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Roadmap to Success: MCSE: Messaging

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Roadmap to Success is a series of posts designed to help learners better understand certification pathways, career opportunities associated with those certifications, and next steps beyond certification.

UPDATED: We updated this article April 18, 2017, to reflect relevant changes to the Microsoft MCSE: Server Infrastructure certification curriculum.

The Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert: Messaging (MCSE: Messaging) certification emerged as a high-value certification, preparing learners to manage and administer Office 365 and Microsoft Exchange Server, two critical products in many workplaces. Typically, the MCSE: Messaging certification qualifies learners for roles such as systems administrator, systems engineer, network administrator, and more.

MCSE: Messaging

CRITICAL UPDATE: Microsoft restructured its certifications. The MCSE: Messaging certification was formally retired on March 31, 2017, and replaced by the MCSE: Productivity. For more information on the restructure, please read our What to Expect from the New Microsoft Certification Paths post.

The Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert: Messaging (MCSE: Messaging) certification (now the MCSE: Productivity) is designed to validate a learner’s knowledge and skills in moving an organization to the cloud, increasing user productivity and flexibility, reducing data loss, and generally improving data security. Unlike most other MCSE-level certifications, there are two possible paths to earn the MCSE: Messaging certification.

Learners can choose to specialize in Microsoft Office 365, in which case, the MCSE Messaging certification is made up of three exams, two of which are covered by CBT Nuggets training:

Alternatively, learners can specialize in both Microsoft Office 365 and Exchange Server 2013 and work to complete four exams. Learners choosing this path must successfully pass the following exams, all of which are covered by CBT Nuggets training:

Typically, learners pursuing this certification should have 2-3 years of experience working with Office 365 and/or Microsoft Exchange Server 2013. The MCSE is considered an intermediate- to advanced-level certification, so learners should have some experience before embarking on this certification path.

Exam Details
Pearson, the testing center that most typically provides Microsoft exams, offers a great Exam Profile series that addresses some of the MCSE: Messaging exams.

The following exam details are applicable for each exam that makes up the MCSE: Messaging certification.

70-346 and 70-347 Exams
Time allotted for exam: 2 hours (120 minutes) per exam
Number of questions: 40-60*
Passing score: 700**
Question types: Multiple choice; multiple choice/multiple answer; scenario***
Exam registration: Microsoft Learning or Pearson Vue
Exam cost: $165 (USD) per exam
Skills Measured: Each exam registration page on the Microsoft website provides a list of Skills Measured (free resource) to guide your study and preparation.

70-341, 70-342, and 70-345 Exams
Time allotted for exam: 2.5 hours (150 minutes) per exam
Number of questions: 40-60*
Passing score: 700**
Question types: Multiple choice; multiple choice/multiple answer; scenario***
Exam registration: Microsoft Learning or Pearson Vue
Exam cost: $165 (USD) per exam
Skills Measured: Each exam registration page on the Microsoft website provides a list of Skills Measured (free resource) to guide your study and preparation.

*Microsoft does not publish the exact number of questions associated with its exams. Therefore, the number of questions a learner will see varies on a case-by-case basis.
**Because the number of questions varies, it is not necessarily true that learners must earn a simple 70% to pass the exam.

Microsoft exams have a reputation for being challenging. Many learners find they have to take an exam more than once to achieve a successful outcome. Fortunately, Microsoft is aware of the level of challenge associated with their exams, and often provides an Exam Replay, allowing learners to retake exams at no cost. Please note that the Exam Replay may not always be available. Learners should research Exam Replay availability to avoid missing out on the opportunity.

Recertification

Microsoft MCSE certifications are valid for three years. According to Microsoft, recertification exams are currently available for all MCSE and MCSD specialties. Recertification exams cover material from the exams taken to originally earn the credential, with particular emphasis on the most recent technology and process changes. With the new elective exam structure for continuing education, learners have the opportunity to take an elective exam of their choosing each year to “re-earn” the certification.

The Next Step

The MCSE: Messaging certification includes the MCSA: Office 265, which serves as a building block for other MCSE-level certifications. From that foundation, many learners choose to continue their learning with certifications such as:

*Both the MCSE: Communication and MCSE: SharePoint certifications were replaced in the recent Microsoft certification restructure. Learners interested in these specializations should now pursue the MCSE: Productivity, which is made up of a pool of elective exams that include Communication and SharePoint topics.

Career Considerations
Simplyhired.com provides a helpful salary guide to help learners determine appropriate pay scales for job opportunities associated with the MCSE: Messaging certification. Depending on professional experience, an employee who holds the MCSE: Messaging certification can earn on average $57,327. Payscale.com reports a range of salaries for employees holding any MCSE certification, ranging between $50,075 and $144,966. Roles that are common for those holding an MCSE certification include systems administrator, systems engineer, network administrator, IT manager, and IT director.

Microsoft Certifications

Microsoft certifications are laid out as a pyramid, with each level of certification leading learners to higher, more specialized, complex certifications. At the base of the Microsoft pyramid, IT professionals develop the foundation of knowledge with the MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate). The next level is the MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate) and MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer), which include many of the most popular certifications among IT professionals that are offered by Microsoft, including Server 2012, Office 365, and Azure. Finally, the MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solution Expert) represents the highest level of certification offered by Microsoft and provides learners the opportunity to develop specializations related to MCSA level content.

As Microsoft describes it, the new MCSE and MCSD certifications (MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSE: Mobility, MCSE: Data Management and Analytics, MCSE: Productivity, and MCSD: AppBuilder) are aligned to Centers of Excellence, used by the Microsoft Partner Network to identify technical competencies that are widely recognizable by both Microsoft partners and customers. These credentials do not have a recertification requirement. Instead, the achievement date signals how you keep up with changes to the technology.

Each year, you have the opportunity to renew the certification by passing an exam from the list of electives, demonstrating your investment in broadening or deepening your skills in a given Center of Excellence. Each time you earn the certification, a new certification entry is added to your transcript. This process replaces the existing recertification requirement of taking a specific recertification exam every two years (MCSD) or every three years (MCSE) to prevent your certification from going inactive. Learn more about the new Microsoft certification structure.

Begin exploring other Microsoft training and certification options to open up even more professional development opportunities.

Concluding Thoughts
The MCSE: Messaging certification creates a career path built on specializations and deep expertise. Learners who pursue this level of expertise open up unique career opportunities that require specific skills sets and professionals who can distinguish themselves. Take this opportunity to start working toward your MCSE: Messaging certification today!

Watch. Learn. Conquer the MCSE!

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Not a CBT Nuggets subscriber? Start your free week now.

CBT Nuggets has everything you need to learn new IT skills and advance your career — unlimited video training and Practice Exams, Virtual Labs, validated learning with in-video Quizzes, Accountability Coaching, and access to our exclusive community of IT professionals.

Learn more about the CBT Nuggets Learning Experience.

 
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  1. Jonathan Christie says:

    Upvote for 70-345

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