Count Down Begins for Win 2000 Certification: Page 3

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Novell required its Certified Novell Engineers (CNEs) to upgrade from the NetWare 4.x CNE certification to NetWare 5 by August 31, 2000. Unlike Microsoft's policy, those who didn't update their certification were not decertified. They were merely deprived of any associated benefits associated with the CNE. The benefits include such things as automatic notification of patches, priority status in Novell's Technical Support Queue, and a six-month subscription to Novell's online lab.

The approach of allowing CNEs to retain their existing certification seems to make a great deal of sense. The install base of Netware 4.x is still huge, and those networks still need competent administrators. Similarly, there is a colossal number of Windows NT 4.0 servers that may be used for some time to come. According to Gleed, It would make sense for Microsoft to permit administrators to specialize by product with the MCSE certifications and allow a Windows NT 4.0 MCSE and Windows 2000 MCSE.

It is interesting to compare the certification requirements for updating the CNE. Unlike Microsoft, Novell's Continuing Certification Requirement (CCR) consisted of only one exam, not four to seven exams. Obviously, the reduced requirements would reduce the time and money spent retraining employees. While one exam may be quicker and less expensive, IT managers may realize additional benefits as properly trained employees produce greater results with Windows 2000 than they might have otherwise. On the other hand, MCSEs who have passed all the core NT 4.0 exams have a one-shot chance at taking a single upgrade exam at no charge.

Cisco Systems Inc. revamped its Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certification this year. The different CCNP certifications are termed versions 1.0 and 2.0. CCNPs certified with either version are permitted to retain their certification. However, Cisco does require recertification after three years.

Which Tests Are Involved?

Unlike Novell, which requires only one test to upgrade the CNE certification, Microsoft requires candidates to pass multiple exams. Employees currently pursuing the MCSE may want to finish their MCSE prior to December 31, 2000, before the requirements change for the 2000 MCSE. This will allow them to capitalize on their current investment, although recertification will still be required by the end of 2001. Also, for those who are still completing the Windows 4.0 certification, it may be wise to choose elective exams that will carry over to the Windows 2000 certification.

Microsoft requires new MCSE candidates to pass five core exams and two elective exams to achieve certification. Four of the mandatory exams cover installing, configuring, and administering Windows 2000 Professional and Server. The remaining mandatory exam covers deploying and administering Windows 2000 Network and Directory Services (see Clearing the Win 2000 Certification Hurdle at the end of this article).

Microsoft provides a complete list of elective exams, including tests such as Systems Management Server 4.0, SQL Server 7.0 or 2000, Site Server 3.0, and Exchange 2000 Server. MCSE candidates can select preferred elective exams according to their experience or level of interest. To see the complete list, go to Electives for Windows 2000, NT 4.0 and 3.51 Tracks.

For existing MCSEs and MCSE candidates, there is some good news! For those who have already passed the three required Windows NT 4.0 exams, only one test is required instead of the four mandatory core exams in the first list. This Accelerated Exam is free to all qualified candidates. There is one caveat, however. This exam can be taken only once. If it isn't passed, the other four exams covered by the Accelerated Exam are then required to gain a Windows 2000 MCSE.

IT managers may wonder why so many exams are required. According to Martin Grasdal, project manager for Cramsession/Brainbuzz, a certification resource site, the answer is simple: "The number and the range of exams mirror the scalability and complexity of the product. And anyone who claims to have expertise and experience with Windows 2000 has to know how it is configured or managed for very small networks and very large networks alike."

Anne Marie McSweeney, MCP program strategy manager for Microsoft, says the challenging design of the Windows 2000 certification track reflects the need to prepare for developing and managing future networks. She adds that Microsoft took a scientific approach in identifying core competencies for Windows 2000 certification via an extensive job-task analysis conducted by Southern Illinois University, with participation from more than 2,800 information technology professionals in more than 85 countries.

Updating, or initially earning, the Windows 2000 MCSE is a challenging prospect. IT managers can help their staffs determine a Windows 2000 certification strategy that will best meet the needs of their employees and their companies. Certification may prove to be essential for countless numbers of people who wish to work with Microsoft network operating systems. //

Michael Ashton (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, Microsoft Certified Professional+Internet, Cisco Certified Network Professional, Certified Novell Engineer) is a technology solutions consultant for Sprint e-Solutions in Salt Lake City, Utah, and a freelance writer. He can be reached at hmashton@earthlink.net.

Clearing the Win 2000 Certification Hurdle
Core Exams
For candidates who have not already passed Windows NT 4.0 exams, all 4 of the following core exams are required: OR Candidates who have passed 3 Windows NT 4.0 exams (Exams 70-067, 70-068, and 70-073) instead of the 4 core exams at left may take the following:
Exam 70-210: Installing, Configuring and Administering Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Professional Exam 70-240: Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Accelerated Exam for MCPs Certified on Microsoft® Windows NT® 4.0. (This accelerated, intensive exam, which will be available June 30, 2000, through December 31, 2001, covers the core competencies of exams 70-210, 70-215, 70-216, and 70-217.)
Exam 70-215: Installing, Configuring and Administering Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Server
Exam 70-216: Implementing and Administering a Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Network Infrastructure
Exam 70-217: Implementing and Administering a Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Directory Services Infrastructure
PLUS - All Candidates - 1 of the Following Core Exams Required:
*Exam 70-219: Designing a Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Directory Services Infrastructure
*Exam 70-220: Designing Security for a Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Network
*Exam 70-221: Designing a Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Network Infrastructure
Elective Exams (Choose 2)

Candidates are required to pass any two elective exams. (Selected third-party certifications that focus on interoperability will be accepted as an alternative to one elective exam. Please watch for more information on the third-party certifications that will be acceptable.)
*Core exams that can also be used as elective exams may only be counted once toward a certification. In other words, if a candidate receives credit for an exam as a core in one track, the candidate will not receive credit for that same exam as an elective in the same track.

Source: Microsoft Corp.

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