Starting out toward MCSA: Which exams should I focus on?

Expert Ed Tittel gives advice on the best exams to focus on when starting out toward MCSA.

I am starting on the road towards my MCSA, and I was wondering which exam I should focus on first to get my MCP? My current background is HelpDesk/SysAdmin. Thank you in advance.

Conventional wisdom (and unofficial communications from Microsoft's training and certification gang) all agree that the Windows 2000 and 2003 programs are structured more logically, so that tackling most exams in numerical order makes sense. The sole exception to that general rule is the equally pervasive observation that it's best to wait to take the "Designing" exam(s) as late in the sequence as possible, since most experts (including me) agree that they're the toughest of all hurdles on the way to MCSA and then MCSE to overcome. For MCSA on Windows 2003, that means starting with 70-270 (Windows XP Professional), then 70-290 and 70-291, then whichever elective you choose to meet the fourth and final exam requirement.

HTH, and thanks for posting.

This was first published in December 2005

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