As an update to my previous post, I finally passed the 70-346 exam! It took much longer than I expected. As an administrator for a similar product already, I thought I could pick up the knowledge very quickly. In reality though, it took me about two months from start to finish to pass the test.
This being my first Microsoft test, here are some things I learned:
- The test is NOT only comprised of simple multiple choice questions. You will have to do a lot of fill in the blank and correct-order questions. This is probably the biggest reason why I couldn’t just breeze through the test. Test taking strategies help, but not as much as when compared to other certification tests. You do have to know your stuff.
- If you buy a book to prepare, be prepared for dealing with outdated information. I purchased the 70-346 exam preparation book one week after it was released, and it was already outdated! Almost every single link you see in the current 70-346 exam book (which was released less than 2.5 months ago!) will redirect you to a Microsoft page saying that the resource is deprecated, or that it has been updated at a new location. This makes it extremely difficult to prepare for the exam! You cannot only use the book to prepare.
- When preparing for this test, you must use the updated tech articles on the Microsoft website to supplement your learning. The Microsoft website (an online articles) is literally the only place where you can get the most up to date information about their products.
- Purchasing the practice exam is worth it. Although the actual test has different questions than the practice exam, the practice exam will test you in an extremely similar fashion. If you study the practice exam questions and answers, and figure out why wrong answers are wrong, you should pass the real exam.
I’m glad that I’ll be able to be a resource for my company to provide Office 365 services if needed. A former manager gave me advice to get this certification, and I’m proud to have achieved it. Will I actually become an Office 365 admin? Who knows. In any case, I can at least prove to my company that I’m continuing my education and keeping up to date with the latest technology.
I started studying for the Office 365 70-346 exam like a week ago, and I feel like it’s been going a lot slower than expected. I have a really good background managing cloud environments (well technically on-site environments, but hosted on the cloud), so I thought I would breeze through everything. I guess I kind of am breezing through it…but the material is really dry.
I bought the “officially recommended” book to study for the exam. Usually when studying for certifications I opt for paperback books, but since this book is only 200ish pages (and I thought it would be a quick read) I went for the kindle only edition. I paid about $17.50. The release date of the book was 29 days ago, so I assume that the material is up to date. Which is important apparently, because the book itself will tell you that the material within may become out-dated at any time. I’m sure Microsoft will make money selling newer editions.
Most of the book material is actually extremely easy if you have a production IT background. Once you understand the idea of Office being hosted in the cloud, and how to replicate on-premise solutions to Microsoft servers, the conceptual stuff is cake. I think that if there is any difficulty, it will be the powershell cmdlets that need to be memorized. Chapter 3 of the book has about 10 pages that just list out cmdlets and what they do. Since I don’t actually manage an Office 365 environment for work, I’ll probably have to flashcard-memorize those commands.
I will say this: do NOT watch the free videos on the Microsoft Academy website if you are trying to prepare for this test. They are absolutely boring, and you’ll waste many hours just watching Microsoft agents spout advertisements for their product. I gave up after the first couple videos, even though my managers told me to study for the exam using that method. I believe the book and possibly CBT nuggets will be easier to digest. So far I’m about 65% done reading the book; I should finish the rest within a week and begin the actual memorization of information.
Supposedly the test will cover the below objectives. I think that questions from objectives 1-3 will be easy after reading the book, especially since the questions are multiple choice. 4-5 might will require memorization of Powershell cmdlets and what they do. 6 will only be difficult if the test is written poorly. From my experience with “troubleshooting” questions, even if you know the material well, you have to guess what the correct answer is based on what the exam writers want. This will be my first Microsoft test. Hopefully things go well.
- Provision Office 365 (15–20%)
- Plan and implement networking and security in Office 365 (15–20%)
- Manage cloud identities (15–20%)
- Implement and manage identities by using Azure Active Directory Synchronization (AADSync) (15–20%)
- Implement and manage federated identities for single sign-on (SSO) (15–20%)
- Monitor and troubleshoot Office 365 availability and usage (15–20%)
As an MDM specialist trying to improve my skillset, I think learning Office 365 is a good lateral move. Considering the millions Microsoft is investing to keep these services up and running (99.9%!), I can see a lot of customers willing to pay good money for support.