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Microsoft Certifications Overview Part I

Microsoft is best known for its Windows operating systems and Office software, but it has a much broader product portfolio that includes online services (Bing, MSN, advertising), gaming (Xbox 360), hardware (tablets, PCs, keyboards and mice) and more. The company also has a robust certification program that churns out qualified administrators and technicians to support its system and application products.

Microsoft Certification - Pass4itsure Program Overview

Currently, the Microsoft Certification Program is divided into seven main categories:

Cloud: This category encompasses business intelligence, Windows Server 2016, Microsoft Azure, machine learning, cloud data platform solutions, data analytics and big data, software-defined data centers, server infrastructures, private and hybrid clouds, DevOps and more. This is the “new mainstream” for Microsoft certification.

Mobility: This category is for end-user and desktop topics, including Windows 10, desktop and enterprise applications, working with System Center Configuration Manager and Intune, and planning for and managing devices in an enterprise setting.

Data: This arena now incorporates machine learning, business intelligence, business applications, and data management and analytics, along with Microsoft SQL Server 2016 and other Microsoft database technologies. Database development is also important, and includes working with Transact-SQL and developing SQL databases. Business applications include extensive coverage of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Dynamics AX. Data management and analytics covers a wide range of topics, including cloud data platform solutions, big data analytics solutions, database solutions, implementing data models and reports, and various aspects of business intelligence solutions.

Productivity: This category brings the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) credentials together with those related to Microsoft productivity offerings, such as Exchange Server, SharePoint Server and Skype for Business, as well as Office 365 identities, requirements and services.

App Builder: This is a development-oriented category that covers the ins and outs of using Microsoft solutions and platforms to build compatible software. Topics in this category include architecting, designing, testing and building solutions around Azure, SharePoint Server, Visual Studio Team Foundation, and managing development throughout the entire software lifecycle.

Business Applications: This category focuses on Microsoft Dynamics 365 platforms and technologies, including Dynamics 365 for Sales, Customer Service, Distribution and Trade (AX), Financials (AX), Finance and Operations, Retail, Field Service and other focused applications.

Certifications within the Microsoft Certification Program include the following credentials:

  • Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)
  • Microsoft Solutions Developer (MCSD)
  • Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS)

After you pass your first qualifying Microsoft certification exam, you are deemed a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP). MCP status provides access to a benefits and exams dashboard, with certificates and transcripts, downloadable certification logos, promotional offers and lots more. You also get the MCP designation on your Microsoft transcript. It's important to understand that only the MCSA, MCSD, and MCSE qualify as MCP certifications. Neither MTA nor MOS certifications qualify for MCP status, and none of those exams are prerequisites for MCSA, MCSE or MCSD certifications.

In addition to the certifications outlined above, Microsoft offers its MCT: Microsoft Certified Trainer and MCE: Microsoft Certified Educator credentials to those interested in teaching others about Microsoft technologies and products.