MCSA 2003 worth starting???

thewhitemonk16thewhitemonk16 Member Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hi everyone,

I am kind of new to this and I am looking to start some Microsoft courses and not really sure what to do? So could really do with some experienced heads :) My friend recently gave me his old 70-270 and 70-290 textbooks, and said it was worth doing as I have a years experience as network tech.
I've looked at other threads on this, but really can't decide if it;'s worth me starting the 70-270 exam now? I am a bit worried that the 2008 server course may miss out some of the stuff that's in there?
I spoke to computeach and they recommend the MCSA 2003 course 70-270, 70-290, 70-291 then 70-299. Followed by 70-640 and 70-642 as a 2008 option. I am just worried in case the exams finish in 2013 and I have not done them all

Any information would be greatly welcome as I am still a bit confused?

Thanks!

Comments

  • PsoasmanPsoasman Senior Member Member Posts: 2,687 ■■■■■■■■■□
    The 270, 290, 291, 299 are set to expire on July 31, 2013. Depending on your experience, you probably have enough time for the 290,291,299. I would skip the 270 and do the 680 instead, for the client exam.
  • ZartanasaurusZartanasaurus Member Posts: 2,008
    I wouldn't waste my time at this point. Just get the MCITP:SA and move on from there. You really want to get certified in an OS 10 years behind the latest version?
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  • drkatdrkat Banned Posts: 703
    Lots of companies are still using Server 2003 and the MCSA 2003 doesnt expire so I'd say go for it.
  • thewhitemonk16thewhitemonk16 Member Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
    No, that is what i'm thinking. But my current employers still use 2003??? For how long i don't know and I am hoping to leave in the next year anyway. I've heard 70% of businesses still use it?is this true? But it is very old i agree. After looking at Zartanasaurus option of mcitp:sa it does look like a good option.

    So Psoasman, if I did the 290,291 and the 299, and did the 680 instead of the 270 as you suggested would get a certification? Sorry if I'm being stupid here?
  • thewhitemonk16thewhitemonk16 Member Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
    It;s so hard such a mixed review from people. I am leaning in a way to doing the mcsa 270, 290, 291 route.
    I read this in another post
    'If you're really wanting to sit for the 2003 era exams, then your best bet is going to be finding the books and other training material you need for the three exams you're planning to take: 70-270, 70-290, and 70-291. Your A+/Network+ combo qualifies as the elective you need for MCSA: Windows Server 2003.'

    What is the elective I need? I have a degree in Computer Systems and Networks? Is this any good?
  • petedudepetedude Member Posts: 1,510
    Here's another way to look at it:

    If you want to get warmed up with MS products/exams and learn some underlying foundations, take the older MCSA exams. Main advantage at this moment: cheap study materials.

    If you're looking to get ahead quickly, take more recent exams (MCTS/MCITP).
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  • pizzaboypizzaboy Member Posts: 244 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Psoasman has a good point, if you can get 290, 291 and 299 or 270 before July 31st next year. Then follow up with 680 you'll be fine. After July 31st the core exams for MCSA;2003 will be expired.

    If not you could just attempt the MCSA:2008 and skip 2003 altogether, it is true that there are still companies using 2003 but a lot more are moving to 2008 and now that 2012 is on the horizon those on 2003 will be looking to upgrade.
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  • ptilsenptilsen Member Posts: 2,835 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I wouldn't do it. You have plenty of time, but it wouldn't be the best choice regardless of the retirement date. Yes, 2003 is still out there, but getting an MCSA 2003 now is not going to magically get you into a position heavily involving it. Server admin teams will need more rounded skills and aren't going to complain about people having more current skills. Employers are just not going to be heavily asking for MCSA 2003, not they really ever were. It was and still is about MCSE, which would be way too risky too pursue at this point. Edit: On that note, I have always been happy I took MCSA 2003, but I have never seen much in the area of resume action and job opportunities from it. It was and now is again meant to be a stepping stone to MCSE. You just don't see a lot of jobs that really, really want it. They want the skills, and you can get the right skills without spending money on tests.

    It's still good knowledge to have, but you don't need to get certified on it. Go after MCSA 2008 instead.

    Even in practical terms, learning 2008 R2 and 2012 is going to be more helpful. You'll learn what you need to be an asset on migration projects -- you won't get that from MCSA 2003. You'll learn enough to do admin work for the current systems and the older -- you probably won't get that from 2003, again. MCSA 2003 will teach you a bunch of skills about implementing 2003 networks and upgrading from 2000/NT networks that you are unlikely to ever use at this point. You need to know what's in 2008 R2 and 2012 and how to implement it.

    Also keep in mind that you don't get an MCSA and get thrown into an admin job. I mean, sometimes you do, but usually you're going to do lower level support for a few years. By the time you are really going after admin positions, 2008 R2 is going to be the staple and you'll probably regret time spent on 2003. It will still be around, but I bet half the 2003 servers out there now will be gone in about two years.

    This is all coming from someone who works in an environment of hundreds of servers mixed roughly 80/20 between 2003/2008R2. I got good use out of MCSA back in the day, but my 2008 R2 skills see much more use. I'm using most of what I learned for those tests, and very little of the MCSA 2003 material. The thing is that most of the day-to-day skills you get in 2003 haven't changed much, and are still incorporated into the current certifications. The skills covered on MCSA 2003 that you won't get from MCSA 2008 are largely skills you wouldn't use anyway.
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  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,163 Mod
    It's a tough call. If you have a reason to do it, you have about ten months to finish. At this point, it's probably not worth the effort to do the 70-270 (Windows XP) exam, Psoasman's advice to head straight for the 70-680 (Windows 7) exam is definitely a good idea. Or, you could hustle and do both the XP and Windows 7 exams, using 70-270 as your client exam and 70-680 as your elective.

    You need to pass 70-290, 70-291, a client exam, and an elective for MCSA 2003. Also, the upgrade exam, 70-648, expires the same day as the the Server 2003 exams so you have to take that before the deadline as well if you want to move up to the 2008 and 2012 certs without starting from scratch. Keep in mind, the clock's ticking and July 31st will come up faster than you like when you've got five exams to pass.

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  • ptilsenptilsen Member Posts: 2,835 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Just to throw this out there, but I had a younger (well, less experienced) engineer reporting to me who took three tries and five months to pass 70-680. He had more than a year's experience and I would say he was brighter than most in this field. I failed 70-270 myself three times (though I passed 70-680 on the firs try). Anyway, my point is that none of these exams are easy for someone early in their career. You have to pass all four/five exams by July 2013 to get the certification. Even if you get 70-290 and 70-291 out of the way, you will not earn the certification if you don't meet the requirements before it retires. Ten months (nine, really) is enough time if you really excel, but if you get stuck on one exam you're pretty much screwed. The 70-290 and 70-291 exams have no standalone value. None, whatsoever.

    If you do decide to go for this path, I would strongly encourage you to take those exams last. Get 70-680 and an elective (I strongly recommend A+/Net+ combo for this purpose) and then start into 70-290. If you can't get Win7 and the elective done by the end of the year, don't even try for the server exams. You will still have certs with standalone value so time won't have been wasted.

    Again, I'm still opposed to trying for it at all (and so is Microsoft), but if you do at least be wise about how you approach it. The path I described will at least hedge against failure.
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  • drkatdrkat Banned Posts: 703
    ya know I never understood why CCNA didnt count as an elective
  • ptilsenptilsen Member Posts: 2,835 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I think MS probably wanted to maintain neutrality on that front. MS and Cisco are not and were not really competitors (especially ten years ago), but MS would have had to include other vendors' certifications. Comptia is vendor-neutral with one exception -- Microsoft makes appearances in Comptia material. So MS had a natural sort of ally who it could partner with and not piss off any other partners (think HP and Dell, two of MS's biggest customers and partners and Cisco's competitors). Plus, the knowledge of A+/Net+/Sec+ does translate pretty nicely into a sysadmin line of work.
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  • thewhitemonk16thewhitemonk16 Member Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Right thanks a lot guys, especially ptilsen for you detailed reply some real helpful stuff there. I have a better understanding now of what im looking at, does look like a risk trying to get all those exams done in such a small time, so I may well follow your tactical route of leaving the 70-290 til last. If anyone else has any recommendations please feel free as I am new and will take anything on board. May also be of use for someone else.

    Anyway thanks again for your input guys, very much appreciated! Enjoy your evening!
  • IvanjamIvanjam Member Posts: 978
    ptilsen wrote: »
    ...Get 70-680 and an elective (I strongly recommend A+/Net+ combo for this purpose) and then start into 70-290. If you can't get Win7 and the elective done by the end of the year, don't even try for the server exams. You will still have certs with standalone value so time won't have been wasted.

    Great advice, ptilsen! icon_thumright.gif
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  • sratakhinsratakhin Member Posts: 818
    I'm still going to pass 70-290 and 291 no matter what. I'm almost done with the materials for 290 and think I could pass it easily. 291 seems to cover more topics but knowledge of 2003 networking will be helpful when I study for 2008 exams, so it won't be a waste of time.
    For me, getting certified in 2003 will make employers think that I have more experience than I actually do :) Not that I'm looking for a job, but still.

    Also, does anybody know if I will be able to get MCSA 2003 title if I pass 70-680 after July 2013? I wanted to do 70-648 right after I finish 291 but afraid that I won't have enough time for four exams. I couldn't care less about client operating system so I guess 680 could wait...
  • MishraMishra Member Posts: 2,468 ■■■■□□□□□□
    If you don't mind studying and taking exams for about 2 years to try and upgrade all the way to 2012, then sure... But if you want to reduce that by 60% or so, then I would just focus on 2012. Just integrate 2008 into your 2012 studies by doing lab upgrades and such... You will get a lot of value out of focusing on both products and how to integrate them in labs.
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  • daneil16daneil16 Registered Users Posts: 1 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Hi just been searching the internet and found this thread. I am in a similar position, although i've been using 2003 server at my current workplace for 2 and a half years. It seems most people who have comented say forget about the 2003 exams so what about starting MCSA 2008? on Microsoft site it is exam 70-640, 642 and 646? Would this be a good palce to start?
  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,163 Mod
    Yup, daneil16, that's an excellent place to start. Not only is Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 very widely-deployed, the knowledge you gain from learning about Active Directory and Windows infrastructure services will be very helpful to you even in Windows Server 2003 networks. If you're not already familiar with AD though, I'd say start with 70-642, then do 70-640. After that, get your PRO (70-646) exam knocked out, and you'll be certified and good to go. (Then it's only a one-exam upgrade to the 2012 technologies, should you want to pursue those as well.)

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  • ClaymooreClaymoore Member Posts: 1,637
    I didn't think it was worth starting 2 years ago.

    XP extended support ends 4/8/2014
    2003 extended support ends 7/15/2015

    The 2003/XP exams retire on 7/31/2013. But you aren't looking at 4 tests in the next 10 months - 270, 290, 291, 680 (elective) - you are looking at 5 exams. 70-648, the 2003 to 2008 MCSA upgrade exam, also retires on 7/31. If the end result is going from 2003 - 2008 - 2012 certification, then you should skip 2003 and just start with a 2008 MCSA today.

    Option 1, 2003-2008-2012


    Cert

    Exams

    Cost



    2003 MCSA

    270, 290, 291, 680

    $600



    2008 MCSA

    648, 646

    $300



    2012 MCSA

    417

    $150





    $1050














    Option 2, 2008-2012



    Cert

    Exams

    Cost



    2008 MCSA

    640, 642, 646

    $450



    2012 MCSA

    417

    $150





    $600












    Is the 2003 worth $450 in exam fees, plus training material, plus study time? I would rather see that time money spent on a couple of Exchange exams or a CCNA to broaden your skillset. If you want a 2003 MCSA to demonstrate you have more experience, that is why you have a resume. That will show your experience or lack of it.
  • NavyITNavyIT Member Posts: 171
    It really depends on what you're going to do with it. For example, all branches of the military and the Department of Defense still use 2k3. As Claymooore said, the support ends in 2015, which means they will likely use it until then. This also means that these certs are relevant in any contracting job that does any work with the DoD. Get the MCSA on 2k3 and then do the 2 upgrade exams for 2008. Just my 2 cents..
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  • sratakhinsratakhin Member Posts: 818
    Claymoore, do you know if it is possible to take 70-680 after 70-29* exams expire and still earn MCSA 2003, if I will have passed other exams (70-290 and 291) before the deadline?
  • ptilsenptilsen Member Posts: 2,835 ■■■■■■■■■■
    It is not possible to earn the certification unless all tests are passed by July 31st, 2013.
    microsoft wrote:
    Note Many of the exams in this certification track are retired. If a required exam is retired and you have not yet passed that exam, you cannot complete the certification track. You must fulfill all listed requirements to earn the certification. If you passed a required exam before it retired, it can be applied toward certification. This certification will be discontinued on July 31, 2013. You must pass all the exams prior to July 31, 2013 to earn this certification.
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  • BSBAAcctgMAccBSBAAcctgMAcc Registered Users Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I too am looking at MCSA - Windows Server 2003 and trying to decide if I should pursue it next or MCSA - Windows 7. I currently am one exam (291) away from having MCSA - 2003 and one exam away from MCSA - Windows 7. I currently work as a Tier 1 Help Desk Analyst in a call center environment. My goal is to get out of the call center environment.

    I currently have the following:
    A+, Network+, Security+, MCP (Windows Server 2003-290), MCTS (Windows 7-680).

    My most recent exam was 70-680 and am considering between 70-291 and 70-685 as my next exam to take. I think I have decided to go for 685 to get Windows 7 since Windows 7 is more current than Windows Server 2003. I also have more familiarity with Windows 7 from my recent exam. I think that I will be able to finish 685 and then go for 291 before the July 31 deadline. My reason for wanting the MCSA - 2003 cert is to be able to have a Server cert. sooner rather than later. Only 1 exam to study which might take 3-4 months versus Server 2008 SA (3 exams) which could take 9-12 months. Also by getting the MCSA 2003, I will only need to take 2 exams (rather than 3) to get MCSA 2008.

    I guess I would like to hear from others to know what has more value in the market, MCSA - Server 2003 or MCITP/MCSA - Windows 7. Which would be better to pursue first, 291 or 685?
  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAMember Posts: 4,171 ■■■■■■■■■□
    That would be kind of a tough one for me. If you don't really have much experience with 2003 (and it sounds like you may not based on your post), then I probably wouldn't bother with 291. It might would be different if the upgrade exam for MCSA 2003 to MCITP:SA/MCSA 2008 weren't also expiring in July... then you could take 291 (for MCSA 2003), then take 648 upgrade exam and 646 at your leisure for MCSA 2008.
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  • ptilsenptilsen Member Posts: 2,835 ■■■■■■■■■■
    It's a tough call. You better really cram if you're going to get 291 and 648 in the next four months. Otherwise, it doesn't seem worth it, to me.
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  • sratakhinsratakhin Member Posts: 818
    I would prefer to take 291. I took it after a month and a half of studying and didn't find it as difficult as I thought it would be. However, I had Network+ and CCNA before I took it so they helped a lot.
    685 covers pretty interesting material, but it's more suitable for Helpdesk and Desktop Support positions. Where do you see yourself in, say, two years?
  • CompuTron99CompuTron99 Member Posts: 542
    I'm thinking about retaking the 291 exam to complete the MCSA:2003 just because I failed it 2 times, and hate feeling like it
    has won.
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