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Dec 20 2013   6:22PM GMT

Microsoft Specialist: Something New, or Did MS Sneak One Past Me?

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel

As I was checking Microsoft’s Born to Learn blog this morning, I stumbled across a post entitled “Earn your Microsoft Certified Specialist: Server Virtualization… with a Free Exam.” Upon following the link to item under discussion I arrived on a page labeled “MCITP: Virtualization Administrator,” a credential that’s been around for some time with which I have also been familiar for almost two years. But here’s a very interesting screen snippet from that very page:

Is this something new, or did I just miss it?

Is this something new, or did I just miss it?

Further investigation into the MS Learning Experience (LeX) pages led me to a page entitled “ Specialist: Microsoft Specialist” href=”” target=”_blank” data-mce-href=””>Microsoft Specialist” that lists 6 more such credentials (but not the Server Virtualization item that led me on this merry chase. I’m putting a call into Microsoft to learn more, but here’s what I think is going on, based on what I’ve discovered so far:

1. Some of these items used to lead to MCTS (Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist, a single-exam cert), while others led to MCITP (MIcrosoft Certified IT Professional, usually a multi-exam cert).
2. They come from all over the MS landscape, with items from programming areas (Visual Studio, Windows UX Design), MS Office (Office 365), and various unique platforms (Project 2013 and MS Dynamics), as well as the Virtualization item that led me into this voyage of discovery.
3. To some extent, I see this as an attempt to step away from the increasingly defunct and never terribly popular MCTS and MCITP credentials, while still providing focused, specialized, low-cost&effort-of-entry certs available in a number of key technology areas and for platforms of great interest to MS, its partners, and customers.

Here comes a nicely-bedecked "new" MS cert, just in time for Christmas.

Here comes a nicely-bedecked “new” MS cert, just in time for Christmas.

Of course, all of this is nothing more than a series of educated guesses on my part. Given that the Christmas break falls next week, I don’t expect my queries into LeX (launched today) to bear much fruit until the holiday season is behind us. But I will report on what I learn as soon as I can. In the meantime, let me introduce you to an apparently new MS certification credential: the Microsoft Specialist, wrapped in a nice shiny red bow just for the holidays!

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