I'm not sure how many folks believe in the value of Microsoft Certification, but I thought I would share some of my thoughts and recent experiences.

I took a look at my current certification situation and realized my MCSE was on Windows Server 2000.  The last exam I took was the LCS 2005 SP1 Exam in 2005.  The two before that were Exchange Server 2003 Exams.  I never took the opportunity to take the upgrade exam(s) to get from MCSE 2000 to MCSE 2003. 

With the new Windows Server 2008 Certification, I didn't qualify to take the shorter route (upgrade) since I didn't have my MCSE 2003.  Instead, I had to take the "fun" path and take all 5 Exams to get my MCITP Enterprise Administrator certification (http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/mcitp/windowsserver/2008/enterprise/default.mspx).  I also looked at the MCITP Server Administrator certification (http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/mcitp/windowsserver/2008/server/default.mspx) and saw it required one additional exam if I already had the MCITP Enterprise Administrator certification.  Since I was looking at updating my certification, I figured I might as well look into the MCITP Messaging Administrator (http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/mcitp/exchange2007/messaging/default.mspx) and MCTS on Office Communications Server 2007.  The total exams required to get all these certifications comes to 10.  That's right, 10 exams which equals hours of fun and excitement!!!!!  :-)

I figured, what the heck, let's go ahead and just try the Vista exam (620) and see what happens.  I sign up and sit down at my testing station to find out the exam is scheduled for a maximum of 4 hours!  WOW!?!?!  I hunker down and about 50 minutes later, I finish and pass the exam.  Woo Hoo!!!  My co-worker, Chris Henley, eggs me on and convinces me to go for another exam so I sign up and take exam 640 (AD Configuration).  Once again, about 50 minutes later I walk away from the testing computer with another Passing grade.  So, what do I do at this point?  I sign up for and take exam 642 (Network Infrastructure Configuration).  Guess what, I pass this exam as well!  I was 3 for 3 without any studying (remember, I have been working with these products for quite some time) and decide it would be in my best interest to study a little bit before taking exam 643 (Applications Infrastructure Configuration).  But alas, Chris Henley challenges me and once again convinces me to give 643 a go right there and then.  I give in to peer pressure and sign up and take 643 and what do you know, I pass that one as well.  I take a look at the topics for exam 647 to finish off the MCITP Enterprise Administrator certification and decide what the heck, let's go ahead and give that a shot this afternoon.  60 minutes later, I have my MCITP Enterprise Administrator Certification!!!  Wow, was I happy.  It is now 5:15 PM and dinner isn't until 6:30, so I decided to take one more exam, 237 (one of the Exchange 2007 exams).  I walk out of the testing center at 6 PM and am 6 for 6 on exams for the afternoon.  It was hard to believe, but I had just taken and passed 6 exams in a 5 1/2 hour window.

I am not blogging about this to brag, but to let everyone know that if you have experience with the products and have worked with enough with the different aspects of Server 2008, you too have a good opportunity at getting your certification.  Imagine if I would have spent a little studying a few of the topics I was a bit weak on - I might have taken less time during the exams themselves (or even gotten a perfect score - :-)).

Since that evening, I have taken the time to take and pass 3 more exams (646, 238 and 638).  I just need to take 236 and I'll have my MCITP Messaging Administrator certification. 

I do believe there is value in being certified and hence why I decided to get up to date on mine.  I will work on keeping my certifications up to date so I won't have to take 10 exams in a 3 day window again.

Harold Wong