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What should administrators expect beyond TechEd conferences?

Read about Microsoft's new conference approach and other sources of certification and training information.

Microsoft is preparing to phase out its regular sequence of TechEd conferences, usually held yearly in Europe and North America. The idea is to consolidate a raft of conferences, including get-togethers focused on SharePoint, Lynx, Exchange and Microsoft Project platforms, as well as TechEd, and then the notion of a unified technology event started to make more sense. The first such conference is scheduled for the week of May 4, 2015, in Chicago and will involve technical communities, business customers, partners and lots of Microsoft staff in the first of what is likely to be a series of annual mega-conferences.

At the same time, Microsoft has become a great deal more proactive about sharing training and certification information through a variety of channels. I find that visiting the Communications Preferences page at the Microsoft Profile Center offers access to some truly useful newsletters, most notably the MCP News Flash (a good source for learning and certification topics), the MSDN Flash (ditto for developer topics), and the TechNet Flash (ditto for technology issues, trends and events). Then, too, the Born to Learn blog is probably the best official Microsoft source for breaking training and certification news of all kinds (for example, the latest post offers a 15% MCP Exam Discount Code for any exams scheduled and taken by Dec. 31, 2014).

You can also find access to training and certification related forums, where you'll find information about training resources as well as active social communities structured around Microsoft platforms and technologies, and a broad collection of certification study groups, organized around cert topics relevant to Windows clients and servers, developer tools and platforms, and database tools and technologies. If you know where to look, there are still lots of great information about Microsoft training, certification and related tools and technologies to be found. The company now runs study groups online and organizes around the major cert topics: client, developer, database and server.

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