Bye-bye MCSA: What Microsoft’s massive certification shakeup means to your IT career

Microsoft is shifting to role-based credentials centered on the cloud, and is retiring its MCSA, MCSE, MCSD, and on-premises, technology-based certifications. Here’s what you need to know.

Bye-bye MCSA: What Microsoft’s massive certification shakeup means to your IT career

Changes in how you can get certified for your expertise with Microsoft technologies prepare IT professionals for the cloud future but may not match their current skills and needs.

The way Microsoft certifications work is changing completely. Instead of earning credentials that cover specific products, IT pros must now prove they have the skills needed to carry out specific roles — skills assumed to be in Azure services, whether you’re working in Microsoft’s cloud or your own data center. Although COVID-19 has pushed back the dates for this shakeup of Microsoft’s certification schema for some months, the days of the MCSA and MCSE are numbered, and IT staff and hiring managers will need to become familiar with a very different system, one that might not meet their needs or career trajectory.

Certifications matter. More than half of IT decision makers in the Global Knowledge 2019 IT Skills and Salary report want to hire staff with certifications to ensure they have the skills their organization needs. Eighty-five percent of IT professionals hold at least one certification and 66 percent are already planning for their next. Having the right certification can make the difference between not hearing back and getting an interview when you apply for a job.

But Microsoft’s overhauling of its certification program is creating some unease, and not all the new options are clear yet.

What Microsoft’s new certification program looks like

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