Microsoft Certified Systems Expert?

If you’re not an engineer, you want to be an expert. That’s what the results of a recent MCP Magazine survey say.

Due to the growing complications of using the word “Engineer” in the title Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer [see News in the July issue], we asked for your take on the naming controversy. In a month-long survey at, respondents voted on alternatives to the word Engineer. Among the choices: Administrator, Analyst, Architect, Builder, Consultant, Expert, Guru, Implementer, Integrator, Manager, Practice Manager, Professional, Specialist and Technologist.

Of 2,017 responses, 526 of you said, "Don't change the name at all." Of the 1,320 who said that only the word Engineer should change, the overwhelming majority—502 respondents—liked "Expert" as a replacement. This alteration has the added bonus of not changing the MCSE acronym. Your second choice was "Administrator," with 207 votes. The only other name to garner triple-digit support was Specialist, with 168 votes. Of the low vote-getters, Practice Manager had two supporters, Builder had four votes, and Manager had nine. The only name without a single vote? Implementer.

Other vote totals:

Replacement Votes
Professional 90
Analyst 82
Architect 65
Consultant 41
Technologist 36
Guru 12

About the Author

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

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Reader Comments:

Thu, Mar 24, 2005 Femi Lagos

All over the world Engineering is a regulated profession.To have a degree in Engineering there is hours of lectures,course units,exams,semesters and sessions you must have attended in a University.I think MCSE should tender is certification to the organization that regulates Engineering in USA since its based there.If it passed the Diploma,Higher Diploma or Bachelors Degree accreditation in SYSTEMS ENGINEERING and it has acrredited Universities,Polytechnics and Colleges that can ensure that the required standard is met according to regulation then it can amend its title according to equivalent or comparabilty status of Diploma,HND OR Degree.Then only MCSE can have recognized status worldwide.We saw the take over of COMPAQ by HP where is COMPAQ ACCREDITED SYSTEMS ENGINEERS in the scheme of things in HP now.Microsoft can be bought ,takeover or merged with another company with a more sought over certification like CISCO leaving its certified professionals in the limbo.

Tue, Dec 4, 2001 Som Guy Anonymous

Passing a few exams on Microsoft products does not make one an engineer any more than passing exams in physiology make one a physician.

Mon, Sep 10, 2001 MavEryck Anonymous

C'mon you're using this discussion board to pick on the grammar of others?!? Some of the Engineers here do not speak english for a first language. What does that have to do with the price of tea in china? If you haven't noticed by now. The discussion board automatically prints out in lower case. There is nothing that you or I can do about the capitalization of our submissions. Let's stick to the point of the discussion. If anyone wants to go by something other than "engineer", then take some other tests and then use whatever acronym or name goes along with those tests. Have a nice day :-)

Mon, Sep 10, 2001 MavEryck Las Vegas

As earlier people have stated, there are many types of Engineers. I am a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer for Windows 2000. I have passed the tests and have hands on experience. If someone needs a Systems Engineer then I am confident that my peers and I will handle the task(s) at hand. There is no need to change the name or the acronym.

Sun, Sep 9, 2001 MCSE MCP+I MCT CCA Texas

I know an IEEE that starts up Nuke Plants and he can't install a light fixture. He knows what he knows and I know, Microsoft Systems.
Just a side note, what's with all of this shiftless talk? I noticed someone "Anonymous" was giving others a hard time about grammar but did nothing to capitalize any words.
MCSE is and should stay Microsoft Certified System Engineer.

Sat, Sep 8, 2001 Withheld Withheld

The word “expert” in the MCSE title could be a liability for those holding the title, and to companies employing those “experts”. As an MCSE with a Microsoft Certified Partner, it is more advantageous for our company to present itself as supportive rather than as self-proclaimed experts. When things go wrong, as they sometimes do, fingers are pointed at the experts first. I would rather be seen as the one who can help resolve the problem rather than as the one to blame.

I believe that Systems Engineer is an appropriate title.

Fri, Sep 7, 2001 Roberto Naperville/ IL

Leave it as Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer. They're 7 Exams! Not one or two. I worked very hard to acquire this title. They are different kind of Engineers let it go already. Let us have "Engineer".

Thu, Sep 6, 2001 hamit istanbul

it must be changed i tkink.. alteration everytime is better than static stay!

Thu, Sep 6, 2001 Jerry Czech

... stupid problem for stupid american engineers and experts :)


Wed, Sep 5, 2001 Anonymous Anonymous

The guy that posted on 8/27/01 - yes, univerity earned engineering degrees are harder to earn. But they a lifetime. MCSE's will be lucky if their qualification holds up in 3 years. If you want to remain an MCSE (or whatever they've called it in the past or will call it in the future), you have to go through it all again every 1-3 years.

Wed, Sep 5, 2001 fadi San Antonio

You guys must be kidding me. ANYONE can pass MCSE's exams with the amount of braindumps out there. Passing the exams does NOT make you an engineer or an expert, it just means you know how to take exams. You need to support your certification with experience and proven knowledge, all the cert gives you is an Interview when looking for a job. How many MCSEs out there? and how many of them know what they are doing? Microsoft needs to change the requirements for MCSE and revoke most of those certs and make people get harder new exams

Tue, Sep 4, 2001 Anonymous Anonymous

Expert is good enough for CCIE's.

Tue, Sep 4, 2001 Chris Philadelphia, PA

You guys who want "Expert" are missing the whole point to the MCSE. MCSE is a cert that concentrates on designing Microsoft networks, as well as typical maintenance of networks. If you aren't aware, Microsoft is also launching a new cert track that doesn't have a design concentration and will be geared toward typical day-to-day administration. This cert if anything should be considered to include "Expert" if an E is really necessary in another Microsoft cert.

Mon, Sep 3, 2001 Justin Anonymous

I am an MCSE. But if you think about it, who cares what you are actually called. Whether it be an Engineer or an Expert. If you know what you are doing people are going to see you as one thing, "a NERD". So throwing out some accronym to someone who knows absolutely nothing about cocmputers is not going to get you very far. I see an MCSE as a way of improvement apon ones self, not a means of improving ones situation.

Mon, Sep 3, 2001 A "Real" Engineer Anonymous

Engineering is not just to have expertise about a technical subject. It is not possible to learn the concepts such as analytical thinking, cross-diciplinary understanding and problem solving skills in a few short course. A "real" engineer's approach to an issue is always different than other people because of comprehensive engineering education.

Mon, Sep 3, 2001 sameh Egypt

I totally support the MCSE title. Why we need to change it into Expert insted of Engineer. We do not say that it is a civil eng. it says system Engineer and not all systems it is Only for Microsoft. That what makes who earn it specialized in Microsoft systems. Of course you'll need more than MCSE If you are intersted to reach the cutting edge of Technology which changes everyday.

Mon, Sep 3, 2001 Shahzad Ahmad Rawalpindi

Thats Best, "Experts"

Fri, Aug 31, 2001 G Miller Tucson

it sounds like the debate has turned to whether or not the mcse certification process is even legitimate. No matter which certificate or degree program you look at, there will always be someone that has excellent memory skills, and can pass an exam based solely on the chapters that they memorized the night before. An exam can't tell the difference between real world experience and memorization. Good hiring practices filter that out. As for the engineer/expert debate, being an "expert" implies nothing about one's abillity to design and implement solutions based on knowledge and experience. It simply means that you know about the subject. "Engineers" design and implement solutions. Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't 5 out of the 7 tests trying your abillities to design and implement windows based networking solutions??? Don't change the title. It fits.

Fri, Aug 31, 2001 Ata Anonymous

The word Expert isn't a devalue. With the exams your'e not stopping learning, it goe's on every day. The goal should not be the title itself, it sould be an tool to work with on your'e business. Regards

Fri, Aug 31, 2001 Anonymous Hong Kong

Instead of 'E' for Engineer, you may well substitute words like Extra-Terrestrial or Exponential ... or whatever begins with E because it does'nt mean anything if taken AS IS - just one more title!

Thu, Aug 30, 2001 anonymous HongKong

I think only 'Engineer' certification is not enough, Microsoft need to add another certifications such as MCSA (Administrator) for different fields in networking and system administration. These vendors' exams can show a person who is specilized to the products. I don't agree one anonymous said an engineer needs up to 80 exams like a B.Sc. In University professors only teach about computers and network theory, how the CPU and I/O work flow , the archecture of different networking protocols etc. But these nearly 'no use' in the real world, as you wil not change these hardware archeicture. But vendors' certifiaction such as MCP , CNA, CCNA, CLP etc , can show the person SPECILIZED on these products, which means he can fully control and administrate, troubleshooting one specific product. I CAN SURE one person who only completes the B.Sc or even M.Sc WILL NOT KNOW how to use the support tools in different OS or products. Because they are not specilized. They only speak general computer theory.

Thu, Aug 30, 2001 anonymous Anonymous

From reading some of the comments above it sure is evident that these "engineers" can barely spell much less get their grammer correct. I work with many "MCSE's" who have "passed" the paper (electronic) tests - but you would never know it by some of the questions they post in forums.

Which brings me to a point of the "MSCE" breadth of subject matter that Microsoft expects someone to be an expert (i.e. certified) in - in such a short time ... yeah right! Let me put them in front of a system and ask them to perform all of those tasks real-time.

Thu, Aug 30, 2001 Ray Anonymous

Engineer technically means someone who can build and manage. Isn't that what we do?- we build networks and manage them- So what's the diffrenece.
Keep the Name Engineer- 7 exams and passing is not an easy task.

Thu, Aug 30, 2001 G Miller Tucson

I agree with Carl. The use of "engineer" is being blown out of context by most of the complaints here. When used in conjunction with a title, like MCSE, the Oxford Dictionary defines "engineer" as one who is claimed to possess specialized knowledge [of that subject]. That is exactly what MCSE's attain through the certification process.

Thu, Aug 30, 2001 Michael Nashville/Tennessee

Its all a tempest in a teacup.
(Still Out Of Work)

Thu, Aug 30, 2001 Kevin Finkenbinder Colorado Springs, CO

If we need to upgrade the requirements of the MCSE to meet some "Engineer" level, then lets do it. Make MCSE the ultra-premium title in the world. Then add on MCSA for what is currently an MCSE. By doing this, no one would be able to complain that we were Microsoft Biased. The state would also be recognizing our engineering level.

Thu, Aug 30, 2001 Anonymous Anonymous

Whatever Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer or Expert, it has no use to have a higher pay even got certified MCDBA. I think all of the Microsoft Title is NOTHING. Oracle and Cisco is GOOD.

Wed, Aug 29, 2001 Dino Canada

I think we should be looking at the term "Systems Engineer", and not 'Engineer' on its own.

Yes, 'Engineer' should stay on in the MCSE title.

Wed, Aug 29, 2001 Anonymous Anonymous

Engineer is perfect, why change it?

Wed, Aug 29, 2001 Carl Toledo/Ohio

I am a Microst Certified Systems Engineer (Windows 2000). I have worked with Microsoft products for approx 10 years. I know that I have worked VERY hard to have the title of Engineer.

This title means your a "Systems" Engineer, not a Civil, electrical, biochemical, or any other sort of Engineer...... There are many different types of Engineers.

Wed, Aug 29, 2001 Prav Bangalore

I think the move is justified to make it as EXPERT as there are legal complications and also perceptive difficulties with the word "Engineer" being just given away for those who have not gone thru the GRIND !!!!

Wed, Aug 29, 2001 Richard Anonymous

In the West the 9th Circuit has ruled that we can use the term "Engineer". I cannot think of a more stupit thing for Microsoft to do than to devalue the MCSE by changing to "expert". I became an "expert" in Microsoft software when I passed my first MCP exam. Now that I have passed many more than 7 exams I have EARNED the title of Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.

Tue, Aug 28, 2001 Anonymous Anonymous

people should go and check the dictonary. The word engineer dosn't mean a 4year degree or 7 exams. It depend what you do.

Tue, Aug 28, 2001 donMiguel Anonymous

I still think it should be MCSU. Microsoft Certifide Still Unemployed.

Tue, Aug 28, 2001 Rich Anonymous

I almost agree with anonymous, becuase I worked for engineers and the point is there is a wide range of engingeers out there from people that operate trains to people that provide safe structures. MCSE is a systems engineer, and I worked hard for the title. I have taken lots of school to learn things of intrest to me, but never had such a hard time passing test as with technical testing. I think that these test really require hands on, and that you can't pass them from just reading the books.

Mon, Aug 27, 2001 Anonymous Anonymous

7 Exams doesn't make you and Engineer. I went to school to get a B.S. in Computer Engineering and I probably took more than 80 exams throughout my college career. After college I took & passed the EIT Exam which is a comprehensive exam covering many aspects of general engineering and many aspects of a specific field of engineering. To become a licensed professional engineer in Maryland requires several years of engineering experience and an additional comprehensive exam, just to make sure you haven't forgotten anything since you took the EIT exam. While I respect the MCSE certification, I understand how some people have a problem with the use of the "Engineer" term for a certification that can be earned in 1 to 2 years.

Sun, Aug 26, 2001 Anonymous Anonymous


Sun, Aug 26, 2001 ASHKAN_T Anonymous

Dont change engineer to expert,this is 7 exams and who pass all 7 exam he/she has a knowledge of engineer

Sat, Aug 25, 2001 Raj Prakash India

Yes I also think the word should be Expert instead of Engineer.

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