IT professionals who want to demonstrate their ability to work with Microsoft servers can choose to pursue certification as a Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert. Candidates will need to pass five exams, and some certification areas require a related bachelor's degree.
Microsoft Certified Solutions Experts (MCSE) have passed a series of exams demonstrating their ability to manage and maintain computer infrastructures that utilize Windows servers and databases. These individuals have typically completed a bachelor's degree program in a computer discipline before earning their certification.
|Required Education||Variable according to computer specialty; information security analysts need a bachelor's degree in a computer-related discipline|
|Other Requirements||MCSE certification|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||18% for information security analysts, 11% for database administrators*|
|Median Annual Salary (May 2015)||$90,120 for information security analysts; $81,710 for database administrators*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Overview of the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) Credential
MCSE certification is available to IT professionals who have experience installing, configuring and troubleshooting computer infrastructures run by Microsoft servers and databases. Specializations are available in eight areas: desktop infrastructure, server infrastructure, private cloud, data platform, SharePoint, business intelligence, messaging and communication.
Passing scores are required on a total of five certification exams designed to test applicants' proficiency in using Microsoft SQL Server 2012 or Windows Server 2012 to implement application environments, develop databases, design business intelligence solutions or manage voice and online services. The exam preparation can take a few weeks to a few months of studying, depending on the student's hands-on experience.
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Depending on their specialty area, IT professionals with an MCSE designation - as well as sufficient experience or post-secondary training - can pursue positions such as computer support specialist, network and computer systems administrator, information security analyst and database administrator.
With a median annual wage of $90,120, information security analysts took home the highest salaries among these IT professionals in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Database administrators were also among the top earners with a median salary of $81,710. Network and computer systems administrators, on the other hand, earned a median salary of $77,810 per year, while computer network support specialists had a median wage of $62,250.
According to the BLS, information security analysts could see the best employment prospects through the 2014-2024 decade. Job opportunities in this field were expected to grow 18%, while network and computer systems administrators could see a job growth of 8%. Database administrators were expected to experience an employment increase of 11%, and a job growth of 12% was projected for computer support specialists.
IT professionals who have worked their way up to becoming a Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert may find employment in a variety of positions, including information security analyst and database administrator. An average or faster-than-average job growth was projected for most of these positions, and individuals could earn anywhere from $62,000 to a little over $90,000.