Microsoft Training and Certification Guide now available

If you're a regular visitor to the Microsoft Learning website, then you're probably already familiar with the improvements Microsoft has made in recent years to present its certification information more clearly and concisely. The Microsoft Training and Certification Guide, currently available as a Windows 8 app or in PDF format, is one of their newer value-adds that lays out the entire MS certification program offerings in one big but easy-to-follow diagram.

The Guide includes a visual subway roadmap that shows the certification paths, courses and exams that lead to the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA), Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA), Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) and Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) certifications. It's nicely color-coded to make all the pathways easy to follow, too:


Source: MSL_Catalog_R7_Press_Updated.pdf in the Microsoft Training and Certification Guide Windows 8 app

Notice how each cert category begins with the MTA as its foundation, and moves to the MCSA or the MCSD from there. Two of the three MCSA certifications lead to an MCSE credential. Although the MTA is a gateway cert, it's not required for any MCSA or MCSD certification. Nevertheless, the MTA is gaining considerable traction with folks who want to begin a career in IT or begin validating their skills with Microsoft credentials, many of whom may be participating in Microsoft IT Academy programs in high schools or community colleges.

Each depicted certification is spelled out in the Guide, listing all requirements needed to achieve any credential. The Guide also includes a Guidance section at its end, similar to an index in a book. You can find a specific certification based on keywords or phrases, or by job role. Just click any entry to access its cert page in the Guide.

As reported above, the Microsoft Training and Certification Guide is available as a Windows 8 desktop app, which includes a link to a corresponding PDF version. Using the app means you'll get the most current information because Microsoft can push updates whenever it likes. You can download the app from the Windows Store. Note: this app runs only in Windows 8/8.1 and Windows RT.

A similar, interactive roadmap is available through the Microsoft IT Academy website in PDF format. This IT Academy map also includes information for the Microsoft Office Specialist, or MOS, program. It will be most suitable for users running an earlier version of Windows, or a non-Windows operating system.


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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.