Friday, November 28, 2008

MCTS: Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 – Configuration

Back in the day, you used to only have to say, I'm an MCSE, and you could get respect in the IT field. Then, somewhere around 1999 or so, the MCSE certification became watered down. I blame the Internet, and the dumbing down of the TCP/IP exam. If you were in the field around that time, you might remember the old TCP/IP exam where you had to understand things like subnets and routing, and the new TCP/IP exam where it was mostly a Microsoft WINS, DNS, & DHCP.

These days there are a ton of Microsoft certifications. The lowest being the MCTS, or, Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist. But the MCTS doesn't really mean anything unless it is followed by something, which in my case is, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 - Configuring. That is a lot harder to say, than MCSE. The good news is that there was only one test to pass, Microsoft Certification Exam 70-236. It wasn't the easiest test I've ever taken, in fact, I was surprised at just how hard it was. The MeasureUP practice test that came with my book probably made it worse. There were several question/answers that were just wrong. One even had two answers that were exactly the same, of course, only one of them registered as correct. The practice test did give me an idea of how the questions would be asked on the exam, but the content on the actual exam was very different from the practice test content.

The sad thing about the MCTS, is that someone can pass a basic Windows Vista exam also has an MCTS certification, so you have to be clear when explaining your certifications. The good news is that with the specialized certifications, you can really show your skill in a particular field, which is good for a consultant like myself. I'll be moving on to MCITP next, that is, Microsoft Certified Information Technology Professional: Enterprise Messaging Administrator. That will require me to pass two more exams, 70-237, Designing Messaging Solutions with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 & 70-238, Deploying Messaging Solutions with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007.

What I'm really looking forward to is the new Microsoft Certified Master program. As you would expect, it requires the MCITP: Enterprise Messaging Administrator, plus Exam 70-640: TS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring. They also require your resume with five or more years of Exchange experience, with at least one in Exchange 2007. Those are all the easy requirements, the hard part is coming up with the $18,500 that the class and exams cost, and the three weeks travel expenses and time away from the job. This is also where working for a Microsoft partner will go a long way.

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