Those with MCSEs on Windows 2003, and those with an MCSA but who do not take Security+, need to take a single elective exam. MCSE for Windows 2000 candidates need two electives. Requirements vary across a range of topics except for those chasing messaging or security specialization, where all requirements have a strong topical focus.
Check your options on the requirements pages, and choose the exam(s) that best match your technical interests, experience and workplace needs. I urge you to take only elective exams that have the strongest ratings in all three categories or whose combined rankings outweigh all other options. If you have trouble choosing, ask your manager for input or somebody whose technical savvy you trust.
10 PREP STEPS TO THE MCSA AND MCSE CERTIFICATION
Step 01: Choose your target Windows version
Step 02: Establish exam choices and order
Step 03: Deal with the desktop first
Step 04: Security options may appeal
Step 05: Digging into server and admin requirements
Step 06: Complete outstanding electives (optional)
Step 07: Completing the Core Exam (MCSE only)
Step 08: Prepping for individual exams (The self-study prep approach)
Step 09: Prepping for individual exams (The class-driven prep approach)
Step 10: Best exam prep practices
Dig Deeper on Microsoft certification program
Certification expert Ed Tittel keeps track of all the latest trends in Microsoft certifications, including why Windows administrators might want to opt for certification and how to check which certifications are most in demand. Tittel updated SearchWinIT.com about the current state of Vista certifications.