Microsoft Turns Over New Certification Leaf in 2017

Big news

When I heard in mid-December from Larry Kaye, Microsoft Learning's Senior Business Strategy Manager, that the company would lay out its 2017 certification requirements and information before the year's end I was jazzed. When I confirmed with him the week before Christmas that the changes were still pending, my excitement level jumped still further.


But alas, the updates — which I discovered on Monday (Dec. 26), following the Christmas weekend — fall something short of sensational. It's OK, and good information, but nothing revealed adds up to major modifications, or dramatic revelations.


The 10,000 Foot View for What's New and Different


The big news hit earlier this year, when Microsoft Learning announced the pending retirement of most of its MCSE and MCSD credentials on March 31, 2017. Affected credentials are as follows:




To remain available after March 31:


MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure
MCSE: Mobility
MCSE: Data Management and Analytics
MCSE: Productivity


No longer available after March 31:


MCSE: Server Infrastructure
MCSE: Private Cloud
MCSE: Enterprise Devices and Apps
MCSE: Data Platform
MCSE: Business Intelligence
MCSE: Messaging
MCSE: Communication
MCSE: SharePoint


For the items that remain available after the end of next March, the following language now appears in the lead-in section on each one's home page "For 2017, this MCSE certification can be earned as follows ..."


Also, more hitherto unavailable exams are starting to show up in various elective exams sections, though most slates are not yet fully complete. I only included links to the persisting credentials in the preceding lists.


GC I scrum young woman

If you want to jump into the retiring items, you can easily do so via the MCSE home page instead.




To remain available after March 31:


MCSD: App Builder


No longer available after March 31:


MCSD: Web Applications
MCSD: SharePoint Applications
MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect
MCSD: Application Lifecycle Management
MCSD: Universal Windows Platform


Amusingly, the new language for the MCSD: App Builder now reads, "For 2017, this MCSE certification can be earned as follows." I'm sure somebody's eyes were off the keyboard, so to speak, when this conflation of MCSE and MCSD occurred, and that what MS meant was really, "For 2017, this MCSD certification ... "


Be that as it may, while this may look like MS just pruned the vast majority of MCSD options from the board, that's not really the case. Careful examination of the elective options for this single credential shows elements that mention Azure, SharePoint, UWP, Visual Studio, and even lifecycle management.


Thus, I look at it more as a form of consolidation with an implicit encouragement for MS developers to branch out and try multiple sub-disciplines, rather than as a reduction of coverage. It's really like MS cut the number of MCSD credential names, but not the content or coverage.


In looking at the MCSA credentials, I still don't see much mention of pending retirements (though the MCSE: Windows 8 is retiring on Dec. 31). Neither of the older Windows Server MCSAs (2012 and 2008) mention retirement, nor does SQL Server 2012/2014.


I'm guessing that these older MCSAs will fall by the wayside only when MS decides that enough of the installed base has migrated onto the newer platform versions to justify their retirement. We may see more such action in 2017, but perhaps that shoe won't drop until 2018.


Stay tuned, and Happy New Year!


Would you like more insight into the history of hacking? Check out Calvin's other articles about historical hackery:
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.