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Can I get your comments on the lack of hands-on experience required to get a MS certification?

Don't you think the MCSE would be better if the exams were only written based on hands-on work experience accumulated in the field (apprentice program), not just studying from a book? I think people training to be MCSEs should first work under an experienced network administrator, and then after a 3-6 month period, write the MCP(s) based on that experience. When the person finally becomes an MCSE, employers will be more apt to hire them because of their experience behind their certification. I would say that 70% of the certified MCSEs don't even know how to turn on a computer. If they had this apprentice idea instead, there would probably be about 85% of the graduates actually knowing what to do. I think anyone with the ability to study a book and pass a few exams can be an MCSE - that's pretty sad. I would like to hear your comments on this if you would be so kind.

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You are correct in asserting that a more tangible hands-on requirement (and indeed a practicum phase, which is another term for what you describe as an apprenticeship of sorts, would enhance the value of the MCSE. But Microsoft wants to be the biggest program around and your proposal would slow the conversion of NT 4 MCSEs to Win2k and the creation of "new" MCSEs for Win2k and .NET Server as well. That's why, although it is a good suggestion, I also submit it's unlikely to occur, since Microsoft is unlikely to want to lose momentum (or numbers) in the IT certification game.


This was first published in February 2002

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