New micro-site for all Microsoft Certified folks

MCT logo mediumMCP RGB logo white borderMOS Master medium white

Microsoft Learning have launched a new central certification website for all your needs as a Microsoft Certified Professional, Trainer or Office Specialist:

http://www.microsoft.com/learning/members/

This is essentially a starting point: at the top of the page you will see “tabs” for each the three different branches’ own micro-sites. This provide more consistency between the three sites, as well as making sure that you can easily take advantage of all offers, discounts or services which apply to your particular specialist area or areas.

From what I have seen of the MCT and MOS ones (which I am most interested and involved in) they are great little pages full of all the links you need to all the resources you want, and some that you may need and did not even know about.

Included are links to the logo builder pages, how to download or order a certificate, create an online virtual business card or update the profile information which Microsoft holds about you (including which newsletters and updates you receive by email).

This is not a replacement for lots of the resources which already existed, such as Born To Learn, or the MCPeStore, or to view or share your transcript; rather it is a single page to go to which brings links to all those resources together in one place.

Don’t overlook the links at the top of the page directly below the tabs (you can get to these by hovering over each tab, or once you have clicked on a tab the ones for that section stay visible.

If you have ever passed a Microsoft exam and want to continue certification as part of your career or personal development, go and check out the Microsoft Certified Members’ site today.

MS Dynamics CRM 2011 MOC training courses

MS Dynamics logo

Update Feb 2012: I’ve written a much newer article bring up to date all the information about Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 training courses and exams in one place here: CRM 2011 Training Update 2012

As a follow-up to my previous post about the new Dynamics CRM 2011 exams and certification tracks, this article describes the official courses available to help prepare you for gaining CRM 2011 certification, or upgrading your skills from a previous version, or simply to find out more about the software to help you do your job without actually taking any exams.

All the courses described below are available now on the courseware download library (for MCTs) and on PartnerSource (for suitably certified MS Partners), except where stated.

Microsoft Official Courseware (MOC) courses for CRM 2011

Although there are four main exams (Applications, Customization, Installation, Extending) there are many more courses, some of which are already released, others around the corner. All of these are discussed in this article. Find out about MOC courses available for Dynamics CRM 2011»

MS Dynamics CRM 2011 Certification Tracks and Exams

MS Dynamics logo

Update Feb 2012: I’ve written a much newer article bring up to date all the information about Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 training courses and exams in one place here: CRM 2011 Training Update 2012

I see lots of people asking about the CRM 2011 certification track, exams and courses and although most of this information is available, it is not very well linked together. So, to try and get things straight and written down in one place, here’s my take on “how to get certified in CRM 2011”.

Individual CRM 2011 exams

There are three core exams already available for CRM 2011, very similar in concept to their 4.0 equivalents, and the details of what is required for each one are on these pages (and their various tabs for skills measured, preparation materials etc):

MB2-866 – Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Customization and Configuration

MB2-867 – Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Installation and Deployment

MB2-868 – Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Applications

The fourth exam “Extending Dynamics CRM 2011” is not yet available, but it is planned for release in August, and I’ll update this page once details are up on the Microsoft Learning website. Update: the details for Course 80295A Extending MS Dynamics CRM 2011 are now available.

Read more about the available certifications for CRM 2011 and what you need to pass to achieve each one»

Microsoft increasing exam prices on July 1st 2011

Microsoft will be increasing the cost to take any of their technical or developer track exams worldwide on July 1st, the first increase for several years. This change will affect pretty much all their exam tracks except for the top-tier MCM and MCA, the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA – aimed at school and college students mainly), and the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS, currently managed by a different exam provider anyway).

In the UK this means an increase from £88 to £99, so if you want to save that extra £11 then get your exams done before the end of June. Both of these prices are ex-VAT, so for those of you paying your own way through a certification track that means you will need to find an extra £13.20 from your own pocket, or £15.40 more than a year ago thanks to the VAT increase as well. If you already have pre-paid vouchers which are still valid, you should be able to use these for some time, but read the small print on the page linked below.

More information on prices for other countries, details of voucher eligibility and plenty of FAQs on the Microsoft page about the exam price rise.

UK MCTs will have already seen that their exam discount will increase at the same time by 5% which takes out a lot of the sting here, but early adopters in the training community will no longer get the super-bonus discount for taking exams within the first 90 days of release, which is not such great news.