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Windows 10 Is Here. What About Windows 10 Certifications?

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

When can IT professionals expect to see Windows 10 certifications and supporting study materials? The answer is soon, but not too soon.

Windows 10 has just rolled out into the hands of millions of Windows Insiders (five million or so, according to Microsoft) and many more of those who reserved an upgrade copy of the new OS. So, when can we expect to start seeing some Windows 10 certifications, training materials, practice tests, and so forth?

For the past four Windows operating system releases, there's been a "love-hate" relationship between users and the OSes -- we loved XP, hated Vista, loved Windows 7, hated Windows 8, and mostly ignored the 8.1 version of the operating system. If the rhythm holds, users are going to love Windows 10. This means that at least some forward-looking IT professionals and Windows aficionados will be looking for Windows 10-related certifications, training materials, exams, objectives, and all the aftermarket stuff that trails in the wake of new Microsoft releases. The question then becomes: When?

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Windows 10 Certifications, Training And More

As expected, it's still too early for Microsoft Learning to have anything official to say on the subject of Windows 10 certifications. Although the Windows 10 release date was announced quite firmly, there's somewhat less clarity on when the actual certifications will follow. So far, Microsoft Virtual Academy released a free Windows 10 training course for IT professionals, though it's not certification-focused. And the only mention of an exam came in the form of a Microsoft Learning offer announcing an upgrade exam on Windows 10 (Exam 697); however, no details on timing are available as of yet.

We were told to look for more information in the early Autumn, which probably means sometime in September. Our contact at Microsoft Learning did mention that it takes a while for all the certification pieces to fall together after a new release comes out. And looking back at timing for cert stuff for Windows 7, 8 and 8.1, lags of 30 to 60 days after GA are typical before information and exams start trickling out.

Of course, we will be keeping a close eye on this and reporting as soon as more details are available. For now, here's our best guess as to what will happen with Windows 10 certification stuff later this year.

  1. We'll see Configuring and Supporting exams for Windows 10, much like those for Windows 7 and 8. There will probably also be a single-exam upgrade for those who hold MCSA on Windows 8 and wish to upgrade that credential to Windows 10. We expect the Configuring exam to be announced in late August or early September, and to be available within 30 days of the announcement. The Supporting exam could follow by as much as 90 days later (if memory serves, it was between 60 and 90 days for the Windows 8 sequence).
  2. We'll see Windows 10 content get integrated into the MCSE: Enterprise Devices and Apps another 60 to 90 days after that, which puts that update into early 2016 or thereabouts, with particular emphasis on deploying and managing devices and apps, as was the case with Windows 8 and 8.1.
  3. There will probably be more and better inclusion and coverage of mobile topics and technologies in the upcoming round of Windows 10 and related certs, given the relentless adoption of mobile devices, and increasing calls for IT professionals to support them in enterprise and more general business IT settings. We're expecting a refresh to the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) along with updates to all of the underlying tools and technologies (App-V, UE-V, MED-V, AGPM, MBAM, and so forth) to also factor into this update and thus also, into the Server and Desktop Infrastructure MCSE credentials as well. We expect these updated to come in last, as Windows 10 Mobile and editions for devices other than PCs and tablets are coming later.

This murky picture should clear up a bit in the next couple of months. At that point, expect to see an update to this information with more details on the general subject of Windows 10 and certification, Microsoft-style.