MCSE vs. MCSA, MCSD & MCAD

Part One: MCSE vs. MCSA

For years now the MCSE has been considered the premier Microsoft certification. Those who can tack the letters MCSE onto their name demand good salaries and the respect of their peers in the IT industry. To become an MCSE there are a total of seven required exams, which run about $125 each. This, coupled with the costs of training materials and study guides, can run well into the thousands. Although it's a good investment in your career, there is a large gap between the MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional), which requires only one exam, and the MCSE.

MCSA

The gap between the MCP and MCSE has been filled by the MCSA (Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator) certification.
Leaving out the analysis and design of infrastructure, the MCSA focuses on managing and troubleshooting system environments. The intent being that you don't always need to know how to build an infrastructure if your job only requires that you maintain it. Part One: MCSE vs. MCSA For years now the MCSE has been considered the premier Microsoft certification. Those who can tack the letters MCSE onto their name demand good salaries and the respect of their peers in the IT industry. To become an MCSE there are a total of seven required exams, which run about $125 each. This, coupled with the costs of training materials and study guides, can run well into the thousands. Although it's a good investment in your career, there is a large gap between the MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional), which requires only one exam, and the MCSE.

MCSA

The gap between the MCP and MCSE has been filled by the MCSA (Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator) certification.
Leaving out the analysis and design of infrastructure, the MCSA focuses on managing and troubleshooting system environments. The intent being that you don't always need to know how to build an infrastructure if your job only requires that you maintain it.

MCAD

In addition to the MCSA there is the MCAD (Microsoft Certified Application Developer), and with only three exams to complete it's a relative bargain in comparison to the MCSE. According to Microsoft, "The MCAD credential is for professionals who develop and maintain department-level applications, components, Web or desktop clients, or back-end data services."

MCSD

For developers and engineers who are designing entire enterprise solutions from analysis to maintenance, there is the MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer) with a five-exam total. If you are looking to get the MCSD you will need to look into Microsoft's new .Net certification path for MCSDs. There is no upgrade from the old MCSD to the new and resources for the new path are quickly coming available. However, the MCSD still does not have the following that the MCSE certification does. According to a 2002 Certcities.com editorial, "as of January 2, there were only 28,813 MCSDs, as compared to 436,599 MCSEs." Despite that, Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine states that MCDSs command an average base salary of $78,600, compared to $67,100 for those with MCSEs. Overall, despite new certification paths, which are becoming increasingly popular, the MCSE still reigns supreme as Microsoft's top certification. MCSD & MCAD Development Lifecycles Part Two: MCSE vs. MCAD & MCSD

MCAD

In addition to the MCSA there is the MCAD (Microsoft Certified Application Developer), and with only three exams to complete it's a relative bargain in comparison to the MCSE. According to Microsoft, "The MCAD credential is for professionals who develop and maintain department-level applications, components, Web or desktop clients, or back-end data services."

MCSD

For developers and engineers who are designing entire enterprise solutions from analysis to maintenance, there is the MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer) with a five-exam total. If you are looking to get the MCSD you will need to look into Microsoft's new .Net certification path for MCSDs. There is no upgrade from the old MCSD to the new and resources for the new path are quickly coming available. However, the MCSD still does not have the following that the MCSE certification does. According to a 2002 Certcities.com editorial, "as of January 2, there were only 28,813 MCSDs, as compared to 436,599 MCSEs." Despite that, Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine states that MCDSs command an average base salary of $78,600, compared to $67,100 for those with MCSEs. Overall, despite new certification paths, which are becoming increasingly popular, the MCSE still reigns supreme as Microsoft's top certification.