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Say Hey! to the MCSA

October 11 was a busy day at Microsoft: that's also when the new Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (or MCSA) credentials were announced. Next, I'll provide an overview of this new program, including overall requirements and a couple of new exams being introduced as part of its core. Please note that the MCSA is designated as an "...on Microsoft Windows 2000" certification from the get-go, so it applies only to Windows 2000 and to Windows XP/Server .NET.

The MCSA is a hands-on, nitty-gritty operational certification that aims to identify individuals who work on Microsoft networks, and who fill system or network administrator job roles. Here's what Microsoft says about this cert:

The Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) on Microsoft Windows 2000 certification is designed for professionals who implement, manage, and troubleshoot existing network and system environments based on the Microsoft Windows® 2000 and Windows .NET Server platforms. Implementation responsibilities include installing and configuring parts of the systems. Management responsibilities include administering and supporting the systems.

Microsoft goes on to identify numerous categories of IT workers for whom the MCSA is appropriate, including the following:

  • Network administrators
  • Network engineers
  • Systems administrators
  • Information technology professionals
  • Information systems administrators
  • Network technicians
  • Technical support specialists

Furthermore, Microsoft's notions of a typical work environment for an MCSA are in medium to large organizations, where there are from 200 to 26,000 users, and anywhere from 2 to 100 physical locations. Networks that MCSAs manage typically offer messaging, database, and file and print services. Such networks also use or need proxies or firewalls, and support Internet, intranet, and remote access. MCSAs must also understand how to manage large numbers of client computers. Supporting branch office and remote client connectivity, and connecting corporate networks to the Internet are likewise important to MCSAs.

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