Let me repeat, then answer your questions and respond to your observations one at a time:
1. Can you tell me your opinion of the Network+ certification?
It's a great basic networking certification and a terrific starting point for anybody interested in more advanced networking certs from Microsoft (MCSA, MCSE), Novell (CNA, CNE), Cisco (CCNA, CCNP,...), Linux (RHCE, Linux+, or the SAIR or LPI certs) and others.
2. Also, considering Microsoft's seemingly new stance on security, do you think they will ever come out with a security certification?
Keith Ward wrote an interesting story on Jan. 29, 2002 entitled Microsoft: No separate security certification based on post- Trustworthy computing rhetoric from Microsoft, so the answer to that question appears to be no.
3. I think you have stated that MCSE's can avoid the 70-220 exam if they choose, and that is exactly what I have seen happen!
According to my sources, it's the least-taken of the three most popular designing exams (70-219, 70-220 and 70-221 -- there's no point in even mentioning 70-226).
4. I just passed the 70-220 exam and I'm onto tackle the 70-227 exam.
Good for you, but now you know how lacking in overall coverage the MCSE/MCP curriculum really is. Depressing, huh?
5. I'm also interested in the Network+ cert, not so much for the cert itself, but more to strengthen my networking knowledge.
That's always the right attitude to have for certification. You're trying to learn something, not collect a merit badge!
Good luck with your future efforts. I hope I was able to answer your questions.
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This was first published in March 2002