The Microsoft Professional Program launched 3 years ago with the goal to help close the skills gap in many of the different job roles in the IT space. Originally, the program was called the Microsoft Professional Degree, but shortly after launch Microsoft dropped “Degree” from the name and switched to “Program”. Initially, the program was launched with a Data Science track, and has since been expanded out to a total of 9 different Microsoft Professional Program tacks. Unfortunately, Microsoft has decided to retire this program in favor or focusing on the Role-based Certification Paths instead.

Microsoft Professional Program is Retiring

If you have already earned a Microsoft Professional Program certificate, or are in the process of earning gone, then congratulations! Take that achievement with you, promote it, and use it to the benefit of your career. However, if you haven’t begun work on one of these certifications, then your time is limited. Microsoft has announced that the Microsoft Professional Program is being retired; with a scheduled end date of December 31, 2019. Also, new enrollments into the program will end on September 15, 2019.

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Microsoft has announced that the Microsoft Professional Program is being retired; with a scheduled end date of December 31, 2019. Also, new enrollments into the program will end on September 15, 2019.

The direction Microsoft has been taking the certification program towards a Role-based model. This started with the Microsoft Professional Program (MPP), and has continued to the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) program. With this shift in certification being job role-based, there was a duplicate in effort between the two programs. Microsoft has decided to retire the Microsoft Professional Program in favor of the future of the job role-based Microsoft certification paths.

What was learned through the development and community feedback fro the Microsoft Professional Program is being continued through the Microsoft role-based certifications. Some of the benefits professionals are seeing through technical certifications such as these include the following:

  • Certified new hires reach full productivity sooner and find more opportunities for advancement. [1]
  • Certified employees earn 15 percent more than those without certification. [1]
  • Employees with certifications are nearly 20 percent more productive. [1]

Learning Tracks

Microsoft has released a total 9 of “micro degree” / certification tracks over the 3 years of the Microsoft Professional Program (MPP). Let’s take a brief look at each of these tracks.

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Data Science

Opportunities for data scientists—one of today’s hottest jobs—are rapidly growing in response to the exponential amounts of data being captured and analyzed. Companies hire data scientists to find insights and to solve meaningful business problems.

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Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) will define the next generation of software solutions. Human-like capabilities such as understanding natural language, speech, vision, and making inferences from knowledge will extend software beyond the app.

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Internet of Things (IoT)

Accelerate your career in one of the fastest-growing cloud technology fields: IoT. This program will teach you the device programming, data analytics, machine learning, and solution design skills you need for a successful career in IoT.

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Cybersecurity threats are on the rise and now more than ever businesses need skilled team members to help prevent and mitigate breaches. This 10-course program will help you identify threats early on and minimize breach impacts.

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Big Data

Designing systems that capture, process, and analyze data is critical for companies in order to have a competitive advantage. This curriculum takes students from their first select statement to orchestrating big data workflows in the cloud.

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Data Analysis

Learn critical skills through data analysis like problem solving, communication, decision making, and more. The tools of analysis may change, but its underlying skills will remain valuable.

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Entry Level Software Development

Nearly all tech that you engage with relies on software. The job outlook for software developers is growing year after year. Simply put, Software Developers are the people bringing the modern world to life.

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IT Support

The help desk is the front line of engagement for customers when problems arise. With the IT Support track you will learn a wide range of skills to diagnose, troubleshoot, and solve customer issues.

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To support companies to be more agile, the lines between development and operations are becoming increasingly blurred. Through continuous integration and deployment, students will learn how to react to changing market conditions.

How long do you have to continue completing an MPP track?

Enrollment in a Microsoft Professional Program tack is available until September 15, 2019. The Microsoft Professional Program itself ends on December 31, 2019. If you have enrolled in an MPP track, you only have until December 31, 2019 to complete all the required courses to earn the MPP certification.

Here’s the important dates [2] to be aware of:

  • Final Track Enrollment must be completed by September 15, 2019
  • All Tracks (and their courses) must be completed by December 31, 2019
  • Final Capstones will be made available for completion from November through December 31, 2019

Additionally, you’ll want to make sure you save and/or print your MPP track certificates by December 31, 2019. This will ensure that you still have access to the certificates you’ve earned once the program is retired.

Can I upgrade my MPP course completion to a Microsoft Role-based Certification?

If you have already earned, or are going to complete a Microsoft Professional Program (MPP) track by December 31, 2019, then congratulations! As you look to continue your certification journey beyond the retirement of the MPP program, then you’ll want to look at the role-based Microsoft certifications.

The MPP tracks provide great foundations for the job roles each one is based on. The curriculum for the MPP tracks is different than the required skills and objectives for the role-based Microsoft certifications with similar names. Consequently, the MPP tracks will not fully prepare you to be able to pass role-based Microsoft Certification exams. However, you will already be well on your way to possessing the skills and knowledge necessary to pass those exams. As you look to upgrade and progress your certifications going forward, the role-based Microsoft Certifications are a great option for you.

If you have already earned a Microsoft Professional Program certification in Data Science, DevOps, Cybersecurity, or any of the other MPP tracks, then you can take that foundation with you to build on as you progress through your Microsoft certification journey.

Here are some examples and suggestions of Microsoft job role-based certifications to pursue after you’ve earned a Microsoft Professional Program (MPP) credential:

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Keep in mind these are just some suggested examples of Microsoft certifications you could pursue or use to build upon your MPP track foundation. The objective domains for the role-based certification exams are different than the course curriculum from the MPP tracks. You will need to read through the objective domains for each of the role-based certification exams and ensure you learn and study all the necessary topics.

Does my achievement still have value if I completed an MPP track before it’s retired?

Absolutely, YES! The credentials earned through the Microsoft Professional Program (MPP) still demonstrate the skills and knowledge hiring managers are looking for in the technology fields covered by the MPP tracks.

You earned an MPP certification credential, and you should certainly still promote that on your resume and anywhere else it benefits your career. Just because the MPP program is retiring doesn’t mean the MPP credentials are any less valuable.

Can I still get college credit for my Microsoft Professional Program achievement?

If you are still looking to earn college credit for an eligible MPP track, then you will need to submit your request for college credit by December 31, 2019.

For information on how to apply for college credit, please refer here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/certification-exam-policies.aspx#policies-7

Microsoft MVP

Chris Pietschmann is a Microsoft MVP, HashiCorp Ambassador, and Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) with 20+ years of experience designing and building Cloud & Enterprise systems. He has worked with companies of all sizes from startups to large enterprises. He has a passion for technology and sharing what he learns with others to help enable them to learn faster and be more productive.
HashiCorp Ambassador Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect