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So forget about your MCSE already!

OK, so I was wrong in my last column about how Microsoft would treat certification for the Whistler line. It won’t be seeding questions into existing exams — it’ll be seeding entire exams into the MCSE track. (If you haven’t heard the few details available, make sure to read “News” this month.)

That said, I’d like to take up the cause of the lowly MCP title. At our recent MCP TechMentor technical conference in Florida, when I asked the more than 850 attendees how many of them had tackled any Windows 2000 exam (pass or fail), about 50 people stood up. And when I asked how many of those had achieved their entire Windows 2000 MCSE? I could count them on just a few fingers.

Yikes. If that doesn’t send a shiver down the spines of Microsoft’s marketing folks, I don’t know what would. After all, any vendor’s certification program exists indirectly as a way for a company to extend the reach of its sales force. MCPs act as an army of technical experts to push Microsoft technology. Without your influence and day-to-day support efforts, who will deploy and administer Win2K?

A couple of nights later, over dinner, one of our magazine contributors said something that dumbfounded me: “People who get their Windows 2000 MCP really have something to be proud of.”

I thought I had misheard. “MCP?”

“MCP.”

Granted, as the editor of MCP Magazine, I’m surrounded by over-achievers — people who write books, teach, and consult, and who consider it essential to learn the software and earn new certifications as quickly as possible.

So it’s been a long time since I saw real ongoing value in the MCP — a certification you get by passing a single test. Where’s the challenge in that?!

Time to take a new picture.

Consider giving up the idea of having your MCSE before the end of the year. Let go of the assumption that you’re obliged to maintain a continuum in your MCSE standing. Not having it for a while probably puts you at very little risk on the job or in your personal life — unless you’re the sole MCSE support for a solution provider that needs your title to maintain its partner standing with Microsoft.

Make the time in your schedule to study and work with the software. Then worry about the certification.

Consider a new kind of goal: “I will achieve my Windows 2000 MCP before the end of this year.” Just one exam.

Could becoming a Windows 2000 MCP have meaning for you? Tell me at dian.schaffhauser@mcpmag.com.

About the Author

Dian L. Schaffhauser is a freelance writer based in Northern California.

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