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Michael Jo

Microsoft Renovation: The demise of the MCITP / MCTS program

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In response to public backlash against the changes it had made in its certification landscape, Microsoft recently announced that it’s doing a 180. The company is phasing out the new MCITP and MTCS certification programs and returning to its legacy MCSE, MCSA, and MCSD titles. By billing the new certification program as cloud-centric, the tech giant hopes to modernize its certification program and capitalize on its highly popular and profitable legacy titles.

In 2008, Microsoft shelved its longstanding and popular MCSE and MCSA certifications in favor of a complicated program with entirely new titles and certification tracks. The new program received a lukewarm reception from the tech community for a number of reasons.


Initially, the new certifications were set to expire, instead of providing the certified-for-life status of legacy Microsoft certifications. Although certifications from other major vendors, including Cisco, also expire and require periodic recertification, the old Microsoft certifications did not have any recertification requirements or expiration windows, and this factor played a role in the certifications’ popularity.


When people earned the MSCE title, they were granted that title for life. The exams required for earning titles changed over time, but the original titles did not. IT professionals could therefore earn the MCSE title on technology as old as Windows NT 4.0 yet still possess a relevant-sounding Microsoft title. Adding expiration dates seemed like a fair and practical solution to this problem, but Microsoft received significant backlash for it. In response, Microsoft dumped the expiration idea and announced that the MCITP and MCTS certifications would be perpetual, like the legacy certifications.


However, this move was not enough to inspire widespread acceptance of the new program. Microsoft claimed that the new titles and certification tracks would help IT professionals showcase their unique skills and open new doors of opportunity. Instead, the new titles created confusion among technical and non-technical hiring managers alike. The program was criticized for being overly complex and difficult to understand.


Even those seeking certification were often confused by the different titles and complex certification paths. The MCITP and MCTS specialties and exam paths were difficult to decipher, and many IT professionals found it difficult to explain to hiring managers exactly what their new Microsoft titles meant.


These complaints seemed to fall upon deaf ears at Microsoft until the recent announcement. This past April, the company announced its return to the legacy MCSE / MCSA title format. As of summer 2012, new exams will no longer be released for the MCITP / MCTS program. Instead, certifications based on Microsoft’s newest round of technology products will be part of the new MCSE / MCSA certification path.

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