Last year Microsoft launched the new Microsoft Professional Program (MPP). This is the latest initiative from Microsoft to provide training and an educational platform to help fill the ever growing skills gap in IT. Initially, Microsoft launched the program with a single track; the Data Science Microsoft Professional Program (MPP) track. Due to the huge success of this initial track, Microsoft announced earlier this year they are expanding the Microsoft Professional Program to 2 more additional tracks; Big Data and Front-end Web Development.
There are many different certification exams from Microsoft covering all the different technology areas. There are also many different certification paths like the newly redesigned MCSE and MCSA certifications that are made up of multiple certification exams. Unfortunately, the list of Microsoft certification exams can be a bit cumbersome and difficult to search through on the official Microsoft Learning site. For this reason, I have created a simple, open source, Microsoft certification exam finder tool.
The Build Azure Exam Finder allows you to search and filter through a list of Microsoft certification exams. It works by having all the exams in the list assigned Tags that you can easily filter on to find the exam(s) you’re looking for. You can filter on a combination of technologies or larger certifications like MCSE and MCSA to find the exams you’re looking for.
You can access the Build Azure Exam Finder tool here: http://exams.buildazure.com
The tool currently includes 31 exams in the list, and I’m planning on adding more soon to fill it out to contain a nice list of the various Microsoft certification exams available. I hope this tool helps others discover the certification exams and larger MCSA or MCSE certification paths that fit their expertise and knowledge areas. I was inspired to build this simple tool by many of the Microsoft certification questions people have been asking me through this blog and elsewhere online, as it helped me realize that there’s a real discoverability problem in how Microsoft present the certification information on the official Microsoft Learning site.
In the past once you passed a specific Microsoft certification exam you were not allowed to retake that exam again, ever. After all, there wasn’t really any benefit to since you passed the exam and it counted towards earning you a specific certification. Back then the exams did not undergo any major updates or restructuring until they were retired and replace with a brand new exam on the latest technology and product releases. With the recent changes and restructuring of the Microsoft certification program, the exam are now getting updated periodically and you will now be able to retake an exam after such updates have been made.
As of March 17, 2017, the necessary changes have been put into place to allow for exam to be retaken on an annual basis. After a period of 365 days from the date you pass a certification exam, you will now be able to retake that exam again. This will allow for you to retake a particular exam, or at least the most recent update of that exam, to be used as the qualifying elective exam necessary to renew an MCSD or MCSE certification and keep it active for the current year.
Currently, the exams eligible to be retaken are:
- 70-346: Managing Office 365 Identities and Requirements
- 70-347: Enabling Office 365 Services
- 70-473: Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions
- 70-475: Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions
- 70-532: Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions
- 70-533: Implementing Microsoft Azure Solutions
- 70-534: Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions
- 70-741: Networking with Windows Server 2016
- 70-742: Identity with Windows Server 2016
- 70-744: Securing Windows Server 2016
This new retake policy is a really great improvement. It was previously assumed that only a new elective needed to be passed every year to keep the MCSD or MCSE certifications current for the given year. If this were required then you would be required to keep learning new technologies and product releases to pass an exam even if they didn’t relate to you job duties. However, by allowing already passed exams to be retaken annually, you will now be able to renew and keep up-to-date by continually brushing up and maintaining the exam skills that pertain to your daily job duties over time.
This change goes along with the other improvements being made to the Microsoft certification that are really making the program much better than it was in the past by keeping the certifications relevant and useful.
The Microsoft Professional Program (MPP) is the most recent program from Microsoft to provide training and an educational platform in an effort to help fill the growing skills gap. According to Microsoft there are 1.5 million jobs going unfilled as a result. The program was initially launched with a Data Science track and has been a big success.
In the Data Science track of the Microsoft Professional Program (MPP) there have been nearly 4,000 learners enrolled in the program since July 2016. There has also been over 700 graduates of the program develop their skills and earn the Data Science certification.
There has also been over 700 graduates of the program develop their skills and earn the Data Science certification.
As was announced in October 2016, Microsoft is following through with a planned expansion of the Microsoft Professional Program. This expansion is brining with it the addition of 2 new tracks to the program. The 2 new tracks are:
- Big Data – The track will teach the skills required to design systems for capturing, processing and analyzing big data.
New Big Data and Front-end Web Development tracks are being added to the program.
Enrollees in the Microsoft Professional Program are getting a new benefit added to the program. The new benefit is the addition of a free 12 month Pro membership to Gooroo.io. Gooroo is a resource for learners interested in careers in technology that will give them access to employment opportunities from some of the world’s leading tech startups and corporations.
The overall price for the completion certificates for each of the courses in the Microsoft Professional Program is also increasing. Previously, the majority of the courses for the program would cost $49 to receive a certificate of completion for each course. While enrollees are also able to audit each course for free. The free course auditing is remaining, but the fee for the certificate of completion of each course will be increasing to $99. This will result in an increase of the full program from costing approximately $500 USD for the Data Science track to the new cost of nearly $1,000 USD. This is somewhat of a significant cost increase but still far cheaper than a technical college or university degree. Additionally, the reason for the cost increase is to help pay for the cost that Microsoft has been putting into the development of the program tracks and courses.
In addition to the above, there are a few other smaller changes and updates being made to the program. Overall it’s been a fairly good success so far, and will undoubtedly keep growing with the expansion of the 2 new tracks in Big Data and Front-end Web Development.
It’s been about 2 years since the 70-533 Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions certification exam was first release. Over that time there’s been a couple updates to keep it relevant with the ever changing landscape of the Microsoft Azure platform. The previous update was released in March 2016, which is a very long time when it comes to the cloud. The good news is that another update is on it’s way, and this time it will be including a full update of adding Azure Resource Manager (ARM) to the exam, in addition to many other new features and services. This update looks to be bringing the 70-533 Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions exam back to relevancy and not so outdated as it’s been for nearly an entire year now. Read More
There have been a few Microsoft Azure certifications for awhile now, and in October 2015 Microsoft added another with the Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions (70-473) exam. Passing this exam will earn you the Microsoft Specialist: Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions certification. This is a Microsoft Azure certification centered around SQL Server databases in the cloud; from Azure SQL Database to SQL Server running inside a Virtual Machine. Read More
The list of Microsoft Azure certification exams and Microsoft Specialist certifications that can be earned is slowly growing. The first certifications were the Developer, Infrastructure, Architecture, and bigger MCSD Azure Solutions Architect certifications. As Azure grows, so does the need to fill out the Microsoft Certification lineup with additional certification credentials for professionals to prove their expertise. The latest in the bunch are the 2 new “Cloud Data Platform Solutions” and “Big Data Analytics Solutions” exams and associated Microsoft Specialist certifications. Read More
Studying for the Azure certification exams can be a daunting task. One of the most difficult things is knowing whether you’re ready to sit the actual exam or not. Take the exam too early, you’ll fail. Not understand how the questions will be written, you could fail. Over prepare, and you’ll pass but possibly waste some time. To really hone in on a certification exam, the use of a practice test / exam can be extremely useful. In an effort to help others studying for these exams, I have started creating a couple Free, Open Source Azure certification practice exams. Read More
The trilogy of Microsoft Azure Certification exams first debuted more than one year ago. In that time there have been some tremendous changes and additions to the entire Microsoft Azure Platform. As a result, coming March 10, 2016, Microsoft is updating the exam objectives to reflect some of these changes. But, what are the changes? Read More
There’s been a huge increase in the need to get trained in Microsoft Azure, and as a result the interest / need to get certified in Azure has been increasing as well. The only difficulty with the certification is there are 3 primary Microsoft certification exams on Azure and it can be a little unclear which exam is right for “You.” In this article I will outline the differences between the different Azure certification exams / certifications, and hopefully I’ll help you decide which is best for you to start with.
Update 9/30/2016: This week Microsoft announced some really big and amazing changes to the Microsoft Certification program and how the Azure certification exams fit in with MCSD and MCSE certifications. As a result, you want to reference the 2016 Edition of Where to start with Azure Certification article instead.