SCCM (Software Center Configuration Manager) is a tool that caters to all your infrastructure management needs, software upgrades, and maintenance activities. Organizations depend on this for all the required maintenance dependencies to be catered to. More about this would be discussed in detail in the following sections and also to understand the need for SCCM certifications for individuals who work with SCCM.
What is SCCM Certification?
An SCCM Certification is required for an individual working with SCCM from a very close vicinity perspective. This will only enhance the usage of the tool to its fullest potential as it provides a deeper understanding of the tool itself. Though this can be achieved without certification, it would add a lot of weightage per se, if you claim that you are certified by the organization who provides timely updates to these tools themselves.
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Why SCCM Certification?
The expectation from these SCCM certifications is that an individual who is assigned with the related work does it with utmost confidence and performs tasks with utmost care and precision. With the deeper understanding that one has on a tool, comes the better usage of it for all the Organizational needs. If your work deals with SCCM and tasks related to it, then you might want to take up these certifications to ascertain your skills in this competitive world and stay ahead of others.
SCCM Certification Exams
Out of many certifications that are available on this suite of products, the following two certifications are suggested to be more apt, based on your role within your organization. Let us understand the requirements to these certifications and also the required pre-requisites to these Certifications:
1.(70-703): Administering Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager and Cloud Services Integration
This Certification exam is intended to test your technical skills in accomplishing the following tasks. Each of these topics carry a relative weightage percentage, mentioning how important the topic is for the actual examination. It is obvious that higher this weightage percentage, more questions would be asked on that topic.
This Certification exam is currently in the beta stage and considering that, the pass or fail notification might require around 12 weeks. Should you pass this examination, you’d be given all the credit towards it.
Configure and Maintain a Configuration Manager Management Infrastructure (30-35%):
This section of the exam concentrates on topics like Configuring management infrastructure to support devices, distribute content, to use queries and reports, deploy operating systems and finally to manage the whole setup of management infrastructure outlined as below:
- Configure boundary and boundary groups
- Configure AD discovery methods
- Creating collections, user collections
- Configure maintenance window
- Configure resource discovery
- Configure Mobile Device Management (MDM) using Exchange Server connector
- Distribution point installation
- Content distribution management
- Content management infrastructure preparation
- Manage content on distribution points
- Configure SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services)
- Creating data queries and sub-select queries
- Creating reporting services point
- Configure Data Warehouse Service point
- Report generation using ReportBuilder
- Operating system deployment
- Manage site system roles to support deployments
- Configure role-based administration
- Configure administrative users
- Remote control management
- Maintaining a Configuration Manager site
- Configure backup site server maintenance task
- Recover a site from a backup
Manage Inventory by Using Configuration Manager (10-15%)
This section of the exam concentrates on topics like deploy Configuration manager client and Configure inventory collection, outlined as below:
- Prepare the site for Client installation
- Deploy SCCM client for Client push installations
- Manage Client settings
- Configure client statuses
- Configure and monitor client health
- Configure hardware inventory
- Configure software metering
- Preparing site for Asset Intelligence
- Review of Asset Intelligence
Manage Applications by Using Configuration Manager (15-20%)
This section of the exam concentrates on topics like Creating and deploying applications, managing virtual applications, managing Microsoft store apps and Microsoft Office 365 apps and Microsoft Store for Business apps, outlined as below:
- Install Application Catalog roles
- Create applications with requirements
- Deploy applications, Powershell scripts
- Manage application removal and supersedence
- Deploy virtual applications
- Configure support for App-V (Microsoft Application Virtualization)
- Configure support for sideloading
- Deploy Microsoft Store for Business Apps
- Deploy Office 365 ProPlus
- Assign and Modify Office 365 ProPlus licenses and manual downloads
- Configure infrastructure requests
- Software updates to support Office 365
Deploy and Maintain Operating Systems by using Configuration Manager (15-20%)
This section of the exam concentrates on topics like deploying operating systems, deploying software updates and managing compliance, access control, outlined as below:
- Ready the Operating System images
- Deploy Operating System images to initiate skeleton installation
- Manage packages that in turn support Operating system deployment
- Task sequence creation to deploy an image
- Upgrade Analytics using OMS (Microsoft Operating Management Suite).
- Synchronize software update points
- Configure site for software updates
- To evaluate Software update compliance
- Preparing SCCM site for software updates
- Determine Software updates and troubleshoot if necessary
- Remediate security vulnerabilities
- Configure endpoint protection to detect malware, security vulnerabilities
- Monitor endpoint protection
Extend the Management scope of Configuration Manager (5-10%)
This section of the exam concentrates on topics like implementing support for Internet-based clients, devices and on-premise MDM, outlined as below:
- Implement PKI for site systems
- Deploy certificates to SCCM
- Export Microsoft Azure management certificate for cloud setups
- Configure cloud-based distribution point
- Prepare for Cloud integration
- Implement Cloud management gateway
- Configure systems for IBCM (Internet-based client management)
- Security for Microsoft Exchange Server integration
- Configure Exchange Server connector
- Configure PKI for on-premise MDM
- Manage mobile devices from on-premise infrastructure
- Configure prerequisites for on-premise MDM
Deploy and Manage Hybrid MDM by Using Configuration Manager and Intune (15-20%)
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This section of the exam concentrates on topics like deploying hybrid MDM, enrolling devices into a hybrid MDM and managing mobile devices in a hybrid MDM, outlined as below:
- Configure prerequisites for SCCM and Intune integration
- Adding Intune subscription to SCCM
- Terms and conditions for MDM users
- Enrolling Windows devices into a hybrid MDM environment
- Enroll Windows 10 mobile devices into a hybrid MDM environment
- Automatic MDM enrollment for Windows 10 devices
- Enroll iOS devices into a hybrid MDM environment
- Enroll Android devices into MDM using SCCM and InTune.
- Compliance settings and configuration for devices enrolled in MDM
- Deploy the application on enrolled devices in an MDM
- Manage applications on enrolled devices in an MDM
- Perform on-demand management of devices enrolled in MDM
2.(70-243): Administering and Deploying System Center 2012 Configuration Manager
This certification tests your skills in accomplishing the following technical tasks on SCCM as an Administrator. Each of the outline topics is further detailed out and provided with an approximate weightage. This weightage denotes how important the topic is for the exam and how many questions you may face from each of these topics based on its weightage.
Design and plan System Center Configuration Manager Infrastructure (10-15%):
This section of the exam concentrates on topics like planning SCCM hierarchy, site system roles, Configuring security, Defining BCP (Business Continuity Plan) outlined as below:
- Pre-installation requirements
- Examine the current computing environment
- Primary and Secondary sites
- Design SCCM architecture
- Extend AD schema
- Discovery methods and Planning migration
- Self-signed Certificates or PKI
- HTTP and HTTPs implementations
- Role-based security
- Disaster recovery and Site maintenance
Manage operating system deployment (OSD, 10-15%)
This section of the exam concentrates on topics like Configuring OSD environment, Capturing and building an image, deploying an image, managing images outline as below:
- Configuring PXE, WDS
- The configuring build environment for VMs, integrate with MDT
- Updating base images and task sequences
- New and upgrade images
- Managing newer images
Deploy applications and software updates (10-15%)
This section of the exam concentrates on topics like Creating applications, Deploying applications, Monitoring application deployment, Console monitoring, Monitor software updates, Configure FEP clients using SCCM, outlined as below:
- Define deployment types
- Converting packages
- Deploy applications to RDSH, MSI
- User device affinity
- Software Center task sequences
- Compliance settings
- Managing application distribution points
- Distribution point groups
- Work schedule and Primary machine for users definition
- Web portal configuration
- ADR (Automatic Deployment Rules)
- Create update groups
- Create deployment packages
- Configure definitions within client policy
- Choose / select exclusions
Manage compliance settings (10-15%)
This section of the exam concentrates on topics like Building a Configuration Item (CI), Monitoring a baseline, outlined as below:
- Create Configuration Item
- Setting Configuration Item Versioning and their remediation rules
- Import Configuration Item
- Import Configuration pack
- In Console Monitoring
- To build a custom baseline
- To deploy a baseline
Manage sites (10-15%)
This section of the exam concentrates on topics like managing collections, configuring software updates, monitoring site health, managing site communications, managing boundary groups and managing role-based security, outlined as below:
- Setting maintenance windows,
- Define rules for collections and settings specific to collections
- SSRS and its log files
- In Console monitoring
- WSUS, superseded updates
- Sync schedule
- Configuring bandwidth settings for a specific site
- Configuring secondary sites
- Configuring senders
- Resolving DP connections
- Creating and using boundary groups
- Security scope
- Customized roles
- Cloned security permissions, roles
Manage clients (10-15%)
This section of the exam concentrates on topics like deploying clients, managing client agent settings, managing mobile devices, outlined as below:
- Deploy GPO, WSUS
- Client Push
- Monitoring Client health
- OSD task sequence
- Enrolling mobile devices
- AMT enrolment point
- Exchange connector
- Wiping mobile devices
- Configuring Power management
- NAP Client agent
- Configuring remote control agent
- Hardware inventory agent
- Advertised programs agent
- Software inventory agent
Manage inventory (10-15%)
This section of the exam concentrates on topics like Managing hardware inventory, software inventory and Monitoring inventory data flow, outlined as below:
- Export / Import Settings
- Configuring MOF
- Enable / Disable WMI classes
- Extend hardware inventory to other clients
- WMI or Registry reporting
- List of tracked inventories
- Asset intelligence
- Reporting inventory data
- Software metering
Manage reports and queries (10-15%)
This section of the exam concentrates on topics like Build Queries, Reports creation and Managing SSRS, outlined as below:
- Console queries,
- Cloning and modifying reports,
- Import / Export reports
- Custom report generation,
- Configuring security,
- Configuring subscriptions,
- Configuring caching
Who should take these exams?
This should be the easiest question to answer, right? There is always a perception that a certain set of people are required to have these required certifications, but that is not true always.
If your job profile requires that you be interacting with this tool for a good amount of time, even if you are not provided all the privileges and permissions - you can still pursue on these certifications, as these provide the best of the knowledge about the tools themselves. Alongside, it also provides confidence using these tools without second thoughts. Having the right knowledge to do your job is the first requirement that needs to be met, isn’t it?
Candidates attempting Exam 70-703 are usually Enterprise Desktop Administrators whose major responsibility is to manage, deploy, and maintain PCs and infrastructure. These candidates are required to have at least one year’s experience using System Center Configuration Manager, Microsoft Intune. Alongside, they are also required to be strong enough in the concepts of Active Directory, Windows OS.
Candidates attempting Exam 70-243 are SCCM Administrators or Exchange Administrators or Enterprise Desktop Administrator or Active Directory Administrators who have networking and security experience in an Enterprise environment. These candidates should also have a basic idea regarding Powershell and SQL Server, Application configuration, and Mobile Device Management.
Tips for passing Microsoft Certification Courses:
It is a known fact that an individual can get through any exams with either total preparation or by having a deeper understanding of the subject altogether. Clearing a Microsoft Certification exam is no different from that, but it would require some smart work along with the required hard work. You could follow articles and training provided by MindMajix to get through these Certification examinations with the utmost ease. Following are some of the tips that one should follow to get through these certifications with your understanding about the subject.
1. Put a Plan in place:
Starting anything without a clear plan won’t work and the same thing applies for the Microsoft Certifications too. Make a study plan and ensure that you abide by that plan with all your will. You can opt for MindMajix’s SCCM training course for getting easily certified in SCCM. You’ll need to plan based on the difficulty of the topics within a subject and dedicate more time for the difficult ones.
2.Get your required resources:
As mentioned earlier, you may rely on Microsoft training where required and besides that, plan and purchase the required books, study material as well. Most of the topics are covered within this training and books. Alongside that, you can also rely on the study material provided by most of the prestigious institutes as well.
3. Choose amongst the available resources wisely:
Too much of anything always hurts and also can cause confidence issues. Hence there is a requirement for an individual to choose the resources to rely on, wisely. Always rely on the trusted sources for all the certification courses as these are investments for your future endeavors.
4. Choose a practical approach to test your knowledge:
Any training that provides and encourages you to have practical knowledge is what is required. This can be gained from their real-time projects and examples. Simulation-based question and answers can be tried on Microsoft trial and preparatory exams.
5. Read and Revise extensively:
Going through the course once won’t really help you get the concepts well. In addition to the practical training, study and online tutorials - revision is very important. Only this ensures that you get the concepts well and understand properly. During your revision process, you can also prepare notes that will be crisp making note of only those points that are not understood the first time.
6. Follow the mind-map technique:
Remembering information gets way too easier with the mind-map technique. It is very much recommended to follow this to gain a thorough understanding of the modules. It not only allows to remember all these details thoroughly but also allows to remember these visual representations for a longer duration of time. The colors and the figures make it very easy for the information to be digested quite easily.
7. Practice Practice and Practice:
Thorough practice always enables the learning process to be smooth and also ensures the concepts are understood pretty clear. In this phase, you could attempt more on the practice tests or mock tests to understand the format and also the difficulty levels of the certification examinations. This allows you to gain a better understanding of the exam pattern as well.
8. Do the Math always:
If you have gone through the sample tests or mock tests, you wouldn’t deny the fact that the Microsoft Certification exam questions are pretty lengthy. It takes a considerable amount of time to read through and understand these questions even before we answer them.
Hence, there is always a need to keep a track on the time that you spend on understanding these questions. The thumb rule is to answer the questions that you know first and attempt those which you don’t know at the end.
9. Acclimatization is always required:
For any of the Microsoft certification examinations, preparation is never complete until you get yourself acclimatized with the subject that revolves around the exam topic. Without the understanding of that, the preparation can never be considered complete.
10. Read Microsoft and think Microsoft:
The examination questionnaire can sometimes be set on a different level of thinking. By this, we mean to say that you should always be able to efficiently think to solve real-time issues. With a better understanding of the topics, the certification exams aren’t that tough either.
In this article, we have tried to understand what is SCCM and where does this tool finds its usage in a typical Organization setup. We have gone through in detail about the two best available SCCM certifications that a working professional can get through to have a better understanding of SCCM and to acquire better job opportunities in this field. We also have checked in detail what these certifications would cover as such and provided all the details about them to the best of our knowledge.