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Microsoft Gets Into the Boot Camp Business

In February, Microsoft began offering Accelerated MCSE Certification Bootcamp through Infinity+1, a Microsoft Service Provider Partner, in effect, sanctioning this method of training.

Microsoft is pushing an accelerated MCSE boot camp on its Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/
serviceproviders/training/mcse_P115709.asp
. What's wrong with this picture? Some might say that it goes against Microsoft's recommendation that candidates earn their certifications through experience mastered by implementing the technology. "Microsoft doesn't look favorably upon boot camps," writes MCP Magazine senior editor, Keith Ward, in an article on boot camp training, "claiming it's not the best way to get certified."

But recent news reports suggest that IT professionals who are hitting the job interview circuit without paper credentials are finding it increasingly more difficult to compete for jobs against those candidates who do possess the paper.

"We need [the certifications] to sell ourselves," says Richard Pusey, a manager of networking services for The Technology Group, an IT consulting firm. (For more, read "Certification Crossroads," by Keith Ward in the January 2002 issue of MCP Magazine.) Job hunters, therefore, are turning to boot camps, such as those offered by Acrew and Mountain View Systems, to back up their credentials quickly with the much-needed paper.

In February, Microsoft began offering Accelerated MCSE Certification Bootcamp through Infinity+1, a Microsoft Service Provider Partner (http://www.mcse-cisco-training.com/), in effect, sanctioning this method of training. Microsoft had no comment for this article.

The training will be offered in Redmond at the Microsoft Partner Solution Center.

Like most boot camp-style offerings, Infinity+1 says, it's an accelerated method of training that requires that applicants be fairly knowledgeable about the technology before being allowed to step into the training classroom.

"All candidates are given a questionnaire to qualify them for the class," says Linda Carr, partner and owner of Infinity+1. "If the candidate doesn't pass it, they're directed to other options" for more traditional training methods.

The term "boot camp" has come to mean particular things in the IT training business—a focus on taking exams and obtaining a title, an "immersion" experience in which the candidate has no life outside of the classroom for the duration of the training, and a hefty price tag (typically, ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 depending on length, housing, and other program features). According to the Web site for Infinity+1, "Testing will be available during course off-hours, but is not a course requirement." The boot camp lasts seven days and runs from 8:30 in the morning until 9 at night. The first bootcamp training was under way at the time of this writing, but Infinity+1 plans to schedule others later this year.

It's unclear whether Microsoft will allow others of its partners to offer training programs on campus as well.

For alternative MCSE boot camp offerings, see Keith Ward's article, "Tough Training, Boot Camp-Style," in the November issue of MCP Magazine.

About the Author

Michael Domingo has held several positions at 1105 Media, and is currently the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.

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