MCSE, MCSA, MCTP, or a bowl of Alphabet Soup?
July 13, 2010 1:06 PM   Subscribe

MCSE, MCSA, MCTP, or a bowl of Alphabet Soup?

So, awhile back, I started picking up a few classes here and there at work and through tuition reimbursement with the goal of getting my MCSE. I'm now just a bit over halfway there. (Passed 70-236, have my A+, working on 70-680 right now)

The problem is, now that I look at where things are going, it seems like MCSE (and MCSA) are going to be thrown out pretty soon in favor of MCTP, and more and more specialization.

Is it still worth going for an MCSE now, or is it better to shift my focus to one of the various MCTP forks? If that's the case, should I take the 'faster' route to an MCSA and then work to upgrade it to MCTP from there? Does it even matter?

What do you think, sirs?
posted by BZArcher to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think it doesn't matter.
posted by jeffamaphone at 1:46 PM on July 13, 2010

Best answer: Your MCSE work is not wasted, as you can convert to an MCTP with a single exam. This may be more valuable than an MCTP -- most businesses support legacy and downlevel OSs, and having the older cert means you know how to do stuff in the older environment.

That said, a single quantifiable and quality accomplishment that shows skills with MS server environments is worth more than any MS cert is.
posted by bfranklin at 2:01 PM on July 13, 2010

MCSE's are a dime a dozen, really. Job experience is what matters. Get your foot in the door doing anything IT related and keep track of projects you've worked on. Most IT managers don't care much about certifications, in my experience.
posted by empath at 2:19 PM on July 13, 2010

an MCSE may or may not be useful to you in your endeavors, and i can't really answer that for you... all i can ask is that when you finally get do your cert, please don't call tech support for your "i should've rebooted / checked to see if it was plugged in / read the message on the screen" issue and stridently begin the phone call by declaring that you're an MCSE. it makes us laugh at you.
posted by radiosilents at 2:36 PM on July 13, 2010 [3 favorites]

"Most IT Managers" work at small companies, and I know that a lot of them will appreciate the MCSE if they are a mainly Windows shop. There are also large Windows shops who employ huge quantities of IT people and to whom the MCxy matters, especially if they're working in the field.

Based on my own experience, my advice would be to get the latest versions of everything. Unless your job is sending you there to learn about what you already have, I think having the freshest tests on your cert will be the most marketable for your situation. Experience is more valuable than the cert, though.

An MCSE doesn't guarantee competence, it guarantees familiarity of the operating system and elective packages to a certain depth, as well as familiarity with the official lingo, design methodologies and development rationales that Microsoft has compiled over the last 15 years.
posted by rhizome at 3:00 PM on July 13, 2010

I suggest getting the MCSE and then doing the conversion exam to MCTP. This will allow you to answer job vacancies that specify either or both. In my experience, the real value of the certs is to get you past the HR person or recruitment agency that has been told that certification is mandatory and who would throw Bill Gates resume out for not having the piece of paper.
In a similar vein, remember to always spell out in applications if you have any lower credentials (e.g. in this example an MCSA) as non-specialists are often unaware of the order of precedence in certifications. I do this by stating in education:
2009 - Completed all units for award of MCSA certification. Decided to continue study for MCSE.
2010 - achieved MCSE certification.
While lots of IT people rightly say that certs don't mean much, its experience that counts, if you don't have much experience then a cert is better than nothing. I also think it bodes well for more senior roles where the default job description includes formal qualifications.
posted by bystander at 9:34 PM on July 13, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the feedback, everyone!

I've got just over 8 years of IT experience doing desktop and server support, but I didn't have any certifications until recently - being able to use it as a bit of shorthand for "no, really, I can work with this" is one of the big things that makes it attractive.
posted by BZArcher at 9:35 PM on July 13, 2010

« Older How to re-line/finish a mail slot?   |   I'm like two, three days from unspooling... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.