Last July, Microsoft Learning announced some upcoming changes to the Microsoft Azure Certifications to make them more role-based. Recently, surrounding the Microsoft Ignite 2018 conference, they announced and released further information about these changes to transform the Azure certification tracks. This news includes more than just announcement of new Azure certification exams, but also the depreciation and retirement of the existing Microsoft Azure exams by the end of December 2018.
Retiring Azure Certifications
The current Azure certification that have been providing the Azure focused core to the MCSA: Cloud Platform and MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification paths are going to be retired December 31, 2018. However, the MCSA and MCSE certifications are not being retired, but rather transformed instead.
The following Azure related certification exams are going to be retired December 31, 2018. If you are studying for these exams, then you’ll want to switch gears toward the new exams, or pass them by the end of the year.
- 70-532: Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions
- 70-533: Implementing Microsoft Azure Solutions
- 70-535: Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions
As a result of retiring the above Azure focused certification exams, the existing / old MCSA and MCSE certifications based on them are also being retired. As a result, the following larger Azure focused certifications are being retired on December 31, 2018 as well.
A New Path to Azure Certification
The new paths going forward for Microsoft Certifications are going to be role-based. This means that each certification track that’s introduced is going to be based on career paths, rather than just broad coverage of Microsoft Azure features and services.
Currently, Microsoft has announced the following 6 new job roles that will have role-based certification paths to follow.
- Azure Administrator
- Azure Developer
- Azure Solutions Architect
- Azure DevOps Engineer
- Microsoft 365 Modern Desktop Administrator
- Microsoft 365 Enterprise Administrator
The certification exams for the Azure Administrator path are now live and can be taken, in addition to the Azure Developer and Azure Solutions Architect certification exams being release in beta. Over the next few months, the remaining 3 paths (DevOps Engineer, Microsoft 365 Modern Desktop Administrator, and Enterprise Administrator) will be launched by the end of the year.
Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert
The Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification path is comprised of passing the following 2 certification exams:
Once passing both of these 2 Azure Architecture focused certification exams, then you will earn the Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification.
Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate
The AZ-203 Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure exam was rolled out as a replacement for the AZ-200 + AZ-201 or AZ-203 exams for earning the Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate certification. This was a move to simplify the process to earning this certifications based on feedback from those who have taken the exams while they were in a “Beta” state. Thanks to those early certification achievers, we all have a simplified process to follow now.
The Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate certification path is comprised of passing the following 2 certification exams:
- AZ-200: Microsoft Azure Developer Core Solutions Exam
- AZ-201: Microsoft Azure Developer Advanced Solutions Exam
Once passing both of these 2 Azure Developer focused certification exams, then you will earn the Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate certification.
Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate
The Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate certification path is comprised of passing the following 2 certification exams:
- AZ-100: Microsoft Azure Infrastructure and Deployment Exam
- AZ-101: Microsoft Azure Integration and Security Exam
Once passing both of these 2 Azure Administrator / Infrastructure focused certification exams, then you will earn the Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate certification.
Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert
The certification exams for the Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert have not been released yet. However details have been released that point to it being a larger certification for anyone who has achieved either the Azure Administrator or Azure Developer certifications. Further information should be released on this certification by the end of 2018, so we should know more soon.
Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator Expert
The Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator certification path is comprised of passing the following 2 certification exams:
- MS-100: Microsoft 365 Identity and Services Exam
- MS-101: Microsoft 365 Mobility and Security Exam
Once passing both of these 2 Microsoft 365 focused certification exams, then you will earn the Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator Expert certification.
Microsoft 365 Certified: Modern Desktop Administrator Associate
The Microsoft 365 Certified: Modern Desktop Administrator Associate certification will likely require 2 exams to be passed in order to earn. However, the full details of this certification has not been released yet. Although, further details should be made available by the end of 2018, so we should hear more information soon.
Microsoft 365 Certified: Fundamentals & Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals
Additionally, what hasn’t been released yet are the exam(s) that may be available for the “Fundamentals” certifications listed in the exam path diagrams published by Microsoft. I would assume these will be earned by passing a single exam, but they may have their own entire optional certification exams similar to the MTA certification of old. Hopefully, we’ll hear more information about these soon as well, so we can stop speculating and know what they are.
Transition from Old to New
With the old Azure certification exams being retired, and replaced with entirely new certification exams and certification paths, there are also transition exams being released. If you’ve already passed either of the old Azure certification exams (70-532, 70-533, 70-535), then you will be eligible to pass a transition exam to migrate your certifications over to the new paths.
In the past when Microsoft replaced certification with new certifications, there were generally upgrade exams available. If you passed the old certification then you could pass the upgrade exam to move to the new certifications. This time around with the restructuring of the Microsoft certifications, they are offering “transition” exams instead. It’s the same basic idea, that the transition / upgrade exam test you on what’s need to move yourself to the new certification. However, the new paths are using the term “transition”, rather than “upgrade”, and it seems to be a proper choice of wording. The term “transition” seems to be more encouraging sounding, especially for the fact that it doesn’t give the connotation of abandoning the old certification and insulting those of us who spent so much time to earn the old certifications recently. Instead, these transition exams will help you renew your certifications onto the new certification paths.
The following Transition exams are offered for moving from the old certification exams to the new role-based certification paths:
- 70-533 -> AZ-102: Microsoft Azure Administrator Certification Transition
- 70-532 -> AZ-202: Microsoft Azure Developer Certification Transition
- 70-535 -> AZ-302: Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect Certification Transition
It’s also worth noting that these transition exams will be available for a limited time to enable those who’ve previously passed the old exams prior to their retirement a means of transitioning to the new certification path. It hasn’t been announced exactly how long these transition exams will be available, but they are available for the time being, and are available if you are looking to renew your current certifications on the old paths.
New MCSE Core Infrastructure Certification Path
While the MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification is being retired at the end of 2018, the MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert) certification will still carry on, just not as cloud or Azure focused.
The new MCSE: Core Infrastructure certification is being released and will be available as of January 1, 2018. This exam takes the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 and MCSA: Windows Server 2016 as the foundation options, and takes a single additional elective exam to earn.
Here’s the list of electives you can pass to earn the MCSE: Core Infrastructure after you’ve earned either of the 2 qualifying MCSA foundations:
- 70-413: Designing and Implementing a Server Infrastructure
- 70-414: Implementing an Advanced Server Infrastructure
- 70-473: Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions
- 70-475: Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions
- 70-537: Configuring and Operating a Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure Stack
- 70-744: Securing Windows Server 2016
- 70-745: Implementing a Software-Defined Datacenter
Some of the diagrams within this post are from the Microsoft Certification and Training Overview document published by Microsoft.