I want to go in networking and windows field . Currently I am in Web design field but i want to go in window Administration. I want to do MCSE.

Should i go for 2008 server or 2003 server.


Stick with the new certification track!

I recommend against doing an exam in each track. I think it's a waste of time & money. you're better off doing 2 new core exams, then one old & one new.

As a person who's done both MCSE and MCITP, I'd say both learning tracks are the same in terms of being 'job oriented'. They cover the same objectives, although your skills will be more up-to-date on the 2008 track.

It may just be my level of experience improving, but I also found the MCSE exams much harder than the MCITP exams. There are no exam simulation or case study design exams, in MCITP as there are in MCSE.

The new exam tracks also give you more in terms of qualifications. If you start with the core 2008 server exams, such as 70-640 and 70-642 each one earns you a Microsoft Certified Technical Specalist (MCTS) competency, in addition to becoming a MCP after your first exam. Doing the MCSE 2003 track, you'll need to pass 4 exams to earn a MCSA qualification.

In terms of career development as a whole, having an MCITP or an MCSE isn't going to make much of a difference. Having real hands-on experience, pride in your work and a genuine interest in what you do will.

You should also know that the Microsoft certifications won't give you much in terms of networking skills. At most you'll be able to configure a windows OS for an IP address & configure network services like DNS & DHCP. If you want to learn networking i recommend doing the Cisco ICND, which is the learning pathway to a CCNA.

UPDATE: Some additional information on Microsoft MCITP certifications for Windows Server 2008

The basic pathway(forgetting about MSTS for now) through the certs for windows server is:

  • 1st goal: MCITP: Server Administrator (SA)
  • 2nd goal: MCITP: Enterprise Administrator (EA)

To become an MCITP: EA it's a total of 6 exams, which is one less than the requirements for MCSE.

From Microsoft's website:

MCITP SA : Exam 70-640, Exam 70-642, Exam 70-646

MCITP EA : Exam 70-640, Exam 70-642, Exam 70-643, Exam 70-647, Exam 70-680

There's no strict order for taking exams, but here's my advice:

If your keen & your end goal is becoming an Enterprise Administrator (this is what replaces MCSE). Start with what's traditionally called the client exam 70-680 (Windows 7) or 70-624 (Windows Vista). The equivalent of this for MCSE was 70-270. Like I've said before, each exam has the same learning objectives, just that the newer versions cover the latest way of doing things, and will also mean your skills will be more up-to-date. In saying so, I'd go with 70-680. There's a lot of commonality between windows 7 & windows server 2008, so it's an easy place to start & easy to play around with, as your desktop will probably be running vista or windows 7.
There are pro's & con's of doing the client exam first: It's always good to get the ball rolling & have the accomplishment of one exam. The bad thing about it is that it only counts towards being an EA, so it won't get you any closer to your first MCITP goal. So an alternative is also to do this exam last, which makes it an easy exam to finish on.
So if all you only ever want to achieve SA, then start with the 2nd exam & stop when you get to the 4th exam. This is the order i recommend below. Be aware that there's quite a bit of overlap between exams. I've ordered these by what i think is easiest to hardest, with end goal of achieving both a SA & an EA.

  1. Exam 70-680: TS: Windows 7, Configuring Achieve MCP
  2. Exam 70-642: TS: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure, Configuring
  3. Exam 70-640: TS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring
  4. Exam 70-646: Pro: Windows Server 2008, Server Administrator Achieve MCITP: SA
  5. Exam 70-643: TS: Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure, Configuring
  6. Exam 70-647: Pro: Windows Server 2008, Enterprise Administrator Achieve MCITP:EA
  • I am a web developer and currently working. I was thinking to change my field. My company has server has windopw 2008 server and my computer also has 2008 server. I can experiment things both at home and office. I am thinking of finishing MCITP , CCNA during job so that i can chnage my field. I have been working for 3 years and seen that there no rise in web development field. Even a fresh graduate can make website but in windows if i have 3 years experience then fresh can't compete with me – John Dec 5 '09 at 12:47
  • 1
    I wouldn't worry about what graduates can & can't do. Stick with what you like doing. – Nick Kavadias Dec 5 '09 at 12:52

The MCSE program has been deprecated in favor of the new MSITP system for Server 2008 and beyond. However, the MCSE tests for Server 2003 and related technologies will be around for a long time, most likely.

One school of thought says to always get the older of the available certs, as you can always upgrade later, but may not be able to get the older one.

Another school of thought says that now is the time to enter the MSITP certification system, so that if you're just starting you should go with the various MCTS/MSITP exams in that vein.

There are pros and cons to either approach, so you'll have to do some deciding based on your planned career path, goals, job prospects, and what specific technologies you want to work with or will be working with.

I suggest going to Microsoft's certification page to explore all the various paths available. As if the MCSA/MCSE/MCP system wasn't complicated enough, we now have MCTS/MCITP paths to worry about as well, and the various interactions between the two.

  • Thanks mate . But my main concern is with the job market . I want to start that course which is more job oriented. So regarding that should i go for 2003 or 2008 – John Dec 5 '09 at 11:05
  • Which is more "job oriented" will depend on what job you're talking about. One company may be holding on to their Windows 2003 installs for dear life, while another is on top of 2008 with full transition already. I'd say that there are still many more active Server 2003 installs than Server 2008 installs, but it's tough to predict at what rate 2008 will gain acceptance. If all you care about is being as marketable as possible TODAY, then I'd say go with MCSE 2003 right now. – phoebus Dec 5 '09 at 11:18

I must agree with Nick on this one. 2003 is end of life in three years, and so is the 2003 certification. A 2003 MCSE is a lot of hard work for a three year lifespan, even replicants lived longer than that.


Honestly, I would suggest that you start with client exams (XP/Vista/Win7) instead of server exams. The reason being is that there are usually more job opportunities for client systems support, and this is where junior admins start anyways - as help desk support or pc technicians.


Based on your comments to phoebus' answer, my recommendation would be to take one server exam from each certification track (they're both valid and valuable at present). Use those to get your foot in the door somewhere and evaluate your next steps based on what your employer needs, wants, and values in terms of certification.