. Either way, these badges provide an easy means for announcing to whoever and wherever your newly earned certifications.

And recently, Microsoft has added MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) badges in addition to the existing Microsoft Office badges, so now you get a badge for passing an MCP test. Finally, though this is a Microsoft post, many other companies participate in the Acclaim badge program, including, for example, Adobe.

The best part of this: In the time it took me to write this blog post, I also claimed the three badges you see above plus an Adobe ACA badge for a test I recently passed and posted those on my LinkedIn profile. You, too, can obtain and use these Acclaim badges to let people know of your certifications so you can broaden your career opportunities. Now that is what I call a win-win.


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Microsoft Certifications – A Streamlined Process

by Jason - Nov 02, 2016


In my 15+ years of classroom training, and my now-nearly 1.5 years as LearnKey’s Senior Instructor (see the asymmetry in numbers there?), I have obtained many Microsoft certifications. What I always found challenging at times (besides the exams themselves) is having to figure out which test goes with which certification, and which tests I need to take (or can take as electives) in order to obtain a certain certification I have wanted or needed. While I was able to figure things out, it often took, well, more time than I wanted to spend reading a certification road map.

On that note, ladies and gentlemen, I bring you good news: Microsoft has revamped and streamlined the process and requirements for their certifications. I don’t quite remember how many certification paths there were before, but now there are only five. They are:

Mobility – Focuses on Windows 10 installation and configuration and configuring Windows devices.

Cloud Platform and Infrastructure – Focuses mainly on Windows Server 2012 and Server 2016 (which has exams in beta as I write this), and Microsoft Azure.

Productivity Path – Similar to Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, but swap Microsoft Azure for Office 365.

Data Management and Analytics Path – Focuses on SQL Server, SQL Server, and…you can guess the third one (hint: SQL Server).

App Builder Path – The path for programmers and aspiring programmers, as it covers web development, C#, and mobile apps, just to name a few.

Now, getting down to five certification paths is, well, really nice. But there is more to this streamlining process. Each certification path has a set of two or three exams to earn an MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate). The Mobility path has just one MCSA (for Windows 10) while the others have multiple MCSA possibilities.

Once an MCSA is obtained, you will need to take a single elective exam (and most of these paths have multiple choices) to then obtain your MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert) or, as is the case with the App Builder path, an MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer). And, here is the big catch: to keep your MCSE/MCSD current, you need to pass one elective exam each year. This helps keep people current with these certifications.

So, to summarize: five certification paths, a handful of exams for each to reach MCSA status, an additional elective exam to move up to MCSE/MCSD status, and then passing an elective exam each year holds your MCSE/MCSD status. Streamlining indeed! And, we at LearnKey are going to be “freshening up” our Microsoft certification offerings over the next several months to best align our courseware with these new paths.

Finally, here is a link to the details of what I’ve discussed in this blog: https://borntolearn.mslearn.net/b/weblog/posts/microsoft-streamlines-technical-certifications.

Next week, I will bring you some news regarding Microsoft certifications and earning badges with certain certifications. Yes, these are badges you can use to broadcast your certifications all over social media. In the meantime, best of luck in your certification studies!


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PowerPoint 2016 Released

by Brad - Aug 31, 2016


Today, we are excited to announce the release of our PowerPoint 2016 course. If you have the desire to be successful in the business world, a working knowledge of PowerPoint 2016 is a must. LearnKey expert Jason Manibog will teach you how to create and manage presentations, insert and format shapes and slides, apply transitions, and how to use the new screen recording feature. This course will also help you study and prepare to take the Microsoft’s PowerPoint 77-729 Certification exam.

Our hope is that through our courseware we may provide learners with the guidance, preparation, and skills they need to succeed. For more information and to learn about additional LearnKey products visit our website.


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MTA OS Fundamentals Exam Update: Same Name, Same Number, Different…

by Jason - Aug 29, 2016


…Oh, hello there! It’s me, your humble Senior Instructor. Today, I’m here to tell you about an update to the existing Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) 98-349 exam, otherwise known as the MTA OS Fundamentals exam.

The exam, which is tentatively scheduled to change later this month, is still going to focus on Operating System fundamentals, but is getting a “refresh” of sorts. Going away are topics specific to the operating system the exam has focused on, specifically Windows 7. Coming into the exam are topics specific to Windows 10. The exam is still geared toward those looking to learn about the setup and configuration of Windows. Gaining this certification will demonstrate that you have enough knowledge to install and configure Windows smoothly and efficiently and manage Windows installations and apps.

We will be putting our own “refresh” on our existing MTA OS Fundamentals as we will be updating the course this fall to match the new exam objectives. Speaking of objectives, this is not a complete list of what is entering or exiting the exam, but, I think you’ll agree that the theme of the exam is “out with the Windows 7 specifics and in with the Windows 10 specifics.” Here are some of the objective changes for the 98-349 exam:

LEAVING:

  • Gadgets
  • Aero configurations
  • Virtualized clients
  • Application virtualization
  • File Allocation Tables (FAT)
  • Cloud storage
  • Local, online, and automated backup methods

ENTERING:

  • File Explorer settings
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Cortana
  • Hyper-V
  • Operating system architecture
  • Windows 10 features
  • Libraries
  • Disk management
  • Windows Update options
  • Insider Preview
  • Current Branch

Our course “refresh” will involve brand new video courseware, a new project workbook full of exercises to reinforce these concepts, and a pre-assessment and post-assessment test for each exam domain. We look forward to bringing you yet another MTA course this fall!


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MTA 98-375: HTML5 Application Development Course

by Jason - Aug 19, 2016


Hello, everyone! Hope your summer is going well. This week, we are back in “filming” mode and the course we are filming is a course called HTML5 Application Development, which covers the material in the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) 98-375 exam.

While the focus of this course is the exam material, it also serves as an excellent introductory HTML5 course. HTML, which stands for HyperText Markup Language, is the markup language used to create webpages, like the one you are reading now. And this course covers version 5 of HTML, hence the HTML5 in the course title. We start with the very basics of HTML and then move on to some advanced HTML concepts. By the way, HTML5 makes it much, much easier to embed a video or audio clip inside of a webpage when compared to previous versions of HTML. That is just one of the many HTML5 features covered in this course.

Now, you may have noticed the words “Application Development” in the course title. Alas, HTML5 is not the only piece of HTML5 application development. To format and shape text on a page (by shape I mean boxes, rows, and columns when needed), we use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). An entire session of this course is dedicated to CSS version 3, or CSS3 for short. CSS3 is great for a concept called Responsive Web Design, which is the act of designing a webpage to where it will display well on something as large as a full screen, or, when needed, automatically move items around to display well on a 4-inch mobile device screen, all without having to build separate webpages for each.

Webpages are more interactive now than ever. HTML5 by itself is not interactive (well, if you count pressing a play button and having a video play, OK, a little interactive). Seriously, though, HTML5 is static in nature. To make webpages more interactive, we need to use a scripting language called JavaScript. JavaScript takes items on webpages and gives us a chance to make them interactive. And, this course covers introductory JavaScript concepts for both making webpages interactive on a full screen and on a mobile device.

Lastly, this course covers the introductory points on what it takes to put together, test, and debug a web application which has been built using HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. At this point, you indeed are talking about a web application, not just a single webpage.

All of the material in this course, which includes several hours of video training, a pre-assessment and post-assessment test for each area of the course, a glossary, and a project workbook full of exercises to help you practice these concepts, serves two main purposes: to get you ready to pass the MTA 98-375 exam and gain a certification, and to get you job-ready skills needed for an introductory HTML5 Application Development position.

I will leave you with this thought: If you had any inclination of maybe learning about HTML application development as a whole, now is the time to learn! There will always be a demand for people who can build these applications. And, having first learned HTML in the (let’s just say a previous decade), HTML has come a long way. We really have a “less is more” situation now, meaning with HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript, we can write less code than before yet produce more quality content for webpages. Now I call that a win-win.


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Excel 2016 Released

by Brad - Jul 28, 2016


Today, we are excited to announce the release of our Excel 2016 course. If you are looking to start a career in business or finance, having a working knowledge of Microsoft’s Excel 2016 is a must. Our new and exciting course taught by LearnKey’s Senior Instructor, Jason Manibog, will teach you how to reveal insights hidden in your data with the help of new features such as the Tell Me feature, chart options, and more! This course will also help you study and prepare to take the Microsoft’s Excel 77-727 Certification exam.

Our hope is that through our courseware we may provide learners with the guidance, preparation, and skills they need to succeed. For more information and to learn about additional LearnKey products visit our website.


Word 2016 Released

by Brad - Jul 22, 2016


We are excited to announce the release of our Word 2016 course. If you are working toward becoming career-ready you must have a working knowledge of Word 2016. LearnKey expert Jason Manibog will teach the basic concepts of Microsoft Word and build on those ideas to help you master this program. This course will teach you how to create and manage documents, and format text, paragraphs, and sections. This course will also help you study and prepare to take the Microsoft Word 77-725 Certification exam.

Our hope is that through our courseware we may provide learners with the guidance, preparation, and skills they need to succeed. For more information and to learn about additional LearnKey products visit our website.


Updated Course Release Schedule: A Preview of the Second Half of 2016

by Jason - Jun 08, 2016


One year ago, I arrived at LearnKey as the new, in-house Senior Instructor. And over the past year, I’ve filled this space with many blogs about current and upcoming courses. You may wonder, “How do you all figure out which courses to build?” Or, you may not be wondering that at all. But, one of my duties as Senior Instructor is to take in many different factors, such as industry trends, technologies in hot demand, client needs, and other factors typical to a company attempting to produce world-class certification courses and other types of courses, such as the character-building soft skills courses we released last week.

And with any schedule, sometimes things happen which cause a little shifting around of things schedule-wise. This is kind of like a chef thinking a recipe is great and then realizing a few tweaks need to be made here and there (not that I would really know much about that given my limited cooking repertoire). But in the computer training business, the only real constant schedule-wise is the frequent adjustments of the schedule. In our case, that means the course release schedule.

So what are the specifics in this schedule adjustment announcement, you ask? Well, we had one Cisco course in the works, Cisco Implementing Cisco Network Security (IINS) for exam 210-260, but with Cisco’s announcement of a new version of their Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices (ICND) exams, that number of courses jumped from one Cisco course to three Cisco courses.

This combined with a few other changes in industry trends and certifications, along with our quest to always put out courses to give you the job-ready skills needed to succeed in this ever-changing technology landscape, has caused the following adjustments in the course release schedule. Here is what the rest of 2016 looks like, broken down by quarter:

Summer 2016:

  • Excel 2016
  • Word 2016
  • PowerPoint 2016
  • IC3 Spark – You will hear plenty about this course in the coming weeks
  • Cisco ICND Part 1 (Version 3) for exam 100-105.

Fall 2016:

  • Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) HTML5 Application Development Fundamentals (for exam 98-375)
  • MTA Cloud Fundamentals (for exam 98-369)
  • Cisco IINS (as detailed above)
  • Cisco ICND Part 2 (Version 3) for exam 200-105
  • Adobe Certified Associate Test Prep series for the Creative Cloud 2015 versions of Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and InDesign

Winter 2016:

  • Outlook 2016
  • Access 2016

Now, you may wonder “Where did the big new programming track go?” The programming track will be the big series we roll out early in 2017. Microsoft, as a matter of fact, is revamping their programming certification track. As they complete that process, we will pick that up and bring you a fun, interactive, and world-class programming track where you will learn by doing.

You can always stay updated on the latest detailed course release schedule here:
http://www.learnkey.com/elearning/PDFs/LearnKey_Release_Schedule.pdf


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Microsoft Word: Our Second Office 2016 Course

by Jason - Apr 13, 2016


Hello again, everyone! Last week, I told you all about the Office 2016 series of courses we are building here at LearnKey and, specifically, I mentioned what we have in store for the Excel 2016 course.

Today, I want to tell you a little about the second course in the Office 2016 series, Word 2016. Microsoft Word has been the standard-bearer for word processing programs for well over 20 years now. And Word 2016 has many of the same new features the other Office programs have, such as the Tell Me feature (to get fast how-to help on tasks), and the ability to collaborate real-time with others on documents.

For our Word 2016 course, we are going to take the same approach we took for Excel 2016 in that this course will help you get ready to pass the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) 2016 exam for Word and get you important, job-ready skills needed for using Microsoft Word in the workplace. This course has something for everyone from a true beginner in Microsoft Word all the way up to those who are experienced in Word and looking to round out their knowledge of Word. Similar to the Excel course, we will be looking at Word through the eyes of a company and how it uses Word on a day-to-day basis to get documents created and formatted, add tables and lists to documents, and, when necessary, add graphics to documents. Which type of company you ask? Well, you have to watch the course to find out.

Plus, for those of you looking to work with longer documents and who need a way to easily add a table of contents, footnotes, endnotes, and other reference points, this course will help you achieve those goals and be able to do these tasks in Word efficiently and effectively.

This course will have several hours of video training, pre-assessment tests, and post-assessment tests, with many of the post-assessment exercises geared toward simulations, which is what MOS exams traditionally have been based on rather than standard multiple-choice questions.

And, as is the case with many of our courses, a project workbook will be included to, again, help you get ready to pass the MOS exam and be job-ready for whatever skills are needed for Microsoft Word 2016.

Keep watching this blog for further updates on our Office 2016 series as well as other course series we are working on, such as CompTIA A+, Adobe CC 2015, and, coming later this year, programming!


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