Master-Level Certificate Programs Cut by Microsoft

Effective Oct. 1, exams for the Microsoft Certified Master (MCM), Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) and Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM) certificates will end.

Those working toward the Microsoft certs were notified of the program retirements via e-mail sent on Friday. Along with the death of the exams, Microsoft also is ending training for the Masters and Architect certs.

According to the e-mail, Microsoft said it was ending the programs to further "evolve the Microsoft certification program."

"The IT industry is changing rapidly and we will continue to evaluate the certification and training needs of the industry to determine if there's a different certification needed for the pinnacle of our program," read the e-mail.

The news has already sparked backlash among users, and a thread on Microsoft Connect, titled "Please don't get rid of the MCM and MCA programs," has been a place for many to communicate their frustrations over the termination.

MVP Alejandro Leguizamo commented, "Unfortunately, this is a way of surely alienating the best Microsoft Advocates out there. First the TechNet subscription (under a very poor arguing of piracy, which is not the target of the independent consultants, writers, trainers, etc. which have no other way of learning the technology -- And the argument of eval editions is pure nonsense)."

Replying in the same thread, Microsoft's Senior Director of Microsoft Learning Tim Sneath provided some more insight into the reasoning why the certification programs were ending, saying the certs reached too small of an audience to be useful.

"Only a few hundred people have attained the certification in the last few years, far fewer than we would have hoped," wrote Sneath. "We wanted to create a certification that many would aspire to and that would be the ultimate peak of the Microsoft Certified program, but with only ~0.08 percent of all MCSE-certified individuals being in the program across all programs, it just hasn't gained the traction we hoped for."

Along with its limited scope, Sneath pointed to the price of the program (nearly $20,000) and it only being offered in English as being significant barriers for wider use.

Microsoft isn't ready to share any details on if, and with what, the certificate programs will be replaced, according to Sneath.  It has a few ideas but is seeking input from the Microsoft IT pro community.

According to the e-mail, those that have previously earned one of the certificates will continue to hold onto their credentials and won't need to retest in the future.

Microsoft said its next step will be to alert MCM, MCA and MCSM cert holders of an updated community site that will only include members of those specific cert programs.


About the Author

Chris Paoli (@ChrisPaoli5) is the associate editor for Converge360.

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