Taking a stab in the dark, here's how I imagine the Windows 2000 track will look.

Guessing Game

Taking a stab in the dark, here's how I imagine the Windows 2000 track will look.

Pssst! Wanna know what the new certification track for Windows 2000 will look like? Well, so do we. I had hoped to use this month's column to let you know what Microsoft has decided to do, but no such luck, although not for lack of trying. We've done everything but hide behind potted palms in the hallways of Redmond. No go. When will Microsoft announce the new track? I don't know, frankly, but now that we're going to press with this issue, I sure hope it's not tomorrow.

So I've decided to piece together my own projections, based on what I've overheard here and there and from conversations with technical people at Microsoft. For what it's worth until the real track is announced, here's what I predict.

If you're an MCSE certified on NT 4.0 and you're worried about having to retake your entire exam set, relax. All four of the core exams will change, of course, but I doubt you'll have to take them all. I think you'll see a smaller subset of exams, or perhaps a single Windows 2000 upgrade exam, that will keep your certification current.

If I'm right on this, it means that if you're working on your MCSE now, don't wait for the new track, since upgrading may be relatively simple. Also, I'm sure that the Windows NT 4.0 certification will remain current for quite a while, since plenty of companies will continue to run NT 4.0. If you do want to upgrade, new exams probably won't be out until at least 90 days after Windows 2000 is released to manufacturing. If that happens in late November (another guess), you won't see the first Win2K beta exams until March, best case. Why wait?

For newcomers, I'm guessing that the track to become a Windows 2000 MCSE won't look that different from today's list of exams. Still six exams, I bet; still four cores and two electives. Although the new cores could be technology-based—an exam on Directory Management covering AD, for example, and one on User Management, say, covering IntelliMirror and more—I'm guessing that Microsoft will stick to its product-centric structure for the new exams. The NT Workstation exam will map to an exam on Windows 2000 Professional; the NT Server exam to a Windows 2000 Server exam, etc. Networking Essentials will remain; possibly Microsoft will decide to accept passage of the vendor-independent CompTIA networking exam as well (we reviewed that exam in the May issue).

Within the electives, perhaps we'll see a few new exams to address job functions. For example, I predict an MCSE exam elective focusing on security, perhaps containing many of the security items from the NT and IIS exams. After all, Microsoft often says that it maps new certifications to job functions; we're now seeing security specialists evolving at larger companies. 

Finally, here's what I'd like to see: a new title that denotes enterprise-level expertise with Windows 2000—maybe something like an MCSE, Enterprise Architect title. There's so much to Windows 2000 that isn't based on anything in NT 4.0 that a title clearly stating who is qualified to support Windows 2000 on a large scale makes sense to me.

Remember, all of this is conjecture on my part. Guessing where Microsoft is going is a hazardous business. What do you think the Windows 2000 track should look like? I'm at editor@mcpmag.com.

About the Author

Linda Briggs is the founding editor of MCP Magazine and the former senior editorial director of 101communications. In between world travels, she's a freelance technology writer based in San Diego, Calif.

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