Microsoft Retires Old Certification Exams to Make Room for New Ones

Retirement concept chairs at the end of a dock in golden light

Right now, the smart money says that Windows 10 for PCs and tablets will be ready in late July, with a phone version to debut sometime in the following months. Likewise, those same prognosticators foresee a second quarter debut, in 2016, for the next Windows Server version.


That means lots of changes are coming to the tools, platforms, and APIs that provide the focus for Microsoft certification exams, and that lots of new exams are bound to be popping up as a result. There's already been some evidence of that, actually. You only have a month left to get in on it, but Microsoft Learning has been running a promotions since February that promises a free Windows 10 cert exam to anyone who successfully completes a Windows 8 MCSA cert before May 31.


If you look carefully at which older exams are bound for a rocking chair on the porch at the Golden Acres Old Certs Home, then you can often get a very good idea about what newer ones might soon appear to take their place. There's not necessarily a one-to-one correlation, but a savvy observed could certainly pick out a few trends.


Keep that in mind as you pore over the following list of topics and related exams:


Mircosoft Certification Retirements


We have a total of 37 exams scheduled for retirement in the preceding collection, and the list has some interesting things to tell. First, it traces the near-extinction of the Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist (TS aka MCTS) and Microsoft Certified IT Professional (Pro aka MCITP) credentials. There may still be a small number of holdovers after this next batch of retirements is done with, but it's now crystal clear that the new and improved MCSA, MCSE and MCSD rule the Microsoft certification spaces (as they did once before).


It's also clear that various platforms built on Windows Server — such as Exchange, Lync, Project, SharePoint and SQL Server — will continue to track new server platform releases as those become available. It's interesting that Microsoft is including the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) credentials in its retirement lists now. Those credentials are at least in part administered through Certiport, as with the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) credentials, which are NOT included in this list and never have been.


One can certainly see that, with Server 2008 and Windows 7 slated to fall out of cert coverage across the board (and across all related platforms), there's plenty of room opening up for replacement credentials — replacements that are likely based on Windows 10, the next server version, the new Visual Studio, and all of the updates to the server-based platforms (Exchange, Lync, SharePoint, etc.) that will follow in that wake. Looks like we're going to see lots of new exams showing up in the period between August 1 of this year and the end of 2016. Stay tuned: As I learn more about what's popping up, I'll be sure to report back here.


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About the Author

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran who's worked as a software developer, technical marketer, consultant, author, and researcher. Author of many books and articles, Ed also writes on certification topics for Tech Target, ComputerWorld and Win10.Guru. Check out his website at, where he also blogs daily on Windows 10 and 11 topics.