To some extent, it’s fair to look at the MCITP credentials as an answer to the question: “Where do MCTS on the networking/admin side go for the next rung in the MS certification ladder?” This is territory that’s still being explored and mapped, because a growing crop of new MCTS certified professionals is starting to seek answers to that very question. That’s where a look at the various MCITP credentials becomes instructive (I skip the MCITP at the beginning of each credential name below in the interests of brevity; Microsoft does not):
- SQL Server 2005 credentials:
Business Intelligence Developer:
Pre-req 70-445 SQL Server 2005 BI; Exam: 70-446: Designing a BI Infrastructure using SQL Server 2005. “Business intelligence developers design and implement multi-dimensional database models (logical and physical), data marts, data warehousing, data transforms, data analytics, and reporting solutions.”
Database Developer: Pre-req: 70-431; Exams: 70-441 Desginign Database Solutions by Using Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and 70-442 Designing and Optimizing Data Access by Using Microsoft SQL Server 2005. “…design, create, deploy, and maintain database solutions by using SQL Server 2005.”
Database Administrator: Pre-req: 70-431; Exams: 70-443 Designing a Database Server Infrastructure by Using Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and 70-444 Optimizing and Maintaining a Database Adminsitration Solution by Using Microsoft SQL Server 2005. (Note 70-431 and 70-447 permit MCDBA’s to upgrade to this cert.)
- SQL Server 2008 credentials:
BI Developer 2008: Pre-req: one of 70-448; Exam: 70-452 Designing a BI Infrastructure using SQL Server 2008. Business intelligence developers design and implement multi-dimensional database models (logical and physical), data marts, data warehousing, data transforms, data analytics, and reporting solutions.
Database Developer 2008: Pre-req: One of 70-443; Exam: 70-451 Designing Database Solutions and Data Access Using Microsoft SQL Server 2008. “…design, create, deploy, and maintain database solutions by using SQL Server 2008.”
Database Administrator 2008: Pre-req: 70-432; Exam 70-450 Designing, Optimizing, and Maintaining a Database Infrastructure using Microsoft SQL Server 2008. “…design, deploy, optimize, and maintain SQL Server 2008.” (Note upgrade exams from 2005 to 2008 are also available.)
- Consumer Support Technician:
Pre-req 70-620 Configuring Microsoft Windows Vista; Exam: 70-623 Supporting and Troubleshooting Applications on a Windows Vista Client… “…highlight and validate your expertise and skill set in a job role supporting a broad range of consumer desktop operating systems, desktop applications, mobile devices, networking, and hardware support issues related to the Windows Vista operating system.”
- Enterprise Messaging Administrator:
Pre-req: 70-236; Exams: 70-237 Designing Messaging Solutions with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and 70-238 Deploying Messaging Solutions with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007. “…validates the knowledge and skills associated with performing as the lead engineer for messaging solutions within an enterprise organization, as well as the ability to design and deploy messaging solutions with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007.”
- Enterprise Project Management with Microsoft Office Project Server 2007:
Pre-reqs: 70-632 and 70-633; Exam: 70-634 Micorsoft Office Project Server 2007, Managing Projects and Programs. “…designed specifically to help project managers apply the leading project management best practices and methodologies as established by the Project Management Institute (PMI), resulting in better project outcomes, greater efficiency, and optimal resource management.”
- Enterprise Support Technician:
Pre-req: 70-620; Exam 70-622 Supporting and Troubleshooting Applications on a Windows Vista Client for Enterprise Support Technicians. “..validates the knowledge and skills required to deploy and support the Windows Vista operating system.” (Note a separate upgrade exam is available to those who already hold the MCDST.)
- Enterprise Administrator:
Pre-reqs: 70-640, 70-642, 70-643, 70-620 or 70-642 (4 total); Exam: 70-647 Windows Server 2008, Enterprise Administrator. “…demonstrate your skills in Windows infrastructure design and your readiness to excel in working with Windows Server 2008.” (Note upgrade paths from MCSA or MCSE on Windows Server 2003 have been defined; they involved a transition exam plus two additional MCTS exams for MCSA and a transition exam plus three additional MCTS exams for MCSE, plus the MCITP Enterprise Admin exam.)
- Server Administrator:
Pre-reqs: 70-640 and 70-642; Exam: 70-646: Windows Server 2008, Server Administrator. “…demonstrate your leadership and problem-solving skills in working with Windows Server 2008.” (Same upgrade path as for preceding item for MCSA and MCSEs, plus the MCITP Server Admin exam.)
Careful reading of the preceding information and perusal of the related MS Certification Pages (all available through the MCITP Home page) makes several interesting things clear. First, the database certifications for both SQL Server 2005 and 2008 are partitioned into developer, administrator, and business intelligence roles. Second, the Enterprise Administrator emerges as the successor cert to the MCSE, and the Server Administrator the MCSA certifications, and will probably be recognized in the marketplace as such next year. And finally, I see strong evidence that Microsoft has put a lot of time and effort into its cert program designs to make exam requirements more transparent and logical, and to tie credentials to specific platforms and versions so that individuals will have an easier time of explaining or claiming what they know, what they can do, and what problems they can solve to HR professionals and hiring managers in the future.
All in all, the MCITP looks like a serious and hefty credential, especially for Windows Server 2008 Enterprise and Server Administrator credentials, and all the various database credentials. Kudos to Microsoft for defining clear, intelligible upgrade paths, and good certification descriptions and qualifications. This takes a lot of the mystery out of the programs that I and others had to painstakingly decode in previous incarnations.