Tag Archives: Operating system deployment

Certification Spotlight Series: MCSE: Private Cloud … how does it rate? Just buzzwords or real value?

So, you’re looking at the next generation of IT certifications are you?  You want a cert with all the new buzz words.  Right?  Let’s sit down and take a look at the point of the spear for these new Microsoft certifications.  The new MCSE: Private Cloud. Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert.  Yep, one of the new ones.

Part of the allure of this test is that it has the new buzzword phrase: private cloud.  Does it really deserve it?  In all honesty, it does somewhat.  However it is way more than just private cloud though.  This covers private cloud, systems management, disaster recovery, operating system deployments, etc.  So, this cert can grab onto a lot of buzzwords.  And those buzzwords can mean a lot.  They can mean interviews, promotions, sales or even introductions.  They cannot be emphasized enough.

The only thing that is really off on this certification is the MCSE in its tittle.  The MCSE is by far, the most recognized industry certification in the world.  They are attempting to bring it back because the MCITP just didn’t get the reputation the MCSE had.  Additionally they are trying to modernize it.  Remember, in the United States of America, that the MCSE, which stood for Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer was awesome.  “Systems Engineer” and “Senior Systems Engineer” are traditional titles.  In some parts of the world, “Engineer” is a protected term.  As such, Microsoft tried the MCITP… but what was the title to with that?  “IT Professional?”  What does that mean?  Microsoft is fighting back, so now you have the “Solutions Expert.”  Microsoft is showing that they are in tune with the industry.  I guess we can all live with it, right?

Oh, but there is a catch.  The new MCSE requires a recertification cycle.  Something Microsoft has threatened but never before pulled off.  Every three years you have to recertify.  I wonder what the tests will be for it.

So what is the audience profile?  “With Windows Server 2008 and System Center 2012, and soon with Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 SP1, you can build your Microsoft private cloud solution and gain the automation and flexibility you need for your IT infrastructure, now and in the future. Do you have experience with these technologies? Are you ready to begin the journey to cloud computing with a Microsoft private cloud implementation? Become Private Cloud certified and prove your knowledge and skills in managing and implementing Microsoft private cloud computing technologies.”  Hmmm…. Not much of a profile.  However, you begin to see that this is heavily about buzz.  Really, it is a System Center admin who has engineer experience and virtualization experience who wants to spread their wings.  Honestly, I would expect most people who go for it to have five to ten years of experience.

For my reviews I will be rating certification on a 1-10 scale.  Ten will be the highest, with one the lowest. So, on a ten scale, with MCM, CCIE and JNCIE at the top as a ten, and Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA), A+, CCENT at the low end as a 1.  Well, I hope you weren’t waiting for me to rate those six certs… they just were rated as my baseline.

How would I rate these?  First off remember that this certification takes anywhere from five certification tests to seven certification tests to earn.  That is massive.  As such I would rate the real value here as around a 7.  However, with the current buzz, and the plain visibility of those buzz words, the perceived value is through the roof.  As such the perceived visibility here is going to be at least a 9, yes, a 9. I know this is incredibly high.  However, I can’t think of a certification outside my 10 point certs (CCIE, MCM) that even compare to the salivation that occurs with those buzzwords.  So, I think the perceived value will drop, but for now: grab the value.

What do you think?  And what certification would you like me to take a look at and grade next time?

Certification Spotlight Series: MCITP Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Administrator… how does it rate? Valuable?


So, when you are looking at hiring or being hired in IT (or maybe more aptly named in the old days, managing information systems staff) you will always hear about certifications.  You went and decided to get one… and supposedly this blog is going to help you find some value in them, right?  Right.  Here goes the second article in the series.  It is starting with one of the least coveted, most often required and completely misunderstood certifications.

So what does the MCITP Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Administrator certification mean?  It means you can support Windows 7, right?  Wrong.  Would you believe that the actual MCITP test doesn’t even include supporting Windows 7 systems or users in the description of skill measured?  Not even one percent.

Here is the breakdown of what skills are measured with the final test for this.  Planning and Managing a Client Life Cycle Strategy (16%); if this sounds more like planning the management of a bunch of workstations, then you are right.  Designing a Standard Image (17%); hey wait a minute, this is a major task that you do when deploying operating systems isn’t it?  Yes it is.  Designing Client Configurations (17%); this sounds like more deployment skills… maybe even large scale deployment skills.  Designing a Windows 7 Client Deployment (15%); ok, this is straight up deployment… and it actually touches on MDT and SCCM (System Center Configuration Manager).  Designing Application Packages for Deployment (17%); packaging, are you kidding, this is a major task that is often outsourced because people do not know how to do it… but wait there is more.  This section also includes deployment strategies and skills including virtualized, Remote Desktop Services, Group Policy, or software distribution (read SCCM).  Identifying and Resolving Deployment and Client Configuration Issues (19%); this should read: Windows 7 troubleshooting from the domain, forest, network, and Group Policy Object or deployment level.

So if you couldn’t find the support Windows 7 angle, you are looking at the wrong part here.  See the support skills are a building block to get to the MCITP.  They are tested in the MCTS: Windows 7, Configuring certification, which someone with this cert has to have already earned.  So getting to the MCITP includes support elements, but it really is more of a managing workstations certification than a support certification.  This certification validates your ability to deploy operating systems, desktop applications and to manage the Windows 7 client life cycle.

There actually is a Windows 7 support certification at the MCITP level.  MCITP: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Support Technician is the certification for support.

So Microsoft says the audience is: “Candidates for this exam should have a minimum of three years of experience installing, configuring, and administering clients in a Windows networked environment and also have experience deploying operating systems and applications. Candidates should be familiar with the client administration capabilities of Windows Server and with management tools such as the System Center suite of products.”  So they are expecting three years of high end, highly skilled work that just happens to be directed to workstations.

Now let’s compare this to the candidate audience for the MCITP: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Support Technician that everyone seems to be mixing up with this certification. “Candidates for this exam support end users who run Microsoft Windows 7 in a corporate environment. They should have experience using applications that are included with the operating system, such as productivity applications used in a corporate environment and Microsoft Office applications.”  Did you notice the lack of a time in the role listed?  Yep, it isn’t there.  This is a significantly lower valued certification.

For my reviews I will be rating certification on a 1-10 scale.  Ten will be the highest, with one the lowest. So on a ten scale, with MCM, CCIE and JNCIE at the top as a ten, and Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA), A+, CCENT at the low end as a 1.  Well, I hope you weren’t waiting for me to rate those six certs… they just were rated as my baseline.

How would I rate these?  First off let’s rate the certification everyone mistakenly thinks this cert is.  I would rate MCITP: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Support Technician at about a 3 on my scale.  The certification does not have a long time in the role required to master the skills and is mainly aimed at technicians able to resolve operating system issues by telephone, email, connecting to an end user’s system remotely, or by visiting an end user’s desktop.

MCITP Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Administrator is a weird one.  The perceived value is low, possibly a 3, as everyone mistakes it for the other Windows 7 MCITP.  However, the real value of the skills this represents is significantly higher.  I would rate this certification a 5.  Additionally, if this certification is combined with a MC TS: Windows 7 and Office 2010, Deploying; that is a major boost.  That combination would rate as a six… and nearly any consulting firm that does Windows 7 (or 8) deployments is, or should be, looking for just that combination.

What do you think?  And what certification would you like me to take a look at and grade next week?

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