Earlier Microsoft Certifications (MCP, MCSA, MCSE)

Published: 29th May 2009
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Earlier Microsoft Certifications (MCP,

Up until the release of the new generation of certifications (from the IT Pro
side), there were just four certifications that roughly equated to four distinct
levels: MCP, MCSA, MCSE, and MCA. These were not product-specific (for the most
part, there some that were platform-specific), nor did they denote cross-product

Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP)

The first level in the certification hierarchy was the Microsoft Certified
Professional (MCP). The MCP certification meant that you had taken and passed a
certification test, any test at any level (with some caveats based on upgrade
tests). This was one of the key issues with this certification. The MCP never
denoted on what product you had tested - just that you had passed a test and
were certified as an MCP. This did not in any way diminish the value or worth of
the MCP, but it did create confusion for IT managers, human resource
departments, and the IT pros themselves. What value could be placed on an MCP
certification (or rather the test that was passed to achieve the MCP)? What did
it mean for the IT pro? "Was there a qualitative value difference between what
test the individual passed in order to earn their MCP? These were all very good
questions, and they were answered with the MCTS and
MCITP certifications.

Microsoft Certified System Administrator (MCSA)

The next level in the old Microsoft Certification hierarchy is the Microsoft
Certified System Administrator (MCSA). The MCSA certification came long after
the Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE). This certification was supposed
to represent a differentiation between the SA (System Administrator) and the SE
(System Engineer) with respect to the job role that the IT pro would fulfill,
based on these certifications. Unfortunately,

many people saw the MCSA as more of a precursor or a stepping stone to the
MCSE - it was believed (rightly or
wrongly) to be not as "valuable" as the MCSE, and there were some who didn't
want to "settle" for the MCSA

Older Certification Numbers

As stated earlier - there are over 2 million Microsoft Certifications that have
been earned by individuals since 1992 (as of 9 July 2008). That is an amazing
number of certifications - in fact, it is slightly more than the entire
population of New Mexico. But this figure is misleading as this includes ALL
certifications earned over the years. (There are over 395, 798 MCSEs on Windows
NT4 alone!) Table 1 is a list of the current certification numbers for the MCSE
and MCSA certifications on Windows Server 2000 and 2003. In both cases, there
are more MCSAs then there are MCSEs.

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