Saturday, April 26, 2014

Weeks 6 - 8 of Training: Department of State Applied Systems

Welp, this week winds up the longest of our classes. DoS Applied Systems is, as far as I can tell, a fancy name for "Windows Essentials at Post." Our instructors said that, in the past, the requirement for passing this class was tied to successfully receiving a Microsoft certificate. However, since then they've moved to in-house testing and, to some extent, watered down the Microsoft focus with Department specific best practices. Unfortunately for those of us who have moderate to extensive experience administering an active directory Windows domain... this class was painful. The instructors were fantastic (and very funny!), but it's hard to sit through a class you could be teaching and maintain an appearance of polite interest. Fortunately, the instructors were aware of this, and very willing to turn a blind eye to off-topic internet surfing. 

That's not to say that the course wasn't worthwhile, despite my relatively firm grasp of the Windows material, I did learn some things specific to the Department (such as naming schema and how post transfers work). Also, many of my colleagues with less technical backgrounds found the class quite intimidating. It consisted of Windows administration instruction (tailored to the DoS), practical labs, guest speakers from assorted support groups, and field trips. The guest speakers were well chosen, and I was once again surprised by the shear scale of the Foreign Service. I've seen the gross numbers several times, but they often don't include contractors... and numbers just don't have the same wow factor as seeing a giant call center dedicated to three groups who's sole job is to support the domain level technical needs of our posts overseas.


  1. Thank you very much for your blog, currently following in your footsteps and awaiting my notification of Future Oral Assessment. I am assuming I will be invited as I have received an update saying I have been pushed on to the next stage.

    Your mile markers are very useful as are your class updates. Looking forward to it all.

    Thanks again,

  2. Awesome, congratulations! Most of the people I've spoken to skipped the "prepare to schedule your Oral Assessment at some later point" step. So you might be further along than you think. Either way, best of luck, I know they've been hiring like crazy recently (if my extra large class and all the open reqs are any indication), so we can use all the new people we can get! I know the waiting can be tough, during the application process, but it's good practice, I mean, I'm still anxiously awaiting things, in this case, getting to post!