In Response offers a weekly roundup of feedback from TechRepublic members intended to help inform you and your peers about critical issues in the world of IT. This week, TechRepublic members share their opinions on the value of an MCSE.
Is your MCSE worth the time and effort?
In a recent edition of In Response, we asked TechRepublic members to give their opinions regarding the value of Microsoft’s MCSE certification. Once again, we received tons of e-mail from our members. Unfortunately, due to the volume we received, it isn't possible to publish every response. However, I believe I have presented the best balance of all the posts and e-mails below. Thank you to everyone who responded!
The members respond
“For knowledge yes, no for $$$. I am a self-employed/MCSE and own a networking business. We've never had a customer demand an MCSE or even ask if I had one. I hire people based on work experience, referrals from my employees, customers, etc. Experience counts, not an expensive piece of paper that most people earn by cramming. In my opinion, MS makes a good bit of revenue from the MCSE program, and is therefore interested in making all of us spend more $$$ on training, books, tests, etc.”
“Yes for the knowledge and opportunity. I would have to say yes that earning my MCSE was worth it. I was presented the opportunity to work on bigger projects and get more involved in the design processes as a result. The financial incentive by my employer was there also. I work with 150 technical associates on the east coast, and nearly all of us are now certified. We provide solutions on an enterprise scale, and each of us has 1,000+ users to support. The training and hard work helped us become more efficient and effective at our jobs.”
“MCSE worth it? I don’t think so. I knew my stuff before getting certified. My certification now expires one-and-a-half years after I got it. I'm working on a BS degree that will be good until I'm 95 years old. (It costs more, but never expires.)”
“I did my MCSE in 1999 and have not been able to land a job worth saving my life. I read about new entrants not being able to map or basically understand what to do when on a network—basically since all they know is what they have read on paper. This is true for any industry—you definitely need field experience. But with the abundance of talent in India [I am from India], the only thing that employers are interested in is if you have a degree besides the MCSE. Your experience comes after the degree. It is rather sad but perhaps it might change in the future. Simply doing MCSE does not teach you anything. A friend asked me if he could do what I had achieved. Well, he could if he put his mind to it, but would it get him anywhere? With all my experience, I got nowhere.”
“I achieved my MCSE in July of 1999 and am glad I did. I did receive a raise for my certification, but nothing significant. I attended an ATEC that conducted six six-week classes (Friday nights and Saturdays), and they taught us how to use and support the product we were learning about, not just how to pass the test. The information I obtained by attending those classes has been most useful and has indeed helped me perform my job better than before I was certified.”
“I learned in the middle of my first MCSE 4.0 class that the 4.0 track was being retired. After finally getting the money, time, and courage to begin the program, I felt that I was being shot down. With my full-time job, I don't feel that I have enough time to complete the 4.0 track before it goes away. And in fact, why should I, when I'll be forced to upgrade anyway? But I feel cheated, because my company is still on a 4.0 platform and will be for at least a couple of years. Now I have a dilemma. Do I study the core classes and pass tests for the 4.0 track, become an MCP, which makes me eligible for the "free" test to upgrade to W2K, then go on with the remaining requirements from there? Or, do I just abandon 4.0 altogether and embrace the W2K track? Either way, I'll never be a 4.0 MCSE. I feel that Microsoft should separate the two and offer two certifications, with a ’break’ for those who already have one and wish to be certified in both. If I were to study for the W2K track (only) now and pass all the requirements, I would indeed be a ’paper MCSE‘ because I don't have access to a real life W2K network. But if I were to complete the 4.0 track, I would be very knowledgeable and valuable with real-world experience. Microsoft is being unrealistic, and I feel that it really is just a money thing.”
“I am changing careers, so to me the MCSE is a way of proving to an employer that I can learn things, since I lack the experience. It is disturbing that Microsoft is retiring the certification. I will wind up paying about $15,000 for my education and testing when all is said and done. It is sad to think that I spent all that money and time (over 14 months) for something that is good for as long as it took me to get it.”
Thanks to everyone who responded to this In Response! Are there topics you'd like to see discussed in future editions of In Response? Let us hear about it. Post a comment below or send us an e-mail.
Bill Detwiler has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the social research and energy industries. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Louisville, where he has also lectured on computer crime and crime prevention.