Windows Server 2008 Certifications - Death to the MCSE

- select the contributor at the end of the page -
I watched the Microsoft webinar on the new Server 2008 (formerly Longhorn) certifications last week and came away feeling a little underwhelmed. In case you didn't know already the MCSE is "dead" for Server 2008 and they are moving on to a "job based" approach to their certifications. Read on for more details.

Windows Server 2008 MCTS Certifications

To begin with, there will be several Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) exams that you can take to certify specific skills on the Server 2008 platform. These are roughly equivalent to becoming a MCP in Windows 2000/2003. You will earn MCTS certification for each different exam that you pass. Here are the initial MCTS exams that will be released:

  • 70-640 MCTS: Configuring Windows Server 2008 Active Directory
  • 70-642 MCTS: Configuring Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure
  • 70-643 MCTS: Configuring Windows Server 2008 Application Platforms

70-640 and 70-642 are no surprise but 70-643 is interesting. It will cover Internet Information Services (IIS 7) and Microsoft Virtual Server among other things. Pretty cool. These exams are scheduled to be available 30 days after Server 2008 goes RTM.

Windows Server 2008 MCITP Certifications

There are two different Server 2008 tracks, the Server Administrator and the Enterprise Server Administrator. Both of these are MCITP level certifications, requiring multiple exams. These are the highest level of certification (outside of the MCA program) that you can attain. Here are the requirements for each.

Windows Server 2008 Administrator:

  • 70-640 Active Directory
  • 70-642 Network Infrastructure
  • 70-646 Windows 2008 Server Administrator Exam

***Only 3 exams required; the MCTS exams 70-640 and 70-642 and the main MCITP exam for this track, 70-646

Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Administrator:

  • 70-640 Active Directory
  • 70-642 Network Infrastructure
  • 70-643 Applications Platform
  • 70-620 OR 70-624 Windows Vista Client
  • 70-647 Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Administrator Exam

***5 exams required; the MCTS exams 70-640, 70-642, 70-643, 70-620 (or 70-624) and the main MCITP exam for this track, 70-647

The two MCITP exams are schedlued to be available 60 days after Server 2008 goes RTM.

Do I lose my MCSE/MCSA?

No. You get to keep your MCSE or any credential earned under the Windows 2000/2003 certification track. You essentially have a "MCSE in Windows 2003" (for example).

However, you do not become a "MCSE in Windows 2008", because the MCSE no longer exists. You will have to upgrade to one of the MCITP certifications referenced above. Your Windows 2000/2003 certifications will not expire and will continue to be valuable as long as Windows 2000/2003 is used on company networks.

If you are currently working on your MCSE/MCSA keep working on it ... it is still valuable and will provide you with excellent base knowledge that will also apply to Windows 2008.

Can you upgrade your MCSE/MCSA to Windows Server 2008 Certifications?

Yes, there is an upgrade path but only for WINDOWS 2003 MCSEs and MCSAs. If you are certified in Windows 2000, you must upgrade to Windows 2003 first or just take the Windows 2008 exams individually. Here are the upgrade details:

Windows 2003 MCSE - Pass the 70-649 (upgrade) exam and you do not have to take 70-640, 70-642, 70-643. You DO have to take the MCITP: Enterprise Server Administrator exam and the Vista client exam.

Windows 2003 MCSA - Pass the 70-648 (upgrade) exam and you do not have to take 70-640, 70-642. You DO have to take the MCITP: Server Administrator exam.

My Thoughts on the Windows 2008 Certifications

Like I said in the opening, I came away a little underwhelmed. It just seems like the main MCITP certifications do not have enough substance. I am all for simplicity (only 2 or 3 different professional tracks) but I would like to see a few more exams attached to the higher level certs to make them a little tougher to attain.

I also think it will be a bit clunky to say (or put on a resume), "I am a MCITIP: Enterprise Administrator, MCTS: ISA Server, MCTS: Exchange Server", etc. There should be one certification (probably the Enterprise Administator certification) that requires Exchange Server, ISA Server and perhaps SQL Server knowledge, in addition to all of the core Windows Server 2008 requirements. This would be of value to companies and IT professionals alike.

What do you think?

Looking for more information on Windows Server 2008 Certifications? Check out Trika's Microsoft site; it is loaded with Microsoft certification information and she is very helpful.

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Scott Skinger

is the Founder and CEO of TrainSignal. Scott’s passion for technology and education started after he attended a network engineering program and passed his first certification test to become a Novell CNA. From there, Scott went on to teach at several technical computer schools, where he realized that the IT training industry was flawed, not giving students their best chance for success. With a strong belief in his ability to develop better training with methodology-based learning for real-world skills, TrainSignal was born in 2002. Today, TrainSignal has grown to more than 50 employees and its products are used by IT professionals worldwide.