We need your feedback about recertification

Krista Wall (Microsoft)

Microsoft technologies are evolving more quickly than ever. In order to maintain the value of your certifications, we need to ensure that Microsoft Certifications keep pace with changing technologies and remain a meaningful indicator of a candidate’s continued competence.

Recertification provides assurance to hiring managers and other key stakeholders that the candidate who holds the certification has demonstrated continued competence even as the technology has changed based on service packs, revisions, and new product version releases. Recertification also provides candidates the opportunity to update an advanced-level certification to encompass the skills they have gained on a newer version, without having to complete the full certification path again.

We are conducting a survey to gather customer and hiring manager feedback about recertification requirements for advanced level (i.e., MCITP and MCPD) Microsoft Certifications. Your responses will help us determine how often a candidate should be required to recertify, which activities hiring managers would consider appropriate proof of continued competence, and which activities candidates would prefer to engage in to demonstrate continued competence. One possible recertification requirement would be passing an exam--
but it doesn't necessarily have to be an exam. We'd like to hear your opinions on other possible activities.

We hope that you’ll take the time to participate in this short—but important—survey. Please complete and submit your responses by August 8th.

Follow this link to complete the survey: http://microsoftlearning.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_8GizxTjKyuQ3tHu

Thanks in advance for your participation!

  • Ken (aka KitkatNinja)
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    Personally, I do not believe that Microsoft certs should be renewed as they are version specific already and retire when the product support life ends and by then most of us will be either certified and/or working with the next (or even the version after that) version. Unlike the Cisco or Comptia exams where, to my knowledge, aren't version specific so CE (continuing education) or CPD (continual professional development) are of use.

    If Microsoft had it's own professional body (or links with an established one, eg the BCS and the IET in the UK) and CPD/CE was a requirement to maintain professional registration (similar to the ICTTech, CITP, CEng, etc), then I possibly could understand it. But it isn't, and Microsoft exams are just that exams - not proof of professionalism or that you actually work in the field. For now it just seems like a money making scheme...

    That's my opinion on it.

  • Umapathy
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    I do think it as a mistake of ending the exams when people on the ground are actually using the product. Using the new product not necessarily give up the old stuff. For example even though I type this from a 64bit Windows 7 machine. I also run a windows XP virtual pc to support a database running on MSDE (Microsoft Data Base Engine). For God shake do not retire the exam with out having another valid exam for example bing maps. There are many CBT (Computer Based Tutorials) available from CBT Nuggets, VTC, TrainSignal, Testout and etc but most of them do not cover specific topics like bing maps so it would be wiser for Microsoft to prepare some materials so that people will be aware of the product. I am ready to pay money (provided if it is reasonble) if you guys provide tutorials on the product. Simply having the best produce without telling the users how to use them will not help anyone.

    From my point of view it's better to say where the exam centers are located. For that you could easily use a bing maps but you guys are not using the resources what you have. I am from Sri Lanka and I moved to Baghdad, Iraq and I am still unable to locate exam centers though the price calculator says it as 80$ per exam.

  • Anonymous
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    Thanks for the survey, a you get a big NO from me.

    As Ken said the exams are version specific anyway, so what is the point in passing the same exam more than once? Releases and service packs have never made the products a whole new beast, they usually implemented fixes and very rarely get a new feature.

    Albeit there are other exams that do this such as the Comptia A+ for example, may have a valid reason to (such as their exams covering the ever developing technologies in ports/buses/diskdrives and so on), passing an exam on WIndows 7 sp1 and SP2 whenever it comes out is wholly pointless and does not to me demonstrate someone is a competent tech.

    This will alienate the people who are already paying a 100 pounds a time to take an exam, will the Recertifications be available for free (as we have already paid to take this exam, why should we pay again?) or is this another blatent money making ploy after the cost cutting Certificate decision.

    Certification and training is already time consuming and very expensive, remember these are the people putting your products in their companies networks and making you money, for instance in 2 years time I could be wasting my time doing re-revision for a WIndows 7 exam ive already passed, or could I be improving my skills in SCCM 2012 (thus making YOU more money) for the benefit of my company (And yes IT generalists do exist and work at all levels!).

    Microsoft pretty much today has Market Share in Desktops and Corporate networks (and thats about it!), I think this is largely in part to its certification scheme, as I would estimnate there are a lot more MCSE's (And now MCITP's) out there than say certified Red Hat admins, however make people think twice about your certification scheme, and in particular the expense of it, then the Number of Red Hat admins increase and the more widely Linux gets in the corporate workplace, as the Skill is there, not in Microsoft skills.

    I do get the impression MS will go ahead with this, and people will be forced to take the exams, I hope this isn't the case, as I do value the MS certifications currently.

  • Anonymous
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    I don't think there's a need to expire the certificates. Microsoft certificates are product based and when the product is not used any more it also expires the certificate. No need for an other bureaucratic burden.

  • Anonymous
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    Sorry I meant to reply to this part before clicking post

    To Quote - "Recertification provides assurance to hiring managers and other key stakeholders that the candidate who holds the certification has demonstrated continued competence even as the technology has changed based on service packs, revisions, and new product version releases. Recertification also provides candidates the opportunity to update an advanced-level certification to encompass the skills they have gained on a newer version, without having to complete the full certification path again."

    Actually no, continuation in studies doesnt necessarily provides this, whether it be another Microsoft Exam, or ITIL or whatever, they may indicate desite to learn (which is important), but you are falliing into the trap in thinking that hiring managers just look at a list of certifications to decide who gets hired, if anything we value experience over certs, as lets face it anyone can pass an exam, but having experience tells me you are more likely to handle the pressure when 600 users cant login and its your responsibility to find out why.

    Also we have an interviewing process and internal questions we ask candidates, so we are more than capable of seperating the wheat from the Chaff, we dont need recertification as it doesnt tell us anything (apart from who has a bigger wallet!).

  • Wayne Hoggett
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    I don't think I understand the questions on the survey. Are we talking about requiring people to undergo some sort of recertification for R2 and SP changes?

  • Anonymous
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    Well, I kept certifying for the last 10 years, at my own pace, so I'm certified on W2K, W2K3 and W2K8, will I keep certifying? Maybe. Will I keep "current" if there's a recertification requirement? Not likely. The ROI from MS certifications dropped significantly over the last decade, I'd better keep up with Vmware and Cisco.

  • Anonymous
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    Do you have any idea how much time and money it takes to even get a certification?   The books, the videos, time, ect, ect ,ect.   This action will only promote brain dumps.  Why recertify ?  You make server 2008 , and then release 2008 R2 and require candidates to get certified on that.  I think you already have a decent system in place for requiring candidates to recertify.( It’s called retiring exams and outdated technology)  Certification doesn’t prove job competency, it only shows that you have taken and passed a test.  Experience is the real king when it comes to getting a job in IT.

    I have met some admins that don’t have any Microsoft certifications!!  This action will only further push IT professionals away from your certifications.

  • Anonymous
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    I agree with the latest answer. This action of recertify isn't a good ideia and will promete brain dumps. Because, for example, the MCPD path It changes for every major version of .NET Framework, and we need to take tests for upgrade our certifications. This is the real need, not recertify, for a test taked 1 / 2 years ago...

  • Claymoore
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    Why bother certifying in the initial release of the product if I am only going to have to recertify later?  I might as well wait until the R2 exam is out and certify then.  Assuming, of course, that MS Learning has clearly stated when the exams will include R2 content and has updated the training material.  Your record has not been very good on that part.

    Instead of wasting your time dreaming about recertification fees, you should be working towards including more labs and simulations in the actual exams.  Put more effort into braindumping countermeasures and your certifications would have more value in the eyes of hiring managers.

  • Anonymous
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    @guest:  If you're actually using the skills in question, recertification shouldn't be much of an issue because you already know the product and are familiar with it.  While we're talking about products...

    @Everyone who is saying that the exams are already version-specific:  It's true that the MCTS exams are version-specific, but the MCITP and MCPD exams are not necessarily tied to a specific product revision.  This survey is talking about ONLY the higher-level exams, MCITP and MCPD.

    I do think that the notion of recertification would have made a lot of sense in the MCSE/MCSA days than they do today.  Back then the certifications were representative of a more general skillset with Microsoft technologies, and the time period between releases was fairly long.  Of course you could make the reverse argument for the modern certifications, i.e., because the release cycles are comparatively short (New version, 2 years later R2 version, 2 years later new version again) that having some sort of update/recertification exam makes a lot of sense.  I would see these are being analogous to the 70-648/649 types of exams ("Upgrading your MCSE/MCSA to Windows 2008...").  I think that there is a lot of value there.

  • Ken (aka KitkatNinja)
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    @Wayne Hoggett - No they are not just talking about R2, they are talking about the whole range of MCITP/MCPD certs.

    @OtherKevin - I have to disagree, yes there are some changes for example between 2008 and R2, but not enough to actually have it's own track (just like there wasn't enough of a change between 2003 and r2).  Upgrade exams between different versions are be acceptable (eg 2003 to 2008) as they are a major change.  Upgrade exams for different revisions would not be, as where would you start or end?  With the R2?  With each individual service pack?  After all SP1 for R2 brought alot of extra enhancements and features (eg Dynamic Memory and RemoteFX) over the RTM version of R2.

    As for MCITP's not being tied to a specific product revision, yes that may be the case, however it is product specfic.  After all my MCITP in Windows 2008 states 2008, my MCITP in Windows 7 states Windows 7, my MCITP in Vista states Windows Vista, etc.


  • Ben
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    To help add some clarity to the conversation, Microsoft Learning in particular is struggling with how to support Microsoft's new cloud services (for example Windows Azure, SQL Azure, Office 365, Dynamics CRM Online etc).

    There are at last three unique characteristics about Microsoft's new cloud services:

    (1) there are no version numbers (customers will be migrated to the latest version)

    (2) the services are updated far more frequently (Windows Azure will likely be updated twice a year for example compared to the traditional software model of new versions every 2-3 years)

    (3) customers typically pay monthly subscription fees (instead of large upfront initial purchases)

    This means the traditional certification model of doing software verison-specific exams/certs that expire when the software version is no longer supported by Microsoft ('end of life') becomes far more difficult as your 'cloud skills' will become outdated as the could services continually and rapidly evolve. So instead of version-specific 'recertification' (i.e take the new exam on the new version) we have to look at time-specific re-certification (which what the survey is asking about).

    There are also other issues around certification that recertification is trying to address but not many people are aware of the cloud specific issues so I thought it would be useful to call them out.

    Ben Watson

    Director, Product Management Group

    Microsoft Learning

  • Anonymous
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    I'm not quite sure that it makes any sense for the IT pros to certify on those cloud services - there's a Hyper-V cert for those who implement the cloud, but what for the rest of us, certify on new version of the button in the Office365 control panel? Really?

  • Anonymous
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    Thanks for the Comments Ben, although a few thoughts

    There was no mention of Cloud Services in Kristas post, are you referring to managing the cloud based service as a whole, or software component inside your rented cloud system, such as the ability to manage a SQL server for instance?

    Picking up on your 3 points.

    1) Your point on "Cloud skills expiring", if thats the case whats the point in certifying at all?

    By the time your CV hits the recruiters/employers then you will be out of date, and if you are already working within the cloud then why certify anyway as you know what you and your staff are capable of, result less working IT staff taking these exams = less revenue

    Employers will realise this and become even less reliant of certs to establish competency and be more interested in experience and there own interview/testing methods

    2) Are you suggesting that when a version update of a cloud system comes along then the entire skillset you have from the version before will be completely obsolete? One of Microsofts selling points is to be backwards compatible and to maintain its familiarity through versions, introducing changes gradually?

    Again why would it make sense to certify at all, the only time to certify is when you are looking for a new role, which again means less revenue,

    100 pounds to answer questions on 3 features is not a good deal.

    3) Not sure what this has to do with re-certifying....

    How would this affect a certain technology that Azure uses, taking SQL for example, SQL queries would remain the same, the management would remain largely the same, as it does already 2005 to 2010 already have different certs, so what are we recertifying on SQL for.

    I would say if you want something like this for cloud , have it as a seperate track, let the rest of us achieve certification without bankrupting us.

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