There’s not much in IT that actually *requires* programming knowledge but the more you know about it the more it’ll help in your day to day work! I would think/hope your computer engineering degree would be chock full of programming (assembly, C, Java, etc.).
FWIW, I agree with Kevin Beaver: the more you know about it, the more you’ll be able to understand its function and impact on a job in IT. That said, I also agree with the original response that some knowledge of scripting is increasingly essential for IT professionals, especially some kind of UNIX shell (C Shell, Bourne shell, and so forth) for UNIX/Linux systems, and VBScript or PowerShell for modern Windows ones.
HTH, and thanks for posting,
I agree with Ed, you should definitely familiarize yourself with scripting in Linux/Windows. I *still* use .bat files (the original scripting for the PC) to script things in my work and I know admins can benefit as much or more.
Learn the Windows command prompt and the myriad administrative tools available from the command prompt. Windows command scripting is an invaluable tool in administration of systems.
In addition to all the “cool” GUI administration tools, ensure you become competent at their command line equivalents. Using a GUI to administer 2 or 3 servers or workstations is one thing. Trying to administer hundreds or thousands across multiple locations with just the GUI is a quick way to the looney bin.
Also look at VBScript and the WMIC engine. Both are excellent tools for any admin.
The one item for Windows command scripting that is hardest for some to master is the FOR loop. It is the bread and butter for administering. Learn all its different capabilities from parsing text, the output of commands, parsing files to parsing lists. The second most powerful item in Windows scripts is called sections (sub routines) with return from these called routines (GOTO :EOF) or just to control the flow of scripts. Another often overlooked gem is advanced SET capabilities. You can edit strings with set, strip extra characters like double quotes or spaces, perform math, grab substrings and remove the first and last character of a string (passed arguments surrounded by quotes).
A few of questions my team uses to test for a job as admin…
How do you start a command prompt?
What is(are) the first thing(s) you do to troubleshoot problems with network printing? (1)
What does this script do? (2)
1. Basic steps:
a. Ping the printer / print server.
b. Check that the printer is turned on.
c. Check the printer status: paper, errors, paused.
2. Uses a Windows command line script with a for loop and GOTO statements of about 20 lines. Runs a directory command and builds a filtered list of directories.
Here’s a link to an article I wrote that may be beneficial as well:
Secret Windows command line tools can boost security
As mentioned below, the more you know the better, however to strictly answer your question you will not need any programming knowledge for the 7 MCSE exams. The closest you’ll come, in my experience, is the also-mentioned FOR loop. This comes into play when you do the 294 Active Directory exam, and cook up some quick scripts to create large numbers of objects in AD. (Though on the exam I took, that did not happen. I only experienced it in the class I took to prepare.)