Certification Watch: Microsoft Builds Bridge To MCSE, MCSD

UPDATE: You may have noticed a frustrating skills leap between the one exam MCP and Microsoft's premier designations - the MCSE and the MCSD. Microsoft has announced a plan to bridge this gap with two new certifications that will be introduced later this year.
Certification Watch is provided by GoCertify.com, a gathering place and resource center for people interested in computer professional certification.

Update: Microsoft To Add New Certifications

You may have noticed a frustrating skills leap between the one exam MCP and Microsoft's premier designations - the MCSE and the MCSD. Microsoft recently announced a plan to correct that with two new certifications that will be introduced later this year.

The first will be for 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 Microsoft Windows .NET Server operating systems. In some ways it will overlap the MCSE, but the new designation won't require design skills. We're guessing that it won't require as many exams, either.

The new developer certification will be a toned-down cousin of the MCSD, requiring fewer high-level design skills. The target market is individuals whos primary job is programming. Expect more details on both of these designations in the fourth quarter. The certifications won't actually become available until 2002. You can read Microsoft's press release here.

2. Apple Computer Finally Joins The Party
It's about time! Apple Computer now offers two certifications related to Macintosh OS X. The first, Apple Certified Technical Coordinator (ACTC), launched June 1 and is aimed at people who manage modest networks. To earn this title, you'll have to pass two exams, one covering Mac OS X administration basics, the other server essentials.

The second, more advanced designation is the Apple Certified System Administrator (ACSA), which is scheduled to become active this fall. The ACSA is intended for full-time professional system administrators who manage medium-to- large networks of Mac systems in multi-platform environments. It requires passing four exams and doesn't require the ACTC as a prerequisite. Exams for both designations cost $150 and are available through Prometric.

3. Java Pros Get New Certification Option
Starting July 31, Java developers have a new designation to pursue: Sun Certified Web Component Developer for J2EE Platform. This one exam certification is for Sun Certified Java Programmers who are using the Java technology servlet and JavaServer Pages APIs to develop Web applications. The required exam costs $150.

4. Vendor-neutral Wireless Certification Available
Planet3 Wireless has created a new certification program for wireless network engineers and administrators. The Certified Wireless Network Professional program, will eventually offer three levels (administrator, integrator, engineer), plus a trainer designation. The first level, Certified Wireless Network Administrator, was launched through Prometric testing centers on July 16. The required exam includes 60 questions covering wireless LAN security, concepts, and vendor-specific information. The cost is $150, which appears to be the going rate for new certification exams these days.

5. Art Technology Group Launches Developer Certification
Another newcomer to the certification marketplace, Art Technology Group, has launched the ATG Certified Professional Program, which focuses on the ATG Dynamo product line. The first exam, for application developers, is available through Prometric and costs $150. Additional exams and designations will follow.

6. Cisco Systems Changes CCIE Exam Format
In a substantial format change, the CCIE lab exam will get shorter, lasting only a single day instead of the traditional two days. The change will be accomplished by moving lower level and intermediate skill tasks to the qualification exam, leaving only advanced level tasks for the lab exam. The lab price will remain the same ($1,250), as will advanced topic coverage. The new Communications and Services CCIE and Security CCIE exams will be introduced in the new format on August 1. For the Routing and Switching CCIE certification, all exams scheduled on or after October 1 will be in the new format.

7. Cisco MPLS Exam To Go To Beta
The Implementing Cisco MPLS exam, which is an elective requirement for the Cisco Certified Internetwork Professional (CCIP) designation, will be available in beta form starting July 31 for $50. The CCIP is a recent certification that falls squarely between the CCNA and CCIE levels of Cisco's certification program.

8. CompTIA Adapts
The A+ exam will switch to adaptive format only as of August 31. Instead of presenting the same number of questions to each candidate, adaptive tests present a targeted selection of questions in an effort to pin down a candidate's skill level using fewer questions in a shorter time period (30 minutes instead of an hour or more). While efficiency is the main benefit touted by those who administer tests, adaptive tests also mean that each candidate sees -- and can potentially remember and report on -- fewer test items, which makes life harder for cheaters. Novell and Microsoft exams have used this technology for several years.

In other CompTIA news, The revised Network+ exam will be available in beta from July 31 until October 24 at a cost of $90. The beta includes 147 questions, and you'll have 150 minutes to answer them all. Results will come out in November. The final version is projected to appear next January.

The complete current issue of Certification Watch can be found at GoCertify.com.

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