Windows 2000 Hands-On-Training Kit for $129
Let’s face it: Microsoft isn't likely to change its decision to all but abandon MCSEs who resist the Windows 2000 (Win2K) certification upgrade path. In fact, Microsoft put a few more nails in your coffins last week when it announced plans to retire exams 70-087: Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Internet Information Server 4.0, 70-059: Internetworking with Microsoft TCP/IP on Microsoft Windows NT 4.0, and 70-064: Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Windows 95 on December 31, 2000.

Rather than ignore the situation, I suggest a course of action. I recommend you start by making a small investment in your certification effort by purchasing the Microsoft’s Windows 2000 Hotkit. For $129, you get

  • Windows 2000 Professional (Win2K Pro) release candidate (RC) 2
  • Windows 2000 Server (Win2K Server) RC2
  • Windows 2000 Advanced Server (Win2K AS) RC2
  • A "not-for-resale" final version of each product when they're available

In addition, you get the Windows 2000 Channel Essentials Training course— a self-paced, computer-based training (CBT) kit with online mentoring and exams. According to Microsoft, the course covers:

  • Key elements of Win2K Pro and Win2K Server installation and configuration
  • The powerful capabilities of the Win2K Active Directory (AD)
  • The new architecture and functionality of Win2K

Additional content includes the prerelease Channel Readiness Kit CD-ROM and the final version of the CD-ROM when it's available. And for those of you who act quickly, Microsoft is offering you the chance to win one of three screaming new notebook computers (ever hear a notebook scream?).

You can review this opportunity for yourself at the Microsoft Web site. Yes, it's a package Microsoft has designed to make MCSEs the marketing tool it wants them to be. But look at it this way: You’ll have an opportunity to play with the products and learn them in plenty of time to face the new lineup of certification exams. Unfortunately, those of you who don’t live in the US, Canada, or Puerto Rico are out of luck.

IBM’s New Certification Track Identifies Microsoft Certifications as Prerequisites
IBM recently named MCSE certifications as prerequisites to its own advanced-level Server Certifications. The Server Certifications are part of a new four-level program that IBM has branded TechConnection. The following table lists the four certification levels and prerequisites:

Certification Prerequisites
IBM Certified Professional Server Expert (PSE) One of the following:
MCSE
CNE
or MCNE
IBM Certified Associated Server Expert (APSE) Two of the following MCP certification exams:
70-067: Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0
70-068: Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 in the Enterprise
70-073: Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0
IBM Certified Professional Server Instructor (PSI) IBM Certified PSE and one of the following:
MCSE
CNE
or MCNE
IBM Certified Professional Server Specialist (PSS) None

Unfortunately, you must take IBM courses in addition to passing IBM certification exams to qualify for any of these certifications. For more information about the specific courses and certification exams, see the TechConnection Certification Requirements Web site. You might also want to try your luck at a free online course IBM is offering in conjunction with its TechConnection program called PC Architecture Internet Training, which you can learn more about at IBM's PC Institute Web site. I'll try the course over the holidays and let you know what I think of it in a future article.

If you question the value of certifications that require you to attend specific vendor courses before you can achieve certification, you should join me in complaining to IBM about its Server Certification requirements. If Microsoft had adopted such requirements for its certification programs, Judge Jackson would likely have found additional antitrust violations.

Have a great holiday season. I’ll be back in 2000 (assuming my Microsoft OS and applications will work next year).