Saturday, December 09, 2006

A+ and MCSE Certifications

I passed my A+ Core Operating System Exam on Thursday. Since I passed the hardware A+ exam last year, I am now officially A+ certified. Unlike Microsoft’s certifications, CompTIA’s A+ certification does not expire.

Speaking of Microsoft Certifications, I did pass all of the required exams for Windows NT 4.0, so I am a certified MCSE for Windows NT 4.0. For the Windows 2000 MCSE track, I have one more exam to pass to become certified in Windows 2000.

Why is it taking me so long to complete the MCSE Windows 2000 Certification? My life has changed from 4 and 1 / 2 years ago when I lived in Central PA. These may sound like excuses, but here is my list:

1. Back then, I had a small 2 bedroom house which was easy to maintain. Now I have a 3 bedroom house on a cul-de-sac with a garage and a finished basement. I spend more time maintaining my current house than my old one, so I have less time.

2. My drive time to work used to be 15 minutes in Central PA, now my drive time is over 30 minutes. Again, less time.

3. When the Windows NT exams were still active, I worked with 3 other people who received their MCSE’s in NT 4.0 at the same time. It became a competition rather than a goal to achieve. For the three people, my company paid for an external vendor for classroom instruction. There was no more money left for training, so I decided to study on my own time and I was able to earn my MCSE in NT 4.0 by myself. This did not please my former supervisor. He downplayed my achievement because I made him look bad.

Two of those people are no longer with my company – which downsized and kept the best PC technical support people. The NT 4.0 exams were fairly easy and those two former co-workers where what many referred to as “Paper MCSE’s”. They were able to memorize answers to test questions but were in reality very bad PC technical support people.

The competition is not there anymore. I do not have to prove myself in front of my co-workers.

4. I question the usefulness of having an MCSE certification now. Do companies place any value in it these days?

Every winter, I catch a bug to pick up the books again and complete my MCSE in Windows 2000. Time will tell if I decide to do it.

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