#1: Last week I was in Redmond beta-testing the new performance based testing. That eliminates the 'brain dump' aspect of exams. It is more like Citrix or Cisco lab exams. Either you know how to fix the problem or you don't.
#2: Anything in the past year I have taken has been a beta exam before they are released. You can't be a paper cert guy on those because the only way to know the answers is actual product usage.
Can you comment on the 'performance based testing' - are you referring to the simulation type questions?
Personally i'm MCSE2000 and have dragged my heels upgrading. I suppose I should give the 292\294 upgrades a go before they retire them early next year. It always helps having the tech knowledge to fall back on should times get tough in the market. Cheers
I like what I see so far. It is more along the lines of a 'lab' test of Citrix or Cisco. Given a set of tasks and then you have to do them. It helps eliminate the paper MCSEs. Can't do the task, can't pass the lab.
Interesting - however I don't think you'll ever get rid of the 'paper certs' altogether. There are plenty of folk who will pass these exams with a little help from the dump sites (after all they just need to show you what the lab entails).
Even those who play around with a small test lab at home will pass. However when it all goes 'tits up' in a real world environment is when you can tell the paper certs from those who do know what they are doing.
I recently interviewed a whole load of MCSE's and they were all terrible at answering 'real life' questions without the benefit of multiple choice answers. Depressing really.
Sure we've all met them, but I wouldn't tar everyone with the same brush. I had a contractor for one day who had an MCSA & couldn't log on to an XP machine until someone showed the guy how to unhide the domain box :-/ But then, it was meant to be more than one day and hopefully the guy has got a clue by now or moved industry.
Equally there are others holding anywhere from a single MCP cert upwards who are fantastically good at what they do. I'm sure from Server 2003 onwards there are a lot fewer paper MCSE's - I'll admit I don't put as much value in to someone having MCSA/MCSE 2000.
I tend to do a fair few beta exams too, and I think they're a good measure - there's no cheating material available, as the exams aren't general release. There's no study guides/books/anything most of the time (maybe an hour of MS e-learning if you're lucky). There's just you & the technology, and you need to really know it.
I think you're on the right track though, weed out the idiots at interview stage, that's half the reason it exists...