My hat's off to Ken Rosen, Andy Ruth, and Joel Yoker from the Microsoft Training and Certification program for their candid remarks on certification and upcoming Windows Server 2003 exams at the recent TechMentor conference in New Orleans.
The session was titled "Ask Microsoft: New Certifications for Windows Server 2003" and the trio was entirely forthcoming and direct in the information they provided. They were also open to a wide variety of audience questions.
I was delighted to find myself in this surprising situation. Microsoft was willing to share valuable, specific information far in advance of exam releases. I hope this represents a new approach to their relationship with the public and a new willingness to better acquaint IT folks with upcoming exams and certification requirements earlier in the cycle.
The big news out of the session was release dates for eight of Microsoft's upcoming Windows Server 2003 certifications exams. This schedule was unveiled at the TechMentor conference last week in New Orleans. But Microsoft also disclosed other tidbits about their plans for Windows Server 2003 exams:
- According to Microsoft Training and Certification security expert David Lowe, it is "likely" there would be a Windows Server 2003 version of Exam 70-214 "Implementing and Managing Security in a Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure." Lowe wouldn't say when such an exam would appear or what its ID number might be.
- The team indicated that Microsoft is reviewing the possibility of crafting a separate exam for IIS 6.0 but said its coverage of that topic is already pervasive throughout the Windows 2003 Server core networking exams. Here again, no details yet on dates or ID numbers.
- Finally, they acknowledged that it's likely that other BackOffice related exams (for example SQL and Exchange Server exams) would be revved for the Windows 2003 components after they become available. Common sense dictates this is true, but it was nice to hear Microsoft confirm it.
All in all, this was a great encounter with the Training and Certification team, and provided useful information about upcoming planned exams, along with interesting hints about future exams and directions. I'm glad I was there!
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.