Associate, Expert and Master: The reinvention of the Microsoft certifications

Microsoft has reinvented the certifications in order to validate the skills in a deeper way. But how does it look?

This is the case when the article is old – due how fast the information flows nowadays – but gold. Microsoft is changing all certifications. Again. And, at this time, they call it reinvention. You might have a feeling of déjà vu if you saw the change from the .NET Framework 3.5 to 4. But now there is cloud technologies! So let’s see how it works.

As you could see on the blue pyramid, we still have 3 levels of certification, but with different names. They are:

Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)

The Associate level is the prerequisite certification necessary to get your Expert level certification. This certification validates the core skills you need to get your 1st job in IT. We could slightly compare with the Technology Specialist (MCTS) that we have today.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) & Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD)

The Expert level is Microsoft’s flagship set of certifications validating that your skills are relevant in the constantly changing tech environment. The Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) is the destination for established IT Professionals who have expertise working with Microsoft technology solutions. The Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) is the destination for established Developers who have expertise developing solutions with Microsoft tools. Does that sound familiar? Yes! IT Professional (MCITP) and Professional Developer (MCPD).

Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM)

After you have achieved your Expert level certification, Master is the next destination. This certification is for the select few who wish to further differentiate themselves from their peers and achieve the highest level of skills validation. But this one is a bit dubious for me as we already had Master (MCM) but only for server technologies. I don’t know if they will keep it in this way or if they will also extend that for developers (which would be great!).

But don’t be fool thinking it’s only this. Since Microsoft is moving almost everything to the cloud this rearrangement seem quite right for the purpose. For example, if a person wants to become an MCSE: Data Platform he/she will have to be MCSA: SQL Server 2012 and then make 2 exams. To upgrade from the previous certification the person must make 3 transition exams. Seems harder, hum? I can’t wait to see what they will do with the developer certifications... :)

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