A New Era in Microsoft Certification


Today Microsoft released details of it’s new certification program which is designed to address the growing need for IT Pros and Developers to have skill sets that run both broad and deep.

At first glance it appears that Microsoft has simply reintroduced acronyms used in previous certification streams (such as MCSD , MCSA and MCSE) however this isn’t so and it’s important to understand that these acronyms now represent new certification structures and requirements, not just a renaming of terminology.

So What Has Changed?

As you can see from the diagram below, the new certification program consists of three core levels:

  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) / Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD)
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM)

You will also notice that Microsoft has introduced recertification as a requirement of MCSD/MCSE level certifications.

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Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)

Associate level certifications validate the core skills required to work with a technology at a beginners level.  They also represent the prerequisite certifications required to obtain Expert level certification. 

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

The Expert level is Microsoft’s flagship set of certifications validating that skills obtained 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.

As previously stated, Microsoft has also introduced recertification as a requirement of this certification level.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM)

This certification is for the select few who wish to further differentiate themselves from their peers and achieve the highest level of skills validation.

Example: SQL Server 2012 Certification Path

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Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)

Prerequisite: No certification prerequisites exist however Microsoft recommends that candidates have at least 2 years experience with the technology being tested.

There are three exams required to obtain the MCSA: SQL Server 2012 certification:

SQL Server 2008 Upgrade Path

Please Note: SQL Server 2008 certification exams will be retired in July 2013 and exams 70-457 and 70-458 are expected to be available by August 2012.

Candidates who have achieved an MCTS on SQL Server 2008 will be able to earn the MCSA: SQL Server 2012 certification by passing two exams:

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)

Prerequisite: MCSA: SQL Server 2012

The MCSE level consist of two platforms (Data and Business Intelligence) and there are two exams (per platform) required to achieve MCSE certification:

MCSE: Data Platform: 

MCSE: Business Intelligence Platform:

SQL Server 2008 Upgrade Path

Please Note: SQL Server 2008 certification exams will be retired in July 2013 and exams 70-457, 70-458, 70-459, and 70-460 are expected to be available by August 2012.

Candidates who have achieved an MCITP on SQL Server 2008 will be able to earn an MCSE: Data Platform or MCSE: Business Intelligence Platform certification by passing three exams.  This upgrade path will also earn the candidate the MCSA: SQL Server 2012 certification.

MCITP: Database Administrator 2008 / MCITP: Database Developer 2008

MCITP: Business Intelligence 2008

Microsoft Certified Solutions Master

The MCSM level consist of two platforms (SQL Server and Intelligence):

MCSM: Data Platform

Prerequisite: MCSE: Data Platform

  • Exam 986: MCSM Data Platform Knowledge
  • Exam 986: MCSM Data Platform Lab

Full requirements are still being finalised.  More information can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/certification/MCSM-sql-server-data-platform.aspx

MCSM: Intelligence

Prerequisite: MCSE: Business Intelligence Platform

  • Full requirements are still being finalised however this level of certification will require the completion of Lab-based and Technical exams

Microsoft Certified Architect

Prerequisite: MCSM: SQL Server and MCSM: Intelligence

MCA: SQL Server

  • Full requirements are still being finalised

Offers and Promotions

Microsoft, in conjunction with Prometric, has released the following offer and promotion to assist candidates with achieving MCSA and/or MCSE certification.

Certification SKU Offer

If you purchase a set of exams to achieve MCSA or MCSE certification, you will receive a 15-20% discount (depending on the number of exams in the set) off the purchase price.

Two-for-One Promotion

Purchase and take a full-priced exam before 30 June 2012 and you will receive, at no cost, a voucher valid for a MCSA or MCSE exam in the same technology.  More information about this offer can be found here.

Additional Information

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 Data Platform: http://aka.ms/MCSEDP

MCSE Business Intelligence: http://aka.ms/MCSEBI

The New MCSAs and MCSEs, Your Questions Answered:

 

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