Microsoft just recently gave its entire certification a major overhaul. It has been a long time in coming. Many would say that the MCSE credential is a worthless credential because of how easy it is to obtain the certification without real experience. This is a valid point as many people can simply purchase a brain dump and become a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.
The new generation of Microsoft Certifications is based on specific technologies. The following five Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist certifications are available today:
Technology Specialist: .NET Framework 2.0 Web Applications
Technology Specialist: .NET Framework 2.0 Windows Applications
Technology Specialist: .NET Framework 2.0 Distributed Applications
Technology Specialist: SQL Server 2005
Technology Specialist: BizTalk Server 2006
One of the most welcomed enhancements to the certification program is the Microsoft Certified Architect Program. According to Microsofts website, this program validates top industry experts in IT. Typically, these professionals have 10 or more years of experience in IT with at least 3 years of experience as a practicing architect, and possess strong technical and leadership skills and form a distinguished community.
This new program will bring respect back to the Microsoft certification program. The Microsoft Certified Architect is very similar to Cisco's CCIE certification where you must pass a written test and lab in order to obtain the credential. I am very happy to see this change happen. I am tired of hearing people say Microsofts certification is a joke or that it is just a piece of paper. I firmly believe this new direction will quell the rumblings. For more information on the Microsoft's certifications, check out their Frequently Asked Questions.