I finally got a chance to talk to a couple of folks in MS Learning last Thursday, about the new MCSA: Windows 8 last Thursday, and learned a number of interesting things that I wanted to pass along to my readers. But first, I’m happy to report that both the Windows 7 and Windows 8 MCSA credentials have made it onto the MCSA web page, as shown in this screen capture snippet:
Thanks to MS Learning PR person Megan Kahn, I met with Jim Clark — a Product Planner at MS Learning — and Shelby Grieve — Director of Microsoft Certifications — to talk about what’s up with the newly-completed MCSA: Windows 8, and about MS Learning’s thoughts and plans for its desktop credentials. The biggest piece of information I can report from this encounter is that there are no current plans for a purely desktop-focused MCSE. In other words, there will be no MCSE: Windows 8. Instead, MS Learning views the MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure as the logical successor to both the MCSA: Windows 7 and MCSA: Windows 8, as its Windows Client Certification web page clearly depicts:
Looking ahead, in fact, MS Learning views the cloud as the predominant source of client connections into MS networks and services, which means that desktop clients occupy the stage by themselves any more. As Ms. Grieve put it “we’re interested in making client connections to any device, from anywhere that users want to access information and services.” Interestingly, this included multiple mentions of iOS (Apple’s mobile device OS) during our conversation, as well as Windows desktop and mobile operating systems as well. The idea is to support “distributed IT operations” that are nevertheless centralized because they provide a single, coherent view of clients and servers through a consistent console/dashboard, thanks to System Center, and numerous client and server management tools.
I also learned that the evolution from Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) to Microsoft Certified Solution Master (MCSM) — both of which represent skills and knowledge beyond the MCSE level in the Microsoft certification universe — will enable the company to focus more on solution oriented credentials close to the pinnacle of Microsoft certification. Grieve and Clark also indicated that the company is working to make these credentials more accessible by reducing the costs of entry, and opening more testing locations around the world. The idea is to make it easier and less expensive for interested senior IT professionals to advance to this higher rung of Microsoft certification. It should be interesting to understand what this means as more details become available.