Certifications / Microsoft

Roadmap to Success: MCSA: Windows Server 2012 Certification

by Karin Klinger
Roadmap to Success: MCSA: Windows Server 2012 Certification picture: A
Published on July 5, 2016

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.

The MCSA Windows Server 2012 R2 Updates certification is highly sought after among CBT Nuggets learners and in the IT industry at-large. Generally, this certification will qualify learners for positions as network or systems administrators, or computer network specialists. MCSA: Windows Server 2012 with R2 Updates Certification

Microsoft Server 2012 R2 was released in 2013 and remains the most popular on-premises server. With the R2 update, Microsoft added Office 365 support, improved VM deployment speed, and PowerShell v4. Microsoft updated the following exams to reflect the R2 updates in 2014.

The Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) Windows Server 2012 certification is intended to equip learners with the skills and knowledge needed to install and configure, administer, as well as design and manage advanced services in Windows Server 2012. The MCSA Windows Server 2012 certification is made up of three exams, all of which are covered by CBT Nuggets training:

  • 70-410 – Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012;

  • 70-411 – Administering Windows Server 2012; and

  • 70-412 – Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services.

Typically, learners pursuing this certification path should have some familiarity with Windows Server and experience working in an enterprise environment. The MCSA is considered an intermediate-level certification, though there is no formal prerequisite for this MCSA certification. Plenty of information including the certification is covered in our Microsoft Windows Server training.

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 with the opportunity to develop specializations related to MCSA level content.

As Microsoft explains 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 signifies how you keep up with changes to the technology. Every year, you have the opportunity to re-earn 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 certification options for which CBT Nuggets provides training to open up more professional development opportunities.

Downloadable MCSA: Windows Server 2012 Study Plans

CBT Nuggets offers three study plans that map to the Microsoft MCSA Server 2012 R2 70-410, 70-411, and 70-412 courses. These downloadable Microsoft MCSA Server 2012 R2 study plans break down the courses and supplemental learning resources to equip learners with a strategic and manageable approach to conquer training goals. Download the Microsoft MCSA Server 2012 70-410, 70-411, and 70-412 study plans.

MCSA: Windows Server 2012 Exam Details and Costs

The following exam details are applicable for each exam that makes up the MCSA Windows Server 2012 certification.

70-410, 70-411, and 70-412 Exams Time allotted for exam: 2 hours (120 minutes) per exam Number of questions: 40-60* per exam *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. Passing score: 700** per exam **Because the number of questions varies, it is not necessarily true that learners must earn a simple 70% to pass the exam. Question types: Active screen; Build list; Case study; Drag and drop; Hot area; Multiple choice/Best answer; Multiple choice/Single answer; Multiple choice/Multiple answer; Short answer Learn more about Microsoft exam formats and question types. Exam registration: Microsoft Learning or Pearson Vue Exam cost: $165 (USD) per exam Exam day logistics: On testing day, you're required to bring two forms of original (no photocopies), valid (unexpired) IDs — one must be a primary ID (government-issued with name, photo, and signature) and one a secondary ID (with only name required).

You will be provided with an erasable note board and marker that can be used during your exam. Most personal items, including cell phones, watches, and food and beverage, are not permitted in the testing center. Here's a list of all prohibited items and other testing center rules.

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 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. As of this post's publication date, the 70-410, 70-411, and 70-412 exams include an Exam Replay, but that may change. Learners should research Exam Replay availability to avoid missing out on the opportunity. 

MCSA Recertification and Renewal

The MCSA is not subject to recertification. However, under Microsoft's new certification structure, MCSE certifications do require recertification every year.

MSCA and MCSE Certification Path

The MCSA is a building block that allows learners to earn a variety of other, more advanced, certifications from Microsoft. After earning the MCSA Server 2012 certification, most learners choose to take the next step by earning an MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert) certification. Under Microsoft's new certification structure, earning the MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification requires that learners pass one additional exam from a pool of 10 exam options.

CBT Nuggets offers training for seven of the 10 course options:

Some learners may choose to diversify their certification resumes by pursuing certifications outside the Microsoft universe. Those who choose this path often consider the following certifications:

Career Path and Salary Considerations

Itcareerfinder.com/ provides a helpful salary guide to help learners determine appropriate pay scales for job opportunities associated with the MCSA Server 2012 certification. Depending on professional experience, an employee who holds an MCSA Server 2012 certification can earn, on average, $79,201. Payscale.com/ reports a range of salaries for employees holding any MCSA certification between $41.635 and $134,882. Roles for employees holding an MCSA certification include IT manager, IT director, systems administrator, senior systems engineer, and network engineer.

MSCA and MCSE Certification Path

Earning an MCSA is one of the first steps to launching a long-term, growth-oriented career in IT. It is a lifetime certification that prepares learners to begin choosing areas of specialization that can equip them for high-wage and high-satisfaction roles. Kickstart your career by beginning your training for the MCSA Windows Server 2012 today!

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