Microsoft announced a new MCSE track on September 20 for individuals seeking Windows 2000 (Win2K) MCSE certification. Microsoft will phase in the Win2K exams in March or April 2000, depending on Win2K's release date. Microsoft also disclosed the retirement schedules for Windows NT 3.51 and NT 4.0 exams and related courses. According to Microsoft, MCSE certification "is the premier certification for professionals who analyze the business requirements for a system architecture, design solutions, deploy, install, and configure architecture components, and troubleshoot system problems." With the introduction of the Win2K MCSE track, Microsoft is making some changes to the certification process. Formerly, MCSE certification required each candidate to pass four core OS exams and two elective exams. Win2K MCSE certification will require the completion of four core exams, one design exam, and two elective exams for a total of seven exams. The changes will "raise the bar for MCSE certification," said Donna Senko, director of certification and skills assessment at Microsoft. "We want MCSE certification to have real market-value." To meet this objective, the company has added design and analysis skills to the certification track. These design tracks focus on designing pure Win2K and NT network architectures, something that Senko acknowledges doesn't fully address the needs of administrators in a heterogeneous environments. To supplement these design skills with other architectures, such as those needed for Unix and NT integration, Microsoft is looking at partnering with other programs to provide training and certification. Microsoft will also provide an accelerated upgrade track for NT 4.0-certified MCSEs. For individuals who have passed certain exams (70-067, 70-068, and 70-073), Microsoft will grant Win2K MCSE certification after these individuals pass one, intensive upgrade test. The upgrade test will be available until December 31, 2001. According to Senko, Microsoft hopes the accelerated upgrade test will encourage current prospective MCSEs to continue with the certification process, instead of waiting for the Win2K exams. This approach, she said, is part of Microsoft’s desire to continue support for its older OSs. Microsoft plans to retire the NT 3.51 exams on June 30, 2000, and retire the NT 4.0 exams on December 31, 2000. MCSEs who are certified in the NT 4.0 exams will have until December 31, 2001, to become certified in the new Win2K track and retain certification. For more information, visit the Microsoft MCSE Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/mcp/certstep/mcse.htm.

Microsoft Windows 2000 Track
Core Exams
Candidates Who Have Not Already Passed Windows NT 4.0 Exams
All 4 of the Following Core Exams Required:
OR Candidates Who Have Passed 3 Windows NT 4.0 Exams (Exams 70-067, 70-068, and 70-073)
Instead of the 4 Core Exams at Left, You May Take:
Exam 70-210: Installing, Configuring and Administering Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Professional Exam 70-240: Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Accelerated Exam for MCPs Certified on Microsoft® Windows NT® 4.0. (This accelerated, intensive exam, which will be available until December 31, 2001, covers the core competencies of exams 70-210, 70-215, 70-216, and 70-217.)
Exam 70-215: Installing, Configuring and Administering Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Server
Exam 70-216: Implementing and Administering a Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Network Infrastructure
Exam 70-217: Implementing and Administering a Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Directory Services Infrastructure
PLUS – All Candidates – 1 of the Following Core Exams Required:
*Exam 70-219: Designing a Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Directory Services Infrastructure
*Exam 70-220: Designing Security for a Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Network
*Exam 70-221: Designing a Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Network Infrastructure
PLUS – All Candidates – 2 Elective Exams Required:
Any MCSE electives current (not scheduled for retirement) when the Windows exams listed above are released in their live versions.
(Selected third-party certifications that focus on interoperability will be accepted as an alternative to one elective exam. Please watch for more information on the third-party certifications that will be acceptable.)
*Exam 70-219: Designing a Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Directory Services Infrastructure
*Exam 70-220: Designing Security for a Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Network
*Exam 70-221: Designing a Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Network Infrastructure
*Exam 70-222: Upgrading from Microsoft® Windows® NT 4.0 to Microsoft® Windows® 2000