In the continuation of the move towards all role-based certifications, Microsoft has announced that they are officially retiring all of the MCSE, MCSD, and MCSA certifications; as well as their associated exams. This means there are a total of 15 certifications, and 42 exams being retired on June 30, 2020. Wow!

Now, we’ve known for awhile now that this would be coming. Back in September 2018, Microsoft first announced the new role-based certification paths with the initial role-based Microsoft Azure certification paths. And, they’ve been slowly adding more role-based paths to the new certification lineup since then. Now that they’ve created role-based certifications for all the most popular certification paths, they are looking to finally retire the old “technology-based” certification paths.

UPDATE: Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic Microsoft has extended the retirement of the MCSA, MCSD, and MCSE certifications to January 31, 2021.



MCSE, MCSD, and MCSA are being retired June 30, 2020

As Microsoft looks to close one certification chapter, and begin a new, they are going to be retiring the Microsoft Certified Solution Expert (MCSE), Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD), and Microsoft Certified Solution Associate (MCSA) certifications on June 30, 2020.

Perhaps there’s a song that could be written here…

Here’s a list of the MCSE, MCSD, and MCSA certifications that will be retired:

  • MCSA: BI Reporting
  • MCSA: Dynamics 365 for Operations
  • MCSA: SQL 2016 BI Development
  • MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Admin
  • MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Dev
  • MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014
  • MCSA: Universal Windows Platform
  • MCSA: Web Applications
  • MCSA: Windows Server 2012
  • MCSA: Windows Server 2016
  • MCSD: App Builder
  • MCSE: Business Applications
  • MCSE: Core Infrastructure
  • MCSE: Data Management & Analytics
  • MCSE: Productivity

If you on your path to earning these certifications, then you have until June 30, 2020 to pass the required exams to earn the certifications. After that date they will no longer be available to be earned. Once retired, these certifications will remain on your official Microsoft certification transcript. In fact, they will remain on your transcript for 2 years from the June 30, 2020 date; after which they will be moved to the “inactive” section of your transcript. With the new role-based exams being active for a period of 2 years once earned, this change makes sense for the MCSE, MCSD, and MCSA certifications to be in line with that two year expiration / renewal cycle.

The MCSE, MCSD, and MCSA certifications will remain on your transcript for 2 years from the June 30, 2020 date; after which they will be moved to the “inactive” section of your transcript

Goodbye: MCSE, MCSD, and MCSA Certifications are Retiring 1

Wait? Does this mean there will no longer be a Windows Server, SQL Server, or C# / .NET developer certifications? Yes, that’s exactly what this certification retirements means. To make this more confusing, Microsoft has stated that you will learn enough Windows Server and SQL Server from the cloud-based certifications offered, and they don’t need to create new role-based certifications for these “on-premises focused” technologies. This is odd angle to all this certification expiration news, and hopefully we’ll hear more information from Microsoft to clarify this soon. However, unless they change their stance and direction, you only have until June 30, 2020 to earn a technology-based certification in Windows Server, SQL Server, and C# / .NET development. Sorry, not sorry, to those who need these certifications for their resumes and to meet employer requirements.

Lots of exams retired too…

With these MCSE, MCSD, and MCSA certifications being retired, the necessary exams needed to earn these certifications will also be retired on June 30, 2020. I know it’s a lot of exams, and you may be worried about your own certification journey, but there are more details for you below.

Here is the list of exams being retired:

  • 70-333: Deploying Enterprise Voice with Skype for Business 2015
  • 70-334: Core Solutions for Microsoft Skype for Business 2015
  • 70-339: Managing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2016
  • 70-345: Designing and Deploying Microsoft Exchange Server 2016
  • 70-457: Developing Mobile Apps
  • 70-410: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012
  • 70-411: Administering Windows Server 2012
  • 70-412: Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services
  • 70-413: Designing and Implementing a Server Infrastructure
  • 70-414: Implementing an Advanced Server Infrastructure
  • 70-417: Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows Server 2012
  • 70-461: Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014
  • 70-462: Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014 Databases
  • 70-463: Implementing a Data Warehouse with Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014
  • 70-464: Developing Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014 Databases
  • 70-465: Designing Database Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server
  • 70-466: Implementing Data Models and Reports with Microsoft SQL Server
  • 70-467: Designing Business Intelligence Solutions with Microsoft SQL Server
  • 70-480: Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3
  • 70-483: Programming in C#
  • 70-486: Developing ASP.NET MVC Web Applications
  • 70-487: Developing Microsoft Azure and Web Services
  • 70-537: Configuring and Operating a Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure Stack
  • 70-705: Designing and Providing Microsoft Licensing Solutions to Large Organizations
  • 70-740: Installation, Storage, and Compute with Windows Server 2016
  • 70-741: Networking with Windows Server 2016
  • 70-742: Identity with Windows Server 2016
  • 70-743: Upgrading Your skills to MCSA: Windows Server 2016
  • 70-744: Securing Windows Server 2016
  • 70-745: Implementing a Software-Defined Datacenter
  • 70-761: Querying Data with Transact-SQL
  • 70-762: Developing SQL Databases
  • 70-764: Administering a SQL Database Infrastructure
  • 70-765: Provisioning SQL Databases
  • 70-767: Implementing a Data Warehouse using SQL
  • 70-768: Developing SQL Data Models
  • 70-777: Implementing Microsoft Azure Cosmos DB Solutions
  • 70-778: Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Microsoft Power BI
  • 70-779: Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Microsoft Excel
  • MB2-716: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customization and Configuration
  • MB6-894: Development, Extensions and Deployment for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance
  • MB6-897: Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Retail
  • MB6-898: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Human Resources

If you are currently studying for one of these exams, then you’ll want to take them and earn your desired certification before June 30, 2020. After that date, the exams will be retired and no longer available to sit.

Transitional Paths towards Role-based Microsoft Certifications

There are a lot of certifications being retired, in fact, I believe this is the largest certification and exam retirement Microsoft has ever done in a single cycle. These are big changes, and they have laid out a recommended path for those on the old MCSE and MCSD paths to move towards the new role-based certifications. While there aren’t full equivalents for all the certifications yet, I’m sure Microsoft will be working in the near future (or at least in the next couple years) to fill in blanks as peoples certifications go “inactive” and they are looking to renew again.

Goodbye: MCSE, MCSD, and MCSA Certifications are Retiring 2
Recommended Path to Microsoft Role-based Certification Options – Credit: Microsoft

The current migration path that Microsoft recommends for moving from the MCSE and MCSD certifications to the existing role-based certification paths are as follows:

  • MCSE: Core Infrastructure
  • MCSE: Productivity
    • Start with any of these…
      • Teams Administrator Associate
      • Messaging Administrator Associate
      • Security Administrator Associate
    • Then take…
      • Enterprise Administrator Expert
  • MCSE: Data Management and Analytics
    • Start with any of these…
      • Azure Database Administrator (coming soon)
      • Data Analyst Associate (coming soon)
      • Azure Data Engineer Associate
      • Azure AI Engineer Associate
      • Azure Data Scientist Associate
  • MCSD: App Builder
    • Start with…
      • Azure Developer Associate
  • MCSE: Business Applications
    • Start with any of these…
      • Dynamics 365 Finance Functional Consultant Associate
      • Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, Manufacturing Functional Consultant Associate
      • Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management Functional Consultant Associate
      • Dynamics 365 Customer Service Functional Consultant Associate
      • Dynamics 365 Field Service Functional Consultant Associate
      • Dynamics 365 Marketing Functional Consultant Associate
      • Dynamics 365 Sales Functional Consultant Associate

I know this list looks to be a bit short in filling the full breadth of what the MCSE, MCSD, and MCSA certifications covered. For example with this change there is no longer a path for someone to get certified with .NET Core / ASP.NET. Keep in mind that Microsoft is continually working on improving the certification paths they offer. So, I would imagine within the next year or so we will likely see more information about new certifications that will be coming to fill in these holes left by retiring the MCSE, MCSD, and MCSA certifications.

Keep in mind that Microsoft is continually working on improving the certification paths they offer. So, I would imagine within the next year or so we will likely see more information about new certifications that will be coming to fill in these holes left by retiring the MCSE, MCSD, and MCSA certifications.

Additionally, for answering your other questions about this change, please refer to the original announcement from Microsoft for more “frequently asked questions”. I’m sure many of you have questions, so hopefully that link helps. If not, maybe we’ll see more information and clarification on these changes in the coming months leading up to June 30, 2020.

Yes, I know it seems Microsoft keeps making changes to their certification programs every couple years. This is true. However, the new role-based direction is one that is better aligned with real world job roles, and are better serving people to help them in their careers. At least that’s my opinion and observation of all the changes towards this role-based set of certification paths. As technology keeps changing, and you need to keep updating your skills to stay relevant in this industry; so do the certifications necessary to test and verify those skills.

Happy studying, and I hope you achieve your certification goals!


Microsoft MVP

Chris is a Microsoft MVP and has nearly 20 years of experience designing and building Cloud & Enterprise systems. He is also a Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect and developer, a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT), and Cloud Advocate. He has a passion for technology and sharing what he learns with others to help enable them to learn faster and be more productive.

Pin It on Pinterest