Resellers stand to lose as MCSE bar is raised

Microsoft New Zealand is unconcerned that more than half of the certified software engineers (MCSE) in the country look set to lose their certification status at the end of the year.

Microsoft New Zealand is unconcerned that more than half of the certified software engineers (MCSE) in the country look set to lose their certification status at the end of the year.

The change, which may affect Microsoft’s resellers more than end users, follows the company’s statement last spring that all those who have passed its NT exams must complete Windows 2000 exams by December 31.

Value-added resellers which do not employ at least one MCSE or the equivalent will lose their “Gold” level partner status.

Microsoft says there are 400,000 MCSEs worldwide and more than one million with the less-demanding rank of MCP (Microsoft certified professional). Some 13% of MCPs have achieved Windows 2000 certification so far, though Microsoft is unsure of the percentage of MCSEs.

In Australia, a source close to Microsoft has been reported as saying only 326 out of 10,000 MCSEs have passed the exam to date and the company could lose 80% to 90% of its partners at the end of the year.

Microsoft New Zealand sales and marketing manager Ross Peat expects people will lose their MCSE status but is unsure of how many and is apparently unconcerned.

“I do not see it as a risk to our channel programme. It’s one of those transitional risks when there is a generational leap from one technology to another,” says Peat.

Microsoft likens the matter to five years ago when new requirements for Microsoft certified solution developers came into effect in 1996 and overnight the number of MCSDs worldwide dropped from over 30,000 to under 10,000.

Similarly, it expects it may decertify half its MCSEs this year.

“This drop is quite typical of technology transition. The question is how big is the dip [this time],” says Peat. Microsoft expects MCSE numbers to recover in six to nine months, with Peat saying the issue is well understood by the industry.

The new Windows 2000 exam sets are of a higher standard than their predecessors, he says, so some will fail, but those who remain qualified will be of a higher standard.

Auldhouse Computer training general manager Melanie Hobcroft says her 18-year-old business has been running accelerated Window 2000 programmes since July last year, plus other Windows 2000 upgrade courses, including a “boot camp”.

She was unsure how many of New Zealand’s MCSEs might lose their status, but says many engineers are being trained by her company, particularly those from systems integrators including gen-i, Fujitsu and Compaq.

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