In my last post I described the new in MCSE in detail. Today we attempt to determine whether the MCSE or MCITP Windows Server certification is more valuable in the 21st century job marketplace.
Latest posts by Timothy Warner (see all)

Consider these scenarios: Karl is a newcomer to the information technology industry, and wants to earn a Microsoft Windows Server certification to give him an advantage in the job marketplace. Michele, by contrast, has worked as a Windows systems administrator for 5 years, but wants to add a Microsoft certification to her resume in order to help her advance in her current position.

The question that both Karl and Michele have for us today is, "Which Microsoft certification is more valuable in the marketplace: the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) or the Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP)? What is the difference between the two titles, anyway?"

In this blog post we will make a formal recommendation for Karl, Michele, and any other 4sysops reader who may be pondering these same questions.

What is the MCSE?

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)

I covered the new MCSE program in detail in my last post. What follows is a short summary of the main points.

The Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) was the top-tier IT pro certification for Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP. The credential covered the basic skill set of the Windows systems administrator and enterprise architect:

  • Active Directory design, deployment, and support
  • Network infrastructure design, deployment, and support
  • Desktop support

You might wonder why I said that the MCSE in Windows Server 2003 was the top-tier IT pro credential. This news may come as a shock to you, friends, but the MCSE as we knew and loved it is dead. This is from the Microsoft Learning Web site:

The Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer certifications validate skills on technology that is no longer supported by Microsoft’s mainstream support. We recommend you pursue a certification on current technology.

Because Microsoft understands that the MCSE acronym still carries much weight in the IT marketplace, they have resurrected and rebranded the title. The new name of the MCSE is Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert.

NOTE: Microsoft also rebooted the retired Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) title. This cert is now known as the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate.

Microsoft avoided the term engineer in the original MCSE acronym because traditional engineers tended to resent having their title co-opted by IT professionals.

The new MCSE is targeted to support Microsoft's cloud-based IT initiatives. To wit, there exist two new MCSE tracks:

Because we are concerned with Windows Server credentialing here, we shall move on to discuss the MCITP in Windows Server 2008.

What is the MCITP?

Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP)

The Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP)

The Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) for Windows Server 2008 is the current-generation top-tier IT pro credential in Windows Server administration. Please read the detailed analysis of the MCITP that I wrote for 4Sysops to get the details of the three tracks:

  • MCITP: Server Administrator on Windows Server 2008
  • MCITP: Enterprise Administrator on Windows Server 2008
  • MCITP: Virtualization Administrator on Windows Server 2008 R2

Advantages: Your cert will be aligned to the latest release of Windows Server and will thus deal with relevant, current technology. The exams are far easier to pass than the old Windows Server 2003 MCSE tests. You have to take fewer exams to earn the MCITP than you did to earn the MCSE.

Disadvantages: Industry recognition of this title is still developing slowly. Because the exams are so easy, some IT pros don't give the MCITP in Windows Server 2008 the respect given to the MCSE in Windows Server 2003. Microsoft appears to be gradually phasing out the MCITP in Windows Server 2008 in favor of the new MCSA and MCSE titles.

As we can see by studying the Microsoft Learning Web site, Microsoft is trying hard to steer current MCITP Windows Server 2008 candidates to complete one of the new MCSE tracks.

So what is better? MCSE or MCITP?

In my humble opinion, you should pursue the MCITP: Server Administrator credential if you are new to Windows Server certification. To my mind there is no point in spending the additional money and study time required to earn the second MCITP title in Enterprise Administration, much less the one on Windows Virtualization. The bottom line is that many human resources personnel and IT hiring managers who specify a MCITP in a job posting neither know nor care that Microsoft offers multiple versions of the title.

Given how aggressively Microsoft is pushing the new MCSA and MCSE titles, we may see the MCITP in Windows Server 2008 phase out over the next year or so. Get the cert while it's hot!

As you learned today, the MCSE in Windows Server 2003 has definitely gone the way of the dodo. Because the next-generation MCSE credentials deal with the personal cloud and/or SQL Server 2012, the MCITP is now the only choice to validate our Windows Server 2008 systems administration skill set.

  1. Me 11 years ago

    I honestly don’t know how you can say the server 2008 exams are difficult? they reach into different architectures such as WSS, discussions on components like NAP, IIS 7.0 and heavy scripting experience,and in particular the 70-643 exam was extremely tough.

  2. Me 11 years ago

    Sorry, i meant ” not difficult ”.

  3. Tim Warner 11 years ago

    Hey Me. You know, I’ve pondered that remark after this blog post was published and I regret making that statement. After all, the difficulty of an exam item is relative to each person’s individual background and skill set. I guess I should revise to say that in my experience I personally found the WS2K8 questions to be much more straightforward than the old WS2K3 ones. Thanks for taking the time to comment! -Tim

  4. Christopher Owens 11 years ago

    Check the Microsoft site now – the MCITPs are being retired as of July 31, 2013. No replacement stated for the MCITP: EA, though MCITP: SA will become the MCSA: Windows Server 2008.

  5. Tim Warner 11 years ago

    Thanks for the heads-up, Christopher, although seeing this makes me turn red with anger. GRRR. -Tim

  6. John G 11 years ago

    Tim, how about just starting a degree at W.G.U. that includes only the MCITP 70-640, 70-642, and 70-646 as the main part of the Network Administrator Bachelors Degree and finding out that the new MCSE is not a part of the curriculum yet.

  7. Tim Warner 11 years ago

    Hey John, having worked in higher ed quite a bit, I can feel your pain. Colleges, universities, and career schools aren’t as agile as corporate training centers in terms of offering the “latest and greatest” training on the l&g technologies. Count your blessings–there are schools that still teach Windows NT in 2013! 🙂 -Tim

  8. Ashok 10 years ago

    So my dear please tell me which one is better MCITP-SA or SE ???Waiting for reply 😉

  9. Kyle Beckman 10 years ago

    Ashok – It sounds like you’re referring to MCSA and MCSE; the MCITP title is in the process of being retired (reference: MCSE is considered a ‘higher’ title than the MCSA. You usually acquire at least one MCSA on the road to MCSE.

  10. shailender 10 years ago

    i learn mcitp.any body can guide me it better than mcse and there is any scope in the feture….

  11. Tim Warner 10 years ago

    Hey Shailender. If you check out Microsoft’s exam retirements page (, you’ll observe that MS is rapidly retiring exams that lead to the MCITP. Thus, I strongly suggest you go for the MCSE instead unless you are almost finished with an ITP track. Thanks, Tim

  12. sanjeev 7 years ago

    hi sir what is different mcse and mcitp I am working  desktop engineer designation so please suggestion what is best certification course for me

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