back to article Sysadmins can forget PC management skills, says Microsoft

Microsoft has announced it will retire the MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert) certification dedicated to “Desktop Infrastructure”. Microsoft pitches MCSE certifications as essential for sysadmins hoping to prove their competence to employers*, but now says the time for skills in dedicated “traditional desktop …

  1. FozzyBear

    So someone at Microsoft has woken up and realised what is happening out in the real world of business. I have seen any number of so called experts that sit there turning an ipad around trying to figure out which way is up.

    Don't get me wrong I applaud the effort, It's just long overdue. Hopefully desktops are not completely removed, if so, that's a serious oversight

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      turning an ipad around trying to figure out which way is up

      Good!

      That newfangled hipster shit so beloved as a management and marketing status symbol should be binned.

    2. Martin0641

      Interesting

      I saw the article and thought just the opposite. If you work in any tight security field, be it government or finance or classified areas, all this noise about apps and sharing and wireless and cloud is beyond useless, since there is no link to the internet and any wireless tech is strictly forbidden.

      I need developers writing code on their properly configured, baseline configured, Locked down workstation. When I run wireshark I see all the little apps waste time trying to dial home, which will never work, and usually can't be turned off. How I enjoy not using the app store and not signing in with a MS account...

  2. Smitty Werben Jueger Man Jenson
    Coat

    but, but, but...

    My A+ cert from 1997 is still relevant right?

    Mine's the one with an actual 1997 A+ cert with my name on it in the pocket.

    I have to wipe my ass with something.

    1. lucki bstard

      Re: but, but, but...

      My Windows 95 MCP still looks pretty hanging on the wall.

      And I still have the Microsoft lapel pin that came with it...

      Certs just keep the HR bods happy

    2. MacGyver

      Re: but, but, but...

      Smitty, didn't you know? Comptia says you're "certified for life". (Too bad they told all their partners to require CE)

      I don't think they're wrong, and technology changes so often that you need CE, but they need to be sued for the hard push they made about getting "certified for life" just before phasing out all of the non-CE certifications. I can only image how many people went without one of the food groups for a month so they could buy into the "opportunity" to be "certified for life" before time ran out, only to be told 2 months later that it was worthless.

  3. dan1980

    "Technology changes can cause some exams and certifications to become less relevant . . ."

    Sure, but that's "less relevant" when considering broad industry trends; it's not irrelevant to everyone.

    The reasoning behind this is clearly Microsoft's push for their mobile/cloud-first strategy. As I said in comment on a previous article, this strategy affects every facet of Microsoft - from pricing to software versions to licensing options to development priorities, to marketing, to acquisitions, to, yes, certification paths.

    I remember looking at some of the partner levels and noticing how the required certifications have changed with so much more focus on 'cloud'.

    While it is clear that the technologies in question - cloud and 'apps' and mobile devices - are very much a part of modern day IT, I can't help but feel that Microsoft's decisions in the area of exams and certifications are mostly about pushing the technologies and services that they want to sell.

    MS are trying to kill the traditional idea of desktops and managing and deploying applications, not because that paradigm is broken but because they would rather sell a different style of service.

    1. fung0

      MS are trying to kill the traditional idea of desktops and managing and deploying applications, not because that paradigm is broken but because they would rather sell a different style of service.

      You've nailed it beautifully.

      Call me ungrateful, but I'm reluctant to define my future according to Microsoft's self-interest.

  4. localzuk

    The question is

    Will the skills that are taught and tested in those certifications no longer be needed? I suspect they will still be needed by a great many businesses for decades to come...

    1. dan1980

      Re: The question is

      @localzuk

      Exactly.

      Sure, many businesses - small and large alike - are putting more focus on cloud and 'apps' and mobile devices , but that doesn't mean that the desktop will disappear. Microsoft are, of course, trying to kill off the traditional desktop because it interferes with their new strategy. The forced updates for Windows 10 are evidence of that; they want the desktop to be turned into a platform - as Apple have been so successful in doing - for distributing apps and consuming Microsoft's cloud services.

      The idea that a desktop machine could sit there, remaining essentially unchanged, with static software purchased once, is abhorrent to them and they are doing what they can to get rid of it. I would not be overly surprised if MS Office becomes cloud-subscription only in the near future, a la Adobe Creative Cloud*.

      Perhaps one day the ability to manage more traditional desktop environments will be a niche market that pays rather well for those with the requisite skills and experience.

      * - Which is an abomination. The extra CRAP it installs and loads and runs in the background is obscene when all you want to do is open up InDesign and change some text on a newsletter or export some vector art from Illustrator. I get persistent errors from some cloud-centric component that I don't use and don't care about and it interrupts what I am doing. For what? I don't need it; I just need to open the f%$king application I want to use but it has to load all this crap that exists solely to facilitate the 'cloud' paradigm that Adobe have forced on me. By the way, the solution I have been given from several Adobe support folk as well as people in the forums is to 'uninstall, clean with this cleaner app and then reinstall everything'. One bullshit bit of Adobe control software that has nothing to do with what I am working on generates errors so I have to uninstall a half-dozen full applications, run some scripts and then re-download all the packages and re-install? No different with Microsoft's 'Click-to-Run' - any problems and the response you get is: uninstall, clean these registry keys and then re-download and re-install. Grrrr . . .

    2. Mage Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: The question is

      You do need PC Management skills, even for a small business. Having passed four MCP exams just by considering the marketing angle (with only about a day study each) and met totally incompetent MCSEs, I think it doesn't matter. The MS certification only ever was of value for some job applications, rarely for the real world, where often even if using MS operating systems and applications there was always far better ways to do things.

      Actually I'd now be wary of applying for any IT support job unless the company was migrating away from Office and Windows. I think MS has lost the plot. I'd be doubly wary if MCSE was an important qualification for them.

      1. Naselus

        Re: The question is

        "Actually I'd now be wary of applying for any IT support job unless the company was migrating away from Office and Windows."

        Good luck getting any IT support job ever again, then. MS still have something like 95% market share in the enterprise space, and no matter how good Linux and LibreOffice get, that's not likely to change. Enterprises do not like the idea of taking six months to retraining their entire workforce on a raft of completely new systems, even when those systems have almost identical functionality (indeed, in some cases a closer user experience than MS's own sequels).

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    this is terrible news ! im still on the bottom rung cos the bastards hold me down , and now theyre taking that away :( :(

  6. Richard 84

    For those of use pre-bottom rung, please could I ask which starter qualifications would be the best to obtain in terms of knowledge and employment potential?

    1. oldcoder

      Linux certifications of course...

      After all, it already runs everywhere.

      1. Naselus

        "Linux certifications of course..."

        They certainly pay massively more than equiv-level MS certs. An entry-level Linux admin can expect to get 50-75% more than an entry-level Windows admin. Though he'll also be expected to be just as good on Windows as he is on Linux.

  7. Tezfair

    The more MS does to change the way a business works the more likely they are of losing customers.

    Example, Windows Mobile, I lived and breathed WM 5 and 6, but soon as metro turned up, they lost me to Android and will never go back (and I advised my clients to do the same). Do the same to the traditional desktop and businesses will simply look at the alternatives.

    As for certification. I looked at it until I saw the cost. Never been certified, never been asked if I have them. Only ones they benefit are MS and the people floggin them.

    1. future research

      "As for certification. I looked at it until I saw the cost. Never been certified, never been asked if I have them. Only ones they benefit are MS and the people floggin them."

      Nope, lack for certification can also be a reason not to give a pay rise / promotion, if you do get certified that have to come up with another excuse.

      1. Tezfair

        "Nope, lack for certification can also be a reason not to give a pay rise / promotion, if you do get certified that have to come up with another excuse"

        i'm self employed so the only reason I looked into it was to 'promote / enhance' my company, however as I live (quite happily) in the small biz world, this hasn't been an issue for me. And been trading since 2001.

    2. Chris Parsons Bronze badge

      Certified?

      No, me neither. An unnecessary cost. I was an independent contractor and no-one ever asked to see any certification. Had they done so, I should have shown my doctorate in particle physics...highly relevant!

  8. Mikel

    The desktop is a dead parrot

    No need for training on how to care for a dead parrot.

  9. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge
    Coat

    MCSE..

    Must Call Someone Experienced..

  10. MacGyver

    Cloud training and certification?

    What would that be? "So you click here.... and now it's someone else's job to worry about the data."

    Leaving the technician later on sounding like Jimmy Stuart in a digital-age It's A Wonderful Life remake, "Well your data isn't here Mr. Murphy it's in this country over here, and your data is in this country Ms. Smith."

    How do you certify someone to be able to hand the keys over to someone else? Is it a class in paying the bill on time? Or calculating how long it takes to retrieve 25 Terabytes back from the cloud provider when they go out of business and you have only 2 days before their servers are auctioned off? A class on how long various disasters will keep you from your data? Drunk hits your DSLAM: 2 days. Lighting hits your telephone connection, 6 hours. Government agency seizes the server that also happens to hold your data, 5 years. Hurricane hits the cloud servers in Bangladesh, a lifetime.

    Cloud computing is for cheap-ass companies that don't want to hire proper IT staff

    1. Longtemps, je me suis couche de bonne heure

      Re: Cloud training and certification?

      A quarter of Bangladesh is less than seven feet above sea level so I would be surprised if there were too many Cloud grade data centres there...

    2. Naselus

      Re: Cloud training and certification?

      "What would that be? "So you click here.... and now it's someone else's job to worry about the data.""

      I think you'll find the certification is aimed at data center staff setting up a cloud, rather than outsourcing IT managers buying access to one.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Has anyone

    been round behind the barn recently? really sticky, smells of death and there is a large mound I don't recognise behind some trees.

  12. Robert Moore

    MCSE

    MCSE = Microsoft Certified Solitaire Expert

  13. Sevjer

    Grain of Salt

    Take this with a huge grain of Salt, since Microsoft Certs have;

    1. Constantly Changed

    2. Can be passed by a 5 year old (Not kidding Google it) who has no hands on experience.

    3. Can be learned by rote see boot camps which teach you to pass the exams.

    I am not going to waste my money on it.

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