Earlier this year Microsoft Learning released exam 70-345 for Exchange 2016. Unlike previous versions of Exchange which had multiple certification exams, Exchange 2016 will only have the single exam 70-345 for IT pros to pass as credit towards their MCSE certification.
The value of Microsoft certifications is often debated. Some people like them, some people think they’re worthless. Personally, I think most Microsoft certifications have value, in that they provide a good baseline of knowledge that a person can then build on with further research and real world experience. Of course, that also depends on the individual. Some people are willing to fly through the certification process, doing the least possible amount of work to get the minimum pass mark on the exam. Others take the more sensible approach of treating certifications as a good learning opportunity, and focus on gaining knowledge and understanding which, unsurprisingly, often results in them passing the exams with near-perfect scores.
Exchange 2016 in particular has some questions around the value of its certification. With the growth of Office 365 and the trend towards cloud services, certifying for on-premises Exchange might not seem worthwhile. My view is that certifying for Exchange 2016 (or 2013, but that’s two exams) is still very much worthwhile. The Office 365 certification exams are very light on Exchange coverage, and leave out many key Exchange Online features. Fortunately, you’ll learn a lot from Exchange 2016 training that directly applies to Exchange Online. And all of the topics that are specific to on-premises are still very useful for Hybrid deployments, which are quite common right now.
As you might already know, I’m a co-author for the Exam Ref 70-345 book from Microsoft Press. The chapter drafts are already submitted and going through the technical review process, and the book is scheduled for publication in mid-September. For those of you who can’t wait until then to start your Exchange 2016 certification journey, or who prefer to learn from training videos instead of books, I’ve also been working on producing a series of exam 70-345 training courses for Pluralsight. And this week I’m pleased to announce that the first of the six-part series is now available.
The course, titled Designing/Deploying Exchange 2016 (70-345): Mailbox Databases, runs for just under 4 hours and contains the following modules:
- Module 1 – Introduction
- Module 2 – Plan, Deploy and Manage Mailbox Databases
- Module 3 – High Availability Solutions for Mailbox Databases
- Module 4 – Site -resilient Database Availability Groups
- Module 5 – Monitor and Troubleshoot Mailbox Databases
- Module 6 – Backup and Recovery Solutions for Mailbox Databases
Although the modules align closely with the official exam objectives, it’s not a course that just rolls through the topics in a generic way. Instead, a scenario-based approach is used to demonstrate how the concepts can be applied in real world situations. Based on my own experience of the Exchange 2016 beta exam, I think you’ll learn more from this particular course than you’ll need to know for that portion of the exam itself, which is clearly a good thing.
If you’re an existing Pluralsight subscriber you can check out the course right now.
If you’re not a Pluralsight subscriber, sign up to a free trial to watch this course and others.