Microsoft certifications are a valuable investment, but how often do they need to be renewed? In this article we talk about expirations and industry renewal standards.
With technology constantly evolving and older programs being retired to make way for new advanced programs, many people wonder whether their Microsoft certifications also might have an expiration date.
There really isn’t a simple answer to this question, so here we’ll take a look at the lifetimes of a few popular Microsoft certifications.
Keeping Up with Technology
Once you are certified, those qualifications last indefinitely. This doesn’t mean that they are indefinitely relevant. While the certification itself does not technically ‘expire,’ the skills and knowledge gained from that certification eventually will.
As Microsoft technology changes and programs evolve, Microsoft certification for older versions of software and programming is no longer pertinent, or even obsolete. A few examples of these changes include the transition from Windows Server 2008 to 2012, and SQL Server 2014 to 2016.
In the case of some certifications, exams are retired and revamped as often as every six months. It is important for every IT professional to stay updated with the latest information, but obviously re-taking a certification test every 6 months is unrealistic.
For most Microsoft certifications, it is unnecessary. You can always regularly check with Microsoft to see the updated schedule of retired exams, and schedule new certifications as needed.
For many certifications earned before 2016, an average recertification time of three years was more or less the norm. Recently, however, Microsoft has started an annual recertification cycle for many of their products, especially cloud-based technologies like Azure.
The products and software are changing so fast that there is a constant need to re-learn and re-evaluate competency of the changing technology.
Currently, 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies are using cloud-based computing with Microsoft, so it is critical to keep your training current with certifications like those related to Azure.
There are some Microsoft certifications that do not expire or have a need for renewal. Titles such as Microsoft Specialist (MS) and Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate do not have a lifespan and do not require recertification.
Newer certifications like Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) or Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) are dated by when you received them and are always worth renewing every year.
An MCSE certification, for instance, really elevates your standing in the field by testing your proficiency with Microsoft Servers such as Windows, SQL Server, Exchange Server, Sharepoint, System Center (SCCM) and Lync.
With MCSD training, you learn to expertly use all the Microsoft tools at your disposal to develop and create business applications.
MCSE certifications are now prized among the list of ‘evergreen’ IT certifications, but again, this does not mean that it is wise to never re-visit the program. As we mentioned with Azure, the technology here is rapidly changing year to year, so refreshing your knowledge, and you certificate, is a must to stay competitive.
Also, like Azure certificate re-training, the skills you gain with MCSD or MCSE are absolutely worth the investment.
For Azure, MCSD and MCSE certifications, if you feel confident with keeping up to the advancing technology, you don’t need to re-take any additional courses to renew certification, just the exams.
The Importance of Re-Certifying
Microsoft certifications are in many ways more valuable than even college degrees. In the rapidly moving field of information technology, everything is changing and evolving at breakneck speed.
Certifications are a way not only to learn unparalleled knowledge and skills, but to actually demonstrate your mastery in that specialization. It is widely agreed among IT professionals that re-certification is crucial to maintaining your competitive edge in any position.
What may have been relevant two years ago may be obsolete today.
Even more concerning, even if the technology in your specific specialization is not evolving as rapidly as others, if you wait until major advances spring forward you may be overwhelmed with the sudden changes if you have not been consistently staying on top of what seemed like minor developments.
A recent study revealed that 91 percent of employers believe that IT certifications are a reliable predictor of a potential employee’s success.
Moreover, 94 percent of hiring managers expect the importance of IT certification to grow dramatically over the next two years.
The overwhelming majority of employers surveyed indicated that they valued IT certification so greatly that they would support their employee’s pursuit of further certification.
The bottom line is that even when there is no expiration date on your Microsoft certification, there is an expiration date on the knowledge you gained from that certification.
Technology is evolving far too quickly to not be proactive in your career.
Re-certification and renewal is critical for anyone who wants to continue moving forward in IT.