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Upcoming Microsoft Developer Certifications And Exams To Be Retired

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

Microsoft has announced the upcoming retirement of 11 developer-related exams, which means new offers are on the way.

Recently, Microsoft added 11 exams to its "Scheduled to Retire" list for September 30, 2016. A closer look at the exams shows that all of them are development related, and primarily in the MCSD track. Careful consideration of the hole this puts into the development certs available from Microsoft tells us that a stack of replacements is no doubt in the offing.

Current Microsoft MCSD Lineup

In a recent blog post on Microsoft's Born to Learn blog, Larry Kaye, Senior Business Strategy Manager for Certification explains the list of exams to be retired along with additional details. Kaye explains that the announced exam retirements represent "the evolution, and not the end, of the affected certifications." He also points out that the new exam development that's underway focuses on validating skills in Windows 10 and Office 365 app development—for both app developers and individuals who manage development teams.

MORE: Microsoft Certification Guide: Overview And Career Paths

For Windows Store app development, Microsoft is planning on replacing the two current C#/XAML and HTML5/JavaScript certification paths, combining them into a single path that focuses on the new Universal Windows Platform model. Kaye writes that the new certification path will be C#/XAML-based, saying that this best represents "the most popular implementation choice." The new C#/XAML path will include the following exams:

  • Exam 483: Programming in C#
  • Exam 354: Universal Windows Platform - App Architecture and UX/UI
  • Exam 355: Universal Windows Platform - App Data, Services, and Coding Patterns

Exams 354 and 355 are fresh out of beta, with more information on pending changes to be released in March 2016.

For Microsoft Office, including SharePoint, app developers, the certifications are being refreshed to include more Office 365-related content. Kaye notes that the current MCSD: SharePoint developer certification incorporates a lot of the web application development skills, so Microsoft Learning is hoping to adjust the model so that SharePoint developers would first earn their MCSD: Web Applications credential and then move on to Office 365 app development, which will be possible through a new Specialist exam that's currently in development.

As for app development management, Microsoft is hoping to accommodate a "wider set of developer-related roles." This means additional Specialist certifications in the areas of Administering the Visual Studio Team Foundation Server, Software Testing with Visual Studio and Delivering Continuous Value with Visual Studio Application Lifecycle Management -- the three areas that represent the exams in the MCSD: Application Lifecycle Management certification path. The new Specialist certifications will be awarded retroactively and the MCSD: Application Lifecycle Management certification itself will be retired in September 2016. 

Last, but by no means least, Microsoft is also planning on introducing a new DevOps certification, although there are no details available at this time. 

Microsoft Exams Retiring September 30, 2016

Here is the list of exams that are scheduled to be retied on September 30 2016:

  • 70-481: Essentials of Developing Windows Store Apps Using HTML5 and JavaScript
  • 70-482: Advanced Windows Store App Development Using HTML5 and JavaScript
  • 70-484: Essentials of Developing Windows Store Apps Using C#
  • 70-485: Advanced Windows Store App Development Using C#
  • 70-488: Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Core Solutions
  • 70-489: Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Advanced Solutions
  • 70-490: Recertification for MCSD: Windows Store Apps Using HTML5
  • 70-491: Recertification for MCSD: Windows Store Apps Using C#
  • 70-492: Upgrade Your MCPD: Web Developer 4 to MCSD: Web Applications
  • 70-499: Recertification for MCSD: Application Lifecycle Management
  • 70-517: Recertification for MCSD: SharePoint Applications

The combination of the explanation from Kaye and the retirements themselves tells us that nothing short of a complete reworking of the entire developer certification base is underway, primarily in the form of MCSD, but also augmented with add-on MCTP (Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist) single-exam "merit badges." It should be particularly interesting to see what Microsoft does with its Office 365 specialist exams, and what kinds of team and lifecycle management specialist exams/credentials Microsoft will stand up to replace the current MCSD: Application Lifecycle Management credential.

It's quite obvious that Microsoft is remaking most of the current MCSD offerings. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see changes to the Azure certifications later this year, once Windows Server 2016 is released and its attendant platforms (including SQL Server, Azure, and so forth) all also undergo substantial updates and revisions to match.