I have just completed my MCSE 2003 certification after sitting on my MCSE 3.51 for 10 years with an NT 4.0 upgrade instead of doing the 2000 one. I got quite a shock with the level and type of questions in the new MCSE 2003 curriculum. I have to disagree with the view that it has no real world test value.
Usually I complete a certification course, or bootcamp, in six weeks, then hit the exams three months after that. This time I was deploying an NT 4 to Windows 2003 Active Directory upgrade with an Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2003 upgrade. I had real live experience in a working lab and a live environment to work with, played with various forest and design models and still took 14 months to finish the whole thing. Sure I coulda done the usual Transcender shortcut thing, but to meaningfully do something with it took some serious work. My CCIE [Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert] was easier to get than my MCSE 2003. I Kid You Not!
Now, Microsoft is coming out with the [Microsoft Certified Architect Program], and this is good. But I suspect its gonna be a real humdinger cert as well. Not sure it is going to translate into dollars for either owners or employers of MCSEs. The problem being an MCSE or an Architect is that sans consulting experience to myriad environments, it's a problem!
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This was first published in August 2005