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Microsoft Certifications are professional certifications that demonstrate the holder's expertise in Microsoft related technologies. They have been divided into 6 categories named as Cloud, Mobility, Data, Productivity, App Builder and Business applications. Each category aligns to a series of technologies that span the entire Microsoft product portfolio. The core technologies include Microsoft Azure, Windows Server, SQL Server, Office 365, SharePoint Server, Exchange Server, Skype for Business and Microsoft Dynamics 365.
The pathway to Microsoft certification is broken down into tiers to demonstrate the level of expertise for the holder. These include:
Microsoft Certifications are earned by passing exams aligned to a specific certification. The process of earning certification has changed multiple times since its inception.
The current iteration was introduced September 26, 2016, when Microsoft announced it retiring all existing MCSE and MCSD certifications, introducing new pathways and changing the way individuals earn and maintain those Microsoft certifications. Under the new process, the number and selection of exams required to achieve a Microsoft certification varies.
MCSA certifications require the individual to pass two or more exams in order to achieve the credential. Depending on the MCSA selected, individuals are either required to pass a set pathway of exams, or can choose from a pool of exams known as electives. MCSE and MCSD certifications now only require individuals to pass a single exam, each certification has a poll of aligned elective exams that the individual can choose from.
Historically, MCSE and MCSD credentials required the individual to recertify after a period of two to three years in order to keep the credential in the "Active section" of their transcript. Under the new system, the MCSE and MCSD credentials no longer have a recertification requirement, they remain on the "Active transcript" of the holder, once gained. Individuals instead now have the option to re-earn their certification every year by passing an additional elective exam. This is not a requirement, though Microsoft state it offers the holder an opportunity to demonstrate their growth in product knowledge. It was done to reflect the increasing cadence of updates to Microsoft products and services, where products like Microsoft Azure are adding new features every 48 hours.
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