Microsoft Learning published new information today which changes the certification landscape in a big way.
Think you understand how to get certified? You’ve got a set of new terms and new rules to learn!
I’ll give you my take on the high points here. Join us next Tuesday in our webcast to get the full scoop.
Certification Names and Paths are Changing
This one’s going to cause a whole lot of chatter. The biggest problem I think there will be? So many certification names are changing that it’s a little tricky to even get your head around it. If you’ve been in the industry a while, you may be surprised at the re-use of some old and familiar acronyms.
Getting in the Game: Become an MCSA
In the current round of certifications you first work toward becoming an MCTS— the TS stands for “Technical Specialist.”
In the new certification world, you will first work toward becoming an MCSA— or a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate. To achieve this first step, you’ll take three tests.
Advancing Your Career: Get the MCSE
Did you see that? I totally just said MCSE! That’s an older acronym that stands for “Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.” In our new certification world, the “Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert” is the second level of certification.
The MCSE is replacing the current MCITPs (“IT Professionals”) in Database Administration and Development.
Here’s the part I want to make sure is clear here: the MCITP level is being combined. In order to get an MCSE in SQL Server, you need to pass exams for developing and designing database solutions. This is a big shift! In the new world we’ll have fewer certifications, and the trend is to have them cover more topic areas.
Become a Master: The MCSM
Once you have your MCSE, you’re ready for the Masters level. There’s only slight changes here so far— the name is now Microsoft Certified Solutions Master.
No More Versions!
Get ready for a big one: these new certifications don’t all have “SQL Server 2012” in their names. That’s on purpose, the certifications are not versioned.
Instead, certifications may cover multiple versions of the product.
What Do these Changes Mean?
Personally, I love these changes, particularly the move away from versioning. If someone holds a certification in SQL Server 2000, does that mean they remember anything about SQL Server 2000? (Trust me, that’s no small accomplishment!)
Let’s be clear: these changes do make certification more challenging for DBAs who don’t work actively with development, and who work in businesses that are slow to upgrade to new technologies. However, the changes also challenge everyone to stay current and to broaden their skills. That’s the best bet for hiring managers.
Interested in learning more? Check out the Microsoft Learning FAQ for information on exam availability, upgrades, and more.