For one thing, you won't even see ANY Windows XP exams (that's the new "official" name for Whistler) until September or October of this year (and that will only be the Windows XP Professional exam). All the other exams won't even hit until some time next year (That's what I'm hearing right now since XP is running way behind schedule. I just got beta 2 on Friday and it was supposed to be ready in late February.). I also hear that Microsoft is planning on letting MCSEs mix and match electives on any Windows platform. In addition, I hear that they don't intend to retire Windows 2000 exams any time soon but that candidates will have to pick the platform for their core exams (only Windows 2000, only Windows XP, and so forth) and stick to that religiously.
I don't think you should worry about it. I do think you should aggressively pursue and obtain your Windows 2000 MCSE. You can deal with Whistler/XP and BlackComb when they get more real, probably next year and the year after, respectively.
As for huge sums of money for new knowledge, those who know the new platforms will surely have no trouble finding a job or making decent money. However, I've never regarded an MCSE (no matter how current) as a ticket to wealth or fame!
This was first published in April 2001