Microsoft to Overhaul Certification Program

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The company that brought well-known credentials like the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) and the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) to the information technology industry has announced that it will restructure its certification program. The new framework will be rolled out with new certifications around Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005, both slated for release on Nov. 7, as well as the Microsoft Certified Architect program.

 

Microsoft’s new credentialing structure is intended to make certification paths shorter and more cost-effective, and make each designation more relevant and distinct. To accomplish these aims, the program has been designed to cover separate technologies horizontally, and deal with different job roles and levels of expertise vertically.

 

The Visual Studio 2005 program will include two credentialing categories: Technology Specialist and Professional Developer, both of which will have three certifications. The former will encompass Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist: .NET Framework 2.0 Windows Applications, Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist: .NET Framework 2.0 Web Applications and Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist: .NET Framework 2.0 Distributed Applications. The latter will contain Microsoft Certified Professional Developer: Windows Developer, Microsoft Certified Professional Developer: Web Developer and Microsoft Certified Professional Developer: Enterprise Application Developer certifications.

 

Microsoft’s SQL Server 2005 program also will have two credentialing classifications. Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist: SQL Server 2005, the lone Technology Specialist certification, will branch out into Enterprise Data Management, Developer Productivity and Business Intelligence certifications within Microsoft Certified Professional Developer credential group.

 

At the pinnacle of all of these will be the Microsoft Certified Architect, which addresses IT business skills like communication, strategy, organizational politics, leadership and a broad range of technical knowledge. This certification, which can focus on infrastructure or solutions, involves working with a mentor and culminates in an oral review board, which Microsoft certification manager Al Valvano compared to doctoral candidates’ defense of their dissertations.

 

Specific exam requirements and learning paths for the certifications around these two products will be announced in late September or early October. This announcement also will include details regarding certification upgrade options for Microsoft Certified Database Administrators (MCDBA), Microsoft Certified Solution Developers (MCSD) and Microsoft Certified Application Developers (MCAD).

 

Additionally, similarly structured certifications will be offered for Longhorn following the release of that operating system, scheduled for the end of 2006. These will involve straightforward upgrade paths for individuals currently certified as MCSEs and MCSAs in Windows Server 2003, Microsoft officials reported.

 

For more information, see http://www.microsoft.com/learning.

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