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The Curious Case of MCSA: Windows Server 2016

Life comes at you fast, and so does IT. Sometimes keeping pace with technology, particularly for those called on to provide tutelage for everyone else, can be deeply frustrating.

Every month, one of the Microsoft Press folks posts an item to the Born to Learn blog called the “round-up” to talk about recent releases. This month's roundup, headlined “Microsoft Press Round-Up for February 2017” and dated Feb. 2, captured my attention as I started browsing through it and saw two new Exam Ref titles:


Ed T Fig 1 2 17 2017

Two out of three ain't bad, but it's not a full set yet. Source: Microsoft Press


70-740 Installation, Storage and Compute with Windows Server 2016
70-741 Networking with Windows Server 2016


Knowing that these two exams are also the first two required for the MCSA: Windows 2016 cert, I bet myself that the next title would be 70-742 Identity with Windows Server 2016, because that’s the third exam required to earn that certification.


Windows Server 2016 went into public release in late September of last year, and none of these three exams was available to beta test three months ago. So, I’ve been expecting the full set to show up in a Microsoft Press Round-up piece since last month. Hence, my certainty that Microsoft Learning would deliver the hat trick as soon as those first two items scrolled past on my screen.


As you can read on the book page for the 70-742 title at, however, the book’s not scheduled to appear until May 5 — about 12 weeks away as I write this (12 weeks plus a few days, actually). What gives, one might ask?


Why It’s Hard to Keep Up with Fast Times


As some of you may know, I’ve written a few Microsoft certification books myself, and I can tell you it’s a lot of work to pull one of these titles together. With Microsoft’s new “OS as a service” model, updates and changes keep showing up until a new OS is officially released — and forever afterward, in fact, on a regular schedule.


This makes understanding what to cover difficult without having taken the actual certification exam. You also have to read between the lines on the exam objectives and other official info very, very carefully.