How to pass your first Microsoft International certification

First time certification will be your first good or worst experience, but if you want differentiate yourself with the other. Certification will give you better understanding, better skill, and better insight about the technical competency. This tips will give you a non-technical tips about how to prepare your first innteranational certification.

Tips 1. Find and understand your certification competency

Visit Microsoft learning web site, find your certification that you want to obtain. For example, as a daily user of Visual Studio ALM, I might choose visual studio for my certification.

Tips 2. Understand how many exam that you need to obtain your certification

You will see several grade for your certification. For example, on Visual Studio, you will have MTA and MCSD certification. If you don’t have any experience on certification entry level such MTA will help you much to understand the ‘look and feel’ of certification, but if you already join others certification from other provider such as IBM, COMPTIA, or CISCO. You might choose direct expert level certification which are MCSD. On this step, you can choose your path such as MSCD: Applcation Lifecycle Management.

You will see that you need to pass 496, 497, and 498. It means that you need to pass the three certification to get MCSD.

Tips 3. If multiple exams exist choose the easiest one

On this example, Visual Studio ALM has three exams. it depends on your competency that you already have to choose it first. You don’t need to pass incrementally i.e. 496, 497, 498. you can choose one for example you can pass 497 first after that 496 and the last is 498. it depends on your confidence which one is the easiest one between them.

Tips 4. Find the preparation the skill measured on the exam

On the exam page for example 497, you will find two valuable information. The first one is skill measured and preparation material. Skill measured will give you knowledge about the exam composition. it has percentage on each topic. For example Manage Test case will have 30-35% it means it will have between 12-15 questions (one exam has assumption 40 questions). The higher precentage means you should understand the detail of the topic.

Tips 5. Preparing the exam by learning the materials

On the same page, you will have the preparation material. it depends on the exam. some of the preparation material will have one of more resources such as

if you have additional budget my advise is to join Classroom lerning. it will give you better learning experience and discussion with the traoner and former student that already join the certification. However, if you have limited budget like myself, I suggest you to find a book on MSPress and schedule yourself for MVA training

Tips 6. Practices make perfect

You need at least one or two week to prepare and to schedule your exam to certiport or pearson vue. please try to understand the type of question, practice with it, and try to pass any practice examination on MVA, Books, or any learning material.

Tips 7. Join your exam and never cheat yourself

Exam is to proof that you have a competency. Never put a cheat effort on it. Learn and prepare it well to obtain the certification and the most important things is your knwowledge that you can share to the ICT society.

That’s it prepare your certification well

5 Simple Tips to secure SQL Server 2014

Building an aplication that use SQL Server means that we give the SQL Server an authority to store and manage the data. In order to make sure that the data always available and secure, we need to take care the configuration that will help the development team to make sure the system and secure and available. Let’s start the tips

Tips 1. Physical Security

Put the server on a room with sufficient security (locked), secure from power surge, and of course have a backup power. Limit the access with external pheriperals such as external hard drive, usb and others. If you want to backup consider to use backup tape, secure external hard rive, or even cloud storage. Please appendix about recommended hard drive to store the application.

Tips 2. Operating System Security

We need to configure our system for SQL Server cimmunication such as TCP / IP Communication and Maintenance plan.

Tips 3. SQL Server Security

SQL server has a lot features that related security. I recommends you to do several installation and configuration below:

  • If your application is built for .NET and run on a same network, we recommend you to disable user authenication using user name and password. it means you just need to use Windows Authentication. However, if your application work across domain or even internet, you should activate it.
  • Turn the sql browser off. It makes the other client application can’t scan and can’t find your sql server except you give them the server name or the IP.
  • Use TCP IP address to access the server. Please consider to never use the named pipe with default name, You should changes the server name and use TCP IP binding for external access.
  • Move the default location of the database files when you install the database. It is good idea if you move the database location into the others location.

There are plenty of security features for SQL Server such as authorization, encryption, port access. Furthermore, you can see the detail here

Tips 4. Application Security

In order to make your application and SQL server secure you should consider following actions:

  • Validate any inputs on your application to prevent SQL Injection. Using Stored Procedure is recommended.
  • Limited access to SQL Server through one account for one application. It’s bad idea to create a lot SQL Server users for one application. Consider use only one users with least previllage.
  • Never put server information when your codes is error. Some of developers, give the information about server name or database name when the errors happen. Never put the detail of your server on your screen.
  • Use connection string builder, to ensure the sensitive data such as password is not stored on plain text on your web,config. Here are the sample codes

Tips 5. Social Engineering Security

This is the most effective security to make your application bullet proof. the tips are

  • Strong password for your SQL Server access.
  • Changes password at least two months for server access.
  • isolate your server, open the RD access through local lan only.

That’s it, if you have others idea, please put through a comment.

Learning Project Management with Office 365

If you have ever need to learn project management deeply by understanding every fundamental aspect. This article will cover you what need to be learnt for project management. Project management that I said is pragmatic project management. this learning guide is not ittended for PMI certification but might be usefull for your quick and daily activity when you managing the project. Before we start we need tools like

  • Microsoft Project
  • Office 365 Subscriptions
  • Office 2013 or Office 365 Pro Plus Subscriptions

Season 1 – Thoeritical

Week 1. Understanding Project Management Fundamental

You should know what is project, what is project management, who is the stakeholder, and how to measure the successful of a project.

Week 2. Project Management Lifecycle

You need to know what the steps to create the successful project whether using conventional or agile process.

Week 3. Getting Started a Project

This theory covers what you need to propare to start a fresh project.

Week 4. Project Planning and Estimation

On this week, we will learn about how to estimate and to plan a project by understanding estimation fundamental, estimation verification, and measuring estimation.

Week 5. Budget Planning

On this week, we will propose a project budget based on the project planning and estimation step. we will also learn how to understand the budget component, overhead, and budget negotiation.

Week 6. Project Management Tools

In this week, we will discuss the known project management tools. we will choose on of the famous project management tools like Primavera, Open Project, or Microsoft Project to implement the fundamental aspect of project management.

Season 2 – Practical

Week 7.  Creating Project Proposal

The practical session deep focused on daily task on your project management. this week will discuss the project proposal that contains the scope of work of our project, investment budget, timeline, and many others detail.

Week 8. Managing a Meeting

This practical tips will handle a meeting as a fundamental of client satisfication. This cover preparing a meeting, creating a meeting schedule, managing agenda, executing the meeting, and creating the side notes of meeting.

Week 9. Creating a project team

This week will discuss how you compose the project team, when will you need additional team member, and when you need the consultant or the bigger team.

Week 10. Running The Project

This week will discuss how to steer a project, keep the project rhytm works well, and understanding the basic control management to run the project.

Week 11. Managing Technical Documentation

This week will dicuss the technical documentation that might be needed as an artifact of the project.

Week 12. Project Deliverables

This week will discuss how to setup deliverables, deliver the project, create a training session, and launch the project.

Week 13. Completing a Project

This will discuss how to complete a project, how to create better ending, creating portfolio, and composing a prokect knowledge based for the next project.

Week 14. After Project Support

This week will discuss how to setup long term commitment to support and to operate a project result. as well as to make an opportunity to the next project.

That’s it our learning plan to understand project management better, and hopefully with 14 week (@2 hours) you will get better understand your project. If you need a learning kit, or even onsite training about this project management you can contact me through email, see you

Delivering ALM Lab for Developer MCT

As Microsoft Certified Trainer, we delivered a training through a virtualization and most of it you will use hyper-V as a standard of virtualization technology. However, many labs on MOC (Microsoft Official Curriculum) uses Level 7 Hardware. It means you will need at least 8 GB Memory, and 1000 TB hard disk with 7200 RPM. Unfortunately, although you will have the hardware, the client will have same difficulty. for example, you deliver training on outside classroom without sufficient hardware. This article will help you to prepare the limited infrastructure scenario.

Building your own hardware

If you need to bring your own laptop, the idea of this laptop is should separate from your daily laptop. It should as clean as possible with the specification below

  • Laptop with 13.3 or larger to make sure you have better visibility on delivering the session. 12 inch will work but you should make sure that it has capability to display at least 760p
  • 500 GB hard drive or larger. You need a lot of extra spaces to host many VM. Therefore, you should have at least 500 GB. SSD will great but if you can’t achieve it you can use Traditional hard disk, hybrid disk, or combination between traditional hard disk with ready boost SD Card / Flash drive
  • Wireless mouse, external hard drive, and spare USB flash drive will help you when you should share a quick content
  • Screen projector at least HD Resolution 768p
  • Screen connector like HDMI cable converter, VGA, and others.

Preparing the Software

So after you have sufficient mobile hardware, it is time to prepare your software please check it out:

  • Windows 8.1 Professional or Windows Server 2012. There is no way for you to use Windows 8.1 single language or even Windows 7 64 bit, since we need the Hyper-V features.
  • Microsoft OneNote for note taking software when you discuss a content with the participants
  • OneDrive cloud storage for sync your content
  • A development server that can be used with remote desktop connection. This will help you when you need a quick demo but you don’t have sufficient hardware on your mobile. i.e. Doing a demo for TFS load testing (non cloud)
  • Download this ALM VM for a great content and demo
  • Last but not least, make sure your software is minimalist. For example, you don’t need to install Visual Studio if your VM already have the Visual Studio on it.

That’s it, enjoy your life as a trainer of ALM Visual Studio


Tips for Building Data Aware Application with SQL Server 2014

On this article, we will show you several tips to prepare and to plan data aware application with SQL Server 2014. The tips should be considered if you want to make your application evolve with the database technology as well as technology trend like a cloud.

Tips 1 – Avoid Create a SQL Login Directly as the user

It is not a good idea to create an user that has direct access to sql server. It will be great if your application uses Windows Authenticaon (if the application on the same machine) or SQL Authentication with only several user role. Never put end user as a sql login database. It will make you harder to maintenance your database.

Tips 2 – Avoid Views on the database

Views not only will make your database consumes more memory, it will also make your database wont be compatible with the cloud environment like Azure. So drop your Views, use your Stored Procedure instead.

Tips 3- Never Shrink Your Database if less than 10 GB

If you think that shrinking database will help your database performance. Think it again!, shrink a database will make your database highly fragmented. Please consider shrink the database if larger than 10 GB and you follow the shrink method with the rebuilding index.

Tips 4. Creating a maintenance Plan

Fixing database is the last option, please create maintenance plan to make sure your database work on optimal situation. Take a look the Maintenance Plan tips here

Tips 5. Stored Procedure is recommended way

If you have intensive data transaction, please think to use SP rather than direct access via ADO.NET, LINQ2SQL, or ORM.

Tips 6. Backup your database to the cloud

You can backup your database to the cloud to make sure your backup is well stored. we will discuss this backup model on the next post.

Upgrading Your Database into SQL Server 2014


Upgrading is easy when we talk about one level upgrade. For example, upgrading from 2012 R2 to 2014 will be seemless. However if you upgrade from SQL Server 2000 to SQL Server 2014, you will need some tips to make the database run smoothly. This article will guide you to do step-by-step approaches.

  • Patching your SQL Server 2000 to the latest service pack (i.e. SP4(
  • Backup your SQL Server 2000 Database from your original machine
  • Install SQL Server 2008 R2 into other machine
  • Restore your backup from SQL Server 2000 to the SQL Server 2008 R2
  • Backup your SQL Server 2008 R2 database into a .bak file. You can set the compatibility backup to SQL Server 2008.
  • Create a new database on SQL Server 2014 and restore to the that data. Please do overwrite and cut the tail log to make the database clean.

Advanced Scenario

The above step is sufficient if you upgrade a simple database. However, If you have complex schema rather than dbo schema. For example, a schema based on username access. you should also script the other object. In order to do that, follow this step

  • Open your SQL Server Management Studio
  • Right click and generate script
  • Click next to continue the step. On this step, Select the database roles and schema. Confirm it with next


  • On the next step, select save to file and click advanced set true for script login, script object ;evel permission, and script owner.
  • Next to  generate script and restore the script on the upgraded database.

That’s it. If you have mpre question, please feel free to drop the comment below.

Building Maintenance Plan on SQL Server 2014


As an Admin, you want your life easier by creating automatic task on your database server. However, you don’t have a good best practices how to create a good maintenance


Preparation Phase

In order to create a better maintenance plan you should have at least

  • Two hard disk, the first hard disk is for transactional and the second hard disk work as a backup. Having one hard disk and doing a backup on the same hard disk is somewhat strange
  • An email account that broadcast every update from the maintenance plan on SQL Server 2014. This email address should have SMTP access.
  • Email recipient list that will receive a report from your server
  • Activate your sql server agent (Agent XP) and Database Email

Executing Phase

SQL Server already has a maintenance plan since 2000. This table will help you how to create better SQL Server 2014 maintenance plan

Task Small and Medium Size Database / Transaction Big size database / Transaction Reason
Shrink database NEVER MANUAL it makes your database highly fragmented. after this action please do rebuild index
Full backup Daily Monthly or Weekly use another hard drive to do this kind of backup such as upload it to azure
Differential backup Hourly Weekly or Daily  
Transactional log Optional Hourly  
Rebuild index Monthly Weekly best combined before full backup
Reorganize Index and Update statictic Optional Weekly or Optional Optional if you already do rebuild index
Cleanup maintenance task Optional Weekly or Monthly  


Some good books that can you use for this purpose

Preparing a Project with Visual Studio Online


This article will cover how to prepare a project with Visual Studio Online and Agile method. This article assumes that you already have Visual Studio Online account. If you don’t have one, just create at

Creating a project and version control 

  • On your visual studio online account, create a new project
  • You can full a project information like the picture below


  • After waiting for several seconds, you can navigate to the project.

Adding a member

  • After creating a project, you can add a member by clicking manage link on your project dashboard


  • You can add your team member by typing his name or his Microsoft account email.
  • Please note, that your team member should be registered on visual studio online to join the project.

Planning the iterations

  • On a real project, the customer and the team meet each other on a session called a planning game. The planning game will discuss the user story, the itreration length, and the release plan of the system. On this step, we assume that you already have the user story and the release plan of the project.
  • You manage the iteration length by clicking the gear icon on the right uppoer of your visual studio


  • Select the iterations tab. For this example we create one release with two iteration.


  • As you see we also set the date for the release plan date and the iteration. You can see on the picture, we put an overhead time to make sure the quality of our source is sufficient. Please make sure to check the checkbox to activate the iteration backlog
  • Open back your project, and visit Work tab, you will see that we are ready to add some user story on the Visual Studio Online.


Conslusion and Future works

On this post we create a project with Visual Studio Online as a fisrt step on Application Lifecycle Management. On the next post we will discuss how to create a feature, story amd task. You can grab the visual studio on Amazon.

OneDrive Get Sync Problem but All Files are Synced


You sync your one drive with your PC and you get an error that tell there is a sync problem, but after you click the detail it is said the all files are up to date


This is because some temp files can’t be synced to your OneDrive and make a few conflict with your sync status


  • Open your OneDrive Application
  • Find a folder that has an issue. it is symbolized by the cross symbol on Windows RT or ‘!’ mark on your PC
  • Open the hidden files on File Explorer
  • Find the file that has ‘!’ mark on your PC and delete it
  • On the OneDrive App click the Sync button
  • Solved


Unable to Add Data Connection on Visual Studio 2013 after SQL Server 2014 Upgrade


You uninstall SQL Server 2012 and install a new SQL Server 2014 for your development machine. However after the installation of SQL Server 2014 you get an error like below

Could not load file or assembly Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Sdk.Sfc, Version=

And you can’t add the data connection on Visual Studio 2013



This is because you remove the entire installation of SQL server 2012. Visual Studio 2013 need the installation of some of SQL Server 2012 library


Simply download the latest package of this library to fix the problem

    You done !

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About @ridife

This blog will be dedicated to integrate a knowledge between academic and industry need in Application Lifecycle Management (ALM), ICT tips, and Software Engineering Research. Enjoy this blog and let's get in touch in any social media.

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