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Whether to finish MCSE with Win2k security or networking test

I'm trying to decide how to finish my MCSE. One option is with the Win2k security test, and the other is with the new MCSA networking test option. Is the MCSE's security rating worth chasing, or should I take the easy way out on the MCSE and pursue security certification elsewhere?

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The 70-220 exam is a design exam, not an operations exam. Thus, it concentrates more on the analysis, policy and initial configuration-side of the security equation, rather than on day-to-day, nuts-and-bolts security topics. That's not to say the exam is worthless, but it won't arm you sufficiently on Windows security topics to permit you to position yourself as a Windows "security guy" all by itself. That said, the 70-218 MCSA exam is probably a better choice in terms of the good it will do in sharpening your skills as a Windows network administrator.

You can get excellent security skills and even turn your focus to Windows environments by following this path:

  • Start out easy with the BrainBench Internet and network security exams (

  • Take the next step by taking the CIW Security Professional exam ( After you get your MCSE, this exam and that credential lets you call yourself a CIW Security Analyst.

  • If you want to remain Windows-focused, the SANS certifications offer the best coverage of that area. Start with the GSEC (GIAC Security Essentials Certification, then tackle the GCWN (GIAC Certified Windows Security Administrator) credential. If you want to climb further up the GIAC ladder, you can next tackle the GIAC Security Engineer track (GSE). (

  • On the other hand, you could then tackle a different and perhaps better- known security cert at that point, like the ISC-squared's CISSP (

    For more information on this topic, visit these other SearchSecurity resources:
    Executive Security Briefing: Revisiting the security certification landscape
    Best Web Links: Infosec Training, Careers & Events

    This was first published in March 2002

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