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Update on recently-released MCSE exams

Some information and advice on the newest MCP and MCSE certification exams.

It's been a busy time for Microsoft's MCP and MCSE programs since the beginning of the year. Microsoft has released no less than four exams since January and I'm guessing -- conservatively -- that another five will be arriving by summer. It's an interesting and diverse lineup, with something for almost anybody, no matter what their technical bent. Here a run down on what's already out and what's coming up:

Recently-released exams, in numerical order:

70-222: Migrating from Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 to Microsoft Windows 2000. This was released to the public on January 15. It aims to certify administrators working in enterprise-scale environments as ready to deal with the process of migrating their production server and workstation bases from Windows NT and other desktop OSes to Windows 2000. A good elective for those who fit the target profile.

70-224: Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server. Released to the public on Feb. 9, this exam aims to certify administrators responsible for the installation, deployment, and management of Exchange 2000 Servers. It's a good elective for those with Exchange administration responsibilities.

70-227: Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2000, Enterprise Edition. This Feb. 27 released exam targets individuals who use ISA Server, EE as part of their network infrastructure. A good elective for those who work with ISA Server as part of their Internet boundary and caching architectures.

70-228: Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition. The Jan. 25-released SQL Server exam certifies network administrators and database professionals responsible for installing, configuring, deploying, and managing SQL Server 2000 EE as part of their networking environment. Choose it if you are involved with databases, or considering the MCDBA. (It may also play into the MCSD lineup, if and when Microsoft gets around to updating requirements for that certification.)

In addition, two more exams are currently scheduled to go public before the end of April 2001:

70-225: Designing and Deploying a Messaging Infrastructure with Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server. Scheduled for release on March 30, this test complements 70-224 with a solution and business case oriented qualifying exam aimed at individuals responsible for planning and designing Exchange 2000 Server-based e-mail and messaging applications. A good elective for those heavily involved with Exchange infrastructures.

70-229: Designing and Implementing Databases with Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition. Scheduled for release some time in April (no firm date available yet), the 70-229 complements 70-228 with a more solution and business-case orientation. It is targeted to individuals responsible for planning and designing SQL Server 2000 EE-based databases and related database-driven applications. It's a good elective for those heavily involved with SQL Server 2000 database design and development. It's also a good pick for anyone considering the MCDBA. (Again, it may play into the MCSD lineup, if an when Microsoft gets around to upgrading requirements for that certification.)

Finally, there are two more exams scheduled for beta release between now and this coming May (2001):

70-244: Supporting and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Network, which is scheduled for immanent beta sometime around March 15. See Return of NT to the MCSE exam pool.

70-226: Designing Highly Available Web Solutions with Microsoft Windows 2000 Server Technologies. Scheduled for beta release some time in May, this exam provides another choice for the Elective Core exams. It focuses on building enterprise-scale Web sites around Windows 2000 Server (especially Advanced Server, Datacenter Server, ISA, and clustering options). A good elective for those using Windows 2000 and IIS 5.0 to build high-volume, high-end Web solutions.

I also expect to see additional exams pop up in the months to come on the new version of Systems Management Server (SMS) and, late this year, a whole new slate of Windows XP exams. One thing's for sure -- there's always something cooking in the Microsoft Testing and Certification group.

Ed Tittel is a principal at a small content development company based in Austin, Texas, and the creator of the Exam Cram series, and has worked on over 30 certification-related books on Microsoft, Novell, and Sun related topics.

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