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Microsoft Certification: Return of the MCSE, MCSD, and MCSA!!!

Today, Microsoft announced a new line of so-called "cloud-built certifications" to complement its standard offerings (MCTS, MCITP, and MCM). These credentials include the Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM), the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE), Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD), and the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA). Those familiar with the Microsoft certification program and its credentials will notice that those old familiar, stalwart, and immmensely popular acronyms -- most notably MCSE and MCSA, but also MCSD -- have returned to service, probably hoping to cash in on the cachet of their famous forebearers from the Windows NT, 2000, and 2003 eras.

But this time around, there's a twist to these credentials. The otherwise most recent Microsoft credentials aren't going anywhere, but the new (MCSM) and resuscitated (MSCE, MCSD, and MCSA) credentials now relate purely and solely to cloud-based subject matters, platforms, tools, and technologies.

Now we can finally know that the Microsoft Private Cloud Credential first discussed late in 2011 is the first MSCE -- namely, MCSE Private Cloud. There are several SQL Server certifications in this program, too -- namely MCSE Data PlatformMCSE Business Intelligence and an MCSA SQL Server 2012 to boot.

Here's a diagram that shows how these new credentials map alongside existing Microsoft certifications:


Ostensibly, the MSC* certs map alongside MCTS, MCITP, and MCM, but...

The new SQL MSC* credentials can function as an upgrade path for holders of MCITP on SQL Server 2008 (Admin or Developer tracks), and require taking three exams to earn (70-46170-458, and 70-460). By itself the MCSA: SQL Server 2012 requires taking and passing exams 70-46170-462, and 70-463. There's also an MCSA: Windows Server 2008 available, which requires exams 70-64070-642, and 70-646. As far as I can tell, no MCSM credentials are available as yet.

Once again, everything old is new again! I foresee some success for these new/old credentials, and will be very interested to gauge reactions to the recycling of these old and trusted acronyms.