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BlueWolf's Howl

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March 15, 2004

Welcome Kit

I finally got my Welcome Kit for attaining the Security designation.

The kit consisted of:
A certificate (MCSE:Security)
A new wallet card (which has a new line added)
A lapel pin (with "Security" beneath the Systems Engineer lettering)
A rebate form for TechNet....


[As you can probably tell...I didn't look too closely at the MCSE 2000 welcome package.]

I remember when I first got my MCSE - on NT4. At that time, part of the welcome package was a year subscription to TechNet. It really made me feel like I was "on the inside"... and the MCSE itself opened quite a few doors in the job market.

Since then... well, everyone knows about the Dot-Bomb fallout. We're not making anywhere near what we used to make (those of us who *have* a job) and the MCSE is more like a high school diploma. It's now a (market-based) requirement rather than something that distinguishes you from the pack. I'm not blaming Microsoft for this. It's the way the market has evolved. But, it would be nice if they recognized their own top professionals.

Okay...so in some way they *do* recognize you. No, they don't offer you a discounted price on TechNet (I double checked by calling). They offer you a MAIL-IN REBATE. That's right...a 6-8 week mail-in rebate.

Wait a minute... let me see if I have this right... I took 5 tests @ $125 each [total $625] plus books [at LEAST one $50 book per test --often more -- $250 in books] for a total of $875 [bare-bones figures] to attain the 2K MCSE. Also note that this is after the cost of the initial 6-test MCSE on NT4. After all that, I have the opportunity to fork over another $300 for TechNet and wait a month and a half to two months to be reimbursed...???

Okay...so there are quite a few MCSEs. I never even bothered to look at the offer when it came in my MCSE 2K welcome kit. I remembered that they no longer sent it to you automatically, and that it was expensive. I got my pin, certificate and card and kept on walking.

Then I spent another $350 on two more tests (and more on books) and attained a premium certification. Without breaking my arm in several pieces while patting myself on the back... it *is* something that everyone doesn't get. I watch the numbers all the time. There are several hundred thousand MCPs (963,606 as of Mar 04). There are only a quarter as many 2000 MCSEs (240,853 as of Mar 04). But when you start looking at the numbers of people that go even further... MCSE:Messaging 2,926 and MCSE:Security 2,211.
[Source: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/certified.asp ]

It's been a very long road. And more of the road still stretches out before me. I still have the two 03 upgrade tests to take. After that, I'll probably get another welcome kit -- with another rebate offer.

It's not like I'm looking for something for nothing. It's not like I'm looking for something I haven't earned. They ARE willing to pay for it. I'm just saying that it's no benefit to me to get a rebate rather than a direct discount. We're not making the money we were in the 90s, nor are we getting the benefits we used to in the past. Most of us are now paying all those test fees and book expenses out of our own pockets. Employers aren't paying for training anymore. Employers aren't buying TechNet for us to use anymore. I'm sure in most places the TechNet subscription was in the first chop of the cost-cutting axe.

You know, I looked all over the apartment this evening. Nope, it's not here. I don't see a spare $300 stashed anywhere that I could loan to Microsoft for two months. I guess I'll just have to do without it...

Posted by BlueWolf on March 15, 2004 11:58 PM