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Microsoft Certifications Overview Part II

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 Cloud Certifications

The Microsoft Cloud certification track includes MTA, MCSA and MCSE credentials. Within the MTA program is one relevant certification — namely, IT Infrastructure. To obtain it, a candidate needs to pass one of five exams, which cover topics that include fundamentals for server administration, networking, security, mobility and devices, and cloud.

Microsoft SQL Server Certification Training Exam

On Udemy

The MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification requires one of the preceding MCSAs to qualify candidates, after which they must pass one of 15 exams to earn this credential. The list of exams includes numerous options, such as Azure, cloud data platform, big data analytics, Windows Server 2016, software-defined data center, server infrastructure, private and hybrid cloud, DevOps and more.

Microsoft Mobility Certifications

The Microsoft Mobility certification track includes MTA, MCSA and MCSE certifications. The MTA program has just one relevant certification — IT Infrastructure — just like the Cloud track. The MTA IT Infrastructure track is earned by passing one of five exams on Windows Server administration, networking, security, mobility and device fundamentals, or cloud.

MCSA: Windows 10 is the only MCSA Mobility track credential available. Earning the MCSA: Windows 10 requires passing two exams.

Microsoft Data Certifications

Microsoft's Data certification track includes the MTA, MCSA and MCSE. (To see the Data track, go to the Microsoft Certification page and click Data.) The MTA program requires one exam on database fundamentals. There are five certifications in the MCSA Data track at the moment – namely, Machine Learning, SQL 2016 BI Development, SQL 2016 Database Administration, SQL 2016 Database Development, and SQL Server 2012/2014. The first four of these items require two exams, while the fifth requires three (we expect it to retire in 2018 or 2019).

Microsoft Productivity Certifications

Certifications in the Microsoft Productivity category vary widely, from proving competency in using a single Office product to managing Office 365 services and user login credentials. This track is also fairly large; it includes an MCSA and MCSE certification as well as Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) offerings.

Microsoft App Builder Certifications

The Microsoft Developer certification path includes MTA, MCSA and MCSD certifications. The MTA program recognizes individuals who are entry-level software developers. The certification requires candidates to pass one of five exams. Possible topics include software development fundamentals, HTML5 app development fundamentals, and intro to programming using block-based languages, Python or JavaScript.

Microsoft Business Applications Certifications

The Microsoft Business Applications certifications include MCSA and MCSE certifications. There are two MCSA options: MCSA: Microsoft Dynamics 365 and MCSA: Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations. Each requires passing two exams. The plain-vanilla Dynamics 365 certification draws from a list of two exams, both of which are needed to meet its requirements. One exam covers Dynamics 365 customer engagement online deployment, the other covers Dynamics 365 customization and configuration. The Dynamics 365 for Operations draws from a list of four exams. Topics covered include administering a Microsoft SQL database infrastructure, provisioning SQL databases, Microsoft Development AX development introduction, and development, extensions and deployment for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations.

Microsoft Trainer and Educator Certifications

MCT: Microsoft Certified Trainer

Folks who teach others about Microsoft technologies and products should consider (and are often required to have) the Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) certification. The MCT can be obtained by submitting an application to Microsoft that proves that you hold a current Microsoft certification, one year of instruction experience (supporting reference required), plus verifiable instructional skills in the form of an acceptable instructor certification (such as CompTIA CTT+, Microsoft Certified Trainer Instructional Skills Certification (MCT-ISC) or IAMCT Approved Technical Trainer).

MCE: Microsoft Certified Educator

The Microsoft Certified Educator (MCE) credential is aimed at educators in academia, such as colleges, universities and training facilities. To become an MCE, you must demonstrate technology literacy by passing at least one exam.

The literacy competency is mapped to the UNESCO ITC Competency Framework for Teachers, Technology Literacy and includes education policy, curriculum and assessment, pedagogy, ICT/technology tools, organization and administration, and professional development.

Related Jobs and Careers

IT professionals who earn Microsoft certification often receive extra recognition from hiring and supervising managers, and enjoy improved on the job success and promotion opportunities. Companies that negotiate large volume purchase or subscription agreements with Microsoft (or its partner resellers) often include funding for official curriculum training and Microsoft certification exam vouchers as part of what's covered therein.

Training and Certification Preparation Materials

Microsoft offers training to candidates directly, both in the classroom and online. The company's Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) is a great place to start poking around: it offers a huge range of free training courses, many of them at least relevant to various certification topics if not directly focused on such topics.

There's also a huge aftermarket for Microsoft training, self-study and certification preparation. Pearson operates Microsoft Press on Microsoft's behalf, where you can find self-study guides for all the popular Microsoft cert exams (and many of the not-so-popular exams as well). Pearson's IT Certification imprint (online at PearsonITCertification.com) also offers study guides, exam crams (a series I invented), practice tests, video training materials and much more for Microsoft certification candidates. Wiley/Sybex and Osborne/McGraw-Hill also offer certification focused imprints, book series and generally provide good coverage of major cert topics as well, also including most popular Microsoft certifications and related exams..

There's a wealth of excellent material available to help candidates prepare. Look to online and peer reviews, study groups and ratings sites to separate the wheat from the chaff.