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back to article Microsoft cans three 'pinnacle' certifications, sparking user fury

Microsoft has again enraged some of its most committed users, by “retiring” the Microsoft Certified Master (MCM), Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM), and Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) certifications. The decision comes just weeks after Microsoft closed its TechNet service, angering users forced into more expensive …

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MS Certs are not worth the paper they are written on.

MS certs are pretty much useless nowdays. The exams are badly written, horrible exercises in memorization and offer you no clear view of the persons actual skills.

They are pretty much a key word filter for recruiters these days.

Ballmer departing, now this.... things might actually getting better at MS.

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FAIL

Re: MS Certs are not worth the paper they are written on.

The world is full of MS-certfied monkeys who know nothing about IT.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MS Certs are not worth the paper they are written on.

I think you'll find the MCM MCSM and MCA are the exceptions, they include weeks of mandatory training and labs in the exams, as well as a peer review from people who are already members of the program to ensure people haven't just crammed for the exam.

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Meh

Re: MS Certs are not worth the paper they are written on.

I find the certificates are pretty rare - nobody really bothers with them except those who get them free from work along with the postits and paperclips.

The world is full of monkeyS who know nothing about IT. Some have MS certifications but rather a lot more think php and MySql are "srs pro toolz" and many just read from a support script and sneer on the Register's comment boards.

Incidentally,

THAT IS THE SINGLE-WORST EDITED ARTICLE I HAVE EVER READ, INCLUDING IN THE GRAUNIAD. SHAPE UP, EL REG.

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Headmaster

THAT IS THE SINGLE-WORST EDITED ARTICLE I HAVE EVER READ

Agreed. Most of us have learned to tolerate El Reg's sub-optimal proofreading standards by now, but pour l'amour de Dieu*, have we got rough edges this time around.

* I personally feel nothing says "pissed off" quite as much as swearing in French. I wonder if our British friends agree?

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WTF?

Re: THAT IS THE SINGLE-WORST EDITED ARTICLE I HAVE EVER READ

Que? I agree some Reg articles are catastrophic, but this one seems to be ok - what is the problem here?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MS Certs are not worth the paper they are written on.

Speak for yourself. I would say MCSE is still one of the most widely respected - and financially worthwhile certifications in the market.

It sounds like you havn't taken an exam for years - the Microsoft ones include lots of randomly changing scenarios making it very hard to memorise the answers...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MS Certs are not worth the paper they are written on.

Indeed. The people who tend to slag off MS certs also tend to either not have taken any themselves, or, if they have, it is so long ago that it was a different beast back then...

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Re: swearing

For the love of God? Is that really swearing?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: THAT IS THE SINGLE-WORST EDITED ARTICLE I HAVE EVER READ

You're lucky you didn't get zapped by the mods. Just the other day I pointed out that when Bill Ray wrote "Fed up of" in the first line of an article it was possibly not the best start he could have made. Or should that be "could of made" ?

It was killed by mods of course.

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Coat

Re: swearing

For the love of God? Is that really swearing?

Well, it's forum-compliant, at any rate.

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Windows

Re: MS Certs are not worth the paper they are written on.

"I would say MCSE is still one of the most widely respected - and financially worthwhile certifications in the market."

Legions of button clicking monkeys trying to protect the value of their MCSE certs is one of the main reasons MS is so entrenched in IT departments.

As for being respected, well all I can say is the CNE was a far more respectable cert, sadly now defunct.

I can't count how many MS certified numbnuts I've had to argue with when I've discovered some poorly configured MS shitbox spewing crap onto LAN segments and causing huge amounts of network problems. They have no idea how networks work and think it is normal for a server to have 50 ports open and spewing broadcast crap out every where.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MS Certs are not worth the paper they are written on.

"MS certs are pretty much useless". They always were, but they made a nice little earner for MS.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MS Certs are not worth the paper they are written on.

So many idiots rambling about MCSE which is as far removed from the Expert/architect certs as a primary school end of day maths test to a degree in mathematics.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MS Certs are not worth the paper they are written on.

I always found it amusing that you had to be certified in order to properly use MS products.

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Re: THAT IS THE SINGLE-WORST EDITED ARTICLE I HAVE EVER READ

On the bright side, Mr. Sharwood did go back and cleaned up his article. My compliments to him for that.

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I've had comments deleted for pointing out factual inaccuracies on several occasions.

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Re: THAT IS THE SINGLE-WORST EDITED ARTICLE I HAVE EVER READ

After many years living and working in France I have come to the conclusion that the French are not in the same league as Anglo's when it comes to swearing, the much used 'merde' is not really a swear word more a description of certain operating systems.

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Re: MS Certs are not worth the paper they are written on.

As opposed to being certified for actually paying money for them you mean?

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Re: THAT IS THE SINGLE-WORST EDITED ARTICLE I HAVE EVER READ

On the bright side, Mr. Sharwood did go back and cleaned up his article. My compliments to him for that.

I echo those compliments.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MS Certs are not worth the paper they are written on.

"MCSE certs is one of the main reasons MS is so entrenched in IT departments."

erm - no. That would be because it works best and is cheapest for 99% of businesses. MCSE holders don't usually make the business strategy decisions...

"CNE was a far more respectable cert"

Can't comment on that, but Netware sure was a crappy product. It would abend if you even tried to mount a CD, and the crappy clients kept crashing every few minutes and hanging the OS...

"some poorly configured MS shitbox spewing crap onto LAN segments and causing huge amounts of network problems" - much like the broadcast storms that Netware frequently used to deluge us with without even needing misconfiguring you mean?

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Re: MS Certs are not worth the paper they are written on.

Financially worthwhile? Perhaps.

But show me one of those and you've only got one strike left. All of the most incompetent IT support people I've met have been MCSE certified. One in particular still stands out in my mind. On a Windows 95 box in attempt to hide a dial up password from students at a high school, they put the password into the modem profile for the administrator and couldn't fathom why it wasn't showing up when they created the student profiles. Granted this was back in the days when AOL could buy Time-Warner, but it is the first thing I think of when I think of an MCSE. The only reason you don't get an automatic three strikes is I've met one ultra-competent admin who properly locked down a high school campus using NT4 and roaming profiles. I suspect he would have come to the same solution without the cert, but it means I can't dismiss some outright if they have the cert.

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Re: is normal for a server to have 50 ports open

That reminds me of the other MCSE I always think of when I hear the cert mentioned. It was 2001 and the company I was working for had just consolidated offices into one building. The pinhead in charge decided it was a good opportunity to both eliminate the aging Novell servers and upgrade from NT4 to Server 2000, but we didn't have time to convert the 95B boxes for the migration so they'd move as is. I remember the date because after we fired everything up the Help Desk was living hell. People kept losing drive mappings after logging onto the network, usually in the afternoon. The bright non-certified tech on the network team dug through technet until he found an article that exactly described our problem and gave it to the MCSE. The solution was to edit a registry entry to increase the timeout on a parameter. It seems MS knew their solution was so chatty their work-around was to turn off part of the connection. Windows 2000 would re-establish the connection, but 95 didn't have reconnect built in. But the MSCE didn't want to edit the registry because that was bad juju. So things kept on the way they were. And then the planes hit the towers. So for the first time in days the Help Desk phone stopped ringing. We had time to catch up on the back log and eagerly attacked it, not knowing what was happening out in the real world. Someone finally got to the pin head with the technet article and he overruled the MCSE. And when we all came back to work the next day the lost drive mapping issue was gone. It's not the way most Americans remember 9/11. I only realized what had happened when I got home that night and watched the news. And by that time my brother had already called my parents to tell them he and his wife were alright, although he had had a long walk home.

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Re: Netware sure was a crappy product.

And with that statement you lost more credibility than you could ever regain even if you lived to be older than Methuselah. Assuming we knew who you were f course.

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Devil

"Developers! Developers! Screw the developers!"

(© Steve Ballmer)

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Boffin

Re: Meph-head

""Developers! Developers! Screw the developers!" (© Steve Ballmer)". I suspect this is more a case of "stop screwing as it is not making the profit we thought it would". Just about all the so-called IT accreditation schemes I know seem to have morphed into money-making schemes for the vendors and their training partners. What I suspect has happened is that some bean-counter in MS has done the sums and decided the money coming in from exam and course fees for the very top level accreditations don't equal the cost to MS of running that bit of the program. So, without considering the PR impact of killing off the top-level accreditations, someone has pulled the plug and seriously upset some people that thought getting a few extra pieces of paper would guarantee them a higher salary.

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Meh

Re: Meph-head

So, without considering the PR impact of killing off the top-level accreditations, someone has pulled the plug and seriously upset some people that thought getting a few extra pieces of paper would guarantee them a higher salary.

True. But the PR impact MUST be considered, as it has a cost for the company, that in a few years time will probably realize that alienating techies -the guys that recommend, install and maintain MS's products- is not such a great idea, regardless of the cost of the certification program.

Big companies that ignore PR always end up regretting it, one way or another.

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Re: Meph-head

@Mephistro: the PR cost is impossible to measure so they just ignore it, always did, always will

we wouldn't call them beancounters if that wasn't the case.

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Re: Meph-head (@ Tomato42)

"we wouldn't call them beancounters if that wasn't the case."

Yep, that was the point of my comment :o)

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Re: Meph-head

I'm not sure any of the bean counters even know what a developer is, let alone actively ignoring them. Somebody should have known, and pointed out that they'd need a good landing place to avoid the negative PR. Even if it was just an announcement about transitioning perks. Possibly a lifetime subscription to technet or some such.

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What the Frack!

As an MCITP: Database Administration 2008 I am currently going through the new MCSA exams on the way to MCSE for the SQL data platform. I did have MCSM on my radar as a goal to hit in a few more years time as a target to aim for. With the dropping of these advanced certifications I am currently looking at furthering my VMWare certification from a VCP5-DCV to VCAP as I know that those cettifications are safe and VMWare are actively trying to increase the number of certified engineers available which I presume is due to demand.

Not replacing and just discontinuing advanced certifications is just going to increase the fear that MS engineers will not be needed as more and more is moved to the cloud.

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Re: What the Frack!

I do hope that you know what a "certified engineer" is, don't you? Or what an engineer is, after all? In case you don't, I can tell you a secret: there is no school for engineering in Redmond.

It is a pity that the US seems to lack a clear legal framework on professional titles. Or does it? Can I take a 2-week-course on first aid and subsequently put a 'Doctor' on my namecard?

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Re: What the Frack!

Um... I have a B.Sc. Computer Systems Engineering degree. That would make me an Engineer. Granted that the Mickeysoft "Engineer" titles are just dross, but surely you aren't dissing all CompSci Engineers, are you? ;)

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Coat

Re: What the Frack!

Well, just to give the official answer rather than having things swing back and forth.

Unless you hold a Masters Degree in Engineering, followed by at least five years' of Professional Development and Experience and then pass an assessment by a panel then you aren't going to be granted the status of Chartered Engineer by the Engineering Council.

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Windows

Re: What the Frack!

@petboy

Yes, the Chartered Engineer status is impressive, I know a couple. That is why the professional title has the word 'Chartered' in front. I suspect the council have resigned themselves to the loss of meaning of the word 'engineer'.

Clouds, proprietary certification systems run by commercial companies, all will pass.

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Re: What the Frack!

My B. Eng electrical and electronic engineering degree feom UMIST along with IEE membership makes me an engineer.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What the Frack!

"I can tell you a secret: there is no school for engineering in Redmond"

Actually there is. All of the MCM courses include on site engineer training at Redmond by Microsoft experts...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What the Frack!

It's likely easier to get a B.Sci in computer systems than a Microsoft MCM qualification. Certainly the MCM requires more experience....

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Boffin

Re: What the Frack!

There is no legal framework for the engineer title here and it sucks for us engineers. People throw the title around because some numpty put it in the job title and/or they got some certificate. The railroads get a lot of credit for early adoption of misusing the term though, so there is some precedent.

There sure as hell are legal ramifications when I sign off on our civil and architectural projects though. I pay substantial fees and take tests on a fairly regular basis in seven different states and occasionally in other countries, put up substansial bonds and risk prison time if our work goes horribly pear shaped and people die.

It is highly unlikely you'll see anyone requiring a MCSE to really pay to play or have enough confidence in their work and the work of their team members and partners to be prepared to face criminal charges.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What the Frack!

The railways did not misuse the title 'engineer'; look at its derivation. When, in the 19th century, my ancestor wrote his book on locomotive driving, drivers had to be able to carry out running repairs. This could be anything from replacing the glass in a sight gauge to fixing an overheating bearing. The job gradually deskilled as reliability improved, but in the late nineteenth century locomotive drivers could earn what would now be a respectable six digit salary. They would not be afraid to tell the engine designer what needed changing, because their pay depended on punctuality and coal consumption.

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Boffin

Re: What the Frack!

Locomotive Engineers are generally considered the first end user of a product who was divorced from the design of the 'engine' and used the term engineer. They did provide input back to the design engineer(s) but was more along the lines of a race car drivers feedback to his team. They knew what was wrong operationally and did some impressive field fixes, but did not have the formal knowledge necessary to 'engineer' a solution.

Siege engine engineers, from where the term is generally accepted to have originated, usually designed and used, or directly oversaw the use of, the engines. The design component of engineer was maintained in general use in that manner until the advent of the locomotive engineer. So yeah, they did abscond redefine broaden the term.

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Happy

Re: What the Frack!

Quote: "US seems to lack a clear legal framework on professional titles."

Actually some of the states do. If memory serves me right, you cannot call your self an engineer or architect unless you are "proper old school" engineer or architect in Texas and a few other states. Old school == civil engineering/brick and mortar architecture :)

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Happy

Re: What the Frack!

You can't call yourself an engineer in a state licensed discipline where an 'Engineer of Record' is required unless you're a 'proper engineer'.

In most States, including Texas, your license has to be up to date and a bond posted if you want to advertise yourself in those disciplines (business cards, website, vehicle signage, letterhead, trade journals, etc..) or sign off on official paperwork. But in non licensed disciplines you may use any non-protected title you like.

So you can't call yourself a Civil Engineer, but you can say Software Engineer or the aforementioned Locomotive Engineer.

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Re: Can I take a 2-week-course on first aid

Yes, you can and it comes with a cert, although you don't get to call yourself a medical doctor. Put it does provide enhanced legal protection when rendering aid and assistance:

http://www.redcross.org/take-a-class

So in some sense, and MCSE is sort of the same thing.

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Re: no legal framework for the engineer title here

'Engineer' in the US is descriptive unless part of a specific title. The specific title might have a legal framework around it. From your description of the test you take I presume you are a Physical Engineer, which is one of those titles which usually does have a legal framework around it. But you should also keep in mind that we are the United States (plural) not singular, even though we tend to act as if it were singular since the civil war. So each state, which roughly corresponds to a country in the EU for purposes of this discussion, sets its own rules for specific titles.

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WTF?

Wow

Just... wow.

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Vendor certifications...

Never spend your own money on them, never think they're worth more than the cost of the ink and paper used to produce the certificate.

If you want to learn something real take an OU course or if you want something free then take one of the many online courses offered by MIT and others. If you need a qualification to further your career then you've got the wrong employer - of almost everyone I've worked with, few have been hired on the basis of a vendor qualification.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Vendor certifications...

That's quite simply bollocks. I earnt £10-£20K more a year after I qualified as an MCSE, and it's now worth at least an extra £100 a day as a contractor.

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