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MCSE: Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert

Best System Administrator Certifications

The Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) certification has long ruled the hearts and minds of those who work on Microsoft-based systems, servers and clouds. MCSE certifications focus on the latest technologies for business applications, cloud infrastructures, data management and analytics, mobility and productivity.

But when it comes to system administration certifications in general, the brightest lights are those that address Windows Server at the enterprise and server administrator levels. While these credentials don't all specifically use "system administrator" in their descriptions, they all fall well inside the roles and responsibilities of system administration jobs. They're also in high demand in job postings and classified job advertisements.

The MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure targets IT professionals seeking to promote careers such as information security analysts or computer support specialists. Those obtaining the certification will find that the MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure credential is designed to validate the skills necessary to effectively run a data center, including networking, storage, systems management, virtualization and identity management.

Note: The Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) is Microsoft's prevailing mid-range IT certification. It covers most administrative job roles, including system administration at both the desktop and server levels, as well as more specialized job roles that include SQL Server and Office 365. MCSA: Cloud Platform is a gateway certification that feeds into the MCSE certifications.

System administration candidates might also want to take a close look at the MCSE: Productivity credential, which garners nearly as many hits on job boards as the MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure cert. The MCSE: Productivity focuses on Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint or Skype For Business. Because communications systems and services of all kinds are so important to business, these are good areas for aspiring and practicing system administrators to specialize in.

The Microsoft Certification Program underwent extensive changes in September 2016. Once you earn one of the latest MCSE credentials, you do not have to recertify within three years as was the case in the past. However, by passing an elective exam each calendar year, you add an entry to your transcript that indicates your commitment to staying current on technologies and expanding your skillset.

MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure Facts & Figures

Certification NameMicrosoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Cloud Platform and Infrastructure
Prerequisites & Required CoursesAny one of the following MCSAs is required:
  • MCSA: Windows Server 2016
  • MCSA: Cloud Platform
  • MCSA: Linux on Azure
  • MCSA: Windows Server 2012
Number of ExamsOne additional elective exam is required to earn this MCSE. Valid electives include:
  • 70-532 Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions
  • 70-533 Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions
  • 70-534 Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions
  • 70-473 Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions
  • 70-475 Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions
  • 70-744 Securing Windows Server 2016
  • 70-745 Implementing a Software-Defined Datacenter
  • 70-413 Designing and Implementing a Server Infrastructure
  • 70-414 Implementing an Advanced Server Infrastructure
  • 70-246 Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud
  • 70-247 Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud
Cost per Exam$165 per exam in the USA; prices vary by location elsewhere. Exams administered by Pearson VUE.
URLMCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure:

All MCSE certifications:
Self-Study MaterialsVisit the certification web page and Microsoft Learning for practice tests, free online training, Microsoft Official Curriculum in-classroom and on-demand course offerings, books, online resources and more.

MORE: Microsoft Certifications & Career Paths