MCSE or Server 2012 with upgrade to 2016?

SorceriousSorcerious Registered Users Posts: 1 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello everyone!

I'm a 29 year old Belgian Support Engineer with mainly experience in Helpdesk (1st/2nd line) and am now in a Desktop Support role. I have about 5 years experience in Support and I'm looking to get into System Administration.

I'm currently working for a consultancy firm, current project is Deskside Support.

Today, I have completed the MCSA Office 365 (yay!) as my employer asked me to so I could move into doing migrations/implementations. That brings my total IT certs to 3 (MCSA Windows 10, MCSA Office 365 & ITIL Foundation).

Setting up labs for both exams naturally brought an interest in Windows Server, especially as I'm looking to move into the field (which is basically a different beast than Support). After speaking with a colleague who has extensive experience administering MS Exchange, which I've gotten interested in because of the Office 365 cert, he advised me to immediately start moving towards the MCSE, by completing the Exchange 2016 exam.

Problem is, even though it greatly interests me, I'm not sure if this would be the right move as I do not see a bright future for onprem Exchange. I know MS has announced the Exchange 2019 package, but I have a feeling this may be the last onprem product they release.

Moreover, Server 2012 would give me a great foundation towards my short term goal, but it would be another MCSA, by many seen as the cert for entry level roles.

I know experience > certificates, but it seems employers want to see the cert before letting you touch the stuff.

What would your advice be? Get the MCSE without any experience, or go straight for the 3d MCSA?

Thanks a lot for your feedback :).


  • MitMMitM Member Posts: 622 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I would say do what interests you. There are still plenty of Exchange on-prem deployments and will be for some time. Combine that with Office 365 knowledge and you'll have a good combination.

    Since you have the MCSA: Office 365, I would go for the Exchange exam to complete the MCSE: Productivity, as long as you plan on getting hands on practice with exchange. Build a lab and have fun with it.

    When I was in desktop support, I was learning exchange at home. I started to know more than the exchange admin. It was that knowledge that allowed me to move up.
  • backtrackerbacktracker MCSE CP&I, MCSA Server 2016, MCSA Windows 10, MCSA Server 2003, Security +, Network + Member Posts: 91 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I think you should do Exchange 2016. There is no hard and fast rule that says all deployments are going cloud based. In fact many shops experiment with hosted Exchange, only to revert back to on premises shortly after. Companies will need folks who can work transitions between the two. MS even argues the code base of Exchange 2016 follows the Cloud deployment as a near replica; so there should be a lot of synergy between them.

    I'm working on 70-345 (Exchange 2016) currently. I think it is still a marketable and viable skill to have. I wanted to formalize some Exchange knowledge I've had but have never tried to make it official. I'm hoping to make an attempt on the exam in the next several months. You will definitely need to setup a lab and gain some experience that way if you don't have exposure on the job.
    MSM-ISS (Information System Security)-'07 Colorado Tech.
    MCSE | MCSA X3 | Security + | Network +
  • Jon_CiscoJon_Cisco Member Posts: 1,772 ■■■■■■■■□□
    In my local market I see requests for exchange experience as well as administrators for 365 deployments. I would suggest doing a few job searches and see what is being requested in your area.
  • malachi1612malachi1612 Senior Member SwitzerlandMember Posts: 430 ■■■■□□□□□□
    If you are going the MCSA Server route then start with Server 2016, don't waste your time with Server 2012 r2 certs when Server 2019 release is about 3 months away.
    MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2016, ITIL Foundation, MCSA: Windows 10, MCP, Azure Fundamentals, Security+.

Sign In or Register to comment.