What could be worse than a sneaky email, stealthily dropped into your mailbox at 1AM Saturday morning if you are in Eastern Time zone in USA, letting you know that the intense training you attended literally a week ago, the joy of passing that grueling written exam hasn’t yet faded, the fear of facing day long mortifying qualification lab is still fresh in many minds, has all been in vain! That the program is no more. That Microsoft has decided to end the program and “will continue to evaluate the needs of industry”!
To summarize my career of 15 years, not counting my college education (which was Civil and Structural Engineering), has been pro Microsoft all along. I was considered the go-to guy when someone had issues with their system running DOS 6.22. I was called a doctor, because I had a kit containing array of tools to restore systems to full health after they have been badly infected with pesky viruses. I was probably the youngest teacher who was hired to teach AutoCAD but eventually was fully dedicated to teaching Windows 3.1.
I was the first one to achieve MCSE in my state and first one to achieve MCSE+I in my country (India, for you curious ones). I was very proud of my achievements and loved to be identified as a Microsoft pro. Even when every other person loves to take a swipe at Microsoft and their products, people, culture, you name it. I still loved the company with passion. I then joined the company. I became one of them. I felt even more proud.
In my years with the company, I spent almost all my time on complex environments demanding deepest knowledge of the product I was dedicated to. That’s when I earned the coveted MCM certification in Exchange. It was considered holy grail of certifications from Microsoft. The toughest one to achieve. The most difficult to pass. The dreaded 3 weeks in Redmond. The amazing company of super intelligent men (and few ladies who might have tried, I know only one) from all parts of the world.
As if the punishment wasn’t enough, I decided to feel the pain one more time and I went through Lync MCM program as well! Passing it made me one of the few in the world who had managed to attempt and survive both.
In the meantime, I had also joined the few and even more proud, instructors who teach MCM. I was teaching Load Balancing and RBAC to Exchange MCM candidates. Eventually, I was invited to teach at Lync MCM as well.
The reason to feel proud was obvious. The amount of knowledge on tap, the access to amazing community and product groups, the ability to call that “911” if needed was unsurpassed. And I am sure I can say I am not speaking for myself. Entire MCM community whether you are an Exchange MCM, a Lync guy, SharePoint, SQL or Directory MCM, the feeling wouldn’t be any different.
But all that came to an end faster than the train that crashed in Spain. No disrespect to victims of that incident, but while no lives were lost by Microsoft’s innocent looking sneaky email, the impact is no less. A comment has complained about my bad analogy here and I am sorry for that but do read my comments as, like I said, impact on community if not small.
And by no means I am exaggerating when I say the one who will be affected the most is going to be Microsoft. It has shown no grace, dignity or respect to those who have dedicated almost all of their energy and best part of their productive life on advocating Microsoft’s products against all odds. It has shown no consideration in analyzing impact on professionals who distinguish themselves from hundreds of thousands of paper MCSEs (yes they exist and I have personally dealt with many in my career) by dedicating significant amount of their time to learning guts of Microsoft’s products, mastering them and helping thousands of customers worldwide, design, deploy and support these products at highest possible levels. This applies to both genuine MCSEs as well as MCMs. You know who you are.
Microsoft has lost community’s trust. And I believe it’s mind.
Who in their right mind decided to piss off the community of professionals who ferociously defended Microsoft’s products that didn’t even deserve defending at times? Who in their right mind at MSL would take such a drastic measure with no regards to its repercussions? Who in their right mind would think that the relatively small (numbered in hundreds in whole world combined by all products) MCM community would just roll over and die when they read that email? Who in their right mind thought there won’t be a response?
I think the best has yet to come. I think the best being reinstatement of program by Microsoft has yet to come. I can assure you that the MCM community won’t be silenced. I assure you the MCM community won’t just roll over and die.
Let’s hope MCM is brought back. Scratch that. Let’s do what it takes to bring it back. Isn’t one such pursuit made us a Master?
Read more on this topic:
Neil Johnson – Microsoft Employee and MCM Instructor
Paul Robichaux – MCM Instructor
Listen to what The UC Architects and experts have to say about MSL’s decision:
I agree with everything you said, except one thing. I am very dissapointed at your statemetns devaluaing the MCSEs.
I am not here to judge anyone, but i know how hard it was for me to achieve MCSE and MCITP. It is no small task for us either.
I have no doubt that achieving MCM was a HUGE challenge for you, but you did have to step through the doors of the MCSE and MCITP to get there.
So please do not devalue my certifications just because MS devalued yours. I am proud of what i have achieved as well no amount of “paper” mcses will over match my pride in my NON paper MCSE. So please stop using that as an excuse.
I am sorry I hurt your feelings. My post is not generalizing everyone out there who has MCSE being a paper MCSE. But at the same time, when you count 10 MCSEs on street, it is hard to find 4 who may have some real hands-on experience to get there. The rest I have met have been the ones who just got there. I question how and answer is obvious.
Again, I am not generalizing that every MCSE is same. When you look at a simple search in your favorite search engine “it certifications in demand 2013” you will see that Microsoft certifications are falling behind. It used to be constant top spot, it unfortunately isn’t anymore. The decision makers running IT have spoken, you think they are all biased? I believe it’s the experience that is speaking.
And yes, I went through those ranks and am proud just as much as you are that I worked my a** off to get those certifications but hate it as much as you do when I see people who took the easy (and illegal) way devaluing the certification overall. Don’t trust what I am saying, just go out there and survey just 20 IT managers. You will know what I am talking about.
Very well said, glad to see your progress & also came to know few things of which I wasn’t aware of….!
I hope MS reads your questions, considers & revisit their decision 🙂
I was never a MCM or MVP. Will the MVP program be the next to be stopped by Microsoft?
What comes to my mind. Why not running the MCM program as a community of MCM (without MS)
Just my thoughts
Well, who would recognize a program by a few being run independently? Would you spend your hard earned cash if I was to run such a program?
I was with you until:
“But all that came to an end faster than the train that crashed in Spain. No disrespect to victims of that incident, but while no lives were lost by Microsoft’s innocent looking sneaky email, the impact is no less.”
That is a horrible analogy; especially using an actual train tragedy in which 80 people lost their lives.
Your impact is much less, sorry.
Yes it is a bad analogy, but impact is not small. There are many independent consultant who built their lives around this certification because it is highly regarded and tough to achieve. The way Microsoft handled it has a huge impact on their lives. Yes they didn’t lose their lives but try spending $25K out of your pocket and then told in a week after you attend the training that it all means nothing anymore. It is devastating to those who relied on it.
Again, no disrespect like I said in my post. I don’t think you read my tweets when I paid respect to them upon learning about the tragedy.
I don’t disagree with any other part of this post, I actually think it’s bang on. I know many MCM’s and understand the difficulty and pride at finally completing it, so I get the frustration at how poorly MS handled it.
I just felt the comparison to an actual train crash seemed a little harsh and out of context so I pointed it out.
Even to this day I still meet people who were Exchange Rangers back in the day; while there is no such thing as an Exchange Ranger today, I know they were the best at the time.
Anyway I really didn’t mean to killjoy your post.
It sucks, no two ways about it.
What MS did does sucks, not your post. 😉
I agree there is nothing costly than LIFE & I’m sure Bhargav didn’t mean comparing that.
I don’t think we have to argue on that part but to consider the impact from the way it was announced without any backup and others who already given their written, preparing for LAB & others who hope to be there some day.
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