Monday, 3 October 2016

Massive changes to Microsoft Certifications

Just yesterday Microsoft surprised the IT Pro industry with a complete revamp of their technical certifications. They launched five new Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) and Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) certifications, three new Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certifications and will be retiring 13 existing certs. It was also announce that the way you certify is changing, a change that is important you understand.  

This blog will look to dissect the changes made by helping you understand what’s new, what’s retiring, how you can achieve these new certifications and the process of recertification.


What’s new?


New Certifications:
On September 26th Microsoft launched eight new certifications, and announced the retirement of 13 older certifications and changed the way you recertify. Let's take a look at what this means for you and your certifications:

The new certifications have been listed below:

  • MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure - focusing on skills validation for Windows Server and Microsoft Azure 
  • MCSE: Mobility - focusing on skills validation for Windows Client and Enterprise Mobility Suite 
  • MCSE: Data Management and Analysis - focusing on skills validation for both on-premises and cloud-based Microsoft data products and services 
  • MCSE: Productivity - focusing on skills validation for Office 365, SharePoint, Exchange, and Skype for Business 
  • MCSD: App Builder - focusing on skills validation for Web and Mobile app development 
  • MCSA: Cloud Platform - focusing on expertise in Microsoft cloud-related technologies 
  • MCSA: Web Applications - focusing on expertise at implementing modern web apps  
  • MCSA: Universal Windows Platform - focusing on implementing Universal Windows Platform apps that offer a compelling user experience 

The new certification process:

In addition to the new certifications, Microsoft have now changed the way you certify. This is a throwback to the past where historically you could certify via a series of elective exams, rather than a set pathway.

Attaining a new MCSE/MCSD certifications can be achieved by holding the prerequisite MCSA certification and passing one elective exam from a choice of 5 to 10 options. Effectively Microsoft have now made it easier to secure MCSE and/or MCSD certifications as there is just one exam to pass, where previously there would have been two. Furthermore, all new MCSA exams require you to pass two elective exams from up to a choice of five.

MCSA: Cloud Platform
Step 1. To earn the MCSA: Cloud Platform, you must pass two of the following exams.
Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions
Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions
Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions
Not yet available
Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions
Not yet available
Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions
Not yet available

MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure
Step 1. Earn one of the following Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certifications:
MCSA: Cloud Platform
Step 2. Pass one of the following elective exams.
Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions
Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions
Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions
Not yet available
Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions
Not yet available
Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions
Not yet available
Securing Windows Server 2016
Not yet available
Not yet available
Designing and Implementing a Server Infrastructure
Implementing an Advanced Server Infrastructure
Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud
Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud
This MCSE certification can be re-earned every calendar year by passing an additional elective exam.

MCSA: Web Applications
Step 1. To earn the MCSA: Web Applications, you must pass two of the following exams.
Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3
Developing ASP.NET MVC Web Applications

MCSA: Universal Windows Platform
Step 1. To earn the MCSA: Universal Windows Platform, you must pass two of the following exams.
Programming in C#
Developing Mobile Apps
Not yet available

MCSD: App Builder
Step 1. Earn one of the following Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certifications:
MCSA: Web Applications
MCSA: Universal Windows Platform
Step 2. Pass one of the following elective exams.
Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions
Developing Microsoft Azure and Web Services
Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Core Solutions
Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Advanced Solutions
Universal Windows Platform – App Architecture and UX/UI
Not yet available
Universal Windows Platform – App Data, Services, and Coding Patterns
Not yet available
Administering Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server
Take MVA course
Software Testing with Visual Studio
Not yet available
Delivering Continuous Value with Visual Studio Application Lifecycle Management
Not yet available
This MCSD certification can be re-earned every calendar year by passing an additional elective exam.

MCSE: Mobility
Step 1. Earn your Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): Windows 10 certification.
Step 2. Pass one of the following elective exams.


Deploying Windows Desktops and Enterprise Applications
70-695
Administering System Center Configuration Manager and Intune
70-696
Planning for and Managing Devices in the Enterprise
Not yet available
70-398
This MCSE certification can be re-earned every calendar year by passing an additional elective exam.

MCSE: Data Management and Analytics
Step 1. Earn one of the following Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certifications:
Step 2. Pass one of the following elective exams.
Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions
Not yet available
Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions
Not yet available
Developing Microsoft SQL Server Databases
Designing Database Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server
Implementing Data Models and Reports with Microsoft SQL Server
Designing Business Intelligence Solutions with Microsoft SQL Server
This MCSE certification can be re-earned every calendar year by passing an additional elective exam.

MCSE: Productivity


Step 2. Pass one of the following elective exams.


Designing and Deploying Microsoft Exchange Server 2016
20345-1
70-345

20345-2
Managing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2016
Not yet available
Deploying Enterprise Voice with Skype for Business 2015
Not yet available
Core Solutions of Microsoft Skype for Business 2015
Core Solutions of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013
Advanced Solutions of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013
Core Solutions of Microsoft Exchange Server 2013
Advanced Solutions of Microsoft Exchange Server 2013
This MCSD certification can be re-earned every calendar year by passing an additional elective exam.


The recertification process:


Recertification is dead. The requirement of passing a recertification exam every two to three years to keep you credential in the Active section of your transcript has been scrapped.

You will no longer need to recertify the new MCSE/MCSD credentials, they remain on the Active section of your transcript once gained. You do however have the option to re-earn your certification every year by passing an additional elective exam. Whilst not a requirement this validates both your growth in Microsoft product knowledge, keeping pace with rapid advancements of Microsoft technologies – where new features are launched weekly.

As a result of this switch, recertification exams are retiring will be retiring. Multiple new electives will launch on a yearly cycle to ensure you can re-earn your certification relevant to the latest technology upgrades.

Retiring certifications:


Additional to the 8 new certifications, Microsoft have announced the retirement of 13 current certifications. The list of certification set to retire is listed below:
  • MCSE: Server infrastructure
  • MCSE: Private Cloud
  • MCSE: Data Platform
  • MCSE: Business Intelligence
  • MCSE: Enterprise Devices and Apps
  • MCSE: SharePoint
  • MCSE: Communication
  • MCSE: Messaging
  • MCSD: Application Lifecycle Management
  • MCSD: Universal Windows Platform
  • MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect
  • MCSD: Web Applications
  • MCSD: SharePoint Applications

Although these 13 certs are set to retire on the 31st of March 2017, some of the exams that make up these certifications will not. What this means is that although the Microsoft certification portfolio has been restructured, you will still be able to take some of those same exams, just as an elective for a new MCSE/MCSD certification.

You May Have a New Certification Already!


Microsoft have sought to make the transition between certifications as smooth as possible as they “recognise your efforts in keeping your existing certifications up-to-date”. If you currently hold an active MCSE and/or MCSD certification from the list below, then you’ll automatically earn the corresponding new MCSE or MCSD certification. You won’t even be required to pass any more exams!

  • MCSE: Server infrastructure
  • MCSE: Private Cloud
  • MCSE: Data Platform
  • MCSE: Business Intelligence
  • MCSE: Enterprise Devices and Apps
  • MCSE: SharePoint
  • MCSE: Communication
  •  MCSE: Messaging
  •  MCSD: Universal Windows Platform
  • MCSD: Web Applications
  • MCSD: SharePoint Applications


Additionally, if you have completed a qualifying elective exam since January 1st 2016, then you will be eligible for the new MCSE or MCSD certifications without taking any additional exams, on the condition that you meet all the exam requirements.

If you currently have an inactive MCSE or MCSD certification, you have the choice of taking a recertification exam or a new exam from the electives list corresponding to that specialist certification.

Below we’ve offered some practical examples of certifications you may hold and the new certification equivalents you may have just earned:

Old Certifications
New Certifications
MCSA: Universal Windows Platform + MCSD: Application Builder
MCSE: Cloud Platform
MCSE: Cloud Platform
MCSE: Productivity
MCSE: Data Management and Analytics
MCSA: Cloud Platform + MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure
MCSA: Web Applications + MCSD: Application Builder