Last July, Microsoft Learning announced some upcoming changes to the Microsoft Azure Certifications to make them more role-based. Recently, surrounding the Microsoft Ignite 2018 conference, they announced and released further information about these changes to transform the Azure certification tracks. This news includes more than just announcement of new Azure certification exams, but also the depreciation and retirement of the existing Microsoft Azure exams by the end of December 2018.

Retiring Azure Certifications

The current Azure certification that have been providing the Azure focused core to the MCSA: Cloud Platform and MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification paths are going to be retired December 31, 2018. However, the MCSA and MCSE certifications are not being retired, but rather transformed instead.

The following Azure related certification exams are going to be retired December 31, 2018. If you are studying for these exams, then you’ll want to switch gears toward the new exams, or pass them by the end of the year.

As a result of retiring the above Azure focused certification exams, the existing / old MCSA and MCSE certifications based on them are also being retired. As a result, the following larger Azure focused certifications are being retired on December 31, 2018 as well.

A New Path to Azure Certification

The new paths going forward for Microsoft Certifications are going to be role-based. This means that each certification track that’s introduced is going to be based on career paths, rather than just broad coverage of Microsoft Azure features and services.

Currently, Microsoft has announced the following 6 new job roles that will have role-based certification paths to follow.

  • Azure Administrator
  • Azure Developer
  • Azure Solutions Architect
  • Azure DevOps Engineer
  • Microsoft 365 Modern Desktop Administrator
  • Microsoft 365 Enterprise Administrator

The certification exams for the Azure Administrator path are now live and can be taken, in addition to the Azure Developer and Azure Solutions Architect certification exams being release in beta. Over the next few months, the remaining 3 paths (DevOps Engineer, Microsoft 365 Modern Desktop Administrator, and Enterprise Administrator) will be launched by the end of the year.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert

The Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification path is comprised of passing the following 2 certification exams:

Once passing both of these 2 Azure Architecture focused certification exams, then you will earn the Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate

The Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate certification path is comprised of passing the following 2 certification exams:

Once passing both of these 2 Azure Developer focused certification exams, then you will earn the Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate certification.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate

The Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate certification path is comprised of passing the following 2 certification exams:

Once passing both of these 2 Azure Administrator / Infrastructure focused certification exams, then you will earn the Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate certification.

Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert

The certification exams for the Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert have not been released yet. However details have been released that point to it being a larger certification for anyone who has achieved either the Azure Administrator or Azure Developer certifications. Further information should be released on this certification by the end of 2018, so we should know more soon.

Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator Expert

The Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator certification path is comprised of passing the following 2 certification exams:

  • MS-100: Microsoft 365 Identity and Services Exam
  • MS-101: Microsoft 365 Mobility and Security Exam

Once passing both of these 2 Microsoft 365 focused certification exams, then you will earn the Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator Expert certification.

Microsoft 365 Certified: Modern Desktop Administrator Associate

The Microsoft 365 Certified: Modern Desktop Administrator Associate certification will likely require 2 exams to be passed in order to earn. However, the full details of this certification has not been released yet. Although, further details should be made available by the end of 2018, so we should hear more information soon.

Microsoft 365 Certified: Fundamentals & Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals

Additionally, what hasn’t been released yet are the exam(s) that may be available for the “Fundamentals” certifications listed in the exam path diagrams published by Microsoft. I would assume these will be earned by passing a single exam, but they may have their own entire optional certification exams similar to the MTA certification of old. Hopefully, we’ll hear more information about these soon as well, so we can stop speculating and know what they are.

Transition from Old to New

With the old Azure certification exams being retired, and replaced with entirely new certification exams and certification paths, there are also transition exams being released. If you’ve already passed either of the old Azure certification exams (70-532, 70-533, 70-535), then you will be eligible to pass a transition exam to migrate your certifications over to the new paths.

In the past when Microsoft replaced certification with new certifications, there were generally upgrade exams available. If you passed the old certification then you could pass the upgrade exam to move to the new certifications. This time around with the restructuring of the Microsoft certifications, they are offering “transition” exams instead. It’s the same basic idea, that the transition / upgrade exam test you on what’s need to move yourself to the new certification. However, the new paths are using the term “transition”, rather than “upgrade”, and it seems to be a proper choice of wording. The term “transition” seems to be more encouraging sounding, especially for the fact that it doesn’t give the connotation of abandoning the old certification and insulting those of us who spent so much time to earn the old certifications recently. Instead, these transition exams will help you renew your certifications onto the new certification paths.

The following Transition exams are offered for moving from the old certification exams to the new role-based certification paths:

  • 70-533 -> AZ-102: Microsoft Azure Administrator Certification Transition
  • 70-532 -> AZ-202: Microsoft Azure Developer Certification Transition
  • 70-535 -> AZ-302: Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect Certification Transition

It’s also worth noting that these transition exams will be available for a limited time to enable those who’ve previously passed the old exams prior to their retirement a means of transitioning to the new certification path. It hasn’t been announced exactly how long these transition exams will be available, but they are available for the time being, and are available if you are looking to renew your current certifications on the old paths.

New MCSE Core Infrastructure Certification Path

While the MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification is being retired at the end of 2018, the MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert) certification will still carry on, just not as cloud or Azure focused.

The new MCSE: Core Infrastructure certification is being released and will be available as of January 1, 2018. This exam takes the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 and MCSA: Windows Server 2016 as the foundation options, and takes a single additional elective exam to earn.

Here’s the list of electives you can pass to earn the MCSE: Core Infrastructure after you’ve earned either of the 2 qualifying MCSA foundations:

  • 70-413: Designing and Implementing a Server Infrastructure
  • 70-414: Implementing an Advanced Server Infrastructure
  • 70-473: Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions
  • 70-475: Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions
  • 70-537: Configuring and Operating a Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure Stack
  • 70-744: Securing Windows Server 2016
  • 70-745: Implementing a Software-Defined Datacenter

Some of the diagrams within this post are from the Microsoft Certification and Training Overview document published by Microsoft.

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Posted by Chris Pietschmann

Chris is a Microsoft MVP and has nearly 20 years of experience building enterprise systems both in the cloud and on-premises. He is also a Certified Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect (both MCSD and MCSE), a Microsoft Certified Trainer, and self proclaimed Cloud Advocate. He has a passion for technology and sharing what he learns with others to help enable them to learn faster and be more productive.

50 Comments

  1. Chris- I see in the detailed info for individual exams, that the transition exams AZ-102, ‘202, & ‘302 are being offered only for a very limited time: until Mar 31, 2019.

    Reply

  2. I did not see exam retirement on official microsoft page yet.

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann September 25, 2018 at 11:44 am

      Retirement is in the announcement blog posts.

      Reply

  3. Is there a transition from the 70-534 or is that one too old?

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann September 25, 2018 at 11:43 am

      The 534 isn’t mentioned, so I guess it’s too outdated. Makes sense since the 535 was a bigger update since the 534. For that path it’s probably best to take the individual AZ-100 and 101 exams anyway.

      Reply

      1. Really sad that MSFT didn’t give a transition path for those of us holding 534. We were never told to upgrade/transition to 535.

      2. Chris Pietschmann October 1, 2018 at 2:11 pm

        535 was released as an upgraded exam to replace 534 almost 1 year ago already. 535 was the latest exam to stay current, but I agree it’s unfortunate there’s no transition for those who’ve passed 534 previously. The reasoning they have is that the 534 was too outdated. I wish you the best in you’re studies for the latest exams and certification path!

  4. Thank you for posting this update. As i am currently getting ready to hunker down and study for my MCSA…..

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann September 26, 2018 at 8:16 am

      You may want to consider the new certification paths instead

      Reply

  5. For those who have 70-535, is the path to Azure Solutions Architect Expert AZ-300 + AZ-301 + AZ-302 OR just AZ-302?

    I ask because all three exams are listed here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/azure-solutions-architect.aspx

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann September 26, 2018 at 8:15 am

      Just AZ-302 is required to update to the new cert

      Reply

  6. For those who have passed 70-535, is the path to Azure Solutions Architect Expert

    AZ-300 + AZ-301 + AZ-302

    OR

    AZ-302?

    I ask because all three exams are listed on the ASAE site, but there’s obviously a lot of overlap.

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann September 26, 2018 at 8:14 am

      If you already passed 70-535, then you only need to pass AZ-302 for the new cert.

      Reply

  7. Do you by chance know how long it usually takes vendors like Opsgility to release training for new exams like these?

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann October 3, 2018 at 3:06 pm

      Opsgility already has a lot of content that fits the new exams. There is actually a ton of overlap from the old exams, with the addition of new Azure services / features. We at Opsgility are working on publishing updated learning plans soon to make the path towards the new exams clear. At Opsgility it usually takes a month or two to get fully updated when the Azure certification exams get overhauled. Other online learning providers have traditionally taken much longer. Happy studying!

      Disclaimer: By day I work at Opsgility, by night I’m helping you keep up-to-date on Azure through BuildAzure.com. 🙂

      Reply

  8. Just to confirm – Is AZ-302 exam alone enough to earn “Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert” if you have already passed 70-535?

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann September 26, 2018 at 8:13 am

      Yes that is correct.

      Reply

  9. Chris, it was my understanding that the MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification would never retire, that it would be stamped with the year you earned the certification and remain active on your transcript. Is this not the case anymore?

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann September 26, 2018 at 8:40 am

      Yes, it’ll still show on your transcript, but you won’t be able to renew it after Dec 31, 2018.

      Reply

  10. Hey Chris, any news on when the AZ beta exams will go live?

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann October 3, 2018 at 3:02 pm

      I would expect the new AZ beta exams to “go live” by the end of the year.

      Reply

  11. If you earned MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification, as a result of completing exams that are not listed as transition pre-requisites to the new certifications, is there any transition path to the new certifications? Seems to be a gap here…

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann October 3, 2018 at 3:01 pm

      The transition is from the old MCSA: Cloud Platform or MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure to be migrated / transitioned to the new job role based certifications. To renew from the old MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, to the new MCSE: Core Infrastructure you will need to pass the required exams for the MCSE: Core Infrastructure certification. There’s no easy migration path as there are many different paths to MCSE that doesn’t allow a single upgrade exam to be offered.

      Reply

  12. What does the transition exactly mean here? Does that mean that If I’ve done 70-535 and now clear AZ-302 I’ll be awarded Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification, or do I still need to take AZ-300 and AZ-301?

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann October 3, 2018 at 2:59 pm

      The AZ-302 transition exam is all you need to pass after previously passing 70-535 in order to earn the new Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification.

      Reply

  13. Will I automatically earn MCSE: Core Infrastructure on the 1.1.2019 if I’ve taken the required exams in the past or will I have to take another elective?

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann October 3, 2018 at 2:58 pm

      In the past they have awarded people the new certification if they’ve passed the exams within about 1 year prior to creating the new certification. I would guess the same will apply to the new changes to MCSE. You’ll have to check your MCP transcript to see for certain.

      Reply

  14. […] Introducing Role-based Microsoft & Azure Certification Shakeup […]

    Reply

  15. What would be the new requirement for MCT ?

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann October 3, 2018 at 2:57 pm

      I haven’t seen anything announced, but I would imagine the new certs will qualify you for the certification requirements of MCT.

      Reply

  16. Can I still take the 70-535 exam and then the AZ-302??

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann October 3, 2018 at 2:56 pm

      Yes you can, but the 70-535 is only available until December 31, 2018.

      Reply

  17. Hi Chris,

    1. What is the meaning of Beta version (for these New exams) ?

    2. Will I get my exam result immediately If I take this Beta exam ?

    3. Normally What duration any Beta exam takes to get Live ?

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann October 6, 2018 at 8:37 pm

      1. Beta is the label when exams are first offered in a pre-release state. It’s a way to let people take them and get initial feedback before Microsoft sets the official bar for passing the exam. Once fully released, you will receive notification if you passed after taking the pre-release exam.
      2. No, you don’t find out if you passed a Beta exam until after it’s released. Then you will receive notification.
      3. Usually exams are only Beta for a couple months, before being officially releases.

      Reply

  18. I think it’s pretty outrageous that the transition exams retire in March. I’ve literally just passed 70-533 2 weeks ago. If anything, this just deters me from doing another Microsoft exam. I’ve already done 9. This is a huge, unforgivable cash grab.

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann October 3, 2018 at 10:23 am

      Actually it’s a reaction to the rapidly changing ecosystem of Azure and the cloud. In 6 months time the 533 will been even further out of date, and you’re probably better off taking the AZ-100 and AZ-101 exams directly by then.

      Reply

      1. So how long does the Azure administrator title stay current for? Because if it’s 12 months, that’s essentially telling people that their skills are ‘in date’ for 12 months after they’re certified, isn’t it? So if that is the case, I should have at least 12 months after I’ve passed the current Azure exam to update/transition my skills.

      2. Chris Pietschmann October 3, 2018 at 11:54 am

        You can always pass the new exams to update / transition your skills to the latest certification. The AZ-102 exam is being offered temporarily for those who have already passed the 70-533 exam to make that transition easier. Keep in mind there are many who have passed the 70-533 1, 2 or 3 years ago who can transition with a single exam if they choose for this limited period of time. Later they’ll have to pass both the AZ-100 and AZ-101 to make that transition. I am included in that list, as I passed 70-533 back in 2015. It’s also worth keeping in mind that you can choose when / if you renew your certifications based on what benefits you see it offering your role and career. There are always people unhappy about changes being made. I see your frustration, but overall these “job role” oriented updates are a good direction, even if the previous restructuring of Microsoft certifications was only 2 years ago. I wish you the best if you do decide to update / transition your certification in the future. 🙂

      3. Will my MCSE remain as an active certification on my transcript?

      4. Chris Pietschmann October 6, 2018 at 8:35 pm

        It is my understanding that the old MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification will remain as Active on your transcript, and labeled with the year you earned it. I’m waiting to see what this officially looks like after December 31, 2018 when the certification gets expired.

      5. Thanks for the reply chris

  19. I recently booked a week long class for november (20533 Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions) so I could pursue the mcsa azure on linux. this new track has me confused. should I still take this class or cancel and wait for something else? Would this class still prepare me for the AZ100 and 101 exams?

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann October 12, 2018 at 12:37 pm

      There is a lot of overlap between the 1 old exam and the 2 new ones that are replacing it, so it should still prepare you pretty well. However, I would recommend contacting your training provider and posing them this question and concern.

      Reply

  20. I have passed 70-532 and 70-533, and have 70-535 scheduled for Dec 11. If I pass it, will I still get an MCSE? Then if I take the transition exam and pass, will I be considered MCSE + Azure Solution Architect?

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann October 12, 2018 at 12:30 pm

      You will have until Dec 31, 2018 to pass the 70-535. After all 3 of those exams then you will earn the MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification. Then, yes if you pass the AZ-102 transition exam afterwards then you will also earn the new Certified Azure Solutions Architect certification.

      Reply

  21. I was looking at the MCSA Linux on Azure and had even booked a class for the 70-533. Do you advise i keep the class and go for the AZ-100 and 101?

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann October 12, 2018 at 12:38 pm

      The 533 class should still prepare you pretty well for the new 100 and 101 exams. However, I recommend contacting the training provider and asking them this question. They will be able to answer it much better as to what content and focus in their class is, and how well it’ll prepare you to get certified with the new exams.

      Reply

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