In-Depth

MCSE

The most sought-after of the premier Microsoft certifications.

The Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer is the premier certification for IT professionals who analyze the business requirements and design and implement the infrastructure for business solutions based on Windows server software. Implementation, installation, configuration, and troubleshooting network systems may also be part of the MCSE's job responsibilities.

The MCSE certification is appropriate for people who hold these types of job titles: systems engineer or analyst, technical support engineer, network engineer or analyst, and technical consultant.

The MCSE currently exists in many forms: MCSE for Windows NT 4.0, MCSE on Windows 2000, and MCSE on Windows 2003. These are covered here. Following the creation of the MCSE-Windows 2003, Microsoft also created specializations: MCSE: Messaging and MCSE: Security. (These titles are covered separately.)

Microsoft expects MCSE candidates to have at least a year of experience implementing and administering a network with the following characteristics:

  • 5 to 150 physical locations
  • Network services and applications such as file and print, database, messaging, proxy server or firewall, dial-in server, desktop management, and Web hosting.
  • Connectivity needs including connecting individual offices and users at remote locations to the corporate network and connecting corporate networks to the Internet.

Likewise, candidates should have a year of experience in administering desktop OSs and designing networks.

MCSEs receive the following benefits upon completion of requirements:

  • Industry recognition of your expertise.
  • The right to use the MCSE logo on business collateral.
  • A certificate, transcript, wallet card, and lapel pin to identify you as an MCP to colleagues and clients.
  • Access to technical and product information direct from Microsoft through a private MCP Web site.
  • Discounts on products and services (such as a reduced price on the one-year subscription to TechNet or TechNet Plus during the first year of certification.)
  • Invitations to Microsoft and MCP Magazine conferences, technical training sessions, and special events.
  • An opportunity to join the MCP Database, a peer-to-peer database that allows registered members to locate others by geographic area who have similar interests.

There are two ways to achieve the MCSE on Windows 2000: the traditional way and the accelerated way. The following table shows those paths:

MCSE on Windows 2000 Upgrade from
Windows NT 4.0
Core: Client (Pass 1)
Core (Pass 1)

70-210: Administering Windows 2000 Professional

70-240: Accelerated Exam for Upgrading to Windows 2000 (only for candidates who passed Windows NT 4.0 Exams 70-067, 70-068, 70-073)
70-270: Administering Windows XP Professional
Core: Networking
(Pass 3)
70-215: Administering Windows 2000 Server
70-216: Administering a Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure

70-217: Administering Windows 2000 Directory Services

Core: Design (Pass 1)
70-219: Designing Windows 2000 Directory Services

70-220: Designing Security for a Windows 2000 Network

70-221: Designing a Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure
70-226: Designing Highly Available Web Solutions with Windows 2000 Server
70-297: Designing Windows Server 2003 Active Directory/Network
70-298: Designing Security for Windows Server 2003

Elective (Pass 2)

70-019: Designing Data Warehouses with SQL Server 7.0 (a)
70-028 Administering SQL Server 7.0 (a)
70-029: Designing Databases with SQL Server 7.0 (a)
70-086: Systems Management Server 2.0
70-214: Administering Security in Windows 2000
70-218: Managing a Windows 2000 Network
70-219: Designing Windows 2000 Directory Services
70-220: Designing Security for Windows 2000
70-221: Designing a Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure
70-222: Migrating from NT 4.0 to Windows 2000
70-223: Administering Clustering Using Windows 2000 Advanced
70-224: Administering Exchange 2000 Server
70-225: Designing Messaging with Exchange 2000 Server
70-226: Designing Highly Available Web Solutions with Windows 2000 Server
70-227: Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2000

70-228: Administering SQL Server 2000 Enterprise

70-229: Designing Databases with SQL Server 2000

70-230: Designing BizTalk Server 2000 Enterprise Solutions
70-232: Maintaining Highly Available Web Solutions with Windows 2000 Server, Application Center 2000
70-234: Designing Commerce Server 2000 Solutions

70-244: Supporting Windows NT 4.0 Network

70-281: Planning, Deploying, and Managing an Enterprise Project Management Solution

70-282: Designing, Deploying, and Managing a Network Solution for a Small- and Medium-Sized Business
70-284: Managing Exchange Server 2003
70-285: Designing an Exchange Server 2003 Organization
70-299: Administering Security in a Windows Server 2003 Network

Notes(a): Still available but will be discontinued June 30, 2004; (b) The following certifications can be substituted in lieu of passing the electives: MCDST, CompTIA Security+

The MCSE on Windows 2003 requirements also diverges on two paths, one for those who plan to take the traditional route and one for those who plan to upgrade from MCSE on Windows 2000. The upgrade path is straightforward: Those who qualify are those who have obtained the MCSE on Windows 2000, and those who pass them immediately obtain the MCSE-Windows 2003. Unlike the 70-240, however, which was free, these ones are fee-based. This table shows the different paths.

MCSE on Windows 2003 Upgrade from MCSE-W2K
Core: Networking (Pass 4)
Core (Pass 2)

70-290: Administering Windows 2003

70-292: Managing, Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Environment for MCSA on Windows 2000

 

 

 

70-291: Implementing, Managing, Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Network
70-293: Planning, Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Network
70-294: Planning, Implementing, Maintaining Windows Server 2003 Active Directory
Core: Client (Pass 1)
70-296: Planning, Implementing, Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Environment for MCSE on Windows 2000
70-210: Installing, Configuring, Administering Windows 2000 Professional
70–270: Installing, Configuring, Administering Windows XP Professional
Core: Design (Pass 1)
70-297: Designing Windows Server 2003 Active Directory/Network
70-298: Designing Security for Windows Server 2003

Elective (Pass 1)

Note: No other core or elective exams are required.
(Note: The following certifications can be substituted in lieu of passing an elective: MCSE on NT 4.0, MCSA on Windows 2000, MCSE on Windows 2000, CompTIA Security+, Unisys UN0-101)
70-086: Systems Management Server 2.0
70-227: Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2000
70-228: Administering SQL Server 2000 Enterprise

70-229: Designing Databases with SQL Server 2000

70-232: Maintaining Highly Available Web Solutions with Windows 2000 Server, Application Center 2000
70-297: Designing Windows Server 2003 Active Directory/Network
70-298: Designing Security for Windows Server 2003

70-281: Planning, Deploying, and Managing an Enterprise Project Management Solution

70-282: Designing, Deploying, and Managing a Network Solution for a Small- and Medium-Sized Business
70-284: Managing Exchange Server 2003
70-285: Designing an Exchange Server 2003 Organization
70-299: Administering Security in a Windows Server 2003 Network

For most, the MCSE on Windows NT 4.0 is a retired certification, since many of the exams have been discontinued. However, those who've managed some partial completion of the track and need only pass exams that are still live can obtain this certification. See the following table for all exams related to the MCSE on NT 4.0:

MCSE on Windows NT 4.0
Core (Pass 4)

Must pass 70-058: Networking Essentials plus any three of the following:

  • 70-064: Windows 95
  • 70-073: Windows NT Workstation 4.0
  • 70-098: Windows 98
  • 70-067: Windows NT Server 4.0
  • 70-068: Windows NT Server 4.0 Enterprise
Elective (Pass 2)
70-013: SNA Server 3.0
70-018: Systems Management Server 1.2
70-026: SQL Server 6.5 Administration
70-027: Database Design, SQL Server 6.5
70-059: Internetworking with TCP/IP on Windows NT 4.0
70-085: SNA Server 4.0
70-086: Systems Management Server 2.0
70-019: Designing Data Warehouses with SQL Server 7.0
70-056: Site Server 3.0
70-087: IIS 4.0
70-219: Designing Windows 2000 Directory Services
70-220: Designing Security for Windows 2000
70-221: Designing a Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure
70-222: Migrating from NT 4.0 to Windows 2000
70-223: Administering Clustering Using Windows 2000 Advanced
70-225: Designing Messaging with Exchange 2000 Server
70-226: Designing Highly Available Web Solutions with Windows 2000 Server
70-244: Supporting Windows NT 4.0 Network
70-029: Designing Databases with SQL Server 7.0
Or*
70-229: Designing Databases with SQL Server 2000
70-028 Administering SQL Server 7.0
Or*
70-228: Administering SQL Server 2000 Enterprise
70-076: Supporting Exchange Server 5
Or*
70-081: Supporting Exchange Server 5.5
Or*
70-224: Administering Exchange 2000 Server
70-078: Proxy Server 1.0
Or*
70-088: Proxy Server 2.0
Or*
70-227: Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2000
70-079: Supporting IE 4.0 Using the IE Admin Kit
Or*
70-080: Supporting IE 5.0 Using the IE Admin Kit

Notes—*: Only one of the combinations of exams listed can be counted toward satisfying the elective requirement; Exam: Still available but will be discontinued June 30, 2004; Exam: available, no retirement announced.

You must take exams in person at Prometric and VUE testing centers.

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