Yesterday I spent a great day at the Leeds Virtual Machine User Group, with attendees varying from the IT Professionals from most of the cities law firms, to local universities and colleges where both the IT guys and the students took time out to attend, so a great talking shop and the subject of IT education came up. The students I spoke to seemed very keen to learn about the IT Professional world despite that not being the focus of their degree and on the employer side there were many there who felt that industry certification at the right level was more valuable than a degree and obviously at a virtualisation event this mean a qualification from Vmware and/or Microsoft is what matters. In the Vmware world you need to do the course and then do the exam. In the Microsoft world you can just do the exam, but there’s a catch, those exams have gotten a lot harder, possibly harder than the equivalent VCP certification from VMware. That’s not because Hyper-V is tougher to learn than Vmware especially if you have a windows server background already, rather it is to set the bar higher and build trust in the certification with employers
I also think hard exams are a good thing; they sort the wheat from the chaff, so you stand out from other candidates at interview time, and anyway what’s the point of doing them unless there is a true sense of achievement. Of course knowing what to get certified in is important, and given that virtualisation is relatively new and growing steadily in popularity in the UK I am going to stick my neck out and suggest that the first exam to go for would be 70-659: Windows Server 2008 R2, and Server Virtualization, especially if you have already got your head round windows server itself. However as I said the exam is hard so I would suggest that you
a. try and setup some sort of demo environment (I have a 101 guide here plus there’s loads on TechNet)
b. get you head around the concepts by subscribing to the Microsoft Virtual Academy
Then you can decide if the exams are for you, and either persuade your boss to let you do them or failing that mug up from the numerous books out there buy or buy the e-learning kit from Microsoft that gives you everything you need, do the exams and join a more enlightened company once you’re qualified.
Interesting view point Andrew.
It certainly doesn't tie up with the experience I had at the beginning of my career trying to get the British Computer Society to recognise my Microsoft certifications (though I'll acknowledge that they're a lot more challenging now than then).
To the best of my knowledge, the BCS still doesn't award points towards it's MBCS scheme based on industry certification, it still thinks a degree is the pinnacle of IT experience.
If you're an accountant you need to belong to one of four(?) professional bodeis to practice, lawyers belong to the bar or the law society, but BCS simply isn't required to do IT in the UK. Google, Amazon, IBM, Oracle and ourselves don't have it as an essential qualification. I only know one or two members amongst my numerous IT contacts and I can't see how joining it would advance my career. However there should be a porfessional body like this and it should represent the whole profession, so perhaps the answer is for us all to try and join it and change it into the organisation it needs to be.