In the years of the dot com boom and bust, the Microsoft MCSE Certification has gotten its eye blackened over an over. Paper Microsoft MCSE's who were excellent at finding brain dumps and passing exams gave the Microsoft MCSE Certification a bad name. What used to be a guarantee of a nice salary is now ridiculed in some ignorant circles. After working in the Information Technology field for twelve years I still believe the Microsoft MCSE Certification is worth every dollar you spend and every hour spent in study and practice. I'll share my history with the Microsoft MCSE Certification and why I still believe it's a valuable certification credential.
My History: Pre Microsoft MCSE
When I started out as a PC LAN Analyst I wanted to someday run my own shop. The best way I felt to get there was to study for the much sought after Novell CNE and Microsoft MCSE Certification. Because I worked in a Novell environment and had no opportunity to work with Windows NT I started on my Novell CNE Certification. I went book by book purchasing them on eBay and reading while I worked a second job. The CNE was also an easier certification to get as the answers to the exam came direct from the books. Microsoft's MCSE Certification exams tend to generalize on the concepts from the books rather than the text verbatim. Once complete with the CNE I had a full understanding of Novell's File Server and their weak attempt at a firewall/web server. I understood archaic technologies like IPX and Token Ring as well as networking technologies used today such as Ethernet, and TCP/IP I at least had enough knowledge to perform well at my job and work as an IT Consultant where I formed my own business Gall Consulting which runs today as a successful income.
After getting my CNE Certification I finally got a job running my own show. I had one Novell 3.12 server which ran the entire company. Within a year we began to work with Microsoft Windows NT 3.51 and NT 4.0 was just on the scene. I began the lengthy study of the seven Microsoft MCSE exams. When I had completed the Microsoft MCSE certification a year later I was like Yoda around the job. I had a complete set of knowledge about Windows Networking and Windows Applications. Because I completed the entire set of Microsoft MCSE exams and coursework I knew the technology and the theory behind the technology. This led to high performance as a Senior LAN Administrator. Rather than a swiss cheese education I had a thorough understanding of Microsoft Windows technology and could adapt to new situations easily.
NT 4.0 to Windows 2000 MCSE
When Windows 2000 Server and Active Directory was released we faced a problem. My small Novell to small Microsoft NT Domain, had grown to a world wide enterprise with five domains including various trusts going everywhere. DNS was handled by our UNIX group and we had to find a way to learn a new technology, create a single corporate Active Directory Domain and use Dynamic DNS on our Windows Active Directory domain controllers yet co-exist with our UNIX administrators who were none to happy to have to share DNS. Faced with this challenge I returned to what worked in the past. I studied for the Windows 2000 MCSE Certification
As I did before I started at the beginning and worked my way through each course and exam until I had completed my Windows 2000 MCSE Certification. By now I had a great career as an IT Operations Manager and no one was going to hire or pay me extra just for getting my Microsoft MCSE Certification. This is the true value of the certification. It started as my drive to obtain career credentials and became a vehicle to ensure I had an entire breadth of knowledge that would let me take on monumental tasks. Needless to say, today we have a single corporate Active Directory domain with a few sub domains necessary for DMZ areas.
Our DNS works so well the UNIX group asked us to take over and we're able to build on Active Directory as a source of valuable corporate data. My point in this article is to look at the Microsoft MCSE Certification as a way to ensure you have all the knowledge rather than just what's necessary in the short term. Knowing why something works is much more powerful than knowing just enough to build it in the first place the coursework involved in the Microsoft MCSE Certification provides this. I can say without fail, EVERY Information Technology professional I've worked with that had a Microsoft MCSE Certification performed at a MUCH higher level than those who only had on the job experience or had only studied what they needed to complete their daily tasks.
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