Born To Learn Blog

Born To Learn Blog
  • Welcome to the Microsoft Learning Community! Whether you’ve been sharing your learning journey with us for years or you’re just starting out, we’re happy you’re here and we look forward to hearing from you.

    You may notice that we’ve polished our look a bit. You may also notice that we’ve still got the same great content—and more—and now it’s all in one place. Our site aims to be a one-stop shop—accessible and available to all learners—for free online training, technical training, and just-in-time training, along with community support, practical career help, and even inspiration.

    Want a tour of our new space?

    • In “Check Out the Latest,” read blog posts and updates that highlight what’s new in the Learning Community, in addition to useful and informative tips and advice.
    • Watch the Learning Community social feed for real-time updates on courses, training, technologies, instructors, and more.
    • Visit “Meet Our Community Leaders,” and get inspired by Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs) and others who help guide and shape the learning journey.
    • Want more inspiration? Be sure to check out the “Success Stories” section. Your peers and mentors share their accomplishments—where they started, how far they’ve come, how they handled any bumps along the way, and how you can, too. You can even share your own story.
    • What do you want to learn? Find the right opportunity to help with your career growth.
    • Get help from the community as you prepare for your exams (or help others who are preparing for theirs), in the Study Group forums, which are now incorporated into the exam pages. Check out an example at the bottom of the Exam 70-410

    Be sure to bookmark the Microsoft Learning Community site as the place for technical learning opportunities, topics, news, leaders, and support that can give you the tools, skills, and confidence to help advance your career and improve your overall marketability.

    Like you, we’ll continue to learn and evolve. As we do, we’d love to know what you’d like to learn about and how you’d like to learn it. Feel free to leave a comment below, and tell us how we can help you achieve your learning goals.

    Thanks for stopping by. We look forward to the learning journey. And our shiny new space is just the beginning!

  • Same great community with an all new experience.

    To enhance your exam preparation, Microsoft Learning has released a new exam study group experience. The new exam forums have been incorporated directly into the exam pages.

    An example can be found on exam 70-410 at the bottom. Explore the exams to find specific exam study groups.

    New Features

    • Faster browsing. Navigate conversations without leaving the page.
    • Inline posting. No need to navigate to different page to post a message.
    • Mobile ready. Read and post from your mobile device or tablet.
    • Search. Find forum topics faster using the integrated search functionality.
  • Microsoft is making some changes to our learning and certification options, and we’d love your input! We are looking for volunteers who would be willing to participate in several 1-2 hour virtual focus groups or interviews to discuss some of the ideas that are being considered. You will receive a small token of our appreciation to participate in this research. If you’d like to help shape the future of Microsoft certification and learning, please provide your contact information. If you provide this information, a vendor hired by Microsoft to conduct this research will reach out to you for purposes of scheduling the focus group and/or interview. 

    For more information about privacy and cookies, visit:

  • We recently explored Microsoft certification as an important part of today’s modern workplace. We looked specifically at reaping the benefits of certification on Office 365. These included validating your knowledge and skills, staying current on technology, terms, and concepts, and gaining confidence in your work and career goals. Plus, certification earns you a digital badge that can help you prove to your colleagues, your boss, or even a potential employer that you have what it takes to install and configure Windows 10 and Windows 10 devices. Curious about real-time career data tailored to your skills and certifications, including job requirements, locations, salary estimates, employers, and top related skills? Check out job data for all Microsoft badges

    The good news is that those certification benefits apply not just to Office 365. Another significant Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certification for the 21st-century mobile workforce is the MCSA for Windows 10. Training and certification on this technology can empower you to plan, implement, and support Windows 10 desktop and device deployment, including networking and storage configuration—all significant in the move to the cloud. Plus, you can prove your ability to manage data access and protection, remote access, apps, updates, and system or file recovery.

    How should you get started? Here’s the basic certification journey that we explore in this post.

    1. Assess gaps in your experience and skills.
    2. Train to fill those gaps.
    3. Sign up and take the tests.
    4. Earn your badge and enjoy the benefits.

    To find your gaps, check out each exam detail page (in the bulleted links that follow) and explore the specific concepts and technologies that are covered. Following are the two exams to pass for the MCSA for Windows 10 certification:

    Need training before you take the tests? Most people do. Check out the practical preparation options on each exam page. Refresh your basic knowledge with online courses on MVA, edX, or Channel 9. Watch full courses or just take the modules you need to review. Fill in bigger learning gaps with hands-on, instructor-led training online or in a classroom through a learning partner. Explore exam prep books, or take practice tests. You can even connect with a Certification Study Group.

    And don’t miss the limited-time special offers for certification exams. The more exams you take, the more you save. Pay full price for the first exam, and then automatically save 25% or 50% at checkout when you take two or more MCP exams in nine months. (You must take the first exam by April 30, 2018.) You could also buy an Exam Replay with your Microsoft exam voucher and get an extra chance to pass the test. Or buy an Exam Replay with a practice test to increase your preparation and confidence. Choose the plan that best meets your needs.

    After you pass one test, you’re a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP), which is your first step on the way to certification. Pass them both, and you’re an MCSA in Windows 10! You’ve proven that you can implement the features of Windows 10 that your organization needs as you move to the cloud. If you’d like to convince your supervisor to certify the whole team, point them to this blog series on readying your team for the modern workplace.

    Be sure to bookmark this page to help you navigate the certification journey. Leave a comment below, and let us know how it’s going! Best of luck as you skill up.

  • You may even qualify for a discount!

    Software developers can change lives, disrupt industries, and reshape the world. And coding skills are in high demand among employers. In fact, the US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that employment of software developers is projected to grow 24 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster growth than the average for other occupations.

    If you’re just starting out as a coder and want to get certified in Java or Python, we can help! Microsoft Learning has teamed up with edX to offer a couple of very practical Professional Certificate programs—built on career-oriented courses—to help you develop these in-demand skills. Both programs include videos, hands-on labs, practice drills, assessments, and more, so you can build up your proficiency.



    Each of these Professional Certificate programs can also help you prepare for an associated Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) exam. An MTA is an entry-level certification that validates your fundamental knowledge and can help to enhance your technical credibility and professional confidence, especially as you explore employment as an entry-level coder. It's important to note that completion of these courses doesn’t guarantee that you will pass the MTA exam, since you may need additional training or experience, but the courses can help you get started on your path to MTA certification. Check out the exam pages to see what they cover.



    Ready to get started? You can take the three courses in each Professional Certificate program for $99 each, for a total program cost of $297. Want a discount? Keep reading!

    When you purchase the associated MTA exam along with the edX Professional Certificate program, you’ll save $88 on the set. Pay only $99 for the exam (normally $127) and only $79 per course for each of the three courses (normally $99 each), for a total program cost of $336 (normally $424). Within five to seven business days after purchasing the program and MTA exam, you’ll receive an email with a voucher code and instructions to use when signing up for your exam. Please note that the voucher code expires on September 30, 2018.

    Take advantage of this limited time special offer for an MTA exam with your Professional Certificate, as you get started on your learning journey, skill up on Java or Python, and take your first steps toward a career in software development.

    Check out Java with Code Objects and Algorithms

    Explore Python with Intro to Computer Science

  • Microsoft 365 is a complete, intelligent solution, including Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security, that empowers everyone to be creative and work together, securely. As more and more organizations make the shift to Microsoft 365, each will have individual needs and challenges they'll have to address. Microsoft learning partners offer a variety of training options designed to fit your organization's specific requirements, tailored for your team's needs, skill levels, and deployment requirements.

    > Learn more about Microsoft 365


    Get big returns on your new investment

    Microsoft 365 training options proactively equip your team with the skills they need to ensure a smooth, informed deployment. That means you'll be fueling their productivity, making sure streamlined learning and validated completion let them learn the most in the least amount of time, so they can successfully implement your solutions. Plus, tools that measure their learning comprehension mean you can always make a business case for the ROI of training.

    > Find options with a Microsoft learning partner


    Solutions that match your needs

    No two organizations are the same, and no two teams are, either. That's why Microsoft 365 training is flexible and can be tailored for specific requirements. Instructor-led and online courses help provide the right solution for you, and by matching your teams' learning styles, they will develop an understanding of the best ways to lead technology implementation—faster.

    > Find the right training options from Microsoft learning partners


    Train with confidence

    Microsoft training is created by Microsoft experts, so your teams learn from industry-recognized experts. The group-oriented training not only teaches the basics, but helps prepare for usage challenges with a variety of scenarios. And best of all, technical skills are all validated with practice tests and certification exams, so you know training time was spent valuably.

    > Find a Microsoft learning partner


    Whatever your organization's Microsoft 365 training needs may be, there is a solution out there for you. Deployment and usage challenges can be overcome with the right training, tailored for your needs.

  • We’ve been exploring the many benefits of certification, especially as part of the digital transformation and the move to the cloud. We’ve recently looked at how to ready your team for the modern workplace and how identity and access management skills are critical for today’s mobile workforce. And we’ve talked about Office 365 certification exams to consider when training your team on Microsoft 365.

    What’s next? Let’s drill down on how to get your IT pros ready for the Windows part of the Microsoft 365 equation, with certification as a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) for Windows 10. With the many Windows 10 features for the mobile workforce, training and certification on this technology can empower your team (and give you the confidence) that they can plan, implement, and support Windows 10 desktop and device deployment, including networking and storage configuration. Plus, they’ll be able to manage data access and protection, remote access, apps, updates, and system or file recovery.

    Both exams have helpful and practical training that your team can take into the test and into the workplace. And both can help them implement the features of Windows 10 that your organization needs as you move to the cloud. Plus, tools that measure their learning comprehension mean that you can always make a business case for the ROI of training. And, since certification validates their skills, you don’t have to. When a team member passes one exam, he or she becomes a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP), the first step toward MCSA: Windows 10 certification.

    Visit the exam detail pages to get a complete overview of the specific skills measured by each exam, as well as links to preparation and training, including instructor led courses, self-paced online training, practice exams and books.

    In summary, many organizations are moving to the cloud, and IT teams need to skill up on Microsoft 365 to give their employees the ability to create and collaborate securely. A huge piece of this is identity and access management. Hiring managers can (and do) feel more confident in their IT teams that are certified, knowledgeable, and proficient in just the right skills and experience for this digital transformation—especially Office 365 and Windows 10 skills. How can we help you ready your team for the modern workplace?

    Explore the Windows 10 certification exams


    Full Blog Series

    1. Ready your team for the modern workplace (April 4)
    2. Get your team certified on cloud-critical identity and access management skills (April 6)
    3. Considering Microsoft 365? Get your team certified on Office 365 (April 10)
    4. Moving to Microsoft 365? Get your team certified on Windows 10 (April 12)
  • In our previous two blog posts, Ready your team for the modern workplace and Get your team certified on cloud-critical identity and access management skills, we explored the benefits of certification for your team as your organization transitions to the cloud. Certification validates the IT team’s skills and experience in specific technologies. And it can (according to hiring managers) give you the confidence that the team has what it takes to keep up with modern security threats against your infrastructure and to integrate your technology with new cloud services.

    As organizations adopt Microsoft 365 to empower their people to be creative and work together, certification for your team is key—especially in Office 365 and Windows 10. The more organizations ask themselves these questions, the more appealing Microsoft 365 becomes:

    • How do you work together among employees, contractors, and others?
    • How are you ensuring employee and customer information is secure?
    • How many different tools do you use to share information?
    • How do you cater to different collaboration styles in your company?

    So what’s the best way to get your team skilled up and certified on the facets of this universal toolkit built for teamwork? Training your IT team can help save time, work, and money, while significantly increasing your organization’s productivity. Plus, individuals who are skilling up to certify can customize the topic, learning style, and timing.

    Let’s take a look at a couple of Office 365 exams, since Office 365 is a key piece of Microsoft 365. A team member who passes these two exams becomes a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certified in Office 365. Each exam page itemizes the skills validated by the associated test (see example). Scroll down the exam page to see various preparation options, including self-paced online courses, instructor-led training, and practice tests. The training is comprehensive and hands-on, and it’s led by recognized Microsoft experts.

    • Exam 70-346: Managing Office 365 Identities and Requirements This exam validates the ability to provision Office 365, manage cloud identities, implement and manage federated identities for SSO, and much more. When your IT team member passes it, he or she becomes a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP), which is the first step on the way to certification.
    • Exam 70-347: Enabling Office 365 Services Team members who pass this test will also become MCPs on the pathway to MCSA certification. This exam covers managing clients and end-user devices, provisioning SharePoint Online site collections, configuring and securing Office 365 services, and that’s just the beginning!

    In our next blog post, we’ll continue our look at the benefits of certification and examine some specifics around training your team on Windows 10 as part of the bigger Microsoft 365 picture.

    Explore the Office 365 certification exams


    Full Blog Series

    1. Ready your team for the modern workplace (April 4)
    2. Get your team certified on cloud-critical identity and access management skills (April 6)
    3. Considering Microsoft 365? Get your team certified on Office 365 (April 10)
    4. Moving to Microsoft 365? Get your team certified on Windows 10 (April 12)
  • |

    If you hold a Microsoft certification and you're in the market for a job in technology, here’s how your digital badge on Acclaim can help: you can unlock access to real-time job data tailored to your skills and certifications, including active job postings, requirements and estimated salaries. If you’ve considered this job data before on Acclaim, give it another look, as we’ve recently optimized the results.*

    Acclaim provides real-time job data in partnership with CEB TalentNeuron (formerly Wanted Analytics). The data is sourced and updated 24/7 from more than 25,000 global job boards and corporate career sites, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. You’ll see active job data and job descriptions that are customized to the skills covered in the exam you just passed or the certification you just earned. Watch a short video on the job data.

    How does it work? Take a peek at the job data for the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate: Windows Server 2016 certification (shown in the first screen below—click to expand).

    • Under Related Jobs, click View Details to see 14,920 current job openings in the U.S. as of this writing, shown also filtered by state and top employer. See second screen below.
    • Under Skills, click a skill like Network Administration to see 4,436 Current Job openings in the U.S. as of this writing.

    In either case, click a Job Title (second screen) to see links to individual active job postings—with salary estimates! Job postings are also shown by top locations, top employers, and top related skills. You can also filter the job data by country (Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, the U.K., and the U.S.) and by state. Acclaim plans to add more countries based on demand.

    Use one of the Quick Access links below to access job data for top certifications, or access job data for all Microsoft badges.

    Accept a badge in your Acclaim account to explore the job data and recommendations for future exams and certifications based on your individual certifications. You can accept a badge at any time through the notifications sent by Acclaim. If you’ve deleted those emails, you can go to Acclaim and click the profile icon in the top right corner to create an account with the same email address that Microsoft has on file for you. Having trouble accepting your badge? Reach out to Acclaim Support for additional assistance. Your badge and your new job data will be waiting for you to accept in your account. Unlock your job data now! And let us know how it goes.

    *For a refresher on our digital badging program, see our blog post How to Claim Your Digital Badge—and Why.

    Quick Access to Top MCSE and MSCD Certifications on Acclaim

  • In our last blog post, Ready your team for the modern workplace, we talked about being confident that your team has the skills and experience it takes to make your organization’s transition to the cloud efficient and effective. And we talked about how certification plays a huge part in that. We even pointed out how certification validates your team’s abilities so you don’t have to.  Here, we’ll focus on one of the most critical cloud transition skill sets—that of identity and access management.

    What do we mean when say identity, and why is it important? The short version is that identity and access management deals with who in your organization can access which resources with what devices. With the move to the cloud, decisions around identity take on even greater significance. This is particularly critical for the mobile enterprise, since most employees have multiple devices that they use for work.

    Lots of us are familiar with identity in the context of security—the new perimeter in today’s digital world. But identity and access management can also help your team of certified IT pros make your employees’ lives and jobs easier. Imagine how much more efficient your employees could be if they didn’t need to manage password proliferation, the multiple logins and profiles required to get to all the tools they need to do their jobs. (We’re willing to bet that login problems are among the top issues for help desks around the world.)

    With the seamless user authentication experience offered by the Microsoft identity tools and strategy, these login and password issues can be resolved, making it much easier for your employees to bring their creativity and innovation to the tasks at hand rather than struggling with password proliferation. As many organizations look to digitally transform how their teams work and collaborate, Microsoft offers strategies around authorization control, identity choices, access to resources and infrastructure, Azure Active Directory, federation services, and much more.

    Check out this short enterprise mobility platform video that explores our approach and illustrates key concepts and strategies. 

    From the concept of identity as control plane, to those of cloud identity, simple connections, self-service, single sign-on, and more, your team has a lot of important considerations to weigh as it strives to provide your users straightforward (but secure) access so they can be more effective at their jobs. These are even more reasons that certification is critical. In our next blog posts, we’ll explore Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) exams that your team members will take on the way to Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certification for Office 365 and Windows 10.

    Learn more about identity and the Microsoft enterprise mobility platform


    Full Blog Series

    1. Ready your team for the modern workplace (April 4)
    2. Get your team certified on cloud-critical identity and access management skills (April 6)
    3. Considering Microsoft 365? Get your team certified on Office 365 (April 10)
    4. Moving to Microsoft 365? Get your team certified on Windows 10 (April 12)
  • Every IT team that’s moving its organization to the cloud—and that may well be every IT team—needs just the right skills and experience. And, according to a recent post on the Azure blog, identity and access management skills are among the top four cloud environment skill sets. The post also cites IDC’s Cloud Skills and Organizational Influence: How Cloud Skills Are Accelerating the Careers of IT Professionals report, which points out that people with certification in cloud-based development or IT operations are 35 percent more influential and involved in decisions about cloud deployments—more so than their proficient but uncertified colleagues.

    As you move your IT environment to the cloud, how can you be confident that your team is ready for the modern workplace? Does it have the knowledge needed to make the right decisions? And does it have the identity and access management skills—and many others—required for a successful digital transformation? In surveys of the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) community, hiring managers said that they have greater confidence that their certified employees can better implement creative solutions to IT problems, troubleshoot and solve complex IT issues, are more effective in their roles, and demonstrate a deeper knowledge of Microsoft technologies and how they work. Hiring managers therefore believe that, as the percentage of employees with certification increases, so do the benefits for the organization and the team. Key certifications include the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) for Office 365 and the MCSA for Windows 10.

    What might this mean for your team and your company’s digital transformation? Since the certification validates the knowledge and skills of your team members in these specific technology areas, you don’t have to. The IDC report calls out multiple tasks that certified IT pros can take on with confidence, including determining an organization’s business needs for cloud solutions, along with the corresponding technical requirements. These pros can also research and identify potential providers, evaluate and test protocols, balance business requirements and solution capabilities, advocate (within the organization) for the decisions, and even approve the selection or purchase.

    Yours may be among the many organizations transitioning to cloud-based management and moving to Microsoft 365, a solution which includes Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security. Whether you are upskilling your existing team or hiring new people with the required capabilities, the right professional certifications help ensure that you’ll have an effective rollout and will be able to rapidly build out as needed. And the certification training can help provide your team with the skills it needs to ensure a smooth, informed deployment. From comprehensive hands-on training by Microsoft experts to customized training content to meet the specific needs of your organization, you can fuel productivity with streamlined learning, progress tracking, and validated completion.

    In this series of posts, we aim to help you ease the transition to cloud-based management. And we’ll show you how to be confident that your IT team has the knowledge and skills to move the organization forward and to focus its efforts on enabling employee productivity and protecting company data. We’ll take a look specifically at what identity and access management means for the modern desktop. And, to accelerate your move to the cloud, we’ll offer some recommendations for relevant certifications for your team, around identity (and more) in Office 365 and Windows 10.

    Explore MCSA: Office 365 and MCSA: Windows 10


    Full Blog Series

    1. Ready your team for the modern workplace (April 4)
    2. Get your team certified on cloud-critical identity and access management skills (April 6)
    3. Considering Microsoft 365? Get your team certified on Office 365 (April 10)
    4. Moving to Microsoft 365? Get your team certified on Windows 10 (April 12)
  • Today we're excited to announce that the Microsoft Professional Program (MPP) is expanding even more with the introduction of two new tracks: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Entry Level Software Development. Like all MPP courses, these tracks provide job-ready skills in technical domains of the greatest demand. You can learn more about these tracks on our program page.

    These new tracks offer educational opportunities for people looking for careers in the most cutting-edge fields or in one of the most tried-and-true paths: artificial intelligence and entry level software development, respectively. These are two areas of major need for employers, and sizable gaps exist between the number of jobs and trained workers. These new tracks cover:

    • Artificial Intelligence: AI enables software applications to make intelligent decisions based on data. When developing the MPP Data Science track, Microsoft realized the need for a separate (but related) AI track. This grew from an internal learning initiative and is for the most part the same training program that Microsoft employees use to learn AI—for details, read about Microsoft software engineer Elena Voyloshnikova’s journey using AI. Topics covered include manipulating data with Python, foundational math and statistics, principles of machine learning, deep learning neural networks, and applied AI techniques.
    • Entry Level Software Development: Most entry-level software learning curricula are web-focused, and even if you go to a dev "boot camp," you might not get what you need for an entry-level job at a company like Microsoft. This track seeks to rectify that by teaching you not only a variety of languages but also the fundamentals of problem solving and programming in any language.


    Since launching the MPP program a little over a year ago, we’ve now introduced seven tracks (with more on the way) and have entered into partnerships with leading universities such as Eastern Washington University and Indiana University. More than 127,000 learners have enrolled in an MPP track.


    Expanding job role–based skills in the marketplace at low cost and high efficacy is the goal of MPP. We’ve heard from many of our MPP students about how helpful the program has been to their goals and aspirations and how it has made an impact on their career. We intend to further that impact by continuing to partner with leading organizations to help elevate the skills conversation.


    It is an exciting time for those who are looking to learn! We hope you’ll join us on this continuing learning journey. Please visit our program page to learn more about the Microsoft Professional Program today.

  • As Microsoft embraces the power and flexibility of the cloud to deliver our software and solutions, we are experiencing ripple effects on our learning and exam content. Features and functionality in our software is changing on a monthly, weekly, and, in some cases, daily basis. This challenge is not unique to Microsoft. All IT learning and certification programs are facing it. How do we keep our exam content up to date with the rapid pace of change?

    The pace of change not only affects our ability to keep exams and learning content up to date—it also affects how you prepare for exams. ("Should prepare" may be more accurate—if you haven't changed how you're preparing for exams, you may want to give some thought as to why, and then share it here . . . maybe you have a strategy that can benefit all of us! Thank you!) 

    Through trial and error and constant iterations of our development process, we have found a way to keep the content on our exams (mostly) current. In fact, for our cloud-based exams, you can expect exam updates every two months. On more stable technologies, updates will be less frequent. As exams get updated, we also try to update the Microsoft Official Courses (MOCs) and MOC On-Demand materials to keep pace, although they occasionally lag behind exam updates. 

    The challenge, of course, from a test taker's perspective is what to do when that change happens in the middle of your preparation. There is no easy answer, unfortunately, and we know it can be very frustrating.

    One idea that I've heard many times is to have different versions of the exam in market—allow people to choose between taking the "old" version or the "updated" version. While I completely understand the challenge that frequently updating exams presents to candidates, we can't have the same exam in market covering different versions of our technologies. Our stakeholders (i.e., the person who will make hiring or promotion decisions about YOUR skills based on your exam history and/or attained certification) need to have a clear picture of the skills tested by an exam or through the certification process. You can imagine how confusing and complicated multiple exams covering different versions would be from their perspective. Further, multiple exams would undermine the validity of the exam and the corresponding certification.

    As a result, we give candidates as much notice as possible when we are going to update exams. The Exam Details page is the best source of information because we post a notice on that page with the date that the change will go into effect. We also provide a downloadable PDF that explains the changes, as shown below (from Exam 70-533): 

    I'm working with the team to change the flow of the page to better highlight this very important information. This change will take some time to come to fruition, so please be aware of where to find the info—in the last paragraph under the Skills Measured heading (immediately before the list of skills). (The Browse all exams page lists all active exam detail pages.) 

    We've explored other options, including emailing candidates who are registered to take an exam after it will be updated; however, GDPR (Europe's new privacy laws) as well as Microsoft's own privacy requirements and contact rules make this extremely difficult to do, even bordering on impossible. For example, if you've opted out of Microsoft communications at any time for any reason, we can't contact you. 

    We've toyed with the idea of people signing up for automatic notifications that are sent when an exam details page of interest is updated, but that requires website redesign at a minimum, and we'd still have to comply with all the privacy rules I just mentioned.

    We are also discussing if we should change our process to update the learning content BEFORE we update the exam. Because exams aren't dependent on the learning content (in other words, you don't need to take a course to prepare for an exam), this shouldn't matter, but enough people take a course as exam preparation that we're considering if and how we would do this.

    So, how do you change the way you prepare for exams in this new world?

    1. Regularly check the Exam Details page for updates. This is something to do as often as it makes sense given the pace that changes are occurring in the technology covered in the exam.
    2. Check the Exam Details page a month or less before you plan to take the exam. Our goal is to provide at least a 30-day notice of changes, so this should be sufficient as you do the last of your preparation. (I will caveat this to add that there has been one occasion—and only one in my 11 years at Microsoft—where we had to give less notice because the circumstances required it. Remember that we make these changes to ensure the validity of your certification!)
    3. If you're preparing for a cloud-based exam, keep in mind that we are updating those exams every two months, and plan your preparation and when to take the exam accordingly.
    4. If you find a preparation resource listed on the Exam Details page that is no longer relevant, please let us know (! We may overlook something as we update the Exam Details page to reflect exam changes.

    If you have ideas on other approaches that we might take to address this thorny issue, post them here. I would love to hear your ideas!

  • According to 15 Top-Paying IT Certifications for 2018 (published 3/12 by Global Knowledge), the certification for Microsoft Certified Solution Expert (MCSE) in Cloud Platform & Infrastructure weighs in at number 12. Not enough to get you excited? How about this:

    As Teresa Conte summarizes in her blog post Four IT Skills with Sky-High Prospects, "Recent findings from a Microsoft-sponsored IDC white paper, 'Cloud Skills and Organizational Influence: How Cloud Skills Are Accelerating the Careers of IT Professionals,' found that although 70% of CIOs surveyed identify themselves as having a "cloud-first IT strategy," only 16% of companies have the IT skills to carry out this strategy. This translates into demand for people with the expertise to thrive in a cloud-first environment."

    Now that I've piqued your interest, you're probably thinking . . . hey, maybe I should get one of those super-cool Microsoft Azure certifications! How would I do that?

    Start by checking out the Cloud Platform & Infrastructure certification path graphic below (click to enlarge), which includes these certifications:

    And then review the latest exam preparation resources, now on a single new Azure exam resource page. There you’ll find links to Microsoft Official Courses, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on edX, Microsoft Official Practice Tests, Exam Reference books from Microsoft Press, and a Learn more link to each exam detail page where you can dive into the exam content and schedule your exam. We gathered all the resources in one place and audited them thoroughly with subject matter experts to help you to prepare efficiently for your Azure exams.

    Learn more about the value of MSCE certification and resolve to get certified now! Why are you still here?!?

  • Big data? Got it. Machine learning and AI? Handled. DevOps? Bring it on! In the past, you may have known SQL Server as a powerful relational database engine. Nowadays, it’s even more. With SQL Server 2016 and SQL Server 2017, it’s expanding in many directions and dimensions—from increasing the number of platforms it runs on and adding data types, to compatibility with any language, embracing NoSQL, scaling to big data with PolyBase, and beyond.

    If you’re ready to get up and running with SQL Server on Linux, find the help you need in our new course, Installing, Configuring, and Managing Microsoft SQL Server on Linux. Hear the details from a team of subject matter experts, headed up by Travis Wright, as they give you the basic building blocks you need to get started right away. You’ll see practical demos, including a look at how quickly you can set up SQL Server on a Docker container on a Mac. (Yes, you read that right!)

    Watch module 7 to see a demo of how to set up a SQL dev environment in 6 minutes.

    Intrigued? Check out the course! Explore installation, containers, and DevOps, along with the critical high availability, disaster recovery, backup/restore capabilities in SQL Server on Linux. Then discover the architecture and performance features, Linux-based tools, and security and troubleshooting. Plus, learn about the different options to run your SQL Server on Linux workloads in the cloud.

    Whether you’re a developer or a database administrator, and whether you currently use SQL Server or Linux, these three hours will be well-spent, with a review of the technology’s evolution and an exploration of future features—and lots of good stuff in between.

    Get started!

  • Updated 4/5/2018 and 4/26/2018 (last paragraph)

    As I mentioned in a previous post, Microsoft needs your help creating our learning and exam content. To facilitate this, we have created the SME Profile database where you can provide us with information about your skills and abilities. We've been in the process of transitioning that database from Microsoft Connect to Microsoft Collaborate, and we now have the capability to let anyone register rather than requiring an invite us from us.

    Here are the basic steps:

    1) The SME Profile database is hosted as an engagement under the Microsoft Collaborate developer program. Joining requires a Microsoft account and registration to the developer site, so you'll need to make sure you have an account.

    2) Join the Worldwide Learning SME Profile engagement on Microsoft Collaborate and complete your profile survey.

    That's it! OK, so there are a few more steps required, but this is the basic gist. For step-by-step instructions (and lots of screen captures), download the attached PDF called Joining the SME Profile engagement on Microsoft Collaborate.

    The steps in the PDF will take a bit of time, but membership has its privileges. Many people on Microsoft's Worldwide Learning team use the database to search for SMEs who can assist with content development—from creating courses to reviewing them to writing exam content to reviewing items and setting the passing score (really!)—and participating in research designed to define the direction we head as a learning organization. As an active participant in the SME Profile database program, you can have a say in what we teach, how we evaluate skills, and the future of our program. Not too shabby. But, I suspect that the reason you'll join is because those in our SME database get a unique code to participate in beta exams (one that is not posted here), increasing the likelihood of getting a seat in that beta exam that you really want to take. Join today!

    Update 4/5/2018: Please note that you can't use a Microsoft corporate account to join the database. Please see section “Problems with work/school email addresses configured with Azure AD - suggested fix” in the attached PDF for a workaround. Update 4/26/2018: On 4/23 we fixed a bug that was giving a 403 error to users who were trying to join the database. Please try again if you encountered this error. Thanks for your patience and for raising the issue! Also, we updated the attached PDF (now v2) to clarify one of the steps in the section called Register your Microsoft account on the Microsoft Developer site and add Microsoft Collaborate (the change is tracked).

  • Over the past few months, we’ve been getting requests from Microsoft aficionados who are interested in our beta exams and in developing exam and learning content. Until recently, we’d point these Subject Matter Experts to enter their skills and interests in our SME database, so members of our team could search for the best people for the work that needed to be done. We created the SME Profile database program so we can connect with SMEs who are passionate about Microsoft's training and credentialing efforts. Through the program, participants can take part in exam and learning development activities, such as courseware authoring, exam item writing, acting as technical reviewers, and participating in research. Perhaps the best benefit is getting special invites to participate in beta exams. SMEs in the database receive a special beta exam discount code that, while limited to a set number of seats, is only provided to that group. Being a member has its privileges.

    Since its inception in 2009, the SME Profile database was hosted on Microsoft Connect, a technology adoption and distribution platform. Unfortunately, in late 2017, Microsoft Connect was deprecated. Because we value your contribution to our exam and learning development efforts, we created a new version of the SME database in December 2017 on the next generation tool for partner and customer engagement called Microsoft Collaborate. From December to February 2018, our capability was limited to transitioning only those Microsoft Connect users who opted to join us on the new platform; this required a special invite from someone on our team, which was not sustainable. During this same period, we enhanced the capabilities of Microsoft Collaborate to include most of the functionality that was available in Microsoft Connect.

    As we enter March 2018, we're still a work in progress, but we are finally at a point where we have sufficient capability to open this more broadly to those who are interested. This includes open registration that allows interested participants to join without requiring a direct invitation from us.

    If you were a member of the previous version, you should have received an invitation to opt in to Microsoft Collaborate in December. If you didn’t get the email (or can’t find it), we’ll be sharing details for how to add your profile information soon. New to the SME database or an alumni? Stay tuned to Born to Learn to find out how you can participate in Microsoft’s SME Profile database program!

  • Take advantage of special discounted exam pricing through March 30, 2018. Get started today! Exam vouchers, retakes, and practice tests are valid for 3 months from purchase date.

    Learning cloud skills with Microsoft Azure helps set your career on the path to success. Whether you are an IT professional or a developer, you can open career possibilities and opportunities for job growth. With Azure Learning, you can master the basics with free, self-paced, online learning paths that build job skills. You can also learn in-depth, advanced skills through instructor-led and online courses with Microsoft learning partners. Azure Learning will help give you the expertise to become influential in your organization's technology decisions. Validate your skills and expertise with a broad portfolio of Azure skill exams.

  • Updated 3/23/2018 (last paragraph)

    Updated 4/17/2018 with a new code (in red)

    Are you an Enterprise Desktop Administrator who deploys, manages, and maintains PCs, devices, and applications across medium, large, and enterprise organizations? Do you have at least one or two years of experience managing and deploying PCs, devices, and applications by using System Center Configuration Manager and Microsoft Intune? Do you have a strong understanding of networking, Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS), Windows operating systems, and mobile device platforms? Do you understand public key infrastructure (PKI) security, Windows PowerShell, and Windows Server roles and services? If so, I have an exam for you!

    We are opening up 300 beta seats for this beta exam (Exam 70-703) . . . This means that starting March 8, 2018, you can register to take the exam for an 80% discount!! (Why beta exams are no longer free.) BUT . . . the seats are limited to a first-come, first-served basis. You must register by May 15, 2018 and take it by May 31, 2018. We need you take the exam as soon as possible so we can leverage your comments, feedback, and exam data in our evaluation of the quality of the questions. The sooner you take the exam, the more likely it is that we will be able to use your feedback to make improvements to the exam. This is your chance to have a voice in the questions we include on the exam when it goes live. The rescore process starts on the day that exams go live and final scores are released approximately 10 days later. Follow me on Twitter (@libertymunson) for updates on when the rescore is complete. For questions about the timing of beta exam scoring and live exam release, see blog articles on The Path from Beta Exam to Live Exam and More Tips About Beta Exams.

    To prepare for the exam, review our prep guide and practice the skills listed. Need other ideas? Check out my recent blog for ideas.

    ***Register for the exam and use new code FJMTC703XJ when prompted for payment to take it with an 80% discount. (Why isn't the beta exam free anymore? Read this!) This is NOT a private access code. This code is only valid for exam dates on or before May 31, 2018. (The original code RXRET703ZX is no longer available as of 4/17/2018.)

    Remember: There are a limited number of spots, so when they're gone, they're gone. You should also be aware that there are some country limitations where the beta code will not work (e.g., Turkey, Pakistan, India, China, Vietnam); you will not be able to take the beta exam in those countries.

    Also, keep in mind that this exam is in beta, which means that you will not be scored immediately. You will receive your final score and passing status once the exam is live.

    70-703 is the replacement exam for 70-696: Administering System Center Configuration Manager and Intune, which retires on March 31, 2018. Update 3/23/2018: 70-703 is an elective exam on the path toward earning an MCSE: Mobility certification. The full path is:

    1. Take Exam 70-698: Installing and Configuring Windows 10
    2. Take Exam 70-697: Configuring Windows Devices
    3. Earn MCSA: Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): Windows 10
    4. Take 1 elective exam*
    5. Earn Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Mobility

    *Elective Exams

  • We know you're super busy. We’ve heard your requests for easier access to exam prep resources, and as part of our plan to streamline our offerings, we designed these five new pages. Check out the latest exam preparation resources, now on a single new Exam Resource page for each of these technologies:

    You’ll find links to resources like Microsoft Official Courses, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on edX, Microsoft Official Practice Tests, Exam Reference books from Microsoft Press, and a Learn more link to each exam details page where you can dive into the exam content and schedule your exam. We gathered all the resources in one place and audited them thoroughly with subject matter experts to help you to prepare efficiently for your MCP exams. You can get to the new pages from the new green buttons on our Exam Overview or Browse All Exams pages. For an efficient view of how exams lead to certification, download this guide to certification paths.

    Let us know what you think of the new pages! We read all your comments.

  • |

    Wondering how the Microsoft Certification program works? Now you can get up to speed with a new 84-minute course called Microsoft Certifications: Exams, Paths, Certifications, and Resources on LinkedIn Learning and This course helps you explore the following MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate) and MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert) paths: Mobility, App Builder, Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, Data Management and Analytics, and Productivity. Join instructor David Elfassy and learn how to advance your career through certification.

    David explores the different question types that exam takers will encounter, and then dives into the details of sample questions. He also introduces study methods and the best test preparation tools out there for Microsoft certification candidates. Plus, learn what career opportunities and next steps await you after you pass the exams.

    Topics Include

    • Microsoft certification levels
    • Microsoft certification paths
    • Exam question types and samples
    • Details about the exams
    • Exam preparation resources

    Duration: 1h 24m

    David Elfassy is a consultant and trainer specializing in Azure, Exchange, Windows, and Office 365. David splits his time between consulting and training on Microsoft solutions and overseeing teams of Microsoft Certified specialists that deploy, support, and manage on-premises and cloud-based infrastructures for the Netlogon Group 

  • |

    Updated 3/6/2018 in red

    If you’ve passed a Microsoft certified exam or earned a technical certification, your digital badge awaits. Look for an email from Microsoft ( or from Acclaim, our badging service. The email contains a link to create an Acclaim account to accept your badge. It’s no problem if you can’t find the emails—just create an account on Acclaim with the same email address that Microsoft has on file for you.

    Your Microsoft badge empowers you to:

    • Easily share your certifications and exams with your professional network on LinkedIn, other social channels, and email. Your Microsoft badge contains metadata uniquely linked to you, so when someone views your badge on LinkedIn, for example, they’ll be able to learn more about your skills and to verify its authenticity—ensuring that only you can take credit for your skills.
    • Search for new job opportunities (and salary projections!) associated with your certification and apply in just a few clicks. Accept a badge in your Acclaim account to activate the job data, which is visible only to you as the badge earner.

    So, what are you waiting for?

    See all Microsoft badges on Acclaim. For more details and FAQs, see our digital badging page which lists the active exams and certifications that are eligible for badges. If you earned a badge for an exam or certification that was chosen to be part of the digital badge program but was later placed on the retired list, you can still redeem the badge via Acclaim and share it as usual to other platforms or by email.

  • What questions do you have about learning, life in tech, JavaScript, or Microsoft? Get your answers straight from the source. One of our resident JavaScript instructors, Benjamin Lin, is hosting a Reddit AMA on February 21, 8 AM PST.

    With a background in computer engineering, Lin is a Microsoft instructor with courses on both edX and Microsoft Virtual Academy. He has firsthand experience creating solutions at Microsoft, and he’s a helpful (and enthusiastic) resource for anyone looking to make their own way in tech.

    In his entertaining teaching style, Lin has educated virtual audiences on everything from the top 10 JavaScript questions to creating your own Flappy Bird game with ReactJS. Discover the answers to your questions, whatever the tech topic, from a Microsoft instructor. Don’t miss this Reddit AMA on r/JavaScript.

    Bookmark r/JavaScript

  • Following the release of this exam in beta on January 29, here’s a deeper dive into the exam. As you become more familiar with Microsoft Azure and the administration and the deployment strategies of objects in the cloud, you’ll likely started exploring Azure Stack. An extension to Azure, Azure Stack delivers Azure services from your datacenter, enables common DevOps processes, and uses the same administration tools as Azure does, all while running on Integrated Systems provided by Microsoft partners. 

    As Microsoft’s portfolio of Azure-based solutions continues to grow, so do our certification opportunities. Exam 70-537: Configuring and Operating a Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure Stack is now available, and it is one of the core exams you can take to attain the Microsoft Certified Solution Associate (MCSA): Cloud Platform certification. In addition, you need to pass either one of these three exams:

    • 70-532: Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions
    • 70-533: Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions
    • 70-535: Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions

    If you’ve already achieved your MCSA, Exam 70-537 can be used as an elective towards your MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure

    One of the best ways to get ready for this exam is to focus your time on the Azure Stack Documentation (, which has a wealth of information and is always the most up-to-date source. Download the Azure Stack Development Kit (for free!) and deploy it in a virtual environment. If you’ve mastered the Documentation and have some experience deploying and managing an ASDK or a multi-node production environment, you should be ready for the exam. 

    To learn how to configure and operate an Azure Stack environment, you can take the Microsoft Official instructor-led Course 20537: Configuring and Operating a Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure Stack from one of our Learning Partners, or you can take the self-paced training INF240x: Configuring and Operating Microsoft Azure Stack. 

    See Take Beta Exam 70-537: Configuring and Operating a Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure Stack for more details. Visit the Azure Exam Page for a roundup of all exams and preparation resources and check out our current deals on exams and training on our Special Offers page.

  • Interested in NoSQL? NoSQL databases are generally built to be distributed and partitioned across many servers. And they’re built to scale out for high availability and to be flexible enough to handle semi-structured and unstructured data. If you have a data model that is constantly evolving and you want to move fast, that’s what these databases are about. We’ve got some practical training that can help answer your NoSQL questions—from the basics to developing NoSQL apps in SQL Server.

    If you want to start at the beginning—maybe you’ve heard about NoSQL and want to learn more—take the Introduction to NoSQL Data Solutions course, which teaches the fundamentals of NoSQL. Get an overview of NoSQL options in Azure Cosmos DB, and take a look at techniques for using the DocumentDB API, Tables API, and MongoDB API. Plus, check out other techniques for accessing and improving performance of your NoSQL storage. Explore non-relational data storage options in Azure, and see how to use them in your applications.

    Ready for a deeper dive into Azure Cosmos DB? Don’t miss Developing Planet-Scale Applications in Azure Cosmos DB! Get an in-depth look at developing NoSQL apps in super-scalable Azure Cosmos DB—the distributed, multi-model database from Microsoft that transparently replicates your data wherever your users are. Discover some of the APIs available in Azure Cosmos DB for storing different kinds of NoSQL data. And learn about real-world integrations, visualizations, and analyses, such as Spark Connector, Azure Search, Stream Analytics.

    If you’re a relational database developer at an organization with a big investment in SQL Server, or if you’ve got on-premises needs that you don’t want to put in the cloud, build these apps in SQL Server using non-relational data. Learn how, in Developing NoSQL Applications in SQL Server. Explore little-known features, such as data support for XML data types, special data types (for storing geographic coordinates), and BLOB data as a way to store files. Get the details on how JSON data can be stored in SQL Server, see how you can integrate SQL Server relational data with NoSQL data stored in Azure Cosmos DB, and much more.

    All of the courses are taught by a team of experts and include demos, labs, and exercises. Do some coding, practice configuration, and get lots of hands-on practice. Check out our NoSQL trainings, and be the NoSQL authority on your team. By the end of the third course, you’ll know how to integrate your apps on-premises and in Azure Cosmos DB!