Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more.

Making It in IT: A Short Upgrade Path to MCSA Windows Server 2012

By - Source: Toms IT Pro


For IT pros who already hold Microsoft certifications on Windows Server 2008 or various related platforms, there’s a single-exam upgrade path to the MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate): Windows Server 2012.

Because this credential is a key stepping stone to the new MCSE credentials for Windows Server and Desktop Infrastructures, and Private Cloud, this shortcut may prove valuable to interested (and qualified) IT professionals.

On September 17, 2012, the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 credential went live. Ordinarily, candidates for this new Microsoft credential must take and pass three Windows 2012 exams – namely:

  • Exam 70-410: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012
  • Exam 70-411: Administering Windows Server 2012
  • Exam 70-412: Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services

At $150 a pop in the USA (and similar prices elsewhere, either in US dollars or local currency), plus the cost of prep materials – usually including a full-length study guide, an Exam Cram, and one or more practice tests – total outlays for this cert can easily top $900, not including time spent studying and travel costs to/from a local or accessible Prometric testing center. That’s a fair amount of time and money to climb the first rung on the new and re-minted Microsoft certification ladder.

But for IT pros who already hold certain credentials, there’s a quicker and easier way to earn the MSCA: Windows Server 2012. Individuals who hold one or more of the following credentials need only to take Exam 70-417: Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows Server 2012 to earn this credential:

With all of the aforementioned MCITP credentials scheduled for retirement on July 31, 2013, I’m guessing that the MCSA: Windows Server 2008 won’t be too far behind. Thus, this upgrade path makes great financial and technical sense for those seeking to extend their skills and knowledge, and extract as much value as they can from their current MS certifications.

If you qualify for this upgrade, it makes too much sense not to take advantage of it – and if you do, be sure to follow the Second Shot instructions when you call Prometric to register for your exam or visit the Web site to purchase an exam voucher. That way, if you don’t pass the exam on your first try, you’ll be able to re-take that exam at no additional charge, as long as you do so before May 31, 2013 (or December 31, 2013 if you go whole hog and sign up for a follow-on MCSE “certification exam pack”).

This is too good a deal to pass up, so if you qualify be sure to sign up for the exam as soon as you can. Normally, MS upgrade exam coverage only lasts for about a year after a product becomes generally available. Because Windows Server 2012 hit GA status on September 4, 2012, the clock’s already ticking on this one-exam upgrade to MCSA: Windows Server 2012.

Ed Tittel is a 30-year-plus veteran of the computing industry, who’s worked as a programmer, a technical manager, a classroom instructor, a network consultant and a technical evangelist for companies that include Burroughs, Schlumberger, Novell, IBM/Tivoli and NetQoS. He has written and blogged for numerous publications, including Tom's Hardware, and is the author of over 140 computing books with a special emphasis on information security, Web markup languages and development tools, and Windows operating systems.

E-mail Ed at with your request for IT certification or career info, or your ideas for future blogs. If your e-mail leads him to a blog topic, he’ll have the Tom’s staff send you your very own Tom’s IT Pro t-shirt! Be the envy of your friends and colleagues, and help him help you with your IT career! If you do have a request for Ed, please read his How to Help Me Help You blog posting, and answer as many of the questions this post contains as are applicable to your situation and inquiry. Thanks in advance for helping make his job easier that way!

Check out these Tom's IT Pro Training and Certification Videos:

Looking for long-term job security? Check out our top 5 information security certification options.

Organizations are adopting at a rapid pace. Don't be left behind as local data centers shrink. 

Server virtualization is hot and its at the heart of data center convergence. Learn more about it and the top 5 training options.

Learn about Unified Communications and training opportunities in this growing area so vital to business success.

(Shutterstock image credits: Skills and Career Ladder)