Numbers Game

"MCP By The Numbers," a monthly update of Microsoft certification that we published in the magazine, now appears on Microsoft's MCP Web site. The numbers show up with a few interesting discrepancies.

"MCP By The Numbers," a monthly update of Microsoft certification counts by title, has been a small but popular feature of MCP Magazine and (a feature that will continue). The numbers, which came from our sources within Microsoft, will now come directly from the MCP Web site at

Microsoft Certifications Issued Last Three Months
(Source: Microsoft. Corp)
Title Aug. 13 Sept. 16 MCP Site (As of Oct. 14)
MCP 826,017 831,673 832,259
MCSE 487,695 489,495 146,373(a)
MCSD 36,894 37,823 37,357(b)
MCT 13,604 13,851 (c)
MCDBA 72,810 77,605 75,726(b)
MCSA 26,977 31,936 30,006(b)
MCP+Internet 229,172 229,124 (c)
MCP+Site Building 2,022 2,024 (c)
MCSE+Internet 12,395 12,394 (c)
MCAD 102 346 (d)
Certs Issued 1,707,686 1,726,271 (c)

We compared the numbers we published in the last two months of the magazine to the numbers posted on the MCP site (see chart) and a few discrepancies became immediately apparent:

  • (a) On the MCP site, MCSE only specifies those issued for Windows 2000.
  • (b) The MCSD, MCDBA and MCSA title counts have dropped since Sept. 16.
  • (c) The MCT, MCP+Internet, MCP+Site Building and MCSE+Internet titles have been excluded, as has the cumulative total of certifications issued.
  • (d) The MCAD is also missing; the MCP Web site says it'll be posted in November.

Now that Microsoft has posted the numbers on its Web site, will it offer more compelling numbers in the future? (We've always wanted to know how many developer certifications are issued in India, for example.) Microsoft hadn't responded to that question or the aforementioned discrepancies as we went to press.

About the Author

Michael Domingo is Editor in Chief of Virtualization Review. He's been an IT writer and editor for so long that he remember typing out news items in WordStar.

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Reader Comments:

Thu, Mar 20, 2003 Steve California

I think that Microsoft should include the NT 4.0 and the 3.51 figures.
The testing industry has somehow pushed it's importance beyond the value of experience and solid networking principles.
"What's an interrupt?"
"Block size?"
"DMA Address?"
I haven't seen any of these topics addressed the NT5 study materials.
Some of you claim that the 2000 tests are harder, but the NOS' are so much easier these days that the point should be mute.
NT 4 had most of the features, DNS, RRAS, Certificate services, Exchange LDAP, and Shared Directory Services as plugins, but without the wizards. I have no idea why people think that NT5 is that much different than NT4.
Try getting and keeping a Novell Netware 2.x NOS operational, now that's a test!
I agree with Gegan, get a degree, move to India and work for 5k a year, because that's where M$ is sending all of the work. At least in India you can sell a kidney to continue to support the testing industry.

Wed, Feb 12, 2003 JT Australia

hello all.. im 16 and from australia and ive got my A+ and CCNA and MCP+server and will soon have my MCSA and MCSE.. i left highschool and decided to sit a 6 month coarse and get these certs... i know, i probably should have kept going, and gone to university, but i still can, and probably will in the near future. when i finish, what jobs should i be applying for? (since ive got no experience) and what would the absolute base salary be? for someone my and and with these certs? drop me an email or reply here. thanks guys! :)
ps. i passed all my exams on the first go.

Wed, Jan 8, 2003 liberal teacher USA

Gee, Kapil, we'll start you off with a free red bicycle and a lunch pass to Arbys. Just don't look anyone in the eye, and keep your banter to yourself, you fudd.

Wed, Jan 8, 2003 stern teacher India

Kapil, stop playing with that computer and ask that girl out on a date and head off to the mall for a slurpee, like you're supposed to at 14 for God sake.

Wed, Jan 1, 2003 Kapil Agrawal India

Hi Every One. I am Kapil Agrawal. I am 14 yrs old. I passed my first MCSD's Exam of VB Desktop Application on 31st December 2002 with score of 885. I was thoroughly disappointed as i expected more than 950. But Bet me i will score 1000 out of 1000 in my next 3 papers of MCSD.

Fri, Nov 22, 2002 Kieron Anonymous

Anyone any ideas how long a W2k MCSE is valid for?

Wed, Nov 20, 2002 darcy holland

Theres people with loads of experience who wouldnt have a clue about the stuffon the MCSE exams. STOP WITH ALL THIS SHIT ABOUT IT BEING DEAD YOU ARE ALL TRYING TO STOP PEOPLE COMING INTO IT. I DONT BLAME YOU. EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF IN THIS WORLD

Wed, Nov 20, 2002 william edge england

getting a placement that gives you the knowledge of microsoft exam is hard to.

Sat, Nov 16, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

When I was getting ready for A+ certification I got several books to study, fat ones, carm you name it. I also studied A+ for dummies and found it very easy. When I took the test and passed it I was so surprised to see that the book that was perfect for the test was the dummies book. It was concise to the point and all that I needed was there. I also took Network + and some MCP test.
95, 98, nt 4w, nt 4s, net esen, nt ent, I forgot the other ones. Tobe honest I didn't really study that much for the MS exams because there was just too much information. I relied on my experience and some dumps to guide me. I passed almost all the exams but since I started late I didn't make it to finish all before they cancelled the nt 4 stuff.

so here is my question. Are there books that give you just what you need for the exams? How did you do it? step by step? I need to take the Win2000 exams. I haven't done it because of the cost and not being a benefit in my company. But they *may* be helpful to find another job. Although in this economy I don't know.


Thu, Nov 7, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

You can get a ball park figure by checking out the polls on's website.

Thu, Nov 7, 2002 Jim MS

I've been taking certification tests since Novell's Netware 3. I've been working with a computer of some sort since 1985. Yeah, I know that's not very long compared to people who worked on mainframes in the forties and fifties. I just want to add one thing - the Microsoft tests are, in my opinion, not designed to test your knowledge of Microsoft products. With the Novell tests I've taken, (currently I'm a CNE6) Novell has always tested your knowledge of their products AND made sure you could put two and two together to come up with a solution to a problem. In my experience, it seems the Microsoft tests were more aimed at trying to trick you into choosing the wrong answer - not a good indicator of someone's ability. Yes, I do have Microsoft certification. I would say the thing people should do is learn what they can, get as much experience as possible, (even if you have to volunteer), and don't forget that getting a job is more than just learning how to work a server. You have to be able to work with people, and be a part of a team.

Thu, Nov 7, 2002 Doug Austin, TX

I passed my first 6 tests the first go round all within a couple week period. I got cocky and rolled into 70-216 without really prepping like I should have. Well, I got my rear handed back to me that day. I did pass it the second time though two weeks later. Someone mentioned that passing a MS cert relies less on real-world answers and more on MS world answers. I have to agree. If you keep MS "Best Practice" in mind, it really helps when taking the tests. Now I'm not suggesting that anyone do this, but I would be willing to bet that you could pass the design tests (219 and 220) without even reading the scenarios if you answered every question with MS best practice in mind. Sure, you would miss some due to details in the text, but I still you could pass. Like I said, I don't suggest anyone do that, its just an observation.

Does anyone elses blook pressure shoot sky high when it comes time to click the "Finish" button?!?!?!

Wed, Nov 6, 2002 Jonathan Joplin, MO

I've heard a lot of comments like what are posted in this thread. So I'll put my two cents in to make this a jingling pot of spare change...

I've been an MCSE since May 2000, about five days before I graduated high school. Took me about, hmm, 4 months (give or take... probably give) to complete it. (not to those reading this that are in hs... DO NOT PUT ASIDE SCHOOL WORK!, I got the blunt end) Then I upgraded this year to 2k, and added MCSA, CCNA and CCDA as well as one test shy of MCDBA.

To those who say get it and get a job... ha... noooo. Get it, it helps get in in the door as entry level... sometimes. Sometimes you look to experienced to get it. So before you get certs, start doing some side work... and don't make the cert the thing that gets you in as an engineer per say.
In my case, I got lucky... My certs weren't my moneybag guarantee image... I just wanted them because I wanted to prove I could do it. (at least on the NT4 track.) Now it is a requirement.... and almost a full time job keeping them. My initial mcse got me on at a local place to give me the chance to "fine tune" skills, and then move on to advance my knowledge.

Also, test anxiety! WOOOO... let me tell you I've ALWAYS hated tests. Just one of those things... you could ask me the same questions on the cert tests, in another manner like verbally/socially and I'd do fine. But you put the word TEST or EXAM after it, and I freak out. I truely belive the hardest part of taking the exam, just above remembering it is the "Microsoft" answer and not technically the "real world" answer.... Is dealing with your own perception and thoughts about the test.
Just remember, relax! Think of women in bikini's if you have to.... but don't let that 30 below temperature, with the numming silence disturb you.

I've also seen people that can get stuff done and know their stuff fail the tests... but I've seen that because they didnt' take time to know what the test targets.

I'll admit that I've failed tests before... sometimes it just isn't my day, or maybe something happens in your life... no big deal... do it again. But I can say... never take the test when you feel like your head's been drug thru a cheese grater... Get some sleep, and go in feeling relaxed... (note to self... sleep is good)

So to all... I can honestly say that certs "HELP" get you in the door. But they don't guarantee anything. (Same applies to a degree) When you get hired, you are watched... that is your make or break.

But the part that most forget... nobody in this thread from what I've read... Don't even try to get these if the field, the actual work you would be doing doesn't make you happy. Besides, it sure would be a tremendous waste of money to find that out after the fact... ;)

There be my two cents... (plus tax)


p.s. To those in the field, and to those coming, we are the biggest community of strong willed and creative people in the world. Think about it... how quickly can you make a BS answer to shut upper management up? :) *caugh caugh*

Mon, Nov 4, 2002 Anonymous ky

The microsoft tests have a fairly low pass rate. I belive it is about 15% Which is really sad because if you have any experience at all, I don't see how you could do any worse than 75%. If you fail more than 1 out of 4 you just aren't ment for this.

Mon, Nov 4, 2002 Bob B California

In reply to Ben Hays - I don't know how it is in the UK but in the US the job market is so tight that it seems to take a BSCS and several certifications, along with a lot of experience to even get a serious consideration for a job in IT today. Point being - don't think certs alone will get you in the door.

Sun, Nov 3, 2002 Helpnet Australia

I am one of the lucky ones who has never failed an exam I paid for (17 MS exams, and 16 Novell exams a couple of comptia exams and one cisco) I have also sat and passed many beta exams. I have however failed a couple of beta exams and hit smack on the border and passed on a couple of instances in exams I paid for.

I have known some technically very sound techs who have studied and failed on the first go (in fact over half the people I know who have sat a number of exams and have multiple certifications have failed at least once) so if you do the exams it is not a matter of shame if you fail.

Sun, Nov 3, 2002 2bigbaws Anonymous

NT4 certs should be excluded as the NT4 system as night and day comnpared to win2k. In win2k one has to have a knowledge of hardware unlike NT4 which is purely an administrative role, good god you can run an NT4 domain on netbeui. I should know I am a double mcse, ccna and have never failed an exam ms or cisco.

Sat, Nov 2, 2002 jeff cleveland

I recognize those numers that Naderman posted. Those are not the success rates , but the actual score needed to pass.
When I took 210 and 215 the scores were 540 and 660( or 620) ,the 218 was pass/fail.

Sat, Nov 2, 2002 Ben Hayes Anonymous

I'd have to agree. I would like to see what the percentages are myself. While MS have not killed off the MCSE on NT4, it's a valid point to include those numbers as well (even if it's in it's own category). Those guys have worked hard for their certs and deserve to be counted. I can only say this about the pass/fail rate. I'm a MCP, MCSA and MCSE. I passed my first 6 exams first time. It took my 3 times to pass my last exam (70-219). I'm looking to get my MCDBA and MCT certs after I tackle my CCNA and CCDA.
Gagan - in response to a Computer Degree, is this a TRUE requirement for companies or is it a mere filtering system for most companies? Agencies over here in the UK are starting to require persons with certs (MCSE, CCNA, CCNP, Degree, etc). Most of those jobs I could easily do but from appearance, it seems to be a filtering process to cut down the number of applicants that apply for the job. A degree is not gonna help me build a server faster or configure a PIX any better.....

Fri, Nov 1, 2002 Gary Canada

I think Microsoft exams have become a game.all you need to do is study few dumps located on websites like and u will definitely pass all 7 exams in one shot!i scored 980 on 70-215 cuz i got d same exact questions of one of the dumps i had studied!they really need to change the whole system of the exams continuously like Cisco's CCNA and CCNP exams!otherwise none of us will stay valid MCSEs on the long term!

Fri, Nov 1, 2002 Gagan New Delhi, India

I would say, Passing is not tough at all. Read Microsoft Material, use the simulations and practice as much as you in your resources. But yes, it is very agreeable, there is a whole lot that cannot be learnt but is asked in exams and at that stage, it is Learning/Cramming Power that helps. But, I personally find, cramming takes you nowhere even if you clear the exam. It has to be more of practical knowledge and willling to be inquisitive of every detail. Yes, I passed 6 exams in one go and one in 3 tries. I cleared the additional MCSA exam in one attempt though. But, the question is if you do not have a COMPUTER DEGREE, how much these certifications help? Do they really? :-(

Fri, Nov 1, 2002 Brian Seattle

I think it's good that they did not include the NT 4.0 MCSE's in the count because I believe the 2K tests were more difficult. I also think it was gracious that Microsoft allowed the NT4 MCSE's to retain their title after all of the complaining. But!!! I think there should be two official counts to accommodate everyone.

On a personal note, I have taken a total of ten exams and have failed three of them the first time and one of the three I failed the second time around as well (this is the infamous Exam 70-216: Implementing and Administering a Microsoft Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure). But all things considered, I would do it all again. Not everyone passes MCP tests on the first shot and that's always going to be true - as long as the tests are difficult to pass. The amount of effort and time spent studying as well as experience taking the tests are and always will be the deciding factor.


Fri, Nov 1, 2002 Mark H. Phila, PA

Does anyone have counts for multiple cert holders
(how many are mcse+mcsd+mcdba+.._)

Fri, Nov 1, 2002 Jim Sioux City

At the very least, Microsoft should list them separately - MCSE 2000 and MCSE NT4.

Fri, Nov 1, 2002 Jeff Nashville

It's a HUGE mistake to NOT include the NT 4 MCSE's. Those folks are still MCSEs and it's yet again Microsoft's way of showing they are ready to kill the designation. MCPMag shoud NOT play along with that game!

Fri, Nov 1, 2002 Bob Feldsien St Louis, MO

Those knids of numbers used to be available a few years back, but I haven't seen them recently. On the old WOSE exams for MCSD, the pass rate was well below 50% for first timers.
A lot of it has to do with your experience in taking cert exams as well. I had to take one of the WOSE exams three times before I finally passed. Now I have a much better idea of what to study and how. I rarely have to retake an exam anymore.
Bob Feldsien, MCSD MCDBA

Fri, Nov 1, 2002 Sam Atlanta

I think the pass rate on the first time is based more on the preparation of the individual, rather than the perceived difficulty of the exam.

Fri, Nov 1, 2002 paul tucson

I don't believe gary means the score but the pass/failure rate. You simply cannot pass every exam the first time, without good resources.

Thu, Oct 31, 2002 Naderman Anonymous

As far as I remember, The Server (70-215) pass mark is (660), Network (620), Proffessional (540), Exchange 2000 Server (704). Maximum mark is 1000.

Thu, Oct 31, 2002 Gary Maryland

Does anybody know, or even kind of know in a ballpark way, what the passing rate is on MCSE 2000 exams. In other words, what % pass an exam the first time they take it? The second time?

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