Before I forget this with all that is going on, I came across a new resource in town when I was talking my certification test last week (or was it the week before?). I was looking online for a place to take my test when the “PC ProSchools” link came up as a possible test site. It turns out it is really close to me (I-96 and East Beltline) and is pretty new (too new for Google Maps – about a year old).
I thought I knew of most of the Microsoft training facilities in town and had never heard of them. I got to my test about 15 minutes early and they were fully booked so I started asking about their programs and reading some of their material. I ended up getting a tour of the facilities and programs by a guy named Richard Fera (who was really helpful).
They had a great training lab (room for 50 at brand new machines, dual projectors, dual stations in the back of the room for more trainers (3 trainers available in a full class)). They had an open lab and what looked like a server room / wiring closet (which turned out to be an “advanced lab” area). Their focus is on the infrastructure side (i.e. the MCSE route) on getting the servers up and running and all kinds of troubleshooting. They do not offer programs for software development (i.e. the MCPD route). So they had never heard of the test I was taking but it was pretty clear that their testing lab got quite a bit of use.
They are a Microsoft Platinum Partner provider for training (which says a lot about volume, graduation rate, certification rate, and placement rate (>70%)). It is an interesting model because they run it kind of like something between a technical trainer (i.e. offering one class at a time) and a college (full-blown multi-year program). They offer an intense one-year program which is open to any high-school graduate who meets some basic criteria. The classes are either M/W or T/Th (with a few Fridays thrown in for test-prep and labs) from 5:30-10:30, which is quite a bit of work. But in the end you should have your MCSE.
Add to this that they also do placement and have jobs looking for people – placed 48 of the lass class of 50.
Reading this post it sounds kind of like an advertisement, but it really isn’t. I’d write about any new resource class, school, book, etc. that could be helpful to people doing what I do (or supported the servers I need to run on) and do that fairly often. If I knew someone who was interested in servers and hardware, and looking for a job without committing 2-4 years to school, this seems like the kind of thing you’d need to keep you on track and get it done quickly. It’s an option worth checking out at least.