Counting and tracking Microsoft Certified Professionals

Review of the numbers of IT professionals who have qualified for nine certification credentials from October 2002 through December 2003.

Every six months or so, I like to check in on the number of Microsoft Certified Professionals tracked at the bottom

of the MCP Magazine home page. The chart below shows the numbers of IT professionals who have qualified for nine certification credentials from October 2002 through December 2003.

Oct. 1, 2002 April 7, 2003 June 1, 2003 Dec 18, 2003
MCP* 832,259 877,310 882,049 967,549
MCSE 2000 146,373+ 200,890 205,152 231,286
MCSE 2003 N/A N/A N/A 1,349
MCSD 2000 37,357 42,458 42,347 44,499
MCSD .NET N/A~ 373 597 5,170
MCDBA 75,726+ 107,631 109,000 117,924
MCSA 2000 30,006+ 62,416 66,521 92,673
MCSA 2003 N/A N/A N/A 3,127
MCAD N/A~ 3,466 4,229 11,473

Notes:
* Counts only individuals who hold no other MS certs
~ Applies only to Windows .NET; reporting begins 11/02 for MCAD, 4/03 for MCSD

Overall, the numbers show that while the growth of the Microsoft certified professional population has slowed from its peak in 1999 and 2000, we may be in for an uptick as IT pros finish up Windows 2000 and move on to pursue Windows Server 2003 certifications or upgrades.

Here's my analysis of some of the most interesting trends derived from these statistics:

  1. Given that MCSEs on Windows Server 2003 could qualify for the credential as early as last September and MCSAs on 2003 as early as last August, the monthly run rates are pretty different: about 340 for MCSEs, and 625 for MCSAs. This kind of ratio makes sense to me, but the growth rates should spike heavily this year—especially in the second half.
  2. For 2000-based certs, MCSEs still heavily outnumber MCSAs in total count, but finally monthly growth rates have evened out: 3,733 for MCSE versus 3,736 for MCSA—close enough to parity to be called "dead even". This still puzzles me somewhat, since obtaining an MCSA on the way to earning an MCSE takes little or no effort, but this phenomenon has now lasted for more than a year.
  3. .NET development credentials (MCAD and MCSD .NET) are finally starting to take off, with MCSD showing a monthly growth rate of slightly less than 200 per month since the last report, and MCAD showing a more robust growth rate of over 1,000 a month. Because jumping from MCAD to MCSD is also easy to arrange, I predict growth rates for MCSD will surge this year, while MCAD will probably grow less quickly. Nevertheless, we're seeing substantial growth for both credentials since the last reporting period.
  4. MCDBA continues to chug along at a steady monthly rate of 1,000 or so. It remains a credential of some interest and perceived value, but isn't likely to surpass admin cert rates any time soon (and is roughly on a par with MCAD).

What's missing from this report is the newly-minted MCDST, simply because it's not possible to earn the credential until February, 2004. As these numbers begin to appear, I'll be watching them with some interest as well.

Ed Tittel is the Series Editor for Exam Cram 2, and a contributing editor and columnist for Certification Magazine. He also follows certification topics for InformIT.com, and has written numerous books on MS certifications.

This was first published in February 2004

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