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Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE) the old War General - Top Gun Information Technology (IT) Certification (1) - What is MCSE, Why MCSE


What is MCSE? Why MCSE? Microsoft’s new Generation Certifications are Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS), Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD), Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) and the Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA). However, Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE) is the old war general that has led the certification battle. .


MCSE is Microsoft’s most sought after, and the world’s most popular, certification program. It validates the ability of an individual to assess requirements and meet business needs based on Microsoft’s networking infrastructure solutions.

Earning the MCSE credential means you are able to analyze business requirements for IT solutions, and to design and implement infrastructure based on Windows network products such as Windows Server 2003 and 2000.

Obviously you must have solid understanding and experience deploying, supporting and administering such Microsoft infrastructure products - both network and client operating systems - in the business environment. In mid size to enterprise environments planning, design and implementation skills with Microsoft Windows server solutions and architectures are critical.

It’s easy to see why it’s so popular – there is huge demand globally for Microsoft network infrastructure products in the enterprise. Microsoft has by far the most common network operating systems and the highest installed user bases. Technical and business expertise is required to exploit and fully benefit from these Microsoft products. The need for and recognition of Microsoft expertise is high. And with the breadth of knowledge covered MCSEs help in meeting such needs. Essentially, marketability and relevance of the material tested has driven MCSE growth

- MCSE Tracks

Presently there are two tracks of MCSE for different Microsoft network products - Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003. Each of these tracks has a set of requirements in terms of exams that must be passed to achieve the desired certification. The first MCSE title which was on Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 is no longer offered by Microsoft.

Achieving the MCSE requires patience and an ability to stay in the race (marathon not a short sprint) as you must pass seven Microsoft exams; for the most current MCSE track, Windows Server 2003, you must pass 6 core exams and 1 elective.

Interestingly once you pass your first exam towards the MCSE program, you achieve a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) certification which validates proficiency in the topic covered by the exam, for example by passing Exam 70–291 you earn an MCP in Planning and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure. As of April 2008 120,664 people had achieved the MCSE Windows Server 2003 certification while 290,183 people have achieved Windows 2000 MCSE status, while 395,786 people achieved MCSE Windows NT 4.0 status. And as at this date, more than 2 million people have achieved the MCP certification worldwide.

- 7 Exams

The core exams include four networking system exams, one client operating system exam, and one design exam. The elective exam is chosen from a list of exams that cover a variety of topics such as security, network infrastructure as well as specific Microsoft services and products.



- Upgrade

Key features of the IT and certification industry include constant change and lifelong learning. From time to time Microsoft creates new certifications to verify skills for new products and advances in its technology solutions. Though the MCSE on Windows Server certifications do not retire, upgrade options are a constant feature of Microsoft certifications. When a new product version is released, exam(s) that will allow you to upgrade your certification will often accompany it.

For example, a two-exam upgrade path to the more recent Windows Server 2003 MCSE certification is available for those who hold the Windows 2000 Server MCSE. The new generation of certifications (MCTS and MCTIP) in the Microsoft networking arena validate skills for new Microsoft networking products such as Microsoft Server 2008 and Windows Vista. Therefore if you are MCSE certified on Windows Server 2003, there are effective upgrade paths you can take to the new generation of Windows Server 2008 certifications.

- Specializations

Beyond just the MCSE title Microsoft also has MCSE Security and Messaging specializations - MCSE: Security, and MCSE: Messaging. With specialization you achieve the MCSE and at the same demonstrate proficiency with the Microsoft solutions in a given specialty area. For instance, achieving the MCSE: Security is considered strong in some areas in view of Microsoft’s dominance and the implications of constant security threats in the network driven business environment. MCSE: Security specializations sends a message that Microsoft is taking security serious while providing opportunities for those interested to achieve the MCSE and deepen their security expertise in the Microsoft territory. To obtain a specialization you must pass the associated exams.

contd .... Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE) – the old War General - Top Gun Information Technology (IT) Certification (2) What is MCSE, Why MCSE 

Jide Awe

Jide Awe is the Publisher of

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