It's an outright truism that fast-moving technology areas change with equal rapidity. Building certifications to cover such topics areas can be a challenge and requires almost constant ferment to keep up with (or close to) the state of the art. That's why I was glad to learn that MS has recently updated its Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) exam objectives for its mobility and cloud fundamentals exams.
With a "bet the farm" fix on cloud and mobility, recent changes to MS MTA exams are revealing.
The information for the revised mobility item is Exam 98-368: Mobility and Devices Fundamentals, where you can dig into the objectives by expanding all of the entries beneath the "Skills Measured" heading on that page. Topics covered deal with:
- Device configurations: device options, desktop settings, drive encryption, and Windows Update handling.
- Data access and management: cloud and local storage services, file systems, file and print sharing, and data encryption services.
- Device security: various types of networks, user authentication, file and share permissions, and malware identification and handling.
- Cloud services: types, MS Intune, and MS Azure topics.
- Enterprise mobility: identity services, business data access, and BYOD topics.
Please note the strong emphasis on cloud services (especially Microsoft Azure) and local and remote access controls throughout the objectives.
The information for the revised cloud fundamentals item is Exam 98-369: Cloud Fundamentals where again exam objectives appear under the skills measured heading on that page as well. These include the following:
- Understand the cloud: service models, funding models, use of cloud services, and more. Cloud security requirements and models: privacy management, meeting compliance goals, securing data while at rest or in motion (on-the-wire), meeting data and operations transparency requirements. Types of cloud services and how they may be monitored, maintained, and more.
- Enabling MS cloud services: working with Office 365 and MS Intune, selecting cloud service plans, signing up for and establishing initial cloud services configurations.
- Administer Office 365 and MS Intune: managing users and groups, assigning services and licenses, managing permissions, and monitoring service health.
- Use and configure MS cloud services: Configuring Exchange Online, SharePoint Online (including OneDrive), Lync Online, and MS Intune.
- Support cloud users: resolve sign-in and Office application issues, e-mail and calendar problems, SharePoint and OneDrive issues, and Lync issues.
Here again the emphasis is not just on understanding what the cloud is and how it works, but on configuring and using MS's growing collection of cloud based services, applications and platforms.
Training candidates for these exams promises to be an interesting proposition, because they must have access to virtual clouds, clients, and services to learn how to establish, configure, use and troubleshoot these things. This promises to make the learning process more hands-on oriented, and much more valuable.