Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

MCSE Revolt Over NT4-W2K Plans 326

Bloob writes, "It seems that Microsoft, in an apparent attempt at leveraging MCSEs to encourage organizations to upgrade to W2K, is expiring the NT4 certificate very quickly, and offering a dubious upgrade route. Here is an open letter from Keith Weiskamp, CEO of Coriolis, a supporter of MSCEs, with over 2000 comments from MCSEs et. al, and a response from Microsoft. Looks like quite a revolt."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

MCSE Revolt Over NT4-W2K Plans

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "Sir, the MSCE's are revolting!"

    King Gates responds, "yes, MSCE's are revolting!" and turns away with his nose up.
  • While I hate responding to a known pro-microsoft troller (are you TummyX, BTW? your attitude us almost identical) :

    cache-control: private is no use if he's talking about his ISP's proxy server cache, rather than his browser's local cache on his hard drive. I mean if he's browsing online, and going to a page that may be updated, chances are he'll want the version from the net anyway. If the data is marked public, a proxy server can cache it, and since the proxy server is probably squid, which talks to other proxy servers allowing page updates to propogate through the proxy network, he'll most likely still get the updated page if reads the proxy page, but if it's marked private, the proxy server has to go all the way back to the originating host.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The "editorial independence" at Slashdot basically means "We won't push Linux company X over Linux company Y" and you know it. Regardless of the misleadingly generic "News for nerds. Stuff that matters," this is a Linux/Open-source advocacy site.

    You might as well cite the editorial indepence of "The Village Voice" to prove that publication doesn't have a fairly liberal bias. The editorial independence of Slashdot does NOT mean that Rob and Co. aren't pursuing an agenda which benefits VALinux. Why else would VALinux buy Andover? Do you see VALinux offering to buy sites targeted at Visual Basic programmers?

    I agree with your charges against Microsoft, I'm merely saying that some Linux advocates go to the extreme and employ intellectual dishonesty in their zeal to defeat Microsoft. Is the dishonesty as bad as Microsoft's? No, but that doesn't make it ok, either.

    Regarding your characterization of IE as "decent", please name a better browser available right now. Please don't waste my time with theories on how browsers should be fully W3-compliant, Mozilla will be great, blah, blah, blah. I want to see a browser that offers better rendering of web pages RIGHT NOW -- Javascript and all.

    As far as Opera... please. Give me a break. The reason Opera doesn't require turning off options is because it doesn't OFFER those options. It is a fast, lightweight browser that does what it does extremely well. But it is deliberately limited in scope. We probably agree that WE don't want a lot of the "extras" that Opera omits, but who are we to make that decision for everyone else? If someone wants to play with Java applets, why not provide a browser that can handle it?

    Characterizing my points as "flamebait" makes it easier to dismiss my points. It doesn't make them any less valid. Maybe you should employ the time-honored usenet trick of saying that I'm "Missing The Point" instead. :)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Well, Windows2000 is a radical change from previous versions.

    I haven't had to reboot my W2K machine at home in weeks now. I've loaded a few 'legacy' apps that suggested that I reboot, but it hasn't been necessary.

    The frantic FUD being spread on Usenet about W2K by anti-MS forces does make sense, because that's all it is... FUD.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I respect someone who has 10 years field experience much more than someone with 1 year and a MickeySoft cert. I agree that experience is preferable to paper. Unfortunately breaking into the field is difficult for beginners. Scanning the want ads in the paper, I notice that there are no listings for "entry level". There was a big job fair in the area and the fair's advertisement in the local major newspaper stated that "minimum 2 years experience required for potential applicants", in other words if you are looking entry level get lost. Given these conditions how does one get that "foot in the door" without having a relative that can get you hired?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Microsoft is keeping the cert intact until the end of the next year - it's just that a lot of test will be retired/expiring soon. People who just got their paper MCSE last week are the ones getting pissed, I'll gladly take on the next big challenge.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The question in here is Is the new certification track going to get rid of all those "paper mcse". The anwser is obviously NO. New transcenders adre going to come out and people are going to learn those just like they did with the old. So why are they so mad? Well, I would have been pissed as well if someone told me to memorize the whole transcender exam and them added that I will have only one try to get it right. I'm feeling their pain.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Believe it or not Microsoft is actually right on this one! The MCSE has become a joke as anyone can get one by looking at the "brain-dumps" and memorizing them. Hopefully Microsoft's new program will limit the certification to those that truly understand the material and can pass the exams honestly.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Why is slashdot so damn slow lately?
    I think they should hire some of these kick-ass new MCSEs and convert to Windows 2000.

    This linux stuff is for the birds.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    MCSE: Minesweeper Consultant and Solitaire Expert.

    See also: reboot-monkey
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is not news, this is common sense. The real news is that FreeBSD 4.0 is being released today!!!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm in charge of policy for a medium-sized company's mission critical e-commerce servers, and we are currenly running Windows NT4 and IIS. In order to expand our e-commerce business we are currently considering upgrade options to take all of our computers to Windows 2000. This is enable us to make use of the superior reliability and extended scalability that Windows 2000 offers, and thus make us a better competitor in the expanding e-commerce market.

    It has been regarded wise to experiment for quite some time with new products and to test their reliability and usability before introducing them. You have been caught by feature mania, ie, features that some product is supposed to have are a reason for you to use it, without good validation if those features are what you need.
    I base this claim on the simple fact that Windows 2000 has been on the market for just over a month. Unless your business is very simple, that is not enough time to get a good view on such matters.

    We have several MCSE-trained staff in my department whose job currently involves administrating the system, and it is my opinion that they must be fully trained in the use of Windows 2000 before we upgrade. Currently we have a test machine set up and they are using that to explore the advanced functionality of Windows 2000, but this advanced training course is a Godsend to our company, and we will spare no expense in making sure our staff are trained in the best operating system on the market. Unless our staff have these new qualifications then they will lose their worth to us, and we would have to find new staff to look after our network.

    Of course your people should be well trained for their job, stating that is kinda stating the very obvious.
    What I question however is if MSCE can be considered 'good training'
    Vesides that, the issue here is not that MS is going to certify windows 2000 engineers, but that they void all previous certifivations inmediately. Realize that untill they went on the win2k course and got the certification, NONE of your people is currently MSCE certified, no matter what they did in the past and no matter how much money you sepnt on training them.
    Also, 'the best operating system', this makes me wonder if you are just trolling this discussion... Sorry, but Windows 2000 is not the best operating system, It might very well be the best version of Windows so far, but there is no such thing as 'the best operating system' for the simple reason that each and every operating system has its own advantages in particular situations. For your e-business stuff I would strongly advice you to look at a Unix based system, nothing (esp. not milions of lines of new code) can replace the reliability and performance achieved after the very long time people have had to tune up various unix versions.
    And last but not least, if you are in charge of changes there, it would be a good idea to think for yourself instead of just echoing what others are saying, ekse they could as well put MS' promotion campeign in charge of change at your place.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Informal n. Rough, single-ply toilet paper.
  • "If I have seen further than other men it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants." -Isaac Newton

    Actually, that would have been Einstein. Newton couldn't be humble if his life depended on it.

  • Thanks for your words, I wanted to say something along those lines myself.

    If you work as a consultant & trainer like me (located in Germany) in the business area, you have to bring up SOLUTIONS that work and defend your ideas in front of some PHB, who really doesn't know jack about computers. Now, I'm certified as MCSE+I and soon MCT, although I'm earning my money primarily with Linux. If I tell them "hey, let's use Linux, it is [insert your favorite advantage here]", I can back it up, since I know NT4 in & out and can show it to those guys with my cert.

    Face it: people are lazy, so if they see some cert, they will think: "ohh, he knows what he is doing". No matter how good/bad the cert is. And the MCSE track is not THAT easy (ever taken that damned IEAK test?).
  • You can get Linux Certification from SAIR [] and from LPI []. And RedHat is doing their own stuff, RHCE.
  • Yeah, and the CCIE will cost you BIG BUCKS, like $30-50k. But it's a great thing, one of my colleagues is CCIE and he really "gets" it (things like EGP and BGP). Those guys can command at least 80-120k Euro/year, and earn every cent of it (the one I know, at least).
  • The main reason I rag on MCSEs is because most of the people I know who actually have a clue about NT - that is, can actually make it work tolerably reliably in a production environment - consider it a waste of time. Most of the people I know who have or have studied towards an MCSE are weenies trying to get a few extra bucks without actually enhancing their knowledge any.

    My perception isn't helped by the number of cyniocal ds for things like "NT Boot camps" which promise to give you a week-long cram session where you learn everything you need to pass the exams and sit them straight away. Yeah, that really convinces me that the MCSE is a credible qualification that tells me someone is one of the rare people who can actually make NT perform adequately.

  • Unlike bonded, insured, licensed plumbers, MCSE's are not bonded, not insured, and no more licensed than anyone else.

    Also unlike MCSE's, plumbers (or their company, or their insurance) will actually fix the damage they cause if they screw up your plumbing; you're lucky if an MCSE will fix a system they screwed up without charging by the hour for the fix.
  • As always, the place to look is Google [].

    A search for "Small Business Server Upgrade" and "Joyce Park" revealed the source with the first hit. Try this [] out.

  • Actually,

    It looks like the comments are dynamic. Coming out of a database, perchance? If you do a view source, you can see that either its dynamic, or written by a very, very anal person.

    At least thats what i see, but i use MS products, so I must not know what I'm talking about. :)
  • Then why didn't you? Surely someone as smart as you must be aware that by obtaining an MSCE your average salary will increase by an average of $X. And for a mere $Y dollars, it certainly seems like a good deal to me! If the majority of /.'s could pass the test, they would for the money. Saying there smart enough for one but not smart enough to take "easy" money is insulting the intelligence of those that read slashdot.

    You're assuming that /.ers are only interested in money. I'm not, but I may be in the minority. Quality of my job is really important to me. Programming on Microsoft(tm) equipment (something I used to do) is something I will never do again. It was a horrifying experience of system inadequecies, work-arounds, and banging my head against a wall.

    No Thanks! Not for all the tea in China! Unix/Linux is the only operating system I'm interested in working on ever.
  • Comparing MS qualifications to commercial pilots qualifications is wrong..

    Firstly a commercial pilot needs a generic licence, an ATPL, which needs a lot of training, at the end of which you /don't/ get your qualification - you need to go get some real experience first. (it's probationary).

    As for individual aeroplanes, well there's no question of a type rating for a 737 being valid for a 757 - type ratings aren't even valid across different versions of the same plane sometimes. That'd be ludicrous. And type ratings differ from MS quals enormously in that they are regulated, eg by the FAA in the states, CAA in the UK, DoT in Ireland. The type rating has nothing to do with the vendor of the plane. (they might have had input into the requirements for the type-rating.) Also, once you have a type rating, you can stay current by getting checked out every 6 months by an instructor with the appropriate instructors type rating, and you can stay current on as many different type-ratings as you want, if you can find the time on the planes and an intructor for it.

    So comparing a regulated, safety orientated, non-vendor locked, rigorous licencing scheme to a proprietary, vendor-locked, marketing orientated certification programme is mad.

    (unless you want to argue that computer training should be regulated and licenced?)
  • I don't know about the US, but here in the UK the hype on W2K has been very low compared to W95. Significantly there has been a fair amount of criticism of it in the computing press. There have also been comments from a large number of businesses that they are going to step very slowly into W2K.

    I would guess that MS need to force people into conversion if they are ever to make any money out of W2K. They obviously aren't going to do this by marketing, so the obvious tactic is coerceion. Hence the pressure on MSCEs.
  • Call me silly, but I count six places to take the courses on RedHat's training locations [] page, three on the west coast, the NC headquarters, England, and Germany. Then going to their training core [] page, it seems that it's $2498 for a five-day course and certification. Then there's their exam-only page [] which alleges $749 for well-experienced people. But that one seems to only have NC and England with dates scheduled. Or are RedHat's pages somehow lieing? I haven't gone through their test, so I could be wrong...

    Then there is the Linux International group's attempt at certification. That would be a more vendor-neutral way to go, when they settle on everything. I know the last place I worked sent people on $2500-5000 3-5 day courses in MSCE matters, and those were only for one or two of the tests, not the whole MSCE. Of course, being a corporation, they only sent the morons to those classes. ;)
  • I have already explained that -- without expiration or modification date in the header (both are missing) caching on the client won't work unless it's configured to assume that pages never change (infamous "check once per session" option).
  • In what way do static .asp pages screw up caching for you? Since they can be cached on both the server and your browser, why are you having such a slowdown?

    HTTP/1.1 200 OK
    Server: Microsoft-IIS/5.0
    Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000 19:20:43 GMT
    Content-Type: text/html
    Cache-control: private

    And how do you think, that bullshit is supposed to be cached?

    From RFC 2616 (HTTP/1.1):

    14.9.1 What is Cacheable

    By default, a response is cacheable if the requirements of the request method, request header fields, and the response status indicate that it is cacheable. Section 13.4 summarizes these defaults for cacheability. The following Cache-Control response directives allow an origin server to override the default cacheability of a response: publicIndicates that the response MAY be cached by any cache, even if it would normally be non-cacheable or cacheable only within a non- shared cache. (See also Authorization, section 14.8, for additional details.) private Indicates that all or part of the response message is intended for a single user and MUST NOT be cached by a shared cache. This allows an origin server to state that the specified parts of the response are intended for only one user and are not a valid response for requests by other users. A private (non-shared) cache MAY cache the response.

    Note: This usage of the word private only controls where the response may be cached, and cannot ensure the privacy of the message content. no-cacheIf the no-cache directive does not specify a field-name, then a cache MUST NOT use the response to satisfy a subsequent request without successful revalidation with the origin server. This allows an origin server to prevent caching even by caches that have been configured to return stale responses to client requests. If the no-cache directive does specify one or more field-names, then a cache MAY use the response to satisfy a subsequent request, subject to any other restrictions on caching. However, the specified field-name(s) MUST NOT be sent in the response to a subsequent request without successful revalidation with the origin server. This allows an origin server to prevent the re-use of certain header fields in a response, while still allowing caching of the rest of the response. Note: Most HTTP/1.0 caches will not recognize or obey this directive.

    Proxies can't cache it because the content is "private" (what is bullshit -- the document is public), and clients can't cache it because it has neither expiration nor modification time in the header.

    Looks like this "ZicoKnows" doesn't know shit after all.

  • Just like you wouldn't hire a plubmer that's not bonded,insured and licensed, WE'RE not going to hire programmers that aren't. Go fig.

    No one can be held responsible or guarantees anything about anyone with MCSE, or the job that he will or can perform -- if MCSE screws up, employer is just as mich screwed as if anyone else did it.

  • I am routinely amazed at the number of people (read customers) that massive companies like MS routinely piss off. It seems that there used to be an atmosphere that customers were fickle unpredictable beasts that had to be convinced to use your product or you might not have a company anymore. Has this feeling gone away because of customer apathy, highly advanced and fine tuned marketing technique/theory, or the situation of once a company becomes large enough they only need to maintain a statistically determined user base of a specific size.

    Especially in the case of Microsoft, it seems that there is a widespread adversarial relationship between them and their customers. Friends and collegues of mine that are avid Microsoft users are constantly complaining about how MS shafted them and others. But when I mention that if they're so mad and disatisfied with the product that they paid for that it's their duty as a customer to spend their dollars elsewhere. Then I get looked at like I'm from another planet. They all seem to think that I'm some sort of computer genius/guru because I use Linux exclusively. I've tried to explain that I'm extremely far from either one, and as far as I can tell if a person were to spend as much time reading Linux documentation as they did trying to "trick" some MS app into doing what they wanted that they too would quickly become adept at the Linux environment.

    Sorry to rant about like this, but it just amazes me sometimes that people don't feel bad about handing over money for a product they don't feel is the best solution for their particular need/problem/situation.

  • Crap or not, the MCSE is the only way to get a job interview in most cases. Think about a college degree.. Nowadays it doesn't really get you much other than a foot in the door at a company for an interview. Same thing with the MCSE for the most part. I don't have one and I certainly know more than most of the MCSE people I've met, but that's just the way it is.

  • M$ is actually trying to get it's act together here.

    I disagree. More than anything the MCSE is a marketing tool. Today they want sell Windows2000 and convincing everyone that 2000 is a radical change from previous versions is the first step down that road.

    It *is* pretty sad and it makes everyone involved look all the more pathetic.

  • >There are a few reasons, most involve the company I work for -- they'll pay for it, and there are certain jobs that open up only if you have
    >certification or a degree. I made the same complaint : cert!= good programmer. Their argument was pretty simple, and hard to argue with :
    >Just like you wouldn't hire a plubmer that's not bonded,insured and licensed, WE'RE not going to hire programmers that aren't. Go fig.

    Ugh. That's disgusting. Do any of the great programmers have certs? (e.g., Ritchie, Kernighan, & most of the other famous hackers) I mean, it would funny -- in a disgusting way -- to hear an interviewer tell a prospective hire, ``you worked at Borland on their Pascal compiler . . . worked at Novell fixing bugs first on Netware 4.x, then Word Perfect . . . then at Microsoft, working on Windows 98 & Windows 2000. I'm sorry, since I don't see that you have an MCSE certificate, I have to say that you aren't qualified. Good luck in your job hunt."

    > I suspect many people have this expectation that they will learn something about how the Windows OS works.
    >That depends on how you go about studying for the test. I've seen some pass the MCSE test by luck, or memorization, get whisked off to
    >the server room, and then have to deal with the pain their cluelessness causes. I've seen smart people study and get better jobs because they
    >deserve it. This is just like anything else -- you CAN bullshit your way through it if you try.

    I guess I'm revealing how I look at the descriptions of what certification tests cover: as a reality check for what I've learned either on the job or teaching myself. If you've spent your time as an ISP phone tech (say), you think the world revolves around dialers, winsocks, & crappy modems; you're oblivious to just how much video drivers & RAM enter into the equation.

    This is my gripe: instead of offering a guarrantee that the recipient understands -- on some level -- how Windows works, their certification is merely another step in indoctrinating a computer professional into the Microsoft Solution to All Problems (tm).

  • >Here's a summary of MS' reply.
    >"Rather than answering your question, we'll reiterate that we're forcing the cert. change. Despite the numerous complaints you, as current
    >MSCEs, have logged, we'll try to tell you that this is being requested by our customers."

    Well put.

    >Crap. I use Visual Basic and C++, and wanted to get my MCSD, but now, I don't know if it's worthwhile.

    Why do you want this piece of paper? If you have the experience in these programming language, then it really isn't necessary for your resume. If you think it will teach you something about these languages, then you are sadly mistaken.

    From watching people first study & take CNA/CNE certs, & now MCS* ones, I suspect many people have this expectation that they will learn something about how the Windows OS works. Something that will head off the usual countless hours of trial-and-error testing to determine what is actually happening behind the GUI & amongst the poorly-documented registry & the swamp of dll's -- or at least give them a clue about what is important to know about Windows.

    Unfortunately it does not work -- at least in this case. This is another example of Microsoft treating its ``partners" shabbily.

  • Yes, my level of cynicism and not infrequent outright sarcasm is a delightful talent being honed to perfection in this job. Lock 'em in, take their money, read them the EULA and chuckle all the way to the bank.
  • What I see McSE's as are like the folks with the brooms who follow the elephants in the parade: the animals get the peanuts & attention and the McSE's get to sweep up the dung. Meaning, the salesfolks make their awesome presentations, hoodwink entire corporations and the McSE is there to do the patches, rebooting, and other various and sundry rites of exorcism while the poor owners cuss at 'em and bemoan the loss of office productivity for all the outages, downages and inconviences.

    Haha - any fool to gives their entire career to the capricious whims of a tyrranical, overbearing business deserves to be left broke and forgotten. I prefer *real* computer science, not memorizing Bills favorite color of the month or what butten is hidden in what window. Besides, if you learn a *real* computer system windows is easy, since it's just Unix for the command line challenged. My B.S.E.E. is valuable; my McSE is just a quickie trade like muffler repair or hairdressing, my 'day' job to fund personal projects.
  • I can't believe the bullshit in that letter. I can barely choke down that statement about the best trained networking force on the planet. These bootcampers and paper MCSEs actually have the fscking gall to complain about the retirement of NT4? We saw it coming two years ago - or you should have if you had your eyes open. It's Microsoft, for crissakes! All they do is screw people. Of course they want to force everyone to use Win2K.

    MCSE certifications DONT MEAN CRAP. Any fsckwad can pass those tests with their brain turned off. All you have to do is MEMORIZE. If you can't think and know nothing about computers, take heart! You can still get your MCSE.

    MCSEs tend to think that they know everything because they have NEVER been exposed to a real computing situation. Ever. Their answer to it all is simply follow the three R's - Reboot, Reformat, and Reinstall.

    Your value does not depend on your certification. The only reason you need one of these certifications is to get in the damned door somewhere. Microsoft has made these tests too easy. They are giving you a single, one time free shot to upgrade your core to Win2K. That should be enough. Hell, I'll be able to upgrade mine in a weekend, simply because I know my shit after trying in vain to support Microsoft products for the better part of three years now. Its absolutely amazing when you learn how much you really don't know when you are in the field. You learn more there in a week than you do reading all of the study guides on the market.

    Going into a company that is dependent on windows, and trying to make everything work correctly after a bunch of MCSEs have fscked it all up, is one hell of a tough job. I steer people away from Microsoft products every chance I get for mission critical work.

    I got lucky. The company I work for has three main networking professionals. Bill, the Unix guy, Carmen, the Novell guy, and Me, for the Microsoft shit. Unlike most MCSEs, I know from painful experience just how to get those obscene Microsoft products to work. That doesn't mean I have to like them. I learn more by watching Bill and Carmen than I do reading books.

    Microsoft products may look pretty, but they are the smelly shitstain on the boots of real networking professionals the world over. I hope that someone, anyone, comes along and puts them out of business.

    We have lots of Linux boxes at home. Now there's a server. Did you know that NT simply CANNOT handle hosting multiple quake3 players from the internal network to any single outside server? You and your buddy can't join the same game outside your local network. You would have to install 3rd party software to add that forgotten 'feature'. Never had that problem with ipchains - worked like a charm right out of the box. Microsoft only promises. Linux delivers.

    And to those of you who say the MCSE tests aren't that easy - fsck you, yes they are, I know, I passed them without knowing a tenth of what I do now. If you still disagree, you probably haven't worked in the field very much, have you?

    I'll pass the accelerated Win2K exam the same way - study for a weekend and take the test. The only 'new' feature is active directory, and it stinks like a smelly cesspool behind a shanty in vietnam. You can't even turn it off.

    Win2K also completely freaks out samba (at least on our home LAN), so watch out for any of you who are trying to make Linux work with windows.

    The thing tht I resent the most is that if you don't have a worthless piece of paper, no one takes you seriously. If you do have the paper, chances are you aren't worth looking at because you spent your time getting the paper and not the experience.

    Have the rest of you noticed a complete and total barrier to anyone who is under 25 (I'm 23) getting any credibility and responsibility in the IT field? If you aren't thirty you can't possibly know your stuff. Apparently I am a freak of nature, but then again so are my two roomates, both also MCSEs and hating it.

    We have to play the certification game for now, until we can start up our company. I think I'll get CCNA, CCDA, CNA, and finish off the damned MCSE+I. I spend all my day supporting Exchange, SQL and Proxy, so why not read the books and get the certifications, right? Trouble is, the things you need to know to make it all work and the things you need to know to pass the test are two very different things.

    You'll have to excuse me if I come off as being a little irate here... I just had a really, really bad day supporting small business server. It works, but I think fixing it may have cost me a few bits of sanity. Anyone have modem sharing just plain break for no reason, then spend an entire day fixing it with no success, then come in the next morning and find out that it is working perfectly, having apparently repaired itself overnight? That one stumped MS Support too ;) I'm off to some quake server to vent my frustrations on other hapless geeks... have a nice day.
  • If you know your shit, recertifying should be a walk in the park.

    I have no sympathy for anyone who doesn't feel they're up to that challenge. Browse through a sample exam, pay another hundred bucks to the testing center, and get your new fangled slip of paper.

    Personally, i resisted the MCSE goldrush and decided to instead concentrate on systems that i would actually consent to use. Thus, i avoided what has become the best recognized resume stain.

    Some of you people out there feel you need this slip of paper from microsoft in order to give the people around you a reason to believe you're worth some fraction of what you're making.

    Those of you who know your shit, obviously don't actually need any such paper. Your accomplishments should speak for themselves.

    Those of you who aquired said slip of paper in order to quit the job at the quickiemart and enter the new workforce, who don't know your shit, please feel free to sit on it and spin.

    You have chosen to use Microsoft products. Win2k is a *New* Microsoft Product. It's a lot different from NT4. It has different features and different bugs.

    Again, if you're worth your salt, this shouldn't be that big of a deal, and you should be able to accomplish recertification in a weekend.

    If you're not, you made your bed, now sleep in it.

  • Nothing in the MCSE tests prepare you to deal with real world problems.

    That *IS* the problem. Too many people think that if someone has an MCSE after their name, they are automatically able to deal with any situation that arises with a Microsoft product.. This is nothing more then pure ignorance.

    I have my MCSE, and to earn it, I went out and bought the Exam Cram books and studied each of them for about a week before I went and took the test. Prior to this I had maintained an NT network for about two years and taken many of the Microsoft classes.

    However, all the skills I use daily were never taught to me, were not in any of those exam cram books, and never were tested. What are these skills? Basic troubleshooting. The facts that I learned while studying for my MCSE help with that troubleshooting. If you don't know the how's and why's of something that is giving you a problem, then it is hard to fix. But just having the facts alone doesn't make you a good troubleshooter.

    What does make you a good troubleshooter? Experience. Plain and simple. I've used and programmed personal computers for about 12 years now.

    That is why many slashdotters make the correlation that MCSE=easy to get. Getting your MCSE is nothing more then memorizing a bunch of facts.

    Really troubleshooting a problem requires an understanding of those facts and the concepts behind them.

  • "How to connive your clients into using Windows 2000"

    "Vaporware: The Next Generation"

    "FUD: It ain't as easy as it looks"

    And more, yours for a nominal fee of half your soul!

  • Let's see...
    1) Can you commit to memory the maximum cable length of Thicknet Ethernet?
    2) Could you guess how to correctly terminate a 10Base-2 Network?
    3) Given a hypothetical device called a "Brouter", could you guess what it does in a NetBEUI network?

    Yup -- Most Slashdotters could pass "Networking Essentials".

    Now, try these:
    1) How do you set up SMB network browsing in a multi-domain environment?
    2) What is the proper way to design WINS replication?
    3) How do you restore the MS DHCP database in a recovery situation?

    Whoops! Microsoft never asks those questions. Sorry.

  • I think you make a good point -- there probably should be two levels of certification. The first should be focused on setup and troubleshooting and knowing when to reboot.

    The second, harder one should be focused on architecture and planning (AD, WINS, so on). Since the current NT5 program is designed so that people only understand a little of both, there's no way to prove if someone actually understands the NT beast.
  • The path to wizardry is frought with "almost as"'s and "practically as"'s.

    P.S.: I'm not a Karma Whore. I'm an undercover enforcement agent POSING as a Karma Whore.

    P.P.S.: Crap, I think I blew my cover.

    P.P.P.S: Damn, did I just use whore and blow in a post on SlashDot?

    Bad Mojo
  • Your hilarious satire of Microsoft marketing materials and ZDNet-style managementspeak was truly superb. Please read below for selection of /. readers who didn't quite catch on that this was a troll and/or a joke. Lighten up and smell the grits, folks!

  • In what way do static .asp pages screw up caching for you? Since they can be cached on both the server and your browser, why are you having such a slowdown? (The Coriolis web site doesn't seem to be having that problem, whether I use my browser's cache, or force a reload to test the server's cache.) On which sites using IIS 5.0 have you experience such problems?


  • While Microsoft says this move is required to correctly certify people on the Windows platform of the future, I cannot stop to see how the attitude is so contradictory to the principles and foundations behind the certification process. I mean, here we have a number of people strongly against this change in Microsoft upgrade policy. Should that not tell us something?

    Is not the certification process an means by peers to evalute, test and authenticate their peers on their knowledge in a particular study or area(s)?

    I think that is the point that the whole certification process is missing. Whether you are talking about Novell, Microsoft or even RedHat. Too many other variables, whether it is money, advocacy for their own product, etc...

    Non-profit organizations are only the true, unbiased source of certification.

    Just $0.02 ...

    -- Bryan "TheBS" Smith

  • MS can consider you a source of revenue, or a pawn in their strategy for world domination for the product they are pushing this week.

    Product pushers. Drug Pushers. What's the difference?

  • > What's wrong with simply saving html files as html?

    That's a horrible idea, because you don't have to buy a MS product to do it, nor does it give them a leg up on the all-important vendor lock-in.

  • by j_d ( 26865 )
    Here's a summary of MS' reply.
    "Rather than answering your question, we'll reiterate that we're forcing the cert. change. Despite the numerous complaints you, as current MSCEs, have logged, we'll try to tell you that this is being requested by our customers."

    Crap. I use Visual Basic and C++, and wanted to get my MCSD, but now, I don't know if it's worthwhile. When they upgrade one of them, will they expire those certs immediately? I'm not spending 3k-6k for training and testing only to do it yearly! You go to hell, MS. You go to hell and you die!
  • Somehow a company that produces a product, then designs a certification exam for it, charges for both the product and the exam, and then tells everybody in the market that the only qualified people will have to get that exam, making it the defacto standard, sounds an aweful lot like collecting protection money. It sounds like a scam.
    I also think that microsoft is not being very smart by alienating so many of their trained techs. I think that people are going to take a once-bitten/twice shy sort of approach on this one. Everybody that MS screws over is going to be less likely to give it another toss. Also, younger geeks are certainly not going to want to pay a lot of money to get screwed by MS. I think that it is irresponsible to push software like that for marketing reasons, and it is even more irresponsible to try to use people and throw them away like that. I know this adds one more item to my list of reasons to distrust MS (and most other large companies...)
  • ..because they are key to the MS sales cycle. Part of a letter quoted on the site:

    It sounds good when Donna M. Senko (Director of Certification and Skills Assessment) writes: "We expect any individuals who choose to certify in the MCSE track to assume a leadership role in helping their employers or clients stay competitive." But there is a little discrepancy in this sentence with the reality: After you have done all the investments in education (time and money) and you have passed all the necessary exams to become a MCSE, you are not able to "help your employer or client to stay competitive" because you have to invest into the education for the next MCSE certifications.

    This guy correctly points out the major problem with vendor certification - it's expensive and often useless. It's also dangerous to annoy people who have the potential to drive sales from within an organisation. From within is really important - no matter how many salespeople approach from outside, the MCSE-trained bloke inside is far more likely to be up to date on the latest solutions, updates, bugfixes et al. From there its a simple matter for Microsoft to keep him supplied with the latest goodies, invite him to regular brainwas^H^H^H^H^training functions and keep him warm and fuzzy. He might not have influence now, but he may have in the future - perhaps as an IT manager.

    Personally I think MS are being mightily arrogant by cutting off the NT 4.0 courses. Instead of everyone falling over themselves to upgrade to Win2k, I suspect lots of potentials will be checking out the alternatives.

  • What I did was get a niche cert. I am a proud owner of an HP-UX certification. I also have my CNE, and I'm working on my CCIE (cisco). I get great jobs doing HP-UX administration (which isn't so bad if you bring a gameboy).
  • PR1ME were mini's, competing with PDP10's and other similar sized systems.
  • No-one expired the certificates of pilots qualified on the 737 when the 757 came out.

    Just because a new product has come out, which the manufacturer would like you to use instead of their existing product, is not a reason that their previous skills are expired.

    A similar situation would be if you were required to do a check exam each year to remain qualified as a MSCE.

  • I don't see anyone complaining about people having to pass additional exams to be certified at W2K.

    The objections are due to the unneccessary fast cancellations of the NT4 certificates.

  • I suppose... depending on your school and major... I had several of the MCSE exams under my belt long before I graduated from college (far easier than Network Programming, or TCP/IP design and implementation), and I didn't even bothre putting on my resume. Why? I listed my UNIX skills, and I was looking for more of a hardware/microcode job, though several large companies were throwing large sums of money at me for IT jobs, which I wasn't really after.

    Real experience in the job is more useful than a cert (anybody could pass these things with a day or two of prep), and if that's really needed to get your foot in the door, do you really want that job? I suppose it's a little different when you are graduating with a computer engineering degree from a highly regarded center of higher learning than if you are out in the field trying to get a new job, but I'm convinced that unless you think the MSCE is the greatest thing since sliced bread then you shouldn't want a job where they require it... you'd be happier somewhere else.
  • Well, if people (M$ or companies) cared about making the MCSE cert worthwhile, they would make a separate Inactive DirectXory exam, which would actually be difficult and twice as long as the others... from what I've seen, the biggest problem upgrading your NT domain to w2k is AcDir (aside from the process of it, which is ludicrous), and people should properly understand how to do any of this before they get a little paper from Bill. For now NT/W2k may be a fact of life... but rebooting isn't always the best answer...
  • Sally Struthers now offers home correspondence courses in tv/vcr repair, air conditioning repair, MCSE, stamp colleting, literature...
  • Well, sure. My NT box (NT40/1381) was actually quite stable, but my win95 box shat itself daily. I was using it as a development system and it didn't seem to like that :) But still, windows has worked long and hard to earn itself a horrible reputation.

    Note: I would've liked to use NT for dev work but it didn't support the pc cameras I needed.

  • You're right, netscape blow dead goats. We're working on a replacement.

  • ...your career!

    MS can consider you a source of revenue, or a pawn in their strategy for world domination for the product they are pushing this week.

    Computer professionals shouldn't tie themselves to proprietary protocols.
  • Before I start (to avoid flames) may I just say I'm not one of those people who sits under the Microsoft sign. Neither am I one of those people who dogmatically says 'M$ sux, Linux rulez' without looking into both products for myself.

    I work in an IT department - the IT department uses NT - therefore I am studying NT - they're paying, that suits me fine. (I'm also playing with Linux and BeOS when I get home). ATM I am currently between NT exams. I've just passed Server, and I'm taking Wks in April.

    Now I'm asking myself WHY?!!!

    Side one:

    Why is because we use NT where I work. I have to use it everyday, I need to support it, and to keep my job, I need to try to understand it. We are not going W2K overnight anytime soon without a darned good reason.

    Side two:

    What's the point in me doing these exams if this qualification is redundant even before I've picked up the cram book? It's obvious M$ are rushing and pushing this product. If all MCSE's are now going to know W2K better than NT4, then of course they're going to use it! But aren't they FORCING an upgrade? Yeah - and it stinks.

    Everyone here knows (outside of the betas) that W2K is the new boy in town. It's fresh out of the box and what I'd call completely unproven, yet M$ insist that this is the solution we should all be going for. The first SP isn't even out yet, and already security fixes have appeared the same month as the OS.

    I won't waste time ranting - just summarise by saying that if I was paying for it, this little stunt would have stopped me cold dead from buying another M$ course. (Thanks Oprah)
  • I've been at my present employer for 2 years now, and survived their hiring and firing of an MCSE that they "knew would make things better". Every MCSE I've worked with has shown a very surprising lack of knowledge. They know the basic network and application model, but they don't have real-world experience. Not only that, most have refused to listen when I mention Linux and it's superior stability. How did Microsoft manage to brainwash these guys into such utter dependence.

    So I basically thought this way of every one of them. Every time someone has mentioned that they're an MCSE, I tend to tune their opinions out.

    But looking at the comments from these guys, I'm blown away by how open they are to Linux. You can't blame them, of course, but it was still surprising to me. I really hope this announcement affects the majority of the 220,000 MCSE's into thinking of viable alternatives to MS. And the fact that Linuxites have a sense of morality can only help in this regard.

    Let's hope they see the big picture instead of cowering to the heavy handed giant.

  • ...generally follows this comment:

    "Furthermore, they [MCSE's] seemed genuinely puzzled that I would expect decent service and documentation without having paid mucho extra money for it. One or two even suggested that the more problems the better, as it meant more billable hours for them. I've concluded that being an NT sysadmin requires a level of cynicism so breathtaking that relatively few can achieve it. "Hey dude -- bugs are money!" If you can't muster up this much gleeful nihilism first thing every Monday morning, I suppose you could come to the same conclusion by a combination of ignorance, lack of aesthetic sense, and terminal herdthink."

    -Joyce Park, "Small Business Server Upgrade"

    But FWIW, the same is also true of U.S. military contractors -- the buggier the product, the more follow-on money you get -- so the terminal herdthink disease is hardly confined to the field of MCSE.

  • As someone already noted, NetWare 5 has been around quite some time now. Actually, it came out in september 1998, a few weeks before the actual schedule. You could immediately toy around with a free double CD package, containing NetWare 5, the clients, the Internet services etc, and a 3-user license. So, you could hook up 3 client machines to your NetWare 5 server, and all this was given away for free. Current CNEs also received a Student Kit and an exam voucher (for the NetWare 4.x to 5 Update) for free! The Student Kit alone is worth at least 500US$. So, I believe these are pretty favorable conditions for passing an exam.
    I am forced to assume you are one of the lucky CNEs that live in america then - English CNEs didn't (and don't) get any of that, we have to fund our own way through the program........
  • NW5 has been out since Fall 98, and you have until Aug 2000 to recertify. This requires 1 test for 4.x CNEs.
    Yes, I know - I am STILL trying to get my boss to fund it for me...

    W2K has been out since Feb 2000, and you have until Dec 2000 to recertify. This requires 2 or 3 tests IIRC.
    Which do you think is a bigger rip off?

    Well, Apparently the fast-track exam is just that - a single exam, and free. Of course, if you fail you have to take the full thing, and The OS isn't even stable yet, but still. For non-US CNEs, many of who are fighting to keep their networks Novell rather than Microsoft, the difficultly of getting your company to fund additional training for you is a real one - if the additional skillset isn't needed, why should you be forced to upgrade your certification by EITHER company?

  • Hmm. Much though I dislike this tactic in Microsoft, it is probably worth pointing out that Novell, M$'s biggest competitor in the network server market, are doing almost exactly the same thing to their CNEs - "upgrade to a Netware 5 CNE, or lose it"

    For that matter, a LOT of companies refused to certify, or actually WITHDREW Y2K certification to try and force companies to buy their latest and greatest - so M$oft is at least in company.

  • As someone already noted, NetWare 5 has been around quite some time now. Actually, it came out in september 1998, a few weeks before the actual schedule. You could immediately toy around with a free double CD package, containing NetWare 5, the clients, the Internet services etc, and a 3-user license. So, you could hook up 3 client machines to your NetWare 5 server, and all this was given away for free. Current CNEs also received a Student Kit and an exam voucher (for the NetWare 4.x to 5 Update) for free! The Student Kit alone is worth at least 500US$. So, I believe these are pretty favorable conditions for passing an exam.

  • I'd assumed it would be pretty simple until I actually read the Networking Essentials book. Yes, it was humbling. I never got around to actually taking the test--but assuming the Transcenders/CBT's are anything like the real test then I'd have to agree that it's a tough test.

    However, some absolutely inept people seem to pass it anyway. One consulting company I worked for had me doing technical interviews for potential recruits--mostly MCSE's. (I scored well enough on mine to qualify as an interviewer despite never having taken the MCSE.) Generally the MCSE's were incredibly knowledgable about Windows and network administration as it relates to Windows--certainly more than I.

    I'd estimate I interviewed about 20 of them. Out of the 20, one or two of them seemed to be well rounded enough to discuss anything computer-related out of the Microsoft realm. And two or three of them had no clue whatsoever even about basic stuff like formatting a floppy from the NT command line (or maybe that's just not covered in the MCSE exam?) Despite the few bad apples the rest were, as I said before, incredibly knowledgable about Microsoft products.


  • Ok... some background... first off, I'm an MCSE myself (yes people, you may mod this down now because I'm one of the bad guys ;-) ), and I currently run an NT network environment... I have extensive experience with Windows and other MS products, and not a lot of experience in other products. (unfortunately)

    Now here's the thing... right now, the fact that I am an MCSE is fairly useless, because it doesn't prove anything. I got it to try and show that I knew something about running an NT network, but the fact that there is so many "Paper MCSE's" out there right now basically makes it useless to me. Virtually all of these people know nothing about computers at all, its kinda sick. Actually, at the school where I was learning to get my MCSE, we had one of these people. She was certified, and knew nothing. She had to ask me how to do pratically everything. In a way it was kind of funny, but it shows the problem with the system.

    What MS is doing is trying to listen to the people who want the certification to actually mean something. By retiring NT4 more quickly, they force people who actually use it to upgrade to 2000, thereby keeping them up to date. However, because a lot of books aren't going to be available for easy passage of 2000 exams for a while, its going to severely injure the Paper MCSE's... and I don't pity them one bit. They are also adding some different styles of testing to make it more difficult, and I hope it works as they plan.

    They aren't being evil here... there is six exams needed to have an MCSE in 2000. However, you can take the Accelerated Exam, which counts as 4 of those 6. You can also take it for free if your already an MCSE. You only get one crack at it. If you fail, too bad. Thats a good thing, it really helps out the people who actually do know what they're doing get it with a lot less expense (like me), while severely hurting the people who don't actually know a whole lot about NT4 and 2k.

    There has been a lot of complaints in this thread about MCSE's who don't know anything... and the steps MS is taking are an attempt to greatly reduce that problem, a problem which is rampant right now. But not all of us are total idiots. And not all of us are brainwashed either, its just a matter of using what your comfortable with. I know how to make NT do all the things I need it to, I don't know how to make Linux do it, so for the company, we go with NT. I do have a Linux box sitting here that I use whenever I have some spare time, and try to figure out how to make it do the things the NT boxes can't do very well. When I'm comfortable enough with it to actually put it into a production environment, then it'll go up, but not before.

    I really hope that MS' efforts are successful in this, so that the general perception of an MCSE certified person is not "oh that guy is good at memorization", but rather "that guy is good with Windows 2000.". And that would be a good thing. If you think about it, Linux certifications should be the same. You want them to mean something, not "well that guy knows how to become a superuser, lets give him a certification!".

    (ps - I really hate it when people say that all MCSE's are brainwashed... thats like saying that all Linux users are anti-social nerds who just hate Bill Gates because he's more successful then they are. Some probably are, just like some MCSE's are brainwashed, but its really unfair to those of us who aren't, just like its unfair to Linux users to dismiss them all like that. Thanks.)
  • The letter claims that MCSEs are the "best trained networking professionals on the planet". But they are using ASP to serve simple text pages. Now THAT'S funny.

    Interestingly I have seen this many, many, many times. I think (now I am going out on a limb here so please inform me) but I think that it could possibly, maybe, be used for future inclusion of dynamic media or additions on the fly. Or perhaps a control mechanism that could also be implimented (to ward off the slashdot effect).

    These are my theories and may be incorrect.
  • ..your career!

    You shouldn't but that dosn't mean that you can't learn something.

    MS can consider you a source of revenue, or a pawn in their strategy for world domination for the product they are pushing this week.

    They may but you can gain information and still use it to your advantage. Not many sysadmins now can run an all non-MS shop. As a general rule you need to know that everyone does and try to have them all play nice.

    Computer professionals shouldn't tie themselves to proprietary protocols.

    I would agre however you shouldn't ignore them.
  • Disclaimer: I too am almost done my MCSE.

    I take a bit of offense when people lump all MCSE's together into one moronic group. Not everyone who has their MCSE is an inexperienced and useless worker. Sure there is a pile of people who got their MCSE for no other reason than to get more money, or to switch trades, but that doesn't mean that all MCSE's don't know their shit. I won't bother to try and convince you I know what I'm talking about...

    When the MCSE program first came out it was a hell of a lot harder to get your certification and having it showed that you really knew your shit. Lately though it is rediculously easy to get that cert. So easy in fact that we have someone working on our helpdesk with his MCSE and he thinks if he minimizes a window that his information will disappear.

    What MS is trying to do with the new Win2k cert's is make it difficult again. They have listened to the large base of experienced and knowledgable IT workers out there who have expressed their opinion of the MCSE program.

    They are giving current MCSE's a one shot deal to upgrade their certs to Win2k, if you fail then you have to do the whole set of exams. They are also giving the current MCP/MCSE's 2 full years to upgrade to Win2k. That's a pretty decent amount of time to take the 2 upgrade exams or 5 core exams needed to gain the new Win2k MCSE.

    The only people I have seen complaining are folks like Coriolis who have a financial interest in selling NT4 books, and MCP/MCSE's who don't know their stuff. Everyone I know who knows their stuff is happy to see these new changes.

  • Then why didn't you? Surely someone as smart as you must be aware that by obtaining an MSCE your
    average salary will increase by an average of $X. And for a mere $Y dollars, it certainly seems like a good deal to me! If the majority of /.'s could pass the test, they would for the money. Saying there smart enough for one but not smart enough to take "easy" money is insulting the intelligence of those that read slashdot.

    A lot of people who read Slashdot aren't interested in working with Microsoft systems. I have 6 years production experience in HP-UX and Solaris, 5 years in Linux, and 5 years being forced to use NT.

    When I go on job interviews I tell them flat out, I don't want to support anything Microsoft. If the job entails working with NT or supporting users (like RAS), then I won't take it.

    So why would I, or others who have similar tastes, want to get certified with something that's going to rope us into supporting NT? Besides, the tests are trivial. I've taken a training course provided by an employer for NT certification, and I could have easily went along and passed the test afterwards. But, it's a joke, and those of us who have been in the industry know it.

    MSCEs, or MCPs? I happen to know a few MCSEs myself, and they're definately no slouches.

    I've worked for a few large global consulting organizations, and have had my share of projects. I probably met a hundred or so MCSEs in my time, possibly more. I can't say I've been impressed.

    About half shouldn't even be in the industry at all, never mind touting Microsoft's highest certification. I'm being more than fair in that statement. 30% or so don't know a whole hell of a lot, and the rest might know what they're doing.

    I've seen them not know how to set up printers, not know the difference between bits and bytes, but they know how many clicks it takes from the desktop to change the dialup networking properties. That's useful. :)

    To tell you the truth, I know 5 guys who are world class NT people. One of them had 10 application servers online for over a year without a reboot, and they would have stayed up another year if it wasn't for Y2K testing.

    Of those 5, not a single one is Microsoft certified, and every last one of them came from a UNIX background. Every single one knows more about NT than any MCSE I have ever met.

    There's a reason for that, I'm sure, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on why they'd be paying so much for people with such a low skill level.

    You sound like one of those Katherine Gibbs Business School ads that they play here in NYC. "Earn 40-50-60-70 thousand, without any computer experience!!"

    I tell you, if you get an MCSE without any real world experience (which it appears you're doing) and you get a job paying that, and can hold it for more than a month, let us know about it. Because it'll be legendary.

    On the other hand, most of us who work with UNIX and routers can get double or triple that amount.
    What an MCSE makes may seem like a lot to you if you're currently trying to get out of the fast-food industry, but UNIX people usually get paid more, if money's your motive.
  • Of course, thats not the problem, the problem is that MCSE used to be a permenant certification, where you got certified and that was it. Now they require recertification every year. (people who were already permenantly certified were grandfathered in.) This means, that institutions running NT 4.0 if they had someone certified within the last year, have to keep him certified. This actually isn't that much of a problem, as keeping your personel updated on changes and such is a good thing. The problem is that microsoft is dropping NT 4.0 certification completely, so those who certified within the last year or just getting certified now will find out quickly, that the money and time they spent on NT 4.0 certification will have to be spend with windows 2000 certification. Spend $2000 on a certification, and then spend another $2000 another one and you'll find you get a little upset that the first $2000 doesn't mean anything to anyone except you. If microsoft offered NT 4.0 training for a few more years, this wouldn't be such a big deal. Theres not a huge rush to upgrade to 2000 and there are plenty of NT 4.0 machines that need to be maintained.
  • It seems to me that Microsoft has a fundamental problem here: How to include sufficient product indoctrination in the MCSE curriculum without including any spurious education that would encourage the "engineer" to think for himself. The more awareness the grads have of the true role of standards, the challenges of development work, and the detrimental effect of greed on technology -- all these play to Microsoft's disadvantage.

    Education versus indoctrination. Is explains why, in years past, I have had career enhancing, even illuminating experiences reading documentation selected from HP, and Borland, and Cisco. Yet despite reading mountains of SDKs and DDKs docs for Windows, I have no memory of such an experience there. The reasons are clearer to me now.

  • Today again :)
    Just after yesterdays heavy discussion on RHCE and MCSE. Take a look at the article: Red Hat Takes Heat Over Certification [].
  • Relax, this isn't a flame :)

    I'm working on my MCSE right now, and I intend to get the NT4 cert under the wire. Unfortunately, unless you have the alphabet soup after your name, you don't even get called in to an interview (I have experience dating back to 1977 and PRIME mainframes). Luckily, the Veterans Administration is paying for the college course I am in and the following degree. I am forced to get the MCSE just to get in the door, after which my experience will speak for itself. I agree with you that a lot of the folks who are bashing the MCSEs couldn't pass Network Essentials, and I am sure that there are a bunch of Linux/Unix folks who could've written it better. Seems that the derision concerning M$ is misplaced by those who are getting or have a cert by M$. Hell, for all I know maybe the MCSE is the mark of the Anti-Christ in the Apocolypse!

    I do expect to push Linux when I need to develop a networking solution. When a client wants M$ "reliability" though, I have to be able to deliver, no matter how oxymoronish M$ and "reliability" are. You are correct in saying that just because you have the letters trailing your name it does not equate to being pro-M$. It is (sadly) just a marketing requirement. I've been getting back into Unix, and I own legit copies of Novell and SCO. I then went out and got distros of this newfangled Linux thingy, and I have been pro-Linux ever since. I have a virtual library of the evolution of Linux in my Linux CD case. I can't wait until a Linux certification is available to the working poor.

    Insightful post, onyxruby, thanks for your thoughts.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 15, 2000 @08:11AM (#1200925)

    I'm in charge of policy for a medium-sized company's mission critical e-commerce servers, and we are currenly running Windows NT4 and IIS. In order to expand our e-commerce business we are currently considering upgrade options to take all of our computers to Windows 2000. This is enable us to make use of the superior reliability and extended scalability that Windows 2000 offers, and thus make us a better competitor in the expanding e-commerce market.

    We have several MCSE-trained staff in my department whose job currently involves administrating the system, and it is my opinion that they must be fully trained in the use of Windows 2000 before we upgrade. Currently we have a test machine set up and they are using that to explore the advanced functionality of Windows 2000, but this advanced training course is a Godsend to our company, and we will spare no expense in making sure our staff are trained in the best operating system on the market. Unless our staff have these new qualifications then they will lose their worth to us, and we would have to find new staff to look after our network.

  • by whoop ( 194 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2000 @08:13AM (#1200926) Homepage
    In a sense, MCSEs serve as an adjunct sales force and technical support arm for Microsoft. They are the best trained group of networking professionals on the planet; the world listens to them, and follows their advice and insight.

    That's pretty much how MS sees the MCSE program, a way to force new software on the dumbed-down masses. Some bosses treat an MCSE degree higher than a four-year university degree.

    I'm sure there are some MCSE's that know their stuff, I've known a few, but my experience with them in the corporate world isn't so favorable. We had one that though Microsoft invented DHCP, and the only way to fix some problem (after initial attempts) with the DHCP server/Domain Controller was to re-install NT Server on it. Then there is this fifty-something year old guy that got his MCSE and swore back when K6's came out he got a juiced up one doing 500+ Mhz, when the rest of the world was at 200. I could go on...

    From my experience, there are far too many untrained network professionals "slipping" throught he cracks. I put that in quotes because I'll give MS the benefit of the doubt before I claim the are willing to give certificates to anyone who pays the fees. To me, a certification program wouldn't want so many dolts, as it would demean the integrity of the entire program. But as we've seen, this is a certification program with a huge marketting budget.

    So folks, MS gave you that certification, which got you that job as a network professional, with a nice salary, the least you could do is to convince the company to upgrade to Windows 2000 now. That, my friends, is how they see you.
  • by IntlHarvester ( 11985 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2000 @09:21AM (#1200927) Journal
    It's not really that these people don't want to support Microsoft, they do - they're committed to their products.

    Their concerns are primarily logistical:
    1) Microsoft is decertifying NT4 people before most corporations will have rolled out NT5.
    2) This was a suprise change in policy that came too quick to be accounted for in corporate training budgets.
    3) Making certification harder means they can't rely on MCSE Bootcamps as a source for cheap entry-level help.

    Microsoft is doing the right thing, however. It wasn't that long ago that there were less than 5,000 MCSEs in the entire country. (I used to work with a guy who was MCSE #300-something on LanMan.) Before anyone was paying attention there were a million people in the program and corporations were using it as a hiring checklist. I know a few people that went and passed 7 tests without even a trivial desktop support job as experience. They have to kick a lot of the deadwood out of the system -- it's totally clogged right now.

    Ironically, there's lots of potential for this to backfire. Novell found themselves in a similar situation when they introduced the significantly more complex NetWare 4 and NDS, and simultanously decertified much of their CNE support base. The net result was that quite a few people started working on NT and just never bothered to understand NW4/NDS. MS is now in a similar situation with NT5 and ActiveDirectory -- a good portion of the MCSE base might find it better to learn Linux than try to dive into that complexity and stay certified.
    (My Disclaimer: MCSEI-NT4, haven't decided whether to bother staying certified or not.)
  • by Zico ( 14255 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2000 @08:19AM (#1200928)

    As of IIS 5.0, which Coriolis is using, .asp pages containing no ASP code whatsoever get processed practically as fast as .html files, with hardly any overhead. There's not much downside to saving all the pages as .asp files, so that you don't have to bother renaming files if you want to add some code to it later. But I guess you didn't know that.

    Or, maybe it's just ironic that you thought you knew more about server side processing of web pages than they did, when it turns out your knowledge is pretty lacking. :)


  • by Steelehead ( 14790 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2000 @09:05AM (#1200929) Homepage
    Minesweeper Consultant, Solitaire Expert
    [tip o the hat to []...]
  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2000 @09:14AM (#1200930) Homepage Journal

    Keith Weiskamp, CEO of Coriolis, wrote:

    Most industry analysts, including the Gartner Group, predict that significant adoptions of Windows 2000 in the workplace will not occur before 2002 to 2003, yet your timetable forces MCSEs to finish their upgrades a year or more in advance of that timetable.

    Ha ha ha! Keithy boy, you don't get it!

    This person seems to think that the -- ahem -- services provided by MSCEs are a response to the adoption of Windows. Wake up! The adoption of Windows is caused by the existence of MSCEs and other highly indoctrinated IT people.

    You MSCEs are not there to support the Windows market. You are there to create it! Of course Microsoft is going to push you into Windows 2000. Does the word "duh" mean anything to you? How do you think NT4 ever got off the ground?!?

    (Man, it feels good to get that off my chest. It is so fucking funny to hear people complain when Microsoft backstabs them. I remember when Tim O'Reilly bitched about Microsoft forcing NT Workstation to be limited to serving only 10 simultaneous connections, after he had gone to so much work to "legitimize" NT as a server. Damn, I must have laughed myself to tears on that one. It seems like the knife-in-the-back is always a surprise, no matter who you are. When will they learn? Bwahahaha! At least their whining makes for decent, if bittersweet, entertainment.)

  • by warpeightbot ( 19472 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2000 @10:11AM (#1200931) Homepage
    It is tribal knowledge that the MSCE test is purely on paper. On the other hand, the RHCE has two hands-on, no-notes lab sections without which you will not pass the exam.... and from what I've heard, the upper-grade CISCO exams are multi-day multi-machine nightmares.

    The real irony is that Microsoft is entirely, albeit indirectly, responsible for its own downfall. To-wit:

    • Microsoft wrote and marketed the OS that made the Intel platform a commodity, enabling both Linus and the BSD folks to get off the ground in the early 90's, and also the Be folks later.
    • They then proceeded to pile on the bloatware, tightly coupled and closed standard, to the point where fast, tight, loosely coupled code could not only outperform it easily, but was much more stable.
    • Now they've proceeded to cheese off all the folks that were dedicated to their paradigm, and those folks are now looking for alternatives to preaching the Microsoft party line.
    To quote somebody most folks equate with Bill Gates, "Now your failure is complete." No, I don't expect M$ to go bankrupt overnight. This is, after all, a multi, multi-billion dollar outfit; they can pay paychecks out of petty cash for quite a while. But this may well be the deluge that melts the giant's feet of clay...


  • by handorf ( 29768 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2000 @10:32AM (#1200932)
    I used to agree, but then I started looking at leaving my current job. On the market, I think the cert makes a difference.

    Now, don't get me wrong. I don't think it means much. I've learned some studying for these tests, but after using NT, 95, VC++, VB, IIS, etc for years, I was hoping it'd be a walk in the park.

    Instead, I get tested on the stupidest shit you can imagine just because they need to ask the questions on SOMETHING. I don't regret my choice, I think it will do nice things for my potential sallary, but as a new MCSE, MCDBA and next week a mcsd, the letters don't mean much except for a few extra $$ while negotiating the contract.

    on the other hand, I really get peved when people assume I'm an MCSE so I a)Love MS and b)Am and idiot.

    I was configuring TCP/IP on Linux when you were just a pup! getouttahere! This just happens to be what I make money doing.

    back on topic:
    Oh, and the mcsd tests don't tend to expire as quickly as the others. More useful, too.
  • by congiman ( 39253 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2000 @08:39AM (#1200933)
    Reasons to get rid of 4.0 tests:
    1: The MCSE is becoming rapidly devalued.
    There are ads/banners for "become a fully fledged MCSE in x weeks". Microsoft needs a way to block off all the people who have their MCSE with no training and actually get the perception that having an MCSE is worth something again.
    As it is now, if someone says they have it, you have no idea if they achieved it from years of hard work, or from a few thousand dollars and a study guide.
    My guess is that the idea is that the 2000 tests are supposed to jettison the bootcamp MCSE's and keep the good ones.
    Personally I dont think that will work as there are too many companies out there making up "practice exams" etc. such that all the bootcampers will just go back for 2000 training and keep getting their cert.

    2: nt 4.0 is EOL. (end of lifed)
    Well I disagree with that too. I'm pretty sure that people will still be running it well into 2002, if just for the fact that it runs relatively stable on lower end systems (aka 1997/8 higher end systems). Not to mention the pricetag of upgrading software.

    Reasons to keep 4.0 tests:
    1: It shows the person has some knowledge of microsoft products.
    Well yes, it does show "some measure" of understanding. However the entry point for that can be significantly low.
    2: Good PR.
    3: Like the man said, not a lot of people will have converted over to 2000 by the cutoff date: 12/31/01 (or 6/30 if you tested on IIS3.0)

    Some notes:
    1: No cert can be made "bootcamp" proof, people go in, smuggle out thier questions, post them as braindumps on web sites etc. (no matter how much legalese they have to click on)

    Just a few thoughts
    -- C
  • by El Volio ( 40489 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2000 @09:09AM (#1200934) Homepage
    Disclaimer: Yes, I could pass "just the Networking Essentials" portion of thest test.

    Your error is in assuming that /.ers have no other experience with MCSE's or other certifications. I know a lot of MCSE's, and I would definitely say that the vast majority of them lack a lot of knowledge. ("Looks like you need to reinstall Windows." Way to ascertain the root cause, dude!) I worked for an MCSE once, and it quickly became apparent that she know virtually nothing about TCP/IP. Considering that she was the Manager of Internet Operations at an ISP, that was a severe handicap. And there are countless more examples. I would say that easily 80% of the MCSE's I've run into know crap, not even including the jokers who are studying for it now.

    OK, there's nothing saying that an MCSE is automatically a fan of Microsoft. And I don't think anyone is saying that it's pointless to know Microsoft products.

    The point remains that there are too many MCSE's out there who know next to nothing for the rest of us to be able to put any credibility into that certification. Other certifications may not necessarily work you harder, but my experience has generally been that admins certified on, say, Solaris, typically know more and are more competent, even if the test isn't massively harder.

  • by Darby ( 84953 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2000 @08:04AM (#1200935)
    M$ is actually trying to get it's act together here. They know as well as anyone that the MCSE isn't worth anything. They just created it to be buzzword compliant, "Sure we have a certification". So now they actually want to make it mean something and the people who believe their certification means they are 31337 computer gods while in fact not knowing crap are getting pissed.
    Well hot tip folks: That's what you get for taking the easy way out as opposed to learning your business.
  • by WhiskeyJack ( 126722 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2000 @10:41AM (#1200936)


    • Morons Claiming System Expertise
    • Memorize Commands? Scared Enduser!
    • Mouse-Click Software "Experts"
    • Microsoft Code, Source Excluded
    • Market Control Surpasses Everything
    • Mostly Cretins, Some Experts
    • Microsoft Coercing Software "Enhancement"

    -- WhiskeyJack, tossing out whatever came to mind in ten minutes....

  • by Flerp ( 162889 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2000 @08:31AM (#1200937)
    And, of course, using .asp pages with static content is a good way to screw up a lot of caching, which slows down at least my reloading time from a fraction of a second to several thousand times that... so maybe there are other reasons for not using .asp when it isnt needed, eh?
  • by Chris Johnson ( 580 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2000 @12:13PM (#1200938) Homepage Journal
    This is deeply weird. I don't think Microsoft is quite this arrogant, or quite this stupid: anybody could tell them that this is a very dangerous move, particularly if it gets serious press coverage. And yet, they are doing it anyhow.


    My guess is this: Microsoft is hurting for money. (oh, stop laughing! I'm serious!) Microsoft depends on the _perception_ that it has so absurdly much money that it can do or buy anything. Lots of that is 'virtual' money, tied up in stock valuation, and there are also concerns about the accounting procedures used at MS, plus they have expanded so much that they've basically lost the 'start-up' energies that they once had. Apple suffered exactly the same fate in the days of never-shipping Copland and all those neat Apple-funded science projects that Jobs basically threw out. Apple nearly died of it, few people saw them as a dominant force strong enough to make their weak finances insignificant.

    In a way it's like Amazon to the Nth power- Amazon doesn't earn money, instead they try to maintain a valuation based on their chances of dominating online bookselling. Microsoft does dominate: does that mean that they earn more than they spend? That's a good question. That is _the_ question to ask as MS continues buying stuff and launching grand huge projects to theoretically maintain their empire. Ask yourself how much, do you think, it cost them to bring Windows Me to its current (dubious) state? For that matter, how much did they spend on the name? Odds are it was some shockingly large sum. The amount of overhead and bureaucracy they have to deal with staggers the mind- _and_ they have piracy to contend with, as in full-on bootleg copying of their wares including all the packaging and stickers, plus the less formal copying that's always been rampant.

    People behave as if Microsoft can't possibly be in financial trouble. I think this is a fallacy- particularly now, with no major product expected but Win2K which itself gets a 'wait and see' rating from the Gartner Group. I don't think it's reasonable to assume they can go blithely on for another year without _seriously_ big profit centers from something major and current- and if they are trying to make this profit center out of MCSEs, they are fscking desperate! I say this is blood in the water, and it's not all MCSE blood.

  • by DrSpoo ( 650 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2000 @08:08AM (#1200939) Homepage

    'nuff said.
  • by dillon_rinker ( 17944 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2000 @08:22AM (#1200940) Homepage
    Disclaimer - I'm working on my MCSE

    MS owns the exams. They will behave capriciously and arbitrarily if they want to. They are the only game in town when it comes to NT certs. Deal with it.

    If you want to do something to Microsoft, then don't support their products. Don't buy their software, their training, or their certifications. In a politely worded letter, let Microsoft know the reason for your decision. Describe specific situations where you have steered clients away from MS and to a competing solution (MS would fit this category). Don't offer to change your mind.

    Don't be so naive as to think that an open letter will have any more effect on Microsoft than it would on the U.S. Marines ("Dear General, We think killing is bad..."). MS (the masters of marketing and perception) knew exactly what its MCPs would think of its policies, so congratulations to those who confirmed what market researchers told MS ages ago...
  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2000 @08:28AM (#1200941)
    > Hopefully Microsoft's new program will limit the certification to those that truly understand the material

    Where?s the profit in that?

    You might as well ask them to produce fewer software products so that they can ensure that the rest is top quality stuff.

  • by onyxruby ( 118189 ) <<ten.tsacmoc> <ta> <yburxyno>> on Wednesday March 15, 2000 @08:36AM (#1200942)
    I find it amusing how many people on Slashdot rip on MCSE's. I wonder how many of these people could pass just the Networking Essentails test. Just because someone has taken the time and expense to earn a certification in the biggest players product does not mean that person endorses, or particulary even likes the product. That many slashdotters make the correlation that MCSE = easy to get is laughable. If that was the case you could hire one at $7.50 an hour.

    The other thing that I find amusing is that if you have certifications from certain other vendors such as SUN, Novell, or Banyon Vines, you don't have to take as many certification tests to obtain the MCSE. That is because they (their competition) are aware of just what it takes to get the certification. This also works in reverse. The reality of the IT environment is that you are going to run into MS products. Wither or not you like their products or business practices is really not relevant. It's no different than learning Cisco if you want to get into WAN's and routers.

    Save the flames, I have and am learning to use Linux.

  • by argoff ( 142580 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2000 @08:21AM (#1200943)
    notice that the people who are most likely to get screwed by MS are always the ones who are closest to them, busisness wise or professionally. Perhaps they would consider changing their often snide attitude toward Linux, and the Linux community and quit trying to shove MS down our throat. This really isn't about MS at all, it's about this attitude that people have that if you just stick with the status-quo corporate America they'll take care of you and everything will be ok......
  • by rickmoen ( 1322 ) <> on Wednesday March 15, 2000 @09:58AM (#1200944) Homepage

    It's not a revolt if all people are doing is complaining. To the contrary: People tend to complain instead of taking corrective action, as many classic studies [] have amply demonstrated.

    Dear MCSEs who are following this story: Watch closely, and you'll notice that you're being given the opportunity to vent your frustration, to give "input", to register your protest voice. That is how the game is played: You're presented with a fait accompli, and then given an opportunity to make futile, powerless gestures all about how annoyed you are.

    This is one of life's intelligence tests. The way you pass is by declining the opportunity to protest, and instead act to fix the underlying situation. Or, be honest with yourself and admit that you're going to cave in. But don't waste your time protesting.

    Consider how you came to be in this bind, and you'll see you've slowly moved into a certification relationship that's not working. Your best move is to say "No thanks": The only way to win this game is not to play.

    When Redmond is done saying it's considered "your thoughts and concerns", has finished "helping you understand", and has ceased portraying your anger as "confusion", just ponder whether you will ever want to be in a position to be conned by these people again. There are healthy business relationships to be found, and good people to work with. Your first step towards finding them will be to say "Thanks, I'll get back to you", and start looking elsewhere.

    Either that, or admit that you're dependent on Microsoft, and, as a business decision, will do what you're told. That's your decision to make -- but there's no need to kid yourself about the supposed value of protest, on your way to that course of action.

    -- Rick Moen
  • by BrianH ( 13460 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2000 @04:26PM (#1200945)
    This is exactly why I wont be renewing my MCSE certs. The reputation of MCSE's is so low, that it is completely worthless for me to own. How worthless? Well, I don't even list it on my resume! I have found that if I walk into an IT department and identify myself as an MCSE, every eye in the room will roll at me...but if I identify my Cisco and Sun certifications, my skills aren't doubted. Why should I, or anyone else, hold a certification that reduces our credibility? We shouldn't, and I wont.

    Something else many MCSE's don't even realize is the number of rights they give up when getting the certification. A couple years ago I was working at a large company which was preparing to upgrade their obsolete WFW/Netware workstations and upgrade the operating software. Because this was a "really big" sale, a MS rep came out to help the company with licensing and deployment issues. In our first meeting the rep asked how we were planning on setting everything up. We explained to him that we were planning on running NT4 Workstation desktops, NT4 server domain controllers, and Solaris based application and database servers. The MS rep asked why we were going to run Solaris and, in front of the company VP, the entire IT staff, and most of the company's high ranking suits, I informed him that our company needed to minimize downtime and that Windows NT simply wasn't reliable enough to base the operations of 6000 employees on. The rep, stunned, just looked at me and asked "But aren't you an MCSE?" I said yes and two weeks later I received a letter from Microsoft stating that my certifications were going to be revoked. When I called Microsoft to vent I was ever so politely informed that "the entire purpose of the MCSE program is to promote the distribution of Microsoft products. If you aren't willing to promote our software, we don't need you". When I pointed out that, of 6500 individual machines, all but ~30 were running NT I was informed that it didn't matter...I was to promote Microsoft only.

    Ultimately my certification was saved by my employer. When the company VP heard about my sitation he contacted our MS rep and canceled the entire order! He told the MS sales rep that he wasn't going to allow the company to buy from them if they were going to persecute me for thinking of my employer before Microsoft. MS backed off after that, I kept my cert, and the company bought the software. Still, it goes to show just how underhanded and profit motivated they can be.

    I just wish more MCSE's would "get it". MS is not your friend, and you only soil yourself by associating with them. The MCSE is the lowest regarded administrator certification in the industry, not a badge of honor. Stop selling your reputations for BillyG's profit!
  • by coyote-san ( 38515 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2000 @09:41AM (#1200946)
    For political reasons, I considered getting a MSCE about a year ago. In the course of that, I read a substantial amount of the O'Reilly books (which I highly recommend) and agreed with the claims that:

    - about 1/3 of the MSCE is stuff that would usually be handled by technicians in any real "engineering" discipline. We still need to know about limitations on cable lengths and the like, but knowing that makes you a "network engineer" no more than being able to change the oil in your car makes you a "engine engineer" ready for an exciting new career in Detroit or Seattle (Boeing).

    - about 1/3 of the exam is unabashed MS advertising. Microsoft not only has the best protocols, they're the fastest and they'll even find you a date for Saturday. Use the outdated, flawed protocols used by Unix, Novell, Apple, or others and you'll be shunned by friends, rejected by lovers, and have your car repossessed.

    - the rest of the exam actually contains "useful" information. Use this screen to change this value. Use that screen to change the other value. And remember to reboot the system every time you modify your system. Again, I was left with the feeling that the guy in those late-night ads who is thrilled by the CAD system somehow thinks it makes him qualified to design skyscrapers, mile-long suspension bridges, etc.

    The O'Reilly MSCE books *are* good references for using Windows systems, but only because I already have a good grasp of the concepts. But the idea that anyone could demonstrate any skill beyond "technician" via that exam is a sick joke.
  • by codemonkey_uk ( 105775 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2000 @08:17AM (#1200947) Homepage

    The Microsoft Certified Software Engineers are revolting!


    Causing abhorrence or disgust.

    v. revolted, revolting, revolts.
    v. intr.

    To attempt to overthrow the authority of the state; rebel.
    He he he he he he

Promising costs nothing, it's the delivering that kills you.