There’s been a lot of talk about the changes to the Microsoft certification tracks for Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 on the Born to Learn blog. There are changes afoot with the Microsoft Press portfolio of certification books as well. In order to get you more information earlier in the exam release cycle, we’re discontinuing Training Kits and transforming them into two distinct series: Exam Refs and Training Guides. We plan to produce Exam Refs for the majority of Microsoft certification exams. Training Guides focus on job-role-specific expertise—the skills that Microsoft certification helps to keep relevant, applicable, and competitive—and they are the perfect add-on resource for less experienced professionals. We plan to produce them for the more fundamental job roles. Some certifications will have both an Exam Ref and a Training Guide so that you can mix and match your book choice based on the depth of your experience.
Exam Refs are designed to give experienced professionals an exam objective-by-exam objective tour of the certification exam. They help the skilled candidate identify all the topics that require mastery without rehashing the fine details of the topic. In addition to providing an overview of each objective, the chapters include exam tips, notes, and more info references. Each chapter also provides a summary and review, a set of multiple-choice questions to check your knowledge, and a thought experiment to explore the topic with critical thinking scenarios. We think the Exam Refs will be a very effective way for technically adept candidates to validate their skills prior to sitting the exam.
The new Training Guide series is a wonderful orientation to the job role for a less prepared candidate. It helps creates a foundation of skills which, along with on-the-job experience, can be measured by Microsoft Certification exams. It explores the tasks and topics deeply from a role perspective, providing lessons with practices and reviews. Most readers will use these titles to enhance their job skills for the topic technology or to prepare for an upgrade to a new product version. The Training Guide can be used to supplement your exam preparation and will cover a minimum of 80% of the topics on an exam, but more attention is paid to the daily work of the role and getting the job done right the first time.
Whether you are new to the topic or an experience professional seeking a credential upgrade, either the Exam Refs or the Training Guides will be the right solution for you. The first of these new series will be available later this month in our new prePress format (watch this blog for more news on that too) and in hard copy in November. Let us know what you think!