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Microsoft Certification Exams To Be Retired in 2015

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

If you're planning on taking a certification exam in the coming months, make sure it's not on the retirement list.

When considering any IT certification, one factor to include in the deliberations should be: how much longer will this credential last? The most tangible expression of this question comes from how long the exam will remain available. After all, if the exam is going away before you have time to take it, why bother to fork out the cash necessary for books, training, practice exams, and spend the time preparing for it?

Microsoft has recently pushed out its exam retirement reporting to cover the leading 12 month period, giving IT pros the ability to plan one year ahead for their exams and related certs.

See: Microsoft Certification Challenge: Get Certified by 2015

In a recent post on Microsoft's Born to Learn blog, Senior Product Manager for certification, Holly Dickson, provides a downloadable spreadsheet that represents the Microsoft certification exam retirements pending for 2015. She promises to update that information monthly, so as to give a one year planning horizon for those planning to take MS cert exams and, by extension, pursuing the certs to which they relate.

Because the last thing anyone wants is to bone up for an exam that disappears before it can be taken, this is great information and well worth tuning into any time you engage in certification selection or planning. In fact, I'd like to see this kind of thing become standard practice from all certification sponsors so IT professionals can choose their upcoming certs and plan their training and preparation calendars effectively, without risking the loss of time, money, and effort chasing targets that disappear before they have time to bag them.

Take a look at Dickson's blog post The Latest Information on Retired Exams where you'll find a link to an Excel spreadsheet that you can keep handy for ready access to the information. You may also want to bookmark the Exams scheduled to retire page, because it's updated monthly to maintain a 12 month advance window into the retirement schedule. Either way, this is information you'll want to consult before pursuing any Microsoft certification, especially those that are on the trailing edge of Microsoft's operating systems, platforms, and development tools and environments.

Case in point: Windows 7 which exits "Mainstream support" and goes onto "Extended support" as of mid January 2015. Not surprisingly, some Windows 7 related exams will also retire in 2015 as well:

This snippet from the retirement schedule shows Windows 7 MCP (70-681) and MTA (98-349) exams retiring in 2015.

Even though Windows 7 still rules the desktop at this moment with over 50 percent of machines using that OS version (source NetMarketShare: Desktop Operating System Market Share on 12/8 shows a 56.41 percent share for Windows 7), the Microsoft calendar is such that the deployment exam for the OS and for Microsoft Office will retire soon anyway. That also turns what might look like a reasonable cert investment (MCSA: Windows 7) into something nugatory or questionable, depending on your particular take on that timing, and what appears to be inevitable retirement for exam 70-680 in 2016 or thereabouts.

Other noteworthy Microsoft exams to be retired within the next 12 moths include:

  • 70-659: Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization
  • 70-669: Windows Server 2008 R2, Desktop Virtualization
  • 77-891: Office 365
  • 74-324: Administering Office 365 for Small Business
  • 70-450: Designing, Optimizing, and Maintaining a Database Administrative Solution Using Microsoft SQL Server 2008
  • 70-451: Designing Database Solutions and Data Access Using Microsoft SQL Server 2008

See the complete list here.

Those who are less familiar with the certification game have even found themselves burned by signing up for, and paying for classes on, credentials that proved to be obsolete before they had a chance to take the exam or exams necessary to earn it (see my GoCertify blog That Certification Is No Longer Available for some poignant horror stories in this vein).

Don't let this happen to you, or to those you know who may be considering IT certifications.

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