To Be Certified ... or Not?
Graduate student Richard Horton set out to determine the value of an MCSE qualification to both MCSE-certified and non-MCSE-certified administrators. He found that MCSEs perceived the value of the designation very differently from non-MCSEs. The former thought certification's main advantage was raising competence; the latter thought increased credibility and increased earnings potential were the greatest benefits. Graph 1 shows the advantages the noncertified group believes certification offers.

Forty-three percent of MCSEs thought the certification was "very useful" in raising competence, while only 22 percent of non-MCSEs thought so. Non-MCSEs were three times as likely as MCSEs to state that certification was not useful. Yet 75 percent of the non-MCSE-certified group said they were studying for certification.

Nearly 75 percent of the MCSEs thought certification had been "very valuable" or "valuable" for their career, and 81 percent would advise others entering the IT field to seek certification. Seventy-one percent believed that certification had provided the advantages they had envisioned, and 93 percent said they would become certified again if they had to.

Horton conducted two surveys on the Windows 2000 Magazine Web site in November 1999, drawing responses from 910 MCSEs and 450 non-MCSEs. The results formed the basis of his MBA graduate research paper "The Value of the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer Designation: Two Perspectives."

Win2K a Winner
The Aberdeen Group, which previously criticized Windows NT and questioned early in the Windows 2000 development cycle whether Win2K would be an enterprise-ready platform, has done an about-face. In a recent study of Win2K deployment in the dot-com space, Aberdeen found a high level of user satisfaction and concluded, "Windows 2000 looks like a real winner in terms of enterprise readiness based on significant improvements in reliability, performance, and manageability." For more information, see http://www.aberdeen.com/ab_company/hottopics/dotcom/.

PKI Popularity No Secret
Aberdeen Group security analysts describe public key infrastructure (PKI), digital certificates, and digital signatures as the authentication system of choice for Internet business-to-business (B2B) transactions. The analysts predict that 98 percent of the Global 2000 (the largest international corporations) will use PKI by 2003. For more information, see http://www.aberdeen.com/ab_company/hottopics/security/.

Linux Appeal
In an attempt to gauge how popular Linux might become, Survey.com recently asked 2242 IT professionals who subscribe to a Linux publication to estimate the share of servers in their enterprises that would run specific types of applications on January 1, 2002. Graph 2, page 38, shows the results for the three most popular OSs: Windows 2000 and Windows NT, proprietary UNIX, and open-source UNIX (OSU, including Linux).

Windows is strong in all categories, especially on high-end servers, trailing slightly the combined group of UNIX variants such as Sun Solaris, HP-UX, and AIX only in database server and data warehouse and data mart applications. OSU has its best showing in the Web server area but remains a small player compared with Windows.

OSU is growing from a small installed base in most application categories. To track OSU growth through 2001, Survey.com asked respondents for which applications they used OSU as the primary OS on January 1, 2000, and for which applications they'll use OSU as the primary OS on January 1, 2002. Graph 3 shows greater-than-100-percent growth in all eight application categories—but substantially greater growth in line of business (LOB) applications, an area in which OSU and Linux currently have a small installed base.

When Survey.com conducted the survey (between mid-November 1999 and mid-January 2000), 54 percent of the respondents had NT servers, 20 percent had proprietary UNIX servers, 7 percent had mainframes, 6 percent had BSD or Linux servers, 4 percent had AS/400s, and 8 percent had other servers. Survey.com's overall conclusion was that OSU (including Linux) has strong server growth potential but that it won't displace Windows servers. The full report, "Enterprise Adoption of Linux," is available at http://www.survey.com/bidw/description_linux.html.

A $5000 Server, Then and Now
The power of an en-try-level departmental server has increased dramatically over the past 4 years. I checked product advertisements in PC Magazine and Byte from 1997 through 2000 to assemble a composite of a $5000 server at four distinct points in time (January of each year). Table 1 shows what $5000 could buy then and now (installed OS and on-site service are not included).

Slow-Growing Developers
According to International Data Corporation's (IDC's) Components, Objects, and Development Environments group, growth in the number of worldwide professional developers will begin to slow in 2000 and continue to slow through 2003. In 1999, the pool of professional developers increased 11.5 percent. IDC says growth will slow to 9.6 percent in 2000, and to less than 6 percent in 2003. This growth decline isn't good news for the software industry, which is in the midst of a talent shortage.

IDC says that HTML will overtake Visual Basic (VB) in 2002 as the language that most developers use. Component-based development (CBD), Java, and Internet rapid application development (RAD) will be the fastest-growing development technologies. You can order IDC's report at http://www.idc.com/software/press/pr/sw030200pr.stm.

Dot-Coms Will Get Their Comeuppance
"Many dot-coms are about to be exposed for what they are: vapid, shallow, hollow companies," predicts Forrester Research CEO George Colony. After interviewing a number of CEOs of global corporations (20 percent of them dot-com leaders), Colony said, "The biggest revelation was the low quality of the dot-com CEOs when compared with traditionalists. The hollow-coms will get trashed—along with a sinful amount of venture and day-trader capital." Colony also concluded that 1) an entire generation of business leaders will be corrupted (by the current race for the quick buck), 2) a small number of big dot-coms will eat the rest, and 3) traditional companies will win out. For more information, see http://www.forrester.com/ER/Marketing/0,1503,183,ff.html.