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Microsoft certifications are a slow-moving target

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In this post I want to explain why I think Microsoft certifications are a slow-moving target. I want to cover this due to some recent discussions.

Including a lot of people asking which exams SQL Server professionals should take now. Since the exams for the MCSE certifications are now retired.

Now I am a big fan of certifications. As some of you can probably tell from my post about speaking at PASS Data Community Summit 2022. In fact, one thing that has given me a lot of energy this year is coaching others to gain them.

One key point to remember is that even though some older certifications are still valid the most current ones are the role-based certifications. You can view all of these on the Microsoft Certifications site.

Personally, I do like the newer role-based certifications. However, they do feel like a slow-moving target because they are subject to change in different ways. One key point to remember before you read any further is that you tend to get plenty of notice about these changes.

Note that since this post was first published Microsoft have announced that they are going to retire the DP-500 exam on the exam page. It will be replaced by the DP-600 exam which focuses on Microsoft Fabric.

Announcement about the retirement of the DP-500 exam
Announcement about the retirement of the DP-500 exam

You can read more about the retirement announcement in the Microsoft post about in-demand news for in-demand skills.

Anyway, by the end of this post you will know why I think Microsoft certifications are a slow-moving target. Plus, I share some updates about some exam changes along with some advice. Whilst providing plenty of links along the way.

Examples of Microsoft certifications being a slow-moving target

Below are some examples of how Microsoft certifications can change:

  • Exams required can change
  • Skills measured can change
  • New certifications can be introduced
  • Certifications and exams can be renamed/rebranded

For example, take the four data platform certifications that I have gained below. Each of them has experienced one or more of the above changes.

Four certifications I have gained to show why Azure certifications are a slow moving target
Four data platform certifications I have gained

In the past you had to pass the DP-200 and the DP-201 exams to gain the Azure Data Engineer Associate certification. Now you must pass the newer DP-203 exam to gain it. Which requires some knowledge in different areas.

In addition, the Azure Database Administrator certification is a newer certification. Which was released some time after the first role-based certifications were announced. In order to gain this certification you must pass the DP-300 exam.

This exam caters for those with on-premises and/or Azure SQL Server related experience. In reality though, you need Azure SQL knowledge to pass the exam. If you look on the DP-300 exam page it states that the exam was updated on October 25, 2022. Due to the fact that the skills measured for it changed.

However, a fair few exams have been updated since this post was first published. You can read more about the changes to these exams in a more recent post about updates about exam pages for Azure certifications.

Next there is the Azure Enterprise Data Analyst certification that was introduced this year. You gain it by passing the popular DP-500 exam. Which mostly covers Microsoft Purview, Azure Synapse Analytics and Power BI.

Finally, in the past you had to pass the DA-100 Power BI exam to gain the Data Analyst Associate certification. Now you must pass the newer PL-300 exam in order to gain the newly rebranded Power BI Data Analyst certification.

Other certifications

In addition, I think that other certifications offered elsewhere are a slow-moving target as well.

For example, Databricks recently introduced a new version of their Databricks Engineer Associate certification. Known as V3. Andy Cutler covers some of the differences in a blog post.

Some of you can log into the Databricks Academy to view the new requirements for this in detail. Which you can log into if you are a Databricks customer, Databricks partner or you are a Microsoft employee.

Plus, Microsoft has recently introduced new GitHub certifications for Azure partners.

Final words

I hope me sharing why I think Microsoft certifications are a slow-moving target has made some of you think more about certifications. Because you need to be aware that they can change over time.

If you are thinking about taking any Microsoft certifications in the near future, I recommend you look at the exam site. Check the skills measured section. So that you know what you need to learn for the exam.

Plus, keep an eye out for any notifications that the skills measured for the exam are going to change. Also check if the exam is going to be retired.

Of course, if you have any comments or queries about this post feel free to reach out to me.

Published inCertificationsTraining


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