For the next three weeks, I’ll be squirreled away in a hidden location, having my brains surgically removed and replaced with a quantum-computing device filled with Exchange knowledge. Good times!
Seriously, though, I’ll be off to the October rotation of the three-week Microsoft Certified Master: Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 program. The Master certification is a new certification that Microsoft is rolling out, placed between the MCITP and MCA certifications. It’s so new, in fact, that it doesn’t yet appear on the Find a Microsoft Certification by Technology page.
So, newness established, what does this Master certification entail? First, it’s not your typical Microsoft certification.
To ensure that people going through this experience are ready for it, they’re actually screening candidates. For the Exchange Master program, the published criteria are:
- 5+ years Exchange 2003
- 1+ years Exchange 2007
- Thorough understanding of Exchange design/architecture, AD, DNS, and core network services
- Certification as a MCITP: Enterprise Messaging (Exchange 2007 exams 70-236, 70-237, and 70-238)
- Certification as a MCSE Windows 2003 or MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Configuration (exam 70-640)
Scrape all that together, and what do you get?
- Three weeks of “highly intensive classroom training” — and by all reports, they’re not kidding when they say that. I’ve been through plenty of Microsoft classes, and for this one, my corporate lords have completely cleared the decks for me.
- Three computerized written tests (I assume one per week). I have no idea what these are going to be like, but after having done three exams in the past month, I really hope they’re a notch above the standard Microsoft certification exam.
- One lab-based exam (administered at the end). Now, I really like the thought of hands-on tests; one of the best job interviews I ever went through included a hands-on test. However, they’re a lot more stressful precisely because you can’t fake things or puzzle out the the right answer through careful elimination. You have to know your stuff.
Assuming I survive and my head doesn’t asplode, in a month I’ll get to call myself an Exchange Master. This, of course, leads to the obvious question: do I get an apprentice? If so, I have a suggestion:
I really want an apprentice. I think I deserve one. You listening, 3Sharp?