I’m working for a global chemical concern as a consultant right now, as part of an IT insourcing project they’re undertaking. I’ve been hired to help them acquire, train, and equip their staff with the tools, documentation, and information they’ll need to run IT operations. As a small but important part of that effort, I’ve been involved recently in helping them to craft job descriptions for a series of Windows server operator positions that also involve working with Citrix and VMWare tools and technologies.
Members of the hiring/management team have had no problems agreeing that certifications in this area are not just welcome, but that they should be mandatory for the more senior members of that staff, and highly recommended even for Level 1 operator positions. In the face of a planned migration from Windows XP to 7 on the desktop, and Windows Server 2003 to 2008 R2 on their servers, older credentials like the MCSA and MCSE serve as a point of departure, while attainment of MCTS and MCITP credentials for the newer platforms will be required for more senior staff members *before* the migration actually gets underway.
I think you’ll see more and more of this sort of thing in the employment upswing that is predicted to occur later this year, if not into 2011 and 2012 as well. That makes the present moment an excellent time to start digging into, learning, and earning these certifications (and working with and becoming familiar with the positives and the pitfalls for the platforms involved). In fact, for those looking for more (or any) work in IT right now, this could be a great opportunity to tackle a curriculum to get trained up on the new Windows 7 desktop and related image-building and automated deployment technologies on the desktop side, and the refreshed Windows Server 2008 R2 platform, and important supporting tools such as SMS, MOM, Directory Server, and so forth on the server side as well. Be sure to check out local community college offerings, which are generally quite affordable, and may qualify for government (state or federal) support for those who are currently unemployed.