Acquiring Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) Recognition

by Ventsy Popov

I am happy to brag about successfully taking the “Microsoft Certified Trainer” (MCT) exam. Although the enrollment process is still ongoing, the rest is paperwork that has yet to be done.

Trying out in a more formal way to see if my presentational skills worth something was a thing that circled in my mind for while. I've always had affinity for presenting on subjects I care about and this was a kind of natural step to take. Here are my tips based on the experience, if anyone might find it useful:

   1. Research from previous exams - ask friends who already are MCTs to share experience, contact Microsoft Bulgaria and get all the information there is about possible dates, requirements, fees, etc.
   2. Choose wisely a topic from an official Microsoft learning course. This should be considered well, because the purpose of the exam would be to mainly show your presentational skills, and not how expertly deep you are in a certain technology. In other words - the harder the topic, the more likely you might get it confused. And the second criteria is to pick something you really have knowledge of, and not start learning it now. The reason – additional questions would be asked to verify your expertise.
   3. After making your choice is the easy part – start reading the materials for the chosen course, so you can get familiar with the structure of the content. I even wrote down some bullets for every lesson in order to know what are the highlights I should not forget to mention.

Day of the exam:
   1. The exam usually takes place in one of Microsoft's certified learning center partners – in my case it was ITCE.
   2. There is a committee of judges who evaluate you, and also - a few students who listen and ask questions from time to time.
   3. Every candidate has to:
        - Present in exactly 25 minutes a lesson he already prepared. Having the last of these 25 minutes reserved for questions.
        - After that, judges pick a random lesson from the whole course and give you about 5 minutes for an overview.
        - When the five minutes are up, you have about 15-20 more minutes to present this lesson.
        - Lastly – judges ask you question(s) regarding the technology presented, so they can verify  you have practice with it, compared to just reading a book and memorizing it.

What to have in mind:
   - Timing
   - Attitude
   - Body language
   - Making contact with audience
   - Using presentational tools/materials

I think these are the main things one should have in mind if giving the exam a try :).



Windows 8 Developer Preview - First Boot

by Ventsy Popov

After watching the BUILD conference keynote and being spammed so much with announcements about Windows 8, I decided to install it and give it I try for myself. Since I didn't wanted to mess with my working machine. On my sight suddenly (and purely unintentionally) appeared my girlfriend's PC. Elected by a majority in the house (me, me, me,.... oh – and me) it was to be immolated in the name of some-not-so-geeky-but-very-deep-sounding reason.

*Side note – no computer was harmed during the down-described process. I can even state that the mentioned PC is now “stronger” after the experience it had.

OK, if anybody bore my jabbering so far, here is a more focused description of my first impressions of the expected new OS.

I. Installation
I followed a very well described procedure from Scott Hanselman to make the installation on a bootable VHD. Here is a quick link: GuideToInstallingAndBootingWindows8... It should not take you more than half an hour to prepare for installation and about as much for the installation process to finish.

II. Loading
When the OS had to load for the first time, the boot manager has been changed for me in order to recognize the two available operating systems (Win7 was the existing one) – coolah! Although it took at least three times more than the speculated 8 seconds, the system was loaded asking me to create a new account. Here was my first surprise – it gave me the chance to create an account correspondent to my Windows Live ID. Later on I saw what could come out of this:
     - Personalize settings for this account, which can be used from another machine of mine.
     - Integrated access to my mail, messenger, skydrive.
     - Keeping me in context wherever my Live ID is needed.
...and leaving the door open for every other cloud service that can be expected to be part of “Windows Live”.

III. Logging
After I logged in – to be honest I had something of an “organizational” shock with all the tiles (instead of windows), which composed my desktop. See what I mean:


However I'll give it a chance, play a little for the next days, and probably write about my (hopefully) interesting findings.