Anyone reading this blog over the last 10 years cannot help but notice that learning and improving my skills and the skills of others is a topic very close to my heart. I do try to live by making an daily advancement in knowledge in many ways and to #NeverStopLearning.
I recently came across an online learning provider ucertify.com. An approach was made to me on LinkedIn to review a Microsoft MTA Networking Essentials Course and produce a post as a result. So the first health warning on this post is.
This post is about one online provider, ucertify.com and their MTA course. There are very many others some good, some not so good. There are also sites around (still) that provide exam answers and pretend they are legitimate learning sites. These sites are so much more of a con than ever they were, now that exams are updated every month the likelihood of being able to pass purely on memorizing answers is much lower than before.
Below you can see just how many vendors are covered by ucerftify, I have only seen one course, but you can try any course before you buy it.
The MTA certification is an entry level one that is often used in colleges and for apprentices as well as to those who want to start a career in IT. The cost for this course would be relatively expensive at $720 for one year of access. But you do get access to to pretty impressive resources in that time. Whether you consider it a good investment is a subjective consideration.
The course itself does go into a great deal of depth for a relatively high level exam and would form a good body of knowledge for future reference if you were able to have perpetual access. When you buy a course direct from Microsoft you receive electronic access to the courseware and any future versions without an expiry date. Something that ucertify could or should consider.
If you look at other courses the price does not vary greatly but the Windows Server MCSA course module for Networking is only $100 more expensive. The professional certification world treats these MCSA and MCSE certifications as much more marketable and relevant to more experienced technologists than the MTA.
So, what do you get for your money?
At first glance I was very impressed with the quantity, quality and variety of content and resources included with this course. You can see from the image below that it covers all elements of a considered learning path, from Pre assessment questions through videos, lessons, labs and post assessment tests as well as online practice tests. So a tick from me for the sheer quantity and breadth of content provided.
I did not work through the whole course it would have taken far too long, so I ran a pre-assessment test and worked through about 3 lessons.
The pre-assessment was very good and easy to review afterwards.
The lessons were a mix of detailed text and graphics and some videos. The only annoyance for me throughout the course was the use of video, some seemed wholly pointless , so short and flowing into other videos which also only covered a tiny amount of information or none relevant to the course.
This was a minor niggle and the text is available to read through and skip the video if not useful for you. The text and graphic content is very detailed, accurate and easy to read.
I also ran one of the performance labs which runs virtual machines for you to practice configurations, these are very useful indeed. All practices, tests and labs can be reported back to the curse center and go towards a post course certificate , this is not the same as an exam pass but would be a nice to have.
Is it worth it?
The answer here is, it depends. It depends upon how you like to learn, and how long you have to learn. As a simple learning resource this is excellent and accurate. For an MTA I would say this detail and cost is overkill, but for a more difficult body of knowledge like and MCSA or MCSE it may just be worth it for you. In the world of MTA where you want to enter the industry, the use of the labs and tests may be just what you need and don’t have access to elsewhere.
The platform and the content are both excellent (in this course at least) the value for money and value to you as a student depends entirely on your circumstances and study methods.
My one concern is that you lose access to your content after a year, maybe ucertify could allow a limited access to content only and remove labs and tests after the year.