Up and Coming

  • Migration of my QA blogs

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

New MS Certifications - Beyond The MCSE

Microsoft have decided to take the opportunity with Vista & Windows Serve 2008 to change the certification tracks and requirements. I think the changes bring some good benefits to people that maintain certification. It will better enable you to personalise the certification through Technical Specialist choices and therefore enable you to differentiate yourself. I think this is great, much better than just being another MCP/MCSA or MCSE.

I guess the first thing to get clear straight away is that MCP's, MCSA's and MCSE's are gone in the new certification structure these older qualifications will never be retired or expired by Microsoft. so that Windows 2000 MCSE will always be valid and always on your Microsoft transcript. There are also upgrade choices.

The new certification breaks down into 3 main levels:
  • Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist (MCTS) - This enables you to demonstrate in-depth technical ability with a technology area for example Active directory.
  • Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) - This credential lets you highlight your field of expertise e.g. Messaging or System Administration
  • Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) - Identify top industry experts in IT architecture. There is still less than 100 in the world at the time of writing.
Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist
The Technology Specialist certifications enable professionals to target specific technologies and to distinguish themselves by demonstrating in-depth knowledge and expertise in their specialized technologies. Microsoft Certified Technology Specialists are consistently capable of implementing, building, troubleshooting, and debugging a particular Microsoft technology. The Technical Specialist qualifications will also only be valid for the life of the technology. e.g. when Vista is no longer supported the qualification will be removed from the transcript.

Microsoft Certified IT Professional
The Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) credential lets you highlight your field of expertise. Now you can distinguish yourself as an IT professional with the current skills and proven job-role capabilities to work effectively with a comprehensive set of Microsoft technologies. For Windows Server 2008 there will be 2 main MCITP qualifications. The MCITP - Server Administration which requires you to pass the 3 main Technical Specialist exams (as list in the upgrade section below) and then pass exam 070-646 Pro: Windows Server 2008 System Administrator. The second qualification is MCITP - Enterprise Administration which again requires the 3 Technical Specialist exams then a Vista client exam either 070-620 or 070-624 and then pass the 070-647 Pro: Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Administrator. MCITP qualifications are also only valid for 3 years from the date of completion. Towards the end of 3 years if your qualification requires updating (due to no relevant activity during its life) Microsoft will contact you during its last 6 months to advise on how the qualification can be maintained.

Microsoft Certified Architect
The Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) programs identify top industry experts in IT architecture. Microsoft Certified Architects have proven experience with delivering solutions and can communicate effectively with business, architecture, and technology professionals. These professionals have three or more years of advanced IT architecture experience; possess strong technical and leadership skills; and form a tight-knit, supportive community. Candidates are required to pass a rigorous Review Board interview conducted by a panel of experts. The MCA credential was built by and for industry architects.

How Do I Upgrade
There is no direct qualification within the new tracks that maps to an MCSE or a MCSA. The upgrade exams that will be made available enable you to achieve a number of Technical Specialist qualifications in one go:

  • MCSE Upgrade Exam 070-649 will give you 3 Technical Specialist qualifications
    • Exam 070-640 Technical Specialist Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring
    • Exam 070-642 Technical Specialist Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure, Configuring
    • Exam 070-643 Technical Specialist Windows Server 2008 Application Platform, Configuring
  • MCSA Upgrade Exam 070-648 will give you 2 Technical Specialist qualifications
    • Exam 070-640 Technical Specialist Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring
    • Exam 070-642 Technical Specialist Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure, Configuring
If you then wanted to continue onto the MCITP qualification you can then take the relevant TS & PRO exams depending on what qualification you will be aiming for.

Exam Availability
The exams are expected to be release shortly after the product is released. Currently the time scales are for all Technical Specialist exams to be release with 30 days of Windows Server 2008 going RTM and the PRO exams with 60days. There will quickly be Beta exams as well so if you spot those on the MS web site you might be able to get in early!!

Happy Hunting.......

No comments: