Microsoft announced three new, simplified expert (MCSE), and developer (MCSD) certifications in the fourth quarter 2016.
The new MCSE certification tracks for Cloud Platform and Infrastructure and Mobility, Data Management and Analytics, and Productivity align end-user certifications with those of Microsoft solution partner professionals.
App Builder, the new MCSD certification track — focuses on skills validation in web and mobile app development.
The Cloud Platform certification was the main path to Azure certification at the MCSA level.
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Start trainingThe new certifications, namely the MCSA Cloud Platform and the MCSE Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, and MCSD App Builder seem to be aimed to increase the number of IT professionals who are certified on Microsoft’s cloud offering. But how will they connect to existing Microsoft training and certifications.
Let’s take a look at the new certification offerings that Azure has to offer and how they will help you succeed.
Why is the Cloud Important to IT Pros?
Cloud-trained professionals are highly in demand. Microsoft created their cloud certification overhaul in order to help IT professionals learn more and drive the deployment of customer solutions on Microsoft’s cloud platform.
Out with the old, in with the new
Some MCSE and MCSD certification exams will be retiring on March 31, 2017 due to these new tracks. These exams will be retired on March 31, 2017.
Microsoft Certification Overhaul
The structure and prerequisites for obtaining a Microsoft certification have remained the same. First, you must earn an Associate-level certification (MCSA) in your track. Then, you must pass the corresponding MCSE exam(s).
These new MCSE credentials are exciting because they don’t need recertification every 3 years. You can move from MCSA to MCSE/MCSD with just one additional exam.
Here’s the catch. In the new Microsoft terminology, “Current” refers to a moving target. Your certification will always be listed under “Active” and will remain current as long as the platform or software version is current. Your certification will not expire unless the system changes.
You can “recertify” each year with a new elective exam. Each of your MCSE certifications will remain “current” until the technology ceases to exist. In a sense, if one MCSE is active, you will always have one active MCSE. However, “current” means “recertifying” each year with a new elective test.
For example, in 2021 you will still have an active MCSE record for 2017. If you don’t recertify in 2018, 2020, or 2021 with a new elective exam, you’ll have a gap of four years in active certifications. This is not bad, but it’s not great.
Employers will likely conform to the new certification track. We recommend that you recertify each year to stay current in Microsoft learning throughout your career.
This replaces the current recertification requirement to take a specific recertification test every three years to keep your certification from becoming inactive.
Microsoft seems to be emphasizing that it is important to stay current with rapidly changing technologies through their new certification structure. These new paths offer a great place to learn about Azure, build your expertise, and establish credibility.
Hopping on the Cloud
SPOTO offers three training courses specifically designed to prepare you for the Azure-related Microsoft MCSA Clou