microsoftIt seems that there are new certification titles popping up every month, and this can lead to confusion. However, if you look at it carefully, there are only 2 ‘real‘ titles: MCSE and MCSD. The MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) and MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer) are the main, and premiere, titles. All the other titles are either variations of the 2 main ones or a watered down versions of the 2 main ones (MCSE & MCSD).

In this article, I’ll describe all the current titles offered by Microsoft. Just keep in mind that the certification titles you should be striving for are either the MCSE or MCSD titles, or both if you’re very talented and very hardworking. (You have to have both to succeed.)

MCP: MICROSOFT CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL. Microsoft has changed this a bit. Now, if you pass ANY exam with the exception of Networking Essentials, you become an MCP. Before, you had to pass an operating systems exam. Now, it’s any exam with the exception of Networking Essentials, and you’re a Microsoft Certified Professional. To find out the requirements on becoming an MCP:

MCP+ INTERNET: MICROSOFT CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL INTERNET SPECIALIST. In order to get this certification title, which is the next logical title after getting your MCP, you’ll need to pass 3 exams. To find out more about becoming an MCP+INTERNET:

MCP+SITE BUILDING: MICROSOFT CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL SITE BUILDING SPECIALIST. You’ll need to pass 2 exams to get your MCP+ Site Building certification title. For information on how to obtain your MCP+ Site Building title from Microsoft:

MCSE: MICROSOFT CERTIFIED SYSTEMS ENGINEER. This is the title you should strive for first. It requires that you pass 6 exams: 4 core exams and 2 electives. After getting your MCSE, you can go anywhere with Windows NT and implement anything to your heart’s desire. Getting your MCSE title gives you a good, solid foundation on which you can build other titles on. To find more about getting your MCSE designation from Microsoft’s site:

MCSE+INTERNET: MICROSOFT CERTIFIED SYSTEMS ENGINEER+INTERNET SPECIALIST. This designation requires that you pass 9 exams, 7 mandatory exams and 2 electives. If you get this title, you’ll (by default) have 5 Microsoft designations under your wings: MCP, MCP+Internet, MCP+Site Building, MCSE & MCSE+ Internet. As hard as it seems, once you get your MCSE certification, the MCSE+Internet should fall into line– just pass 3 more exams. The MCSE+Internet title provides you with the foundation to build commercial Internet sites on the scale of Amazon.com or CDNow.com, providing you choose the right electives and put in A LOT of work with your IIS 4.0 web server. To find out more about the MCSE+ Internet title:

MCDBA: MICROSOFT CERTIFIED DATABASE ADMINISTRATOR. This title is new– hot off the press from Microsoft Education Services. Getting this title requires that you pass 4 core exams and 1 elective. However, if you’re an MCSE already and you’ve selected IIS 4.0 as an elective, then you’ll only need to pass 2 exams: SQL Server. To find out the requirements for the new MCDBA title, go to:

MCSD: MICROSOFT CERTIFIED SOLUTIONS DEVELOPER. This is the hardest certification to obtain. The MCSD & MCSE are the 2 main titles; however, getting your MCSD title is a lot harder. It requires knowledge of programming and the entire set of Windows API (Application Programming Interface) and DLLs (Dynamic Link Libraries.) Getting your MCSD title requires that you pass 3 core exams and 1 elective. It might seem simple, only 4 exams to pass, but it’s not. Getting your MCSD(passing 4 exams) is probably harder than getting your MCSE+Internet(passing 9 exams). For more information on getting your MCSD:

MCT: MICROSOFT CERTIFIED TRAINER. To find out on how to become a Microsoft Certified Trainer.

If you keep in mind that the MCSE & MCSD titles are the 2 main ones, then everything else is clear. All the other titles are either the scaled down version or a variation of the MCSE titles.

Good luck to everyone.

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