Microsoft Certifications: What You Need To Know

Microsoft, a world-renowned software company, is actively involved in IT training. Like many industry leaders, Microsoft organizes training courses and conducts exams and certifications for specialists in working with the company’s products. They are designed to assess the competence of a professional when using Microsoft technologies, i.e. focus on examinees’ experience rather than theoretical knowledge.

There are currently only two Microsoft certification providers. Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) and Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) exams take place at Certiport Authorized Testing Centers; all other Microsoft certifications take place at Pearson Vue Test Centers.

The cost of taking exams to obtain Microsoft certifications at different levels varies, and it is best to check it on the official Microsoft Learning and Certification Center website. Here are just some indicative figures: for example, the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA), Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE), and Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) exams usually cost $ 150.

The time allotted for taking tests varies from 50 minutes (MTA exams provided by Certiport) to 170 minutes (recertification exams).

Exams are available in different languages. If you wish, you can contact the certification provider to take the exam in English and provide additional time for this.

To prove knowledge of Microsoft technologies, you need to get a certain passing score on testing. For all MCSA, MCSE and MSCD exams, it is 700. Microsoft Office testing is rated on a scale of 1 to 1000. At Microsoft, it’s important not to focus on how many points a specialist scored: you just pass the exam and prove your skills. More points do not mean better knowledge.

The company is also actively pursuing recertification. For MCSE candidates, professionals must recertify every three years, and for MCSD, a threshold is set at every two years.

Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) Certification Options

1.     Server (Windows Server, Exchange Server, Lync, SharePoint, Microsoft Azure)

MTA Technology Associate. Basic principles of IT. Entry-level certification. By the way, its presence is not required at all to obtain MCP, MCSA or MCSD certifications.


  • MTA IT Infrastructure;
  • MTA Database;
  • MTA Developer.

MCSA Solutions Associate. Designed for those who already have some kind of IT skills.


  • MCSA: Windows Server 2012;
  • MCSA: Windows Server 2008.

MCSE Solutions Expert. Expert in the field of IT technologies. This high-class specialist is capable of creating innovative solutions and has deep knowledge of Microsoft technologies.


  • MCSE: Server Infrastructure;
  • MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure;
  • MCSE: Private Cloud;
  • MCSE: Messaging;
  • MCSE: Communication;
  • MCSE: SharePoint.

Microsoft Azure certifications. For professionals working with Microsoft Azure – cloud solutions for business.


  • Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions;
  • Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions;
  • Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions.

2.     Desktop computer (Windows, devices)

MTA Technology Associate. Basic IT principles:

  • MTA: IT Infrastructure.

MCSA Solutions Associate. Advanced level of beginner specialist with work experience:

  • MCSA: Windows 8;
  • MCSA: Windows 7.

MCSA Solutions Expert:

  • MCSE: Enterprise Devices and Apps.

3.     Applications (Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics)

MCSA Solutions Associate. Mid-level professionals in the Microsoft certification system:

  • MCSA: Office 365.

Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS). Microsoft Office specialist. Has basic skills in using these applications:

  • MOS.

Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Expert. An expert who has advanced skills in using the Microsoft Office suite of programs:

  • MOS Expert.

Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Master. Proof of your mastery of Microsoft Office applications:

  • MOS Master.

Microsoft Dynamics certifications. Formal recognition of your knowledge of Microsoft Dynamics, the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) suite of products, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM):

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM;
  • Microsoft Dynamics AX;
  • Microsoft Dynamics GP;
  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV;
  • Microsoft Dynamics SureStep.

4.     Database (SQL Server)

MTA Technology Associate. Basic IT principles:

  • MTA: Database.

MCSA Solutions Associate. Average level of proficiency in Microsoft programs in the company’s certification system:

  • MGSA: SQL Server 2012.

MCSE Solutions Expert:

  • MCSE: Data Platform;
  • MCSE: Business Intelligence.

5.     Developer (Visual Studio, SharePoint Applications, Microsoft Azure)

MTA Technology Associate. Basic IT principles:

  • MTA: Developer.

MCSD Solutions Developer. Formal recognition of your recognized prowess as a Microsoft software developer:

  • MCSD: Windows Store Apps;
  • MCSD: Web Applications;
  • MCSD: SharePoint Applications;
  • MCSD: Application Lifecycle Management.

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