Certifications / Microsoft

Roadmap to Success: MCSA: Windows Server 2012 Certification

by Karin Klinger
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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 the 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, configure, administer, 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.

Learners pursuing this certification should be familiar with Windows Server and have experience working in an enterprise environment. The MCSA is considered an intermediate-level certification, though no formal prerequisite exists. Our Microsoft Windows Server training covers plenty of information, including the certification.

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 levels are the MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate) and MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer), which include many of Microsoft's most popular certifications among IT professionals, including Server 2012, Office 365, and Azure. Finally, the MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solution Expert) represents the highest level of certification offered by Microsoft and allows learners to develop specializations related to MCSA-level content.

As Microsoft explains, 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, which the Microsoft Partner Network uses 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 technological changes. Every year, you can 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.

A new certification entry is added to your transcript each time you earn the certification. 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.

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.

MCSA: Windows Server 2012 Exam Details and Costs

The following details apply to each exam that makes up the MCSA Windows Server 2012 certification.

70-410, 70-411, and 70-412 Exams

  • Time allotted for the 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 per exam

  • Exam day logistics: On testing day, you're required to bring two forms of original (no photocopies), valid (unexpired) IDs: one primary ID (government-issued with name, photo, and signature) and one 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 beverages, are prohibited in the testing center.

  • 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 must take an exam more than once to achieve success.

Fortunately, Microsoft is aware of the challenges 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, MCSE certifications require yearly recertification under Microsoft's new certification structure.

MSCA and MCSE Certification Path

The MCSA is a building block allowing learners to earn various, more advanced Microsoft certifications. After earning the MCSA Server 2012 certification, most learners 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 learners to pass one additional exam from a pool of 10 options.

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

  • 70-532: Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions

  • 70-533: Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions

  • 70-534: Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions

  • 70-413: Designing and Implementing a Server Infrastructure

  • 70-414: Implementing an Advanced Server Infrastructure

  • 70-246: Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud

  • 70-247: Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud

Some learners may 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 choose 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!

Watch. Learn. Conquer the MCSA!


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