Don’t forget the old stuff
You probably don’t have to look too far within your own company to find a Windows 2003 server or perhaps one even older. And with Windows XP achieving a somewhat cult status and the support now extended even further to 2014, it is worth considering the relevancy of older certifications. Although the Microsoft 2003 series has slipped into the legacy category of late, the MS fundamentals remain the same. The core skills which you learn in regards to Active directory, group policy or DNS are all still relevant within the latest Microsoft technologies so a lot of the skills you learn here are transferrable.
If you are considering a Microsoft 2008 track such as an MCTS or MCITP while the environment you work in is predominantly 2003, then you may be jumping the gun. With most companies tightening their belts in light of the current economy, they are not looking to upgrade their servers if they don’t need to. Moreover, as the existing 2003 infrastructures are squeezed of their last few drops of life, having the Microsoft best practice skills you learn in getting certified will help in increasing their lifespan.
When the time comes to upgrade to the latest Microsoft releases, then the certification upgrade paths are straightforward. For example, the MCSA can be upgraded to an MCITP with a single exam to achieve the equivalent within the 2008 path. Thus, achieving the older accreditations doesn’t mean doubling your certification workload.