Thursday, December 31, 2015

Microsoft Recertification

Year 2016 is just around the corner. People are in holiday mood and in fact a lot of folks are on vacation at this time around. Project usually take this slow period into account and avoid any heavy personnel involvement and introduce changes only where necessary. This slow time of the year could be a great opportunity to expand knowledge and skills, and possibly look into certification / recertification.

Around 2012, Microsoft implemented a recertification requirement for Microsoft Certified Solution Expert (MCSE) certification and Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD). As oppose to the 'retired' certificates (eg. MCITP SQL Server) that doesn't expire (but will be changed to legacy status), the new MCSE certification expires in 3 years (MCSD in 2 years) and require recertification to maintain active status.

All MCSE recertification could be completed by passing the respective recertification exam. For example, Exam 70-469 for recertification for MCSE Data Platform. Besides taking the recertification exam, there is another option Microsoft announced early this year (2015) for recertification through Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA). However this option is currently (as of end of 2015) available for only certain MCSE. That includes,

MCSE: Data Platform
MCSE: Business Intelligence
MCSE: Communication
MCSE: Messaging
MCSE: SharePoint

For recertification through MVA, it requires passing all the module assessment for the course. Below is an example showing the modules required for MCSE Data Platform.



So which option is right for you?

Recertification through recertification exam usually require only passing 1 exam.  The exam cost $150 USD. The exam usually takes 3-4 hours. Certain exam is available at certified test center throughout the word. Certain exam is also available as online proctored exam delivery. To prepare for the exam, exam taker could take advantage of practice test, prep videos or even taking instructor-led training with Microsoft learning partners. Also, Microsoft offers discount or Second Shot (free retake) to these exam from times to times. There is a promotion offered currently for certain exam scheduled between July 12, 2015 to Jan 12, 2016.

For recertification through MVA, since not all MCSE (or MCSD) is currently available, this maybe an option only for certain folks, at least for now. As seen in the example above, there are multiple modules. Each module consists of multiple parts with videos, presentation and assessment. All assessment required to be completed. MVA courses are available online and you can complete each module at your own pace. There isn't any monetary cost to sign up with MVA, viewing the module content as well as taking the assessment. In addition to taking the required module for recertitication, there are many modules for anyone to learn and expand their knowledge. Keep in mind that upon completion of MVA course, you need to submit your MVA user name and Microsoft Certification ID (MC ID) to certquest@microsoft.com for them to verify and update your transcript. There is also MVA community to provide support and helps for your questions.

So, pick the option you seem more suitable for you. I chose the MVA route this time around as I wanted to explore this new option and the modules offered. My experience has been that while some modules emphasize on targeted expertise and new features, some modules also broaden to different areas as well as bring awareness of new product (eg. machine learning, azure platform). And yes, I am recertified as MCSE Data Platform and MCSE Business Intelligence.

Happy New Year!

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