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MCSA and MCSE are back, this time it’s personal.

June 15, 2012

When Microsoft dropped the MCP, MCSA and MCSE certifications five years ago in favour of the new MCTS and MCITP certifications I was stunned.  Why drop such well know brands such as MCP/MCSA/MCSE?

The well known reason of course is that the certifications were more often referred to in public with the word “paper” in front of them (mainly with the top certification MCSE).  So a “paper MCSE” was someone who had passed all of the tests but had no real working knowledge of the product.

Now Microsoft aren’t the only people to suffer from this issue.  Over the years I have met “paper CNE’s”, “paper CCNA’s” and lots of others…but at the time Microsoft MCSE was the hottest certification (in terms of numbers of participants, not in terms of certification desirability…Cisco CCIE still holds that as far as I am concerned).  My guess would be the Microsoft marketing people got wind of this and decided a re-branding was in order (this, after all is what marketing people do).

Did you know it took me at least two years to remember the difference between MCTS and MCITP and what they actually stood for?  And that’s nothing…do you know how long it has taken the industry to learn this?

I completed my MCSE just a few years ago because I saw the term was still used heavily on job descriptions for contract jobs.  I figured it was better to have the cert than have to explain to every agency and every IT manager that I have a different qualification that is called something different but is roughly the same thing (for the latest version of the product).  Only recently have I seen job adverts switch to “MCITP required” or “MCSE or MCITP required”.

And now Microsoft have ditched MCITP and for the next version of it’s server product you will be expected to certify as…yes you guessed it…an MCSA or MCSE!

This time it doesn’t stand for Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator or Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer…oh no..they have now decided MCSA/MCSE stand for….

MCSA – Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate

MCSE – Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert

These are names that could only have been thought up by the same marketing morons who brought you MCTS and MCITP. So basically they wanted the “old brand” back but did not want it to look like they have made a big U turn.

Oh and it gets even more confusing than that you can certify under Windows 2008 Server as well as the Server 2012 version when the product has shipped and the courses/exams are available!

I have no idea about the new exam tracks…in fact I think I am going to ignore them for a little while.  It does look like Systems Centre products featured in some of the certs so I think I will go for the older versions of the SCCM and SCOM 2007 exams with a view to upgrading them to the 2012 version (it becomes a single product called Systems Centre 2012 on the next releaser and this will also include the new version of what was Data Protection Manager 2007 also). I am starting to see these referenced in job adverts now so good to have.

Why take an exam for older product versions?  Well as a contractor you never know what version of a product you may have to work with so it is good to know at least two versions of a product.  Also it is good to know in-case you need to do an upgrade for someone.  Back to the lab for me!

If you understand the new Microsoft certifications and you are MCITP or old style MCSE please let me know….are you planning on sitting any of these exams?

Tip – Microsoft do have an offer on at the moment if you want to pass an exam on an older version of the product they will give you a free test on a newer version.  I’m not really sure how that works either but the link is below..only valid for the next two weeks also!


P.S. I have met plenty of paper MCITP’s, MCTS’s and look forward to meeting some more paper MCSE’s in the near future.  Crank up the DeLorian Marty!

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