According to Microsoft India’s Microsoft Learning portal, the company’s most popular choice amongst certification candidates in India is currently the MCSE: Server Infrastructure (MCSE) credential. This certification “validates that you have the skills needed to run a highly efficient and modern data center, with expertise in identity management, systems management, virtualization, storage and networking.”
The new MCSE, of course, stands for Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert, as opposed to the old MCSE which was an acronym for Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer. The change was made to reflect a greater focus on the Cloud. Because most businesses are rapidly moving their operations to the Cloud, the MCSE Server Infrastructure Certification is quickly becoming the most preferred choice among the various MCSE certifications.
The MCSE is popular among system administrators, information security analysts and IT administrators. Given the sheer number of jobs requesting MCSE certification, this credential has become the top choice of job seekers, be it new entrants or among experienced employees looking to upgrade their skillsets.
In this article, I’ll explore the reasons why this cert is so much in demand, look at the level of salaries certificate holders can command, and explain the process to obtain the certification.
First let’s see how you can obtain this certification in the fastest possible manner. According to Microsoft Learning, there are five exams that must be cleared in order to obtain the MCSE: Server Infrastructure qualification:
|1||Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012||410|
|2||Administering Windows Server 2012||411|
|3||Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services||412|
|[After successfully completing steps 1-3, you’ll earn a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): Windows Server 2012 certification.]|
|4||Designing and Implementing a Server Infrastructure||413|
|5||Implementing an Advanced Server Infrastructure||414|
Cost and Validity of the Certification
The cost of each module in India is currently fixed at ₹ 4,500 (approximately $68 U.S.). The entire MCSE- Server Infrastructure certification cost comes to around ₹ 22,500 ($340 U.S.). This however does not include the cost of preparing for the exam itself, which could cost as much as the certification, or even more, depending on the training provider.
It is important to note that the validity of the new MCSE is three years after which one needs to apply for recertification. For more information on earning the MCSE: Server Infrastructure, click here.
Fastest options to get certified:
The length of time to complete this certification varies. It is possible to clear the five different exam modules in as little as five months by planning an exam every three to four weeks. If you’ve already cleared the MCSA Server 2012, then with proper planning you can clear the remaining exams within two months.
Each of the exams usually takes between two and three hours to complete and consist of between 40 and 90 multiple-choice, drag-and-drop, and solution-building questions. The exams also consists of a variety of simulated content in which students must perform certain common administrative tasks.
Other routes to upgrading to the MCSE: Server Infrastructure certification is via the following routes:
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
Why earn an MCSE
One of the main reasons why an MCSE certification is so desirable is because it is recognized globally by businesses, organizations and government entities as the standard of competency in Microsoft products. MCSE also demonstrates that credentialed professionals possess “advanced problem-solving, creative thinking, and other IT related skills and abilities.”
Employers typically rely on MCSE professionals for a myriad of critical tasks and job roles including the following:
- System upgrades, configuration changes, monitoring server performance and providing support to the client’s computing customers.
- Implementing and managing security and data privacy across the server infrastructure
- Enterprise backup software in a Windows environment
- Developing and executing server/infrastructure patch management schedules
- Maintaining system security standards, and trouble-shooting issues and remediating deficiencies
- Performing analysis, diagnosis, and resolution of complex problems on both physical and virtual infrastructure platforms
- Daily systems engineering, administration in large size Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012 environments
Besides peer recognition, and endorsement as a recognized expert in Microsoft technologies, MCSE professionals also receive real-life benefits in terms of increased earning potential and faster promotions.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for information security analysts is expected to increase by 37 percent by 2022. Best of all MCSE: Server Infrastructure professionals command an annual salary of around $86,600 (U.S.), and as mentioned previously, salaries are expected to continue increasing thanks to most businesses moving their operations to the cloud.
Given the excellent career growth prospects thanks to the huge spurt in global server infrastructure demand, the MCSE: Server Infrastructure should be considered as an excellent qualification option for both new job seekers and experienced professionals looking to upgrade their skills.