Windows

Windows NT 4 MCSEs really needn't fret

If you received, or are seeking, a Windows NT 4 MCSE, don't panic at the announcement that these exams are being retired. It's not as bad as it looks. The certification holds value and is going to save you time and money.

Don’t panic
It’s okay that Microsoft is retiring many of the Windows NT Server 4.0 MCSE exams on Dec. 31, 2000.
I’ll stop for a moment to let you catch your breath. Don’t believe me? Well then, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you can read Microsoft’s Retirement of Exams notice for yourself. The exams to be retired on Dec. 31, 2000, are:
  • Exam 70-058: Networking Essentials
  • Exam 70-067: Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0
  • Exam 70-068: Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 in the Enterprise
  • Exam 70-073: Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0

Don’t worry if you’re still working on—or if you recently received—your MCSE certification in the NT 4 track. You’ll still get your money’s worth from the accreditation. Besides, we all knew these certs would retire someday. We just didn’t think we’d read about it so soon.
If you earned your MCSE in the Windows NT 3.51 track, you need to get hopping. The Windows NT 3.51 exams will retire on June 30, 2000. IT professionals earning their MCSEs in the NT 3.51 track must upgrade their certifications by June 30, 2001, to remain certified.
Your shock, evidenced by floods of posts to Internet newsgroups and in response to our article, “NT is dead; long live Windows 2000,” is understandable. In fact, Microsoft’s done all of us a favor by releasing this information now. And before you aim your sharpened saber of rhetoric at my e-mail box, read the fine print. Then you can tell me how you really feel. Cool?

Here’s the deal
If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to pass seven exams, not six, to achieve MCSE accreditation for the Windows 2000 track. Five are core, and two are electives.

If you received your certification for the Windows NT Server 4.0 track, your MCSE accreditation expires Dec. 31, 2001. However, if you choose to retain your MCSE status, you’ll need to pass only two exams, as candidates passing three Windows NT 4.0 exams (more on that in a minute) can take Exam 70-240: Microsoft Windows 2000 Accelerated Exam for MCPs Certified on Microsoft Windows NT 4.0. This exam counts for four Windows 2000 exams. They are:
  • Exam 70-210: Installing, Configuring and Administering Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional
  • Exam 70-215: Installing, Configuring and Administering Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Exam 70-216: Implementing and Administering a Microsoft Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure
  • Exam 70-217: Implementing and Administering a Microsoft Windows 2000 Directory Services Infrastructure

The prerequisite Windows NT 4 exams for candidates wanting to take Exam 70-240: Microsoft Windows 2000 Accelerated Exam for MCPs Certified on Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 are:
  • Exam 70-067: Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0
  • Exam 70-068: Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 in the Enterprise
  • Exam 70-073: Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0

Why only two exams? Non-retiring electives count as two more. If you’re worried your electives may be retiring, you can check Microsoft’s Requirements–Windows 2000 site . Should your elective exams retire, you’d need to pass two more qualifying tests. (Thanks to A Technological Advantage’s Theresa Bordador for pointing out the fine print.).

How is Microsoft helping us? By telling us of changes to the MCSE track now, almost two-and-a-half years before our current credentials expire. The advanced notice provides IT pros with plenty of time to plan their Windows 2000 track and pass the necessary examinations. In fact, it averages out to just about one exam a year (if your elective exams aren’t retiring).

I think it’s safe to predict that, two years from now, the Windows 2000 skill set will be in greater demand than Windows NT 4 expertise. So we’ll need to be developing skills with Windows 2000 anyway.

However, that doesn’t mean there won’t be a demand for Windows NT 4 engineers—quite the contrary. Believe it or not, there are folks still using Windows 3.1 today (I’m not one of ‘em).

For this reason, don’t lose heart if you haven’t yet earned your NT 4 certification. Go ahead and finish the track, and you’ll have a head start on Windows 2000.

Quick FAQ
Q. When do I lose my Windows NT 4 MCSE accreditation, if I do nothing?
A. Jan. 1, 2002.

Q. How many tests, minimum, must I pass to retain MCSE accreditation?
A. Two (if your elective exams don’t retire).

Q. When must I pass those tests by?
A. Dec. 31, 2001.

Q. When will the tests be available?
A. Microsoft reports that beta versions of Windows 2000 exams will be released during the first and second quarters of 2000.
Certification’s always a hot topic, and the news that Microsoft is retiring the Windows NT 4 exams has many IT pros debating its merits. Tell me what you think. I’ll collect your comments and follow up with an article letting you know how your opinions compare with those of your peers.
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