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Goodbye to MCSE?

Goodbye to MCSE?

RE: Goodbye to MCSE?

I'm still finding now, in Nov 2009, that not many people (by this I mean recruiters, HR people or agencies) are all that aware of the MCITP certification.  

That article says that the MCITP is more attainable than the MCSE and that is true from the point of view that it is way too easy.  Of course I can only speak from experience of doing the MCITP Enterprise Administrator and the associated upgrade and other exams I had to do to get that cert.  Those exams were way too easy and I used the feedback part of the exams to convey that, whether MS paid any attention to that or not I don't know.  

Personally I favour my MCSE over the MCITP:EA cert I have, it felt more rewarding to get the MCSE as it was harder work to attain.

 

Paul
MCTS: Exchange 2007, Configuration
MCSA:2003
MCSE:2003
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator

RFC 2795 - The Infinite Monkey Protocol Suite (IMPS)
http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc2795.html

Difficult takes a day, impossible takes a week

RE: Goodbye to MCSE?

(OP)
Well, my situation is that I'm a longtime computer geek but had not been certified. When my last job was going south, I got the A+ and MCP. Was in the middle of the MCSE track when I got my next job. That preoccupied my time for far too long. Now I realize I need to get the cert done so I can be prepared for any other way the job market shifts. I knew there were some 2008 exams out now that could be substituted for the 2003 stuff later in the MCSE track and hit wikipedia to look it up. You can imagine how gobsmacked I was when I saw MCSE listed as a former cert!

This MCITP thing really doesn't seem to make any sense. First off, everyone even tangentially associated with computers knows MCSE. Probably not more than 1 in 50 IT guys has even heard of MCITP. That's a bad sign when your cert won't speak for itself in an interview, you have to explain to the boss what it is and what it's good for. And second off, it doesn't really seem to exactly replace or improve what the MCSE says you know.  

RE: Goodbye to MCSE?

Some corrections...

First, that's a pretty old article.

Second, none of the 2008 exams substitute for anything in the MCSA/MCSE track.

Now, all that said, there were some issues with the MCSA/MCSE certification.  

In some countries, the title of "Engineer" is a protected title/profession.  In other words, there are professional associations of of engineers (true, engineering-school graduate engineers) who took issue with the use of the word "engineer."  This caused some confusion, some frustration, and other issues.  So the title ended up changing.

Beyond that, the MCSA and MCSE were pretty generic certifications.  If you specialize in Exchange, Security, Active Directory, Identity Management, or Web Infrastructure, what certification do you get?  An MCSE.  How do you differentiate between those skill sets when all you have is an MCSE?  And more to the point, are all MCSEs equal?  Sure, all MCSEs had to pass the same (mostly) core exams, but they could pick almost anything that they wanted for electives.  So how do you quickly determine that the MCSE that you just got a resume for has skills that map directly to your requirements?  You don't.

So they revamped the entire certification process to make it more specific and more job role focused.  There are now four tiers:

MCTS - Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist - You earn this from passing a single exam on a single technology or product.

MCITP - Microsoft Certified IT Professional - You earn this from passing a group of specific MCTS exams related to the technology followed by a PRO exam that is targeted at the job role.

MCM - Microsoft Certified Master - You earn this by having a long career of working with a specific technology, then applying to the MCM program, and taking 3 weeks of classes at Microsoft in Redmond followed by several written and lab-based exams.

MCA - Microsoft Certified Architect - This is similar to the MCM program but is targeted more at architect/designers than technical implementers.  It incorporates more business-level understanding and requires you to pass an interview with the MCA review board.

The MCM and MCA are rare and are extremely expensive to obtain.

Now, all that said, with the new MCITP certifications you have an easy way of determining what skill sets the individual holds by comparing the job role with the MCITP title.  The following MCITP titles are available:

MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator 7
MCITP: Consumer Support Technician
MCITP: Enterprise Support Technician
MCITP: Enterprise Administrator
MCITP: Server Administrator
MCITP: Database Administrator 2008
MCITP: Database Developer 2008
MCITP: Business Intelligence Developer 2008
MCITP: Database Administrator
MCITP: Database Developer
MCITP: Business Intelligence Developer
MCITP: Enterprise Project Management with Microsoft Office Project Server 2007
MCITP: Enterprise Messaging Administrator
MCITP: Windows Server 2008 R2 Virtualization Administrator

You can clearly see how these map directly to job roles and the skill sets related to those roles.

The MCSA and MCSE roughly map to the Server Administrator and Enterprise Administrator MCITPs, but not 100%.  That is why there are upgrade exams for both MCSA and MCSE certifications, but the upgrade process still requires that the MCSA/MCSE certified person take the upgrade exam AND the PRO exam.

It all really does make sense.  The only real problem is that they are letting go of titles that have been in use for 15+ years, so it will take some time for people to adjust to the new system.  Unfortunately this was the only sensible way to do things since the new certifications are so different from the older programs that reusing the old titles would just cause even more confusion.

Now, as to pagy's complaint that the exams were too easy, I understand that feeling because I thought that too when I was taking them.  We both took the upgrade exam and the PRO exam (plus Vista) and were set.  But the thing to keep in mind is that the upgrade exam is supposed to be an easier process than taking all of the exams from scratch.  With the upgrade Microsoft is saying, "OK, we get that you're an MCSE so we're only going to test you on the stuff that's new in 2008, and on top of that we're only going to cover the material that is specific to the EA role (ignoring the SA role altogether)."  So it makes sense that it would be easier.

I haven't taken any of the stand-alone exams (as opposed to the upgrade bundle), but from what I have heard from coworkers who were not upgrading from the MCSE the exams were much harder.  For example, instead of just covering the new features in Active Directory that came with Server 2008 they also cover all of the general AD related-knowledge that you had to demonstrate to get your MCSE.  By doing an upgrade exam you're shortcutting that process.

Also keep in mind that we both got certified within a month or two of the exams being released.  As time has passed Microsoft has updated the exams, adding more complex scenario-based questions to the pool of potential questions.  I'm assuming that this is part of their standard process, but it may have been a result of lots of feedback about the exams being easy.  They have also started adding simulations into the exams, which have not been present in the past (and makes them more difficult).

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCTS:Windows 7
MCTS:Hyper-V
MCTS:System Center Virtual Machine Manager
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator  

RE: Goodbye to MCSE?

(OP)
This still strikes me as more confusing, not less confusing. Not that my opinion means squat to anyone that matters.  

RE: Goodbye to MCSE?

I can see how someone might think that it's more confusing because it's new, or more confusing because there are more options, but I think it's actually a lot less confusing when you start looking at how certs map to job responsibilities.  It's much more clear with regards to that than the previous system.

That also means that there isn't a "one size fits all" certification that you can get anymore.  Instead you have to specialize.  Some people won't like that because they want to be a generalist rather than a specialist.  But when you look at how the Microsoft product offerings have changed since the NT4 days I think that it was inevitable that they would move away from a generalist certification an on to specialist certifications.

By the way, there's nothing that says that you can't have multiple certifications.  With the MCITP:Enterprise Administrator I only need to pass one exam to get the MCITP:Server Administrator (which I'm working on this month), and then after that I'll be taking the two other exams that I need for MCITP: Windows Server 2008 R2 Virtualization Administrator.  Within a couple of months I'll have 9 MCTS certs and 3 MCITP certs, plus the MCSA and MCSE certs that I already have.

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCTS:Windows 7
MCTS:Hyper-V
MCTS:System Center Virtual Machine Manager
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator  

RE: Goodbye to MCSE?

(OP)
I think it's worse. The IT industry is getting crazier and crazier by the day. There's absolutely no telling what you'll be dealing with from day to day and job to job. Narrow specialization is dangerous because you can easily find yourself in a niche that's become obsolescent. I worked in an AS/400 shop on the tail end of the dot.com boom and the RPG programmers were shivering from the winds of change. Of course, in the middle of all that hype the web seemed ginormous. I'm not sure what current market demand is for AS/400 gurus but the prospects were pretty bleak back then.

I'm reminded of the ridiculous number of choices for W7. You have starter, home basic, home premium, professional, enterprise, ultimate. Honestly, I don't even see the need for splitting home and business, let alone all that additional market segmentation.

I'm more of a fan of having a general cert that says "I can be taught and learn" and then take individual products as they come up. What I'm not happy about is cert decay. A+ was supposed to be get-your-foot-in-the-door for helpdesk. MCSE was supposed to be after you've been in the field for a few years and were ready to move up to the next level. It was never supposed to be the kind of thing someone is going through bootcamps for without ever having worked in the real world and with no computer experience. But HR people started demanding MCSE's for people on helpdesk and so there you have cert decay, it's not saying as much about you as it should. Every paper MCSE encountered makes a person more skeptical about the next MCSE they meet.
 

RE: Goodbye to MCSE?

If you were a hiring manager, would you rather have a general cert that says "I can be taught and learn" (a bit ironic, considering your previous endorsement of TestKing), or would you rather have a specific cert that says "Not only can I be taught and learn, but I have already been taught and learned this skillset that you are looking for"?

The whole generalization versus specialization thing is a fait accompli.  You can be a generalist, but you will typically only work in general roles, or for smaller organizations where you have to wear many hats.  If you want to advance your career and move up the food chain you can't do it being a generalist.  "Jack of all trades and master of none" sounds cool, until you realize that the "master" of one trade is making twice as much money as Jack.

You're right that it's not without it's risks, but if you are forward thinking you can mitigate this to some extent.  You mention AS/400 and RPG skillsets becoming obsolete.  I wonder how many of those AS/400 guys saw it coming a few years earlier and started working to develop a different set of skills so that when the winds of change came blowing they were ready to ride them out.

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCTS:Windows 7
MCTS:Hyper-V
MCTS:System Center Virtual Machine Manager
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator  

RE: Goodbye to MCSE?

(OP)
Like I said, I know some people frown on the testkings. They're a tool and therefore any flaw is not inherent to the tool but the hand that wields it.  

RE: Goodbye to MCSE?

"It was never supposed to be the kind of thing someone is going through bootcamps for without ever having worked in the real world and with no computer experience. But HR people started demanding MCSE's for people on helpdesk and so there you have cert decay, it's not saying as much about you as it should. Every paper MCSE encountered makes a person more skeptical about the next MCSE they meet. "

That's true of any certification where you don't have a single entity like the AMA for doctors. Would you want Microsoft to control the process so tightly?

RE: Goodbye to MCSE?

Generally speaking I would agree with you about tool use, but since TestKing is illegally compiled material and it's use is considered cheating then I'd say that the problem is with the tool itself.  Regardless of how you use TestKing it is still not a legitimate (legal) tool.

http://www.CertGuard.com/Search.asp?Site=testking.com

 

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCTS:Windows 7
MCTS:Hyper-V
MCTS:System Center Virtual Machine Manager
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator  

RE: Goodbye to MCSE?

(OP)
Oh. I was not aware that there were legal concerns with them. I thought the conflict was more philosophical. Learn something every day.  

RE: Goodbye to MCSE?


kmcferrin, I'll be doing the 2008 r2 virtualization admin at some point soon as well, just going to get the VCP done first!!

Some more articles about MCSE 'versus' MCITP

http://windowsserver.trainsignal.com/why-getting-your-mcse-now-is-still-a-good-idea

http://windowsserver.trainsignal.com/whats-next-for-mcse#more-7149

http://windowsserver.trainsignal.com/mcse-mcsa-mcitp-mcts

Paul
MCTS: Exchange 2007, Configuration
MCSA:2003
MCSE:2003
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator

RFC 2795 - The Infinite Monkey Protocol Suite (IMPS)
http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc2795.html

Difficult takes a day, impossible takes a week

RE: Goodbye to MCSE?

Paul,

If you don't have a Microsoft Learning SME profile filled out already you might to get that done pretty quickly.  The three exams needed for the Virtualization Admin certification are going into beta in December and they're sending out invites for the beta exams (free tests).  I got the invite for the first exam (70-659: TS: Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization) yesterday, but there are two more betas coming (70-669: TS: Desktop Virtualization and 70-693: Pro: Windows Server 2008 R2, Virtualization Administrator).

Details on how to fill out the SME profile:

Step 1

Go to http://connect.microsoft.com/.
Step 2

Click the Sign In button in the upper right-hand corner of the Connect home page.

    * Don't have a Windows Live ID? That's OK, just click the Sign Up Now button and follow the instructions. Start at Step 1 again after you get your Windows Live ID.
    * Already have a Windows Live ID? Great! Just enter your credentials. If you have previously registered on Connect, you'll be presented with the Your Dashboard page after you sign in. If you're new to Connect, you'll need to complete the registration process–see the P.S. at the bottom of this post for instructions.

Step 3

In the upper left corner of the Your Dashboard page, click the Home button to get back to the Connect home page. In the right-hand column of the home page, you'll see the question "Were you invited to join Connect?" Put this invitation ID in the box: SME2-JC3G-DKDY and click Go.

You should now be on the home page for the MSL Subject Matter Experts site! Click any of the Microsoft Learning SME Profile links on the home page to get to the survey.  

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCTS:Windows 7
MCTS:Hyper-V
MCTS:System Center Virtual Machine Manager
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator  

RE: Goodbye to MCSE?

Aye I have an SME profile, actually got an invite to do one of the Exchange 2010 beta exams the other day.

Just don't have time to commit to doing them at the moment, I take the VCP exam next week and should I pass then I can start thinking about the MS virtualisation stuff..

Thanks for the reminder though, I've updated my profile to include virtualisation.

Paul
MCTS: Exchange 2007, Configuration
MCSA:2003
MCSE:2003
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator

RFC 2795 - The Infinite Monkey Protocol Suite (IMPS)
http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc2795.html

Difficult takes a day, impossible takes a week

RE: Goodbye to MCSE?

Sorry Kmc but nothing will help... if someone wants to hire a lvl 1 tech support they will still  advertise for an MCSE.... it's just the way MS set it up to be

RE: Goodbye to MCSE?

It's not the way that Microsoft set it up.  It's the way that HR departments/hiring managers have made it because they can't be bothered to understand what they are looking for or what the acronyms that they throw out means.  Nobody with an MCSE is going to seriously consider tier 1 tech support jobs, because they can make far more money doing something else.

If you want to know how Microsoft "set it up" read their MCSE candidate profile here:

http://www.microsoft.com/australia/learning/mcp/mcse/windows2003/default.mspx

Quote:

Candidate profile
Candidates for the MCSE on Windows Server 2003 certification typically have at least one year of experience implementing and administering both network and client operating systems. They are knowledgeable about the planning, design, and implementation of Microsoft Windows server solutions and architectures in mid-sized to large companies.

Related job titles: systems engineer, network engineer, systems analyst, network analyst, or technical consultant.

Does that sound like a level 1 tech to you?

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCTS:Windows 7
MCTS:Hyper-V
MCTS:System Center Virtual Machine Manager
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator  

RE: Goodbye to MCSE?

(OP)
KMC, I completely agree with Microsoft's candidate profile. There's absolutely no way someone fresh off the street could properly appreciate all the material that's going to be thrown at them. However, hiring managers do specify MCSE for helpdesk. There's a local publisher in my area that demands BA degrees for scut work in the office so it's not like the IT industry is the only one out there with unrealistic requirements.

The sad fact of the matter is that people get thrown into the whole A+/MCSE track without the proper grounding. The unemployment office here is sending people to training schools with assistance money. I applaud the sentiment of wanting to help people but they're just not suitably matching people to jobs they'd enjoy.

I got sidetracked on my own cert-quest and am using my resit rights at the local school while studying up. You'll hear all sorts of horror stories of people who really have no business being in these classes. None of what I've said above is Microsoft's fault and sometimes it's not even the school's fault, it's just people taking bad advice. And the unrealistic requirements of wanting MCSE's for helpdesk, not Microsoft's fault but that's the reality of the industry out there. Should you work for a company that clueless? No, of course not! But sometimes you don't have a choice.  

RE: Goodbye to MCSE?

Ever since I first got involved in IT in the early 90's it seems like MCSE is the only certification that has received any kind of attention, even when they were all paper. I don't understand it.


 

RE: Goodbye to MCSE?

Well they weren't all paper, although there was certainly an element of that for a while but those people have been found out over the years.   

Paul
VCP4
MCTS: Exchange 2007, Configuration
MCSA:2003
MCSE:2003
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator

RFC 2795 - The Infinite Monkey Protocol Suite (IMPS)
http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc2795.html

Difficult takes a day, impossible takes a week

RE: Goodbye to MCSE?

anationalacrobat, I posted that mainly to refute Donmc67's comment that "that's the way that Microsoft set it up to be."

Paul, congrats on the VCP4.  I've been beating my boss over the head with requests for the VCP training for months, but he still won't go for it.  Apparently he thinks I know enough about VMware already that I don't need training, but being able to get the cert would be nice.

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCTS:Windows 7
MCTS:Hyper-V
MCTS:System Center Virtual Machine Manager
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator  

RE: Goodbye to MCSE?


Thanks..  Yeah having to do the course so you are eligible for the cert is a bit of a bummer.  I can see why they do it that way as it ensures you have at least some hands on time with the product but it is still a pain for those that already know the product inside out.  The exam itself was not overly difficult..

Guess I should start looking at the MS virtulisation stuff now!!

Paul
VCP4
MCTS: Exchange 2007, Configuration
MCSA:2003
MCSE:2003
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator

RFC 2795 - The Infinite Monkey Protocol Suite (IMPS)
http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc2795.html

Difficult takes a day, impossible takes a week

RE: Goodbye to MCSE?

So I just discovered the MCITP certifications... I manage a few techs and I am going to give them a chance to earn some certs on the companies dime...

Would you suggest them going for a MCSE cert or getting MCITP and MCTS certs? Is there an advantage/disadvantage to doing either???

Im two tests from MCSE myself and wondered if I should have just got the MCITP and MCTS exams instead...

Mark C.
 

RE: Goodbye to MCSE?

That depends, what certification is more relevant to their job?

Are they going to be working primarily with Windows 2003 or with newer technologies?  If they work primarily with Windows 2003 then an MCSA/MCSE would be appropriate.  If they would be working with newer technologies then the newer certifications would be more appropriate.

In either case, if I were starting from scratch I probably would not go further than the MCSA these days unless you really need them to.  The MCSE is 7 exams, and that's a lot of extra work unless you can bang them out pretty quickly.

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCTS:Windows 7
MCTS:Hyper-V
MCTS:System Center Virtual Machine Manager
MCTS:Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Server Administrator
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator
Certified Quest vWorkspace Administrator

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