In the process of consulting and training many people in the efforts of studying for various Microsoft certifications, in particular Azure certification, I do receive a lot of various questions. On of the questions I’ve seen a lot is in the area around Exam or Certification expiration and/or renewal. So, I thought I’d explain a bit on what causes a Microsoft certification to expire, and how to renew your certifications when necessary. Read More
There’s so much talk about what certification to get, what exam to pass, what are the requirements, and how to get certified. However, the opposite side of the coin is the older certifications and exam that go away over time. When technologies become obsolete, Microsoft retires certification exams that are no longer as relevant as they once were to make room for the newer certifications coming out with current technologies.
Microsoft does publish the exams they are retiring and the planned retirement date, but the information is a bit hidden / buried within the Microsoft Learning site. As a result, I thought I’d post about the Microsoft Certification Exams that are scheduled to be retired in the first half of 2018 to shed a little light on this to those who may not really be aware. Read More
Studying for all certifications can be difficult, as all you have to go on is a short list of the exam objectives and the services/technologies covered. It’s nice to get some kind of targeted resources or training that is targeted towards the specific certification exam you’re studying for. The new Second Edition of the Exam Reference book from Microsoft Press for the 70-532 Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions certification exam is now available. This book will guide you through all the different topic areas you need to know in order to take and pass the 70-532 exam, then become a Microsoft Azure certified Software Developer. Read More
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.
Over the last 2 years, since the 3 core Microsoft Azure certification exams were originally published there have been a tremendous amount of changes to the Microsoft Azure platform and ecosystem. These 3 core exams targeted towards Architecture, Infrastructure, and Developer roles were originally published before Azure Resource Manager (ARM) existed and fully covered Azure Service Manager (ASM). Not only has ARM been released since then, but also a very large number of new Microsoft Azure services have been released too! Newer services like Azure Functions, Logic Apps, DocumentDB, and others weren’t covered on these original exams.
However, these core Azure certification exams have been updated a couple times over the last 2 years. This has kept them relevant over the years, but the most recent previous update was published in March 2016, and it didn’t even full cover Azure Resource Manager (ARM) as well as a few other features and services. Since that latest update was about 8 months ago, it really is time for another refresh, and hopefully one that add much more than the last.
Luck is in our favor, as Microsoft will be publishing another new update / refresh to these 3 core Microsoft Azure certification exams on November 22, 2016. This update will include major ARM updates, including the removal of the old Azure Service Management (ASM) APIs, as well as the inclusion of Azure Functions, Logic Apps, DocumentDB, and other newer Azure services.
Microsoft will be publishing another new update / refresh to these 3 core Microsoft Azure certification exams on November 22, 2016.
For a full listing of the new exam objectives on these exams, see these links:
- 70-532 Developing Azure Solutions Exam ARM refresh
- 70-533 Implement Azure Infrastructure Solutions Exam ARM refresh
- 70-534 Architecting Azure Solutions Exam ARM refresh
In addition to these 3 core Microsoft Azure exams, there have been 2 additional Big Data focused exams released. These 2 exams have been out for about a year now, and are not getting updated right now. I would expect these to be updated sometime in the next few months, perhaps. Here’s links to further information on these 2 Big Data focused exams:
- 70-473 Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions
- 70-475 Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions
Also, Microsoft recently announced some major changes to the Microsoft Certification program that greatly embeds the Azure exams into the various certification tracks. Along with these announcements was the release of the brand new Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification,and a few Microsoft Certified Solution Associates (MCSA) certifications it builds on top of.
There’s been lots changing technology-wise, as well as many major certification changes lately!
It’s been about 2 years since the 70-532 Developing Microsoft Azure 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 70-532 Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions exam back to relevancy and not so outdated as it’s been for nearly an entire year now. Read More
It’s been about 2 years since the 70-534 Architecting Microsoft Azure 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 70-534 Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions exam back to relevancy and not so outdated as it’s been for nearly an entire year now.
Retired Exam: This exam is being retired December 31, 2017, and is being replaced by Exam 70-535: Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions. The exam content will be similar but different enough that Microsoft is giving it a new number to differentiate it more clearly. Read More
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
Along side the Ignite 2016 conference, Microsoft announced some changes to the Microsoft Certified Professional program. These changes outlined 5 new MCSE and MCSD certifications, along with MCSA certifications to go along with them. One of these new MCSD certifications is the new MCSD: App Builder certification. This certification requires 3 exam to be passed to earn, and it also will get you an MCSA certification on your way to earning the full MCSD: App Builder certification. This post gives a brief explanation on the exam that are required and / or qualify for the MCSD: App Builder, as well as the MCSA certifications you can earn on your way to obtaining the full MCSD! Happy studying!
On the path to earning the MCSD: App Builder certification an MCSA certification will first be earned.
On the path to earning the MCSD: App Builder certification an MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate) certification will first be earned. It’s really good to have a milestone along the way, instead of having to pass a ton of exams before claiming any single certification title / credential. Additionally, instead of just a single MCSA to earn on the path to MCSD: App Builder, there are 2 tracks to choose from based on your unique combination of expertise and interests.
The list of both MCSA certifications and their required exams are as follows:
- MCSA: Web Applications – pass both of the following exams:
- 70-486: Developing ASP.NET MVC Web Applications
- MCSA: Universal Windows Platform – pass both of the following exams:
- 70-483: Programming in C#
- 70-357: Developing Mobile Apps
As you can see the MCSA foundations for the new MCSD: App Builder certification require you to pass 2 exams. While not an extensive set of choices, the tracks to pick are either Web Application development or UWP (Universal Windows Platform) App development.
MCSD: App Builder
Once a qualifying MCSA certification (as listed above) is earned, the next path is to pass only 1 more exam to earn the full MCSD: App Builder certification! And, the best part is that you get to choose from a fairly long list of exams to make that happen.
Here’s the current list of Elective exams that can be taken to build on an MCSA to earn the new MCSD: App Builder certification:
- 70-532: Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions
- 70-487: Developing Microsoft Azure and Web Services
- 70-488: Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Core Solutions
- 70-489: Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Advanced Solutions
- 70-354: Universal Windows Platform – App Architecture and UX/UI
- 70-355: Universal Windows Platform – App Data, Services, and Coding Patterns
- 70-496: Administering Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server
- 70-497: Software Testing with Visual Studio
- 70-498: Delivering Continuous Value with Visual Studio Application Lifecycle Management
Regardless of the MCSA track you choose to start with (Web Apps or UWP Apps) you can continue on with earning the MCSD: App Builder with an exam in that topic area, or any of the other elective exam options.