There are many questions you should ask when deciding which IT certification is right for your needs. What technologies and products does it cover What will it do for my career?
There is another variable to IT certifications that you should consider: how long will that certification be valid. You don’t just need to know how long you will be certified, some only cover you for a specific period of time. But you also need to know how long the certification will be active. Certification retirements are possible as technologies and products change.
Microsoft’s Upcoming Retirements 2017-2018
Microsoft announced changes in 2016 to several of its certification tracks, including MCSE Windows 7 and MCSA Windows 7.
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All Start trainingMSCE certifications issued prior to September 2016 will be withdrawn on March 31, 2017, and replaced by four new certifications.
MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure
MCSE: Data Management and Analytics
You will receive the corresponding MCSE certificate for 2016 if you have passed a qualifying MCSE exam after January 1, 2016. No additional exams are required.
The Windows 7 MCSA certification was discontinued in the fall 2015. However, certain exams were retained to allow IT professionals to continue earning Specialist certifications. On July 31, 2018, the exams 70-680, 70-686 and 70-694 will be discontinued.
One of the most important changes in Microsoft’s new streamlined certification system is the evolution of Azure certifications. The MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect certification was previously comprised of the 70-533, 70-533 and 70-534 exams. It is now being retired. The MCSD exams are being retaken to create the new MCSA Cloud Platform certification.
Learners can choose from any two exams to obtain the MCSA: Cloud Platform certification. This pool includes updated versions of the 70-532 and 70-533 exams, as well as the 70-534 and 70-534 exams.
But why do certifications retire?
To align with the business goals of the issuing vendor, certifications are often retired. Microsoft’s case is that certifications associated to older technologies are no more maintained as products and services evolve. Some certifications are not only out of sync with Microsoft’s business goals, but they can also be costly to maintain.
Microsoft also considers the popularity of its certifications and customer feedback regarding the value of certification paths.
What happens if a certification is withdrawn? Your certification does not become invalid if you pass an exam for a certification that is now retired. You are now certified for life! The certification cannot be earned anymore, but it will remain in the Legacy section on your transcript.
How to Stay Informed About Certification Retirements
Microsoft will give you at least six months notice before you retire so that your options are open for you to finish your certification or choose a different path. If the certification is being phased out, it’s not a reason to start preparing for an exam. But where can you find information about these changes?
To stay informed, Microsoft’s retired exams and retired certifications pages are the best places to start. There you will find both retired exams and older certifications. They are organized by product. These pages are regularly updated, so bookmark them and refer to them as you plan your certification journey.
Microsoft’s Born to Learn blog is another great resource. It is dedicated to the training and certification community. You’ll not only get the latest information about exam retirements but you will also find tips, tricks, and the most recent news about certifications right from Microsoft em.