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MS NT 4.0 MCSEs to keep their creds after all

Oh, you passed the Win2k exams already? Sorree...

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Today's Microsoft climb-down (haven't there been a lot recently?) will be to relent on the expiration of Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) qualifications for NT4.0, according to a report at OCWorkbench. NT 4.0 itself was retired at the beginning of this month, and the plan, announced in September 1999, was for NT 4.0 MCSEs to have their credentials zeroed on 31st December 2001, but now they're going to get to hang onto some status, rather than just becoming no-account bums.

Amusingly, the page where Microsoft first announced that the NT 4.0 exams were being retired has now itself been disappeared, but the matter is currently covered in various other places, including here. Microsoft's MCSE FAQ explains that the qualification was being retired because: "When planning certifications, Microsoft examines the expected growth rate for a product and the need for its support, as well as the actual numbers of users and supporters of a product. A recent GartnerGroup study predicts that Windows 2000 will be the most widely used operating system in the next few years - more so than Windows NT and other operating systems. Microsoft certification will reflect this shift by helping IT employers make sure that they have professionals who are up-to-date on Windows 2000 technology."

But the decision not to retire the qualification after all seems to be part of a broader shift of approach. The company is to switch over from a "decertification policy" to one that allows "multiple versions of its credentials." These will remain valid "for as long as they are relevant in the market, while still providing a means to differentiate individuals who have updated their skills to the latest Microsoft technologies."

According to an email to MCSEs forwarded to The Register, the announcement will be posted to the Microsoft Training & Services site later today. The announcement also says that "we have heard from MCTs and Microsoft CTECs that you need more time to upgrade to Windows 2000," and that therefore the deadline for Win2k certification for these has been extended from 31st December 2001 to 1st May 2002.

In the new multi-cred world, the old guard will now be known as MCSEs on Windows NT 4.0 (and should possibly take up pipe-smoking and tweed jackets to go with their venerable status), while the new wave will be MCSEs on Microsoft Windows 2000, covering Win2k, WinXP and .NET Server. As the NT 4.0 exams were themselves retired in February, the NT4 mob will eventually die out, along with their customers, but it's something, anyway. The cynical might observe that, as the MCSEs have been under the impression the NT certification would be gone by December, most of them must now have upgraded to Win2k certification anyway. But we're not cynical like that. ®

Related Stories:
MS Win2k training switch telegraphs early death for NT

SANS - Survey on application security programs

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