Microsoft Exchange Server Certifications
At present there are still two forms of Microsoft Exchange Server certification available, however the exams for these certifications will be retired by January 31st 2014 and as such these certifications cannot be earned beyond this point in time. The certifications available are:
- MCTS: Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 - Configuration
- MCITP: Enterprise Messaging Administrator 2010
It should be noted that the MCTS certification requires only one exam, while to upgrade to MCITP certification requires only one further exam, as such this page will deal with only the MCITP certification as all of the required information for the MCTS certification will still be present.
The Certification Process
In order to obtain MCITP: Enterprise Messaging Administrator 2010 certification you will need to pass two separate exams. Unless you have already obtained MCTS: Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 - Configuration, in which case only Exam 70-663 will be necessary. These exams are arranged separately from any training courses offered, further information on any individual exam can be seen by clicking on the corresponding title.
- Exam 70-662 TS: Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, Configuring
Upon passing Exam 70-662 you will earn MCTS: Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 - Configuration
- Exam 70-663 Pro: Designing and Deploying Messaging Solutions with Microsoft Exchange Server 2010
Preparing for the Exams
70-XXX series exams comprise of between 40 and 60 questions, drawn approximately equally from each section of examinable material. These exams are between 2 and 3 hours long. It is recommended that you should err on the side of over preparation to prevent any weaker areas resulting in a mark that is not high enough to provide a pass. For further information on Microsoft exams in general, take a look at the Microsoft Certification exams page.
GBdirect offer the full range of Microsoft approved courses aimed to provide the skills and knowledge required to earn this certification. The courses offered are:
M10135 is for those taking Exam 70-662, while M10233 is for those taking Exam 70-663. These courses will help prepare you for the exams but may not provide you with everything you need to pass them. To ensure a pass we would recommend as much hands-on experience with the product as possible, in addition to further reading from either Microsoft instructional material or reference texts. Performing practice labs detailed either in Microsoft Press books or following the procedures on the TechNet can also be greatly beneficial, practice tests are also available from some companies, notably Transcender, MeasureUp and Kaplan SelfTest. We welcome any reviews of your Microsoft Certification experience, if you feel that you know of an improved learning method then please don't hesitate to get in touch.
Official Microsoft Materials
Microsoft provides some online materials on each exam page itself, notably the TechNet entries along with any other information relevant to each individual segment of the exam, these links can usually be found in the "Skills measured" section of each exam page on Microsoft's site. While there are no courses available on the Microsoft Virtual Academy, older style Microsoft courses are still available for purchase. Collection 10186: Configuring and Managing Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 is designed for those taking Exam 70-662, while Collection 10204: Designing and Deploying Messaging Solutions with Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 is for those taking Exam 70-663.
MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-662): Configuring Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 This book receives largely favourable reviews, for its exam-centric style as well as its application to real world situations. In addition to this the book comes with a selection of practice exams, which combined with chapters focused on exam topics should greatly aid with revision. It is not recommended to solely rely upon an exam preparation kit such as this one as there may not be enough detail on some topics to gain the understanding required to pass the exam, however in conjunction with other resources this is a good exam preparation tool.
MCITP 70-663 Exam Ref: Designing And Deploying Messaging Solutions With Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 This text receives highly favourable reviews, for covering all of the material within the 70-663 exam in a clear and concise manner. It also gives the Microsoft approved solutions to a variety of exam style questions, while offering further reading that is available on the TechNet. Unlike some Exam References published by Microsoft reviews praise this book for going into sufficient depth to pass the exam, this said it is still recommended that some additional resources are used to ensure that you have a wide enough range of knowledge to pass such a challenging exam.
Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Inside Out While not an exam preparation resource this book is regarded as an excellent resource for the every-day problems faced by Exchange Server administrators. As a result this text can prove highly useful for troubleshooting practice labs or gaining more detailed knowledge on certain topics. Some reviews note that this book's structure may be somewhat challenging for those new to Exchange Server 2010, yet is otherwise ideal for aiding in exam preparation.
Non-Microsoft Press books
Exchange 2010 - A Practical Approach This book receives exceptional reviews as a text for use by someone who already has a high level of familiarity with previous iterations of Exchange Server. This book is excellent for those who require transferring their skills and experiencing to a newer iteration of Exchange Server, rather than for those who are completely new to the product. As such this book is not recommended for relative beginners but rather as an additional tool for those with experience looking to take these certification exams.
Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Administration Instant Reference This book receives excellent reviews as a quick reference text that can be used for troubleshooting or to look up specific areas. Due to its concise format it is regarded as being very much user friendly and suitable for those with less experience of Exchange Server. This book therefore can be useful as exam preparation as either an introduction for newer learners or as a pocket guide for those with a larger amount of knowledge.
Exchange Server 2010 Unleashed This book receives somewhat mixed reviews, due to a lack of practical material and some patchy coverage of features. However this book should still serve as a good revision tool. The book is written in an easy to understand format that still retains focus on the key concepts involved in Exchange Server 2010. If you are looking for additional reference material then this book could potentially prove useful, however as previously mentioned reviews are very much divided and thus this book is recommended due to the lack of alternatives available.
We welcome reviews and views of any text you have personal experience with, likewise if you feel we have missed off a more valuable study aid please do get in touch.
The Techexams.net forum is one of the most helpful for those taking exams leading to Exchange Server 2010 certification.
A wide variety of blogs are available detailing both exam specific tips and general advice on Exchange Server 2010, while this is by no means an exhaustive list the following blogs could prove useful in obtaining your certification.
- The ACE team Blog Used by Microsoft as their general certification tips outlet this blog can potentially be useful although some of their videos can prove rather irritating.
- The Exchange Team Blog The official Microsoft blog for Exchange Server offers a wide variety of posts that cover a multitude of topics and is as such likely to be helpful to anyone considering taking certification exams. Note that this blog is primarily focused on the 2013 iteration of Exchange server, however some material is still valid for the 2010 version.
- TechNet Exchange Server While not a blog as such, this page contains links to a wide variety of instructive material relating to Exchange Server 2010 and as such can be very helpful in studying for this certification.
- Elan Shudnow's Blog Written by an MVP this blog is still active, yet contains a large amout of archived material relevant to Exchange Server 2010.
- About subject: exchange Containing a large collection of personal thoughts and opinions from a seasoned professional this blog is useful for specific issues pertaining to Exchange 2010, with some related topics also available.
- msexchangeguru A very wide ranging blog with a huge collection of material on all things related to exchange server, this is also still being updated with current news/developments with a strong section on Exchange 2010.
- MS EXCHANGE TIPS This blog will likely be highly useful as it posts troubleshooting assistance from earlier iterations of Exchange Server, thus will be covering the material found within the certification exams as well as any issues that may crop up in test labs.
Pluralsight (formerly Trainsignal) offers a wide range of instructional videos concerning Exchange Server 2010, which should be very good for exam preparation, despite the lack of exam-specific courses.
Three practice exams can be purchased for exam 70-662 from:
Two practice exams can be purchased for exam 70-663 from:
What if I fail?
Microsoft offers a facility called Second Shot, at present allowing you a free retake if you register prior to taking your exam. This offer is available until the 31st May 2014. Don't panic. You will be able to see and your test result and the areas you felt weakest in, focus on content areas where your performance was weakest and areas with a high percentage of questions. Once you feel ready you can reschedule your exam. The following text is taken from Microsoft's exam security policy and details their exam retake policy.
Exam retake policy
- If a candidate does not achieve a passing score on an exam the first time, the candidate must wait at least a 24-hour period before retaking the exam.
- If a candidate does not achieve a passing score the second time, the candidate must wait at least a 14-day period before retaking the exam a third time.
- A 14-day waiting period will also be imposed for the fourth and fifth subsequent exam retakes. A candidate may not take a given exam any more than five times per year (12 months). This 12-month period would start the day of the fifth unsuccessful exam retake. The candidate would then be eligible to retake the exam 12 months from that date. In order to take a given exam more than five times per year, a candidate must submit a request and obtain prior permission from Microsoft.
Excellent, you've passed
When you pass your first certification exam, you become a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP), with access to the MCP community and MCP member site. On this site you gain access to copies of each exam transcript to share with potential employers, as well as a tool to create and download certification logos and certificates themselves upon completing a certification programme.
If you have obtained MCITP certification you will also be able to upgrade to MCSE: Messaging at a later date, look at our guide for more details.
MCSA, Salary and Contract Rates
A recent survey of IT jobs offered across the UK reported the following statistics on the average earning of salaried and contract workers holding MCSA certification. The UK average salary for an MCSA is £37,500, with the average salary for the City of London being £41,250. A breakdown of this shows 90% are offered a salary of more than £22,950 while 10% are offered more than £50,150.
Contractor daily rates were also surveyed and the UK average was found to be £275 per day and £363 per day for London. The further breakdown of these figures shows that 90% are offered a daily rate in excess of £176 while 10% are offered more than £400. Further details can be found on the IT Jobs Watch site.