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Microsoft have lost the plot with new exams

Discussion in 'General Microsoft Certifications' started by TechTock, Jun 2, 2012.

  1. TechTock

    TechTock Byte Poster

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    I think someone at Microsoft needs a good kick up the backside. The old MCSA/MCSE exams were simple and clear and then MS dropped them for the MCTS and MCITP which I thought was a bad idea and now they have went back to MCSA/MCSE but they have a different meaning now and will confuse the heck out of employers and agencies. The biggest gripe to me is the resits every 3 years. This is to me a huge mistake. Over the lifetime of say Windows 2008 how much does it actually change over the lifetime of the platform. I know there was a change between 2008 and R2 but not enough for me to think people would need to do a resit in 3 years time.

    On the resit I take it if you decline do you loose the qualification altogether?
     
    Certifications: A+ | Network+ | Security+ | MCP | MCDST | MCTS: Hyper-V | MCTS: AD | MCTS: Exchange 2007 | MCTS: Windows 7 | MCSA: 2003 | ITIL Foundation v3 | CCA: Xenapp 5.0 | MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator | MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician | PRINCE2 Foundation | VCP5
    WIP: Having a rest :-)
  2. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    It's one of those things.

    Certifications often get blasted for being 'out of date', and yet every time one is updated there is always a chorus of moans around that too, not to mention confusion.

    You don't re-certify because the technology has changed, you re-certify to ensure you still possess the knowledge and skills necessary to hold the certification. 3 years is about typical and plenty of other qualifications do something similar.

    I'd agree though - introducing new exam tracks with the same acronyms as the old ones is just asking for trouble. The only rational reason I can think of is that MS consider MCSA/MCSE as some sort of corporate brand and want to hang on to it.

    If you don't re-certify, then yes, I guess you are no longer an MCSE. In reality though, they can't undo the fact that you have passed the exams and I would still list them on my CV. The question then would be, is an employer looking for an 'active' MCSE, or are they just looking for someone who can prove that they have (had) the required level of knowledge.

    I guess the real impact we will see is in firms who are required to have certified people in order to meet partnership requirements. It's going to be a real pain for them, but I suspect that most other people won't actually care at the end of the day.
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  3. TechTock

    TechTock Byte Poster

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    For me the technology just doesn't change enough in Windows to warrant redoing the cert every 3 years (or the update exam). I understand the argument about checking your still possess the knowledge but I would argue it's more possess the funds to give to MS to line their pockets. I just can't see how this is a good move as it will put a lot of people off doing the exams. I definitely agree I certainly wouldn't remove the cert from my CV after 3 years.
     
    Certifications: A+ | Network+ | Security+ | MCP | MCDST | MCTS: Hyper-V | MCTS: AD | MCTS: Exchange 2007 | MCTS: Windows 7 | MCSA: 2003 | ITIL Foundation v3 | CCA: Xenapp 5.0 | MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator | MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician | PRINCE2 Foundation | VCP5
    WIP: Having a rest :-)
  4. The Zig

    The Zig Kilobyte Poster Forum Leader

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    I agree. I remember, CompTIA had little choice, they had to make their most popular exams expire to meet ISO standards. And in the same breath they introduced the Continuing Education (CE) thing as a clever way to sidestep expiry.
    I wonder if there's anything similar with MS. The certification being valid for the lifetime of the technology made so much sense.

    I seriously doubt it's about MS raking in the cash - from what I understand Certification really isn't a cash-cow. CompTIA are a non-profit organisation, aiming pretty much to break even with exams as their key revenue stream, yet their exams are much more expensive than MS. I've always suspected Microsoft actually subsidise their exams so that there's always a legion of knowledgeable techs around their technologies.
    When it's quite possible to get free Linux servers, a major selling point for Microsoft is that it's a LOT easier (cheaper) to find people to support their servers.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2012
    Certifications: A+; Network+; Security+, CTT+; MCDST; 4 x MTA (Networking, OS, Security & Server); MCITP - Enterprise Desktop Support; MCITP - Enterprise Desktop Administrator; MCITP - Server Administrator; MCSA - Server 2008; MCT; IOSH; CCENT
    WIP: CCNA; Server 2012; LPIC; JNCIA?
  5. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    MS actually lose money through education, training and certification.
    However, you need to balance that against having an army of people all singing from the MS song sheet and supporting MS products and the MS way of doing things.

    I'm sure it more than evens itself out in the end.
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  6. TechTock

    TechTock Byte Poster

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    Lets be honest MS aren't doing certs for the good of the people. As a company they must be getting profit out of it and I think it's simply down to getting more people to use their products. Anyways I still think to certify every 3 years is bonkers and I see this having a negative effect on their certs.
     
    Certifications: A+ | Network+ | Security+ | MCP | MCDST | MCTS: Hyper-V | MCTS: AD | MCTS: Exchange 2007 | MCTS: Windows 7 | MCSA: 2003 | ITIL Foundation v3 | CCA: Xenapp 5.0 | MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator | MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician | PRINCE2 Foundation | VCP5
    WIP: Having a rest :-)
  7. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    Actually the three year thing is a good idea, Cisco have been doing it for years as have (to a degree) VMware also do the same kind of thing although its the VCP version that changes with every new major release of the product.
     
    Certifications: CNA | CNE | CCNA | MCP | MCP+I | MCSE NT4 | MCSA 2003 | Security+ | MCSA:S 2003 | MCSE:S 2003 | MCTS:SCCM 2007 | MCTS:Win 7 | MCITP:EDA7 | MCITP:SA | MCITP:EA | MCTS:Hyper-V | VCP 4 | ITIL v3 Foundation | VCP 5 DCV | VCP 5 Cloud | VCP6 NV | VCP6 DCV | VCAP 5.5 DCA
    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).
  8. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    Prince2 does it too, but over 5 years.
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  9. Theprof

    Theprof Petabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    I think that recertification is a good idea as it forces us to stay on top of things. As an IT professional we constantly have to learn new technologies and no matter what specialization we're in, fact of the matter is, recertifying helps us maintain the knowledge. In regards to the names Microsoft chooses to use for their new certifications is completely up to them although I agree, it is somewhat confusing with old MCSA/MCSE to MCITP transition and now back to the new MCSA/MCSE certs.
     
    Certifications: A+ | CCA | CCAA | Network+ | MCDST | MCSA | MCP (270, 271, 272, 290, 291) | MCTS (70-662, 70-663) | MCITP:EMA | VCA-DCV/Cloud/WM | VTSP | VCP5-DT | VCP5-DCV
    WIP: VCAP5-DCA/DCD | EMCCA
  10. Monkeychops

    Monkeychops Kilobyte Poster

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    As has been said, **** happens ;)

    Of course another alternative is to start saying you need to acquire and submit a certain number of CPE/experience points over the 3 years to retain the certification rather than needing to take an exam again, a reasonable amount of certs do this.
     
  11. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    This is a marketing lie, they already had ISO approval and ISO does not mandate this, go read the ISO guidelines.

    I suspect they they did it because the US DOD wanted to have a qualification sturcture, Comptia stepped up to the plate seeing all those potential US taxpayer dollars, the DOD wanted maintenance as they want to prove continual competence, something that maybe makes sense to the military where the time and training is generally funded.

    However what will then happen is it gets applied to the mass government / civil service and just creates beurocratic nonsense. It also then impacts on the private sector and yours truly as they chose to use the existing certs rather than create new US DOD specific ones...

    Are you on crack ? Comptia are a Non-profit organisation, thats why they break even, its in their mandate as a company, its not because they are not profitable, its because they HAVE to spend what they make to achieve their goals. The Cert industry in now a multi-million dollar cash cow, don't kid yourself.

    I doubt very much MS lose money on certification, its like many accounting tricks, there is profit or loss depending on what you measure. Their certification arm does not employ that many people fulltime, exams are proctored by a third party electronically, you now get no exam pack, and its costs £100. I expect they lose more money on training than on certification.

    They almost certainly get marketing value out of partner and cert programs.

    I simply don't buy making busy IT pros spend their free time and money to run the treadmill of cert maintenance makes sense. I already cannot maintain even one track of my existing certs on the current rules, and I've got about 12 tracks to maintain, I'm too busy doing new and interesting stuff that is more important...

    I've made these arguments before, I'm against re-certification, CPE and maintenance for 99% of certifications.

    Staying up to date with your industry is quite a different thing to having some cert nazi with a clipboard determine that you aren't qualified because you didn't pay $2000 to go to their latest expo...
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
    JonnyMX and TechTock like this.
  12. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    Excellent!
    Nominated for Quote Of The Year.

    :D
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  13. pete.grant

    pete.grant Byte Poster

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    I completely agree with dmarsh. My CCENT expires at the end of this month, but I've had so many other (non-IT/work related) things going on I just haven't had time to study for the exam. However, I work with Cisco kit day in day out and just because it's now 3 years since I sat the ICND1 exam I don't think that makes me any less experienced or qualified. Re-certification is a nonsense in this respect.

    It's the main reason I decided not to go for CISSP. ISC2 stipulate you need to gain 40 credits per year to remain current but if you attend a security conference you only get 5 credits, if you read a security book/article you only get 1/2 credits. There is no way I could achieve this many credits per year so in my mind it wasn't worth investing the time or money.

    Similarly, EC-Council are now charging £500 to take the latest CEH exam and are now also running a re-certification/credit system. Who the hell is going to pay £500 for an certification that only lasts 3 years!?

    Like the original poster, I think Microsoft are venturing down a very slippery slope.
     
    Certifications: A+ IT Technician, CCENT, CEH, CPTS, CIW Security Analyst, ITIL v3 Foundation, Master CIW Administrator, MCITP (Windows Server 2008:SA), MCSA on Windows Server 2008, MCSA:Security on Windows Server 2003, MCTS (70-648, 70-652), Network+, SCNS, Security+, Server+
  14. TechTock

    TechTock Byte Poster

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    I have to agree with dmarsh. A lot of IT professionals have a lot of certs and won't have time to keep them all up to date as people have a life outside of work. I did my MS ones to prove I have the skills on a version of Windows and the cert should remain in place for the lifetime of the version of Windows. Lets be honest over the lifetime of Windows 2008 has it changed significantly enough to warrant taking an exam every 3 years. I personally think with MS being the main platform that companies use and employers look for in hiring this is going to mean less professionals with less certs. I do intend to finish off my MCITP in Windows 2008R2 but after that can't see me doing anymore MS certs as I've moved on to more specialist areas.

    As Simon points out other companies have a recertification policy in place but that is why I probably won't do the certs for them as I just don't see the point to let it expire in 3 years time. JonnyMX also points out about PRINCE2 but to be honest I would view that as being different as you could just do PRINCE2 cert and do Project Management. For our jobs right or wrong companies expect you to hold lots of certs which is just unmanageable to keep up to date every 3 years. Also as far as I was told doing the VCP your certified on that version for life.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
    Certifications: A+ | Network+ | Security+ | MCP | MCDST | MCTS: Hyper-V | MCTS: AD | MCTS: Exchange 2007 | MCTS: Windows 7 | MCSA: 2003 | ITIL Foundation v3 | CCA: Xenapp 5.0 | MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator | MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician | PRINCE2 Foundation | VCP5
    WIP: Having a rest :-)
  15. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    What do you need to do to recertify? Looks like three exams are needed to upgrade but what’s the deal after three years?
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  16. TechTock

    TechTock Byte Poster

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    I would assume that it would be 1 exam that would cover all the subject matter across multiple exams to gain the original cert (similar to say upgrading your MCSE to a MCITP). Personally I hate upgrade exams.
     
    Certifications: A+ | Network+ | Security+ | MCP | MCDST | MCTS: Hyper-V | MCTS: AD | MCTS: Exchange 2007 | MCTS: Windows 7 | MCSA: 2003 | ITIL Foundation v3 | CCA: Xenapp 5.0 | MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator | MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician | PRINCE2 Foundation | VCP5
    WIP: Having a rest :-)
  17. The Zig

    The Zig Kilobyte Poster Forum Leader

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    Of course. Now quit changing the topic.

    My point is fairly simple. Microsoft charge less than CompTIA for exams. And CompTIA break-even. Therefore Microsoft cannot be pulling in a lot of cash through training/certification.

    I just don't think income from certification amounts to a drop in the ocean for MS. And I don't think that making exams expire is some master-plan where they re-balance their books by nicking money out of our pockets. Especially when it's likely to put people off taking their exams.
    If they're doing this - and this is the first I've seen of it - I'm not likely to re-certify. Ever. And it won't erase the learning out of my head. And until Microsoft send some boys round, I'm not gonna wipe it off my CV either as it's something I have passed.

    I'm just going to carry on with my life and I don't think it's going to make the blindest bit of difference.
    Main impact will be on larger organisations that need to have certain numbers of active certified staff. It will mean they have to continually invest in their IT staff's development. Meaning more of us get sent on more seminars, industry events and training courses. Now excuse while I don't weep into my beer.
     
    Certifications: A+; Network+; Security+, CTT+; MCDST; 4 x MTA (Networking, OS, Security & Server); MCITP - Enterprise Desktop Support; MCITP - Enterprise Desktop Administrator; MCITP - Server Administrator; MCSA - Server 2008; MCT; IOSH; CCENT
    WIP: CCNA; Server 2012; LPIC; JNCIA?
  18. Theprof

    Theprof Petabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    Hey Sparky, here's what's in the FAQ on the microsoft site in regards to recertification:

    Q: How does the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert credential differ from previous versions of the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer credential?

    A: The Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert credential focuses on a skill level and validates the ability to design and build technology solutions in the cloud and on premises, which may include integrating multiple technology products and versions. The Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert credential requires recertification every three years. The Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer credential focused on a job role and covered one version of a single technology.

    Still looking to see if its one exam that you need to do to recertify or more...

    More info can be found here
     
    Certifications: A+ | CCA | CCAA | Network+ | MCDST | MCSA | MCP (270, 271, 272, 290, 291) | MCTS (70-662, 70-663) | MCITP:EMA | VCA-DCV/Cloud/WM | VTSP | VCP5-DT | VCP5-DCV
    WIP: VCAP5-DCA/DCD | EMCCA
  19. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Quite simply it devalues your existing investment, which is not really the £100 but all the time and energy you spent to get the cert so you can put it on your CV. For me this still runs into thousands of pounds if you count the hours studying as billable hours. The value of the cert on the CV will diminish in many people eyes, and to be honest in most peoples eyes they are already viewed with suspicion and skepticism.

    I'm not changing the argument, one company is for profit the other is not. One company has massive marketing power and the biggest cert program the other does not. Your arguments of comparison is not an apples to apples comparison, learn some economics. Microsoft could well make more profit while charging less because of many reasons, their cost per exam is lower, their market is bigger, etc.

    This is the Holy Grail for cert programs, its why they can't help themselves with CPE, re-cert, maintenance, and expiry, that is why they continually come back to it even after getting their fingers burnt in the past. In trying to change their model they risk killing the golden goose, but they simply can't help themselves.

    Could you imagine taking a degree or A-levels and being told you had to come back in three years ? Some studies have shown that constant measurement of performance can actually inhibit learning. So by becoming one of the cert herd you could be dumbing yourself down instead of pursuing real intellectual / career growth.

    MS have looked at this multiple times and each time have been forced to backtrack or water down the new terms, but its death by a thousand cuts, each generation of cert takers is unaware they are getting a slightly worse deal than the last. In this manner they slowly change the market and manage the flock of cert students in order to generate more profit.

    The real market value of say the MCSE or CCNA has dropped over time, there was a time when either of these certs would almost guarantee a decent job. At this time these certs had minimal maintenance requirements and long or unlimited lifetimes. MCSE was for life and CCNA ran for 8 years without any recertification requirements.

    This is no longer the case, now you have certs with less market value, shorter lifetimes and higher maintenance costs.

    MS have many separate business units and for sure training and certification is not a big one, and its likely to be subsidised by some of the bigger units, each business unit however will set its own goals, they will most likely try and become more profitable and efficient etc. If you think a profit making business doesn't care about the bottom line you are wrong.

    As markets mature and are expanding less then companies have to adopt new strategies to maintain or grow profits for shareholders. What many companies are concerned with is a revenue stream, they don't want you to certify once and then leave it for ten years. They want a subscription model like Sky, BT or Fitness First, that way they get you on the hook and have a secure revenue stream.

    This is a direct problem of having commercial education, the people involved don't really have your best interests at heart, they have their interests at heart, its not 'for the good of the cert program' its 'so cert sales/marketing bod can get a payrise / bonus and have a secure job'.

    Well maybe I've just had bad experiences, but I seriously doubt most companies will significantly up their training budgets because of this, maybe a few consultancies, a lot will just accept a lowering of their partner status maybe. Without a bigger budget you won't get more training, its that simple guys, IT is just a cost centre to many businesses, you don't directly generate revenue.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2012
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
    nugget likes this.
  20. TechTock

    TechTock Byte Poster

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    Ok after a few emails going back and forth to Microsoft they have informed me the MCSA track never expires and it's only the MCSE tracks that need to be certified every 3 years. Is it just me who didn't know this or have MS not really made this clear? I still think the server track for MCSE doesn't need to be certified every 3 years but can see a need for the cloud track as it will evolve a lot over the years.
     
    Certifications: A+ | Network+ | Security+ | MCP | MCDST | MCTS: Hyper-V | MCTS: AD | MCTS: Exchange 2007 | MCTS: Windows 7 | MCSA: 2003 | ITIL Foundation v3 | CCA: Xenapp 5.0 | MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator | MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician | PRINCE2 Foundation | VCP5
    WIP: Having a rest :-)

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