What are the various Microsoft certifications, and how do I obtain them?

A. Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP). You become a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) when you pass any single exam. An exception is the 70-240 or 70-058 exams, which alone do not certify an individual as an MCP.

The other Microsoft certifications require passing a series of exams in core and optional topics to prove your competency. Here's a brief list and description of the Microsoft certifications:

Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer

The MCSE certification is the most popular in the Microsoft program. It is usually appropriate for IT pros seeking positions as Systems administrators, Systems engineers, Technical support engineers, Systems analysts, Network analysts and Technical consultants.

Microsoft Certified Solution Developer

This certification is more difficult than the MCSE and covers development. Salaries are about 10 percent to 20 percent higher for MCSDs than their MCSE cousins. The MCSD an appropriate certification for IT pros seeking positions as software engineers, software application engineers, software developers, and technical consultants.

Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA)

This certification is the newest in the Microsoft program. It is appropriate for IT pros seeking positions as database administrators, analysts or developers.

Microsoft Certified Trainer

This certification is available for trainers of the Microsoft course materials. MCT holders are subject to technical knowledge and training competency requirements.

Certifications that are scheduled to be retired:

Microsoft Certified Professional + Internet (to be retired December 31, 2001)

Microsoft Certified Professional + Site Building (to be retired June 30, 2002)

Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer + Internet (to be retired December 31, 2001)

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