How is Microsoft changing their certification?

This new certification model is based on three tiers of expertise: Fundamentals, Associate, and Expert. For some solution areas, there will be a Fundamentals-level exam. Upon passing that exam, an individual receives a Fundamentals certification. The Associate level typically includes two (2) role-based exams, although this can vary based on the skills required for the associated job role. Individuals must pass all required exams to receive the Associate certification. The Fundamentals exam is not required to receive the Associate-level certification, however. Expert-level requirements vary by certification, based on the skills required for that job role.  In some cases, this can be attained by passing two Expert-level exams without an Associate-level certification, or by attaining an Associate-level certification and then passing an Expert-level exam.

There is an additional option for some Associate-level and Expert-level certification in the form of a transition exam. The transition exam is intended for people who have already demonstrated skills in the content domain by passing the existing exams, within the existing MCSA, MCSD, or MCSE tracks, that the new role-based certification exams will be replacing.

This change is being implemented for Azure related courses and certification immediately, but all Microsoft training and certifications (including Office 365) will move to this new model in 2019.

Is my Microsoft training/certification still valid and how do I transition to the new Microsoft certification model?

Rest assured that all your hard work you have put into your exam and certification progress will not go to waste.  All existing passed exams and earned certifications, within the existing MCSA, MCSD, and MCSE tracks, will remain on your Microsoft Certified Professional transcript and they will continue to remain valid into the future.  But it is important to understand that the IT Pro industry will be looking to these new role-based certifications into the future and it is important to continually learn and certify to remain current within these technologies.

In the instance that an individual has obtained part of an MCSA, MCSD, or MCSE certification track but haven’t completed the track in its entirety, this individual should still take the required exam(s) to complete their certification, but they should do so quickly, as all the affected exams will be retired within six (6) months of the new exam availability.  An individual can also take a transitional exam, to convert their existing exams and certifications into the new role-based certification, and ultimately provide a shorter path to certification through the transition process.

The transition exam is intended for those who have already demonstrated skills in the content domain by passing the existing exams that the new role-based certification exams will be replacing. They cover the delta between the current certification and the skills Microsoft expects the new certification will provide. The transition exam has been brought in to avoid having to retest people on the same content with which they already demonstrated competence by passing the existing exam, and as to not penalize people who have been preparing to take an exam that they are making redundant via the new certifications. Transition exams cover net new content, content that wasn’t covered in enough depth previously, and content on aspects of the technology that have likely changed since the initial certification. As a result, the transition exam is not shorter than a typical exam but instead is more focused on the key tasks and skills that were not assessed in the existing exam or certification that is being replaced.

Exam Specifics and What’s Next?

Microsoft is currently transitioning Azure Certifications 70-532,70-533, and 70-535 to the new role-based certification model.  This maps to the Azure Developer Associate, Azure Administrator Associate, and Azure Solutions Architect Expert certifications respectively.  The exams to obtain the Azure Administrator Associate (AZ-100 & AZ-101) have been released as of September 24th, 2018 and the exams for Azure Developer Associate (AZ-200 & AZ-201) and Azure Solutions Architect Expert (AZ-300 & AZ-301) are currently in BETA with a slated release of December 2018.

Microsoft has also released the AZ-102 transitional exam, for anyone who has obtained the current 70-533, to transition to the new Azure Administrator Associate.  Transitional exams AZ-202 – Azure Developer Associate and AZ-302 – Azure Solutions Architect Expert are currently in BETA with a slated release of December 2018.

It is important to note that Microsoft has started its role-based certification rollout with the Azure certifications, but they do plan on expanding into their other technology certifications soon after.  As of March 31st, 2019, the 70-346: Managing Office 365 Identities and Requirements and 70-347: Enabling Office 365 Services exams will also be retired in favor of the new MS-100: Microsoft 365 Identity and Services and MS-101: Microsoft 356 Mobility and Security role-based certifications.  This will also retire the current MCSA: Office 365 certification at the same time.  Also, as of March 31st, 2019, the 70-695: Deploying Windows Desktops and Enterprise Applications, 70-697: Configuring Windows Devices, and 70-698: Installing and Configuring Windows 10 exams will also be retired in favour of the new MD-100: Windows 10 and MD-101: Managing Modern Desktops role-based certifications.  This will also retire the current MCSA: Windows 10 certification at the same time.

The information provided above is current at the time of writing this article. Please frequent the Microsoft Certifications site for changes, additional information, and updates.


 

 

 
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