For Customer Services and Support division employees at Microsoft it’s inevitable that, if you talk directly to customers at all, you will be asked whether you are certified. I’ve even heard our customers ask development folks (aka programmers) that question in the past. The question was followed by a pause as the programmer silently had a GP fault and reset.
It’s just a fact that expectations from our customers are that we should be certified in the products we support. You could say expectations are higher than just that for our support folks, and you would be right. We are fully aware that our engineers must be held to as high or higher a standard as everyone else out there in IT Land. You can rest assured that if you call us for assistance the engineer that is helping you is certified, or a new person and on his or her way to certification.
This little diatribe came about since we have a new product coming out which always means its new certification time for us. Server 2008 has a complete revamp of our ‘flagship’ certifications. This is discussed in good detail at the main MCP web site and at this blog by one of our certification team Windows Server 2008 certification paths.
Last July I took the beta version of our exam for MCSEs and MCSAs in 2003 to upgrade to the new Server 2008 Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certifications. Notice I said certifications plural. This upgrade for existing 2003 MCSE/MCSA gives three distinct MCTS certifications:
· MCTS: Windows Server 2008 – Active Directory Configuration
· MCTS: Windows Server 2008 – Network Infrastructure Configuration
· MCTS: Windows Server 2008 – Application Platform Configuration
This is no walk in the park, cram the morning of, then pass it kind of exam. Although beta exams may be a bit more difficult than the final version (since they are tweaking the quality and accuracy of the technical questions to most accurately test and reflect skills and knowledge) this was one tough exam. If anyone out there was thinking our certifications are not a good indicator of a person’s knowledge I think this test would argue differently.
It was difficult enough that I didn’t really think I passed and so I was pleasantly surprised to find this in my online MCP transcript recently (which is a pretty cool, relatively new feature that allows you to check your status online and share it with employers if you need to):
Microsoft Certification Status
Credential Certification / Version Date Achieved
Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist Nov 15, 2007
Windows Server 2008 Active Directory: Configuration Nov 15, 2007
Windows Server 2008 Application Platform: Configuration Nov 15, 2007
Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure: Configuration Nov 15, 2007
Microsoft Certification Exams Completed Successfully
649 TS: Upgrading Your MCSE on Window Server 2003 to Windows Longhorn Server, Technology Specialist (3TS's) Jul 26
The knowledge to be had from this blog post? There’s a great demand in the IT world for Microsoft certification as a benchmark of knowledge, 2008 certifications are already available, and you can easily check and send your certification transcript in a secure and trustable manner.
Go ye forth and get certified.
Just a comment that I removed any reference to the word "braindump" (I had a comment saying there's no way that sort of thing would help you pass the 2008 upgrade exam). Some goofy people out there got all worked up after misunderstanding the comment. So it's gone.
Move on with life folks, and read the technical posts I have here. Good stuff that I guarantee is more deep than anything on any certification exam we have ever offered.