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Microsoft Industry Blogs - United Kingdom

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By Larry Kaye, Senior Business Strategy Manager – Microsoft Learning Experiences

Looking after the Microsoft Technical Certification business, I’m fortunate to regularly engage with developers worldwide every year, both online and at numerous industry conferences. Most of our conversations revolve around two key questions. For the benefit of the developer community, I’d like to share my answers here:

1. How do I get started?

To support such a large portfolio of software products and services, the Microsoft certification program maintains a huge set of exams. A great initial resource to make sense of it all is our Certification Roadmap, found on our BornToLearn site. This roadmap lays out the exam paths for each technical specialty.

Developers can earn a Microsoft Specialist certification, demonstrating programming language mastery in either C# or HTML5/JavaScript. Afterwards, individuals can go on to earn either a Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) or Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) credential, both of which focus on the ability to design and build solutions utilizing full platform capabilities.

Once you’ve selected a certification path to pursue, it’s time to find out the details on each step, by navigating over to each exam page (here’s an example for one popular title, Exam 533: Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions).

  • The Skills Measured section on each page provides a detailed outline of all skills measured in the exam, along with any recent updates.
  • Don’t miss the Preparation Options section – there, you’ll find a wide range of resources, ranging from books and Practice Tests, to Self-Paced Training (through Microsoft Virtual Academy and edX) and Instructor-led training.
  • When you’re ready to sit the exam, you can schedule your appointment right from the same exam page.

2. How has your technical certification program remained relevant in the market?

We have a lot of innovation that we’ve recently added to our certification program and many more exciting changes coming down the road. Here’s a summary of my top changes:

  1. Online Proctored Exams – you can take your exam conveniently and comfortably from your own home or office – Microsoft MVP Chris Testa O’Neill shares everything you need to know in The Online Exam Experience.
  2. Innovative Item Types – our exams are not just limited to multiple-choice questions – case studies, build lists, and hot area types all augment our exams to help validate your skills. All the types of exams you can take are listed on this page under ‘exam formats and question types’.
  3. Booster PacksBooster packs give you a complete solution to grant you peace of mind when you’re preparing to take your exam, with a robust practice test tool and insurance in case your test performance doesn’t meet your expectations.

And, coming soon, we hope to bring our Microsoft community the opportunity to take part in performance-based testing, introducing graded lab exercises into our certification offering. Early results from our internal pilots are quite favourable, so we should be able to share more details soon.