Certifications / Microsoft

The MDAA is Retiring. Are You Ready for the Endpoint Administrator?

MD-100 and MD-101 are on their way out, and MD-102 takes their place.

Microsoft MD-100 and MD-101 versus MD-102 exams
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Published on September 1, 2023

Microsoft isn’t one to shy away from change, and that includes updates to the Microsoft 365 Certified: Modern Desktop Administrator Associate certification exams. The changes to the MDAA certification track are one of many Microsoft is rolling out this year. Both the MD-100 and MD-101 exams required to earn MDAA status are retiring on September 30, 2023. In its place will be the new Microsoft 365: Endpoint Administrator certification (MD-102) exam, which is still in beta at the time of this writing. 

What does this new Endpoint Administrator certification mean for MDAA hopefuls? How is the MD-102 different from the MD-101 and MD-100 exams? Let’s dive in. 

What Do I Need To Know for the MD-102 Exam?

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that the MD-102 exam would replace the MD-101 and MD-100 certification tests. The MD-102 has been live since July 2023, and combines exam material from both the MD-101 and MD-100 (though it appears to lean more heavily on the content from MD-101).

While much of the material covered on the MD-102 is similar to the previous exams, that doesn’t mean you won’t be tested against new knowledge domains. The new Endpoint Administrator shares the spotlight with security — which should be no surprise to anyone in IT.

If you’re hoping to become one of the first Endpoint Administrators, this new online training for the MD-102 can help you prepare for the exam. 

RELATED: Microsoft is Retiring the Enterprise Administrator Expert Cert 

What’s the Difference Between the MD-102 vs MD-101 and MD-100?

Security has become a prime focus for anything IT-related. The concept of ‘trust no one’ has existed for decades, but it’s finally taking a head seat at the table. While Microsoft’s advanced certification courses and cloud products have been updated to reflect zero-trust principles, those changes are now finally starting to appear in entry-level certifications like this one. 

The new focus of the Endpoint Administrator certification drops the legacy desktop knowledge tests in favor of cloud-first security subjects. If you’re heading into the MD-102, you’ll need to know skills like how to deploy systems remotely with a security-first mindset, and how to provide remote support with security-driven tools like Microsoft Defender Vulnerability Management dashboard. The MD-102 will also test your ability to manage the enterprise environment with Azure services architected with a proper security posture. 

Which Topics Are Not Included on the MD-102?

Not all test topics from the MD-100/MD-101 exams made the cut. The following items are no longer tested in the MD-102 certification path:

  • Azure AD user and group management

  • Most of the Conditional Access Policy section

  • Most of the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit section

  • Legacy Windows Desktop 

Microsoft has been making a big push to the cloud, so it makes sense that legacy Windows Desktop skills aren’t covered anymore. However, the Enterprise still lives and breathes Windows Desktop at the user level (even if the Windows Desktop is hosted in the cloud). 

The exclusion of the Windows Desktop knowledge domain could leave sysadmins and tech support needing more in the way of desktop knowledge. Even though the MD-102 will not test against a tech’s ability to fix client machines and provide application support — end-user support is not going away anytime soon! If you want to keep building your skills in end-user support, you may want to turn to vendor-neutral certifications like the CompTIA A+ for these skill sets in the future. 

Which New Topics Are Covered on the MD-102?

Despite the MD-102 certification test being a Frankenstein mashup of the MD-101 and MD-100 exams, it does cover the following new topics:

  • Intune Remote Help

  • Intune Role-Based Access Control

  • Intune Connector for Active Directory

  • Azure AD Local Administrator Password Solutions

  • Conditional Access Policies covering compliance and app protection

  • MS Tunnel for Intune

  • Endpoint analytics

  • Adoption Score

  • Various Android-related topics

Preparing for the New MD-102

The new certification path changes evident in the MD-102 are a clear signal that Microsoft is serious about its push to the cloud. The new Enterprise Administrator shifts focus away from the end-user deskside management objectives and places attention squarely on user management and security in the cloud. 

Given the state of cybersecurity today, this shift makes sense. Luckily, if you’ve already been studying for the current MDAA, you still have a few weeks to take the MD-100 and MD-101. Those exams retire on September 30, 2023. After that, you’ll need to go for the MD-102.

If you haven’t already started training for the MDAA, you may want to focus your efforts on the new exam. This will give you more time to study, and you won’t be in a rush to pass before the retirement date. If you’re a new IT tech, focus on earning the Enterprise Administrator (MD-102) certification first. Once that’s out of the way, you can circle back and fill in any desktop support knowledge gaps imposed by the gaps in the MD-102, since those will still apply for years to come. The CBT Nuggets Desktop Administrator Associate course is a great place to start. 

If you’re ready to go for the new Endpoint Administrator cert, CBT Nuggets trainer James Conrad covers everything required to pass the MD-102 certification exam in this MD-102 online training. But the course doesn’t stop at the topics covered on the MD-102. James leverages his industry experience to fill in the knowledge gaps the MD-102 doesn’t cover. These will continue to be essential skills for junior systems administrators for years to come. 

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