MCTs Get a Discount for Certification Exams
Just when I thought that Microsoft was determined to make it more difficult and expensive to continue down the certification path, I was pleased last week to discover that Microsoft has arranged discounted exam fees through Sylvan Prometric and Virtual University Enterprises for Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs). The 45 percent discount means that MCTs will pay $55 for Series 70 certification exams, a $45 savings. To qualify for this discount, you must register over the phone, advising the testing entity when you register that you're an MCT, and present your MCP ID when you check in before the exam. Microsoft’s rationale for providing this discount might be to encourage MCTs to become MCSEs or MCSDs. Effective January 1, 2001, Microsoft requires that all MCTs be MCSEs or MCSDs.

I encourage those of you who are MCTs to visit Microsoft’s newly revamped MCT secure site. New content at the site includes the Microsoft Certified Trainer Flash, a newsletter that describes changes to the MCT program and presents other information that will help you stay informed.

Free Windows 2000 Training Sources
In past articles, I’ve discussed some free resources for Windows 2000 (Win2K) training. The number of free sources continues to increase. One resource I suggest you consider is SmartForce, a company that recently acquired major computer-based training provider CBTSystems. Whether you’re a fan of computer-based training or not, you can't beat the price for this training. After you select the free training hyperlink and register, you can take the Windows 2000 New Features and Architecture course. It took me about 2 hours to complete this four-module course. The course modules are:

  • Module 1—Introduction to Windows 2000
  • Module 2—Features
  • Module 3—Architecture
  • Module 4—Introduction to Active Directory

The first module, which provides information about the history and evolution of Microsoft OSs from the early days of DOS to Win2K, is probably too basic for most of you. But I found a lot of useful information in the remaining modules, and I recommend the course as a source of foundational information that you should understand before you start training in this new OS environment.

Another useful site that can help many of you seeking to increase your knowledge of Win2K is Microsoft's Free Microsoft Developer Training for Windows 2000. This seven-chapter course provides useful information for developers building solutions for Win2K with Visual Basic (VB). The course chapters are:

  • Chapter 1—Overview of Windows 2000
  • Chapter 2—Getting Started with Certification
  • Chapter 3—Using the Windows Installer Service
  • Chapter 4—Sharing Side-by-Side Components
  • Chapter 5—Managing User and Computer Settings
  • Chapter 6—Responding to Power Events
  • Chapter 7—Integrating with Active Directory
  • Chapter 8—Programming the COM+ Services

Don’t assume that because you're not an applications developer, you don’t need to understand what this course offers. As time goes by, the line between a network engineer and a programmer in a Windows environment blurs, particularly when you're working to advance your skills beyond simple network administration.

For those who prefer C++, Microsoft has developed a similar course titled Building Solutions for Microsoft Windows 2000 with Visual C++. This course is more detailed, containing 10 chapters. Advanced chapters include Extending the Active Directory Schema, Advanced Integration with Active Directory, and Making Applications Secure. You can find this course on Microsoft's MSDN Web site.

Rumors in Redmond
Microsoft is apparently developing a Win2K + Internet MCSE certification, and the company will likely announce this new track early next year. The company plans to announce the retirement dates for exams 70-087: Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Internet Information Server 4.0 and 70-059: Internetworking with Microsoft TCP/IP on Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 at the same time. Those of you counting on these exams to fulfill the elective exam requirements for Win2K MCSE certification had better rethink your plans. You might want to consider 70-080: Implementing and Supporting Internet Explorer 5.0 by Using the Internet Explorer Administration Kit as a replacement. Beta testing for the exam will run from November 22 to December 12. The exam counts towards the existing MCSE + Internet track, and will likely count toward the new Win2K MCSE + Internet certification. Candidates who pass the beta will receive two free exam vouchers.