Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) in Certification

You may know that Microsoft released the version of the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certification and are wondering whether it is worth getting or not. To help you make your decision this article addresses everything about the new MSCA certifications and how they are structured.

The greatest difference to note between the old Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate certifications and the new ones is that the new certifications are especially designed to enable IT professionals to leverage all of their skills instead of focusing on just those that correspond with a certain job description.

The old Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator certification just targeted one particular job which ultimately narrowed an IT professional’s job prospects to those that were systems related. With the new MSCA, you can choose which area of IT that you want to focus on just as you can get certified in multiple fields of expertise.

There are many benefits to getting you MCSA certification. Some may be wondering if it’s worth updating their current certification while others are debating if they should even get one in the first place.

Well according to CompTIA’s, Employer Perceptions of IT Training and Certification, published January 2011, 64% of IT recruiters rate industry certifications as being extremely high value in as far as validating the field related skills and expertise of job applicants.

In addition to that, in IDC/Microsoft, Climate Change: Cloud’s Impact on IT Organizations and Staffing dated November 2012, training, certification and experience rank in the top 4 most important qualities being sought after by employers when recruiting for cloud-related positions.

Lastly, currently certified professional see the value in it. Of 700 IT professionals surveyed by Network World and Solar Winds for their IT Networking Study October 2011 report, 60% of them reported that they had gotten a job because of their certification. Clearly, there is value to the programs and the new MCSA modules have been improved significantly to work better for professionals.

The new MCSA credential addresses the need for professionals to prove their abilities in designing and building new technology solutions. It is much broader in terms of suitability for certain job roles and does not lock IT professionals into one type of skill.

It also can be used as a prerequisite to earning an MCSE certification.It is also important to note that for IT professionals who already hold a Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator certification their certifications do NOT just expire simply because there is a new MCSA certification. They are still certified, just not for all the other newly introduced MCSA modules.

For those that are still in college, one other great thing about MCSA certification is that is is approved for academic credit by the American Council on Education (ACE) which means that passing a Microsoft Certification exam can be applied to your transcript as US colleges.

MCSA Certification modules

  • MCSA: Windows Server 2012

The MCSA: Windows Server 2012 is primarily designed to prove that an IT professional has Windows Server 2012 skills which are relevant in multiple technical solutions.The objective is to find solutions within the business environment that reduce the business’ costs of IT while delivering business value.

An MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certification qualifies you for IT work in the areas of network or computer systems so you can anticipate jobs such as systems administrator or computer network specialist.

There are a total of 8 other certifications that IT professionals can use to upgrade to the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certification. These include the MCSA: Windows Server 2008, MCITP: Enterprise Messaging Administrator 2010, MCITP: Server Administrator on Windows Server 2008 and the MCITP: Enterprise Administrator on Windows Server 2008.

  • MCSA: Windows Server 2008

Although the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 is now in place, IT professionals are still able to qualify for the MCSA: Windows Server 2008 in order to prove that they have skills in Windows Server 2008 applied to real world business contexts.

You may wonder what the difference is between the 2012 and 2008 MCSA: Windows Server certifications. Basically MCSA: Windows Server 2008 certification is constructed for specializing in Windows Server 2008 R2 technology while MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certification is designed for Windows Server 2012 technology.

Additionally, the MCSA: Windows Server 2008 is a requirement to get MCSE: Private Cloud certification only while MCSA: Windows Server 2012 is required for the MCSE: Private Cloud, MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure, MCSE: Server Infrastructure, MCSE: Messaging, MCSE: SharePoint and MCSE: Communication certifications. This makes the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 a more versatile qualification than the MCSA: Windows Server 2008.

  • MCSA: Windows 8

The MCSA: Windows 8 certification is designed to validate your ability in managing, configuring, and maintaining Windows 8 enterprise systems.

IT professionals who earn MCSA: Windows 8 certification are able to work computer support specialists or related career fields.

There are only 3 other certifications that can be used to upgrade to the MCSA: Windows 8 certification and these are the MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician on Windows 7, the MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator on Windows 7, and the MCSA: Windows 7.

  • MCSA: Windows 7

The MCSA: Windows 7 certification is similar to the MCSA: Windows 8 certification with the exception that IT professionals are expected to prove mastery of configuring, managing and maintenance of the Windows 7 enterprise system.

There are no certifications that can be used to upgrade to the MCSA: Windows 7 certification.

  • MCSA: SQL Server 2012

The MCSA: SQL Server 2012is designed so that IT professionals can validate the necessary skills and advanced understanding in the development and maintenance of critical SQL 2012 environments within the business context.

An MCSA: SQL Server certification qualifies holders for job positions in database development and analysis so a typical job title would be database analyst or database developer.

IT professionals who hold any MCSA or MCTS certifications in SQL Server 2008 are able to upgrade their certifications to the MCSA: SQL Server 2012 certification.

  • MCSA: SQL Server 2008

The MCSA: SQL Server 2008 certification is not unlike the MCSA: SQL Server 2012 except for the fact that it is designed to prove your skill and understanding of the development and maintenance of SQL 2008 environments.

Likewise, IT professionals who earn this certification are qualified for database related positions either in development or analysis.

In order to pass the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 certification exams, IT professionals have to show skill in areas such as business intelligence development and Maintenance as well as how to implement Microsoft SQL Server 2008.

  • MCSA: Office 365

The MCSA: Office 365 certification enables you to show mastery and understanding of how to transition to cloud hosted business applications with Office 365 as well as how to administer them.

Passing an MCSA: Office 365 certification means that you are qualified for positions in software as a service (SaaS) business environments as either an SaaS administrator or as a cloud applications administrator.

You are also qualified for any positions that are focused on or related to administering Office 365 business productivity services and products such as SharePoint, Exchange and Lynx.

In conclusion, MCSA qualifications can be advantageous in terms of becoming more attractive to potential employers. If anything, they can become a networking opportunity since passing a Microsoft Certification exam qualifies you to join the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) community where you are able to access the MCP member sites.

Apart from the resources and valuable information that you will find about how to maintain your certifications and stay competitive in your field, you are also able to interact with other MCSA professionals.