New Microsoft Certs Announced
Microsoft is preparing two new tracks for systems administrators and
developers, which candidates may attain as early as first quarter 2002.
Microsoft announced them during its partner conference, Microsoft Fusion,
in Anaheim, California. Microsoft also announced the first of its XP/Windows
.NET Server exams.
The new systems administrator track is aimed at "network administrators,
technical support specialists and Web administrators who implement, manage,
monitor, and troubleshoot the network and system environment for the Microsoft
Windows 2000 and Windows .NET Server platforms," according to a press
release issued by the company. The same release says the new developer
track is for "individuals who create software components including complex
macros, desktop and Web clients, and data access and business logic objects."
Anne Marie McSweeney, director of the Microsoft Certification and Skills
Assessment group, says the new systems administrator track, which has
yet to be officially named, won't require as many exams as the MCSE. The
new track's exam requirements may list current exams from the MCSE track
as well as one or two new exams specifically for the new sys admin track,
including a possible core exam particularly suited to testing the skills
of the day-to-day systems administrator. She said that the requirements
are still in development.
What's driving the new systems administrator title is a skills gap that
exists within the certifications, said McSweeney. "The MCP is a great
entry into the certification program, but it doesn't define a particular
"To make the [Win2K MCSE] credential valuable in the workplace, we needed
to raise the requirements," she added. "As well, we needed to target those
who do the design."
"There's a whole group of people who do just the implementation," which
McSweeney said the new track will assess. "They don't do all the design
stuff. That particular job function -- when we raised the bar we left a void."
McSweeney said that the developer track "wasn't as strong a need." Nonetheless,
the same type of skills gap exists, with specialists whose roles are more
narrowly defined as coders or programmers.
"I think it's something that the industry's been asking for for
a long time, especially with the Win2K MCSE [becoming] such a great gap."
Quoting one person, "It's like a step that's three floors up,"
said Thom Griffith, director of technical services for QuickStart Technologies,
a California-based training company. "Taking a person who's a career
changer and expecting that person to become an MCSE isn't realistic for
the individual or for the industry."
Drew Cartwright, director of international business development at New
Horizons in Santa Ana, Calif., thinks the track is a step in the right
direction. "It's evolving nicely."
Ken Rosen, content strategist for Microsoft's Training and Certification
Group, outlined the first in a line of exams and courses for Windows XP
and Windows .NET Server. He said the new exam, 70-270, Installing, Configuring
and Administering Windows XP Professional, will be made available soon
after the Oct. 25 release of Windows XP.
Details were sketchy, but it's expected that the exam objectives will
follow those of 70-210, Win2K Professional. It's also expected that Microsoft
will make this exam a part of the Win2K MCSE and sys admin tracks, where
candidates will be able to choose among a slew of WinXP/.NET exams as
well as Win2K exams to fulfill the core requirements.
Exam objectives for 70-270 were not available on the Microsoft Training
and Certification Web site at the time of this writing.
Michael Domingo has held several positions at 1105 Media, and is currently the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.