Microsoft has announced a change to its certification program. It has evolved from MCSA & MCSE to MCITP and back to a new MCSE, Microsoft Certified Solution Expert. The change is meant to address the cloud and aligning IT skills to match where technology is heading. The change announced today is more than just a name change and both developers and IT professionals should read up on the program.
Certifications will now test for real-world solutions instead of specific products. Recertification will also be required.
One of the biggest changes to the program is the introduction of three levels to the program. Where MCSA and MCSE introduced this before. It evolves this time around.
The new certification framework has also been streamlined to three skill levels to make it easier to navigate:
- The Associate Level comprises the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certification, which provides a clear starting point for job seekers early in their technology career. Candidates must prove they have the required skills to hit the ground running. This level represents a foundation and is the prerequisite certification necessary to earn an MCSE.
- The Expert Level comprises the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) or its developer equivalent, Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD), and is Microsoft’s flagship certification for individuals who want to lead their organization’s transition to the cloud. These certifications recognize IT professionals and developers with broad and deep skill sets across Microsoft solutions.
- The Master Level is the Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM) certification that differentiates the select few from their peers and represents the highest bar of knowledge and skills validation.
Microsoft has done a good job of launching and communicating this change. The Microsoft Learning site is up-to-date and a number of resources are available to learn about the new certification tracks and understanding the Microsoft Cloud-built Certifications. Other resources include:
- Microsoft Certification overview page: http://aka.ms/MSCerts
- Microsoft Certification overview video: http://aka.ms/MSCertsVideo
- MCSE information page: http://aka.ms/MCSE
- MCSE video on YouTube: http://aka.ms/MCSEvideo
- MCSE Private Cloud: http://aka.ms/MCSEpvcloud
- MCSE Data Platform: http://aka.ms/MCSEDP
- MCSE Business Intelligence: http://aka.ms/MCSEBI
As for MCITP certifications:
MCITP certifications will not be updated for future versions of Microsoft products. In most cases, as an MCITP, you will be eligible for special upgrade paths to new Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) certifications. Microsoft Certified Solution Expert (MCSE) is focused on an experienced professional’s ability to design and build technology solutions in the cloud and on premise.
Your MCITP certification will remain valuable as long as companies are using the technology on which it certifies.
Along with this infographic showing the value of Microsoft certification, Microsoft also presents a white paper from the IDC studying the Cloud’s effect on job creation.
The two-for-one offer from Prometric for certification exams may also be of interest if you are ready to get going on the new certification path.