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I got my MCSE in 2002. Shortly after this, I began working as a programmer. How easy/difficult would it be for me to go back into networking? Is my 7 year old experience worth anything in today's world? Am I essentially starting from scratch?

Assuming I'm not starting entirely from scratch, what are the newer ideas I should bone up on to get myself up to speed?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Falcon Momot, Ward, mdpc, Tim Brigham, TheCleaner Aug 23 '13 at 14:06

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3 Answers 3

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Your "old" experience is definitely still worth something. You've still been working in IT for the past 7 years so I'm sure you're not completely disconnected from new developments on the infrastructure side of things.

You'd be suprised how often people with legacy experience are called upon, especially in corporate IT. If I were you I would be sure to start off in a bigger company with a wide range of corporate clients where they are likely to have a spread of modern (say not more than 3 years old IMO) and legacy solutions. I think if you can expose yourself to environments where old and new techologies are used side-by-side you will close that 7 year gap in less time than you might think.

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Not worthless. You'd need to look at:

  • Virtualisation. VMWare was new in 2002; now I can't imagine an environment without it.
  • Windows 2003 and 2008 have been released since then; if you really get 2000, then 2003 is very similar; 2008 isn't that different. The really big changes are in IIS.
  • How much were you using Group Policy then? It's really big now. GPMC (the new management tool) is fantastic compared to the old AD tools from 2000

Obviously, that's Windows Server admin; the stuff you cover in an MCSE; there are plenty of other changes.

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Wayne and Richard have some good points. The MCSE certification itself (which was overly broad, and required you to have knowledge ranging from basic help-desk knowledge to architectural considerations for designing a large scale Active Directory implementation). The new certifications (Microsoft Certified IT Pro) now focus on individual roles.

On the client side:

MCITP: Consumer Support Technician - covers the type of knowledge you would need if you were working in the Geek Squad at Best Buy.

MCITP: Enterprise Support Technician - covers much of the help desk/deskside support knowledge you would need in an enterprise environment.

On the server side (descriptions are a little harder to paraphrase, so I'll copy-and-paste from the Microsoft site):

MCITP: Server Administrator - Validates your ability to handle day-to-day management of the server operating system, file structure, and directory services; handle software distribution and updates; monitor servers; provide tier-2 troubleshooting support; support engineering and change-management projects; build and configure servers; implement auditing policy; perform scheduled vulnerability-assessment scans; and monitor logs for firewalls and intrusion-detection systems.

MCITP: Enterprise Administrator - Validates your ability to design Windows Server infrastructures; evaluate and recommend new technology solutions; serve as an escalation point for infrastructure issues; develop client and server best practices for other teams, such as engineering, development, and operations; keep policy current for authentication, identity, and access management; provide guidance in implementing security policies that affect the infrastructure on multiple levels; participate in application reviews on security; and ensure that the applications adhere to standard security guidelines and practices.

While certifications certainly do not guarantee that you actually know the information, the structure and exam objectives will give you a good framework to study around current technologies and best practices. Even if you don't take the actual exams, click through to the "skills measured" section for each exam here: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/certification/cert-windowsserver.aspx#tab3 which will give you a good idea of the things you should study. Read the corresponding documentation on TechNet and play with some hosted virtual labs, and you'll be well on your way to getting back in the game.

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