Out with the old, and in with the… older? With a whisper as quiet as a fart in a storm (I haven’t even received an email on this yet, and only found out through the twitter-sphere), Microsoft have released the information on the complete overhaul of their certification system, and by overhaul, I mean putting it back to the way it was pre-2008! The MCITP cert will be replaced by the trusty old MCSA and MCSE, but with a slight difference… the acronym.
The qualifications are now as follows:
- MCSA: Microsoft Certified Solutions Advisor
- MCSE: Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert
- MCSM: Microsoft Certified Solutions Master
After a lengthy chat I had with a very friendly MS live advisor, I can summarise the facts as follows:
- If you are an existing MCITP: Enterprise Administrator you will get the MCSA qualification for free (and no requirement to take the 70-646 SA exam). This should be automatically updated on your transcript some time soon. UPDATE: I have heard a rumour that this will be on April 24th.
- The MCSE: Private Cloud will be considered a higher level cert than the MCITP.
- The new 70-246 and 70-247 will not be released until June, which seems to match with my checks on the Prometric site, where the earliest date available at my local test centre is 8th June.
- If you have passed the 70-659 exam already, you will be allowed to skip the 70-247 Private Cloud Configuration and Deployment with System Center 2012 exam, as long as you pass your MCSE by January 31st 2013.
When I first heard that they were changing the certs I was a bit annoyed (having just started down the MCITP Virtualization Administrator track), but as it turns out it’s pretty good! Based on the above, I’ll complete my 70-659 exam (which is free anyway) next week, take a break and await the release of 70-246 Private Cloud Monitoring and Operations with System Center 2012. Then it’s only one exam for the MCSE… easy!
I would highly recommend anyone who hasn’t already taken advantage of this offer, get your free 70-659 exam voucher and do the exam now! I have posted my 70-659 study guide here which is now updated with the info on the free 70-659 training for MS partners!
For those interested in the word from the horses mouth, here follows the transcript of my chat:
Jeffrey: Hello, I'm Jeffrey with the Microsoft Certification Guidance Team.
Jeffrey: Hi John
John: I'm trying to understand this new MCSA stuff
Jeffrey: I can see here that you have a question about getting the MCSA 2008
John: I'm already an MCITP Enterprise Admin in 2008
John: Do I have to still do 70-646 Server Admin exam just to get the MCSA 2008?
Jeffrey: That is great to hear. That already qualifies you as an MCSA in Private Cloud
John: Ah right, that's good. So when does that get updated onto our transcripts?
Jeffrey: Excellent question. There is no updates yet at this time since the announcement is still new - but you should have it in your records soon
Jeffrey: If you want to further upgrade to the MCSE in Private Cloud - you just need 2 exams
Jeffrey: Exam 70-247
Jeffrey: Exam 70-246
John: right, thanks. I also have one other question then
Jeffrey: Go ahead
John: I'm currently studying towards MCITP: Virtualization Administrator
John: This now seems a bit pointless as you appear to be replacing this cert with MCSE Private Cloud
Jeffrey: That is great to hear
John: would the MCSE be considered a "higher level" cert?
Jeffrey: Excellent question. Yes - the new MCSE will be considered as a higher certification path
Jeffrey: The new Microsoft Certified Solution Expert (MCSE) credential focuses on the ability to design and build technology solutions, which may include integrating multiple technology products and may span multiple versions of a single technology.
John: The following page also seems to recommend that we do 70-659 as a pre-req for the MCSE, even though it's not required? http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/training/cloud.aspx
Jeffrey: You can also see the latest training resources for this technology in this link. I can further recommend that you check on them regularly as training resources are usually updated once they have been set for release
Jeffrey: System Center 2012 - Latest Training Courses and Materials
Jeffrey: Great question. Currently all the exams you need to upgrade towards the MCSE in Private is not offered until June this year
Jeffrey: However, you can use Exam 70-659 as a substitute for the new exam Exam 70-247
Jeffrey: Exam 70-659 counts as credit towards the Private Cloud certification until January 31, 2013.
Jeffrey: After January 31, 2013, you will be required to pass Exam 70-247 to achieve the private cloud certification.
John: ah thats good. So if I pass 70-659 in a week, then I only need one exam to be MCSE?
Jeffrey: Exactly. When you are ready to take an exam, you can register with Prometric. Prometric serves as the exam provider for all IT and Developer exams.
Jeffrey: Exam Location and Registration Steps - Prometric
Jeffrey: If you would like to take instructor-led training, you can use the Class Locator tool to find training near you
Jeffrey: Class Locator
John: Great stuff, that's a lot more clear now... (and saves me doing extra exams I don't need to!) :)
John: Thanks for your help
Jeffrey: You are most welcome. Just one more thing
Jeffrey: Since you are interested in taking up the Virtualization exam - let me also show you another exam offer we have for this path
Jeffrey: How to Register - Jump Start Online Class for Virtualization
Jeffrey: The Jump Start package for US$99 includes attendance at one online Jump Start training session and a voucher good for Exam 70-659.
Jeffrey: This next link will show you the current training resources we have available for this exam
Jeffrey: Learning Plan for Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization (70-659)
Jeffrey: I just wanted to make sure that we cover everything you need to know.
John: Thanks for that
Jeffrey: You are most welcome. We understand that getting a certification is a big step and we would like to give you all the help you need
Jeffrey: If you have a moment, we would appreciate you taking a short survey for us. The survey will appear when you click the “close” button on the chat.
Jeffrey: Have a great day John!
Here’s also a few more links for further information:
UPDATE: The following graphic is now available which summarises things quite succinctly: