Users upset at new Windows certification rules

Under the new rules, people who hold Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) certification must pass exams on Windows 2000 by Dec. 31, 2001, or lose their certification.

What's more, Microsoft is "retiring" all Windows NT 4.0 exams at the end of this year. This means that, seven months from now, it will be impossible to obtain MCSE certification without training on Windows 2000.

That's too soon, said Deb Mukherjee, CIO at Farmers Group in Los Angeles. He said there simply is no time for companies to start rolling out Windows 2000, gain enough experience with it and then have staff pass the new tests before the end of next year.

And what happens when a client insists that an IT staffing firm supply an engineer certified in NT 4.0? Bill Pfannenstiel, a vice president at Manpower Professional, a unit of Manpower in Milwaukee, said that in such a situation he would have to explain that there is no way the individual can be certified because Microsoft has retired the exam.

"Microsoft should provide an easier transition from NT 4.0 to Win 2k than just chopping NT 4.0 training off altogether," said David Lichtenhan, a managing director at Charles Schwab & Co.

NT 4.0 training still available

Donna Senko, certification and skills and assessment director at Microsoft, points out that NT 4.0 courses will still be offered by training companies as long as there is demand - they just won't lead to a Microsoft-backed certificate anymore. Senko said Microsoft is simply trying to increase the value of MCSEs - a goal that executives like Mukherjee say they applaud.

Senko also denied that Microsoft is trying to force customers to migrate.

A nuisance

If a company is just migrating to Win 2k on desktops, recertification is "probably more of a nuisance rather than useful," said Barbara Gomolski, research director at Gartner Institute in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. She said she doesn't think NT 4.0 will be antiquated knowledge. "A lot of companies that don't deploy server-based features of Windows 2000 will still be running [these platforms] for a while," she said.

Mike Vaughn, an information systems specialist at KASA TV in Albuquerque, New Mexico, said he suspects that the early expiration of the NT 4.0 MCSE program "has a lot to do with marketing."

"I think [the MCSE program] is a push for companies to upgrade, but I and my company will go into [Windows 2000] when we are ready," said Vaughn.

"As long as Microsoft is making money [selling] a product," it shouldn't be considered 'retired,' said Doug Chick, an MCSE who obtained his certification in 1997. He said the market - not Microsoft's marketing department - should dictate when certain technical skills are outmoded.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?