J/K, LOL, Microsoft to Offer Windows 10 MCSA After All

Sam Clemens reports of quotation

A few months ago, Microsoft released some information on its training and certification blog concerning the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certification. The blog post led many readers (myself included) to believe that not only was there not going to be an MCSA offered for Windows 10, but that the MCSA itself was about to become a dead parrot.


Roll out the obligatory Mark Twain quote: The reports of the MCSA's death have been greatly exaggerated.


On Dec. 7, Microsoft released some new information on its training and certification blog about the MCSA certification, in a post that confused the hell out of most of the people who read it. Microsoft revised the post a week later, and it is now clear that there will be an MCSA certification for Windows 10.


In fact, the MCSA on Windows 10 officially went live on Dec. 14. If you blinked, then you missed it, as there was pretty much no fanfare for this release. Instead, there was further confusion and anger over how different candidates are able to earn an MCSA on Windows 10.


Here are the three scenarios for people looking to earn the MCSA on Windows 10 certification:


? Candidates who already have the MCSA on Windows 7
? Candidates who already have the MCSA on Windows 8
? Candidates who don't have either certification


Based on the information posted by Microsoft, here is how each of these scenarios plays out. Please note that everything which follows is based on the best information that was available as of this writing, and is subject to the whims of Microsoft, moon phases, sea tides, and Taylor Swift*.


IT professionals who have an MCSA on Windows 7 must first upgrade to the Windows 8 MCSA before they can earn the MCSA on Windows 10. This can be done by passing the upgrade exam 70-689: Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows 8. Alternatively, these candidates could choose to take the two existing Windows 8 MCSA exams 70-687 and 70-688.


Once they've earned the MCSA on Windows 8, candidates can upgrade to the MCSA on Windows 10 by passing exam 70-697: Configuring Windows Devices.


This scenario has prompted IT pros certified on Windows 7 to ask the obvious question: What if I don't want to take Windows 8 training and exams in order to move up to the Windows 10 MCSA certification?


It's a fair question. Windows 8 isn't going to be relevant for many IT pros who provide desktop support in enterprise environments, because it's expected that most (if not all) organizations will choose to move straight from Windows 7 to Windows 10.


Thankfully, there is another Windows 10 certification option for MCSAs on Windows 7. More on that in a moment.


If you're an MCSA on Windows 8, you can earn the MCSA on Windows 10 by passing exam 70-697: Configuring Windows Devices. That's it, one-and-done. Pass 70-697 and you're an MCSA on Windows 10.


That leaves those who don't have any flavor of Windows client MCSA certification. These folks will be able to earn an MCSA on Windows 10 by passing exam 70-697, and then passing a new upcoming Windows 10 administration exam scheduled to be released in the second quarter of 2016. Here's what Microsoft officially had to say about this scenario:


An additional Windows 10 administration exam is currently planned for release in Spring 2016. This exam, when combined with Exam 697, will also earn the MCSA: Windows 10, providing a path to those Windows administrators who are new to certification.


For those with the MCSA on Windows 7, this is the workaround we mentioned earlier. Instead of upgrading to the MCSA on Windows 8, you should study and train for the existing Windows 10 exam 70-697, and then wait for the second Windows 10 exam to be released later this year. Pass that exam, and you will be an MCSA on Windows 10 without having had to muck about with Windows 8 certification.


Confusing or not, it is still very positive to discover that the MCSA for desktop Windows isn't being retired. The MCSA plays two very important roles in the industry.


First, the MCSA is a significant and industry recognized mid-tier certification for those who want to validate their skills and experience with a Windows client operating system. And second, the MCSA is a great stepping stone to the more advanced MCSE certification, and serves as a notable halfway point in the progression from MCP to MCSE.


*No, not really. Nothing, ever, under any circumstances, should be subject to the whims of Taylor Swift. Just ask Jake Gyllenhaal.


Would you like more insight into the history of hacking? Check out Calvin's other articles about historical hackery:
About the Author
Aaron Axline is a freelance technology writer based in Canada.

Aaron Axline is a technology journalist and copywriter based in Edmonton, Canada. He can be found on LinkedIn, and anywhere fine coffee is served.