Last time, I told you a bit about my Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) certification, answering the first question that I posed to you—which of my certifications required that I do more than simply pass exams? Let's look at another question I posed—which of my certifications is not awarded by Microsoft? The answer is the Certified Technical Trainer (CTT) certification, which the Chauncey Group (http://www.chauncey.com/), a subsidiary of the Educational Testing Services, awards. According to Chauncey's Web site, the CTT program serves to "eliminate redundancies among various instructor certification programs in the computer training and education business. The CTT certificate provides recognition that the trainer has attained a standard of excellence in the technical training industry."

For MCT certification, Microsoft requires that you demonstrate presentation skills (i.e., you must prove that you don't suffer from chronic stage fright and that you won't forget everything you've ever learned when you get up in front of a group). The CTT certificate satisfies this requirement. To earn the CTT designation, you must pass both a computer-based test that assesses knowledge of a set of International Board of Standards for Training, Performance, and Instruction standards and pass a videotaped performance assessment in which you demonstrate skills in the standards. (Of course, there are other ways to satisfy the MCT presentation skills requirement, including with previous training experience. With 20 years as a university instructor and corporate trainer, I found this requirement easy.)

In a joint initiative with Microsoft, the Chauncey Group started offering MCTs the opportunity to become CTTs more easily and less expensively. If you have held the MCT certification since 1996 or earlier, you're grandmothered in to the CTT program, and you receive the CTT certificate without taking any action. If you earned MCT certification between 1997 and 1999, you can receive the CTT by taking the test at a reduced cost, without submitting a presentation videotape. This offer is good until July 31, 2000. If you're an MCT, you can get more information at the private MCT Web site (https://partnering.one.microsoft.com/).

Because I have been an MCT since 1993, I didn't have to do anything special—Chauncey simply sent me the certification. To be honest, however, I haven't figured out why I would pursue the special offer otherwise. The CTT is one way to meet the MCT requirements, but for those who are already MCTs, the CTT adds nothing but three more letters after your name. Of course, if you're considering other vendors' certifications in the future, you might hope that the CTT will come in handy. And a rumor is circulating that Microsoft might require the CTT for all trainers at some future date.

Microsoft recently announced a new requirement that all MCTs become MCSE, MCSD, or MCDBA certified by December 31, 2000. However, on that same date, all Windows NT 4.0 certifications expire. If you're an MCT and you plan to satisfy this new requirement with the MCSE or MCDBA certification, you must pass at least a couple of Windows 2000 exams. If you're an MCSE who has passed the three current NT 4.0 exams (NT 4.0 Server, NT 4.0 Workstation, and NT 4.0 in the Enterprise), you can elect to take one special upgrade exam (70-0240) in lieu of the four required Win2K MCSE exams. If you don't pass, you must take the four Win2K exams that the upgrade exam is meant to substitute for. The upgrade exam is free to qualified testers, but you can take the exam only once.

An incredible amount of clamor has arisen about the "unfairness" of this one-shot-only restriction. But I don't think that anyone has a right to complain—that's looking a gift horse in the mouth. The opportunity to take one exam instead of four--for free—is a bonus that Microsoft doesn't have to offer. If Microsoft had just listed the requirements for the Win2K MCSE and MCDBA certifications and not made the offer at all, there wouldn't be this much commotion because no one would have expected an alternative.

A bigger issue with the new Win2K certification is that NT 4.0 exams expire on December 31, 2000—just 4 months after the NT 3.51 tests expire. Certainly NT 4.0 came out more than 6 months after NT 3.51. This date is less than a year after Win2K became available to the public. Does Microsoft really expect everyone using NT in a corporate environment to upgrade so quickly?