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MCSD and MCSE Titles Revamped

Changes take effect immediately, and MCP transcripts are being evaluated now. Also, new rule: New MCSE and MCSD titles will no longer expire (but there's a catch).

The Microsoft Certification group back in September released a slate of new MCSD and MCSE titles, and revamped the certification process so that those new MSCD and MCSE titles no longer expire.

Rather than the current roster of eight MCSE-based titles and five MCSD-based titles, the new titles will be simplified to the following:

  • MCSE: Cloud Infrastructure
  • MCSE: Mobility
  • MCSE: Data Management and Analysis
  • MCSE: Productivity
  • MCSD: App Builder

The titles align directly with the competencies listed in the Microsoft Partner Network's Centers of Excellence. To earn them, candidates "must first earn a qualifying Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certification and, then, pass a single additional exam from a list of electives associated with the corresponding Center of Excellence," according to a blog post from Larry Kaye, a senior business strategy manager with the Microsoft Certification group.

MCP transcripts are already being reevaluated and changed for those who have met the requirements of the new titles based on already completed exams. So, it behooves those holding active MCSE and MCSD titles to see how the new changes are affecting their transcripts. And those changes are, of course, causing quite a bit of confusion.

"I saw that my transcript was re-evaluated with Cloud platform and Infrastructure," writes commenter Deyan Kochev. "At the same time my expiration date for MCSE Server Infrastructure stays the same. I was about to take the re-certification exam next week but now, even if I take it, it will expire on 31.03.2017."

Kaye's response to Kochev offers a good explanation of the transcript changes: "Based on your activity, you have already earned the new MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification for 2016 without the need for additional exams and this will not expire. With respect to MCSE: Server Infrastructure, when it retires on March 31st, your certification will remain on your transcript in the Active section, if you choose to renew it by your deadline."

Speaking of expirations, Kaye also notes in the blog that once those new higher-level titles are achieved, it's no longer removed from a transcript:

...[T]he achievement date will signify your investment in continuing education on the technology.  Every year, you will have the opportunity to re-earn the certification by passing an additional exam from the list of electives, demonstrating your investment in broadening or deepening your skills in a given Center of Excellence.  Each time you earn the certification, a new certification entry will be added to your transcript.  This process will replace the existing recertification requirement of taking a specific recertification exam every 2 years (MCSD) or 3 years (MCSE) in order to prevent your certification from going inactive.

Kaye notes in a follow-up blog that the certification FAQ has yet to be updated with the new information as of this writing, and that information on the changes to the program, while immediate, have yet to propagate throughout the MCP site.

Kaye's original blog breaks down the transition phase for those in the following situations:

  • Current MCSE/MCSD title holders: No need to recertify, as transcripts will show that title is "active" until March 31, 2017. After that date, MCSE/MCSD title will be shown to be "inactive" and title holders will need to recertify to the new title.
  • Inactive MCSE/MCSD title holders: Take a recertification exam to become active again under the current titles before December 31, 2016. Then on March 31, that certification will become inactive, and those titleholders will need to take the new exams for the new titles. (Inactive title holders can also opt to just take the new exams and achieve the new titles.)

We'll update this post as new information becomes available.

About the Author

Michael Domingo is a long-time software publishing veteran, having started up and managed several developer publications for the Clipper compiler, Microsoft Access, and Visual Basic. He's also managed IT pubs for 1105 Media, including Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine and Virtualization Review before landing his current gig as Visual Studio Magazine Editor in Chief. Besides his publishing life, he's a professional photographer, whose work can be found by Googling domingophoto.

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