et Ready for Big Changes in Microsoft CertificationsA big block of upcoming exam retirements in the Microsoft program speaks loudly about the company’s desire to move its installed base forward, or perhaps onward and upward. Simply put: Certifications built upon Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and even Windows Server 2008 are on their way out by mid-2013.
I was looking over the latest postings to Microsoft’s Born to Learn blog, a recent item from Krista Wall entitled “Upcoming exam retirements” jumped out at me. Upon reading through the post, I realize it signals a major shift in Microsoft certification approach, and possibly even policy. Let me delineate those changes, and then I’ll explain why I think they actually add up to something quite interesting, and perhaps even a sea change in their certification posture.
The real action in Wall’s post is the link to a Web page labeled “See the full list of exams scheduled for retirement.” Here’s a recap of its contents that is part snapshot and part summary (snapshot of Windows Server stuff, summary of other items):
1.The following Windows Server exams are all retiring on July 31, 2013:
70-169: TS: Windows Small Business Server 7, Configuring
70-290: Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment
70-270: Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows XP Professional
70-291: Implementing, Managing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure
70-293: Planning and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure
70-294: Planning, Implementing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Infrastructure
70-297: Designing a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory and Network Infrastructure
70-298: Designing Security for a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network
70-299: Implementing and Administering Security in a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network
70-643: TS: Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure, Configuring
70-647: Pro: Windows Server 2008, Enterprise Administrator
70-648: Upgrading your MCSA on Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008, Technology Specialist
70-649: Upgrading your MCSE on Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008, Technology Specialist
74-679: Windows Server 2008 Hosted Environments, Configuring and Managing
70-690: Windows Server 2008 HPC Environments, Configuring and Managing
70-691: Windows Server 2008 HPC Environments, Developing
70-699: Windows Server 2003, MCSA Security Specialization Skills Update
2. All of the prior Virtualization exams based on Windows Server 2008 R2 are also retiring on July 31, 2013:
70-659: TS: Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization
70-669: TS: Windows Server 2008 R2, Desktop Virtualization
70-693: Pro: Windows Server 2008 R2, Virtualization Administrator
3. Exams based on earlier versions of Microsoft Dynamics (NAV 5.0), Exchange Server (2007), Lync Server and Office Communications Server (2007), Project Server (2007), and SharePoint Server (2007 and 2010) are retiring on January 31, 2013 (all items except SharePoint Server 2010) or August 25, 2013 (SharePoint Server 2010). Microsoft SQL Server 2008 exams are retiring on July 31, 2013, along with the other Server OS exams mentioned in items 1 and 2.
4. Visual Studio developer exams for the .NET Framework versions 3.5 and 4.0 also retire on July 31, 2013, as does the Windows Embedded CE 6.0 exam.
5. ForeFront, Fast Enterprise Search, and Connected Home Integrator exams all also retire on July 31, 2013 (shows up under the Other technologies heading on the retirement page).
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.
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