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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  1. Combat Wombat

    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.

    1. Big-nosed Pengie
      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.

      1. dogged
        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.

        1. xperroni
          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?

          1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge
            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?

          2. Dave Stevens

            Re: swearing

            For the love of God? Is that really swearing?

            1. xperroni
              Coat

              Re: swearing

              For the love of God? Is that really swearing?

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

          3. Anonymous Coward
            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.

            1. returnmyjedi

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

          4. xperroni
            Thumb Up

            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.

            1. dogged
              Thumb Up

              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.

          5. This post has been deleted by its author

          6. 080
            Linux

            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.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      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...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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...

      2. Goat Jam
        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.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          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?

          1. Tom 13

            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.

        2. Tom 13

          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.

      3. Tom 13

        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.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. 080

        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?

  2. Mephistro Silver badge
    Devil

    "Developers! Developers! Screw the developers!"

    (© Steve Ballmer)

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      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.

      1. Mephistro Silver badge
        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.

        1. Tomato42 Silver badge

          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.

          1. Mephistro Silver badge

            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)

      2. Tom 13

        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.

  3. cduance

    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.

    1. Uwe Dippel

      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?

      1. Daniel B.

        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? ;)

        1. petboy
          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.

          1. keithpeter
            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.

            1. Danny 14 Silver badge

              Re: What the Frack!

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

        2. Anonymous Coward
          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....

      2. Anonymous Coward
        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...

      3. Don Jefe
        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.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          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.

          1. Don Jefe
            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.

        2. Tom 13

          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.

      4. Voland's right hand Silver badge
        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 :)

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Don Jefe
          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.

      5. Tom 13

        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.

  4. ecofeco Silver badge
    WTF?

    Wow

    Just... wow.

  5. JMiles

    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Vendor certifications...

        And yet many people earning considerably more than you will have no MS certifications working as Enterprise Architects and in IT Strategy.

    2. NogginTheNog
      Thumb Down

      Re: Vendor certifications...

      " If you need a qualification to further your career then you've got the wrong employer"

      You clearly don't get the concept of being 'freelance' then do you. Although I suppose you could argue that you're your own employer, and so (hopefully?!) the RIGHT one!

    3. Ouch

      Re: Vendor certifications...

      OU course Ha my son went down that route and wasted two years until he saw sense and went with a real university.

      A B.Sc. Computer Systems Engineering is a great start in IT and the knowledge learned will always be in use but in the real world vendor certs with hands on are hard to beat on a CV. Lets face it who are you going to employ when you want some up an running within a few weeks, the guy with no degree and ten years IT experience with a fistful of certs or the B.Sc straight out of school.

  6. Hud Dunlap
    Joke

    Does El Reg really think they will get a reply

    Is there any reason El Reg thinks MS holds them in any higher regard than Apple?

    1. Simon Sharwood, Reg APAC Editor (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Does El Reg really think they will get a reply

      FWIW, Microsoft does reply to inquiries on most topics. Apple hardly ever replies to inquiries regarding anything other than products that are already on the market.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    Do I spot a tendency here?

    From the article: "As technology changes so do Microsoft certifications and as such, we are continuing to evolve the Microsoft certification program."

    When they slashed TechNet: "As IT trends and business dynamics have evolved, so has Microsoft's set of offerings for IT professionals who are looking to learn, evaluate and deploy Microsoft technologies and services."

    "evolved, changed..." it's never their doing it seems; always something else which is to blame. Yet the funny thing is that the people who are actually deeply involved with the subject at hand which allegedly "evolved" or "changed" apparently didn't got the message; most of them didn't see it coming at all, and aren't too happy about it either.

    So what's next? Well, I have an idea..

    "Since we're running out of excuses we're now simply telling you that you can no longer be part of our Partner network (required to be eligible to (re)sell Microsoft products) without paying us an annual fee of $ 750,- / year. Times are changing, and so is our partner network.".

    And before anyone comments: Yes, at this time I honestly consider Microsoft stupid enough to demand that resellers start paying them a fee before they can sell their products. (At this time you can apply for a membership with their Partner network when you represent a registered company.)

    Suicide you say? In my opinion they already started that process when they decided to slash TechNet.

    And for the record; I'm not happy with these developments at all.

    1. djack

      Re: Do I spot a tendency here?

      I've always thought that to MS, the term 'partner' means 'entity in the queue to be shafted'

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Do I spot a tendency here?

        "I've always thought that to MS, the term 'partner' means 'entity in the queue to be shafted'"

        "Organ donor" was the term I heard. But that would be ten or fifteen years ago.

        It's been a long while coming, but increasing numbers of people finally seem to be getting the message about being Certified Microsoft Dependent.

        Do MS HQ not know what will happen when they upset their partner network, or do they just not care?

  8. mike panero

    The long term

    As their email says all the current cert holders can stay connected ... until 1 by 1 they die

    Meantime any enterprise or government dept. that needs people with these skills have to decide what certification now counts or (and here comes the long play) just pay Microsoft to have its own people come in and "add value"

    And if they can sell a largely cloud based solution most of those people will be in a Mumbai office

    They will look as exciting as a fuzz covered worthers original in the bottom of your mum's handbag

  9. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    FAIL

    My theory is that this is a press release from the 90s, that is only now being released.....

    "We're able to do this because MS dominates the enterprise IT marketplace, and you guys really have nowhere else to go for server operating systems! You can call the guys at Sun for a SOLARIS build, but how expensive is that? And it's always good business to shake up the skill sets of our most devoted developers and consultants, especially when they've devoted hundreds of hours and thousands of Dollars in getting their certifications. They may be upset now, but they'll come crawling back, because there's really not any competition out there to the might Redmond money machine."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My theory is that this is a press release from the 90s, that is only now being released.....

      Or of course they could try Linux, but supported versions cost far more to license, it has far more security vulnerabilities, in most circumstances it has a much higher TCO, it is much more expensive to integrate, and it has much more limited security capabilities (e.g. no constrained delegation, or dynamic access control).....

      1. oldcoder

        I think I call shill on this

        "supported versions cost far more to license", no they still cost 0. What may cost is the support - and how much support you want.

        "it has far more security vulnerabilities", no it has fewer due to the fewer lines of code, and less complex threading. It also supports more than what Windows can do. More CPUs, more memory, more architectures...

        "it is much more expensive to integrate", definitely false as it is based on standards which Windows is not. Granted, the kernel/device interface isn't standardized, but if drivers are released and accepted into the kernel they tend to get updated for you.

        "more limited security capabilities (e.g. no constrained delegation, or dynamic access control)" also false. It has more security capabilities than Windows starting with the basic UNIX design, adding real POSIX capabilities, and with SELinux on top to organize capabilities.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: My theory is that this is a press release from the 90s, that is only now being released.....

        "they could try Linux"

        And increasing numbers are, and will. Some of them will stick with it, others may stick with MS.

        "supported versions cost far more to license"

        Examples please. Hint: the licences are generally *free*, otherwise it's not free software. People who want support can pay for it, a bit like with MS. Except MS are currently p*ssing off their Certified Microsoft Dependent partners like there's no tomorrow. And MS rarely offer the sources for their products, and certainly don't offer a "build it yourself" option to end users or their support organisations.

        ""it has far more security vulnerabilities"

        Examples please. Do not count Linux patches per month (which typically include fixes for non-exploitable issues) or website defacements. Do count viable CVE references or similar.

        "in most circumstances it has a much higher TCO"

        Examples please (the Munich study is no longer a viable example [1]).

        "it is much more expensive to integrate"

        Examples please. Not Munich.

        [1] e.g, from this February, http://www.zdnet.com/no-microsoft-open-source-software-really-is-cheaper-insists-munich-7000010918/

        1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

          Re: My theory is that this is a press release from the 90s, that is only now being released.....

          I think a couple respondents here are missing my point that this comes across as 90s era MS thinking, when they were pretty much the only game in town....

  10. Uwe Dippel

    't was high time ...

    Vendor certs are a questionable thing completely. Firstly, they cost quite some money for the applicant. Second, the quality of a "certified" person is still questionable. I can vouch for both, since I was one of the first to study for MSCE some 15 years ago. It *was* tough. And a year later some boot-camps came up, and suddenly people had it, with nil knowledge of anything. The pinnacle was a colleague with a fresh MSCE asking about 'how to format a floppy', which seemingly had not been one of the 'relevant' questions.

    Worse, however, for the companies who bought into Microsoft-sponsored addictives. Everywhere then, around 2000, any question of the PHBs on 'solutions' was answered with a Microsoft-answer. Not only was text-processing identical to WORD, but also 'database' identical to MSSQL. Some of the certified clowns would for their life not be able to name another one (let's say except the one from Larry, perhaps), and so forth.

    In a nutshell, especially the MS-certs were deadly attacks on the ecology of the IT-infrastructure; with security and availability (and common sense) as liabilities.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Please get the proofreader back to work on this article

    "Jeff Guillet, who has completed the MCM, says

    "I have invested countless hours and untold effort into Microsoft certifications for my career. It is very disheartening to see Microsoft discontinue this level of certification."

    He feels the program's cessation “saddens me in more ways than I can say” in part because

    “I have invested countless hours and untold effort into Microsoft certifications for my career. It is very disheartening to see Microsoft discontinue this level of certification.”

    I entered in the extra carriage returns to highlight the fact that you repeated the same sentence in the same paragraph twice. Please correct.

    With kindest regards

    1. Don Jefe
      Happy

      Re: Please get the proofreader back to work on this article

      After all that work inserting carriage returns you could have just added one click and used the Send Corrections link in the comment box at the bottom of each page of the thread...

      1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: Please get the proofreader back to work on this article

        "Send Corrections link in the comment box at the bottom of each page of the thread"

        Hmm. Can't see it. Maybe it depends on user credentials? Or browser?

        There is a lightbulb button on the left side of the article, which should alert somebody about something, perhaps that will do...err...something?

        1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

          Re: Please get the proofreader back to work on this article

          Scratch that. There IS a "send corrections" link.

  12. Cliff

    Certification devalued

    Perhaps it's the flood of boot camps churning out qualified but hopeless candidates that spoiled the value of certification. We all now know the MCSE as the Minesweeper Certified Solitaire Expert, after all.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Certification devalued

      I'd agree if it was the bottom end they were scrapping.

      However, that bottom end of "You turned up, have a cert." is staying.

      It's the top end that's being killed - the ones who are few in number and peer-reviewed, so they have to be convincing (if not actually good) enough for their competitors to acknowledge that they should be in the club.

      1. Uwe Dippel

        Re: Certification devalued

        Are you one?

        Do you know one?

        I had the questionable pleasure to meet the MCAs and sorts (those with any MS*** and M***) of a whole country. Then it was on a decision into which direction the whole country would be steered.

        And I can tell you, that I did not meet people with an overflow in the brain department. I did meet people who would throw "Microsoft" into each and any answer to each and any question. Including the marketing drool of 'leverage' and stuff.

        I do agree, they knew the multitude of MS products inside out. From said leverages over interoperabilities up to the licensing fees calculated by mental arithmetics. And for really difficult questions, they promised to 'revert' once the 'experts' were consulted.

        Engineers? Architects? A well-oiled marketing machine!

    2. Don Jefe

      Re: Certification devalued

      You've identified one of the biggest issues with any company branded certification: Who is the customer?

      a) Is it the developers?

      b) Is it training partner?

      It isn't 'a'. It is a high margin, low investment product for (Vendor X) to offer their partners an get them to push the vendors products, it is marketing. Not to say the developers can't learn some things and don't, sometimes, benefit from the programs, but they aren't the customer.

    3. RedneckMother

      Re: Certification devalued

      Amen. Seriously - who REALLY gives a rat's ass about M$ certification about ANYTHING?

  13. Howard Hanek Bronze badge

    Bugs as Income Centers

    I've never been ceased to be amazed at how MS took troubleshooting it's own bugs into courseware and "çertifications" to be valued and prized. What a modern scientific world we live in where errors, mistakes and spagetti code becomes the basis of wealth.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What?!?

    So I'll no longer be able to spend my savings to become thoroughly steeped in Microsoft lore, attain mastery of arcane knowledge and get a piece of paper to prove how superior I am?

    Oh well... at least there's still Scientology.

    1. Don Jefe
      Joke

      Re: What?!?

      I got my certs after taking the computer literacy class offered by the local community college.

      With that knowledge I learned how to copy and paste a vendor certification JPG into the homepage of my site using FrontPage and how to layout and print a certificate with my name on it using Word. I even got a nice discount on the fancy paper I used when I showed the cashier my student ID.

  15. jake Silver badge

    ::tee hee::

    Now ask me why I dropped MS support several years ago.

    Marketards are not, and never have been, techies.

  16. Mike Pellatt
    Boffin

    Underscores the problem with vendor certifications

    It's quite simple.

    Professionals have their capabilities certified by the appropriate professional bodies.

    Do you see Doctors gaining "Merck approved diagnoser" certification ?? Or Civil Engineers with "Accor approved steel designer" ?? Or Physiotherapists with "Mueller certified taping practitioner".

    Of course not. Because it's just plain Wrong.

    It is the same for IT Professionals. You need a degree and continuous professional development. Anyone waving a vendor certification around has, by very definition, too narrow a view of the landscape to be called a professional.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Underscores the problem with vendor certifications

      '..It is the same for IT Professionals. You need a degree and continuous professional development...'

      Err, I was what you'd call an 'IT Professiona'l, I neither had a degree, nor engaged in any sort of CPD (and I'm assuming you're talking here about the scheiße sponsored/peddled by employers and certain professional bodies, not the get-up-off-your-fat-arse-and-learn-something-new stuff we all do ourself without looking for some sort of toady points from someone for).

      I've done a number of things over the years, from microcontroller design, through component level repair of PCs, Sun workstations and the occasional old Minicomputer, design of analog/digital I/O cards for PCs and their associated device driver software, looked after large computer networks and their security, coded stuff still in daily use out there in many languages, etc. bloody etc. (And, for the record, that was just on the IT side, if you want to talk about machining/CNC and/or chemical labwork, I can go there as well..)

      '..Anyone waving a vendor certification around has, by very definition, too narrow a view of the landscape to be called a professional.

      One bit of paper is as worthless as another, from long and bitter experience from over two decades of IT related employment, a degree isn't a sure indicator of ability either as you seem to believe (especially if awarded by certain 'universities').

      I have known people with degrees, doctorates and, dare I say it, memberships of the relevant august societies who I wouldn't trust to change the toner cartridge of a laser printer, let alone touch any software I've written or fiddle with any computer systems I've set up.

      I could regale you with over two decades worth of anecdotes apropos degree laden 'ITiots' I have known and 'worked around', but I'm happily out of the game and am now employed doing something I wished I'd done at least a decade ago, so those IT days are past now, and in the past they must remain..

      Judge/hire on ability, not paperwork.

      1. Anonymous IV

        Re: Underscores the problem with vendor certifications

        "I have known people with degrees, doctorates and, dare I say it, memberships of <u>the relevant august societies</u> who I wouldn't trust to change the toner cartridge of a laser printer..."

        You must surely be alluding to the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, whose membership is composed of "Current senior members of the industry", "‘Senators’ of the industry", "Accomplished practitioners" and "Young high achievers"!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists

          Far be it from me (!!) to denigrate such an august body (especially as it's September now), but I thought Livery companies were all about artisans rather than professionals. So, being a sad sack, I looked at the list of Livery Companies at http://81.130.213.163:8002/cgi-bin/lcl.exe (odd that the Fishmonger's don't use a domain name to get there - they clearly need help from the Information Technologists)

          I't s a motley bunch. Me, I'd like to join the Curriers. Good to know that I'd be in the company of the Builders' Merchants. The Clerk of the Carmen - http://81.130.213.163:8002/cgi-bin/lcl.exe?a=d&k=FKTDSMFVK - seems not to conform to the City of London dress code. And has a very sunny work location.

          I could go on, but I'd better get on with work.

      2. Tom 13

        Re: Judge/hire on ability, not paperwork.

        That's the rub though isn't it?

        How do you determine ability based on a 1 or 2 page resume when confronted with 2000 applicants for a job opening? It was fairly easy back in the day when ditches were dug by hand: you looked for the callus on the applicants hands. Or you talked to your friends in other places who might know the applicant.

        These days not so much. So instead you turn to testing agencies and pieces of paper. Then you force the applicant to come from a temp agency so you can have a 90 trial run before you transfer them to your company for their 90 day probationary period. And the further away you are from the people doing the actual work, the more dependent they are on certs and pieces of papers for sorting, because they don't actually have a clue about the work you are doing. They only know how to shift people like stock boys shift inventory at the local grocer.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Underscores the problem with vendor certifications

      What utter, utter rubbish! in virtually every area of engineering you have brand specific professionals which often have certifications of that, think cars, robotic production processes, printing, mining, manufacturing, construction, cisco ……. go this list could go on for ever

      You’re so wrong it actually is funny!

      I suggest in future when considering anything related to Microsoft you try and imagine that it’s red hat or something else before you engage the brain, god this mentality is getting old

    3. Christian Berger Silver badge

      Underscores the problem with current IT

      The fact that many companies already see it as sufficient when you know about the products of one company is probably the main problem of IT today.

      Look around here for announcements for new Microsoft products. When a new version of Exchange comes out, it is always compared to the old one, but never to the alternatives. Same goes for Microsoft's VoIP "solutions".

      If there's only one thing you know, you don't know enough.

    4. Tom 13

      Re: Underscores the problem with vendor certifications

      Granted Merck et. al. aren't quite as crass about it as MS, but yes they do it too. They call it "continuing education" and work it through nominally disinterested third parties.

      Where those professions have an advantage is that they usually have advanced coursework and experience requirements before entering the field. Computers in some sense are only now coming out of their Henry Ford era. Until now, any tinkerer could hang out his shingle and sell, repair, or install computers. And some tinkerers were better than others.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    yep vendor certs are temporary

    In fact most certificates that do not address overall concepts and broadly applicable information (such as those Universities... well some of them anyway).

    Welcome to the world of IT, as a developer for 15 years, not only do certificates become useless so do many of the languages you learn ... for example, i still know a little classic ASP (not classic in my view), some ADA and even some Perl... (which admittedly still comes in handy) ... but to work on the web you must learn new languages like .NET and increasingly JAVA ... PHP is still around but has lost favour in many circles so the 5 years i spent doing that now are only a grounding for Python and Ruby ...

    Want to learn 1 skill for life... become a baker of bread, otherwise suck it up MS monkeys its the way things work.

  18. DrXym Silver badge

    Stupid certification programs

    We had someone come in for a Java position who had Oracle certification. She couldn't even write a small program to solve a simple string search problem.

    Most of these certifications are dumb multiple choice questionnaires that can be passed with rote learning. While it's possible that putting certification on a CV might suffice for some companies, I would expect most would have more interest in someone's career history and impressions gleaned from a decent technical interview.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stupid certification programs

      "While it's possible that putting certification on a CV might suffice for some companies"

      true - and a lot of the companies in question are recruitment agencies acting as the first step in getting to the real interview, so people who don't know * about the matter in hand are accepting/rejecting candidates based on a check box comparison of CVs, which is just stupid.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Stupid certification programs

        "accepting/rejecting candidates based on a check box comparison of CVs"...

        True, everybody encounters those recruitment agencies sooner or later. But on the good side, if they don't understand the job description or your CV/skills, chances are that even if you have the certifications in your CV, the agency will still not find you a suitable role and send you to interviews where you'd never have gone if you had seen the actual, unedited job description before hand. (It's shocking how agencies often edit both the CV and the details they send the applicant, leaving out details they don't grasp or rewording things in a way that they mean something very different)

        When I'm being asked for certifications, my answer is always this: "I'm ready to demonstrate any skills mentioned in my CV without notice, and many others beyond that. Challenge me. And by the way, here's a list of people I have previously worked with. Call them."

        If they still want the certs, it tells me that the employer or agency are more focused on paperwork than I would like them to be, and I keep looking for options which are less about bullshitting and more about actually doing/achieving things.

        .

    2. Mike Pellatt

      Re: Stupid certification programs

      Most of these certifications are dumb multiple choice questionnaires that can be passed with rote learning.

      I've sussed multiple-choice tests. Do them by eliminating the "obviously wrong" answers. 90-95% of the time you're then left with the correct answer(s).

      As I continue to bore everyone with, the only exam I took where my understanding rather than my memory was tested was an open-book exam in my 3rd year, on electronic circuit design. Set by (then) Dr (now) Prof Robert Spence. And therein lies the problem. You need top-notch examiners to set papers of that quality.

    3. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: Stupid certification programs

      At least for my line of work (Java programming) the specs rarely mention certification and agents don't bother stabbing the buttons on their keyword search. So they're entirely redundant to a candidate's chances of receiving the spec. That said, they might weigh on the CV in the candidate's favour but equally they might look like so much puffery. Assuming there is a technical interview, it would soon tell a persons actual knowledge rather than what slips of paper they paid for.

      Maybe certification is more important for other IT jobs like administration, database programming etc. In general I wouldn't be at all interested in receiving certification unless the company wanted to pay for it. If they do then fine, but sure as hell not from my own pocket. The return on investment isn't worth it.

    4. Tom 13

      Re: a decent technical interview.

      I only sat on a technical review committee for one position. It was an interesting experience.

      We had three candidates for the Help Desk Manager position. The first candidate nearly put me to sleep. The second candidate was energetic and came from a work environment with established processes and procedures. The third candidate talked about the work he'd done establishing processes and procedures at his current workplace.

      Given where the company I worked for was at on their processes and procedures, I thought the last candidate was the perfect fit, the second might be able to cope and at least knew what the end product should look like. Turned out the big boss liked the guy who put me to sleep. So I quickly changed my tune rather than fighting him over it.

      New guy started. It turned out, he could change his tune on dime about any given issue which is something I've always hated. I got riffed about 6 months later. I heard later that a month or so after that he broke his leg skiing. So he was out for a couple of months, and by the time he came back, he'd taken a position at a new company.

  19. Malagabay
    Alert

    Get the LUBE out…

    Microshaft has a long history of bringing forward “bulk” sales so that they can claim the best ever launch for a new product – like WTF 8.

    This Ponzi strategy worked to their advance when the PC market was expanding.

    However, this Ponzi strategy turns [seriously] sour [very quickly] when the market goes into decline.

    The string of announcements [recently] from Microshaft strongly suggest that the latest [real] numbers are truly disastrous and the crew of the USS Ponzi are in panic mode as they quickly rearrange the seating to avoid looking like the RMS Titanic.

    Hence the new corporate structure and the search for a new corporate saviour.

    Throwing the Treadmill Certification program overboard clearly indicates that Microshaft doesn’t want any third party competition that could undermine their corporate support and consultancy revenues.

    This is only just the beginning.

    Customers are advised to purchase plenty of lube before bending over.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh, VMware

    Certifications have such a short shelf life. Concentrate on real world skills and project expertise. It will count for more with future employers than a bunch of VDX, MSCE or CCIE's. Remember CNE ?

  21. raving angry loony

    Fairly predictable.

    If the MS-certified folks feel that Microsoft has stabbed them in the back or otherwise abused them, I'd like to suggest that perhaps these certifications aren't really all that good after all. If you haven't figured out by now that dealing with Microsoft means eventually getting screwed over, then you haven't really learned much. The question when dealing with Microsoft Corp isn't "will they fuck me over" but rather "how will they fuck me over".

    1. PhilBuk
      Facepalm

      Re: Fairly predictable.

      And that, Grasshopper, is the final lesson........

      Phil.

    2. Tom 13

      Re: Fairly predictable.

      and when. Don't forget when.

      They may be your friend while as they fight bigger sharks. But only until they've fought off the bigger shark.

  22. banjomike
    FAIL

    "The IT industry is changing rapidly"...

    ... it is indeed, and Microsoft are showing that they no longer have any idea of what that industry involves. This isn't the first time they have screwed with the certification scheme. Years ago they made some of the certs time dependent so that they expired when Microsoft felt like it not when a product disappeared from the IT departments of the real world. Add this to the manure heap that is Windows 8, killing one of the best Flight Simulator games EVER, scrapping MS Money... and it becomes clear that MS have no idea, no idea at all about what goes on.

  23. Blofeld's Cat
    Devil

    Hmm...

    Perhaps it is time for me to revive my own money making professional accreditation scheme.

    The principle is very straightforward - the more money you send me, the more impressive will be the title printed on your receipt 100 gsm watermarked* paper certificate.

    For example GBP 100 will get you a certificate stating you are an Accredited Resource Service Engineer. To become a Senior Heuristics Implementation Technician will cost you just GBP 2500.

    No actual work, skills, or competence needed. Other titles are available on request. Payment by used notes in small denominations only please. Free pen to first 100 applicants.

    *For an extra GBP 100 I will find some paper the cat hasn't "watermarked" yet.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm...

      "GBP 100 will get you a certificate stating you are an Accredited Resource Service Engineer. To become a Senior Heuristics Implementation Technician will cost you just GBP 2500"

      You should try advertising those on Amazon Local. I already get adverts for similar stuff.

      Mind you my world class employer's software training budget for the whole of Engineering appears to be a short round figure, so I probably won't be learning anything relevant to them, and the management already have the qualifications you mention.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Certificate in what?

    When I've needed to call in the engineers to sort out a problem that was beyond my competence I've needed someone who understood how my team used the technology and how the bits of hardware talked to each other. The amount of Microsoft knowledge required was surprisingly small. Understanding the quirks of an HP printer, Xerox monster scanner/copier and a small network shared by a couple of dozen individuals who were experts in their own fields and wanted the machines to do what they wanted them to do, in the way that they needed to do it, and not what Microsoft thought they ought to be doing was the key skill required.

  25. blouwagie

    need more not less MS expertise

    As a CIO I find the biggest hurdle of Microsoft vs other solutions is that it is really hard to find resellers who offer know how on Microsoft products. VMware I can find tons of vendors, Microsoft Vcenter, no one wants to. Just a couple core products are well supported.

    Guess Microsoft thinks that all their products are only gonna be in the cloud so no Microsoft knowhow is needed in the field.... last time I checked Microsoft products did not suddenly become so simple you did not need anyone who knows how they fit together.

  26. agoretsky

    makes sense in the larger context of things...

    Hello,

    Given Microsoft's announced direction away from being a software company to a devices and services company, and their increased interest in subscription model licensing (SaaS, IaaS...) through things like Office 365 and Azure, it makes sense for them to retire competency certifications in technologies they do not wish customers to use any more.

    Regards,

    Aryeh Goretsky

  27. Goat Jam

    LOL at the dedicated astroturfer

    who has gone through the entire thread and added a solitary downvote to every single post that is slightly negative towards their Redmond overlords.

    I hope the pay is good is all I can say.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ITT:autism

  29. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Ah, Microsoft

    Microsoft has become a study in how to kill the Golden Goose.

    And you have to admit, it's doing its damndest.

  30. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    cue the music

    Why MCA?

  31. Stretch

    reminds me of wow tbh

    Its just like when Blizzard removes an achievement, much QQ!! Make the cert a Feat Of Strength guys, that'll cheer them up. Maybe give them a mount too.

  32. jukejoint

    I'm fairly certain Don Jefe appreciates what one must go through to be a proper Domestic Engineer, even though the standards fluctuate from one situation to the next & the engineers themselves are not given much credit.

    Re locomotive engineers, they are now being replaced with remote-control boxes worn by the yard crews. At least here in the US. Perhaps MS could retool some of them.

  33. Huckleberry Muckelroy

    A Fart in a Windstorm

    I had an MCSE at one time. It was as much professional use to me as a fart in a windstorm.

  34. The Alpha Klutz

    This won't affect me and if it does it will be in a good way so for once I'm genuinely happy to see MS put their foot in it. It must cost them pocket change to run the program and its the most effective money they could possibly spend on marketing since it keeps suckers believing in the product.

    So why did they get rid of it? I think the same reason they got rid of second hand games on X Box.

    It's a hostile takeover. All the terms and contracts have changed to hand ownership of your data to them and to store it on their servers with cooperation from the NSA. It's the end game. Now they don't even care if they piss you off, because you're just another terrorist in their database, and you aint worth shit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm not daft.

      As a DBA why would I support a vendor who wants to take my job away?

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