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[Media] Commentary: How About a Useful MCSE Certification?

 
 
T-Bone
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      12-02-2004
Hopefully someone from MS is actually reading this group.
-----------------------------
by Mark Minasi, senior contributing editor, Windows IT Pro magazine

I recently had a chance to talk with the attendees of an MCSE boot
camp during the last half of their 2-week-long journey from
uncertified to MCSE, and it opened my eyes to an awful truth: The MCSE
certification is here to stay. Anyone who's read my articles about the
Microsoft certification programs over the past 10 years knows that I'm
troubled by the notion of a certification controlled by a vendor. But
I guess people like having letters after their names, and human
resources (HR) departments often don't take the time to evaluate
people for their experience, preferring instead to filter people based
on the letters after their names--so I surrender.
But if we're going to have certifications such as MCSE, Cisco
Certified Network Associate (CCNA) and the like, why not make them
useful? Why not teach people what they'll actually need and use,
instead of using Microsoft certification tests as a means of
showcasing every Microsoft technology, no matter how little it's used?
Along those lines, here are a few thoughts:
- Skip the technologies that almost nobody uses. Do we really need
as many questions about NTBackup as are on the server test? Sure, I
use the tool because it's free and I'm cheap, but most folks use a
third-party backup tool. Ditto for SNMP, Internet Authentication
Service (IAS), RRAS, PPTP, and Microsoft Certificate Server. I'm not
saying that they're not good implementations of SNMP, Remote
Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS), IP routing, or VPN. But
in my experience, most folks go to non-Microsoft vendors for those
things. The Infrastructure test's depiction of a firm's multisite
network built using a Windows server as the backbone IP router is
ludicrous, and asking people to design networks in an imaginary
universe in which Cisco Systems, Check Point Software Technologies,
and a host of other vendors don't exist is silly. Worse yet, imagine
if a freshly minted MCSE were to actually recommend and try to
implement an all-Microsoft solution. Yikes.
- Focus on products and technologies that everyone uses or would
use if they knew how. Which services can you safely disable on a Web
server? How do you set up and, more important, back up and restore a
share configured with one of Windows Server 2003's most attractive new
services, Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS)?
Part of the MCSE certification is a mandatory test on the most
recent version or two of Windows NT Workstation; as far as I know, you
can currently get your MCSE with either the Windows XP Professional
Edition or Windows 2000 Professional tests. But much of the real world
still uses (and probably will use for a long time to come) Windows 9x.
I use and like XP, but I wouldn't force my clients to use it. If a
customer wants to use Win98, then I should be able to support it, and
the Win98 test ought to be a valid substitute for the XP or Win2K
tests for MCSE candidates.
- The exam should include questions about limitations in Microsoft
software. For example, how can you give a user permissions to create
and modify files in a folder but prevent that user from being able to
delete files in the folder? Answer: In a practical sense, you can't
because most file-oriented applications let you modify files by
clicking File/Save, and that command first saves the current document
in memory to a new file. Then, the application deletes the old file
and renames the new file to the old file's name. Here's another
example (this question is probably the number-one question I get from
ex-Novell administrators): I've created a share that contains several
folders. I set NTFS permissions on those folders to give different
groups of users different access levels. How can I keep Windows from
showing users folders to which they're denied access? Answer: You
can't. How can I configure a user's copy of Microsoft Office Outlook
2003 to support full remote procedure call (RPC)-style connectivity to
a Microsoft Exchange Server server when the user has more than one
mailbox on the Exchange server? You can't. How can I set different
password requirements for groups in a domain? Again, impossible.
Asking questions such as these prepares a would-be Microsoft expert to
be able to support people in the real world.
- When necessary, discuss third-party software. Remote Installation
Service (RIS) is a neat product, but I only rarely come across clients
that use it to roll out desktops. Most administrators couldn't care
less about RIS; they use Symantec's Norton Ghost or similar product.
So why not include a thorough set of questions about using Sysprep and
Ghost in the XP test? And include questions about backup. It's a good
idea to ensure that people can use some kind of backup tool, but not a
good idea to require that they understand NTBackup. Why not require
that the test subject answer three questions about backup, but let him
or her choose whether to answer them about NTBackup, VERITAS
Software's Backup Exec, UltraBac Software's UltraBac, or some other
major backup software?
- Don't ask memorization questions; isn't that what Help is for? I
recall a question in the NT 3.5 TCP/IP test that asked what command
will dump NetBIOS names for a host, given its IP address. I knew that
Nbtstat was the command, and that the option was either -A or -a, but
I couldn't remember which one. (-A takes IP addresses; -a takes host
names. I don't know why it's not smart enough to handle either
parameter--Ping, Nslookup, and a few dozen other IP-related utilities
can process either.) I found the question infuriating. What's the
point of the "/?" command if I'm expected to memorize parameters?
Similarly, the Win2K test asked something about the accessibility
tools, a question that I could easily answer in about three clicks,
had I access to a Win2K desktop. That's the whole point of a GUI.
Just imagine: If these tests really tested useful knowledge, then
these certifications would be worthwhile. Of course, it'd be far
better if the certification were controlled by an independent
nonprofit third-party organization, but you can't have everything.



 
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Neil
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Posts: n/a
 
      12-02-2004
did you hear "T-Bone" <reply2me@thenewsgroup> say in news:#E89eCL2EHA.3452
@TK2MSFTNGP14.phx.gbl:

> The Infrastructure test's depiction of a firm's multisite
> network built using a Windows server as the backbone IP router is
> ludicrous, and asking people to design networks in an imaginary
> universe in which Cisco Systems, Check Point Software Technologies,
> and a host of other vendors don't exist is silly.


oooo, I would really like to see some of this....

--
Neil MCNGP #30
"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to
learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for
their apparent disinclination to do so."
-- a quote by Doug Adams (Author of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)
 
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kpg
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      12-02-2004
"T-Bone" <reply2me@thenewsgroup> wrote in message
news:%(E-Mail Removed)...
> Hopefully someone from MS is actually reading this group.


<snip>

Of course, it'd be far
better if the certification were controlled by an independent
nonprofit third-party organization, but you can't have everything.

</snip>

There in lies the problem. MS wants trainees to see all those (useless)
MS features so they will use them and enhance MS market position.
Why would MS promote Norton ghost? When it's good for the
trainee and good for the consumer but bad for MS? (I know it is
debatable if it is indeed bad for MS but work with me here) MS has
a long history of wanting to be the ONLY solution used by its customers.
And you can't really argue with their success.

A kinder, friendlier MS? I don't thing so as long as Bill has anything to
say about it.

kp "not my real name" g


 
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Consultant
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      12-02-2004
poppycock

"Neil" <guess!!!@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:Xns95B3A38FE5E28neilmcsegmailcom@207.46.248.1 6...
> did you hear "T-Bone" <reply2me@thenewsgroup> say in news:#E89eCL2EHA.3452
> @TK2MSFTNGP14.phx.gbl:
>
>> The Infrastructure test's depiction of a firm's multisite
>> network built using a Windows server as the backbone IP router is
>> ludicrous, and asking people to design networks in an imaginary
>> universe in which Cisco Systems, Check Point Software Technologies,
>> and a host of other vendors don't exist is silly.

>
> oooo, I would really like to see some of this....
>
> --
> Neil MCNGP #30
> "Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to
> learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for
> their apparent disinclination to do so."
> -- a quote by Doug Adams (Author of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)



 
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Rowdy Yates
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      12-02-2004
mark is just full of great ideas. thats why he writes while the rest of
us do. (i wonder if cisco is gonna start testing on winxp - after all -
90% of all the traffic going thru their products is coming from a
microsoft product of some kind)

what microsoft should do is make the exams more expensive and have a
hands on portion. as i always keep saying - if you meet a RHCE - you know
one thing for sure - the guy has physically touched a Red Hat server of
some kind.

p.s. Rowdy finally took and passed his CompTIA IT Project+/Project+ exam.
after almost a whole year of postponing and procrastinating. but whatever
you do - don't let me anywhere near your IT projects - i am bound to run
them +150% over budget.






"T-Bone" <reply2me@thenewsgroup> wrote in news:#E89eCL2EHA.3452
@TK2MSFTNGP14.phx.gbl:

> Hopefully someone from MS is actually reading this group.
> -----------------------------
> by Mark Minasi, senior contributing editor, Windows IT Pro magazine
>
> I recently had a chance to talk with the attendees of an MCSE boot
> camp during the last half of their 2-week-long journey from
> uncertified to MCSE, and it opened my eyes to an awful truth: The MCSE
> certification is here to stay. Anyone who's read my articles about the
> Microsoft certification programs over the past 10 years knows that I'm
> troubled by the notion of a certification controlled by a vendor. But
> I guess people like having letters after their names, and human
> resources (HR) departments often don't take the time to evaluate
> people for their experience, preferring instead to filter people based
> on the letters after their names--so I surrender.
> But if we're going to have certifications such as MCSE, Cisco
> Certified Network Associate (CCNA) and the like, why not make them
> useful? Why not teach people what they'll actually need and use,
> instead of using Microsoft certification tests as a means of
> showcasing every Microsoft technology, no matter how little it's used?
> Along those lines, here are a few thoughts:
> - Skip the technologies that almost nobody uses. Do we really need
> as many questions about NTBackup as are on the server test? Sure, I
> use the tool because it's free and I'm cheap, but most folks use a
> third-party backup tool. Ditto for SNMP, Internet Authentication
> Service (IAS), RRAS, PPTP, and Microsoft Certificate Server. I'm not
> saying that they're not good implementations of SNMP, Remote
> Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS), IP routing, or VPN. But
> in my experience, most folks go to non-Microsoft vendors for those
> things. The Infrastructure test's depiction of a firm's multisite
> network built using a Windows server as the backbone IP router is
> ludicrous, and asking people to design networks in an imaginary
> universe in which Cisco Systems, Check Point Software Technologies,
> and a host of other vendors don't exist is silly. Worse yet, imagine
> if a freshly minted MCSE were to actually recommend and try to
> implement an all-Microsoft solution. Yikes.
> - Focus on products and technologies that everyone uses or would
> use if they knew how. Which services can you safely disable on a Web
> server? How do you set up and, more important, back up and restore a
> share configured with one of Windows Server 2003's most attractive new
> services, Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS)?
> Part of the MCSE certification is a mandatory test on the most
> recent version or two of Windows NT Workstation; as far as I know, you
> can currently get your MCSE with either the Windows XP Professional
> Edition or Windows 2000 Professional tests. But much of the real world
> still uses (and probably will use for a long time to come) Windows 9x.
> I use and like XP, but I wouldn't force my clients to use it. If a
> customer wants to use Win98, then I should be able to support it, and
> the Win98 test ought to be a valid substitute for the XP or Win2K
> tests for MCSE candidates.
> - The exam should include questions about limitations in Microsoft
> software. For example, how can you give a user permissions to create
> and modify files in a folder but prevent that user from being able to
> delete files in the folder? Answer: In a practical sense, you can't
> because most file-oriented applications let you modify files by
> clicking File/Save, and that command first saves the current document
> in memory to a new file. Then, the application deletes the old file
> and renames the new file to the old file's name. Here's another
> example (this question is probably the number-one question I get from
> ex-Novell administrators): I've created a share that contains several
> folders. I set NTFS permissions on those folders to give different
> groups of users different access levels. How can I keep Windows from
> showing users folders to which they're denied access? Answer: You
> can't. How can I configure a user's copy of Microsoft Office Outlook
> 2003 to support full remote procedure call (RPC)-style connectivity to
> a Microsoft Exchange Server server when the user has more than one
> mailbox on the Exchange server? You can't. How can I set different
> password requirements for groups in a domain? Again, impossible.
> Asking questions such as these prepares a would-be Microsoft expert to
> be able to support people in the real world.
> - When necessary, discuss third-party software. Remote Installation
> Service (RIS) is a neat product, but I only rarely come across clients
> that use it to roll out desktops. Most administrators couldn't care
> less about RIS; they use Symantec's Norton Ghost or similar product.
> So why not include a thorough set of questions about using Sysprep and
> Ghost in the XP test? And include questions about backup. It's a good
> idea to ensure that people can use some kind of backup tool, but not a
> good idea to require that they understand NTBackup. Why not require
> that the test subject answer three questions about backup, but let him
> or her choose whether to answer them about NTBackup, VERITAS
> Software's Backup Exec, UltraBac Software's UltraBac, or some other
> major backup software?
> - Don't ask memorization questions; isn't that what Help is for? I
> recall a question in the NT 3.5 TCP/IP test that asked what command
> will dump NetBIOS names for a host, given its IP address. I knew that
> Nbtstat was the command, and that the option was either -A or -a, but
> I couldn't remember which one. (-A takes IP addresses; -a takes host
> names. I don't know why it's not smart enough to handle either
> parameter--Ping, Nslookup, and a few dozen other IP-related utilities
> can process either.) I found the question infuriating. What's the
> point of the "/?" command if I'm expected to memorize parameters?
> Similarly, the Win2K test asked something about the accessibility
> tools, a question that I could easily answer in about three clicks,
> had I access to a Win2K desktop. That's the whole point of a GUI.
> Just imagine: If these tests really tested useful knowledge, then
> these certifications would be worthwhile. Of course, it'd be far
> better if the certification were controlled by an independent
> nonprofit third-party organization, but you can't have everything.
>
>
>




--
Rowdy Yates, MCNGP #39
http://www.mcngp.com/
"Shhhh... Do you smell that? I think is't Albanian Goat Smegma!"
http://www.geocities.com/rowdy_yates_mcngp/
http://www.geocities.com/rowdy_yates_mcngp/google.gif
 
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Neil
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      12-03-2004
did you hear "Consultant" <consultant_mcngp@yahoodotcom> say in
news:(E-Mail Removed):

>
> poppycock
>
>


BUGLES...and some "bits and bites"

http://www.lincolnsnacks.com/Poppycock/poppycock.htm

--
Neil MCNGP #30
"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to
learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for
their apparent disinclination to do so."
-- a quote by Doug Adams (Author of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)
 
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Neil
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      12-03-2004
did you hear "kpg" <(E-Mail Removed)> say in news:eEg7hRL2EHA.3840
@tk2msftngp13.phx.gbl:

> <snip>
>
> Of course, it'd be far
> better if the certification were controlled by an independent
> nonprofit third-party organization, but you can't have everything.
>
> </snip>
>
> There in lies the problem.


<sarcasm>
yes, the certs from CompTIA are so much better and mean that the cert
holders are competent in multiple vendors products...
</sarcasm>

While I think Manasi is a fairly bright guy, I also think he's off the
track for some of this. Vendor certification will be tunnel visioned no
matter what but vendor neutral certification is too wide a net to catch
anything. Unless you want to test on nothing but industry standard
accepted tech (TCP/IP theory, HTML, XML, L2TP/IPSec) they can't play
favorietes. You can't even throw a question about EIGRP on an vendor
neutral exam without someone kicking up a fuss. The problem is most
vendors want "evangelists" just as much as they want "engineers". I would
actually like to see a MS test that at least gave lip service to Citrix,
Cisco (et all), veritas (et all), etc. but I think there would be to many
vendors that would want thier names plastered all over everyone elses
exam. Such is life, diversify...

--
Neil MCNGP #30
"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to
learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for
their apparent disinclination to do so."
-- a quote by Doug Adams (Author of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)
 
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