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MCSA or MCSE 2003...Is it worth it?

I am considering taking classes that are designed to prepare you for either the MCSA or MCSE certification.  I have been in an IT support role for about four years and in more of a system admin role for about two.  All the server 2003 knowlege I currently have is self taught and hands on experience.  I have no doubt that these classes will expand my current knowlege and help me on the job.  I'm hoping the certification will come as a bi-product of classroom training and hands on experience.  My question is is how are the MCSA and MCSE different and which one will be most beneficial?  Obviously it will cost more and take more time to take the MCSE training.  Just wondering if it's worth it.  Thanks for your input!
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The MCSE includes the MCSA.  There are three more exams in the engineer part of it which cover in more detail how to plan and set-up systems and networks, whereas the Admin set of exams are more tailored towards running and maintaining an existing setup

I took classes for my MCSA and found that they were excellent for learning things I did not know and clarifying parts I was unsure about but if money is an issue and you just want to be certified, I would stick with reviewing the exam questions with the help of a book.  

The exams are not overly difficult to achive a passing grade in.  It's more a question of knowing the "Microsoft" method of doing things.  The biggest help I found was with a piece of software called Visual CertExam Suite and this website: http://www.examcollection.com/   I just continued to do practise exams until it was hard to fail.  Hope this helps
Avatar of Brian Pierce
I certianly think they are worth it. I learned a lot from doing mine.

Essentially the MCSA is designed for "Administrators" - those people who manage systems day-to-day.

MCSE is more for Planners and Designers, People who will design and implement systems
OK heres a differennt perspective - I have both quals and agree with all the comments above..........

but

M$ have a 10 Year OS Lifecycle - Server 2003 Platform will go end of Life in 2010 (thats only two years away)
OK will there be an MCSE and MCSA 2008 - Well Yes and No?

there is an upgrade exam for MCSE 2003 and MCSA 2003 to 2008 - but there id no MCSE or MCSA track for 2008 its "All Change"

To cut through the Marketing Blurb.

 

IT Professional certs only  - (thats server workstations and system administration.)

 

 

OLD Cert                                                                                              Replaced By

 

MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional)                                  MCTS (Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist)

MCSA (Microsoft Certified System Administrator)            MCITP: Server Administrator (Microsoft Certified IT Pro) (3 Exams each an MCTS)

MCSE (Microsoft Certified System Engineer)                       MCITP: Enterprise Administrator (Microsoft Certified IT Pro) (3 Exams each an MCTS)

 

 

 

Exams required for MCITP: Server Administrator (3 Required)

 

Required MCTS exams
 
Exam 70-640 (earns MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Configuration)
 Review the preparation guide for Exam 70-640: TS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring
 
Exam 70-642 (earns MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure Configuration)
 Review the preparation guide for Exam 70-642: TS: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure, Configuring
 

 

Professional Series exam
 
Exam 70-646
 Review the preparation guide for Exam 70-646: Pro: Windows Server 2008, Server Administrator
 

 

Exams Required for MCITP: Enterprise Administrator (5 Required)

 

Required MCTS exams
 
Exam 70-640 (earns MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Configuration)
 Review the preparation guide for Exam 70-640: TS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring
 
Exam 70-642 (earns MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure Configuration)
 Review the preparation guide for Exam 70-642: TS: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure, Configuring
 
Exam 70-643 (earns MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure Configuration)
 Review the preparation guide for Exam 70-643: TS: Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure, Configuring
 
Exam 70-620 (earns MCTS: Windows Vista Configuration)

Or

Exam 70-624 (earns MCTS: Business Desktop Deployment)
 Review the preparation guide for Exam 70-620: TS: Windows Vista, Configuring

Or

Review the preparation guide for Exam 70-624 TS: Deploying and Maintaining Windows Vista Client and 2007 Microsoft Office System Desktops
 

 

Professional Series exam
 
Exam 70-647
 Review the preparation guide for Exam 70-647: PRO: Windows Server 2008, Enterprise Administrator
 

 

Exams Required for MCTS (1 Required)

 

The eagle eyed among you will realise these are all the same J

 

So a MCITP: Server administrator will have two of these (70-640 and 70-642) and an MCITP: Enterprise Administrator will have all three (70-640, 70-642 and 70-643)

 

Certification
 Required exam
 
These Three are : MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Configuration
 
MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Configuration
 Review the preparation guide for Exam 70-640: TS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring
 
MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure Configuration
 Review the preparation guide for Exam 70-642: TS: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure, Configuring
 
MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure Configuration
 Review the preparation guide for Exam 70-643: TS: Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure, Configuring
 
These Three are MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Networking Infrastructure Configuration
 
MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Configuration
 Review the preparation guide for Exam 70-640: TS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring
 
MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure Configuration
 Review the preparation guide for Exam 70-642: TS: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure, Configuring
 
MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure Configuration
 Review the preparation guide for Exam 70-643: TS: Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure, Configuring
 
These Three are MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure Configuration
 
MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Configuration
 Review the preparation guide for Exam 70-640: TS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring
 
MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure Configuration
 Review the preparation guide for Exam 70-642: TS: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure, Configuring
 
MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure Configuration
 Review the preparation guide for Exam 70-643: TS: Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure, Configuring
 

 

 

Non IT Pro Certs source http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/mcts/default.mspx

 

 

 
"
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 Technology Specialist: SQL Server 2005
 
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Avatar of Member_2_49692
Member_2_49692

IMHO -
Event though 2003 goes end of life in 2010, The transition from 2003 to 2008 server I think will be slow as it is expensive to upgrade to any new server O.S. Additionally 2008 may have a lot of nice features but most of those extra features were geared more for Vista then anything to my knowledge. To fully realize the benefit of 2008 server your clients would have to be Vista. Since Vista adoption in the corporate networks has been extremely slow I do not think a lot of small to med business will spend the money to go to 2008 unless they are already under a software assurance license agreement.

What I am saying is I think there is still value in the 2003 server certs. You will learn things. It just depends on if you plan on working in a large corporation that is bleeding edge or  small to midsize I.T. dept. that tend to be slow adopters due to many factors including budget. Also it would not hurt to learn 2008 server but as pointed out by PeteLong the MCSE and MCSA no longer exist with microsoft's new generation certifications.

If your looking for monetary reasons then you may want to do the 2008 server certifications as the pay will be higher because there are not as many certfied professionals yet. The MCSA's and MCSE's have been devalued over the years due to paper MCSE's (people that can pass a test but have no real world skill / experience) more on this in a moment. Also there are many people with these certifications  current numbers of MCSE's and other certs
http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/certified.mspx


Some people may disagree but...
Paper MCSE's were due more or less to the 2000 dot com boom that caused a shortage of I.T. people which in turn many fly by night companies ran 2 week boot camps t profit off the shortage. As long as you had money they would train you. The problem was 2 weeks of training was hardly enough for someone that never touched a server before. For someone with experience a boot camp is fine for people with no experience you are just learning how to pass a test... Which once these people were MCSE , MCSA certified they would go out and get a job be put on the job and unable to perform the duties and tasks that an MCSE or MCSA should be able to handle. So in turn the industry frowned upon this and became skeptical of giving the once high commanding salaries to MCSE's because there were people running around certified unable to do the things they were certified for.
>>Since Vista adoption in the corporate networks has been extremely slow

Good point - None of my corporate customers have deployed Vista in anger - Ive been running it for over a year now, but take up is terrible (Mind you I am studying the Vista Exam at the moment :)

>>Some people may disagree but... Paper MCSE's

That was pretty much the UK IT industry's view - when I used to interview for tech positions I ignored MCSE as a qualification and preferred to give candidates real world problems to solve at interview. The standard of MCSE has improved greatly in recent times - I work with two outstanding engineers who have failed the 2000 to 2003 upgrade MCSE exam more than once in recent weeks - so its not the easy Exam standard it used to be.
Though its a lot of exams - I studied in my own time and this is how long it took me
http://www.petenetlive.com/about.asp
PeteLong,

I too am studying for the vista certifications both the Enterprise and Consumer Support Certs. Considering there is only 201 Certified Vista Consumer Support Techs IMHO  it is going to be a valuable cert to have for all of the consumers that had Vista preloaded on there systems. Especially if you have your own business that focuses on supporting home users it helps to support them but also as certifications were originally intended and developed (think back to original Novell certs) they make an excellent marketing tool to set you apart from the competition.

You got through your MCSE's rather quickly you must have been drinking a lot of coffee spending a lot of long days and nights reading through the books! Excellent scores too.

MCSE has improved I won't disagree with that at all but still since it is a written test only, like any written test it is still plagued by brain dump sites, sites that publish the answers, or people that are just generally good test takers. I personally like Cisco, Novell and Red Hat's approach with the Practical Exams (hands on). I personally would prefer a practical exam.

You also make a perfect point though too on the exams where people who have the experience and know fully what they are doing could fail the exam. Some people are just not good at written exams. I have several people I know that failed college taking 4 yr I.T. or I.S. courses and they are absolutely brilliant people who without college were able to secure high paying good jobs. It's rare but it can happen. They were just bad at writing papers, and taking tests. Stick them in front of a computer they could have a server fully up and running in a few hours and fully secured.
>>You got through your MCSE's rather quickly

Well not really - transcript the results and it was about 5 years LOL (I used Win2000 Pro as my client exam)
From December to the following July I started in earnest - and yes a lot of late nights :(

I use about 45% of the stuff I learned on my MSCE - the rest is stuff I will never use, too much emphasis on different types of DNS - and extra stuff, That as I was learning it, I was thinking "Ive never had to do this  - why am I learning it" I'd worked in 1st to 3rd line support for a few years beforehand, the only reason I did the exams was because my new employer needed me to, for our Gold Partnership status.

70-620 I'm studying for - If I sit if before you, I'll give you some pointers (my email is on my profile)

Regards

Pete
Cool,

Thanks Pete

If you take the exam before me I wish you well on it. Considering your other test scores you'll probably ace it :)

-Brian