Microsoft Redirects Certification Program at the Cloud

Vendor offers new certification framework with three skill levels based on cloud proficiency, knowledge.

Microsoft Corp. said recently that it has revamped its certification framework for IT professionals and developers to reflect the industry’s wholesale shift to cloud computing and to address what it views as a gap in associated skills.

The vendor said that its new certifications are solutions rather than product oriented and, correspondingly, affirm a broader set of knowledge and skills for organizations with a mix of cloud and on-premise technologies.

“The changes we’re making will help technology professionals gain the skills they need to plan, design, implement and operate cloud and hybrid solutions today and into the future,” said Don Field, Microsoft senior director, product management.

Microsoft has simplified its certification structure to three skill levels—Associate, Expert and Master—to map to skills needed for cloud and hybrid solutions.

The Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certification is set at the Associate entry-level and serves as a starting point pre-requisite for the vendor’s foundational Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE).

At the Expert tier is the MCSE and Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD), its equivalent for developers. The MCSE is aimed at individuals who command broad and deep skill sets with the vendor’s solutions.

Microsoft’s Certified Solutions Master (MCSM), reserved for the highest levels of knowledge and skills, is classified at the Master level.

Cushing Anderson, International Data Corp. (IDC) program vice president, Consulting, HR and Learning practices, praised the reoriented program.

“Overall the changes to Microsoft’s certification program are an appropriate evolution toward greater industry relevance and business value,” he said.

Microsoft has tabbed the MCSE as its flagship credential because it is the level to which most IT professionals aspire, according to Field. Those that attain the MCSE confirm their ability to design and build solutions that may integrate multiple technologies, versions and products, which are new skills needed for the cloud, he said.

“There’s little that’s more important to someone who earns a certification than knowing that certification is valuable in the marketplace,” said Field.

Microsoft said that individuals holding the MCSE must recertify every three years and those with the MCSD badge must renew it every two years.

“Cloud services don’t have versions, so we needed a new way to identify that an individual’s skills are current,” said Field. “Members of our program recommended that we use recertification to ensure value moving forward,” he said.

TAGS: cloud computing,Cloud,Microsoft,certification,IT professionals,MCSA,MCSE,MCSD,MCSM

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