A Complete Microsoft Certification Guide
| training | certification paths - Michael Hess

A Complete Microsoft Certification Guide

Microsoft remains a preferred vendor at the enterprise level despite increased competition in recent years. Windows and Windows Servers are used by many organizations across different industries. Meanwhile, Azure and Office 365 have seen a recent surge in popularity among the enterprise. As such, the demand is high for professionals who can help organizations leverage Microsoft products and services.

Microsoft certifications validate the knowledge and skills that IT professionals need to be successful managing and maintaining Microsoft technologies. This CBT Nuggets Master Certification Guide covers the following topics:

  • What are the Microsoft Certifications?
  • What is the difference between MCSA and MCSE?
  • What is the MCSD Certification?
  • Role-Based Microsoft Certifications
  • MTA Certifications
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) Certification
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) Certification
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) Certification
  • Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Certification
  • Microsoft Certification Cost
  • Microsoft Recertification and Renewal
  • Microsoft Certification Salary and Career Information
  • Microsoft Certification Training

What are the Microsoft Certifications?

The Microsoft certification program is migrating toward role-based credentials for Azure and Microsoft 365 developers, administrators, solutions architects, and functional consultants. However, its certification offering still includes a number of technology-oriented credentials — Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA), Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA), Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE), Microsoft Solutions Developer (MCSD Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS).

Although this guide explores role-based Microsoft certifications in detail, here’s a useful reference to those Microsoft certifications. As Microsoft transitions to role-based certifications, it still maintains traditional technology-based Microsoft certification paths: Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA), Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA), Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE), Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS).

The Microsoft certification path has tiers that enable IT professionals to build on their skills. For example, they can start with MTA or MOS certification(s), before stepping up to the MCSA certification level. Once a candidate has acquired MCSA certification, the next logical step is to earn MCSE certification, Microsoft’s expert-level certification. Microsoft’s role-based certifications have similar layers, which reflect increasing levels of knowledge and experience.

While Microsoft MTA and some MCSA certifications have no prerequisites, all MCSE certifications have prerequisites. Candidates must earn a prerequisite MCSA certification before they sit for an MCSE exam.

What is the difference between MCSA and MCSE?

The Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) and MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solution Expert) are entry- and expert-level certification tracks. Not only do they have separate requirements and validate different skills, but the two exams also prepare learners for different IT career roles.

The Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) is an entry-level Microsoft certification that validates the knowledge and skills an entry-level IT professional will learn in their first years working with a Microsoft product. That’s why Microsoft recommends that test-takers have at least one year of experience working in a Microsoft environment.

Though recommended, Microsoft does not verify work experience in the exam process. To earn the MCSA, IT professionals typically must pass three exams. Certification at the associate level prepares IT professionals for job roles including system or network administrator, desktop support specialist, or other support roles. MCSA certification is also a prerequisite for MCSE certification.

MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solution Expert) is an expert-level Microsoft certification. While the MCSA is a two- or three-exam series, earning MCSE requires passing only one exam. The MCSE validates a higher level of expertise than MCSA. It may only require an additional exam to earn the MCSE, but the subject matter is more difficult and technically deeper than MCSA exams. The MCSE typically qualifies candidates for IT management roles.

Role-Based Microsoft Certifications

Role-based certifications, the newest addition to the Microsoft certification program, are designed to address the disconnect that exists between the knowledge needed to pass certification exams and the knowledge needed to successfully perform job roles. Role-based Microsoft certification paths are organized in three levels of increasing experience:

  • Fundamentals
  • Associate
  • Expert
  • Specialty

There are no prerequisites for Fundamentals- or Associate-level certifications. However, candidates should be familiar with, and experienced using, the technologies associated with the exams they take. To be eligible to earn Expert-level role-based certifications, candidates are required to have earned at least one Associate-level certification.

Note: Microsoft plans to keep releasing new role-based certifications. You should check the Microsoft certifications page regularly for updates.

Fundamental-Level Role-Based Microsoft Certifications

Most IT professionals acknowledge a gap exists between what certifications test and real-world situations. At the fundamental level, the width of that gap is great because these certifications are designed for brand new IT professionals. Microsoft is attempting to Microsoft offers three fundamental-level certifications:

  • Microsoft 365 Certified Fundamentals
  • Microsoft Certified Azure Fundamentals
  • Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Fundamentals
  • Microsoft Certified: Power Platform Fundamentals

Microsoft 365 Certified Fundamentals

The Microsoft 365 Certified Fundamentals certification is designed for IT professionals who communicate options available in Microsoft 365 and the benefits of adopting cloud services, the Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud model, and implement Microsoft 365 cloud services. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Understand cloud concepts
  • Understand core Microsoft 365 services and concepts
  • Understand security, compliance, privacy, and trust in Microsoft 365
  • Understand Microsoft 365 pricing and support

Required exams: Earning the Microsoft 365 Certified Fundamentals certification requires passing one exam — Microsoft 365 Fundamentals (MS-900).

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft designed this certification for IT professionals and business professionals with some hands-on experience with Microsoft 365.

Microsoft Certified Azure Fundamentals

The Microsoft Certified Azure Fundamentals certification is designed for IT professionals who work with core Azure Services, Azure pricing and support, and the fundamentals of cloud security, privacy, compliance, and trust. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Understand cloud concepts
  • Understand core Azure services
  • Understand security, privacy, compliance, and trust
  • Understand Azure pricing and support

Required exams: Earning the Azure Fundamentals certification requires passing one exam — Microsoft Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900).

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft designed this certification for IT professionals with hands-on experience with fundamental Azure functions and pricing structures.

Microsoft Certified Dynamics 365 Fundamentals

The Microsoft Certified Dynamics 365 Fundamentals certification is designed for IT professionals who use Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platform, including understanding Dynamic 365 licensing, onboarding, and support, and deployment and release options. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Understand Dynamics 365
  • Understand cloud concepts
  • Understand deployments and releases

Required exams: Earning the Dynamics 365 Fundamentals certification requires passing one exam — Microsoft Dynamics 365 Fundamentals (MB-901).

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft designed this certification for IT professionals and business professionals with some hands-on experience with Dynamics 365.

Microsoft Certified: Power Platform Fundamentals

The Microsoft Certified: Power Platform Fundamentals certification is designed for IT professionals who regularly work with Power Bi, Power Apps, and Power Automate. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Identify the components of Power Bi, Power Apps, and Power Automate
  • Identify business cases for each tool with Power Platform

Required exams: Earning the Power Platform certification requires passing one exam — Power Platform Fundamentals (PL-900).

Prerequisites: None

Recommended experience: Microsoft designed this certification for IT professionals with hands-on experience with fundamental knowledge of Power Platform tools.

Associate-Level Role-Based Microsoft Certifications

In the past, Microsoft certs validated whether IT pros knew a Microsoft product. Role-based certifications, however, align with skills. Not necessarily just product knowledge. Microsoft offers 17 associate-level certifications:

  • Microsoft 365 Certified: Modern Desktop Administrator Associate
  • Microsoft 365 Certified: Messaging Administrator Associate
  • Microsoft 365 Certified: Teamwork Administrator Associate
  • Microsoft 365 Certified: Security Administrator Associate
  • Microsoft 365 Certified: Developer Associate
  • Microsoft 365 Certified: Teams Administrator Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Engineer Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Data Analyst Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Sales Functional Consultant Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Marketing Functional Consultant Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Customer Service Functional Consultant Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Field Service Functional Consultant Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Finance Functional Consultant Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, Manufacturing Functional Consultant Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management Functional Consultant Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Power Apps + Dynamics 365 Developer Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365: Finance and Operations Apps Developer Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Database Administrator Associate

Microsoft 365 Certified: Modern Desktop Administrator Associate

The Microsoft 365 Certified: Modern Desktop Administrator Associate certification is designed for IT professionals who deploy, configure, secure, manage, and monitor devices and client applications in an enterprise environment. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Deploy Windows
  • Manage devices and data
  • Configure connectivity
  • Maintain Windows
  • Deploy and update operating systems

This is one of the five optional prerequisites for the Microsoft 365 Certified Enterprise Administrator Expert certification.

Required exams: Earning the Modern Desktop Administrator Associate certification requires passing two exams:

  • Windows 10 (MD-100)
  • Managing Modern Desktops (MD-101)

Prerequisites: The Microsoft 365 Certified Fundamentals certification is recommended, but not required.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends hands-on experience managing and maintaining the Windows 10 operating system and devices prior to attempting this certification exam.

Microsoft 365 Certified: Messaging Administrator Associate

The Microsoft 365 Certified: Messaging Administrator Associate certification is designed for IT professionals who deploy, configure, manage, and monitor messaging infrastructure, permissions, client access, mail protection, and mail flow in on-premises, hybrid, and cloud enterprise environments. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Manage modern messaging infrastructure
  • Manage mail flow topology
  • Manage recipients and devices
  • Plan and implement a hybrid configuration and migration
  • Secure the messaging environment

This is one of the five optional prerequisites for the Microsoft 365 Certified Enterprise Administrator Expert certification.

Required exams: Earning the Messaging Administrator Associate certification requires passing two exams:

  • Planning and Configuring a Messaging Platform (MS-200)
  • Implementing a Hybrid and Secure Messaging Platform (MS-201)

Prerequisites: The Microsoft 365 Certified Fundamentals certification is recommended, but not required.

Recommended experience: Microsoft designed this certification for entry-level IT professionals experienced with Microsoft collaboration services.

Microsoft 365 Certified: Teamwork Administrator Associate

The Microsoft 365 Certified: Teamwork Administrator Associate certification is designed for IT professionals who configure, deploy, and manage Office 365 workloads that focus on efficient and effective collaboration such as SharePoint (online, on-premises, and hybrid), OneDrive, and Teams. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Configure and manage SharePoint Online
  • Configure and manage OneDrive for Business
  • Configure and manage Teams
  • Configure and manage SharePoint On-Premises
  • Migrate to SharePoint Online

This is one of the five optional prerequisites for the Microsoft 365 Certified Enterprise Administrator Expert certification.

Required exams: Earning the Teamwork Administrator Associate certification requires passing two exams:

  • Deploying Microsoft 365 Teamwork (MS-300)
  • Deploying SharePoint Server Hybrid (MS-301)

Prerequisites: The Microsoft 365 Certified Fundamentals certification is recommended, but not required.

Recommended experience: Microsoft designed this certification for entry-level IT professionals experienced with Microsoft collaboration services.

Microsoft 365 Certified: Security Administrator Associate

Holders of the Microsoft 365 Certified: Security Administrator Associate certification is designed for IT professionals who deploy Microsoft 365 enterprise and hybrid environments, implement and manage security and compliance solutions, respond to threats, and enforce data governance. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Implement and manage identity and access
  • Implement and manage threat protection
  • Implement and manage information protection
  • Manage governance and compliance features in Microsoft 365

This is one of the five optional prerequisites for the Microsoft 365 Certified Enterprise Administrator Expert certification.

Required exam: Earning the Microsoft 365 Certified: Security Administrator Associate certification requires passing one exam — Microsoft 365 Security Administration (MS-500).

Prerequisites: The Microsoft 365 Certified Fundamentals certification is recommended, but not required.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends hands-on experience implementing security features on Microsoft 365 prior to attempting this certification exam.

Microsoft 365 Certified: Developer Associate

The Microsoft 365 Certified: Developer Associate certification is designed for IT professionals who design, build, test, and maintain applications and solutions that are optimized for the productivity and collaboration needs of organizations using the Microsoft 365 platform. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Build apps with Microsoft Graph
  • Extend and customize SharePoint
  • Extend and customize Teams
  • Implement Microsoft Identity

Required exams: Earning the Developer Associate certification requires passing one exam — Building Applications and Solutions with Microsoft 365 Core Services (MS-600).

Prerequisites: The Microsoft 365 Certified Fundamentals certification is recommended, but not required.

Recommended experience: Microsoft designed this certification for entry-level IT professionals experienced with Microsoft collaboration services.

Microsoft 365 Certified: Teams Administrator Associate

The Microsoft 365 Certified: Teams Administrator Associate certification is designed for IT professionals who configure, deploy, and manage Office 365 workloads for Microsoft Teams that focus on efficient and effective collaboration and communication in an enterprise environment. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Plan and configure a Microsoft Teams environment
  • Manage Chat, Calling, and Meetings
  • Manage Teams and App Policies

Required exams: Earning the Teams Administrator Associate certification requires passing one exam — Managing Microsoft Teams (MS-700).

Prerequisites: The Microsoft 365 Certified Fundamentals certification is recommended, but not required.

Recommended experience: Microsoft designed this certification for entry-level IT professionals experienced with Microsoft collaboration services.

Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Engineer Associate

The Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Engineer Associate certification is designed for IT professionals who deploy cognitive services, machine learning, and knowledge mining to architect and implement Microsoft AI solutions involving natural language processing, speech, computer vision, bots, and agents. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Analyze solution requirements
  • Design AI solutions
  • Implement and monitor AI solutions

Required exams: Earning the Azure AI Engineer Associate certification requires passing one exam — Designing and Implementing an Azure AI Solution (AI-100).

Prerequisites: The Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals certification is recommended, but not required.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends hands-on experience building, managing, and maintaining Azure AI services prior to attempting this certification exam.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate

The Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate certification certification is designed for IT professionals who implement, monitor, and maintain Microsoft Azure solutions, including major services related to compute, storage, network, and security. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Manage Azure subscriptions and resources
  • Implement and manage storage
  • Deploy and manage virtual machines
  • Configure and manage virtual networks
  • Manage identities

This certification is a prerequisite for the Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert certification.

Required exams: Earning the Azure Administrator Associate certification requires passing one exam — Microsoft Azure Administrator (AZ-104).

Prerequisites: The Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals certification is recommended, but not required.

Recommended experience: This certification is aimed at IT professionals who are early in their careers.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends hands-on experience building, managing, and maintaining Azure cloud services prior to attempting this certification exam.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate

The Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate certification validates that the candidate possesses the knowledge and skills to design, develop, test, and maintain cloud solutions, such as applications and services, partnering with cloud solution architects, cloud DBAs, cloud administrators, and clients to implement these solutions. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Develop Azure Infrastructure as a Service compute solutions
  • Develop Azure Platform as a Service compute solutions
  • Develop for Azure storage
  • Implement Azure security
  • Connect to and consume Azure and third-party services

This certification is a prerequisite for the Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert.

Required exam: Earning the Azure Developer Associate certification requires passing one exam — Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure (AZ-204).

Prerequisites: The Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals certification is suggested, but not required.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends hands-on experience building, managing, and maintaining Azure computing services prior to attempting this certification exam.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate

The Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate certification is designed for IT professionals who implement security controls and threat protection, manage identity and access, and protect data, applications, and networks in cloud and hybrid environments as part of end-to-end infrastructure. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Manage identity and access
  • Implement platform protection
  • Manage security operations
  • Secure data and applications

Required exam: Earning the Azure Security Engineer Associate certification requires passing one exam — Microsoft Azure Security Technologies (AZ-500).

Prerequisites: The Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals certification is recommended, but not required.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends hands-on experience implementing Azure security services prior to attempting this certification exam.

Microsoft Certified: Data Analyst Associate

The Microsoft Certified: Data Analyst Associate certification is designed for IT professionals who regularly use Power BI to prepare, model, and visual data for business intelligence. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Prepare data for Power BI ingestion
  • Model data with Power BI
  • Visualize and analyze data
  • Deploy and maintain user deliverables

Required exams: Earning the Data Analyst Associate certification requires passing one exam — Analyzing Data with Microsoft Power BI (DA-100).

Prerequisites: The Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals certification is recommended, but not required.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends hands-on experience with the Power BI platform as well as a good understanding of how to work with common data types, databases, and data processing techniques.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate

The Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate certification is designed for IT professionals who design and implement the management, monitoring, security, and privacy of data using the full stack of Azure data services to satisfy business needs. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Implement data storage solutions
  • Manage and develop data processing
  • Monitor and optimize data solutions
  • Design Azure data storage solutions
  • Design for data security and compliance

Required exams: Earning the Azure Data Engineer Associate certification requires passing two exams:

  • Implementing an Azure Data Solution (DP-200)
  • Designing an Azure Data Solution (DP-201).

Prerequisites: The Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals certification is recommended, but not required.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends hands-on experience building, managing, and maintaining Azure data services prior to attempting this certification exam.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate

The Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate certification is designed for IT professionals who apply Azure’s machine learning techniques to train, evaluate, and deploy models that solve business problems. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Define and prepare the development environment
  • Prepare data for modeling
  • Perform feature engineering
  • Develop models

Required exams: Earning the Azure Data Scientist Associate certification requires passing one exam — Designing and Implementing a Data Science Solution on Azure (DP-100).

Prerequisites: The Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals certification is recommended, but not required.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends hands-on experience building, managing, and maintaining Azure data services prior to attempting this certification exam.

Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 for Sales Functional Consultant Associate

The Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 for Sales Functional Consultant Associate certification is designed for IT professionals who implement solutions that anticipate and plan customer connections, manage deals through processing and closing, and accelerate sales team performance using data analytics. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Perform solutions deployment and testing
  • Perform configuration
  • Manage core sales entities
  • Manage sales entities

Required exams: Earning the Dynamics 365 for Sales Functional Consultant Associate certification requires passing two exams:

  • Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Core (MB-200)
  • Dynamics 365 for Sales (MB-210)

Prerequisites: The Microsoft Certified Dynamics 365 Fundamentals certification is recommended, but not required.

Recommended experience: Microsoft designed this certification for entry-level IT professionals and business professionals experienced with Dynamics 365.

Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 for Marketing Functional Consultant Associate

The Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 for Marketing Functional Consultant Associate certification is designed for IT professionals who implement solutions that attract and convert leads, build brand awareness, standardize omni-channel messaging, and deliver marketing insights. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Perform discovery, planning, and analysis
  • Manage user experience design
  • Manage entities and data
  • Implement security
  • Implement integration

Required exams: Earning the Dynamics 365 for Marketing Functional Consultant Associate certification requires passing two exams:

  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Core (MB-200)
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing (MB-220)

Prerequisites: The Microsoft Certified Dynamics 365 Fundamentals certification is recommended, but not required.

Recommended experience: Microsoft designed this certification for entry-level IT professionals and business professionals experienced with Dynamics 365.

Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 for Customer Service Functional Consultant Associate

The Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 for Customer Service Functional Consultant Associate certification is designed for IT professionals who build customer experience (CX) solutions that are fast, agile, and leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to drive actionable insights that anticipate customer needs. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Perform solutions deployment and testing
  • Perform configuration
  • Manage cases and the knowledge base
  • Manage queues, entitlements, and SLAs
  • Configure voice of the customer

Required exams: Earning the Dynamics 365 for Customer Service Functional Consultant Associate certification requires passing two exams:

  • Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Core (MB-200)
  • Dynamics 365 for Customer Service (MB-230)

Prerequisites: The Microsoft Certified Dynamics 365 Fundamentals certification is recommended, but not required.

Recommended experience: Microsoft designed this certification for entry-level IT professionals and business professionals experienced with Dynamics 365.

Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 for Field Service Functional Consultant Associate

The Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 for Field Service Functional Consultant Associate certification is designed for IT professionals who implement solutions that manage the field service lifecycle, and deploying the Connected Field Service (IoT) solution. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Perform discovery, planning, and analysis
  • Manage user experience design
  • Manage entities and data
  • Implement security
  • Implement integration

Required exams: Earning the Dynamics 365 for Field Service Functional Consultant Associate certification requires passing two exams:

  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Core (MB-200)
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Field Service (MB-240)

Prerequisites: The Microsoft Certified Dynamics 365 Fundamentals certification is recommended, but not required.

Recommended experience: Microsoft designed this certification for entry-level IT professionals and business professionals experienced with Dynamics 365.

Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 for Finance Functional Consultant Associate

The Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Finance Functional Consultant Associate certification is designed for IT professionals who unify global financials and operations, automate tasks and workflows, and streamline customer ordering, selling, invoicing, and reporting. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Set up and configure financial management
  • Manage and apply common processes
  • Implement and manage accounts payable and receivable
  • Manage budgeting and fixed assets

Required exams: Earning the Dynamics 365 Finance Functional Consultant Associate certification requires passing two exams:

  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 Unified Operations Core (MB-300)
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Financials (MB-310)

Prerequisites: The Microsoft Certified Dynamics 365 Fundamentals certification is suggested, but not required.

Recommended experience: Microsoft designed this certification for entry-level IT professionals and business professionals experienced with Dynamics 365.

Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 for Supply Chain Management, Manufacturing Functional Consultant Associate

The Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 for Supply Chain Management, Manufacturing Functional Consultant Associate certification is designed for IT professionals who integrate digital and physical systems, improve visibility, manufacturing efficiency and flexibility, and lower costs for their clients. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Perform data migration
  • Validate and support the solution
  • Set up and configure manufacturing
  • Create and manage production and lean orders
  • Create, process, and manage production batch orders

Required exams: Earning the Dynamics 365 for Supply Chain Management, Manufacturing Functional Consultant Associate certification requires passing two exams:

  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 Unified Operations Core (MB-300)
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Manufacturing (MB-320)

Prerequisites: The Microsoft Certified Dynamics 365 Fundamentals certification is recommended, but not required.

Recommended experience: Microsoft designed this certification for entry-level IT professionals and business professionals experienced with Dynamics 365.

Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 for Supply Chain Management Functional Consultant Associate

The Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 for Supply Chain Management Functional Consultant Associate certification is designed for IT professionals who streamline essential business functions. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Perform data migration
  • Validate and support the solution
  • Implement product information management
  • Implement inventory management
  • Implement and manage supply chain processes

Required exams: Earning the Dynamics 365 for Supply Chain Management Functional Consultant Associate certification requires passing two exams:

Prerequisites: The Microsoft Certified Dynamics 365 Fundamentals certification is suggested, but not required.

Recommended experience: Microsoft designed this certification for entry-level IT professionals and business professionals experienced with Dynamics 365.

Microsoft Certified: Power Apps + Dynamics 365 Developer Associate

The Microsoft Certified: Power Apps + Dynamics 365 Developer Associate certification is designed for IT professionals who work with Microsoft Power Apps and Dynamics 365 are responsible for designing, developing, securing, and extending a Dynamics 365 implementation. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Extend the Power Apps platform
  • Manage user experience design
  • Configure business process automation
  • Develop integrations between Dynamics 365 and Power Apps

Required exams: Earning the Power Apps + Dynamics 365 Developer Associate certification requires passing two exams:

Prerequisites: The Microsoft Certified Dynamics 365 Fundamentals certification is recommended, but not required.

Recommended experience: Microsoft designed this certification for entry-level developers with experience in JavaScript, TypeScript, C#, HTML, .NET, Microsoft Azure, Office 365, RESTful Web Services, ASP.NET, and Power BI.

Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365: Finance and Operations Apps Developer Associate

The Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365: Finance and Operations Apps Developer Associate certification is designed for IT professionals who work with Finance and Operations apps in Microsoft Dynamics 365 implement and extend applications to meet the requirements of the business. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Develop and test code
  • Implement reporting
  • Integrate and manage data solutions
  • Plan architecture and solution design

Required exams: Earning the Dynamics 365: Finance and Operations Apps Developer Associate certification requires passing two exams:

Prerequisites: The Microsoft Certified Dynamics 365 Fundamentals certification is recommended, but not required.

Recommended experience: Microsoft designed this certification for entry-level developers familiar with at least one object-oriented programming language, T-SQL, PowerShell, Visual Studio, Azure DevOps, and SSMS.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Database Administrator Associate

The Microsoft Certified: Azure Database Administrator Associate certification is designed for IT professionals who implement and manage the operational aspects of cloud-native and hybrid data platform solutions built on Azure Data Services and SQL Server. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Plan and implement data platform resources
  • Implement a secure environment
  • Monitor and optimize operational resources
  • Perform administration by using T-SQL

Required exams: Earning the Azure Database Administrator Associate certification requires passing one exam — Administering Relational Databases on Microsoft Azure (DP-900).

Prerequisites: The Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals certification is recommended, but not required.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends hands-on experience with Azure Data Services and SQL Server, and a good handle on T-SQL.

Expert-Level Role-Based Microsoft Certifications

In an effort to bridge the gap between product and job, Microsoft created role-based certs to better prepare IT professionals for success on the job. Microsoft offers three expert-level certifications:

  • Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator Expert
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert
  • Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 + Power Platform Solution Architect Expert
  • Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365: Finance and Operations Apps Solution Architect Expert

Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator Expert

The Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator Expert certification is designed for IT professionals who evaluate, plan, migrate, deploy, and manage Microsoft 365 services. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Design and implement Microsoft 365 services
  • Plan Office 365 workloads and applications
  • Implement modern device services
  • Implement Microsoft 365 security and threat management
  • Manage Microsoft 365 governance and compliance

Required exams: Earning the Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator Expert certification requires passing two exams:

  • Microsoft 365 Identity and Services (MS-100)
  • Microsoft 365 Mobility and Security (MS-101)

Prerequisites: Prior to attempting this Expert-level role-based certification, candidates must earn one of five Associate-level role-based certifications:

  • Microsoft 365 Certified: Modern Desktop Administrator Associate
  • Microsoft 365 Certified: Teamwork Administrator
  • Microsoft 365 Certified: Security Administrator Associate
  • Microsoft 365 Certified: Messaging Administrator Associate
  • Microsoft 365 Certified: Teams Administrator

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends considerable hands-on experience managing, migrating, and deploying Microsoft 365 services prior to attempting this certification exam.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert

The Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification is designed for IT professionals who design solutions that run on Azure, including expertise in compute, network, storage, and security. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Deploy and configure infrastructure
  • Create and deploy apps
  • Implement authentication and secure data
  • Develop for the cloud and for Azure storage
  • Determine workload requirements

Required exams: Earning the Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification requires passing two exams:

  • Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies (AZ-300)
  • Microsoft Azure Architect Design (AZ-301)

Prerequisites: None

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends considerable hands-on experience managing, migrating, and deploying Azure services prior to attempting this certification exam.

Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert

The Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert certification is designed for IT professionals who combine people, processes, and technologies to continuously deliver valuable products and services that meet business objectives and the needs of end-users. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Implement continuous integration
  • Implement continuous delivery
  • Implement dependency management
  • Implement application infrastructure
  • Implement continuous feedback

Required exam: Earning the Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert certification requires passing one exam — Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions (AZ-400).

Prerequisites: Prior to attempting this Expert-level role-based certification, candidates must earn either Azure Administrator Associate or Azure Developer Associate.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends considerable hands-on experience managing, migrating, and deploying Azure services prior to attempting this certification exam.

Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 + Power Platform Solution Architect Expert

The Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 + Power Platform Solution Architect Expert certification is designed for IT professionals who lead successful implementations of the two platforms and focus on how solutions address the broader business and technical needs of organizations. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Perform solution envisioning and requirement analysis
  • Architect a solution
  • Implement the solution

Required exam: Earning the Dynamics 365 + Power Platform Solution Architect Expert certification requires passing one exam — Microsoft Dynamics 365 + Power Platform Solution Architect (MB-600).

Prerequisites: Prior to attempting this Expert-level role-based certification, candidates must one of Associate-level role-based certifications:

Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365: Finance and Operations Apps Solution Architect Expert

The Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365: Finance and Operations Apps Solution Architect Expert certification is designed for IT professionals who consult with organizations and implementation team members to refine business needs into a well-defined and cost-effective solution. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Identify solution requirements
  • Design solution components
  • Define solution testing and management strategies

Required exam: Earning the Finance and Operations Apps Solution Architect Expert certification requires passing one exam — Microsoft Dynamics 365: Finance and Operations Apps Solution Architect (MB-700).

Prerequisites: Prior to attempting this Expert-level role-based certification, candidates must one of Associate-level role-based certifications:

Specialty Role-Based Microsoft Certifications

Microsoft specialty role-based certifications validate that a candidate can fully implement specialized applications of Azure services. Microsoft offers two specialty certifications:

  • Microsoft Certified: Azure for SAP Workloads Specialty
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure IoT Developer Specialty

Microsoft Certified: Azure for SAP Workloads Specialty

The Microsoft Certified: Azure for SAP Workloads Specialty certification is designed for architects with extensive experience with SAP solutions. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Migrate SAP Workloads to Azure
  • Design an Azure solution to support SAP workloads
  • Build and deploy Azure for SAP workloads
  • Validate Azure infrastructure for SAP workloads
  • Operationalize Azure SAP architecture

Required exam: Earning the Azure for SAP Workloads Specialty certification requires passing one exam — Planning and Administering Microsoft Azure for SAP Workloads (AZ-120).

Prerequisites: Prior to attempting this Specialty-level role-based certification, Microsoft strongly recommends architects have the Azure Administrator or Azure Architect certification, and SAP HANA and Linux certifications.

Microsoft Certified: Azure IoT Developer Specialty

The Microsoft Certified: Azure IoT Developer Specialty certification is designed for IT professionals who implement Azure IoT tools and services required to create and maintain the cloud and edge portion of an IoT solution. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Implement the IoT solution infrastructure
  • Provision and manage devices
  • Implement Edge
  • Process and manage data
  • Monitor, troubleshoot, and optimize IoT solutions

Required exam: Earning the Azure IoT Developer Specialty certification requires passing one exam — Microsoft Azure IoT Developer (AZ-220).

Prerequisites: Prior to attempting this Specialty-level role-based certification, Microsoft recommends hands-on experience with IoT coding tasks in at least one Azure-supported language, including C#, Node, C, or Python.

Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) Certification

Microsoft MTA certifications are entry level and designed to provide foundational knowledge in areas including Windows, networking, security, the cloud, and programming. It’s an ideal starting point for those who are new to IT, or Microsoft certification, and prepares learners to earn MCSA certification or role-based certifications. Microsoft offers 12 MTA certifications:

  • MTA: Database Fundamentals
  • MTA: HTML5 Application Development Fundamentals
  • MTA: Introduction to Programming Using HTML and CSS
  • MTA: Introduction to Programming Using Java
  • MTA: Introduction to Programming Using JavaScript
  • MTA: Introduction to Programming Using Python
  • MTA: Mobility and Device Fundamentals
  • MTA: Networking Fundamentals
  • MTA: Security Fundamentals
  • MTA: Software Development Fundamentals
  • MTA: Windows Operating System Fundamentals
  • MTA: Windows Server Administration Fundamentals

There are no prerequisites to sit for Microsoft MTA certification exams. However, Microsoft strongly recommends that candidates have familiarity with the technologies associated with the exams they choose to take. Candidates would benefit from having a foundational knowledge of, and hands-on experience with those technologies.

MTA: Database Fundamentals

The MTA: Database Fundamentals certification is designed for IT professionals who store data in relational databases, manipulate data, and secure and backup databases. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Understanding core database concepts
  • Use the Data Manipulation Language
  • Manipulate data
  • Understand data storage
  • Administer a database

Required exam: Earning the MTA: Database Fundamentals certification requires passing one exam — Database Fundamentals (98-364).

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends hands-on experience with Microsoft SQL Server and SQL prior to attempting this exam.

MTA: HTML5 Application Development Fundamentals

The MTA: HTML5 Application Development Fundamentals certification is designed for IT professionals who configure HTML5 tags to display text, graphics, and media, and managing and maintaining JavaScript. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Manage the application life cycle
  • Build the user interface
  • Format the user interface by using Cascading Style Sheets
  • Code by using JavaScript
  • Application Cache API

Required exam: Earning the MTA: HTML5 Application Development Fundamentals certification requires passing one exam — HTML5 Application Development Fundamentals (98-375).

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends experience with programming languages HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript prior to attempting this exam.

MTA: Introduction to Programming Using HTML and CSS

The MTA: Introduction to Programming Using HTML and CSS certification is designed for IT professionals who use front-end programming languages HTML and CSS, structure HTML markup, and style pages with CSS. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Understand HTML fundamentals
  • Understand CSS fundamentals
  • Structure documents using HTML
  • Present multimedia using HTML
  • Style web pages using CSS

Required exam: Earning the MTA: Introduction to Programming Using HTML and CSS certification requires passing one exam — Introduction to Programming Using HTML and CSS (98-383).

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends at least 100 hours of instruction or hands-on experience with programming languages HTML and CSS prior to attempting this exam.

MTA: Introduction to Programming Using Java

The MTA: Introduction to Programming Using Java certification is designed for IT professionals who construct and evaluate code, implement flow controls, and troubleshoot code. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Understand Java fundamentals
  • Work with data types, variables, and expressions
  • Implement flow control
  • Perform object-oriented programming
  • Compile and debug code

Required exam: Earning the MTA: Introduction to Programming Using Java certification requires passing one exam — Introduction to Programming Using Java (98-388).

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends 150 hours of instruction or hands-on experience with Java prior to attempting this exam.

MTA: Introduction to Programming Using JavaScript

The MTA: Introduction to Programming Using JavaScript certification is designed for IT professionals who write code in JavaScript, interact with the Document Object Model, and interact with HTML forms. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Program with JavaScript operators, methods, and keywords
  • Program with variables, data types, and functions
  • Implement and analyze decisions and loops
  • Interact with the document object model
  • Interact with HTML forms

Required exam: Earning the MTA: Introduction to Programming Using JavaScript certification requires passing one exam — Introduction to Programming Using JavaScript (98-382).

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends 100 hours of instruction or hands-on experience with JavaScript prior to attempting this exam.

MTA: Introduction to Programming Using Python

The MTA: Introduction to Programming Using Python certification is designed for IT professionals who write in Python, troubleshoot syntax and logic Kills, handle Kills, and use built-in Python modules. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Perform operations using data types and operators
  • Control flow with decisions and loops
  • Perform input and output operations
  • Document and structure code
  • Perform troubleshooting and Kill handling
  • Perform operations using modules and tools

Required exam: Earning the MTA: Introduction to Programming Using Python certification requires passing one exam — Introduction to Programming Using Python (98-381).

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends 100 hours of instruction or hands-on experience with Python prior to attempting this exam.

MTA: Mobility and Device Fundamentals

The MTA: Mobility and Device Fundamentals certification is designed for IT professionals who configure devices, manage data access, cloud services, device security, and enterprise mobility. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Understand device configurations
  • Understand data access and management
  • Understand device security
  • Understand cloud services
  • Understand enterprise mobility

Required exam: Earning the MTA: Mobility and Device Fundamentals certification requires passing one exam — Mobility and Devices Fundamentals (98-368).

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends hands-on experience with Windows devices prior to attempting this exam.

MTA: Networking Fundamentals

The MTA: Networking Fundamentals certification is designed for IT professionals who work with network infrastructure, hardware, and protocols on wired and wireless networks. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Understanding network infrastructures
  • Understanding network hardware
  • Understanding protocols and services

Required exam: Earning the MTA: Networking Fundamentals certification requires passing one exam — Networking Fundamentals (98-366).

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends some hands-on experience with the Windows Server, Windows-based networking, network management tools, DNS, TCP/IP, and network protocols and topologies prior to attempting this exam.

MTA: Security Fundamentals

The MTA: Security Fundamentals certification is designed for IT professionals who work with security layers, operating system security, network security, and security software. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Understand security layers
  • Understand operating system security
  • Understand network security
  • Understand security software

Required exam: Earning the MTA: Security Fundamentals certification requires passing one exam — Security Fundamentals (98-367).

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends some hands-on experience with the Windows Server, Windows-based networking, Active Directory, anti-malware products, firewalls, network topologies and devices, and network ports prior to attempting this exam.

MTA: Software Development Fundamentals

The MTA: Software Development Fundamentals certification is designed for IT professionals who work with programming web applications and desktop applications with C# or .NET. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Understanding object-oriented programming
  • Understanding general software development
  • Understanding web applications
  • Understanding desktop applications
  • Windows forms application basics

Required exam: Earning the MTA: Software Development Fundamentals certification requires passing one exam — Software Development Fundamentals (98-361).

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends some hands-on experience with C# or Microsoft Visual Basic .NET prior to attempting this exam.

MTA: Windows Operating System Fundamentals

The MTA: Windows Operating System Fundamentals certification is designed for IT professionals who manage and maintain applications, files, folders, devices, and operating system configurations on Microsoft Windows. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Understanding operating system configurations
  • Installing and upgrading client systems
  • Managing applications and devices
  • Managing files and folders
  • Understanding operating system maintenance

Required exam: Earning the MTA: Windows Operating System Fundamentals certification requires passing one exam — Windows Operating System Fundamentals (98-349).

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends some hands-on experience with Windows prior to attempting this exam.

MTA: Windows Server Administration Fundamentals

The MTA: Windows Server Administration Fundamentals certification is designed for IT professionals who install and maintain servers, Active Directory, storage, server performance, and server maintenance. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Understanding server installation
  • Understanding Active Directory
  • Understanding storage
  • Understanding server performance management
  • Understanding server maintenance

Required exam: Earning the MTA: Windows Server Administration Fundamentals certification requires passing one exam — Windows Server Administration Fundamentals (98-365).

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends some hands-on experience with Windows Server, Windows-based networking, Active Directory, account management, and system recovery tools prior to attempting this exam.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) Certification

NOTE: Microsoft will be retiring all MCSA certifications and exams on January 31, 2021.

Microsoft MCSA certifications validate that candidates possess the technical knowledge needed for entry-level IT jobs. Microsoft offers 10 MCSA certifications:

  • MCSA: BI Reporting
  • MCSA: Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations
  • MCSA: SQL 2016 BI Development
  • MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Administration
  • MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Development
  • MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014
  • MCSA: Universal Windows Platform
  • MCSA: Web Applications
  • MCSA: Windows Server 2012
  • MCSA: Windows Server 2016

Microsoft recommends at least one year of experience with a technology before attempting an MCSA exam, so IT professionals should earn MCSA certifications that best match their job roles and responsibilities. However, there are no prerequisites required to sit for MCSA exams. For individuals with less than a year of experience, a relevant MTA certification might be a good starting point.

MCSA: BI Reporting

The MCSA: BI Reporting certification is designed for IT professionals who analyze data with both Power BI and Excel. Candidates should have experience using and transforming data, modeling and visualizing data, and configuring dashboards using those tools. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Consuming and transforming data by using Power BI Desktop
  • Modeling and visualizing data
  • Configure dashboards, reports and apps in the Power BI Service
  • Consume and transform data by using Microsoft Excel
  • Model and visualize data

Required exams: Earning the MCSA: BI Reporting certification requires passing two exams:

Prerequisites: None. Candidates should have experience using Power BI and Excel.

Recommended experience: Microsoft designed this certification for entry-level BI professionals and data analysts experienced with PowerBI and Excel.

MCSA: Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations

The MCSA: Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations certification is designed for IT professionals who implement the basic technical and development tasks required to customize Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Understand the architecture and development environment
  • Develop new elements by using Application Explorer
  • Read and write Basic X++
  • Manage the User Interface and Security for Developers
  • Develop and extend retail components

Required exams: Earning the MCSA: Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations certification requires passing three exams:

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft designed this certification for entry-level technical consultants, programmers, and IT professionals experienced with SQL and database infrastructure.

MCSA: SQL 2016 BI Development

The MCSA: SQL 2016 BI Development certification is designed for IT professionals who create business intelligence (BI) solutions with multidimensional data models, OLAP cubes, and tabular data models using both on-premises and cloud-based databases. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Design, implement, and maintain a data warehouse
  • Extract, transform, and load data
  • Build data quality solutions
  • Design a multidimensional business intelligence
  • Design a tabular BI semantic model

Required exams: Earning the MCSA: SQL 2016 BI Development certification requires passing two exams:

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft designed this certification for entry-level BI professionals and developers experienced with SQL and database infrastructure.

MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Administration

The MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Administration certification is designed for IT professionals who install, maintain, and provision both on-premises and cloud-based databases. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Configure data access and auditing
  • Manage backup and restore of databases
  • Manage and monitor SQL Server instances
  • Manage high availability and disaster recovery

Required exams: Earning the MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Administration certification requires passing two exams:

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft designed this certification for entry-level data professionals experienced with SQL and database infrastructure.

MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Development

The MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Development certification is designed for IT professionals who build and administer high-availability databases for both on-premises and cloud-based environments. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Design and implement database objects
  • Implement programmability objects
  • Manage database concurrency
  • Manage data with Transact-SQL
  • Query data with advanced Transact-SQL components

Required exams: Earning the MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Development certification requires passing two exams:

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft designed this certification for entry-level data professionals and developers experienced with T-SQL and database infrastructure.

MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014

The MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014 certification is designed for IT professionals who develop, implement and maintain mission-critical database, data warehouse, and business intelligence solutions. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Install and configure SQL Server 2012
  • Understanding surface area configuration
  • Hardware and software requirements for installing SQL Server 2012
  • Create database objects

Required exams: Earning the MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014 certification requires passing three exams:

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft designed this certification for entry-level data professionals, system engineers, and developers experienced with SQL Server 2012/2014.

MCSA: Universal Windows Platform

The MCSA: Universal Windows Platform certification is designed for IT professionals who develop Universal Windows Platform apps that offer a compelling user experience across a wide range of Windows devices. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Develop a XAML page layout for an adaptive UI
  • Implement page navigation and lifecycle events
  • Implement feature detection for adaptive coding
  • Manage user input and custom user interactions
  • Manage authentication and identity management

Required exams: Earning the MCSA: Universal Windows Platform certification requires passing two exams:

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends at least two years of experience with C++, XAML and Visual Studio 2015 prior to attempting this certification exam.

MCSA: Web Applications

The MCSA: Web Applications certification is designed for IT professionals who implement modern Microsoft ASP.NET web apps using JavaScript/CSS3 or C#. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Design the application architecture
  • Entity framework development workflows
  • Data adapters and data readers
  • ASP.NET state management overview
  • Design the build and deployment architecture

Required exams: Earning the MCSA: Web Applications certification requires passing three exams:

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends a candidate have at least three years of experience using JavaScript/CSS3 or C# to develop Microsoft ASP.NET web applications prior to attempting this certification exam.

MCSA: Windows Server 2012

The MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certification is designed for IT professionals who implement, manage, maintain, and provision services and infrastructure in a Windows Server 2012 environment. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Install and configure servers
  • Deploy, manage, and maintain servers
  • Windows Server update services overview
  • Configure and manage high availability
  • Manage network load balancing clusters

Required exams: Earning the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certification requires passing three exams:

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft designed this certification for entry-level systems or network administration professionals experienced with Windows Server 2012.

MCSA: Windows Server 2016

The MCSA: Windows Server 2016 certification is designed for IT professionals who implement and manage the installation, storage, compute, and networking features, and Active Directory identity functionality available in Windows Server 2016. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Install Windows Servers in Host and Compute Environments
  • Implement Storage Solutions
  • Implement Hyper-V
  • Implement Windows Containers
  • Implement High Availability

Required exams: Earning the MCSA: Windows Server 2016 certification requires passing three exams:

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft designed this certification for entry-level systems or network administration professionals experienced with Windows Server 2016.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) Certification

NOTE: Microsoft will be retiring all MCSE certifications and exams on January 31, 2021.

Microsoft MCSE certifications are expert-level certifications aimed at IT professionals who need to keep developing their skill sets and stay up to date on the latest technologies and best practices. Microsoft offers four MCSE certifications:

  • MCSE: Business Applications
  • MCSE: Core Infrastructure
  • MCSE: Data Management and Analytics
  • MCSE: Productivity Solutions Expert

MCSE: Business Applications

The MCSE: Business Applications certification is designed for IT professionals who implement, configure, and troubleshoot Microsoft Dynamics 365 technologies. It positions them for career opportunities including Microsoft Dynamics 365 developer, implementation consultant, technical support engineer, or system administrator. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Configure Microsoft Dynamics 365
  • Implement Microsoft Dynamics 365 entities, entity relationships, and fields
  • Create and manage Microsoft Dynamics 365 solutions, forms, views, and visualizations
  • Implement business rules, workflows, and business process flows

Required exams: Earning the MCSE: Business Applications certification requires passing one of three exams:

Prerequisites: Prior to attempting this MCSE, candidates must earn either MCSA: Microsoft Dynamics 365 or MCSA: Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends at least three years of experience with Dynamics 365 prior to attempting this certification exam.

 MCSE: Core Infrastructure

The MCSE: Core Infrastructure certification is designed for IT professionals who run a highly efficient and modern data center, and identity management, systems management, virtualization, storage, and networking. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Plan and deploy a server infrastructure
  • Windows deployment with the windows ADK
  • Windows deployment services overview
  • Install, use, and remove windows server migration tools
  • Design and implement network infrastructure services

Required exams: Earning the MCSE: Core Infrastructure certification requires passing one of five exams:

Prerequisites: Prior to attempting this MCSE, candidates must earn either MCSA: Windows Server 2016 or MCSA: Windows Server 2012.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends at least three years of experience with Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2016 prior to attempting this certification exam.

MCSE: Data Management and Analytics

The MCSE: Data Management and Analytics certification is designed for IT professionals who use the SQL programming language, build enterprise-scale data solutions, and leverage business intelligence data — in both on-premise and cloud environments. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Design and implement database objects
  • Implement programmability objects
  • Manage database concurrency
  • Optimize database objects and SQL infrastructure

Required exams: Earning the MCSE: Data Management and Analytics certification requires passing one of eight exams:

Prerequisites: Prior to attempting this MCSE, candidates must earn one of five MCSA certifications:

  • MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014
  • MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Administration
  • MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Development
  • MCSA: SQL 2016 BI Development
  • MCSA: BI Reporting

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends at least three years of experience with SQL Server 2012/2014, SQL, data modelling, or Azure databases prior to attempting this certification exam.

MCSE: Productivity Solutions Expert

The MCSE Productivity Solutions Expert certification is designed for IT professionals who move their organization to the cloud, increase user productivity and flexibility, reduce data loss, and improve enterprise data security. The credential positions them for career opportunities in network and computer systems administration. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Plan, deploy, manage, and troubleshoot mailbox databases
  • Plan, deploy, manage and troubleshoot client access services
  • Plan and design Skype for business with enterprise voice
  • Deploy and configure enterprise voice
  • Design SharePoint infrastructure

This certification can be used to satisfy one of the prerequisites to become a Microsoft 365 Certified Enterprise Administrator Expert.

Required exams: Earning the MCSE: Productivity Solutions Expert certification requires passing one of four exams:

  • Designing and Deploying Microsoft Exchange Server 2016 (70-345)
  • Managing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2016 (70-339)
  • Deploying Enterprise Voice with Skype for Business 2015 (70-333)
  • Core Solutions of Microsoft Skype for Business 2015 (70-334)

Prerequisites: Prior to attempting this MCSE, candidates must earn either MCSA: Windows Server 2016 or MCSA: Windows Server 2012.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends at least three years of experience with Microsoft collaboration products prior to attempting this certification exam.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) Certification

NOTE: Microsoft will be retiring all MCSD certifications and exams on January 31, 2021.

The Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) is an expert-level certification aimed specifically at developers. Microsoft offers one MCSD certification:

MCSD: App Builder

The MCSD: App Builder certification is designed for IT professionals who build modern web and mobile applications and services. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Develop a XAML page layout for an adaptive UI
  • Implement page navigation and lifecycle events
  • Implement data access and data binding
  • Implement feature detection for adaptive coding
  • Manage user input and custom user interactions

Required exams: Earning the MCSD: App Builder certification requires passing one of three exams:

Prerequisites: Prior to attempting this MCSD, candidates must earn either MCSA: Web Applications or MCSA: Universal Windows Platform.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends at one to five years of experience developing Microsoft web applications prior to attempting this certification exam.

Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Certification

Microsoft offers a range of Microsoft Office certifications for its suite of productivity apps — Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. There are four tiers of MOS certification, with increasing levels of difficulty:

  • Specialist
  • Associate
  • Expert
  • Master

There are no prerequisites to earn MOS: Specialist certifications. However, these certs are prerequisites to the higher level Associate, Expert, and Master certifications.

Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS)

Specialist-level Microsoft Office Specialist certifications demonstrate a fundamental knowledge of Microsoft Office programs. At this level, candidates specialize in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, or Outlook. Each certification requires passing just one exam. Microsoft offers eight MOS certifications:

  • Microsoft Office Specialist: Microsoft Word 2016
  • Microsoft Office Specialist: Microsoft Excel 2016
  • Microsoft Office Specialist: Microsoft PowerPoint 2016
  • Microsoft Office Specialist: Microsoft Access 2016
  • Microsoft Office Specialist: Microsoft Outlook 2016
  • Microsoft Office Specialist: Word Associate (Word and Word 2019)
  • Microsoft Office Specialist: Excel Associate (Excel and Excel 2019)
  • Microsoft Office Specialist: PowerPoint Associate (PowerPoint and PowerPoint 2019)

Microsoft Office Specialist: Microsoft Word 2016

The MOS: Microsoft Word 2016 certification is designed for business professionals who use the Word environment and use basic word processing features such as formatting text, creating tables, and inserting and manipulating images. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Create and manage documents
  • Format text, paragraphs, and sections
  • Create tables and lists
  • Create and manage references
  • Insert and format graphic elements

Required exam: Earning the MOS: Microsoft Word 2016 certification requires passing one exam — Word 2016: Core Document Creation, Collaboration, and Communication (77-725).

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends at least 150 hours of instruction and hands-on experience with Microsoft Word 2016 prior to attempting the exam.

Microsoft Office Specialist: Microsoft Excel 2016

The MOS: Microsoft Excel 2016 certification is designed for business professionals who use the Excel environment and use basic data processing features such as merging data, summarizing data with functions, and creating charts. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Create and manage worksheets and workbooks
  • Manage data cells and ranges
  • Create tables
  • Perform operations with formulas and functions
  • Create charts and objects

Required exam: Earning the MOS: Microsoft Excel 2016 certification requires passing one exam — Excel 2016: Core Data Analysis, Manipulation, and Presentation (77-727).

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends at least 150 hours of instruction and hands-on experience with Microsoft Excel 2016 prior to attempting the exam.

Microsoft Office Specialist: Microsoft PowerPoint 2016

The MOS: Microsoft PowerPoint 2016 certification is designed for business professionals who use the PowerPoint environment and use basic presentation features such as adding images, charts, and tables, applying transitions, and managing multiple presentations. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Create and manage presentations
  • Insert and format text, shapes, and images
  • Insert tables, charts, smartart, and media
  • Apply transitions and animations
  • Manage multiple presentations

Required exam: Earning the MOS: Microsoft PowerPoint 2016 certification requires passing one exam — Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2016 (77-729).

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends at least 150 hours of instruction and hands-on experience with Microsoft PowerPoint 2016 prior to attempting the exam.

Microsoft Office Specialist: Microsoft Access 2016

The MOS: Microsoft Access 2016 certification is designed for business professionals who use the Access environment and use basic data processing features such as importing data, building and creating tables, queries, and reports. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Create and manage a database
  • Build tables
  • Create queries
  • Create forms
  • Create reports

Required exam: Earning the MOS: Microsoft Access 2016 certification requires passing one exam — Microsoft Office Access 2016 (77-730).

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends at least 150 hours of instruction and hands-on experience with Microsoft Access 2016 prior to attempting the exam.

Microsoft Office Specialist: Microsoft Outlook 2016

The MOS: Microsoft Outlook 2016 certification is designed for business professionals who use the Outlook environment and use basic email client features such as formatting emails, managing contacts, and creating appointments, meetings, and events. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Manage the outlook environment for productivity
  • Manage messages
  • Manage schedules
  • Manage contacts and groups

Required exam: Earning the MOS: Microsoft Outlook 2016 certification requires passing one exam — Microsoft Outlook 2016 (77-731).

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends at least 150 hours of instruction and hands-on experience with Microsoft Outlook 2016 prior to attempting the exam.

Microsoft Office Specialist: Associate (Office 365 and Office 2019)

The following certifications are for Office 2019 programs and are prerequisites for the new Microsoft Office Specialist: Associate (Office 365 and Office 2019).

Microsoft Office Specialist: Word Associate (Word and Word 2019)

The MOS: Word Associate (Word and Word 2019) certification is designed for business professionals who use the Word environment and use basic word processing features such as formatting text, creating tables, and inserting and manipulating images. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Insert and format text, paragraphs, and sections
  • Manage tables and lists
  • Create and manage references
  • Insert and format graphic elements
  • Manage document collaboration

This certification is one of three required exams for Microsoft Office Specialist: Associate (Office 365 and Office 2019).

Required exam: Earning the MOS: Word Associate (Word and Word 2019) certification requires passing one exam — Microsoft Word (Word and Word 2019) (MO-100).

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends at least 150 hours of instruction and hands-on experience with Microsoft Word or Word 2019 prior to attempting the exam.

Microsoft Office Specialist: Excel Associate (Excel and Excel 2019)

The MOS: Excel Associate (Excel and Excel 2019) certification is designed for business professionals who use the Excel environment and use basic data processing features such as merging data, summarizing data with functions, and creating charts. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Manage worksheets and workbooks
  • Manage data cells and ranges
  • Manage tables and table data
  • Perform operations by using formulas and functions
  • Manage charts

This certification is one of three required exams for Microsoft Office Specialist: Associate (Office 365 and Office 2019).

Required exam: Earning the MOS: Excel Associate (Excel and Excel 2019) certification requires passing one exam — Microsoft Excel (Excel and Excel 2019) (MO-200).

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends at least 150 hours of instruction and hands-on experience with Microsoft Excel or Excel 2019 prior to attempting the exam.

Microsoft Office Specialist: PowerPoint Associate (PowerPoint and PowerPoint 2019)

The MOS: PowerPoint Associate (PowerPoint and PowerPoint 2019) certification is designed for business professionals who use the PowerPoint environment and use basic presentation features such as adding images, charts, and tables, applying transitions, and managing multiple presentations. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Manage presentations
  • Manage slides
  • Insert and format text, shapes, and images
  • Insert tables, charts, smartArt, 3D models, and media
  • Apply transitions and animations

This certification is one of three required exams for Microsoft Office Specialist: Associate (Office 365 and Office 2019).

Required exam: Earning the MOS: PowerPoint Associate (PowerPoint and PowerPoint 2019) certification requires passing one exam — Microsoft PowerPoint (PowerPoint and PowerPoint 2019) (MO-300).

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends at least 150 hours of instruction and hands-on experience with Microsoft PowerPoint or PowerPoint 2019 prior to attempting the exam.

Microsoft Office Specialist: Associate (MOS Associate)

The MOS: Microsoft Office Specialist: Associate (Office 365 and Office 2019) certification is designed for business professionals who use the Microsoft Office 365 or Office 2019 productivity tool suites.

Required exams: Earning the Microsoft Office Specialist: Associate (MOS Associate) certification requires passing three of four specialist-level exams:

  • Microsoft Word (Word and Word 2019) (MO-100
  • Microsoft Excel (Excel and Excel 2019) (MO-200
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (PowerPoint and PowerPoint 2019) (MO-300
  • Microsoft Outlook (Outlook and Outlook 2019) (MO-400) Coming Soon

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends that candidates be expert-level users of Word 2016 and/or Excel 2016 and proficient in the use of advanced features of the relevant program(s).

Microsoft Office Specialist: Expert (MOS Expert)

Expert-level Microsoft Office Specialist certifications demonstrate a deep knowledge of Microsoft Office programs. At this level, candidates specialize in either Word or Excel. Microsoft offers two expert-level MOS certifications:

  • Microsoft Office Specialist: Expert on Microsoft Office 2016
  • Microsoft Office Specialist: Expert on Microsoft Office 2019

Microsoft Office Specialist: Expert on Microsoft Office 2016

The MOS: Expert on Microsoft Office 2016 certification is designed for business professionals who use the Microsoft Office 2016 suite of tools.

Required exams: Earning the Microsoft Office Specialist: Expert on Microsoft Office 2016 certification requires passing one exam in either Word or Excel, respectively:

  • Microsoft Word 2016 Expert: Creating Documents for Effective Communication (77-726)
  • Microsoft Excel 2016 Expert: Interpreting Data for Insights (77-728)

Prerequisites: Prior to attempting this Expert-level Office certification, candidates must first earn the Microsoft Office Specialist: Associate certification.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends that candidates be expert-level users of Word 2016 and/or Excel 2016 and proficient in the use of advanced features of the relevant program(s).

Microsoft Office Specialist: Expert on Microsoft Office 2019

The MOS: Expert on Microsoft Office 2019 certification is designed for business professionals who use the Microsoft Office 2019 suite of tools.

Required exams: Earning the Microsoft Office Specialist: Expert on Microsoft Office 2019 certification requires passing one of two additional yet-to-be-released Expert-level exams.

Prerequisites: Prior to attempting this Expert-level Office certification, candidates must first earn the Microsoft Office Specialist: Associate certification.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends that candidates be expert-level users of Word 2019, Excel 2019, and PowerPoint 2019 and be proficient in using the advanced features of these programs.

Microsoft Office Specialist Master (MOS Master)

The Microsoft Office Specialist: Master (MOS Master) is the broadest credential in the MOS certification set. It validates that the candidate has a comprehensive set of skills and knowledge spanning the Microsoft Office suite.

Microsoft Office Specialist: Master on Microsoft Office 2016

The MOS: Expert on Microsoft Office 2016 certification is designed for business professionals who use the Microsoft Office 2016 suite of tools.

Required exams: Earning the Microsoft Office Specialist: Master on Microsoft Office 2016 certification requires passing two exams — one of three Expert-level exams:

  • Microsoft Word 2016 Expert: Creating Documents for Effective Communication (77-726)
  • Microsoft Excel 2016 Expert: Interpreting Data for Insights (77-728)
  • PowerPoint 2016 (77-729)

Additionally, candidates must pass one of two additional exams:

  • Access 2016: Core Database Management, Manipulation, and Query Skills (77-730)
  • Outlook 2016: Core Communication, Collaboration and Email Skills (77-731)

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Microsoft recommends that candidates be expert users of a full set of Office 2016 products, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, as well as Outlook or Access.

Microsoft Certification Cost

Most Microsoft exams cost $165 for test takers in the United States and Canada. Exams for the fundamentals-level, role-based Microsoft certifications cost $99, while MTA exams cost $127 and MOS exams cost $100. These prices do not include any taxes, vouchers, promotions or discounts you may have. Microsoft certification exam costs for international test takers range from $55 to $165 per exam in their local currency.

Because MCSA and MCSE certifications require either two or three exams, the total cost to earn MCSA and MCSE certifications ranges from $330 to $495 in the United States.

Microsoft Recertification and Renewal

Microsoft certifications do not expire or require recertification/renewal. Microsoft certification holders can find all their certifications listed on their official Microsoft Certified Professional Transcript. Certifications are classified as “Active” or “Legacy.” Certifications will remain in “Active” status until Microsoft retires their associated exams. Microsoft typically retires exams when products or services associated with exams reach the end of life. When that happens, certifications will be listed as “Legacy,” but they aren’t expired.

While not required, 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. As new technologies and products are released, learners are strongly advised to consider earning associated certifications to keep their knowledge and skill sets up to date.

With the new elective exam structure for continuing education, learners have the option to take an elective exam of their choosing each year, in order to “re-earn” an annual badge on their certification. This verifies that they are keeping their skills current with changing technologies.

Microsoft Certification Salary and Career Information

Payscale.com provides helpful salary information that can help learners determine appropriate pay scales for job opportunities associated with Microsoft certifications. Payscale.com reports a range of salaries in the United States between $50,000 and $145,000 for IT pros holding Microsoft certification.

Common roles for those who hold MTA, MCSA, and MCSE certification include IT manager, IT director, systems administrator, and senior systems engineer. According to Payscale the average U.S. salary for MTA-certified professionals is $66,000, MCSA-certified professionals is $73,000 and MCSE-certified professionals is $92,000. Of course these are averages, so salaries in particular regions, for specific industries, and for different specializations may be significantly higher. Experience level can also play a factor in salary ranges.

Common roles for those who hold MOS certification include executive assistant, office manager, and receptionist. According to Payscale.com, the average salary for MOS-certified professionals is $50,000.

Microsoft’s new role-based certifications are designed to prepare learners for on-the-job success from the start. They represent Microsoft’s attempt to address a common concern among IT professionals. The knowledge required to pass certification exams doesn’t always apply to real-world situations. For those who are new to IT and Microsoft certifications, these role-based certifications represent an excellent opportunity to build a strong career foundation.

Microsoft Certification Training

CBT Nuggets offers a wide variety of Microsoft certification training. Our Microsoft training is broken down into areas of expertise, which include Azure, networking, systems administration, server administration, and Office.

CBT Nuggets also has certification playlists for in-demand Microsoft certifications — meaning all the training learners need to earn those certifications can be accessed in one place. Microsoft certification playlists include Office 365 and Server 2016.

A CBT Nuggets subscription includes access to Virtual Labs that cover Microsoft technologies. Virtual Labs enable learners to get hands-on experience with products in a sandbox environment.

A CBT Nuggets subscription also includes access to Kaplan IT Training Practice Exams, which include practice tests for a variety of Microsoft certifications.

Good luck to you as you start on your Microsoft certification path! Our training offerings change from time to time as we support the Microsoft certification roadmap. Be sure to check CBT Nuggets for new and updated on-line courses that are relevant to your personal Microsoft career path.

Microsoft Master Certification Guide • Created: November 2018/Revised August 2019 • For: CBT Nuggets

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