Nothing too fancy: exam guidance for WS2008

So many questions, understandably, about what you should do next, with Windows Server 2008 certifications on the horizon. Lots of “I have 2000, and want to get 2008 certified, what do I do?” or “I’m an MCSA wearing a cape, what exam is right for me?”

Here is a little chart–bereft of bells, whistles, or officialliness*–that I’ve been using toward my own dark purposes. I figured I’d post it here for you to gnaw while we are finalizing Windows Server 2008 certification paths and announcements. This won’t be particularly helpful if you don’t have any clue** what is coming for Server 2008, to start with. Please download slides or watch this recording for our preview. and see the little legend at the bottom. In our December 5 Live Meeting, Rob and Jim (who know all the things) will be available to answer any specific questions about 2008, too.

<edited Nov 2, 2007>Here is this table but better, thanks to Brian:

For someone starting from scratch:

We recommend you plan for certifications on the technology you are using today or will be working on in the near future. There is nothing wrong with starting a 2003 certification track today—skills on 2003 will be in demand for a long time to come in different locations around the world.

  • If you want to earn your MCITP: EA in the future, you can start on that now with exams 620 or 624.
  • If you want to earn BOTH WS2003 and 2008 certs, start with 620, which will apply to both

For an MCSA 2000:

It is the same number of exams to go direct to 2008 certifications as it is to do so via MCSA 2003. Although 292 is known for being a very challenging exam, this route lets you take advantage of the upgrade path (only available until March), earns a valuable 2003 cert NOW, and lets you get started on your path right away (rather than waiting for months for the 2008 exams).

For an MCSE 2000:

It is basically the same. To earn your MCTIP: SA, you can take 3 exams and earn MCSA 2003 along the way (292, 648, 646) or go direct to 2008 in the same number of exams (640, 642, 646). To earn your MCITP: EA, you could go the upgrade route (292, 296, 649, 620, 647) for five exams, the direct route (5 exams, but no WS2003 cert), or go via MCSA 2003 (292, then 648, 643, 620, 647). With this final plan, you do not earn your MCSE 2003, but you do hold a 2003 cert (MCSA) and get to the 2008 certs without taking both difficult upgrade exams.

For MCSA and MCSE 2003:

Your paths to 2008 professional-series certs are shorter due to your upgrade or transition exam options. For MCSA 2003, you save one exam in each professional-series WS2008 path. MCSE 2003 save one exam on the MCITP: SA path and two on the MCITP: EA path. The transition exams from 2003 to 2008 test you ONLY ON THE TECHNICAL DELTA (do not cover job-role skills). They are intended to be challenging, but we anticipate for the target candidates, these will test all the necessary skills without making it more difficult to pass than a standard exam.


292 = 2000–>2003 upgrade

296 = 2000–>2003 upgrade

648 = 2003–>2008 upgrade (earns equivalent of 640 and 642)

649 = 2003–>2008 upgrade (earns equivalent of 640, 642, and 643)

640 = MCTS: WS2008 Active Directory

642 = MCTS: WS2008 Network Infrastructure

643 = MCTS: WS2008 Applications Infrastructure

620 = MCTS: Vista Configuration

624 = MCTS: BDD

MCITP: SA = Server Administrator on WS2008

MCITP: EA = Enterprise Administrator on WS2008

*This table was low-rent to start with, and after 15 minutes of experimental Pasting Special activities it is worse, and smaller, and I’m fed up.

**Even if you do have a clue, this might not be particularly helpful. What would be helpful?

Comments (26)

  1. Wayne Anderson says:

    Trika, once again, you post an isolated tidbit about the Network Administrator credential at the end, where it is referenced no where in the actual text of the posting, so far as I can see.

    Did I miss something?  Is EA->NA?  Is NA going to be separate and specific to the material that in 2003 was covered by -291 and -293 but in the EA track is not covered very well at all now?

  2. Jose Firebird says:

    Thanks again and keep up the great work!

  3. Did you see this post at

  4. Brian says:


    If you’re interested, I cleaned up your table a bit. Download here:

    Small graphic version:‘sTable.gif

    HTML version:

  5. What are the actual exams for 646 and 647? They aren’t listed anywhere on the Learning site if I search by exam number.  

  6. gomcse2002 says:

    As far as I know I think 70-646 and 70-647 exams will not be ready until like early next year in 2008. If I am wrong, please correct me.

  7. Adrian O'Connor says:

    From the PPS Slides

    Something to note is that the TS exams will likely be out 30 days from RTM. The professional or job role exams will likely be out 60 days from RTM. So this is the Server Administrator path. Within 60 days of the release of the technology, you would be able to take all three of these exams and earn three very different certifications. So that’s the first of our two job roles

    Currenly you can only take the following exams (I think)

    70-620, 70-624, 70-648, 70-649

  8. Alice says:

    Mark: There are quite a few exams that don’t have pages on the MSL site yet… they’ve been running kinda slow with that. :-)

    When they are released next year, those two will be:

    70-646 PRO: Windows Server 2008 Server Administrator

    70-647 PRO: Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Administrator

  9. says:

    Wayne, "once again" you haven’t missed anything, that was my typo (left over from early days) and I fixed it. Keep pointing that crap out, thanks v. much

    Jose, you’re welcome

    Brian, you are so rad, woot!

    Vincent, Adrian is right

    Mark, Alice is right

  10. dave says:

    I’m still stumped why deployment (70-622) is relegated to a separate, non EA, non-mcse paper. All enterprise admins should understand the desktop deployment issues (imho).

    The 70-620 and 70-624 are much less relevant to an EA.

  11. Greig says:

    Do we have a date yet when Server 2008 is going to RTM?

  12. Peter Read says:

    Dave – I’d have to disagree to be honest re 622, but was fairly surprised at the 620 requirement too.  Not that I mind since I’d done 620 anyhow….  But seemed fairly unrelated to EA role to me.

  13. Peter Read says:

    (I was personally expecting something like + MCITP in one other server technology, or at least an MCTS or two)

  14. BT says:

    Is it possible to get MCITP:EA if I’ve passed with 621 + 649 + 647?

  15. jtb-in-texas says:

    BT, yes, if you met the other requirements, i.e., MCSE on Server 2003…  😉

  16. Well, this is it folks, our lovely king die. Probably from a hardware problem (that&#39;s the answer

  17. BT says:

    jtb-in-texas, thanks.

    Then I still have 647 on my road

  18. Kent Altena says:

    I have a question.  I passed the 71-648 beta exam to upgrade my Windows 2003 MCSA.  Is there any reason to take to 70-649 or should I simply take 70-643 (to avoid retesting on certain subjects?  I already have passed 70-620, so I should be 2 tests (624,647)from passing at that point.

  19. Adam says:

    Quick question.  Say your a MCDST and take the 70-621 test to become a MCPIT.  Would the 621 exam cover the 620 core exam requirement of the MCSA 2k3?  If it does then that would essentially mean you only need to pass 70-290 and 70-291 to become certified as a MCSA 2k3 at which point you can start the 2k8 upgrades (70-648)?

  20. Alice says:

    Kent, as an MCSA 2003 myself, if I had passed 71-648, my plan was to take 70-643.

    As far as I know, 70-649 would not provide any other benefit besides going over the 70-648 material again; and it wouldn’t even count for you until you complete MCSE 2003.

    And you shouldn’t need 70-624 at all to get MCITP:EA, since you already have 70-620 — you need one or the other, don’t need to have both. :-)

    Adam: There was some confusion at first, but I think they did eventually decide that 70-621 will count for any requirement that specifies 70-620.

    I had been going to say that you would also need an elective exam (or client, since 620/621 can be either), but then I saw that MCDST can substitute for the MCSA elective, so yes, it looks like you only need 70-290 and 70-291.

  21. Greig says:

    Any news on a date for 70-647?

  22. Peter Read says:

    Yeah I’m kinda curious about 647 (and maybe 646 for fun…)  Presume they’ll be coming to beta soon?

  23. Peter Read says:

    Just out of curiosity, is it really supposed to show on the MCP transcripts as "Upgrading Your MCSE on Window Server 2003 to Windows Longhorn Server" rather than Windows Server 2008 ?

  24. says:

    Greg, I don’t think so. But sometime in February, I believe?

    BT, JTB is right, BTW, WTF.

    Kent, Alice is right. You don’t need to take 624 to earn your MCITP: EA (though you migth want to take it to have BDD skills reflected in your certs). You need to take 643, not 649, to complete your MCTS on WS2008 requirements, as explained by Alice.

    Adam, Alice is right – if you pass 621 you have the MCTS: Vista on your transcript to use as elective credit wherever applicable.

    Peter, Greg, 647 beta should be in late December, ish.

    Peter, no, for Pete’s Sake (if you will) that is legacy from when we built these – back in the days of codewords. Getting that fixed now, I know.

  25. William says:

    Now that the upgrade exams have been retired, how does this change?