My Road to CCEE

Posted by admin | Posted in Personal | Posted on 04-05-2012-05-2008


So… Its been a really long time since I wrote on here but I figured I would update the world on what I have been doing since my first passing certification post back in 2010. Wow its been that long since I started taking exams.  Anyway back to the the issue at hand.  Since I started my Certification journey I feel that I have come a long way and wanted to make sure that people just starting out down a certification route have something to read and or just something to fall asleep too. First before going on to my path and views I would like to point out to articles that really changed my view on my career.

  1. The first article I would like to share is By Brandon Carroll entitled You Might Not Belong in I.T. Now I do not know Brandon but love his message.  If you work in IT your job doesn’t end at 5 when you leave.  I have been in meetings and discussions with people on this exact topic and people dont understand that in I.T. you only get out of your carrer what you put in.
  2. The second article is a three part article By Carl Webster entitled. Preparing for Citrix Certification (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). Again I do not know Carl but I feel that he touched on very good points and you can take Citrix out of the title and put just about any other vendor in and will still have most most of his points valid.

So after you read those couple of post I am going to try and not put you to sleep with the rest of my article.  My Citrix journey started right after I came back from my first Citrix Item Development Session.  After I helped write  the XenServer 5.6 exam I decided to take it in beta.

Citrix A24: Citrix XenServer 5.6 Administration

One great thing about taking and exam in Beta is the cost or lack there of. Yes you guessed it they are free.  Now on to the first bad part of them, they usually have double the questions of a normal exam. Also you might get two of the same questions and my problem with that is that I then start to double guess myself.  So just way I am wired. Prior to this exam I have only taken Microsoft exams and if your reading this and have sat for both you know what a difference they both are. So my studying for the Exam began.  I download the admin guide and figured I would start there.  Since most of my work was learning by doing and then fixing things after I broke stuff.  So I figured it would be the best place to start.  Also Citrix makes a study guide that lays out the exam very well. If you have used this for a Citrix Exam I would highly suggest you do so. After sitting for this test for four hours it was over.  After I got up from my seat and turned in my scratch board and said to myself “Never Again”. Now Citrix will do two different kinds of beta exams.  They have beta not scored after you end and beta scored after you end..  This was a not scored and I had to wait 2 months to get my scores.  What a long two months to wait to know if you passed or not.  Well Good news is I Passed. Results: Pass

Citrix A19: Citrix XenDesktop 5 Administration

Next up on my CCEE journey was the XenDesktop 5 Administration. Now this one took longer to sit for as I got married and took some time away from studying for exams.  This was written after I helped out writing the A26 XenServer 6 exam.  I dont know what it is but writing exams get me in the mood to start studying again.  So for this exam I used the the same study method as I did for my A24 exam with the addition of using I have met the owner Jeff Rohrer while working on the A26 exam and very cool guy. Anyone that has not used his site to help prepare (it will not help with real world experience) please pay him a visit as it will help prepare you for the type of questions you will see on the exam.  So when I felt that I was prepared for the exam I headed down to my testing center and took my exam.  Two hours later I walked out with another CCA certification. Then it was off to Red Lobster for all you can eat shrimp. (I think the official count was 110) Result: Pass

Citrix A20: Citrix XenApp 6.5 Administration

So back to the grid of becoming a CCEE. So after I finished my A19 exam I found out they were offering the A20 exam in beta.  So me the sucker that I for the cheaper things in life I have now signed up for my second Citrix beta exam.  As much as I thought I knew XenApp I realized that I didn’t know enough about the new 6 and 6.5 products.  So I hit the Admin guide. Yes I really need something with a little more excitement cause yes I did find my self falling asleep reading it more than once. This is by no way a knock to the admin guide writers its more the nature of the beast.  After reading most of the Admin guide I started going over the console and reading up on as much as I can on the new features.  As most of my experience at this point was on PS4 PS4.5 and XA5 all on 2003. Anyway I headed back to the testing center to sit and look at a computer screen for 4 hours with an exam in front of me. I finished the exam with about 40 minutes left and had to wait for my score to come in the mail.  As I was turning in my stuff to the proctor I said to myself why did I do this to myself again! And thinking in two weeks I would be back down the testing center again. (I will explain this in more detail in the next section) After about a month and half I got my score back and found out I passed and also finished up all of my CCA requirements for my CCEE. Result: Pass

Citrix A22: Citrix XenApp 6.5 Advanced Administration

So as I said in my last post in two weeks I will be down here again.  Well if you havent guessed it by now I was a sucker for another Citrix beta exam.  Two weeks after I just took the XenApp 6.5 Administration exam.  Well the good news is my studying was not over looked and I just continued  looking over more advanced aspects of XenApp 6.5.  This time a couple other guys around the office were looking at taking exams that weekend too and I talked them into taking at the same time.  I dont know if this was the best idea I have ever had.  Well we decided to grab breakfast/lunch before we went and sat for our exams.  After lunch we got to the testing center about 30 mins before the first person was going to start.  Since this exam was scored on site everyone was going to know scores before they left.  Well we went 2/3 at the office and I was in the losing column.  I want everyone to know that yes it does suck when you dont pass an exam. I have learned while in High School and also in college that tests are not my thing in life.  So I have learned that your not going to pass each exam you take but you have to just figured out where you went wrong and study more and next time will be better.  Result: Fail

Citrix A25: Engineering a Citrix Virtualization Solution

So Citrix offered this exam in beta.  When I scheduled this exam I did not expect myself to pass it. And figured that if I was going to pass I was going to need to setup a lab.  Looked to work and there was nothing that I could build out a good lab without touching production hardware.  So I did what any other person would do I bought myself a home lab.  After all the parts came in I built up the lab up and got everything I needed setup.  Maybe I will do another post on what I used to build my home lab. During the setup of my lab I felt that even though I have built servers at work I felt that I learned things I didnt learn in the past. After spending 2 weeks really using my lab to study it was day before test day.  I was studying with a friend that was taking the exam also a day before we were taking it. We went to his house and started discussing and white boarding out everything we could think of and use the admin guides if we were unsure about anything. After about 10 hours we called it a day.  The next day we met up for breakfast and drove to the testing center. This test took me all of the 4 hours allotted. Wow as much as I thought that this test was probably one of the one I felt the best going into, I did not want to hit the end exam button.  After ending it the message popped up that I had passed.  After not expecting to pass I felt that I did very good.  Result: Pass

Citrix A22: Citrix XenApp 6.5 Advanced Administration (Take 2)

So yes this is the only test I did not pass the first time.  No one is perfect.  After passing the CCEE exam I did not want to let all my studying go to waste to I picked back up and started looking stuff over.  Well that was the plan.  Some things came up at work and at home that I couldn’t get study time in.  So as the day got closer to my exam I started looking some things over at night.  The day of the exam came and I worked from at home while looking our production servers over to help me on the exam.  After I finished up at work I drove to the testing center.  Sat for the test and started my exam.  Most of the questions looked the same or simliar from what I remember from the last time I took the exam.  Anyway as I was watching the sun go down my time was winding down and I ended the exam. Low and behold I passed. Result: Pass

So now I have passed all the requirements and I hope that my experiences will help you in your journey.  And maybe I will do this again when I need to renew my certifications.

First Passing Certification

Posted by admin | Posted in Personal | Posted on 30-09-2010-05-2008


So today marks my first Microsoft Certification, although it was not the fist time that I have taken a Microsoft Test.  What I have to say about passing is that I give everyone credit that attempts a Microsoft Cert.  I feel that they are still very wordy and leaves out some important details.  I will say that this cert, 70-640 TS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuration was a lot better then 70-290 Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003.  I have to say that now comes a very hard choice, how far do I want to go with Microsoft Certs?  I have taken 2 of them and I am batting .500.  I will say that I have taken a Citrix Cert along with help write another Citrix Cert and they are alot easier on the mind then Microsoft ones.  Now the question is what Cert is next…

Writing an Exam…

Posted by admin | Posted in Personal | Posted on 20-09-2010-05-2008


So about a month or so ago I saw a post that Citrix was looking for Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to write the next XenServer 5.6 Exam.  I decided to sign up and see how everything went cause I was looking to start taking some Certifications again.  I went through the entire process and finally got an email that said I was accepted.  After clearing everything with my employer I was allowed to go and participate in this.  So everything Started on September 12th when I flew from Philly to Atlanta. Once I landed in Atlanta I had a drive that picked me up and drove me to the hotel little did I know that this was going to be the start of a very long week. We got a late start due to one of the facilitators needing medical attention (dont worry she is fine).  After we got our late start we started writing questions between the 9 of us plus the help of Citrix Education. We needed to come up with 210 questions with in less then 2 work days.  After lunch on Wednesday we had finished all 210 questions plus 10 extras.  Now started technical review.

On Wednesday afternoon we started reviewing questions that we wrote and wow did we have some corrections to do.  After that we got through about 30 questions and we broke for the day.  We came back in on Thursday and broke into two groups. Once in those groups we then had to each go over about 90 questions by the end of the day Friday.  If you have never done this process or looking to do this process it will defiantly drain you mentally.  After going over each question and finding issues with each one we finally ended up finishing by 3:30 pm on Friday.

Over all I met a great group of people and learned a lot.  I would recommend this to someone that is looking to see what goes into making a test along with getting to collaborate with people and learn from them please do it.