On Monday, September 23, Microsoft's Born to Learn blog featured a very interesting post from MS Press publisher Anne Hamilton, by way of Liberty Munson. The post comes in response to the question: "When and how will books be updated to reflect the changes that are coming?" in the wake of the October 16 general availability (GA) release dates for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2. That post makes for some fascinating reading, too.
The effects of the upcoming new releases will touch on all of the exams for MCSA: Windows 8.1, MCSA: Windows Server 2012 R2, and MCSE: Windows Server 2012 R2 certifications. I'll tackle them in that order to explain what's changing and what's new and on the way.
MSCA: Windows 8.1
The current certification page still reads MCSA: Windows 8, but that will assuredly change on October 17/18. The two exams for that credential are 70-687: Configuring Windows 8 and 70-688: Managing and Maintaining Windows 8. These will be updated to mention Windows 8.1 instead of Windows 8, with a revised Exam Ref title to be released for 70-687, and a new title for 70-688 within 30 days of the GA date (on or before November 17, in other words).
MCSA: Windows Server 2012 (R2)
The current cert page reads just like the preceding title, and should gain an R2 at the end on October 17/18. There are four exams currently on the slate for this MCSA -- namely: 70-410 Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012, 70-411 Administering Windows Server 2012, 70-412 Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services, and 70-417 Upgrading Your Skills to MSCA Windows Server 2012. The Training Guide (long, full-length study guides) titles for 70-410 and 70-411 will get an update, as will the Exam Refs (short, focused exam prep titles) for 70-410 and 70-417. There will also be new Exam Refs for 70-411 and 70-412, and a new Training Guide for 70-412 as well. All of these are supposed to appear within 30 days of the upcoming release date (by November 17), except for the 70-417 Exam Ref, which should show up about 30 days later than that (by December 17).
MCSE: Windows Server Infrastructure and MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure (R2 implied...)
The MCSA: Windows Server 2012 is a pre-req for both of these certs and brings the 70-410, 70-411, and 70-412 exams (or the 70-417 for those who upgrade into the Windows Server 2012 realm) into play. In addition, Server Infrastructure MCSEs must also take exams 70-413 Designing and Implementing a Server Infrastructure, and 70-414 Implementing an Advanced Server Infrastructure. The Exam Ref for 70-413 will be updated, and a brand new Exam Ref for 70-414 will also be released, but within 60 days of the release (by December 17). No word yet on the 70-415 Implementing a Desktop Infrastructure and 70-416 Implementing Desktop Application Environments exams required for the MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure cert as yet, but that should come sometime soon.
This not only helps to explain the timing constraints under which all Microsoft certification exam publishers -- including Pearson IT Certification, the home to this blog -- must operate, but also lets us know why some titles that could have been published sooner are being published later. For my part, I have to believe that many have decided that "publish later" is more efficient and expeditious than "publish early, update, and publish again." I'm acquainted with enough projects from enough publishers including MS Press, Pearson, and even Wiley to be *quite* sure of that!