IT professionals trying to take Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT 4.0 certification exam prior to the Dec. 31 deadline have been given a slight reprieve.
Microsoft extended the availability of the exams until Feb. 28 to accommodate candidates who are having trouble scheduling tests, the company said today.
The company also is creating a new certification exam to test the skills needed to maintain a Windows NT Server 4.0 network. The new exam also tests skills required to perform incremental upgrades to Windows 2000 servers.
Passing the new NT 4.0 exam, which is due in beta form in the second quarter of next year, earns the recipient the Microsoft Certified Professional credential. But the new NT 4.0 test can be applied only as an elective credit toward Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) certification, which now tests Windows 2000 skills.
IT pros who earned MCSE certification or Microsoft Certified Data Administrator certification in the Windows NT 4.0 track must upgrade to the respective Windows 2000 track by the end of next year to retain their certification. The MCSE credential based on the existing NT 4.0 exam expires at the end of 2001.
IT pros who have passed all three of the old Windows NT 4.0 exams qualify to take Microsoft's accelerated exam for the MCSE credential in Windows 2000. The MCSE designation in Windows 2000 normally requires four core exams, a design elective and two other electives. Passing the accelerated exam, which can be taken once free of charge, meets the requirement for four core exams. The accelerated exam will be offered until the end of next year.
Meanwhile, a New York-based computer systems training firm still plans to issue independent NT certifications when Microsoft pulls the plug. Lanop Corp. said it's filling a void for companies that aren't migrating anytime soon to Windows 2000, and for MCSEs who see earning a Win 2k certificate as premature.