As an IT veteran of 16 years, having held MCSE's since NT 4.0, I am a little concerned about the new certification re-alignment. While certainly a makeover is desired (i.e., a CCIE type of credible progression), the mentoring process described for the Architect certification is unsettling. I am reminded of Microsoft's "Exchange Ranger" program, supposedly for turning out Exchange "experts." Unfortunately, it turned out to be merely a vehicle for the promotion of large $$$ Microsoft partners like HP and Unisys.
The mortal man could not expect to be nominated for this program without their regional Microsoft guys going to bat for them. Will the Certified Architect program be the same thing? When I hear that it's required to have a mentor assigned to those seeking the Architect cert, I wonder if that will be only for premium Microsoft partners and their consultants.
I would love for Microsoft to provide a credible program of testing, both T/F and simulations. But anyone, anywhere should be able to participate in this -- from unaffiliated individuals or small IT shops to the big 10 consulting groups. This should not be another exclusivity gimmick -- as I fear it will be.
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This was first published in August 2005