Thursday, August 25, 2016

Re-certify MCSE: SharePoint

I had to get re-certified for SharePoint until December 2016, but decided to push through it now. There are two ways to do this:
- Take exam 383
- Re-certify through MVA
MVA is the Microsoft Virtual Academy, if you've never been there: Go check it out. It has a lot of videos that might help you while studying for different topics. Of course not every video is gold, so some have a very poor quality, but still deliver basic information and hints where to find more and deeper knowledge. And it's free.
Basically you can choose between paying 165 bucks (plus tax, plus going to one of those nice test centers) or sit at home and watch some videos for free. Guess what I did.

How do the two paths work?
Take exam 383
I didn't go through that process, but it is the same as always. Study for a test, got to a test center, pass or fail. How you study is up to you, where you study is up to you, but you will have to pay the exam costs.
Re-certify through MVA
That's the path I took and it is pretty straight forward. You go to https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/recertification-virtual-academy.aspx and select the MCSE you want to re-certify, so you can see a list like this:
August 2016
The links will take you to collections of videos on https://mva.microsoft.com/. You will need to have a check mark behind every video or assessment or further information to pass. If you added the collections to a learning plan you can see your current status in your dashboard. But(!) you have to create a learning plan first (got to the MVA dashboard at the end you will find a button "Add learning plan"). So after a couple of videos and assessments, your dashboard might look like this:
You can send an email to the mail address (found here), currently you have to send your MCID, Microsoft Academy User Name and a copy of your transcript. Assuming everything is correct, it took a day until my re-certification was online. The re-certifications starts on the date you are sending the e-Mail, in my case I have to get re-certified by August 2019, maybe I should have waited until December.

Are there issues with the MVA system?
Of course, but it's free, so I'm more forgiving. You can take an assessment multiple times and fail until you have to go back to watch the videos. You will also not see what you did wrong, you will only see that you made a mistake in a certain question, which is more than you have in a test center! And that is the best part about the MVA system: You can actually see where you failed and take a deeper look into that.
But on the other hand there are still a lot of strange question where I was able to find the answer in the slide presentation, but it still showed up as failed. And I don't know why, because the system doesn't tell you which of the answers would be right or which of the answers (in multiple choice) are wrong. It makes it harder to study for, when you only know that something is wrong. It reminds me of my old math teachers, because they rarely explained what I did wrong, simply stated that I'm wrong. Maybe that's why I hate math till today... Still a better system than the test procedures you have to endure in test centers.

Use MVA again?
Yes. It's free, it works and it's better than the tests I took or the test centers I've been. Also there is a ton of information that you should check out.