An eventful week – not just for Microsoft

This last week I have been teaching a new cohort of Firebrand Microsoft Apprentices. The Firebrand model of accelerated learning is a complete shock to them – particularly the early mornings and late nights full of work rather than FIFA or Football Manager.

Despite this, the youth of today are not all hoody wearing, knife carrying recalcitrant recidivists. Quite the contrary, these 16-18 year olds have just spent a week learning the CompTIA Server+ syllabus and although they have all completed the GCSE ICT syllabus and all achieved at least a grade C pass, not on of them had opened a PC box or done anything about the makings of a PC, or looked at IP addressing. The sum total of their qualification was using Office and producing documents. That sounds more like the very useful ECDL to me not a premier academic qualification.

The great news is that the new IT qualifications in schools are set to become much more testing, useful and valid for an employer of an IT technician rather than a general office worker.

About time too. Right off the soap box again.

In other news Apple tried to derail Microsoft’s huge release of Windows 8 and failed to do so, although the iPad Mini does look quite cute. I for one am waiting until Father Christmas brings me a rather nice 128GB Surface Pro.

I was also successful this week in a few exams. The CompTIA A+ examinations and syllabus have had a recent overhaul  – another about time too could be added here. At last the exam seems more relevant to 2012 and beyond We now have simulation questions and drag and drop answers. Also the exams are split between Hardware and Software rather than the tenuous titles of the previous 701 and 702 variants. Well done CompTIA 801 and 802 are jolly good tests, Server+ could do with a revamp too!

My final two exams were the BETA of the Windows 8 MCSA exam, I look forward to taking it again when it goes live in December – not hopeful of a pass there. I need to play with my tablet before I can pass that exam. The last one was a success story – 70-415 the final piece in the MCSE Desktop Infrastructure jigsaw for me. This was a beast of an exam – over 3 hours long and involved a good number of Microsoft’s new item types (I can say no more without contravening the Non-disclosure agreement).

Now for a weekend of peace and quiet – or am I installing Windows 8 on all my home PC’s!!! – I think so.


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