MCSA, MCSD and MCSE Get 6-Month Extensions
Three Microsoft certification programs that had been slated for retirement this summer -- the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA), Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) and Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) -- are being extended by six more months to account for worldwide disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Microsoft had initially said in a February announcement that the MCSA, MCSD and MCSE would end on June 30, 2020. That same announcement, which got updated on March 26, now indicates that those three certification programs will end on Jan. 31, 2021 instead.
In addition, Microsoft on Thursday described other changes to the certification programs. First, people who currently have role-based certifications that are due to expire this year are getting their certification end dates automatically extended by six months. Here's how Microsoft described that detail:
If you have a role-based certification that is expiring between now and December 31, 2020, we are extending your certification by six months. So, for example, if your certification is set to expire September 30, 2020, it will now expire on March 30, 2021.
Next, the certification testing, typically handled by Microsoft's partner, Pearson VUE, is going online. Pearson VUE has "temporarily closed many of its testing centers worldwide," Microsoft's announcement indicated. The tests now can be taken from home instead, but testers will get monitored during the exams by "a proctor" using a "webcam and microphone," as described in this document on online exams.
In addition, the in-person training is going virtual, too. "Both Microsoft and Microsoft Learning Partners are moving in-person, instructor-led training to virtual instructor-led training," the announcement indicated. Those seeking certification training should "check with your local learning partner to find out more and visit Microsoft Events to find a virtual instructor-led training event in your area," Microsoft advised.
Microsoft also indicated a new policy on exam cancellations. There's no charge for cancelling an exam if it's done "at least 24 hours prior to your appointment." Previously, a six-day advance notice had been required to avoid cancellation fees.
Lastly, Microsoft indicated that there's an extension on some Pearson VUE exam vouchers and discount offers.
"If you have a Pearson VUE delivered certification exam voucher or discount offer that is expiring between March 26 and August 31, 2020, it will be extended until January 31, 2021," Microsoft's announcement clarified.
Microsoft also pointed to its Microsoft Learn portal for those individuals wanting to learn Microsoft technologies. It offers "free, online training," "interactive-coding environments" plus "role-based learning paths."
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.