Microsoft Azure, Acclaim Digital Badges and Online Proctored Exams

Over the weekend I took another Microsoft exam.  This was my first Azure exam and I am already scheduled to put it to good use teaching a class on it in Indianapolis next week.  I’ve been teaching for 17 years and this is the first time:

  1. The subject matter can literally change from day to day (certainly week/week month/month)
  2. The course lab instructions are updated so frequently, the instructor must download the week of the course
  3. The lab instructions are either wrong, slightly wrong or will stop working as soon as something goes from preview to production

It’s a great time to be a Microsoft Certified Trainer – the value we bring to this ever changing technology has never been at such a premium!  This isn’t my first work with Azure, though.  Microsoft first announced what would later become Azure at an internal Microsoft Conference in the summer of 2008 (you can read about it here).  Code named Red Dog, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.  Later the name was revealed.  It started small, but grew like wild fire.  I saw the changes from within – first websites moved, then services provided to employees (apps, databases, etc.) and eventually virtual machines.

Virtual machines have been of interest to me ever since I saw my first copy of VMWare working at Motorola on a developer’s computer (1999).  I had learned about Windows almost 10 years prior to that (I saw betas of OS/2 and Windows 3.0 early working at ComputerLand in Decatur, IL).  Once Azure started CTP (community technology preview) of virtual machines, I was hooked.  No more downloading betas of code – build it online and check it out.  Once you were done, shut it down.  Microsoft took these simple concepts and kept pushing boundaries – on demand demo environments, and finally internal beta access with Project Nebula.

This also marks my next Acclaim Digital Badge.  I will be proudly displaying new certifications as I achieve them on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and here on my blog page.  I should also mention for those that may have missed the news (or wish to take a Microsoft Certified Exam in the most comfortable spot available – your home) that I took this exam from a room in my home (on a Saturday).  No traveling to a testing site, no locking up valuables.  No driving home afterwards required – just a congratulatory hug from my wife and a weekend of celebrating.


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