The MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) is a deprecated or previous generation certification that is still supported by Microsoft. Originally meant for Windows Server 2003, this certification is still acceptable today and can be upgraded to the MCITP (Microsoft Certified Information Technology Professional) by taking specific exams.
The MCSE and MCITP are both part of an extensive list of IT certifications by Microsoft for Windows, servers or networking, software or web development, etc. So what exactly is the purpose of the MCSE certification? Well, many computer professionals are self-taught, preferring to learn about computers and technology as a hobby rather than a career choice.
What this means essentially that although these people are highly capable of performing tasks and making decisions related to a company’s IT needs, they are not seen as qualified and therefore considered suspect.
Some IT professionals have been working since before certifications such as the MCSE were even created. Whatever the case may be, these certifications are essentially an assurance for the company looking to hire an IT professional.
The MCSE certification itself is obtained by taking examinations, these usually involve theoretical as well as practical tests, there is also a fees to be paid to be eligible for the exam.
As such there are no formal courses available at conventional schools and colleges, however there are books available from the Microsoft Press and other established publishers. Courses are also offered online by Microsoft through Microsoft Learning.
The most common method to attain the basic learning for the exams is through MCSE boot camps or MCP boot camps. This is where, usually, a MCT (Microsoft Certified Trainer) will guide you through the official course material as well as offering practical advice and know how. Furthermore there are often mock exams held which provide good experience for the actual exam itself. MCSE boot camps however are recommended only for IT professionals who have been in the industry for a while and wish to attain the certification to achieve better pay or move to a better job.
However it is interesting to note that the MCSE exams do not come cheap and require a notable amount of expenditure. Adding to that the cost of attending boot camps and attempting mock exams means that one has to carefully weigh the cost-benefit of actually gaining the MCSE certification.