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BlueWolf's Howl

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March 04, 2003

Lookout!

I'm in the middle of studying for the Security Exam this evening and I thought I'd take a break. I've been reading about authentication methods and all that other heart-pounding, exciting information that can be had in such a dry textbook. As usual, I look for hints in the text which may point me in the direction of further studies so I can be better prepared. I found one > Kerberos v5 is very important and there will be a lot about it on the exam. Ah-ha! I picked up on another clue. That makes two so far (Digital Nervous System being the first).

So on my "break time," I go to the Microsoft site. Hmmmm.... perhaps I can find a nice, fat White Paper on Kerberos and Windows 2000.... I hope. I search. I get a thin, help-file-style page which doesn't go deep enough for me. I want complete. I want to be an expert in Kerberos. I don't want any of those questions tripping me up and yanking my $125 from me on this test. So, I keep searching and browsing.

Then I see it. I knew it was coming. The light at the end of the tunnel. And it's an oncoming train! I had hoped that maybe there might be an "Additional Resources" list in the Exam Preparation area that may bear fruit - so I went to the Training & Certification page. There was a Microsoft Chat that caught my eye which covered the upcoming Server 2003 certifications. Hmmm...interesting. And below it >> eeeeeeeeek!!!! The new certification tracks for MCSE on Windows 2003! *faint*

Okay, so I can't avoid bad news forever. I gather my courage and click the links to see the requirements. Arrrrrrgh! There's another SEVEN TESTS to certify in Windows 2003!

That whistle and "thunk" that you heard was my heart sinking and hitting the floor (next to my jaw).

When I finally regained my composure, I took a closer look at the site and the requirements. WHEW! It *will* be worthwhile to complete my Windows 2000 MCSE. It appears that those who are certified in Windows 2000 only have to take TWO upgrade tests to re-certify in Windows 2003.

When the Win2000 Accelerated Exam was offered, Microsoft gave the NT 4.0 MCSEs (the only ones eligible for the test, anyway) a voucher to take the exam. You could only take it once...free. The test sucked and more harm than good came from taking the test. Now there's another "upgrade" test path laid out before us. Perhaps this time (since we're now PAYING for them) we won't have to deal with such awful tests.

I'm all for "raising the bar" and eliminating "paper MCSEs"... but the way the Accelerated Exam was administered really sucked. You sat for three hours and answered questions. At the end, you got a screen that said either "Pass" or "Fail." What was your score? Well, you don't need to know that. Knowing your score might compromise test security... [*rolls eyes*] Okay, so how high of a score do you need to pass? Well, we can't tell you that because it depends. Your questions are random and depending on whatever questions you got, well, that could make your score anything...and well, you just have to know what you're doing... WHAT??? So there was some ambiguous standard based on a statistical rendering that makes cryptography algorithms look like child's play.

I've seen Microsoft do an about face on the NT 4.0 decertification. Now they're giving us a "cost-effective" (read "financially feasible") path to upgrade. Perhaps it's possible that these upgrade tests will be somewhat reasonable.

We can only cross our fingers and hope for the best. Meanwhile, I think I'll scour Amazon and Barnes and Noble for a Kerberos book...

Posted by BlueWolf on March 4, 2003 09:30 PM