Friday, 26 September 2014

E is for Expert – which MCSE is made for you?


By 


The Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) certification was the crown jewel of Microsoft’s certification portfolio for two decades, most notably during the Windows Server 2003 and XP era. Then came the rise of Microsoft Certified ITProfessional (MCITP). Although the replacement series of certs was popular, the MCITP struggled to gain the traction of MCSE. The old MCSE was a known quantity, it had an industry recognised credibility that the MCITP could never quite match.


In 2012, Microsoft decided it was time to revive the MCSE. The flagship certification was reinvented with a different name - Microsoft Certified SolutionsExpert, which came with some fundamental changes:
  • Microsoft introduced the need for recertification every two or three years 
  • The legacy was MCSE focused purely on individual job roles, whereas the new Microsoft Certified Solution Expert (MCSE) certification focuses on the holders ability to design and build technology solutions. 
As it stands there are currently eight MCSE credentials available:
  • MCSE: Server Infrastructure 
  • MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure 
  • MCSE: Private Cloud 
  • MCSE: Data Platform 
  • MCSE: Business Intelligence 
  • MCSE: Messaging 
  • MCSE: Communication 
  • MCSE: SharePoint 
Do you want to know which one is made for your skills and needs? Read on to find out.


MCSE: Server Infrastructure


What you’ll learn: With the MCSE: Server Infrastructure certification you’ll be skilled to run an efficient and modern data centre. You’ll also be an expert in identity management, systems management, and storage planning, as well as designing and deploying a virtualised environment.

It’s also worth mentioning that this certification is currently the highest level credential you can achieve on Windows Server 2012.

Who’s it for: If you’re looking to work as a computer support specialist and information security analyst, the MCSE: Server Infrastructure is highly recommended for you, as it will significantly improve your employability prospects.

Prerequisites and upgrades: To earn an MCSE a relevant MCSA is required, in this case it is the MCSA: Windows Server 2012. However, you shouldn’t worry if you have an earlier certification like the MCSA: Windows Server 2008 or a relevant MCITP, because there are upgrades available for these certifications:
  • MCITP: Server Administrator on Windows Server 2008 
  • MCITP: Enterprise Administrator on Windows Server 2008 
  • MCITP: Virtualization Administrator on Windows Server 2008 R2 
  • MCITP: Enterprise Messaging Administrator 2010 
  • MCITP: Lync Server Administrator 2010 
  • MCITP: SharePoint Administrator 2010 
  • MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator on Windows 7 
In order to upgrade, you’ll need to sit the following exams:
  • Exam 70-417 - Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows Server 2012  
  • Exam 70-413 - Designing and Implementing a Server Infrastructure  
  • Exam 70-414  - Implementing an Advanced Server Infrastructure 


MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure


What you’ll learn: The MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure credential proves that you know how to design, deploy, manage and maintain a Windows Server 2012 desktop infrastructure in a virtualised environment.

Who’s it for: Are you interested or already working as a desktop support manager or a data and applications manager? Then this is the cert you need.

Prerequisites and upgrades: If you already have the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 you are looking at a much faster process. You’ll ‘only’ need to pass two exams:

  • Exam 70-415 - Implementing a Desktop Infrastructure 
  • Exam 70-416 - Implementing Desktop Application Environments 

Of course there are upgrades available for this certification as well. Upgradeable certs include:

  • MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator on Windows 7
  • MCSA: Windows Server 2008
  • MCITP: Server Administrator on Windows Server 2008
  • MCITP: Enterprise Administrator on Windows Server 2008
  • MCITP: Virtualization Administrator on Windows Server 2008 R2
  • MCITP: Enterprise Messaging Administrator 2010
  • MCITP: Lync Server Administrator 2010
  • MCITP: SharePoint Administrator 2010

In order to upgrade from any of the above, you’ll need to pass the following three exams:

  • Exam 70-417 - Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows Server 2012 
  • Exam 70-415 - Implementing a Desktop Infrastructure 
  • Exam 70-416 - Implementing Desktop Application Environments 



MCSE: Private Cloud


What you’ll learn: The MCSE: Private Cloud certification proves your skills in managing and implementing Microsoft private cloud computing technologies. Combined with Windows Server and System Center, you’ll be able to build your Microsoft private cloud to provide flexibility for your IT infrastructure.

Who’s it for: As a MCSE: Private Cloud certified professional you’ll be qualified for jobs such as server administrator, systems programmer and network manager.

Prerequisites and upgrades: To earn your MCSE: Private Cloud, you’ll need to get the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 first. Or you can upgrade from these and take a shorter route:

  • MCSA: Windows Server 2008
  • MCITP: Server Administrator on Windows Server 2008
  • MCITP: Enterprise Administrator on Windows Server 2008
  • MCITP: Virtualization Administrator on Windows Server 2008 R2
  • MCITP: Enterprise Messaging Administrator 2010
  • MCITP: Lync Server Administrator 2010
  • MCITP: SharePoint Administrator 2010
  • MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator on Windows 7

Exams needed to upgrade:

  • Exam 70-417 - Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows Server 2012 
  • Exam 70-246 - Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud with System Center 2012 
  • Exam 70-247 - Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud with System Center 2012


MCSE: Data Platform


What you’ll learn: This cert demonstrates your skills in building and administrating large scale data solutions both on-premises and in cloud environments.

Who’s it for: Database analysts and designers.

Prerequisites and upgrades: This certification requires the MCSA: SQL Server credential prior to attaining the full MCSE: Data Platform. Upgrades are available from MCITP: Database Developer 2008 and MCITP: Database Administrator 2008 via the following path:

  • Exam 70-457 - Transition MCTS on SQL Server 2008 to MCSA: SQL Server 2012, Part 1 
  • Exam 70-458 - Transition MCTS on SQL Server 2008 to MCSA: SQL Server 2012, Part 2 
  • Exam 70-459 - Transition MCITP: Database Administrator 2008 or MCITP: Database Developer 2008 to MCSE: Data Platform 


MCSE: Business Intelligence


What you’ll learn: The MCSE: Business Intelligence cert will equip you with the skills and techniques needed to design, build and implement a Business Intelligence platform for SQL Server.

Who’s it for: This cert is ideal for professionals pursuing a reporting engineer career.

Prerequisites and upgrades: To earn your MCSE: Business Intelligence credential you’ll first need to get the MCSA: SQL Server certification. Or if you already have the MCITP: Business Intelligence 2008 you can upgrade by passing the following three exams:

  • Exam 70-457 - Transition MCTS on SQL Server 2008 to MCSA: SQL Server 2012, Part 1 
  • Exam 70-458 - Transition MCTS on SQL Server 2008 to MCSA: SQL Server 2012, Part 2 
  • Exam 70-460 - Transition MCITP: Business Intelligence Developer 2008 to MCSE: Business Intelligence 



MCSE: Messaging


What you’ll learn: With this certification you’ll be able to help your peers to stay connected, access files anytime from anywhere and maintain general messaging security. Learn how to migrate your company to the cloud without trouble, increase productivity and flexibility and improve data security. You’ll also learn to reduce data loss, and improve data security for your organisation.

Who’s it for: The MCSE: Messaging certification is a must have if you’re looking for a position in network and computer systems administration.

Prerequisites and upgrades: To get the MCSE: Messaging cert, first you’ll need to have the MCSA: Windows Server 2012. Plus you can upgrade as well, if you have any of these:

  • MCSA: Windows Server 2008
  • MCITP: Virtualization Administrator on Windows Server 2008 R2
  • MCITP: Enterprise Messaging Administrator on Exchange 2010
  • MCITP: Lync Server Administrator 2010
  • MCITP: SharePoint Administrator 2010
  • MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator on Windows 7



MCSE: Communication


What you’ll learn: With the MCSE: Communication cert under your belt you’ll be an expert in creating a consistent, smooth communications experience within your organisation. You’ll know how to configure, manage and maintain Lync, and monitor the state and quality of communications in your network.

Who’s it for: Similarly to the MCSE: Messaging, the MCSE: Communication certification will also qualify you for a position in network and computer systems administration.

Prerequisites and upgrades: It probably won’t strike you as a surprise but the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 is the first certification you’ll have to obtain on the track to your MCSE: Communication cert. Upgrades are available from:

  • MCSA: Windows Server 2008
  • MCITP: Virtualization Administrator on Windows Server 2008 R2
  • MCITP: Enterprise Messaging Administrator 2010
  • MCITP: Lync Server Administrator 2010
  • MCITP: SharePoint Administrator 2010
  • MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator on Windows 7

You’ll just have to pass these exams:

  • Exam 70-417 - Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows Server 2012 
  • Exam 70-336 - Core Solutions of Microsoft Lync Server 2013 
  • Exam 70-337 - Enterprise Voice & Online Services with Microsoft Lync Server 2013 



MCSE: SharePoint


What you’ll learn: The Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert: SharePoint (MCSE) is a globally recognised standard for IT professionals. With it you’ll boost your expertise in helping your company organise, sync, collaborate and share information across the entire organisation.

Who’s it for: Professionals pursuing a career as a systems or network analyst.

Prerequisites and upgrades: Needless to say MCSA: Windows Server 2012 is a prerequisite and upgrades are available from:

  • MCSA: Windows Server 2008
  • MCITP: Virtualization Administrator on Windows Server 2008 R2
  • MCITP: Enterprise Messaging Administrator 2010
  • MCITP: Lync Server Administrator 2010
  • MCITP: SharePoint Administrator 2010
  • MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator on Windows 7

You’ll just need to pass:

  • Exam 70-417 - Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows Server 2012 
  • Exam 70-331 - Core Solutions of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 
  • Exam 70-332 - Advanced Solutions of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013

Eight certifications, eight paths do go down. Some of them are similar; some of them are fundamentally different. Which one will you pursue?


About the Author:

Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.