One of the best ways to boost your IT career is to get a Microsoft Certification. Whether you work (or want to work) as an IT professional, analyst, developer, system or database administrator, a Microsoft Certification can help you prove your skills and increase your chances of getting hired or promoted.
Microsoft offers a number of certifications and despite the recent changes made by the Microsoft Training department to simplify the certification paths and categories, some students still find it difficult to decide which path to follow and which certifications to pursue.
We created this guide to help you understand how Microsoft certifications work so that you can decide which certifications are more suited for your career.
To make it easier to navigate through our guide, here is a quick table of contents.
- Microsoft Certifications Overview
- Microsoft Certifications Roadmap
- Mobility Certification Path (MCSE Mobility)
- Cloud Platform & Infrastructure Path (MCSE Cloud Platform & Infrastructure)
- Productivity Path (MCSE Productivity)
- Data Management & Analytics Path (MCSE Data Management & Analytics)
- App Builder (MCSD App Builder)
- Business Applications (MSCE Business Applications)
- Microsoft Certifications by Technology
- About Certification Camps
Microsoft Certification Program Overview
Currently there are six paths you can follow. As you can see in the diagram below, these cover all Microsoft products and technologies.
Mobility Path: Acquire the necessary skills to deploy mobility management solutions for large businesses.
Cloud Platform and Infrastructure Path: Get certified to use the Microsoft Cloud Platform infrastructure and learn how to deploy cloud-based solutions using Microsoft Azure and Windows server virtualization technologies.
Productivity Path: This is mainly related to deploying enterprise solutions using Microsoft Office Cloud products. If you want to get certified for Microsoft Office 365, Exchange, SharePoint and Skype for business, then you should follow the productivity path.
Data Management and Analysis Path: Learn how to setup, manage and deploy SQL Server solutions and how to utilize the capabilities of Microsoft Business Intelligence (BI) products to support BI projects.
App Builder Path: If you want to work as a software developer, the app builder path will teach you everything you need to know about Microsoft Development languages (C#, .NET, etc) and platforms.
Business Applications Path: Learn how to use and deploy Microsoft Dynamics technologies to businesses.
As we will see in detail below, each certification path includes a number of certifications, and some certifications are common in a number of paths.
For example, the MCSA Windows Server 2016 certification, it’s part of both the Mobility and Productivity paths.
Before getting into the details of each path, let’s first clarify what are the different types of certifications you can get.
MTA – Microsoft Technology Associate. It shows that the certification holder has fundamental knowledge in a wide range of technical concepts. The MTA certification is the first certification you can get in the Mobility, Cloud, Productivity, Data and App Builder paths.
Once you pass ANY of the Microsoft exams, then you become an MTA holder for the particular product or technology.
The MTA is the lowest level certification you can achieve.
MCSA – Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate. It’s an entry level certification but a step above MTA. To get an MCSA you need to pass two or more exams (depending on the certification).
The MCSA is available in all certification paths and a requirement to get to the more advanced Microsoft Certifications (MCSE and MCSD).
MCSD – Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer. That’s the most popular Microsoft Certification for Developers. It’s the top certification you can achieve if you follow the Apps Builder path. The MCSD is a step above MCSA and equivalent to MCSE.
MCSE: Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert. For all other paths (besides Apps Builder), the most advanced certification you can get is the MCSE. It’s also very popular and widely recognized in the IT industry.
Microsoft Certification Roadmap
Mobility Certification Path (MCSE Mobility)
Once you have the MCSA Windows 10, you can get the MCSE Mobility certification by passing one more exam: 70-398, 70-695 or 70-696.
Cloud Platform & Infrastructure Path (MCSE Cloud Platform & Infrastructure)
The top certification in the cloud platform & Infrastructure path is MCSE Cloud Platform & Infrastructure. To get to this certification, you first need to:
And pass one more exam from this group: 70-413, 70-414, 70-473, 70-475, 70-532, 70-533, 70-537, 70-538, 70-539, 70-744, 70-745.
Productivity Path (MCSE Productivity)
The Productivity path includes a number of Microsoft Products. The most advanced certification is MCSE Productivity.
To become MCSE Certified, you first need to achieve one MCSA certification on Windows Server (MCSA Windows Server 2012 or MCSA Windows Server 2016) or to get an MCSA Office 365 certification.
Once you get the MCSA status, you then need to pass one more exam (70-331, 70-332, 70-333, 70-334, 70-339, 70-341, 70-342, 70-345) to get your MCSE.
Data Management & Analytics Path (MCSE Data Management & Analytics)
You have a lot of options on your way to the top, which is the MCSE Data Management & Analytics.
The first step is to achieve ONE of the following MCSA Certifications:
MCSA Machine Leaning
MCSA BI Reporting
MCSA Data Engineering with Azure
Then, you need to take an elective exam, by choosing one of the following: 70-464, 70-465, 70-466, 70-467, 70-473, 70-475, 70-762, 70-767, 70-768, 70-773, 70-774 or 70-775.
App Builder (MCSD App Builder)
The App Builder path is for developers. If you want to make a career as a Microsoft Certified Developer than this is the certification you should go after.
To get the MCSD App Builder certification you need to achieve MCSA Web Applications or MCSA Universal Windows Platform and once pass one more exam from the following exam pool: 70-487, 70-488, 70-489, 70-496, 70-497, 70-498, 70-532, 70-535, 70-538.
Business Applications (MSCE Business Applications)
This certification is for students who want to get certified for Microsoft Dynamics 365. The top level certification is MCSE Business Applications and candidates need to first achieve either MCSA Dynamics 365 or MCSA Dynamics for Operations and also pass one of the following exams: MB2-717, MB2-718, MB6-895, MB6-896, MB6-897, MB2-877.
Microsoft Certifications by Technology
The Microsoft certification paths outlined above group certifications by category but we know that most students want to know what Microsoft certifications are available per technology.
Here is an overview of certifications grouped by technology.
Here is how certifications are grouped by type:
Microsoft Desktop Certifications
- MCSA: Windows 10
- MCSE: Mobility
Microsoft Server Certifications
- MCSA: Windows Server 2012 R2
- MCSA: Windows Server 2016
- MCSA: Windows 2016 UPGRADE
- MCSE: Cloud Platform & Infrastructure (Security)
- MCSE: Cloud Platform & Infrastructure (Azure DevOps)
- MTA: IT Infrastructure Windows Server
- MCSE: Productivity – Exchange 2013
- MCSE: Productivity – Exchange 2016
- Skype For Business
- MCSE: Productivity Skype for Business
- MCSD: App Builder (SharePoint Developer)
- MCSE Productivity Sharepoint 2013 Administrator
- MCSE Productivity SharePoint 2016 Administrator
- MCS: System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM)
- MCSA: Cloud Platform (Azure Admin)
- MCSE: Cloud Platform & Infrastructure (Azure DevOps)
- MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect
Microsoft Database Certifications
- MCSA: SQL Server 2012 / 2014
- MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Administration
- MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Development
- MCSA: SQL 2016 Business Intelligence Development
- MCSE: Data Management & Analytics (Developer)
- MCSE: Data Management & Analytics (Business Intelligence)
- MTA: Database SQL Server
Microsoft Developer Certifications
- MCSA: Web Applications
- MCSD: App Builder
- MCSD: Web Applications
- MCP: Programming in C#
- MTA: Intro To Programming
About Certification Camps
Certification Camps is a proud Microsoft Gold Partner and a Microsoft Solutions Provider (recommended by Microsoft). Certification Camps operates in 36 different training centers across the US. Our Corporate Offices are located in beautiful Sarasota, FL. We have a team of 15 dedicated instructors who consult as well as teach. Many of our instructors are authors, Microsoft MVP’s and MCMs – and all of them are consultants who work in the field.
Microsoft Bootcamp Format
Certification Camps exclusively delivers specialized training using the Microsoft Boot Camp format. Our training model blends knowledge and certification prep into one solution. This “hybrid” solution is designed for you to learn the objectives of the exam, not just “learn the exam”. You can attend our bootcamps on campus (Classroom Live) or Remotely (Virtual Classroom Live).
If you need any help choosing which Microsoft Certification is right for you, do not hesitate to contact us! We are here to help!