Microsoft Certification Program: Your Path to Success
Microsoft is best known for its operating system but it has also developed many computer software, electronics, and related services. Along with its advancements, the company also runs a high-quality certification program. It tries to follow the changes in the IT sphere and makes the program better by retiring the irrelevant exams and certificates and offering the new tracks. It helps the interested individuals become qualified administrators or skilled technicians. It also successfully helps them grow to support its system and various application products.
Microsoft Certification Program Before Great Change
Microsoft is continually evolving its program to provide the candidates with the best and newest knowledge and skills required in today's IT world. This is why you can notice that some exams and certificates from the Microsoft program have already been retired or may be retired in the future, which means that they will be unavailable to the students. Typically, in such cases, the certifications that you have remain valid for about two more years until they get the inactive status in your Microsoft account.
There are a lot of paths (MCSA, MCSD, and MCSE) that are currently irrelevant to the field or are going to be retired soon enough. The Associate level is better known among the IT specialists than the other two because the individuals with any knowledge and any technical background are able to pursue this track. The Expert level is also popular but it requires more efforts and a lot of technical expertise.
The certifications that are the most famous among the old tracks are the following:
- MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014
This certification demonstrates your skills in maintaining and developing the next wave of mission-critical environments as well as performing configuration, maintenance, and installation tasks. It is created for the SQL Server Database Administrators, System Engineers, and Developers who have more than two years of hands-on experience. The exams required for taking include 70-463, 70-462, and 70-461.
- MCSA: BI Reporting
This certificate proves your expertise in analyzing data with both Power BI and Excel. It is ideal for the Data Analysts who have a solid knowledge of data transformations as well as modeling and visualizing data by using Microsoft Power BI Desktop. The candidates should also have a strong understanding of how to model, visualize, consume, and transform data in Excel. The path consists of the 70-779 and 70-778 exams.
- MCSA: Windows Server 2016
This certification is ideal for those Administrators who want to prove their mastery of the primary set of the skills required for the successful storage and installation of functionalities available in Windows Server 2016. The potential candidates also know how to maintain, implement, and configure Group Policy Objects and Active Directory Domain Services. All these skills are evaluated in the 70-742, 70-741, and 70-740 exams.
- MCSA: Web Applications
- MCSD: App Builder
This certificate is designed for those Developers who have already obtained the MCSA: Web Applications or the MCSA: Universal Windows Platform certifications. There are three options (70 487, 70-486, and 70-357) that depending on the exam measure your knowledge of the development of Microsoft Azure and Web Services, ASP.NET MVC Web Applications, and Mobile Apps.
- MCSA: Cloud Platform
There are two exams (70-533 and 70-532) that measure your ability to develop Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions and implement them. The certification helps to become a System Administrator, a Microsoft Cloud Engineer, or a Cloud Analyst.
- MCSE: Business Applications
This certificate proves that you know how to manage Microsoft Dynamics 365 technologies and work with them as well as shows your readiness to become a Business Analyst. After getting MCSA: Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations, it is required to pass three exams: MB6-897, MB2-716, or MB6-898.
- MCSE: Core Infrastructure
This certification validates your skills and knowledge of how to run a data center, work with identity management, perform systems management processes, and deal with networking, virtualization, and storage. You need to have MCSA: Windows Server 2012 or MCSA: Windows Server 2016 and then pass 70-537, 70-414, 70-413, 70-745, or 70-744.
- MCSE: Productivity Solutions Expert
It is ideal for those Administrators who have the MCSA: Windows Server 2016 or the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certificates and want to have a proof of their skills required to be able to move a company to the Cloud technology. It comes with a list of the exams that includes 70-345, 70 339, 70-334, and 70-333. It is possible to take only one of them.
Microsoft Certification Program After Great Change
Microsoft offers all the interested candidates a wide range of options, so they can opt for the one they need. It has a separate platform where you can discover all the possible opportunities available at the following levels:
Thus, you can select a job role to discover the certification paths that are available for your choice. For example, you can select Solutions Architect that will offer you three options with the full pathway that you can follow through several levels of the program to reach success in the end. Or, you can choose the Developer role and see four different tracks.
There is also an opportunity to sort out the certificates according to the type of the path you are interested in. All in all, you can explore the Role-based and Additional certifications. The Additional track covers specialties, Microsoft Office, and other options that are not suitable for the Role-based pathway. As for the Role-based certificates, there are about 100 of them in total. It offers a really wide choice indeed.
The Role-based track includes all three levels of difficulty, so you can easily earn several certifications if you follow the one you need.
This is the recommended start for any of the tracks you are planning to go for. This level is also known as Beginner because it is ideal for those individuals who are just entering the IT field and looking to start their journey with the basics. It is also perfect for those specialists who are aiming to change their careers and are ready to absorb some new knowledge. Here, you can form a base for your skills in Azure, Microsoft 365, database, security, software development, networking, and so on. If you search for some of the popular options to go for, you can explore the following paths:
- Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals
If you are just starting your career in the IT field or are an Administrator, a Technology Manager, or a Developer looking to get certified in the Azure sector, this is the perfect choice for you. The most important thing is to have a foundational knowledge of Cloud services, Azure workloads, and Azure services and know what to do with them. In this case, you need to take the AZ-900 test.
- Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Fundamentals
With this certificate, you are able to prove your skills in working with Power Platform, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Common Data Service, and Dynamics 365 integrations, as well as understand artificial intelligence, Cloud concepts, and Cloud deployment. You should also have a solid knowledge of mixed reality, Dynamics 365 reporting, and Cloud security. If you want to get this certification and become a Functional Consultant, you need to pass the MB-901 exam.
- Microsoft 365 Certified: Fundamentals
If you want to get the basic knowledge of Cloud services and core Microsoft 365 services and understand the concepts that lie within them, you can go for this option. After you pass the MS-900 exam, you will know the advantages of adopting Software as a Service and Cloud services and understand how to implement the Microsoft 365 Cloud service.
This is the Intermediate level that helps any candidate improve his/her current skills or officially validate them. It covers all types of services and technologies available in the Microsoft certification program and leads you to success in the sector you want to take root. Mostly, you need to pass one or two tests to get a certificate and continue your progress.
You can face with a lot of changes at this level because it covers the skills of most IT specialists who are not the beginners anymore but still don’t have enough experience to be the experts. And this is almost the whole market. Therefore, Microsoft tries to sustain the demands of the field and its customers. That is why you can find a wide range of professionals with the following certifications:
- Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate
This path requires that you take only one exam, which is AZ-104, and you will be able to become an Azure Administrator. For this certification track, you have to know how to monitor, manage, and implement an organization’s Microsoft Azure environment. As a prerequisite, you need to have more than 6 months of hands-on experience working with Azure along with a strong understanding of core Azure services, Azure portal, Azure CLI, and PowerShell.
- Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate
If you want to become an Azure Data Engineer and prove your skills in implementing and designing Azure data solutions, you need to take the DP-200 and DP-201 tests. Your understanding of the privacy of data as well as its monitoring, management, and security is also the knowledge you should possess for this track.
- Microsoft 365 Certified: Modern Desktop Administrator Associate
This is the option that is popular among almost every applicant because it covers the details of using Windows 10 and the ways of managing modern desktops. With this certification, you can become a Modern Desktop Administrator who knows how to manage, configure, deploy, monitor, and secure client applications and devices in an enterprise environment. The potential candidates should pass two exams that include MD-100 and MD 101.
- Microsoft 365 Certified: Messaging Administrator Associate
This certificate comes with only one exam, and this is MS-203. The Microsoft 365 Messaging Administrators are the professionals who are skilled enough to be able to manage, monitor, deploy, configure, and troubleshoot public folders, permissions, mail flow, recipients, and mail protection in the Cloud and hybrid enterprise environments.
This is the highest level of the Microsoft certification program that you can find, which is also known as Advanced. It is only available for those who have a certain level of expertise that almost no one else possesses. You can go for one of the expert-level certificates if you have the required knowledge and want to get a proof to add it to LinkedIn or other platforms that show your skills. There are one to two exams that you need to pass to get the desired certification.
If you look at the most popular options, you will see the following certification tracks:
- Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert
Before preparing for the AZ-304 and AZ-303 exams, you need to have advanced knowledge of virtualization, security, networking, identity, disaster recovery, budgeting, data platform, and business continuity. This certification requires your full commitment to the field and your ability to collaborate with the Cloud DBAs, clients, and Cloud Administrators. You should also understand the concepts of DevOps and Azure development processes. If you complete both tests successfully, you will become an Azure Solution Architect.
- Microsoft Certified: DevOps Engineer Expert
This certification also has certain requirements that you need to fulfill before taking the only exam, which is AZ-400. Thus, you should have the Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate or the Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate certificates beforehand. This way, you will be able to deal with all the processes such as developing and implementing various strategies required for infrastructure, security, and source control a lot faster.
Microsoft Certification Program and Career Benefits
Earning a Microsoft certification will certainly enhance your competence in the given technological field. It can help an individual gain advanced skills to climb up the career ladder with many benefits. Any certificate you get from Microsoft increases the chances of your success regarding the possible promotion, salary increment, and new opportunities. Considering the fact that Microsoft products, technologies, and services are popular among the organizations from around the world, you will not have difficulties in landing a job in the company you want. Thus, you can obtain a certification of any level of difficulty and become a DevOps Engineer, an Administrator, a Data Scientist, a Functional Consultant, a Security Engineer, a Database Administrator, etc. The possibilities are huge. By getting one of these positions, you can earn about $77,000-$122,000 per year.
Drifting towards the Microsoft certification program grants you worldwide recognition, so any organization will want to hire you when an employer sees your resume. The vendor does everything to put you in the first line among the list of candidates. Microsoft is even partnering with Upwork to connect the certified freelancers with the customers. So, don’t doubt your skills, because you will be able to gain all the needed expertise and succeed.