Microsoft recently released new details on upcoming certification changes for Windows, Windows Server and the MCSM program.

  • Windows 8.1 – Due to the abundance of changes coming with Windows 8.1, new training materials will become available soon. It’s unclear at this point when that will be, but expect to see something tangible from Microsoft once 8.1 hits GA.
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 – More than likely 2012 R2 will affect most IT Pros out there, so it’s important to know how the new release will affect certifications. If you’re in the middle of your progress towards MCSA 2012 (like me), then you’ll be happy to know that you’re not wasting your time. The majority of questions found in the current exams should largely remain the same. The recommendation is to keep working towards your exam, as you won’t be penalized for not taking the updated exams for 2012 R2. In the mean time you can check out the What’s New in Windows Server 2012 R2 Jump Start on July 10th and 11th 2013. Microsoft also posted updates to their FAQ about this change.
  • MCSM Program – Starting this month, Microsoft is dropping the training requirement that was needed to gain MCSM certifications. And by the looks of it you can take all required labs and exams remotely. The previous required training was an intense 3 week program that set you back just under $20K! The current MCSM requirements are now much cheaper and friendlier to people with tight schedules (which is just about everyone).

The most notable change here is the dropping of the training requirements for MCSM. In the SharePoint world, gaining MCSM really set you apart from the crowd. There are already concerns out there that this change has already devalued the prestige of the certification itself. What do you think?