Posts tagged mcse 2003

The Big Question Rises How To Become Microsoft, Cisco, ComTIA Certified

The big question rises how to become the Microsoft certified , All Microsoft certifications are acquired by simply taking a series of exams. If you can self-study for said exams, and then pass them, then you can acquire the certification for the mere cost of the exam (and maybe whatever self-study materials you purchase).

You’ll also need, at minimum (in addition to the MCTS), the CompTIA A+, Network+ and Security+ certs; as well as the Cisco CCNA cert.

Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) – This is the basic entry point of Microsoft Certifications. You only need to pass a single certification test to be considered an MCTS and there are numerous different courses and certifications that would grant you this after passing one. If you are shooting for some of the higher certifications that will be discussed below, then you’ll get this on your way there.

Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD) – This certification was Microsoft’s previous “Developer Certification” meaning that this was the highest certification that was offered that consisted strictly of development-related material. Receiving it involved passing four exams within specific areas (based on the focus of your certification). You can find the complete list of courses and paths required for the MCPD here.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) – This is Microsoft’s most recent “Developer Certification” which will replace the MCPD Certification (which is being deprecated / retired in July of 2013). The MCSD focuses within three major areas of very recent Microsoft development technologies and would likely be the best to persue if you wanted to focus on current and emerging skills that will be relevant in the coming years. You can find the complete list of courses and paths required for the MCSD here.

The Microsoft Certifications that you listed are basically all of the major ones within the realm of development. I’ll cover each of the major ones and what they are :

Most people, however, take some kind of course. Some colleges — especially career and some community colleges — offer such courses (though usually they’re non-credit). Other providers of such courses are private… some of them Microsoft Certified vendors of one type or another, who offer the courses in such settings as sitting around a conference table in their offices. Still others specialize in Microsoft certification training, and so have nice classrooms set up in their offices.

There are also some online (and other forms of distance learning) courses to help prepare for the exams.

The cost of taking classes to prepare can vary wildly. Some are actually free (or very nearly so), while others can cost hundreds of dollars. It all just depends on the provider.

And here’s a Google search of MCTS training resources (which can be mind-numbing in their sheer numbers and types, so be careful what you choose):

There are some pretty good, yet relatively inexpensive, ways to get vendor certificate training. Be careful not to sign-up for something expensive and involved when something cheaper — like subscribing to an “all the certificates you care to study for one flat rate” web site — would, in addition to purchasing a study guide or two at a bookstore, likely be better.

If you want a career in IT, then you need to have both an accredited degree in same (preferably a bachelors over an associates), and also a variety of IT certifications. The MCTS is but one that you will need.

You should probably also get the Microsoft MCSE and/or MCSA. The ICS CISSP. And the ITIL.

There are others, but if you have those, you’ll be evidencing a broad range of IT expertise that will be useful, generally. Then, in addition, if the particular IT job in which you end-up requires additional specialist certification, then you can get that, too (hopefully at the expense of your employer who requires it of you).

Then, whenever (if ever) you’re interested in a masters in IT, here’s something really cool of which you should be aware…

There’s a big (and fully-accredited, fully-legitimate) university in Australia which has partnered with Microsoft and several other vendors to structure distance learning degrees which include various certifications; and in which degrees, considerable amounts of credit may be earned simply by acquiring said certifications. It’s WAY cool.

One can, for example, get up to half of the credit toward a Masters degree in information technology by simply getting an MCSE (though the exams which make it up must be certain ones which correspond with the university’s courses). I’ve always said that if one were going to get an MCSE, first consult the web site of this university and make sure that one takes the specific MCSE exams that this school requires so that if ever one later decided to enter said school’s masters program, one will have already earned up to half its degree’s credits by simply having the MCSE under his/her belt. Is that cool, or what?

I wouldn’t rely on them over experience (which is far and away the most valuable asset out there) but they are worth pursuing especially if you don’t feel like you have enough experience and need to demonstrate that you have the necessary skills to land a position as a developer.

If you are going to pursue a certification, I would recommend going after the MCSD (Web Applications Track) as it is a very recent certification that focuses on several emerging technologies that will still be very relevant (if not more-so) in the coming years. You’ll pick up the MCTS along the way and then you’ll have both of those under your belt. MCPD would be very difficult to achieve based on the short time constraints (passing four quite difficult tests within just a few months is feasible, but I don’t believe that it is worth it since it will be “retired” soon after).

No job experience at all is necessary for any of the Microsoft Certifications, you can take them at any time as long as you feel confident enough with the materials of the specific exam you should be fine. The tests are quite difficult by most standards and typically cover large amounts of material, but with what it sounds like a good bit of time to study and prepare you should be fine.

Certifications, in addition to degrees, are so important in the IT field, now, that one may almost no longer get a job in that field without both. The certifications, though, are so important that one who has a little IT experience can get a pretty good job even without a degree as long as he has all the right certs. But don’t do that. Definitely get the degree… and not merely an associates. Get the bachelors in IT; and make sure it’s from a “regionally” accredited school.

Then get the certs I mentioned (being mindful, if you think you’ll ever get an IT masters, to take the specific exams that that Strut masters program requires so that you’ll have already earned up to half the credit just from the certs).

If you already have two years of experience in working in the .NET environment, a certification isn’t going to guarantee that you will get employed, a salary increase or any other bonuses for achieving the honor. However, it can help supplement your resume by indicating that you are familiar with specific technologies enough to apply them in real-world applications to solve problems.

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What’s Behind the Microsoft Mega-Patch

Microsoft has released a very large set of updates to Windows, IE, Office. the .NET Framework and Microsoft server software.

16 updates address a total of 49 vulnerabilities, but only 5 of the vulnerabilities are rated Critical on any specific platform. Several of the vulnerabilities have already been publicly disclosed.

The four updates addressing a Critical vulnerability are as follows.

•MS10-071: Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer —10 vulnerabilities affecting all shipping versions of Internet Explorer are fixed in this update. The public beta of Internet Explorer 9 is not mentioned. Only two of the vulnerabilities are rated Critical on any configuration and one of those only on IE6 on Windows XP. The other Critical affects most versions of Windows critically and Microsoft’s exploitability index rates it as likely to result in consistent exploit code. The other 8 vulnerabilities tend to have important mitigating factors. Two of them have already been disclosed publicly, but Microsoft rates those as unlikely to result in functioning exploit code.

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• MS10-075: Vulnerability in Media Player Network Sharing Service Could Allow Remote Code Execution —The Microsoft Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service in Windows Vista and Windows 7 is vulnerable to a critical vulnerability which could be triggered across the network through a malicious packet. Interestingly, it is rated Critical on Windows 7 and only Important on Vista. The Media Player Network Sharing Service is not enabled by default in either version and—by default—access to home media devices is limited to the local subnet, so it shouldn’t be remotely exploitable from the Internet.

•MS10-076: Vulnerability in the Embedded OpenType Font Engine Could Allow Remote Code Execution —The Embedded OpenType Font Engine on all versions of Windows (other than Server Core) is vulnerable to a remote code execution bug using a maliciously-crafted font. Microsoft says that ASLR makes the exploit much more difficult, if still possible.

•MS10-077: Vulnerability in .NET Framework Could Allow Remote Code Execution—On 64-bit systems the .NET Framework is vulnerable to a remote code execution vulnerability. It can allow a specially crafted .NET application to access memory in an unsafe manner.

The 10 updates with a maximum rating of Important are as follows:

•MS10-072: Vulnerabilities in SafeHTML Could Allow Information Disclosure—Windows SharePoint Services, Microsoft SharePoint Foundation, Microsoft SharePoint Server Microsoft Groove Server, and Microsoft Office Web Apps are vulnerable to two HTML sanitization vulnerabilities. These could result in information disclosure or cross-site scripting, but Microsoft says that functioning exploit code is unlikely.

•MS10-073: Vulnerabilities in Windows Kernel-Mode Drivers Could Allow Elevation of Privilege—All versions of Windows are affected by at least 2 of 3 vulnerabilities, all of which have been publicly exposed already and one of which is being exploited in the wild. All 3 require that the attacker have valid logon credentials and be able to log on locally, making this a difficult problem to exploit.

•MS10-078: Vulnerabilities in the OpenType Font (OTF) Format Driver Could Allow Elevation of Privilege—Two vulnerabilities in Windows XP and Server 2003 could allow code execution in kernel mode, but the attacker must have valid logon credentials and be able to log on locally.

•MS10-079: Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Word Could Allow Remote Code Execution—11 vulnerabilities affect Microsoft Word. Only Word 2002 is affected by all and only one – CVE-2010-3214 – affects more than a couple versions. But this one is a doozy. A stack overflow when handling a malicious Word document could lead to remote code execution.

•MS10-080: Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Excel Could Allow Remote Code Execution—Not to be outdone by Word, Excel gets 13 vulnerabilities disclosed in this update, affecting many versions including the Mac versions and viewers, but not Excel 2010.

•MS10-081: Vulnerability in Windows Common Control Library Could Allow Remote Code Execution—Almost all versions of Windows are affected by a heap overflow in the Common Control Library. The attack is committed through a 3rd party SVG (scalable vector graphics) viewer which must be installed on the system.

•MS10-082: Vulnerability in Windows Media Player Could Allow Remote Code Execution—A specially-crafted web page could trigger a vulnerability in all versions of Windows Media Player.

•MS10-083: Vulnerability in COM Validation in Windows Shell and WordPad Could Allow Remote Code Execution —An error in how the Windows Shell and Wordpad validate COM object instantiation could lead to remote code execution.

•MS10-084: Vulnerability in Windows Local Procedure Call Could Cause Elevation of Privilege—Windows XP and Server 2003 are vulnerable to an elevation of privilege vulnerability exists in the Remote Procedure Call Subsystem (RPCSS).

•MS10-085: Vulnerability in SChannel Could Allow Denial of Service —Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 are vulnerable to a denial of service vulnerability in the processing of IIS client certificates.

Two vulnerabilities have a maximum rating of Moderate:

•MS10-074: Vulnerability in Microsoft Foundation Classes Could Allow Remote Code Execution—MFC has an error in the processing of Window titles.

•MS10-086: Vulnerability in Windows Shared Cluster Disks Could Allow Tampering—The Failover Cluster Manager user interface in Windows Server 2008 R2 has a tampering vulnerability in the handling of permissions on shared cluster disks.

Microsoft Rallies To ‘Restore Sanity’

Technology will play a minor role towards restoring sanity tomorrow afternoon at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear event hosted by Comedy Central comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

Stewart has invited Donors Choose, an online charity where people can choose classrooms to which they donate, to occupy one of two tents at the National Mall, where the rally will take place. The charity has paired up with Microsoft Bing’s Redu initiative to set up computers for people to donate on the spot.

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Launched in September, Redu aims to mobilize Americans to improve the national education system, which Microsoft identified as a major focus of its corporate citizenship work this year.

“This is our little mini-Rally to Restore some sanity to our educational system. It’s a small step, but we all know that progress is made inches at a time. So come see us Saturday from 12-3pm on the National Mall in Washington D.C. ” wrote Bing director Stefan Weitz in a blog post.
Can’t make it down to DC this weekend? Catch a live broadcast via Comedy Central on your iPhone, iPad or Android 2.2 device.

Microsoft Kills the Kin

The Microsoft Kin, Microsoft’s widely panned line of semi-smartphones for text-happy teenagers, is dead – or at least it doesn’t have a future as a standalone product.

Microsoft on Wednesday released a statement suggesting that it’s cutting bait on the Windows Phone 7 spinoff and folding the project’s staff and technologies into the main body of Windows Phone 7.

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Here’s the official word from Microsoft:

“We have made the decision to focus on our Windows Phone 7 launch and we will not ship Kin in Europe this fall as planned. Additionally, we are integrating our Kin team with the Windows Phone 7 team, incorporating valuable ideas and technologies from Kin into future Windows Phone releases. We will continue to work with Verizon in the U.S. to sell current Kin phones.”

For now, it seems like Verizon Wireless will continue to sell Kin phones. But with the Kin team essentially disbanded, it’s hard to see future updates and support for the line being a priority within Microsoft.

“Kin is still an important part of our portfolio,” Verizon Wireless spokeswoman Brenda Raney said.

Kin may not have been been selling well on Verizon Wireless. Spurious rumors about sales numbers aside, Verizon recently cut the price of both Kin models.

Microsoft’s change of direction may be related to recent changes in its executive team. In May, Robbie Bach and J Allard, two top executives in Microsoft’s mobile and devices team, left the company. Andy Lees took over management of Microsoft’s device strategy, reporting directly to CEO Steve Ballmer.

When we first reviewed the Kin One and Kin Two, I was concerned that they couldn’t find a place in the market. Acting like feature phones but priced like full smartphones, they offer high monthly fees, no apps, and mediocre social-networking integration.

Microsoft told me at launch that it considered the Kin would be a way to address a younger, more social target market than the “life maximizers” who would be picking up Windows Phone 7 devices. Kin phones could be lower spec, and less expensive than Windows Phone 7 units.

Folding the Kin team into the Windows Phone 7 unit may broaden the appeal of Windows Phone 7. Some Kin features, such as Studio – a Web interface that automatically backed up your phone’s content and showed it along a timeline – could enhance the Windows Phone 7 experience.

We’ll have to see later this year, when Windows Phone 7 finally comes to market.

Everything you always wanted to know about Extended Hotfix Support for Daylight Saving Time enrollment but were afraid to ask!

The Microsoft Support Lifecycle team gets lots of questions about Extended Hotfix Support for Daylight Saving Time (EHS for DST).  Although this offering was initiated in 2007, there still seems to be some confusion around its purpose and how to obtain it.

In an earlier post we talked about Extended Hotfix Support and its purpose: a program that provides customers with the ability to request non-security hotfixes for products in the Extended Support phase of the lifecycle. EHS for DST is slightly different, but related.

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What is the history behind Extended Hotfix Support for Daylight Saving Time? Daylight Saving time (DST), and “Summer Time” in much of Europe, is the practice of moving local time forward one hour in the spring and backwards in the autumn. These spring and fall shifts to DST are different between northern and southern hemispheres. The start of DST in the northern hemisphere is in March or April (depending on the country/continent), and ending in October or November. In the southern hemisphere, the changes are the opposite, with DST beginning in October and ending in March or April. Generally, DST is not observed in Asia and Africa, and parts of Central and South America. Unless certain updates are applied to your computer, the time zone settings for your computer’s system clock may be incorrect during this four-week period. In particular, you must make sure that both your Windows operating system and your calendar programs are updated.

Daylight Saving Time hotfixes can be applied to your computer to correct the time zone settings that get “out of synch” because of the DST time changes; and are available for products in the Mainstream phase of the lifecycle free of charge.  To obtain DST hotfixes for products in the Extended Support phase, customers must purchase Extended Hotfix Support for Daylight Saving Time. EHS for DST entitles them to receive daylight saving time hotfixes for all affected products in the Extended Support phase.  The cost is $4,000 USD and the program is open to all Microsoft customers. A list of affected products is available here.


When will my Extended Hotfix Support for DST contract expire?

All EHS DST support contracts expire on the 31st of December of the calendar year, so any contract signed during 2008 will expire on December 31, 2008.

After I enroll, how do I get the hotfixes?

Once you enroll you will receive access to the Microsoft Connect web site where you can download the appropriate updates.

My company purchased a Extended Hotfix Support for DST contract in October 2007. I thought the contract was good for 12 months. Do I have to purchase another contract to receive 2008 DST updates?

Your contract ended on December 31, 2007.  EHS for DST contracts signed on or after January 1, 2008 will end on the 31st  of December of the calendar year in which the contract commences; so you must purchase another contract for 2008.

Additional information can be found here:

* Daylight Savings Time Help and Support Center
* Obtaining Daylight Savings Time Updates for Microsoft Products
* Microsoft Daylight Savings Time and Timezone FAQs Blog

Let us know if the explanation above helped you better understand Daylight Saving Time Extended Hotfix Support!

*This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights.*

MS08-067 and Unsupported Products

Before we spend some time talking about the Extended Hotfix Support program for DST, I thought it would be a good idea to address a number of questions we have recently received regarding the release of MS08-067.  Most of the questions that we have received have been regarding older, unsupported products and services packs.  We’ve received questions regarding Windows 95, Windows NT 3.51, Windows NT 4.0, Windows XP SP1 and Windows 2000 SP3, just to name a few.

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Under the Support Lifecycle policy, once a product reaches the end of support we no longer provide any support for that product.  What does that mean?  Basically, this means we stop providing any new information or assisted support for the product.  After the end of support, we leave the knowledgebase information online for a minimum of 12 months.  We do not provide security updates, any assisted support (telephone support), nor assistance through Premier or Professional support, etc…

From a security point of view, running an unsupported version should be considered a significant security risk in itself.  Since Microsoft does not produce security updates or provide any type of assisted support for unsupported versions, customers are taking a significant risk by running these versions within their environment.  If you encounter any types of issues with an unsupported product, there are no Microsoft resources available to help.

Remember, to continue to receive support and security updates, you must be running on a supported product and on a supported service pack version.  More information on this can also be found on our website at

Thanks for your continued questions and comments.  We’ll get back to the DST discussion within the next week or so.

*This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights.*

Your server or servers are running out of storage space! What should you do?

So let’s say you’ve decided to take your business seriously and spend the money needed for a quality server. You may be using a file server to share files and printers or you may use it to run Microsoft Exchange for shared calendars or for email, host a database for your company or a CRM – Customer Relationship Management application. Perhaps you have two or three servers running a combination of these and each has its own backup system and each should.

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What is likely to happen over time?

Storage inefficiency – You may find that one server, perhaps your file server, is constantly running out of storage space, while another server always seems to have too much storage space to spare, but no easy way to share it. This is a very inefficient scenario and the biggest reason why DAS solution is ultimately inefficient for growing small businesses.

Management headaches – Most DAS solutions have their own proprietary management software and interfaces and are not easy to manage remotely. You may find yourself with multiple different DAS solutions, each with its own management quirks and annoyances.

Consolidate Your Data

As with PCs, the answer to server overload is to consolidate your storage, unchain it from the server, and place it on the network where it can be shared among multiple servers and PCs. Why?

It’s efficient – You get a shared pool of networked storage that you can slice, dice, and allocate to users, applications, and servers at will. No more overloaded servers sitting next to servers with storage to spare.

It’s easy to upgrade -You no longer have to shut down your server and its applications to upgrade your storage. You can add storage to the network and make it instantly available without affecting your applications.

When it’s time to upgrade your servers, it’s no longer necessary to throw out the storage with the server or spend the time to migrate data to another server. You simply connect the new server to the network and configure it for access to your network storage. Now this isn’t always the case depending on what your server is hosting but more often than not this is a good solution to many small and medium sized businesses.

It’s cost effective – Storage makes up a significant portion of your server’s price and internal space. Separate storage on the network and you can spend fewer dollars on servers or buy more server performance and reliability for your dollar. You can also pack more servers into a smaller space, if that’s what you need to do, taking advantage of compact rack mount servers or even blade servers but don’t forget to keep your server closet or room COOL with Air Conditioning.

You have two choices for network storage: a SAN and a NAS.


Storage Area Networks (SANs) separate storage from your servers and put it on its own specialized high-performance storage network where it can be pooled and allocated to servers and applications. When a server runs out of storage, you simply allocate more storage from the SAN, rather than taking down the server to add physical storage.


Nothing beats the simplicity of NAS for fulfilling the needs of a typical small business. A NAS device sits directly on the network and, like a server, serves up files, not storage blocks. There are many advantages to NAS as a small business storage solution.

Independence – NAS devices can sit anywhere on the network, completely independent of servers, serving up files to any network connected PC’s or servers. If a server or PC goes down, the NAS is still functional. If power goes down, there’s no need for complex reconfiguration. With its simplicity, a NAS can be up and running again in minutes.

Ease of Use – NAS devices typically come as preconfigured turnkey solutions. There’s no need to install a host adapter or complex server operating system. You simply plug the NAS into the network and do some very light configuration, usually with a Web browser, and your NAS is up and running and accessible to your PCs.

Easy Upgrades – T o get more storage with NAS you simply plug in another NAS device and you’re up and running with additional file storage in minutes.

Flexibility – Today some NAS solutions also come with some built-in iSCSI capability, which can provide fast block-based storage to performance-hungry server applications that need it, while still allowing you to share and print files. In some cases you don’t even need a switch or special host adapter. You simply plug your server directly into the iSCSI port on the NAS. So you get the best of both worlds in a single easy to use and configure device.

What is a Microsoft Small Business Server? and do you need one for your organization?

What is a Microsoft Small Business Server?
What is the difference between a Small Business Server and a single role server?

Here is a simple non technical explanation of what a Microsoft Small Business Server is and is not.

After reading this article you will have a better understanding so lets get started.

Larger companies such as fortune 500 or fortune 100 companies have many servers that do different things.

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Examples are:

* Multiple Domain controllers / file servers
* Multiple SQL / database servers
* Multiple Exchange servers
* Multiple web servers
* Multiple DHCP servers
* and so forth…

Let’s pretend that “some big company” has 40 servers and each server has its own role to do something specific for the computer network. In theory this would mean that this company has 40 separate physical servers setup in a room to control the computers for this company. In today’s world this would be consolidated using server virtualization but that is getting off topic so I’m not going to get into that in this article.

Now let’s pretend you are a small business owner and you need a file server + a SQL database server + an exchange server. Ok so this means you would need 3 physical servers + 3 different server operating system licenses and many of other things and this can get expensive quickly not to mention an experienced network administrator to design, configure, deploy, test and manage this for you.

Now with a Microsoft Small Business Server Operating System you get 1 physical server that has multiple server roles built into 1 nice neat package. So you can have that file server and that database server and an exchange server and that web server all combined into 1 neat little package. This can save the small business owner money IF the server is properly configured and maintained.

Microsoft states the SBS – small business server will support up to 75 computer users / workstation computers. In theory this will work but in the real world if you have 75 computers connected to a SBS server you can expect very poor performance.

From my experience I will say that Microsoft SBS servers are pretty cool IF they are properly configured with the right hardware and software. I have seen many small businesses have an SBS server that were NEVER configured correctly or are just being used as a simple file server. In such a case the SBS server isn’t necessary and is a waste of money for the business owner.

So without getting into technical details this concludes what a Microsoft Small Business Server does.

If you are thinking about purchasing a new server for your business get to know an Orlando computer consultant and find out if a Microsoft Small Business Server will benefit your organization.

Why Voice Over Internet Phone Service Is A Better Option

Phone services used to be fairly cut and dry, especially considering that there was only one type. These days however you have a number of different types. In addition to land lines you have cellular phones and now a Voice Over Internet Phone service. It is clear that the land line is losing it’s usefulness, but you might be wondering what qualities a Voice Over Internet Phone service has over the landline or even the cellular phone. There are a few things to take into account depending on whether or not you are running a business or simply talking from home.

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The first thing you need to understand is that Voice Over Internet Phone service is just that: an Internet Phone. It is an internet phone service that works over the internet rather than through a standard phone line, and with that being the case there are a few things you will need to understand before you commit to purchasing a Voice Over Internet Phone Service.

One of the biggest problems with some of the Voice Over Internet phone service is that the phones that are used work with the Internet connection you’re using. If you use the Internet regularly, you may discover that you’re connection is slow or cannot be maintained. This problem is completely fixable.

If you’d like to use a Voice Over Internet Phone service, but want to avoid these issues you should try to get a separate Internet phone connection. There are numerous companies that provide this kind of service. These companies provide standalone phones that take full advantage of Voice Over Internet Phone service technology that is especially useful for businesses.

However, if you’re not running a business there are other ways that you might be able to benefit from a Voice Over Internet Phone Service. For example, there are several service providers that allow a separate line for Internet phone service. There are even services that provide phone jacks for your computer. While there may seem to be some limitations, you still need to consider the long distance charges.

With a Voice Over Internet phone service you won’t be charged for long distance calls that are made within the country. Of course, you’ll be charged for international calls, but you can see that Voice Over Internet phone service is the way to go if you’re looking for efficient communications. Many consumers are not aware that Voice Over Internet phone service is more secure than a regular landline. Since you are using the Internet, you can set up a firewall to keep intruders from listening to your conversations. This is something you won’t find in the world of landlines.

It should be obvious by now that you should look into the many benefits of Voice Over Internet phone service, especially if you want to enter the future world of telecommunications. Soon you will be able to see the many benefits of this service for your business.

Insights On MCTS Networking Interactive Certification Training

Because you’re looking at information about MCTS training programs, you’ll probably be in one of these categories: You might be wondering about a complete career change to the IT sector, and your research tells you there’s a massive need for people with the right qualifications. Alternatively you could already be in IT – and you need to formalise your skill-set with the MCTS accreditation.

As you find out about , ensure that you don’t use those that compromise their offerings by failing to provide the latest version from Microsoft. This is a false economy for the trainee as they will have been learning from an out-of-date syllabus which isn’t in line with the present exams, so they’ll probably fail.

Watch out for computer training companies that are just trying to sell you something. You should know that purchasing a course to qualify for an MCTS is like buying a car. They vary hugely; some will be fantastic, whilst others will probably break down on route. A conscientious organisation will give you a thorough consultation to ensure you’re on the right course. With those who have confidence in their programs, you will be able to look at examples of training materials prior to the sale.

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One crafty way that training companies make extra profits is by charging for exams up-front and presenting it as a guarantee for your exams. It looks impressive, but is it really:

Of course it isn’t free – you’re still paying for it – the cost has just been rolled into the whole training package.

If you want to pass in one, you must pay for each exam as you go, prioritise it appropriately and give the task sufficient application.

Why should you pay the training course provider up-front for examination fees? Find the best deal you can at the appropriate time, instead of paying any mark-up – and do it locally – rather than possibly hours away from your area.

Big margins are netted by some training companies who get money upfront for exam fees. For various reasons, many students don’t take their exams but no refunds are given. Believe it or not, there are providers who depend on students not taking their exams – as that’s how they make a lot of their profit.

Pay heed to the fact that, in the majority of cases of ‘exam guarantees’ – you are not in control of when you can do your re-takes. Subsequent exam attempts are only authorised at the company’s say so.

Paying maybe a thousand pounds extra on ‘Exam Guarantees’ is foolish – when hard work, commitment and the right preparation via exam simulations is what will get you through.

If your advisor doesn’t ask you a lot of questions – it’s likely they’re really a salesperson. If they push a particular product before getting to know your background and current experience level, then it’s very likely to be the case.

Of course, if you have some relevant qualifications that are related, then you may be able to begin at a different level to a trainee with no history to speak of.

Working through a user skills course first may be the ideal way to commence your IT program, depending on your current skill level.

Many companies only concern themselves with gaining a certificate, and forget why you’re doing this – which is a commercial career or job. You should always begin with the end goal – don’t make the vehicle more important than the destination.

Don’t let yourself become one of the unfortunate masses who select a program that on the surface appears interesting – and end up with a plaque on the wall for a job they hate.

Stay focused on what you want to achieve, and formulate your training based on that – don’t do it back-to-front. Stay focused on the end-goal and begin studying for a career that’ll reward you for many long and fruitful years.

It’s worth seeking guidance from a professional that understands the industry you’ve chosen, and is able to give you ‘A typical day in the life of’ outline of what you actually do on the job. These things are very important because you need to know whether or not you’ve chosen correctly.

Your training program should always include the latest Microsoft (or relevant organisation’s) accredited exam simulation and preparation packages.

Because the majority of IT examination boards are from the USA, it’s essential to understand how exam questions will be phrased and formatted. It isn’t good enough just understanding random questions – they must be in an exam format that exactly replicates the real thing.

Simulations and practice exams are enormously valuable for confidence building – so when it comes to taking the proper exam, you will be much more relaxed.

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