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HOWTO: Transition Your Windows Server 2003 MCSE to Windows Server 2008 MCITP

A looming question on the minds of many who are credentialed as Windows Server 2003 Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers (MCSEs) is, "How in the world do I upgrade my certification to Windows Server 2008? The process, as it stands today, seems so convoluted." Well, let me help you make some sense of this admittedly tricky transition path.

The first thing that I need you to understand is the motivation behind the new Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) credential. Microsoft developed this title to help the certification candidate more granularly define his or her skill set in the information technology marketplace.

To this end, there exist two separate top-tier IT Pro certifications for Windows Server 2008:

Yes, you read that correctly: as of the Windows Server 2008 product, there is no MCSE that we have all grown to love over the past...what?...10 years or so.

The MCITP: Server Administrator title is the premium version of the old Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) title for Windows Server 2003. The MCSA job role represents the "worker bee" in systems engineering: the day-to-day scut work with which most of us in the industry are intimately familiar.

The MCITP: Enterprise Administrator is the next generation of the MCSE. The Enterprise Administrator's job role (according to Microsoft) "validates your skills focused on Windows infrastructure design." Thus, we have the front-line footsoldier (Server Administrator) and the back-end architect (Enterprise Administrator).

Now for the moment that you all have been patiently waiting for: How many exams do you have to pass in order to transition your MCSE to one or both of the MCITP credentials?

Step #1: Earn Your Windows Server 2008 MCTS

The first exam on your MCSE-to-MCITP journey is this one:

By passing this exam you will in one fell swoop amass all three Windows Server 2008 Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) titles:

  • MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Configuration
  • MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure Configuration
  • MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure Configuration

Step #2: Pass the Relevant Professional Series Exams

There exists a separate exam track for each "flavor" of the Windows Server 2008 MCITP

To earn the MCITP: Server Administrator title, you must pass the following single exam:

To attain the MCITP: Enterprise Administrator credential, you must pass two exams:

AND either one (but not both) of the following two exams:

There you have it. Be sure to hit me up with any questions in the comments portion of this post.

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