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Microsofts Change of Heart on MCSE

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On October 11, 2001, Microsoft indicated it would be training its Windows NT 4.0 certifications, including the MCSE under the version designation of “MCSEs on Windows NT.” Individuals who certify on Windows 2000 or Windows XP/Server .NET will be designated as “MCSEs on Microsoft Windows 2000.” At the same time, Microsoft also introduced a new certification, the Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator, or MCSA. This new certification requires 4 exams, and includes 2 new core elements: 70-218 and 70-278, which cover administration of Windows 2000 and Windows Server .NET networks, respectively.
Ed Tittel is a regular contributor to InformIT.

On October 11, 2001, Microsoft announced a dramatic change in its policies on MCSE certification. Instead of retiring all Windows NT 4.0 MCSEs on December 31, 2001, and recognizing only Windows 2000 and Windows XP/Server .NET certifications going forward, the company has now decided to create separate categories for the MCSE certification. Thus, they will now distinguish what they call "MCSEs on Microsoft Windows 2000" from what they call "MCSEs on Windows NT."

Likewise, the list of Microsoft certifications will therefore remain larger than earlier announcements had indicated. As a result of retaining Windows NT 4.0 credentials, the following list represents the range of certifications that Microsoft will continue to recognize:

  • MCSE on Windows 2000 (makes exams on Windows XP Professional/Windows Server .NET interchangeable with those for Windows 2000)

  • MCSE on Windows NT 4.0

  • MCDBA on SQL Server 2000 (makes exams on SQL Server 7.0 and SQL Server 2000 interchangeable)

  • MCSD

  • MCSE+I on Windows NT 4.0

  • MCP+I on Windows NT 4.0

  • MCP+Site Building (not updated for Windows 2000)

  • MCP

Straight from the Source

Quoting from a conference call with Robert Stewart, General Manager of the Microsoft Training and Certification Group, and Anne Marie McSweeney, Microsoft's Director of the Certification and Skills Assessment Group, MCP Magazine reported on October 11 that:

  • Microsoft will "create version designations of its [certification] titles..."

  • "...updated designations will appear on MCP transcripts probably beginning in April 2002"

  • Microsoft will not offer updated versions of the MCSE+I, MCP+I, or MCP+Site Building certifications for Windows 2000 or Windows .NET Server

  • Retirement of the 70-240 Microsoft Windows 2000 Accelerated Exam for MCPs Certified on Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 exam on 12/31/2001 is unchanged.

In the same call, Microsoft revealed that only about 47,000 individuals (of the more than 398,000 total MCSEs as of August 2, 2001) currently qualify as MCSEs on Windows 2000.

My opinion: these numbers help to explain Microsoft's change of heart, because they indicate it's unlikely that more than 60,000 or 70,000 individuals would remain MCSEs in 2002, had Microsoft stuck to its prior strategy. And since these numbers demonstrate the clout, appeal, and importance of certification programs, Microsoft is not only responding to input from customers and partners: it's also protecting its position as the biggest IT certification program around.

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