Revisiting Microsoft's Role-Based Certifications

Microsoft's focus on job roles is continuing to reshape its certification program.

Last September, I wrote here about a newly-announced change in certification emphasis and direction at Microsoft. That item was titled "Microsoft Launches New �Role-Based' Training and Certs at Ignite" (Sept. 28, 2018). That means it's been just about 9 months (8.48 to be more exact) since I checked in on the new program thrust and its continuing elaboration and offerings.


At the time of that story, Microsoft began what continues to be a very much "Azure-forward" approach to doing business. Thus, most of the substance and items related to early activity on role-based certifications focused in on the company's Azure cloud platform and attendant tools and technologies.


While that hasn't changed at all, the role-based approach has been extended to include a broad variety of roles — see the infographic I plucked from the Microsoft Learning Certification Overview page for some specifics — so now there's quite a bit more to talk about under the role-based certification umbrella:


Four Featured Categories for Job Roles: Developer, Administrator, Solutions Architect and Functional Consultant


These are the four "big buckets" into which the Microsoft certifications are now sorted. The infographic gives a brief capsule summary of each role, so I'll not repeat that here. Instead, I'll graph out a road map of the credentials inside each bucket, with hyperlinks to everything involved:



Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate



Microsoft 365 Certified: Security Administrator Associate

Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate


Solutions Architect

Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert Functional Consultant (appears as customer engagement consultant in URL)


Functional Consultant

Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 for Marketing Functional Consultant Associate

Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 for Field Service Functional Consultant Associate

Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 for Customer Service Functional Consultant Associate

Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 for Sales Functional Consultant Associate


Lots More Unfeatured Categories (11 More, In Fact)


But these four job roles are just the tip of the MS certification program's complete set of offerings. Here's what else shows up on the "Browse all Certifications" page at MS Learning. (BTW, this is the best page to visit to explore what's currently included in that program's job roles and offerings; for Job Roles that don't include hyperlinks, it's the best way to navigate to the underlying certifications):


AI Engineer

Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Engineer Associate


Data Engineer

Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate


Data Scientist

Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate


DevOps Engineer

Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert


Enterprise Administrator

Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator Expert


Finance & Operations Consultant

Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Financials Functional Consultant Associate

Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Manufacturing Functional Consultant Associate

Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Supply Chain Management Functional Consultant Associate


Fundamental Skills

Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Fundamentals

Microsoft 365 Certified Fundamentals

Microsoft Certified Azure Fundamentals


Messaging Administrator

Microsoft 365 Certified: Messaging Administrator Associate


Modern Desktop Administrator

Microsoft 365 Certified: Modern Desktop Administrator Associate


Security Engineer

Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate


Teamwork Administrator

Microsoft 365 Certified: Teamwork Administrator Associate


What Do We Have Here, All Together?


Here are the patterns I see in this set of offerings. We have two basic labels for certifications: Microsoft Certified and Microsoft 365 Certified. There are currently 23 individual certifications distributed across 15 named job roles.


Of those job roles, nine include at least one Azure-related credential (seven include only Azure credentials, oftenmost a single Azure credential). That's also the same number (nine) as there are individual certifications with the word Azure in their names. There are six Microsoft 365 certifications and eight Dynamics 365 Certifications as well.


This is all extremely interesting. It shows that Azure remains a major focus for Microsoft going forward, with the most certifications under that general umbrella. Surprisingly, Dynamics 365 features just one certification fewer than Azure, and two more than Microsoft 365, which embraces much of Microsoft's traditional OS offerings for servers and desktops, IoT, and productivity suites and applications.


Microsoft really is changing as a company and a business, and the current certification portfolio shows this in pretty stark terms.


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.