Introducing Enhanced Transcripts and Certificates!

Introducing Enhanced Transcripts and Certificates!

Erika Cravens

Please reference the updated post here for information - http://borntolearn.mslearn.net/btl/b/weblog/archive/2011/05/24/updates-to-the-transcript-and-certificate-updates-need-your-feedback.aspx

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be updating our certification transcripts and certificates, and you’ll probably notice some small but in some cases significant changes.  For the full scoop and a sneak peek at the new look, keep reading!

Changes to Transcripts

Based on customer feedback, we’re consolidating the certifications on your transcripts, uniquely identifying each of them, and adding an inactive date where appropriate. I’ll explain in detail, but first let’s do a before-and-after comparison:

Old Transcript

New Transcript

 

 

 

Notice how clean the new transcript looks on the right with certifications consolidated by track (MCITP, MCTS, MCSA: Security).  This should make your transcript much easier for you, your clients and employers to read and understand.

Next, notice how we’ve organized all the various versions of, for example, MCTS underneath the “Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist” heading. Again, that’s to make the transcript easier to follow. We call the top-level boldface certifications your “certification tracks,” and the different flavors underneath are your individual “certifications.” In the example above, “Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist” is a certification track with two certifications (“SQL Server 2005” and “Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, Configuration” underneath it.

Now some new pieces of information we are adding for each certification include:  

1.       Technology – This is the version of the product you’re certified on, for example Windows Server 2008.

2.       Certification Number – This is like a serial number, uniquely identifying each certification you earn. It’s not your MCP ID—that’s your personal identifier—and it’s not the same thing as an exam number either. Someone else who earns the exact same certification will still have their own unique certification number—no two certification numbers are alike. (In case you’re wondering, certification numbers will be randomly generated—there’s no rhyme or reason to the numbers assigned). We’re adding this field because it’s required for our ISO 17024 certification (yes, even certification programs can be certified themselves!), but the cool thing about it is that it gives us the potential to modify our transcript sharing tool down the line so that you can enable people to verify an individual certification without sharing your entire transcript (but that’s in the future).

3.       Inactive Date – This is a big change: many of our certifications now feature an “inactive date” which signifies either that your certification is no longer in mainstream demand, that Microsoft no longer supports the product on which the certification is based, or that you have not met recertification requirements (if any). You won’t always see this field on your transcript—only if and when we’ve determined an inactive date for that certification. For affected certifications, you’ll start seeing inactive dates show up in June. (You can find more information on inactive dates here.)

Let’s take a moment to discuss the Inactive Date, because I’m sure that some of you are reading that phrase and thinking “that’s Microsoft-speak for decertification date.”  It isn’t—in fact, even if all of your certifications go inactive, you’ll still have access to your MCP benefits, and your inactive certifications will still appear on your transcript. All that’s changing is that we’re signaling to you, your clients, and employers that these particular certifications have outlived their market relevance.  Just to clarify what we mean by market relevance is that in most cases Microsoft isn't even supporting the technology through mainstream support.  In other cases, it may be that the way that the technology was used (many years ago or with cloud it could even be a few months ago) when it was first released has changed, because we all know that technology is ever evolving and changing at such a rapid pace.  This means the certification may have validated how to use the technology in a different way and since then we have not re-validated the skills necessary to use the technology in the market.

Changes to Certificates

We’re making three small changes to our certificates, two of which mirror the changes we’re making to the transcripts, specifically the certification number and inactive date.  However, we’re also adding a new piece of information that’s on your transcript today but not on your certificate: your certification achievement date. In other words, your certificate will now display the date on which you earned your certification. See below for an example of what this will look like:

 

If you’ve already printed or ordered your certificates, that’s fine—there’s no need for you to print or order replacements. (You can if you want to, of course, but the standard shipping fees apply if you choose to order one.) Just like with the transcripts, you’ll see these new changes in April (with the exception of the Inactive Dates, which will begin populating in June).

 So that’s the complete rundown of what’s changing… so what do you think? We’d love to read your feedback, so please share it below!

 

Comments
  • Benjamin S
    |

    Could you clarify this part about inactive dates?  "...it may be that the way that the technology was used (many years ago or with cloud it could even be a few months ago) when it was first released has changed..."  How will we know if a certification that we passed has become inactive?  Will this happen with the Server 2008 certifications, now that there are 2008 R2 questions in the tests?

    I can see many employers, and HR personnel, taking the inactive date exactly as a decertification date.  Will there be any website, etc that we can point potential employers to in order to clarify the difference?

    Also, the link for more info on the inactive dates does not point to a valid site.

  • rellufgerg
    |

    This posting of inactive dates reminds me of circa 2000 when going from NT 4.0 to 2000.  At first, MS stated all MCSEs on NT 4.0 are not considered MCSEs anymore because of at that time Windows 2000.  Due to the angry feedback, that is when MS separated whether you are a MCSE on NT 4.0 or 2000.  That was a comprimise since the MCSEs on NT 4.0 could keep their MCSE title.  This seems to be the same kind of nonsense all over again over a decade later.  What's the point of declaring something inactive on the transcript?  It is already stated on the transcript for what OS it is for.

  • rellufgerg
    |

    Would certifications that disappeared off my current transcript (like my NT4 MCSE + Internet) reappear on this new transcript in the "Inactive Microsoft Certifications" section.  IMO they should.  Without them being there it is as if I never attained that status in the past, and I did.  Also, with that status being there it would show a complete history of my Microsoft certifications, and that is very nice to see.

  • kloinerFeigling83
    |

    will the "charter member" certificates still exist, or will that be removed by ISo 17024?

    I think it´s nice to have some kind of MS - curriculum vitae

    BUT i also see the Problem that HR personal might not understand the difference...

  • Glen Software Smith - MCM MCT
    |

    I think you could not think of a better way than to alienate all those who have certifications, than by filling their transcript with the word s "inactive date". Especially those who have been Microsoft Certified for a long time like myself, will feel that they do not want to show their new transcript to a prospective customer. Before, If the customers noticed my old certifications for Windows NT and Windows 2000 they just appreciated that I have many years experience with servers, now it looks as if I have let my certifications lapse. All the explanations to us about inactive not meaning decertification, do not help, what matters is the impression given to the customer, who is unlikely to read this blog. if you have to fix something that is not broken, why not just tag the active certifications with the word Active rather than add a negative tag to the others?

  • David Thomassen
    |

    Under the Inactive date please add a reason why its inactive - recert required (for Security) or Product out of MS Support.

  • rellufgerg
    |

    maybe "End of Maintenance:" insted of  "Inactive Date:" would be less irritating for employers?

  • rellufgerg
    |

    a little optical thing: why do you print the row headers that are similar for every certification (Certification Number, Technology) in bold, and the real Information (the certified Product or certification title) not? I think switching the font-weight for them would better highlight the real Information

  • rellufgerg
    |

    I agree with Glen Software Smith, this "Inactive Date" mess has all of the markings of being a colossal blunder for the MCPs of the world.  The average HR person at a non-IT company is not going to have any idea that "inactive" means that the product support has lapsed rather than the candidate let the certification lapse.  Hell, the average recruiter at an IT companies STILL don't get that there is no MCSE on Server 2008, despite the fact that Microsoft has been "educating" people about MCITP for 3+ years now!  How the hell do you think we're going to explain this one?  We can educate until we're blue in the face, but if history is any judge then it's going to all be for nothing.

    I understand that some certifications expire or require recertification, and by all means print the expiration date for EXPIRING certifications on the transcript and certificate.  But for those certifications that have no recertification requirement, leave them off.  Just because Microsoft no longer has the product under mainstream support doesn't mean that my knowledge and experience with that product is irrelevant, has expired, or is no longer active.  I have a major customer (Fortune 100) that still has a couple dozen NT4 machines (and a couple of NT 3.51 machines too) in their datacenter.  A huge number of companies still have Windows 2000 systems in production, and plenty more will have 2003 in production after 2012 ships (or whatever it ends up being called).  Just because you no longer support it doesn't mean that customers have stopped using it, or that our brains have magically deleted all traces of our knowledge and experience.

  • Erika Cravens
    |

    Hi Everyone!

    I apologize, the link to the site on certification lifespan policies does not have our updated information yet.  It will be updated as of Friday, though.  In the meantime, I am happy to answer questions.

    Inactive dates - this is the big one obviously.  So in answer to some of the questions, how will you all see which specific certifications will have inactive dates versus which don't, they will show up in the transcript with a future date and once the date is passed they will be in the inactive section with the inactive date.

    While these will not all show up at once, I can tell you that there are only 3 right now that will show an inactive date and that won't happen until June.  The three are:  MCITP: EA, MCITP: SA and MCSA Security plus recertification.  

    As you may or may not all be aware, we have identified that all the MCTS, MCITP, and MCPD certifications would 'retire' when mainstream support for the product has discontinued.  We are making this happen, but instead are using the word 'inactive' because it encompasses more of what is happening.  For instance the Azure Developer certification that we just announced requires recertification and saying it 'retired' does not make sense, but inactive we felt embodied both situations.

    As for the MCSA and MCSE certifications we do not have any 'inactive' dates set, but to be honest with you, I think it would be the right thing to do to make them inactive.  I know there is a lot of history with this and not necessarily the greatest history, but I think it would be unfair to make the MCITP, MCTS and MCPD certifications inactive, yet leave the MCSA and MCSE certifications as active.  Now with that said, I would love to hear from all of you about this subject.  

    Keep the comments and questions coming and thanks for the feedback so far!

  • Dave Franklyn
    |

    Erika,

    Nope, nope & nope!  I am a Microsoft Certified Trainer and have been doing this for longer than some people reading this have been alive.

    The "inactive" portion of the transcript is a very bad idea.  

    Right now, we are seeing fewer people seeking certification.  Many HR types STILL don't know there is no MCSE in Windows Server 2008.  I can just imagine the look on their faces when they see candidates with "inactive" certifications!

    David M. Franklyn

    MCDST, MCTS¹¹, MCSA², MCDBA, MCSE³, MCITP 6, MCT,

    Microsoft Small Business Specialist, Network+, Security+, Server+

    Senior Information Technology Trainer

    Advanced Training Group, Continuing Education

    Auburn University Montgomery

  • rellufgerg
    |

    Erika,

    Again I need to comment on your post.  First we need clarification:  "Inactive" from a MS perspective means you are not considered an MCIPT, MCTS, etc. based on whatever is deemed inactive and you can no longer use that title?

    Why  is it lately that IT certifications whether it be from MS, HP or whoever is being more and more based from the employers perspective??  What happened to IT Professional him/her self?  I agree with the previous posts: a headhunter or HR generalist will only understand "Inactive" from ONE perspective and that means: "Inactive" = "Salary cut" or "Salary reduction"

    Just my $0.02 here...

  • Peter Kessler
    |

    Dave you are so right here. As a freelance trainer, I have to deal with recruiters every day. And the moment I have explained to one what inactive means, this guy will leave the company and I will have to deal again with someone who knows absolutely nothing.

    And for a lot of consultancy gigs, they want you to prove a couple of years with the product. It will get ugly if you need to explain why your Cert is inactive but still valid.

    And Karl S, you are right about the Salary reduction part. This is the first thing that will happen. :-(

  • rellufgerg
    |

    You're thinking in the wrong terms.  These certifications are not about the technology's status.  These certifications about the individual's status.  My knowledge and experience doesn't expire.  Your support for the product expires.  Those are two completely different things, and I think that it's unfair to penalize your customers (MCPs) simply because your product is not supported.  As I've said, these products will be in use for years after mainstream support ends, but the certs will be long gone.

    Now if you had made it clear at the outset that our certifications would expire then I wouldn't be so upset by it.  But you haven't, and then you spring it on us like this.  Clearly we have cause to be upset.

    Furthermore, you are completely ignoring the fact that YOUR CERTIFICATION TRACKS DO NOT MIRROR YOUR PRODUCT LINES AND LIFECYCLE!!!  I am an MCITP:EA on Windows Server 2008.  But even though Server 2008 R2 has been available the MCITP:EA certification track has not been updated to reflect the new OS being released.  Sure, the exam content has been updated, but the certification name hasn't.  That means if my certification is obsoleted by your process I don't even have the option of getting a 2008 R2 cert to replace it with, I have to skip to 2012/2013/whatever.  Seriously?

    And don't even get me started on the MCITP: Virtualization Administrator exam track.  You still give credit for the 2008 versions of Hyper-V and SCVMM exams towards the "MCITP: Virtualization Administrator 2008 R2" certification, and those products are already obsoleted by the R2 releases!  And SCVMM 2012 just went into Beta and will probably be out by the end of the year.  But the MCITP:VA 2008 R2 certification won't ever expire, eh?  Even though you're giving it for obsoleted technology?  Seriously?

    How about MCITP: Enterprise Messaging Administrator?  That doesn't expire either?  How about all of MCTS exams, those don't expire?  So you're telling me that my MCTS: Windows Vista certification that I earned (only because I had to in order the get the MCITP:EA cert) will never expire, but my EA cert will?  Seriously?  I'm normally one of the voices of reason here, but WTF are you guys thinking?

  • ticoyami
    |

    I think HR Should know the difference, when somebody has a MCSE Win2000 certification and they have a Windows Server 2008 Network, they should think that the 2000 is might not be enough for the more complex 2008 network, I think you can underline the certification path (track) but remove the "inactive" word.

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