By the numbers on Microsoft's MCP Web site

Fingering out who's got the credentials.

For years, an ongoing irony involved in keeping count of certified Microsoft professionals has been that the primary source of data on who's qualified for which certification has been at an affiliate Web site. The very bottom of the home page for Microsoft Certified Professional magazine (www.mcpmag.com) has long maintained a table entitled "MCP by the Numbers" that until recently was the only source for the numbers of individuals holding...

various Microsoft certification credentials.

That all changed on Oct. 11, when Microsoft posted a new Web page entitled "Microsoft Certified Professionals Worldwide" and there are some interesting differences when compared to the MCP Magazine tallies.

Table 1: Microsoft's Official 10/11/2002 Counts

MCP 832,259*
MCSE 146,373+
MCSD 37,357
MCDBA 75,726+
MCSA 30,006 +
MCAD N/A~

* Counts only individuals who hold no other MS certs
+ Counts only Windows 2000 based credentials
~ Applies only to Windows .NET; reporting begins 11/02

Table 2: MCP Mag's Unofficial Counts

Title 8/13/2002 9/16/2002
MCP 826,017 831,673
MCP+I 229,172 229,124
MCPSB 2,022 2,024
MCSA 26,977 31,936
MCSE 487,695 489,495
MCSE+I 12,395 12,394
MCDBA 72,810 77,605
MCSD 38,894 37,823
MCT 13,604 13,851
MCAD 102 346

Total Number of MCPs: 1,707,688
Numbers indicate total certifications issued per title as of 8/13 and 9/16 2002. The total number of individuals who have obtained MCP status is 1,359,919.

A lot of interesting information emerges from a comparison of these two tables:

  • Microsoft no longer reports numbers for MCSE holders except those who certified on Windows 2000; this drops the count from 487,695 to 146,373. This is a huge drop in its hitherto most important certification count.
  • Counts for MCDBA, MCSA, and MCSD have all dropped since Sept. 16, but no explanation has been forthcoming. I can only speculate that prior to posting the Oct. 11 numbers, Microsoft reviewed and corrected its prior tallies.
  • Microsoft does not include the NT-based "+Internet" (+I) credentials in its listing.
  • The MCP magazine count of MCPs includes all individuals who hold any kind of Microsoft certification; the Microsoft count includes only those who hold no other kind of certification. At nearly 50% of the total population, that's a big number!

What's most interesting about this new information is that Microsoft is taking official responsibility for posting numbers on its MCP population . Also, the reduction of the MCSE count by nearly two thirds might have an impact on Microsoft's standing in the overall certification numbers game, although the overall MCP count still lets the company count itself as the top dog. It'll be interesting to watch future reports and to see where the numbers are going, particularly when the future Windows Server .NET generation of credentials begins to supplant the current Windows 2000 generation.


Ed Tittel runs a content development company in Austin, Texas, and is the series editor of the Que Exam Cram 2 and Training Guide series. He's worked on many books on Microsoft, CompTIA, CIW, Sun/Java, and security certifications.


This was first published in November 2002
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