With Microsoft planning to turn out two new operating systems in rapid succession, IT pros are beginning to rethink their MCSE certifications. At least that’s what TechRepublic members are saying in our polls and discussions.

The costs of training, test preparation, and testing for an MCSE certification can add up to thousands of dollars. The big question for current MCSEs is: When will this year’s MCSE for Windows 2000 expire? That question becomes more relevant when you consider that current MCSE certifications for Windows NT 4.0 will expire Dec. 31, 2001.

Just when many companies will be upgrading their networks to Windows 2000, Microsoft will be releasing its replacement, Windows XP. According to Erik Eckel in “Windows XP shakes up Microsoft certification,” this leaves many MCSEs asking if today’s Win2K MCSE will be tomorrow’s MCP after their Win2K exams begin expiring.

Microsoft claims that all is not lost with a Win2K MCSE
Microsoft recommends that you keep spending those dollars for training and tests on the Windows 2000 MCSE track, claiming that you will need that knowledge for Windows XP.

In an FAQ about the subject on its site, Microsoft categorically states that an MCSE in Windows 2000 will not be lost with the advent of Windows XP.

According to the FAQ, “MCSEs in the Windows 2000 track will not be required to pass Windows XP Professional/Windows 2002 exams to retain MCSE certification.”

If you’ve already started working on your Windows 2000 MCSE, you will have the option of completing Windows 2000 or Windows XP Professional/Windows 2002, or some combination of both, the FAQ states.

Some of the exams for the Windows XP/2002 track are expected to be available by the end of 2001.

Meanwhile, out in the field…
Microsoft’s rapid deployment of successive operating systems and their corresponding MCSE tracks is not going over well with many IT pros.

In a recent poll on TechRepublic, 51 percent of those who have a MCSE for NT 4.0 said they were not going to pursue an MCSE for Windows 2000 (see Figure A).

Figure A

The discussion following Eckel’s article, summarized in “Windows XP creates certification confusion,” reflected the frustration over certifications.

Several MCSEs expressed concern that Microsoft’s effort to dictate the market by killing NT 4.0 would hurt IT pros in the field. According to the discussion, these techs could find less importance placed on their paper MCSEs and more value placed instead on those with actual experience with an operating system.

Member Kenny Felton said, “Adding XP to Win 2K exams before it is even out yet is like an inward spiral. The more you get into this certification thing, the faster you start spinning. When do the exams stop and [when does] the real learning in the field begin?”

Some members said the certifications are losing their value and vowed either to not pursue them anymore or to switch to other certifications.

One member, mslatin, said he would concentrate on UNIX and Cisco certifications. “No one ever looked at or asked me to show my certifications. I just don’t see the need to support MS every time they come out with a new product,” he said.

Join the debate!

Now it’s time for you to add your two cents to the discussion. Are you going to get your Windows 2000 MCSE? What about Windows XP MCSE? Tell us what you think in the discussion below or send us a note.