Microsoft shakes up certification program

Microsoft has now released details on changes to its certification programs. This detail may make your life easier -- if you're certified in Windows 2000, you will have to study for only two exams to become certified in Windows 2003.

As expected, Microsoft this week released details for certification exams -- some two months ahead of the Windows 2003 platform launch.

Microsoft has posted information on its Web site that includes new exam tracks, new exam requirements and course materials.

Under the new certification program, a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) with a Windows 2000 certification must take only two separate upgrade exams to receive a Windows 2003 certification. In the past, administrators had to study for four different exams to get a single platform certification, said Ed Tittel, who runs a content development company in Austin, Texas, and is the series editor of the Exam Cram 2 and Training Guide series.

"Microsoft is being kinder in the [certification] upgrade approach," Tittel said. "This is much more in keeping with the way other certification programs work."

One significant change is that Microsoft has split exam 216, "Implementing and Administering a Microsoft Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure," in two. One of the two new exams is 291, "Implementing, Managing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure," suitable for both MCSEs and Microsoft Certified Systems Administrators (MCSAs). The other exam is 293, "Planning and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure," suitable only for MCSEs.

New exams include "Developing and Implementing Windows-based Applications with Microsoft Visual Basic .NET and Microsoft Visual Studio .NET" (Exam 70-306), "Developing XML Web Services and Server Components with Microsoft Visual Basic .NET and the Microsoft .NET Framework" (Exam 70-310), and "Analyzing Requirements and Defining Microsoft .NET Solution Architectures" (Exam 70-300).

Microsoft had previously listed several exams for Windows 2003 that closely mapped what the company had done after Windows 2000 came out three years ago. Microsoft was expected to release these exams after the April launch of Windows Server 2003.

The exams have been the focus of controversy in recent years. Many Microsoft certified professionals and trainers have said that they would like to see Microsoft make the exams tougher to pass. They also complain that the certification program is watered down by the many boot camps, which teach to the test and, critics say, do little else.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Click here to find out more about changes to the MCSE.

Click here to find out more about changes to the MCSA.

Ask Ed Tittel a question about certification.

Certification tips? We've got 'em right here.

Article: Microsoft to detail differences between Windows 2000, 2003 certs

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