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Microsoft Releases Details on New Exams for MCSE on Windows Server 2003 Track

The company has modified the requirements of its certification programs for the MCSE and MCSA on Windows Server 2003 and provided an upgrade path for people certified on Windows 2000.

As it said it would do, Microsoft has modified the requirements of its certification programs for the MCSE and MCSA on Windows Server 2003 and provided an upgrade path for people certified on Windows 2000.

The new structure, which will be rolled out through the summer and fall, provides a path for candidates to move from the MCSA title to the MCSE title.

Candidates who are part of the first wave of titleholders on the new platform will be recognized as "early achievers" by Microsoft, though the company declined to provide details.

At the same time, Microsoft said it would make self-assessment functionality available on its Web site in March to allow users to check their expertise about certain aspects of the new operating system platform.

The MCSA Program
The Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator credential will still require four exams, consisting of three core tests and one elective. The core exams consist of two tests on networking and one on client systems. The networking exams, which are both new, are 70-290, Managing and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Environment; and 70-291, Implementing, Managing and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure. Candidates must take one of two currently available client OS tests: 70-270, Installing, Configuring and Administering Windows XP Professional; and 70-210, Installing, Configuring and Administering Windows 2000 Professional.

The requirements for the MCSA, as well as training that applies to each exam, are listed in table 1.

Table 1. MCSA on Windows Server 2003 Requirements
Core exams: Networking System (2 exams required) Microsoft courses Self-study
Exam 70-290: Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment

2274: Managing a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment (5 days)

2275: Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment (3 days)

2208: Updating Support Skills from Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 to Microsoft Windows Server 2003 (5 days)

MCSA/MCSE Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-290): Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment

MCSE Self-Paced Training Kit: Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Core Requirements, Exams 70-290, 70-291, 70-293, 70-294

Exam 70-291: Implementing, Managing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure

2276: Implementing a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure: Network Hosts (2 days)

2277: Implementing, Managing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure: Network Services (5 days)

2208: Updating Support Skills from Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 to Microsoft Windows Server 2003 (5 days)

MCSA/MCSE Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-291): Implementing, Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure

MCSE Self-Paced Training Kit: Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Core Requirements, Exams 70-290, 70-291, 70-293, 70-294

Core exams: Client Operating System (1 Exam Required) Microsoft courses Self-study
Exam 70-270: Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows XP Professional

2272: Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Windows XP Professional (5 days)

2285: Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows XP Professional (3 days)

MCSE Training Kit: Microsoft Windows XP Professional (Exam 70-270)

MCSA/MCSE Microsoft Windows XP Professional Readiness Review (Exam 70-270)

Exam 70-210: Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional

2151: Microsoft Windows 2000 Network and Operating System Essentials (3 days)

2152: Implementing Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional and Server (5 days)

MCSA/MCSE Self-Paced Training Kit: Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional, Second Edition (Exam 70-210)

MCSA/MCSE Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Readiness Review (Exam 70-210)

Elective exams
(1 Exam Required)
Microsoft courses Self-study
Exam 70-086: Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Systems Management Server 2.0

828: Deploying and Supporting Microsoft Systems Management Server 2.0 (5 days)

2074: Administering Microsoft Systems Management Server 2.0 (3 days)

Nothing in print.
Exam 70-227: Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2000, Enterprise Edition

2159: Deploying and Managing Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2000 (3 days)

MCSE Training Kit: Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2000

Exam 70-228: Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition 2072: Administering a Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Database (5 days)

MCSE Training Kit: Microsoft SQL Server 2000 System Administration

MCSE Readiness Review: Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Administration (Exam 70-228)

CompTIA A+

and

CompTIA Network+

Not available.

A+ Certification Training Kit, Third Edition

A+ Certification Readiness Review

Network+ Certification Training Kit, Second Edition

Network+ Certification Readiness Review

CompTIA A+

and

CompTIA Server+

Not available.

A+ Certification Training Kit, Third Edition

A+ Certification Readiness Review

Server+ Certification Training Kit

However, whereas the MCSA on Windows 2000 offers a choice of 10 elective exams from Microsoft, the newer version will offer only three electives, all currently available:

  • 70-086: Implementing and Supporting Systems Management Server 2.0
  • 70-227: Installing, Configuring, and Administering Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2000, Enterprise Edition
  • 70-228: Installing, Configuring, and Administering SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition

Candidates will also be able to take a combination of CompTIA exams in place of those electives (either the A+ and Network+ tests or the A+ and Server+ tests). However, that choice of elective won't transfer upward to the MCSE credential.

People who already have or obtain the MCSA on Windows 2000 can upgrade to the newer title by passing a single exam: 70-292: Managing and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Environment for an MCSA Certified on Windows 2000.

Dan Truax, Director of Microsoft Certification Business & Product Strategy, said the upgrade exam would be a "normal length or potentially less." This is in contrast to the behemoth accelerated test made available to MCSEs on NT 4.0 who chose to upgrade their title to Windows 2000. Also unlike the Accelerated Exam, 70-240, which was available for about a year, this upgrade exam will exist for as long as the Windows Server 2003 exams will be around.

Microsoft will offer a two-day course through its training partners, to prepare candidates: Workshop 2209: Updating Systems Administrator Skills from Microsoft Windows 2000 to Windows Server 2003.

Is two days sufficient to learn what's necessary to be proficient on Windows Server 2003? "What [those candidates] do around supporting users, groups, rights to resources and network services like DNS, IP-absolutely," said Truax. "That's what our job role task analysis says." The task analysis, which took six months and involved more than 3,000 "customers," according to Truax, helped Microsoft define how to structure the programs for the new credentials.

Upgrade training material will appear in a self-study book too. It will apply to the upgrade exams for the new MCSE as well and possess one of the longer titles among the Microsoft Press line-up: MCSA/MCSE Self-Paced Training Kit (Exams 70-292 and 70-296): Managing, Maintaining, Planning, and Implementing a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment for MCSAs and MCSEs Certified on Microsoft Windows 2000.

The new certification will also be a subset of the MCSE credential. "If you are going down the path [of MCSE],… you will become an MCSA along the way…" said Truax. "The core of the track is the same, and that is buried inside the MCSE."

The MCSA exams are expected to appear in the summer, according to Truax.

The MCSE Program
The Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer title will still consist of seven exams, but now the set will mandate six core and one elective vs. Windows 2000's five core and two electives. The core requirements break down like this:

  • Four networking system exams
  • One client operating system exam
  • One design exam

Along with 70-290 and 70-291, from the MCSA program, the MCSE also will offer two other networking exams:

  • 70-293: Planning and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure
  • 70-294: Planning, Implementing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Infrastructure

Truax pointed out that 70-293 integrates the kinds of implementation and administration tasks that are covered in two separate exams in the Win2K track-70-216 and 70-217, Network Infrastructure and Directory Services, respectively.

The core design requirement can be fulfilled by one of two new exams: 70-297, Designing a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory and Network Infrastructure; or exam 70-298, Designing Security for a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network. Either of these can also be used as an elective in the track, as long as the candidate passes both of them.

The client OS exams consist of 70-210 and 70-270, comparable to the MCSA track.

On the elective front, Microsoft will give credit for one of seven different electives, three that are also relevant to the new MCSA title (in italics):

  • 70-086: Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Systems Management Server 2.0
  • 70-227: Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2000, Enterprise Edition
  • 70-228: Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition
  • 70-229: Designing and Implementing Databases with Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition
  • 70-232: Implementing and Maintaining Highly Available Web Solutions with Microsoft Windows 2000 Server Technologies and Microsoft Application Center 2000
  • 70-298: Designing Security for a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network

The requirements for the MCSE, as well as training that applies to each exam, are listed in table 2.

Table 2. MCSE on Windows Server 2003 Requirements
Core exams: Networking System (4 Exams Required) Microsoft courses Self-study
Exam 70-290: Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment

2274: Managing a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment (5 days)

2275: Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment (3 days)

2208: Updating Support Skills from Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 to Microsoft Windows Server 2003 (5 days)

MCSA/MCSE Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-290): Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment

MCSE Self-Paced Training Kit: Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Core Requirements, Exams 70-290, 70-291, 70-293, 70-294

Exam 70-291: Implementing, Managing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure

2276: Implementing a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure: Network Hosts (2 days)

2277: Implementing, Managing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure: Network Services (5 days)

2208: Updating Support Skills from Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 to Microsoft Windows Server 2003 (5 days)

MCSA/MCSE Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-291): Implementing, Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure

MCSE Self-Paced Training Kit: Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Core Requirements, Exams 70-290, 70-291, 70-293, 70-294

Exam 70-293: Planning and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure 2278: Planning and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure (5 days)

MCSE Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-293): Planning and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure

MCSE Self-Paced Training Kit: Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Core Requirements, Exams 70-290, 70-291, 70-293, 70-294

Exam 70-294: Planning, Implementing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Infrastructure

2279: Planning, Implementing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Infrastructure (5 days)

MCSE Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-294): Planning, Implementing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Infrastructure

MCSE Self-Paced Training Kit: Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Core Requirements, Exams 70-290, 70-291, 70-293, 70-294

Core exams: client operating system (1 Exam Required) Microsoft courses Self-study
Exam 70-270: Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows XP Professional

2272: Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Windows XP Professional (5 days)

2285: Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows XP Professional (3 days)

MCSE Training Kit: Microsoft Windows XP Professional (Exam 70-270)

MCSA/MCSE Microsoft Windows XP Professional Readiness Review (Exam 70-270)

Exam 70-210: Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional

2151: Microsoft Windows 2000 Network and Operating System Essentials (3 days)

2152: Implementing Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional and Server (5 days)

MCSA/MCSE Self-Paced Training Kit: Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional, Second Edition (Exam 70-210)

MCSA/MCSE Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Readiness Review (Exam 70-210)

Core exams: design (1 Exam Required) Microsoft courses Self-study
Exam 70-297: Designing a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory and Network Infrastructure

2282: Designing a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory and Network Infrastructure (5 days)

MCSE Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-297): Designing a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory and Network Infrastructure

Exam 70-298: Designing Security for a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network

2830: Designing Security for Microsoft Networks (3 days)

MCSE Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-298): Designing Security for a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network

Elective exams
(1 Exam Required)

Microsoft courses Self-study
Exam 70-086: Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Systems Management Server 2.0

828: Deploying and Supporting Microsoft Systems Management Server 2.0 (5 days)

2074: Administering Microsoft Systems Management Server 2.0 (3 days)

Nothing in print.
Exam 70-227: Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2000, Enterprise Edition

2159: Deploying and Managing Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2000 (3 days)

MCSE Training Kit: Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2000

Exam 70-228: Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition 2072: Administering a Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Database (5 days)

MCSE Training Kit: Microsoft SQL Server 2000 System Administration

MCSE Readiness Review: Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Administration (Exam 70-228)

Exam 70-229: Designing and Implementing Databases with Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition

2073: Programming a Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Database (5 days)

2071: Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2000 with Transact-SQL (2 days)

MCSE Training Kit: Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Database Design and Implementation

MCSE Readiness Review: Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Database Design and Implementation (Exam 70-229)

Exam 70-232: Implementing and Maintaining Highly Available Web Solutions with Microsoft Windows 2000 Server Technologies and Microsoft Application Center 2000 2203: Deploying and Managing Microsoft Application Center 2000 (2 days) Nothing available.
Exam 70-297: Designing a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory and Network Infrastructure 2282: Designing a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory and Network Infrastructure (5 days) MCSE Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-297): Designing a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory and Network Infrastructure
Exam 70-298: Designing Security for a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network

2830: Designing Security for Microsoft Networks (3 days)

MCSE Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-298): Designing Security for a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network

Microsoft will offer two upgrade exams for people who have or intend to earn the MCSE on Windows 2000. One, 70-292, Managing and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Environment for an MCSA Certified on Windows 2000, is the same upgrade exam offered for MCSAs on Windows 2000.

The second is specific to the MCSE title: Exam 70-296: Planning, Implementing, and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Environment for an MCSE Certified on Windows 2000. Training partners will be able to offer a three-day workshop—Updating Systems Engineer Skills from Microsoft Windows 2000 to Windows Server 2003—to help candidates prepare. The same self-study material applicable to the MCSA upgrade test will apply to these upgrade exams as well.

The MCSE-specific exams are expected to appear in the fall, said Truax.

He suggested that those candidates who have an MCSE on NT 4.0 consider moving to Windows 2000, since the electives are virtually the same. "[Many of] those electives will carry over, so you will not need to take another."

What does he recommend for experienced network professionals who have no certification currently? Should they wait or should they move now? "I recommend they start down the Windows 2000 path…. When they get to the right milestone, we'll give them a very quick way to get their [Windows 2003] credential…"

Self-Assessment
Starting sometime in March, Microsoft will make available on its Web site online individual assessment to support the launch of Windows 2003, which is expected to happen on April 24th. "Certification is all about the job role. Assessment is all about projects. They're smaller, in chunks. It's not high stakes," said Truax. The assessments, which in some cases will last about 30 minutes, will test a person's knowledge on specific discrete topics.

"Based on [a person's] score, we'll recommend resources that Microsoft offers. For training, it's at the module level; in books it's at the chapter level." Truax explained. "It's not about telling customers about pass-fail. It's how you scored relative to your peers. It's about specific areas. 'Here are some things that will help you prep…' It doesn't certify someone. It's just a good barometer."

For more, go to Microsoft's Training and Certification Web page:

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