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Marijuana, Mountain Dew and My MCSE

By shoeboy in Technology
Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 01:11:28 PM EST
Tags: Software (all tags)

There's a lot of discussion in the geek community about the worth (or lack thereof) of MCSE certification. Unfortunately, this discussion has been dominated by individuals who have no idea what is covered in the MCSE curriculum, nor what it takes to pass the tests.

As a proud MCSE, (since 1997) I feel obligated to share my experiences in both obtaining MCSE certification and applying it in the workplace.

I never intended to administer Microsoft SQL Server for a living. I quite literally fell into the field. One minute I was an unskilled high school dropout lifting boxes in a warehouse, and the next, I was a highly paid DBA. I have my MCSE to thank for this, and I have fate to thank for my MCSE.

Like most stories from my late teens and early 20's, this one begins a bad idea and a handfull of controlled substances. I had recently decided to flee the desolate wasteland that is the Salt Lake valley to work in a fish cannery in Bellingham, Washington. Sure I'd reek of fish all the time, but it seemed like a small price to pay for escaping Utah and it's wretched inhabitants. I had my bags packed. My buddy Galen was to provide transportation. I pulled my life savings ($1600 USD) out of the bank, quit my job and prepared to head Northwest. That's when God spoke to me.

God's real name was Martin, but he'd been insisting on being called God for years. With the exception of his girlfriend, everyone had just given in. God was the one who introduced me to marijuana and he felt that it was his duty to smoke me out one last time before I escaped from Zion. I heartily approved of this plan, and God and I proceeded to get baked off our gourds on some extremely potent (for Utah) Oregonian weed. While hopping the fence surrounding the park where we had toked up, my bootlaces got caught in the chain link causing me to plummet earthward - landing on my shoulder. I felt fine, but couldn't raise my right arm above shoulder level. Both God and I considered this extremely philosophical. Then we started giggling.

The next morning, I couldn't move my right arm at all. Further investigation showed that I had separated my right shoulder and would require 4-6 weeks to heal. So much for moving to Bellingham. I couldn't do much of anything until my shoulder healed, so I dyed my hair blonde and started hanging out at the local Barnes and Noble browsing the shelves and playing chess. While browsing, I came across a 4 volume set of Sybex MCSE study guides for $230 USD. I made an impulse buy.

After I got the books home, I made a discovery. They expected you to have access to an NT 4 box. I didn't have one.

I didn't want to return the books, so after smoking half a bowl, I did the next best thing: I bought a 12 pack of Diet Mountain Dew and spent the next 10 hours memorizing the Networking Essentials book. This became my daily routine. 144 ounces of Diet Dew, 10 hours of reading and a pair of smoke breaks.

Maybe it was all the pot, but I found myself really becomming interested in the material. The OSI 7 layer network model was of particular interest. The very idea of a model that is of zero use in the real world, but must always crop up in any discussion of networking struck me as being very zen. Then again, I categorize anything that makes absolutely no damn sense as being "zen." I think it makes me more spiritual.

3 weeks passed and so did the 4 MCSE core exams. My parents started to take notice. Allthough she couldn't afford it, my mother wrote me a check for $600 USD to cover the cost of all the exams. By now I had exhausted to Sybex books, but still needed to take 2 more elective exams in order to get my MCSE. It was time for another trip to the bookstore.

I wasn't sure what elective exams to take, so I decided to buy the cheapest books. The official Microsoft curriculum for the 2 SQL Server tests was on sale for $160 USD, so I got that. I wasn't sure what SQL Server was, but I didn't know what most of the possible elective exam topics were, so I didn't let it bother me.

The SQL Server material was much harder than NT, and I still didn't have an NT box that I could try out the excercises on, so it was back to the 10hr a day cram sessions. I passed the SQL Server 6.5 administration test with exactly 1 question to spare, turned to chapters on database development. I pounded my way through the rest of the book and proceded to score 35% on the exam. That's not a passing score. It's a "check subject for vital signs" score. It's not easy to learn how to code SQL without an actuall database to play with. Fortunately, I was (and am) too stupid to know when I'm beaten. I halved my marijuana intake and upped my study sessions to 12 hours a day. This time I got the exact minimum score required to pass the test. I celebrated by removing my sling.

After dropping out of high school and college, I had finally completed a course of study. And it'd only taken 6 weeks <$1200 USD. I was elated. I celebrated moving to Seattle and getting a perma-temp job doing DBA work at Microsoft. I was getting paid half of what most of my coworkers were getting, but I didn't care. I was still making more than either of my parents had ever made.

I just wish that I could have applied my MCSE knowledge to my new career. I couldn't. In the real world of large IT shops, scripting and command line tools are the norm, even for NT boxen. My MCSE training was only useful as a bullet point on my resume.

Still, the MCSE was the only thing that got me hired on at Microsoft, and it was also a great excuse for spending 6 weeks over-caffeinated and stoned. My only regret is when I hear about people paying $6000 or more for MCSE training courses. I wish I'd had some of what they're smoking.


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Marijuana, Mountain Dew and My MCSE | 53 comments (44 topical, 9 editorial, 1 hidden)
Wrong section! (3.00 / 7) (#4)
by Seumas on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 06:27:57 PM EST

Doesn't this story of MCSE oppression belong under Freedom and Politics?
I just read K5 for the articles.
Speaking of wrong sections (3.42 / 7) (#6)
by shoeboy on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 06:31:59 PM EST

Aren't calls for resectioning usually "editorial" and not "topical"?
No more trolls!
[ Parent ]
no (2.33 / 3) (#8)
by Seumas on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 06:40:46 PM EST

Not when they're humorous, you jackass ;)
I just read K5 for the articles.
[ Parent ]
Ah, so it was humorous (3.00 / 4) (#10)
by shoeboy on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 06:54:29 PM EST

I thought it was very "zen" :)
No more trolls!
[ Parent ]
nothing wrong with an MCSE (4.50 / 18) (#7)
by Seumas on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 06:40:17 PM EST

Look, someone has to suffer to keep the egos of the computer science majors on high. After all, what good can someone who just spends a couple grand and reads some books to become a certified anything be? Certainly not as worthy as someone who spent four years and $60k in college learning the high and mighty art of computers!?

Why, that's almost as silly as suggesting that someone can drop out of highschool, get a GED and move on to a near six-figure career with the biggest Unix giant the world has seen! (Yes, I'm talking about me here).

I'll admit, I do my share of MCSE harassing, but at least half of MCSEs probably know more about NT than I do, just as I know more about Unix than most of them probably do. That said, I would have more faith in a unix geek picking up on and supporting NT more reliably than an MCSE picking up and supporting unix. This is just my experience.

My experience runs the gamut from MCSEs who have written pretty useful unix programs to MCSEs (and this is the more likely occurance) who complain because there isn't a nice little GUI way to do something I'm showing them on the command line.

I don't care what someone's education is. I don't care about their certification. I care about their knowledge and abilities. Unfortunately, we tend to mix our dislike for Windows with a dislike for MCSEs. It's unfair, but common. One of the best unix guys I know started off as an MCSE. If an MCSE gets your foot into the door, then so be it. If an MCSE and a few weeks training will get you to a salary point where you can live and work and afford yourself the resources to learn more advanced systems and subjects, then good for you. It's better than sitting around playing Nintendo and bitching about those MCSE sellouts. Sometimes you have to do what you can with what you have.
I just read K5 for the articles.

nothing wrong /w MCSE (4.00 / 3) (#38)
by clover_kicker on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 01:35:50 PM EST

>I don't care what someone's education is. I don't
>care about their certification. I care about
>their knowledge and abilities. Unfortunately, we
>tend to mix our dislike for Windows with a
>dislike for MCSEs. It's unfair, but common.

I don't have a problem with people with MCSEs, I have a problem with people who are _proud_ of their MCSEs.

Once upon a time in a Novell mailing list far away, a fellow flamed one of the old-timers, basically saying that the poster's CNE was enough to prove that he was right and the old-timer was wrong.

Well, the old-timer in question is a freaking genius who has excellent contacts inside Novell, and routinely alpha tests new products, patches, etc. before the general public even hears about them. The guy wrote most of the FAQ for the list, etc. etc. He didn't bother including any of his educational qualifications in his .sig etc. because he *didn't fscking have to* - his name is well known and what he says is always technically sound.

The CNE and MCSE have a bad name because of lots of incidents just like that.

The CNE/MCSE paper has one use - it can get your resume past the initial resume screening process.

I broke down and got my CNE and MCSE because I was tired of idiots telling me that I had great experience, but they wouldn't hire me without the paper. Both certs were bogus, the CNE being slightly better.

I am the very model of a K5 personality.
I intersperse obscenity with tedious banality.

[ Parent ]
obligatory MCSE-bash (4.00 / 5) (#9)
by Seumas on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 06:42:31 PM EST

Every job requires the right too to do it well. Who can deny that MCSEs are tools?
I just read K5 for the articles.
Who voted for the sixers? (2.83 / 6) (#11)
by shoeboy on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 07:34:23 PM EST

C'mon fess up.

I'm just wondering who the hopeless romantics in the audience are.

No more trolls!
Sixers in four (2.00 / 2) (#16)
by blp on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 08:08:25 PM EST

I voted for the Sixers, not because they have any kind of chance, but because I would love to see the Flakers lose.

I can no longer sit back and allow: Communist Infiltration, Communist Indoctrination, Communist Subversion and the International Communist Conspiracy to sap and inpurify all of our precious bodily fluids.
[ Parent ]

Allen Iverson (2.50 / 2) (#34)
by JazzManJim on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 08:07:03 AM EST

Let me just say that when he first broke into the league, I was *not* a big Allen Iverson fan. I am now. The man has game, guts, and the kind of toughness you just don't get out of most athletes these days. Witness last year's playoffs when he played with what was very nearly a broken foot.

Take Kobe and Shaq...you can have those glory-hounding glamour boys. Allen's got game!

"Hostility toward America is a religious duty, and we hope to be rewarded for it by God...I am confident that Muslims will be able to end the legend of the so-called superpower that is America."
(Osama bin Laden - 10 Jan 1999)
[ Parent ]
I did. (2.50 / 2) (#35)
by eann on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 08:28:37 AM EST

...but mostly 'cos I have to spend a few hours in a car with a Sixers fan next week.

That, and it frightens me that I'm the same age as Shaq. Not only is Dikembe Mutombo older, his name is more fun to say.

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. —MLK

$email =~ s/0/o/; # The K5 cabal is out to get you.

[ Parent ]
A proud MCSE? (2.81 / 11) (#14)
by jeremiah2 on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 07:58:35 PM EST

You are trolling, right? What you're really saying is that the MCSE exam is so easy and meaningless that even a pothead loser can pass.
Change isn't necessarily progress - Wesley J. Smith, Forced Exit
Moron (3.66 / 12) (#15)
by shoeboy on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 08:07:37 PM EST

What you're really saying is that the MCSE exam is so easy and meaningless that even a pothead loser can pass.

That's exactly what I'm saying. And it's true.

You are trolling, right?

Wrong. What I'm doing is using sarcasm to make a serious point. Still, it's entertaining to hear calls of "Troll, Troll" from people who don't know what they mean by that phrase. Keep it up.

Here's a quote: "What stops a man who laughs from speaking the truth?" --Horace

No more trolls!
[ Parent ]
truth is stranger than fiction (5.00 / 1) (#31)
by h2odragon on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 02:53:13 AM EST

and in this instance more entertaining too.

[ Parent ]
mmmmyeah, okay (1.55 / 29) (#17)
by 2400n81 on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 08:19:20 PM EST

Quiz time -- which of these does NOT belong?

shoeboy is:

A. Geekizoid Troll
B. Microsoft Certified Solutions Engineer
C. Convicted Goat Rapist


C. The goat never pressed charges.

..and shoeboy rates down his own detractors, too (1.27 / 22) (#20)
by 2400n81 on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 08:55:15 PM EST

you're pretty censorific for a goat-fellating troll.

[ Parent ]
Re: low ratings (none / 0) (#40)
by Phaser777 on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 02:06:01 PM EST

I don't know about shoeboy, but I rate down offtopic flames and other noise.

Yes, IHBT. Couldn't resist.

My business plan:
Obtain the patents for something (the more obvious and general the better)
Wait u
[ Parent ]
It's only censorship if you give a zero. (none / 0) (#49)
by marlowe on Wed Jun 06, 2001 at 10:47:05 AM EST

And I'm mostly giving you a 5 just because I don't like the way they censored you.

-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
[ Parent ]
My problem with MCSEs (3.58 / 12) (#19)
by derek_m on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 08:54:28 PM EST

So far I have not met even one person with this qualification who had any worthwhile knowledge of NT.

Sure - they might be able to install it with the help of the manuals after a few attempts, but a monkey could do that.

The existence of the MCSE is more a sign of Microsofts realisation that they needed to add additional revenue streams to their business model a few years ago than it is a useful qualification.

If anyone feels the need to give their (or their companies) money to Microsoft then feel free - but I certainly wouldnt encourage them.

Mmkay, you want your l33t hax0r sticker now? (3.00 / 6) (#22)
by regeya on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 09:29:12 PM EST

My father is highly skilled in the mechanical arts. My wife is about to go back to school for her Master's degree (flog me repeatedly if I said it wrong; doing so is conducive to a straightforward conversation ;-).

But install NT with the help of manuals? Nah, neither one of 'em. My dad? Well, maybe, so long as nothing goes wrong. But my wife, the skilled, talented musician who's great with kids? No. She can barely handle the Win9x user interface. Want her installing NT? I think not.

Please take your l33t hax0r attitude elsewhere. ;-)

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

sure, why not. (3.00 / 1) (#39)
by Kartoffel on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 01:39:13 PM EST

Call it silly names if you wish-- being a l33t hax0r is a valid "skill". There's nothing wrong with having a knack for installing NT, or being comfortable around Unix.

Neither is there anything wrong with being a good musician who's great with kids. Take your own advice and lighten up.

[ Parent ]
Well, wait. (none / 0) (#44)
by regeya on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 06:06:35 PM EST

The point I was trying to make was that, hm, okay, it's one thing to say that any moron can install and administer NT, but practice is different.

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

Bollocks (4.50 / 2) (#32)
by nobbystyles on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 05:41:35 AM EST

MCSEs without any experience are probably not going to be very good. However it does provide a certain base of knowlege to enable people to get their first job as a junior support/admin. People have to start somewhere and someone has to support the NT and Windows 2000 boxes out there.

I know plenty of people with MCSE who are not clueless newbies. They also support Unix boxes as well. The qualification itself is no worse than the other certifications offered by competing firms such as Sun or Novell.

[ Parent ]
MCSE not as valuable as it once was. (4.00 / 1) (#36)
by golek on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 09:09:40 AM EST

Microsoft, through its unabashed marketing of the MCSE cert to those trying to break into the industry and its creating exams (NT4 anyway) that were easy enough for complete novices to pass with a little bit of book study, has cheapened the cert. Having the MCSE is no longer the asset it once was. There are too many MCSEs out there who don't know what they are doing. There is one in my office who can't even add a printer on his workstation without coming to me for assistance.

To make matters worse, technical schools are now building entire curriculi that focus entirely on the Microsoft exams. What ever happened to getting a well rounded education? How prepared will their graduates be to enter the workforce and be an effective employee? There is a whole lot more to working in IT than being familiar with Microsoft's latest OS.

[ Parent ]

Hmmm... (4.00 / 1) (#43)
by stuartf on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 05:06:47 PM EST

Microsoft, through its unabashed marketing of the MCSE cert to those trying to break into the industry and its creating exams (NT4 anyway) that were easy enough for complete novices to pass with a little bit of book study, has cheapened the cert.

Microsoft has never marketed the MCSE to those trying to break into the industry. It's position always was that the MCSE was for people who had at least 1 years experience in the industry.

Others may well have done so, especially training centres, and bootcamp style places. These are the people responsible for cheapening the cert.

I wouldn't hire anyone who had the cert with no experience, as it shows they don't even understand the nature of the certification.

[ Parent ]

training centers (none / 0) (#48)
by golek on Wed Jun 06, 2001 at 08:49:59 AM EST

I agree that the blame cannot be laid solely at the feet of Microsoft. Training centers are definitely guilty as are technically inept HR departments who placed certification above all else when looking for candidates, but Microsoft also bears some responsiblity. If they don't condone what the training centers are doing, why do they link their website to them?


IMHO, Microsoft structures the cert programs to maximize revenue for Microsoft. Certs are retired prematurely, as a way to encourage sales of their latest and greatest products and MCSEs must pony up more cash or become uncertified. Never mind that there are still a lot of companies out their who have yet to upgrade and have no plans to do so in the near future.

[ Parent ]

Crappy certifications... (2.33 / 6) (#24)
by Jive Billy on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 10:34:06 PM EST

Ok, despite the trollish nature of the story (could be true I guess), I have seen many people get these types of certifications without ever touching the product. I have an Oracle OCP which was (for me) pathetically easy to get -- I use Oracle at work yet you really don't need to in order to pass the tests.

What scares me are the people that advertise these things on business cards and such. It's nothing to brag home about. If you work with Oracle, then you should be able to pass an OCP. Equally for NT and the MSCE. Otherwise, what the heck are you getting paid for?

University was great for me, and getting my OCP was a good refresher, but nothing beats real world experience IMHO.

Can you explain (2.75 / 4) (#25)
by shoeboy on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 10:44:52 PM EST

Ok, despite the trollish nature of the story

How is the story trollish?

Who am I trolling?

What, pray tell, do you think my hidden agenda is?

Have I become so good that I can troll without meaning to?

Let me know.

No more trolls!
[ Parent ]
Well.... (4.00 / 2) (#26)
by Jive Billy on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 10:49:47 PM EST

If you say it's true, then I'll believe you shoeboy. However, your story would also make a good troll (though there may be far fewer MSCEs here than elsewhere).

[ Parent ]
Really now (5.00 / 4) (#33)
by Phil the Canuck on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 07:44:21 AM EST

You're Shoeboy. You could write about the sky being blue and some nut would accuse you of trolling.


I don't think being an idiot comes with a pension plan though. Unless you're management of course. - hulver
[ Parent ]

Shoeboy (1.00 / 1) (#47)
by Type-R on Wed Jun 06, 2001 at 02:49:53 AM EST

Only because it'd be true...

[ Parent ]
Where trolls come from. (3.18 / 11) (#27)
by Signal 11 on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 11:18:33 PM EST

I finally figured it out. There really aren't any trolls.. they're just normal geeks who smoked too much of something and had access to a computer at the time.

Either that, or that's how BASIC was invented. I forget...

Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

please (4.00 / 1) (#28)
by Wah on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 12:09:14 AM EST

basic makes way too much sense to by written while high. Perl on the other hand....
Some things, bandwidth can't buy. For everything else, there's Real Life | SSP
[ Parent ]
Some random quotes (4.50 / 8) (#29)
by Stick on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 12:34:11 AM EST

I found myself really becomming interested in the material.

The next morning, I couldn't move my right arm at all.

This became my daily routine.

Stick, thine posts bring light to mine eyes, tingles to my loins. Yea, each moment I sit, my monitor before me, waiting, yearning, needing your prose to make the moment complete. - Joh3n

funny (3.40 / 5) (#30)
by renai42 on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 01:20:33 AM EST

this damny funny. We need more humour at kuro5hin. This guy has put quite a bit of effort (and weed) into writing this story :)

Drugs, degrees, and MCSEs (4.75 / 8) (#37)
by your_desired_username on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 09:36:19 AM EST

I have a younger brother, who at the age of about 16 or so, smoked his first ever eighth of chronic, then took 6 hits of lsd, because he actually only got one hit of that eighth (two girls smoked the rest of it.) Later, he went to a friends house, got on irc, and heard about Linux.

During the following 8 months he:

(0) Overclocked his 8-bit nes in a manner that (a) made many games run much faster, often too fast to be playable, (b) made most games not run at all, and (c) eventually caused the demise of his both his nes and the extrodinarily-difficult-to-play _Super Mario 3_.

(1) Installed Linux on the computers of several unsuspecting friends and not-friends.

(2) Commandeered a new (for that time) macintosh from a kindly and unsuspecting physics professor at the University of Utah, under the guise of a 'technical assitant intern' or some such.

(3) Wrote a plethora of DOS and MacOS file manipulating programs in TurboPascal 7.0 and (I think) MetroWerks Pascal. (The DOS and MacOS tools shared no code; he used x86, 68k, and ppc assembly with appalling frequency.)

5 years later, he makes 65k/year writing load-balancing software and playing cvs tyrant at LinuxNetworx. This kid never graduated high school, is stoned often enough to pressure his salary, and can code as well as the best of us.

By the way, this is not a troll, and despite many accusations, I doubt shoeboy's submission is either (despite his past history). I am not pot smoker, but after several years of knowing a few, I have learned that pot smokers are not neccessarily morons, or less intelligent than the rest of us. I thought most k5 readers knew this, but some who have posted appear not to.

As for MSCEs, I have one as close friend, who is Iomega's lead web-developer, and can configure apache in more ways than most of us can imagine. He says that the MSCE is mostly a fraud, but anything can be a learning opportunity if you try hard enough, and MSCE training classes are a worse fraud, but sometimes you get lucky and get good instructors.

Certifications, degrees, drugs, and other nonsense are indepedent of a person's ability to do the job.

have I been trolled? (4.55 / 9) (#41)
by tomkludy on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 03:23:47 PM EST

maybe.. but this guy seems like every MCSE I've had the unfortunate opportunity to interview.

Let's recap:
- No access to or experience with computers
- Passes the core exams never having actually used NT
- Knows what the OSI 7-layer model is, but doesn't know why it's useful
- Passed SQL administration never having actually used SQL
- Finds that his MCSE is useless in the real world

I have learned from painful experience that seeing MCSE on someone's resume is almost guaranteed to mean that the person is hopeless.

Why is this so? I mean, the person had to know SOMETHING in order to pass those tests, right?

I think it's because the kind of person who takes the MCSE exam is probably doing so in order to learn more about NT - in other words, realizing that they don't already know very much - and then the MCSE is so absolutely useless that it doesn't teach them anything. They then apply for jobs that are far above their level, given confidence by the fact that "Microsoft thinks this is enough knowledge".

Then again, I am not a psychologist.. I am a computer engineer. My advice to my younger friends in college: skip the MCSE. Spend your time and money on something more useful toward your career. Like prostitutes.

Those who don't remember the past, are doomed to... what was I saying again?
OSI 7-layer model? USEFUL? (5.00 / 1) (#53)
by Trepalium on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 03:41:25 PM EST

Unless you're adminning a network that uses something that was designed after the OSI model, I fail to see any benefit in the OSI model for standard TCP/IP networks. The only way I've seen the OSI model fit a standard TCP/IP stack is to cluster several of the layers to parts of the stack, or by artificially breaking parts of the stack apart (like the IP protocol TCP).

One of the reasons I think the MCSE fails these days is it doesn't teach one very critical skill you need to deal with -- troubleshooting. For me, troubleshooting seems perfectly natural, however only seeing other people stumble and fail on it shows that it really is an acquired skill that can only be developed by practice. It is unfortunate that virtually none of the certifications can test (the RHCE tries, but I feel the tests it uses are far too simplistic, and don't reflect real world problems).

What it all comes down to is experience and the ability to handle the kind of stress that goes along with a disaster. Either you've worked with servers or you haven't, it's that simple. An MCSE with one or two years experience probably knows what they're doing. An MCSE (or college student, or...) fresh out of school probably doesn't and should work their way through lesser jobs (helpdesk, IT technician, etc) before trying to get a sys admin job.

[ Parent ]

Victim of its own success (2.75 / 4) (#42)
by Sikpup on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 04:14:39 PM EST

There is a reason the MSCE has lost its value. It started out as a legitimate statement that the holder had a clue. I'm sure that the early holders of the certification were competent sys admins. As a result, the certificate became a statement of qualification, and those who held it were able to command higher salaries.

Once the salary spread got big enough, the cram schools and diploma mills got in on the act, turning a valuable certification into a worthless piece of paper.

It started out as what? (4.00 / 1) (#45)
by hotcurry on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 08:21:07 PM EST

A legitimate statement? When was this?

[ Parent ]
When? (4.00 / 1) (#46)
by Sikpup on Wed Jun 06, 2001 at 02:06:56 AM EST

When the certification first appeared. Most of these things (certifications, licenses, etc) do what they are supposed to - test an applicant on their qualifications in a given area. When the document/license/cerficate works too well, the cram school arrives and destroys its credibility.

FCC licenses are like that. They used to be a great measure of the applicants ability to operate/maintain/repair equipment. As long as they kept hold of the testing they were able to keep cram schools from destroying the licenses value. Now the FCC has allowed private companies to administer the tests, and the same company can provide a school - "We guaruntee that if you take our $2000 school you will pass the test" - kind of like letting the fox guard the chicken coop. FCC licenses are not even worth the paper they are printed on.

It pisses me off that the licenses I studied for and earned have been devalued this way. (Amateur Extra, 2nd Class Telegraph, General Telephone, Radar, 6 month svc endorsement, GMDSS operator and maintainer) Now anyone can go to a cram school and get a piece of paper that proves nothing. I'm sure the early MSCE holders feel the same.

[ Parent ]
Too true (none / 0) (#50)
by stuartf on Wed Jun 06, 2001 at 09:03:13 PM EST

I'm an "old school MCSE", I got mine before there were such things as brain dumps and cramsessions. At that stage it was an indication that you knew something. Now any monkey can get the NT 4 cert, the Win2K cert will take a little more effort.

My MCSE was originally in NT 3.51, my first exam was Windows 3.11. Sad.

[ Parent ]

whooda thunk it? (1.33 / 3) (#52)
by Magik Smoke on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 03:27:28 PM EST

Oh look still no score from trollboy. Could it be that he's not entirely objective on the issue? Could it be he's just another looser who enjoys running his mouth? Could it be that he's never even taken ONE microsoft exam and has no idea? Oh look!! It's posted on a page that uses webbugs and usage tracking cookies... I've come to expect objective articles like this from OSDN pages. Face it dood, your just another wannabe leet hax0r in a world filled with em. The rest of us have work to do so STFU fool.

Marijuana, Mountain Dew and My MCSE | 53 comments (44 topical, 9 editorial, 1 hidden)
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