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What career fields can I go into with an MCSE? And what is the demand for MCSEs right now?

I am currently the supervisor of the largest computer lab at a university. I have basic technical computer background with software and general hardware knowledge. A lot of my coworkers have been talking about certifications. One of these coworkers and I were talking and she suggested that I look into getting my MCSE. Can you give me an idea of what career field I could go into with my MCSE, as well as the demand for it? Thank you so much for your time.

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The most recent issue of Microsoft Certified Professional magazine is going to include an MCSE Salary Survey; you can read about it and related topics like the subject of your e-mail online at www.mcpmag.com.

Most MCSEs tend to work as network and/or system administrators on Windows-based systems and networks, or are involved with Windows systems and networks as part of a larger, hybrid IT environment or infrastructure. Thus, the main career container for such a job would be "Information Technology (IT)" and the job descriptions would include titles like system administrator, network administrator, network technician, network engineer and so forth.

Demand for this kind of work was stronger back when the economy was booming. These days I hear that MCSEs who lack relevant, credible job experience (which doesn't sound like it applies to you, given your current job situation) are having more trouble finding work than in the go-go years of 1999 and 2000. That said, the US department of Labor Statistics still claims that there is a chronic shortage of qualified IT personnel in the US and that your kind of job is still in reasonable demand. YMMV depending on what part of the country you live in (high tech meccas like Silicon valley, the Boston area and so forth are currently awash in MCSEs looking for work or better jobs).

HTH,
--Ed--

This was first published in July 2002

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