Since Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) and Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) first entered the IT scene in 1992, Microsoft’s accreditation program has gone through a few significant reconfigurations and delivered a surge of qualifications. With over 100 exams currently on the table (and dozens more if you include Microsoft Office Specialist, MTA Fundamentals, and Microsoft Dynamics), choosing a place to dive in can be a daunting prospect. To help you navigate this sea of abundance, we’ve mapped out the latest Microsoft certification trends so you can focus on the most popular right now.
But first, in case all the twists and turns in Microsoft’s certification program have left you drowning in a bowl of alphabet soup, here’s a little reminder on the structure of the current embodiment of certification offerings. from Microsoft.
Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) – This group of kids’ basic computer exams offers a low-risk way for students and the timid to test the waters of certification. These are not of extraordinary interest to IT experts and won’t qualify you as a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP).
Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) – An auxiliary group of the most useful certifications for entry-level employees. These certify different levels of magic with Microsoft Office and Microsoft SharePoint applications. These are more for office staff than IT staff and they don’t get you to the MCP club either.
Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) – This is the springboard. Pass just about any Microsoft certification exam other than MOS or MTA, and it can be called an MCP. Emails containing training links, product news, and certification offers will start to arrive in your inbox. It also opens the door for participation in the MCP online community and encouragement to venture further.
Microsoft Specialist – This is the shallow finish of the accreditation pool, offering significant certifications that require less venture than Microsoft lead qualifications. As the name suggests, specialist exams focus on a particular Microsoft technology or product, such as C # programming or development for Azure. These degrees typically require only one professional level examination, some of which may also count towards higher level designations.
Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) – This degree of the Microsoft MCSA Certification program incorporates seven item explicit assignments that guarantee center abilities in a particular Microsoft item region, for example, Windows, Windows Server, SQL Server. MCSA certifications require the completion of two or three exams, depending on the track. The MCSA also serves as the most advanced and desirable gateway certification to the MCSE, and is often sought after by network administrators and support specialists.
Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) – The MCSE, which can only be obtained after obtaining the MCSA, is Microsoft’s most recognized certification. It features prominently on many IT certification lists. Responses to Certification Magazine’s 2014 Annual Salary Survey ranked her 12th on The Salary Survey 75, a ranking based on the correlation of respondents’ salaries with the certifications they hold. It additionally took 6th spot in the “What confirmation do you intend to procure straightaway?” listing. System engineers and advanced network professionals find this degree valuable.
Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD) – If you are an application developer using Microsoft technologies such as .NET, C #, or SharePoint, these Microsoft credentials are for you. There are five tracks, going from MCSD: Windows Store Apps to MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect. Each requires the successful completion of 3 exams, except MCSE: SharePoint Applications which requires four.
In short, you have many, many options! Which ones rise above the crowd? Here are our top picks:
MCSE: private cloud
Cloud computing continues to unfold during IT service delivery like a digital tsunami, driving an insatiable demand for IT professionals who can implement and manage its flow. In Microsoft-land, it infers Microsoft System Center 2012 on top of Windows Server 2012 with an Azure side. MCSE: Private Cloud centers around the initial two.
To earn it, you will need to pass five exams; the first three will get you MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certification, which is definitely nice to have, but the last two exams are what make it a coveted cloud credential: monitoring and operating a private cloud with System Center 2012, and configure and deploy a private cloud with System Center 2012. With those credentials in hand, you’ll be ready to help organizations make the change.
MCSE: data platform
SQL Server is one of Microsoft’s most popular products. It’s been one of the biggest in DBMS, along with Oracle and IBM, for many years, and Microsoft continues to update and improve each version, so it’s not going anywhere but to the top. MCSE: Data Platform is one of the major SQL-Server centered qualifications (the other is MCSE: Business Intelligence). Covers on-premises and cloud-based environments. At the MCSE level, you need to know how to design, create, and implement databases as well as manage and interact with them.
MCSA: SQL server
A step back from MCSE, but a valuable benchmark, if not an end point, this certification is suitable for developers and administrators working with Microsoft SQL Server 2012. Although “SA” now stands for Solutions Associate instead of Systems Administrator, you will always find specifically requested in network administrator job postings, as well as in technical support positions. It is also a mandatory prerequisite for MCSE: Data Platform and MCSE: Business Intelligence.
Microsoft Specialist: Azure
This is one of those cases where less = more, as fewer certification exams translate to higher pay increases. According to David Foote, chief analyst and director of research at IT analyst firm Foote Partners, which publishes quarterly reports that track compensation bonuses for specific IT skills, it is currently the highest paying certification. from Microsoft’s portfolio. Specifically, employers are prepared to add a higher wage premium for this designation than for any other Microsoft certificate. There are actually three versions of this certification (Azure solution architecture, deployment and development), so you can choose the one that best suits your role.
MCSD: Application Lifecycle Management
This certification for application developers working on the Microsoft stack covers three topics that are close and popular with business-sized employers: Visual Studio Team Foundation Server, software testing and, of course, application lifecycle management. This is a great way to demonstrate the credibility of the team building environment to a large employer, where these skills are vital. The certification consists of three exams (one for each subject). There are four other MCSD tracks, including a new one for the Azure solution architecture, but this one seems to work particularly well with employers at the moment. CMDD appeared on list 75 in this year’s Certification magazine salary survey (# 68) and came in at No. 39 on the “What certificate will I look for next” list at the same number.
While the above certifications are very attractive right now, don’t overlook the one that isn’t on the list but more closely matches your career goals. Ultimately, the best certification is the one that best fits your career plans.