Microsoft

Members respond to new vs. old MCSE certifications

In a recent edition of Point and Counterpoint, we asked TechRepublic members to voice their opinions regarding Microsoft retiring the MCSE for NT 4 certification. Find out what they had to say!

Point and Counterpoint is a regular column feature in the Support Republic. Its purpose is to present a balanced discussion among our members regarding hardware, software, and any other topic that our members wish to debate. If you have a suggestion for Point and Counterpoint, feel free to send us a note.
Obviously, we hit a nerve…
In a previous edition of Point and Counterpoint, I asked TechRepublic members to give their views regarding Microsoft retiring the MCSE for Windows NT 4.0. While writing the column, I never imagined that this topic was going to create the response that it did.

Over 300 TechRepublic members sent in their comments via e-mail and posts in the TechRepublic Discussion Center. Below, you will find a few edited comments from each side of the argument as well as the thoughts of a few people who support both sides of the debate. Please note that due to the amount of e-mails received, we can’t publish every response that we received.

Pro MCSE for NT4

  • Redmon
    ”To say that Microsoft is correct on this issue is outrageous. We, the people who have spent countless hours of our own time to become MCSEs, need to continue to be recognized for our capabilities on this NOS platform. You need to take into account that W2K is nearly a totally different NOS than NT 4.0. The similarities are few and far between.

    ”For someone to make such a ridiculous decision as to side with Microsoft on this point needs more time to consider what this means to the future of every IT professional. Will I upgrade? Only if my employer decides to upgrade to W2K. Will I invest my own time to get familiar with W2K? Yes I will. Will I spend my own money for the exams? NOOOOOOOOOOOOO.”
  • Paul S.
    ”Many companies are not going to automatically shift over because Win2K is on the scene. Although it is very important to keep certifications updated, it is also important to acknowledge that companies are still going to be looking for NT 4 MCSEs. In my opinion, it would be best to:

    "Extend the time frame of the NT 4 MCSE to longer than just six months after the release of the first Win2K exams. I think that six months is a ridiculously short amount of time to update certifications and to learn the ins and outs of Win2K, even with the free upgrade exam, although I am grateful to Microsoft for making available a free exam to eliminate four of the seven needed exams.

    "Make a differentiation between an MCSE for NT4 (MCSE 4) and an MCSE for Win2K (MCSE 2000) since companies are going to be using Windows NT for many years in the future. The place where I work has not made plans to shift to Win2K for more than two years. For that matter, there are still some companies—a select few—that are still using NT 3.51.

    ”Microsoft needs a little taste of reality. All things are not as elite and fast moving in the real world. Companies, especially large ones, generally don't drop tens of millions into computer upgrades immediately after the release of a new operating system.”
  • G.H.E.
    ”I have spent many hours studying and many more hours working hands-on with NT4. I am not a paper MCSE and can’t understand why they would take a certification from me that I have worked so hard for. I have a CNA in Netware 3.12, and it is still recognized. Why can't Microsoft recognize NT4 and 2000 as two different certifications?

    ”It does appear to be a money racket on Microsoft's part. This is sad when you think that they are trying to capture the majority of the market. Who do they think makes decisions or recommendations for the companies when it comes to upgrading or choosing operating systems? I know in my case we will be looking at upgrading or changing systems in the next couple of years, and the way I feel right now, I must say that I will be taking a long hard look at Novell again.”

Pro MCSE 2000
  • Jecasserly
    ”While I am still studying to get my certification, I believe that if I do not update to Win2K, I would not be giving my clients the most up-to-date knowledge base. I think every professional should, and many do, have the updates to certifications.”

  • Ed G.
    ”If there is one constant in the world of computers, it's change! I can't perceive of any computer professional who would not want to upgrade their certification when new technology, products, and so on become available. It is the essence of what we all are about.

    ”I, for one, would not hire a person who was not enthusiastic about learning new things, whether it is Win2K or the latest printer from HP. I'm currently an MCSE in progress and expect to finish before the end of the year. I'm intentionally going for the NT 4.0 version and intend to immediately follow up with the upgrade. What a great opportunity to learn a lot about both NT 4.0 and Win2K.”
    Point and Counterpoint is a regular column feature in the Support Republic. Its purpose is to present a balanced discussion among our members regarding hardware, software, and any other topic that our members wish to debate. If you have a suggestion for Point and Counterpoint, feel free to send us a note.
    Obviously, we hit a nerve…
    In a previous edition of Point and Counterpoint, I asked TechRepublic members to give their views regarding Microsoft retiring the MCSE for Windows NT 4.0. While writing the column, I never imagined that this topic was going to create the response that it did.

    Over 300 TechRepublic members sent in their comments via e-mail and posts in the TechRepublic Discussion Center. Below, you will find a few edited comments from each side of the argument as well as the thoughts of a few people who support both sides of the debate. Please note that due to the amount of e-mails received, we can’t publish every response that we received.

    Pro MCSE for NT4
    • Redmon
      ”To say that Microsoft is correct on this issue is outrageous. We, the people who have spent countless hours of our own time to become MCSEs, need to continue to be recognized for our capabilities on this NOS platform. You need to take into account that W2K is nearly a totally different NOS than NT 4.0. The similarities are few and far between.

      ”For someone to make such a ridiculous decision as to side with Microsoft on this point needs more time to consider what this means to the future of every IT professional. Will I upgrade? Only if my employer decides to upgrade to W2K. Will I invest my own time to get familiar with W2K? Yes I will. Will I spend my own money for the exams? NOOOOOOOOOOOOO.”
    • Paul S.
      ”Many companies are not going to automatically shift over because Win2K is on the scene. Although it is very important to keep certifications updated, it is also important to acknowledge that companies are still going to be looking for NT 4 MCSEs. In my opinion, it would be best to:

      "Extend the time frame of the NT 4 MCSE to longer than just six months after the release of the first Win2K exams. I think that six months is a ridiculously short amount of time to update certifications and to learn the ins and outs of Win2K, even with the free upgrade exam, although I am grateful to Microsoft for making available a free exam to eliminate four of the seven needed exams.

      "Make a differentiation between an MCSE for NT4 (MCSE 4) and an MCSE for Win2K (MCSE 2000) since companies are going to be using Windows NT for many years in the future. The place where I work has not made plans to shift to Win2K for more than two years. For that matter, there are still some companies—a select few—that are still using NT 3.51.

      ”Microsoft needs a little taste of reality. All things are not as elite and fast moving in the real world. Companies, especially large ones, generally don't drop tens of millions into computer upgrades immediately after the release of a new operating system.”
    • G.H.E.
      ”I have spent many hours studying and many more hours working hands-on with NT4. I am not a paper MCSE and can’t understand why they would take a certification from me that I have worked so hard for. I have a CNA in Netware 3.12, and it is still recognized. Why can't Microsoft recognize NT4 and 2000 as two different certifications?

      ”It does appear to be a money racket on Microsoft's part. This is sad when you think that they are trying to capture the majority of the market. Who do they think makes decisions or recommendations for the companies when it comes to upgrading or choosing operating systems? I know in my case we will be looking at upgrading or changing systems in the next couple of years, and the way I feel right now, I must say that I will be taking a long hard look at Novell again.”

    Pro MCSE 2000
  • Jecasserly
    ”While I am still studying to get my certification, I believe that if I do not update to Win2K, I would not be giving my clients the most up-to-date knowledge base. I think every professional should, and many do, have the updates to certifications.”

  • Ed G.
    ”If there is one constant in the world of computers, it's change! I can't perceive of any computer professional who would not want to upgrade their certification when new technology, products, and so on become available. It is the essence of what we all are about.

    ”I, for one, would not hire a person who was not enthusiastic about learning new things, whether it is Win2K or the latest printer from HP. I'm currently an MCSE in progress and expect to finish before the end of the year. I'm intentionally going for the NT 4.0 version and intend to immediately follow up with the upgrade. What a great opportunity to learn a lot about both NT 4.0 and Win2K.”
    • Jim R.
      ”Don't be lazy: I think that Microsoft is doing the right thing in requiring the certification upgrade. Doctors, teachers, engineers, and so on, do this all of the time.

      ”If we want to be professional, then we have to act like professionals, meaning that we must upgrade our certifications from time to time. To the people who whine, "We shouldn't be forced to do this,” I only say one thing: "You aren't.” No one is putting a gun to your head and saying that you have to upgrade. If you want to call yourself a retired NT MCSE, go ahead! Personally, I want to upgrade my skills. It can only benefit me later.”
    • E. Zilbermann
      ”I took my first MCP exam, supporting Windows 95, in March 1996. From that time, Microsoft has been saying that they were targeting the program at people who would keep their certifications current, and they would commit to providing appropriate paths for this purpose.

      ”Thanks to this commitment from Microsoft, upgrading our certification to Windows 2000 is not going to be too costly in terms of money. It will take a significant effort of studying, but that's our part of the deal. The timing and terms of the upgrading may be the subject of discussion, but the underlying principle is sound. We should make an effort to keep current and keep our part of the deal.

      ”If only Microsoft started offering a free TechNet subscription to people who got to W2K MCSE, it would be sweeter to keep our part of the deal.”
    • Bruce S.
      ”Should MCSEs be forced to upgrade their certifications? The title MCSE implies a certain expertise, whether it be at taking exams or actually knowing what you are doing in the Microsoft world. NT is going to be around for a long time, as will Win2K. There are significant differences in the way the two operating systems work, which would imply that the NT certification does not necessarily apply to Win2K.

      ”It is misleading to potential employers to not force the re-certification. To leave it up to the MCSE to clarify his certification doesn't do it for me. If there is to be no re-certification, then I believe that the acronym should be changed to reflect the actual certification, such as MCSENT for Windows NT 4.0 and MCSE2K for Windows 2000.”

    These people are on both sides of the fence
    • Jsull
      ”As much as I hate to admit it, I kind of ride the fence on this issue. As someone who just recently got my NT 4.0 MCSE, it pains me to know that all the study and hard work will, at least in the eyes of Microsoft, be worthless in less than 17 months’ time.

      ”On the other hand, I can definitely see the need to move forward to Win2K. After all, the jump from 4.0 to 2000 is rather massive; much more than 3.51 to 4.0. Active Directory has the potential to change everything about how a network is administered. Add to this the fact that:

      ”Microsoft is giving away the upgrade test for MCSEs and many MCPs, leaving only one more test to take if you planned your electives properly.

      "Just because Microsoft doesn't recognize the 4.0 cert doesn't mean that others won't. I will still be writing Windows NT 4.0 MCSE on my resume long after Dec. 31st, 2001, though I will be smart enough to add a (certification retired) after it so I don't run into legal issues.

      ”So, do I think it is a good thing that we have to upgrade to Win2K MCSE? Yes, but I wish we had a little more time to prepare. At least now I have a good motivating factor to dive right back into the books.”
    • Craig S.
      ”I have been an NT4 MCSE for 18 months now and although I am studying to upgrade to 2000, it's not because I feel I have to ’retain’ my MCSE title. Instead, I want to upgrade because I want to learn the new OS.

      ”Regardless, I plan to claim my NT4 MCSE for many years to come. I don't even consider it an issue. Who says you can't write ’MCSE on Windows NT 4’ in your resume? The skill set you are claiming is clear to potential employers, it still speaks of the hours of hard work you put into your studies, and best of all, it does all of this while being honest.

      ”Microsoft may not give you the benefits, but they've already downgraded those so far that they're not really benefits anyway, so what's the fuss?”
    By submitting your answer, you agree to let TechRepublic publish your thoughts and/or suggestions on its Web site. You also agree that TechRepublic may adapt and edit and authorize the adaptation and editing of each submission as it deems necessary. TechRepublic may or may not publish a submission at its sole discretion.
    • Jim R.
      ”Don't be lazy: I think that Microsoft is doing the right thing in requiring the certification upgrade. Doctors, teachers, engineers, and so on, do this all of the time.

      ”If we want to be professional, then we have to act like professionals, meaning that we must upgrade our certifications from time to time. To the people who whine, "We shouldn't be forced to do this,” I only say one thing: "You aren't.” No one is putting a gun to your head and saying that you have to upgrade. If you want to call yourself a retired NT MCSE, go ahead! Personally, I want to upgrade my skills. It can only benefit me later.”
    • E. Zilbermann
      ”I took my first MCP exam, supporting Windows 95, in March 1996. From that time, Microsoft has been saying that they were targeting the program at people who would keep their certifications current, and they would commit to providing appropriate paths for this purpose.

      ”Thanks to this commitment from Microsoft, upgrading our certification to Windows 2000 is not going to be too costly in terms of money. It will take a significant effort of studying, but that's our part of the deal. The timing and terms of the upgrading may be the subject of discussion, but the underlying principle is sound. We should make an effort to keep current and keep our part of the deal.

      ”If only Microsoft started offering a free TechNet subscription to people who got to W2K MCSE, it would be sweeter to keep our part of the deal.”
    • Bruce S.
      ”Should MCSEs be forced to upgrade their certifications? The title MCSE implies a certain expertise, whether it be at taking exams or actually knowing what you are doing in the Microsoft world. NT is going to be around for a long time, as will Win2K. There are significant differences in the way the two operating systems work, which would imply that the NT certification does not necessarily apply to Win2K.

      ”It is misleading to potential employers to not force the re-certification. To leave it up to the MCSE to clarify his certification doesn't do it for me. If there is to be no re-certification, then I believe that the acronym should be changed to reflect the actual certification, such as MCSENT for Windows NT 4.0 and MCSE2K for Windows 2000.”

    These people are on both sides of the fence
    • Jsull
      ”As much as I hate to admit it, I kind of ride the fence on this issue. As someone who just recently got my NT 4.0 MCSE, it pains me to know that all the study and hard work will, at least in the eyes of Microsoft, be worthless in less than 17 months’ time.

      ”On the other hand, I can definitely see the need to move forward to Win2K. After all, the jump from 4.0 to 2000 is rather massive; much more than 3.51 to 4.0. Active Directory has the potential to change everything about how a network is administered. Add to this the fact that:

      ”Microsoft is giving away the upgrade test for MCSEs and many MCPs, leaving only one more test to take if you planned your electives properly.

      "Just because Microsoft doesn't recognize the 4.0 cert doesn't mean that others won't. I will still be writing Windows NT 4.0 MCSE on my resume long after Dec. 31st, 2001, though I will be smart enough to add a (certification retired) after it so I don't run into legal issues.

      ”So, do I think it is a good thing that we have to upgrade to Win2K MCSE? Yes, but I wish we had a little more time to prepare. At least now I have a good motivating factor to dive right back into the books.”
    • Craig S.
      ”I have been an NT4 MCSE for 18 months now and although I am studying to upgrade to 2000, it's not because I feel I have to ’retain’ my MCSE title. Instead, I want to upgrade because I want to learn the new OS.

      ”Regardless, I plan to claim my NT4 MCSE for many years to come. I don't even consider it an issue. Who says you can't write ’MCSE on Windows NT 4’ in your resume? The skill set you are claiming is clear to potential employers, it still speaks of the hours of hard work you put into your studies, and best of all, it does all of this while being honest.

      ”Microsoft may not give you the benefits, but they've already downgraded those so far that they're not really benefits anyway, so what's the fuss?”
    By submitting your answer, you agree to let TechRepublic publish your thoughts and/or suggestions on its Web site. You also agree that TechRepublic may adapt and edit and authorize the adaptation and editing of each submission as it deems necessary. TechRepublic may or may not publish a submission at its sole discretion.

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