Letters to Redmond

December 2011 Reader Letters: Certification Value?

Readers discuss Microsoft certification, the future of Windows PowerShell and more.

I read Greg Shields' "Value of Certification Brain Dumps" article [November 2011], and learned about the 71 percent of people who pursue a certification as a personal goal. I am an MCTS (SQL Business Intelligence) and MCAD.net, and have lost some of the interest on certifications due to one single decision from Microsoft: It doesn't advertise the MCP numbers anymore. Before, I could see how many peers had achieved a specific certification. I could use that info to see how the market was moving, and decide on which areas to pursue next. Now the only numbers the company advertises are for the master level (supposedly). Because now anyone can argue that any high school kid has the same certification I possess, and there's nothing I can do to prove them wrong, certifications have lost a lot of their value.

Wanderlei Santos
Chicago, Ill.

Thanks for your thoughts. Indeed, it seems that the value of certification continues to wax and wane as our industry evolves. I've always told people that it's usually little more than "a foot in the door," that is, given two equally competent resumes, an HR manager will choose the one with the cert over the one without. -- Greg Shields

Future of Windows PowerShell
Greg Shields stirred up quite a comotion with his October 2011 Windows Insider column, "Is PowerShell Really the Only Future for Windows Admins?" Here's a sampling of what you had to say:

The command-line interface has always been behind GUIs. Whether we could access was another question. Some of you may remember when the command-line interface on teletypewriter machines (TTY) was a leap forward from punched cards. Then GUI was another step, which opened computing to the visually oriented. Windows PowerShell is only necessary because some GUI programmers were sloppy or lazy. It won't be long before someone puts a GUI wrapper around Windows PowerShell. The advantages are too great to throw out with the "bath water."

Russell Stirling
Posted Online

I don't think it's the end of the GUI, but you can't afford not to learn PowerShell. Microsoft has been heading in this direction for a few years. For example, some operations in Exchange 2007 can only be done with PowerShell. Plus many vendors are providing modules/snapins for their products. I use PowerShell daily to manage VMware, Equallogic, NetApp, Exchange, AD.

Oh man ... not "Would you like fries with that?" again... I'm a 5-time PowerShell MVP recipient, and really, really hate this comment. There will always be both ends of the spectrum. Sure, if you can't script you might not be hired to work in one of those fancy new datacenters by one of those really big companies, but you likely won't be putting on a McDonald's cooking apron anytime soon, either. This "doom and gloom" stuff for non-scripters is at least five years away...

Marco Shaw
Posted Online

Windows 8 Wish List Cont.
Doug Barney wrote about his Windows 8 wish list in his August Barney's Rubble, following up with another one, "Windows 8, Take 2," in November. Here's what readers had to say about what they want to see in the next Microsoft OS:

What I'd like to see Microsoft do is exactly what Apple did with the OS X: Get rid of the old Windows architecture completely, and use BSD Unix as the underlying OS. BSD Unix is a rock-solid, reliable, secure OS, so just use what's already there. Then the company can, like Apple did, focus all its energies on making the UI look good.

Thomas Sattler
Farmingdale, New York

Admittedly, the "sweet spot" for 32-bit Windows 7 is 2GB but consider this... in 2001, when Windows XP was released, 128MB of RAM cost about $100 -- and the computer to run it cost $1,500. Today, 2GB of RAM costs about $20 and Windows 7 will run on a $350 netbook; it will run "well" on a $500 notebook.

I will freely admit that to perform well in a tablet form-factor, Windows 8 really needs to be smart enough to shutdown services it doesn't need in order to conserve battery life -- and I fully expect that to be the case.

C. Marc Wagner
Bloomington, Ind.

About the Author

This page is compiled by the editors of Redmond magazine from your letters. Write to us at [email protected] and if your letter is printed in the magazine, you'll be entered into a drawing for a free Redmond T-shirt.


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