Monday, 13 June 2016

What is MCSA?

MCSA is an acronym for Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate. It is applied to a series of certifications for Microsoft’s core platform technologies including Windows Server, Windows Desktop, SQL Server and Office 365.

Attaining the MCSA certification demonstrates you have the core technical skills to design and build solutions for your chosen Microsoft technology. The credential acts as a prerequisite for the expert level Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) certification.

Below is a video giving you a full overview of the Microsoft certification program:

Current Pathways to MCSA

There currently exist 8 certifications aligned to core Microsoft technologies at the MCSA level. They are as follows:

MCSA: Windows Server 2012 - this credential proves you have mastered the core skills for Windows Server 2012. Achieving the certification qualifies you to become a system admin or computer network specialist.

MCSA: Windows Server 2008 - validates your skills working with the legacy Windows Server 2008 platform. This certification is soon to be retired.

MCSA: Windows 10 - prove you have the skills to configure, manage and maintain a Windows 10 enterprise system with this credential. This certification qualifies you for the role of a computer support specialist.

MCSA: Windows 8 - this certification demonstrates your expertise in configuring, managing and maintaining a Windows 8 enterprise system. This certification will be retiring July 2016.

MCSA: SQL Server 2012/14 - updated to align to SQL Server 2012 and 2014, this certification demonstrates your skills to query, administer and implement a SQL database. The credential qualifies for the role of database developer or database analyst.

MCSA: Office 365 - this certification proves your ability to migrate and administer business applications in the cloud with Office 365. Attaining the credential qualifies you for positions such as cloud applications administrator focussing on Office 365 business productivity applications like Exchange, SharePoint and Skype for Business

MCSA: Linux on Azure - a first for Microsoft, this certification proves your skills in designing, architecting, implementing, administering and maintaining cloud-based Linux systems on the Azure platform.

Below is the latest graphic from Microsoft detailing the Microsoft certification pathways to which MCSA fits into. Click the image to exapnd:

Future pathways to MCSA

As Microsoft continue to launch new core technologies, the pathway to MCSA will evolve to align to the latest platform. With the launch of SQL Server 2016 and the imminent public release of Windows Server 2016, the following credentials are expected in the second half of Windows Server 2016:

MCSA: Windows Server 2016 - the latest version on the server operating system will promise greater integration and streamlining for a cloud world. Whilst the new credential continues to demonstrate you have the core skills to manage Window Server 2016, these skills will likely be evolving to become more focussed on cloud integration with the Azure platform. 

MCSA: SQL Server 2016 - like the Window Server credential, the new SQL Server certification will demonstrate core skills to manage the new database platform. Though these skills will be evolving towards the cloud with a greater focus on individual disciplines including business intelligence, database administration and database development.