Microsoft offers a virtual academy to certify users in installation and use of software and operating systems. Two levels of certification are available: Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) and Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE). This article outlines the wide variety of certifications that Microsoft offers for IT professionals.
MCSE and MCSA certification programs are for individuals wanting to gain expertise and increase their competitiveness in the information technology, or IT, profession. Certification represents the proficiency of an individual for working with Microsoft servers and databases.
Training programs can prepare qualified IT professionals for these credentials' computerized exams and are taught by Microsoft-certified instructors at colleges, universities, and local learning centers partnered with Microsoft. On-site training programs last around five days and prepare students for certification exams through a combination of classroom instruction and labs. Online Microsoft training programs are also available and are typically self-paced.
Candidates can combine classroom and online training to suit their needs; however, prior hands-on experience working with Microsoft software and hardware is necessary to successfully pass an exam.
|Certifications||Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)||Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)|
|Required Experience||Prior hands-on experience with Microsoft software and hardware||Prior hands-on experience with Microsoft software and hardware|
|Exam Requirements||Obtain a related MCSA certificate (specified by desired MCSE); pass 1-2 exams in appropriate specialty||Pass 2-3 exams in appropriate specialty|
|Certification Options||Server infrastructure; data platform; business intelligence; communication; messaging; SharePoint; private cloud; enterprise devices and apps||Windows Server 2008 and 2012; Windows 8 and 10; SQL Server 2012/14; Office 365; Linux on Azure|
|Job Outlook (2018-2028)*||9% for database administrators|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$90,070 for database administrators|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The MCSE certification demonstrates an individual's ability to design, implement, and manage Windows servers and databases. This credential is designed for prospective computer support specialists, business intelligence and reporting engineers, network and computer systems administrators, and systems or network analysts, to name a few.
Candidates may choose between certification options in server infrastructure, data platform, business intelligence, communication, messaging, SharePoint, private cloud, and enterprise devices and apps. Each certification option requires candidates to pass several examinations, including completion of a specified MCSA.
The remaining one or two exams will depend on candidates' specialty area. They might be asked to demonstrate their ability to design solutions for Share Point or Exchange servers, deploy a private cloud, or implement application environments.
The MCSA credential attests to candidates' ability to configure, manage and maintain Microsoft operating systems or servers. Depending on which specialty area they pursue, individuals with MCSA certification are prepared for jobs as network or computer systems administrators, computer support specialists, database developers, or database analysts.
Certification options are available for Windows Server 2008 and 2012, Windows 8 and 10, SQL Server 2012/14, Office 365, and Linux on Azure. In addition, certifications for Windows Server 2016 and SQL 2016 are in development and will be available in future. Windows Server and SQL Server certification requires passing scores on three exams. These will assess candidates' ability to implement a data warehouse or install and configure a server. Passing scores on these exams can be applied towards MCSE certification.
Only two exams are required for each of the Windows 10 and 8, Office 365, and Linux on Azure certifications. Candidates will need to be able to install and deploy the operating system or software covered. They may also need to know how to configure Windows settings and ensure network security.
Professionals working extensively with Microsoft products can obtain an MCSA certificate, and then continue on to obtain an MCSE certificate. The number of required exams varies from 2-3 for MCSAs and 3-5 for MCSEs.