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Vendor shares views on Win2K certification, skills

As more companies begin to roll out Windows 2000, opportunity and demand for specialists obviously will be on the rise. Martin Bean, president of Prometric Inc., in Baltimore, Md., a provider of IT certification exams, discusses what skills he thinks are needed for Win2K jobs--and the importance of certification.

SearchWin2000: What is emerging as the hot job areas for Windows 2000 professionals?

Bean: Jobs for individuals obtaining certification as an MCSE include, but are not limited to, systems engineer, technical support engineer, systems analyst, network analyst, consultant. In addition, IT professionals with development backgrounds will also support the product in positions engineer, consultant, software applications engineer and software developer.

SearchWin2000: What sort of certification, if any, is needed for these positions? (And are there any specific certifications that have recently been introduced by Microsoft for Windows 2000?)

Bean: The Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) credential is the premier certification for professionals who analyze the business requirements for a system architecture, design solutions, deploy, install, and configure architecture components, and troubleshoot system problems. The Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA) credential is the premier certification for professionals who implement and administer Microsoft SQL Server databases.

With the release of Windows 2000, Microsoft has announced the Windows 2000 MCSE and Windows 2000 MDCBA certifications. Currently certified MCSEs will be required to upgrade their certification to the new Windows 2000 MCSE track by December 31, 2001, in order to maintain a valid certification.

In addition, the MCP certification is also a viable Windows 2000 credential. Not all jobs require the breadth of an MCSE or an MCDBA. Microsoft offers the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) credential for professionals who have demonstrated in-depth knowledge of at least one Microsoft product. By passing (any) single Windows 2000 exam, individuals can become MCP Windows 2000 certified.

SearchWin2000: How can certification help someone interested in pursuing a Win2K job?

Bean: Certification provides candidates with industry recognition and validation of their knowledge and skills. As a result of the skills shortage and new technology, organizations are more and more in need of hiring skilled workers, and certification may become the gateway to gaining a rewarding career or advancing in a current career. According to a recent Gartner Group training and certification study, 85% of the 250 IT managers surveyed agree that there are benefits to having certified employees on staff. These benefits include, but are not limited to: higher service levels, increased productivity and greater access to preferred IT vendor support. Furthermore, an up-to-date MCSE certification assures employers that they are obtaining the most technically proficient professionals available to help their organization make the transition to Windows 2000.

By Esther Shein, a contributing editor based in Framingham, Mass.

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