Vista, Office, and Exchange Exams and Certifications

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As Microsoft gears up to release Vista in late January, Microsoft Learning has been busy preparing certifications and exams for the new operating system. The organization is planning to incorporate Vista into its existing series of Microsoft credentials.

The New Generation of Microsoft Certifications
Consisting of three series and four credentials, the new generation of Microsoft certifications provides a simpler and more targeted framework for IT managers to validate core technical skills, professional skills and architectural skills. It also provides IT professionals with a more relevant, flexible and cost-effective way to showcase their skills.

The Technology Series
The Technology Series certifications enable professionals to target specific technologies and distinguish themselves by demonstrating in-depth knowledge and expertise in the broad range of specialized technologies. Microsoft Technology Specialists are capable of implementing, building, troubleshooting and debugging a particular Microsoft technology.

The Technology Series certifications:



  • Typically consists of one to three exams.
  • Are focused on a key Microsoft product or technology.
  • Do not include job-role skills.
  • Will be retired when mainstream product support for the particular technology expires.


There are seven Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist certifications. More will become available as new technologies are introduced.

The seven certifications are:



  • .NET Framework 2.0 Web Applications
  • .NET Framework 2.0 Windows Applications
  • .NET Framework 2.0 Distributed Applications
  • SQL Server 2005
  • BizTalk Server 2006
  • Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2005
  • Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 Applications


The Professional Series
Professional Series credentials validate a comprehensive set of skills required to be successful on the job. These skills include design, project management, operations management and planning, and they are contextual to the job role. By validating a more comprehensive set of skills, these credentials give candidates and their hiring managers a reliable indicator of on-the-job performance.

The Professional Series certifications:



  • Typically consist of one to three exams.
  • Have one or more prerequisites from the Technology Series.
  • Are focused on single job role.
  • Require periodic recertification (likely to be every three years).


Microsoft offers two Professional series credentials: Microsoft Certified IT Professional and Microsoft Certified Professional Developer.

The Architect Series
The Microsoft Certified Architect Program identifies top industry experts in IT architecture. These professionals have a minimum of 10 years of advanced IT industry experience, have three or more years of experience as a practicing architect and possess strong technical and managerial skills. Unlike other industry certifications, this credential was built and is granted by the architect community. Candidates must present to and pass a rigorous review by the Certified Architect Review Board, which consists of previously certified peer architects.

The Architect Series certifications:



  • Have a rigorous and competitive entry process.
  • Require the candidate to work closely with a mentor who is a Microsoft Certified Architect.
  • Culminate in an oral review in front of previously certified architects.
  • Require recertification.


Windows Vista
To align its certification programs with Vista’s new technologies, Microsoft has updated the credentials and exams to include Vista, Office and Exchange. There will be a one-exam path to the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS): Windows Vista, Configuration certification, as well as two Vista-related Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) certifications:



  • MCITP: Enterprise Support Technician (requires the MCTS: Windows Vista, Configuration certification)
  • MCITP: Consumer Support Technician (requires the MCTS: Windows Vista, Configuration certification)

There will be a one-exam upgrade path for current Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician (MCDST) certification holders (Exam 70-621). Additionally, the MCTS: Windows Vista, Configuration certification (Exam 70-620) can be used as an elective for your MCSA or MCSE on Windows 2000 Professional or Windows Server 2003.

Microsoft 2007 Office System
There will be three developer Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certifications and three IT professional Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist certifications for the Microsoft 2007 Office System.

For developers (one exam required for each certification):



  • MCTS: Office SharePoint Services (MOSS): Application Development
  • MCTS: Windows SharePoint Services: Application Development
  • MCTS: Office 2007 Client: Application Development For IT professionals (one exam required for each certification):
  • MCTS: Office SharePoint Server 2007, Configuration
  • MCTS: Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, Configuration
  • MCTS: Deploying a Business Desktop with the BDD


Microsoft Exchange Server 2007
The following exams are for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007:



  • A one-exam path to MCTS: Exchange Server 2007, Configuration
  • A two-exam path to MCITP: Enterprise Messaging Administrator (requires the MCTS: Exchange Server 2007, Configuration certification)


Microsoft Exam Insurance
Microsoft Exam Insurance represents an evolution of the well-received Second Shot campaign program. With Exam Insurance, customers will get two options: a second chance to pass an exam or a discount on an exam if they pass the first exam.

If customers pass on the first try, they will receive a 25 percent discount on the next exam. Exam Insurance is available exclusively from local Microsoft Certified Partner for Learning Solutions, beginning Nov. 15. For more information, see mcp/offers/insurance/default.mspx.

Al Valvano is the director of certifications at Microsoft. He can be reached at editor (at) certmag (dot) com.

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