Microsoft Certified (Solutions) Master, MCM/MCSM: The race goes into extra time.

– Who will be the last MCM SQL Server 😉 ?


After the announcement by Microsoft Learning (MSL) that they would no longer offer the certification MCM/MCSM/MCA caused a tremendous outcry among all those who were seriously occupied with the issue of advanced certification, striving for it or simply appreciative of its value as an indicator of highest technical skills (also see here: Microsoft Certified Master & Architect (MCM & MCA) – The End of Advanced Certification. – And a planned new beginning?), MSL decided to continue conducting the exams until the end of this year.

In other words: there is still time to attain the MCM or MCSM until 31 December.

This information was leaked in this article from “TheRegister”:

Meanwhile, it’s official 🙂

“You have until 1 January 2014 to carry out or repeat the knowledge and lab exams for your MCM Directory, SQL, Exchange and Lync certifications, and until 1 August 2013 for your MCM SharePoint certification. (Update: The latter part of the sentence disappeared from the website, so I assume all certifications will have the same end date: 31-12-2013) For the MCM SQL and MCM Exchange certifications, no training participation was required before carrying out the respective exam. If you are ready to register for an exam, please visit the Advanced Certification Learning Portal.”

For the time after, I personally am pessimistic. The sparse statements made by MSL on the issue “new beginning” are, for one, hardly more than entirely vague, and if anything, one could at least read between the lines that a new premium certification should definitely become much easier to attain so that more candidates would pass, so to speak. – In my opinion, exactly the opposite of what is needed.

So, for all those of you who have command of one of the Server products at “master-level,” now is the last chance to have your skills certified and proven by taking a standardized exam. Due to the reaction to the announcement of 1 September I assume that there might be another small rush as it seems there are many who are about to take the decisive exam. 3 ½ months are a realistic time during which you can schedule a few days of intensive learning or find an exam date if you already master the topics examined – if it is truly important to you.

Specifically with regard to SQL Server, the MCSM Data Platform can be attained on the basis of SQL Server 2012, besides the MCM for SQL Server 2008. (See here for the exams with the list of required skills: 88-986: MCSM Data Platform Knowledge Exam, Exam 88-987: MCSM Data Platform Lab Exam)

As they say, “take it now, or be silent forever” 😉

For young talent, who won’t be ready until a few years from now, let’s hope that Product Groups and Marketing themselves will deal with the issue “Advanced Certification.” As mentioned above, this cannot be expected from MSL on this level.

Before it gets evicted completely from the Microsoft Learning site:



The Microsoft masters-level certifications validate the deepest level of product expertise, in addition to the ability to design and build the most innovative solutions for complex, on-premises and hybrid enterprise environments using Microsoft technologies.

Masters certifications

If you are looking for individuals with the deepest level of technical expertise, who can create solutions using multiple Microsoft technologies, you’re looking for an MCM, MCSM, or MCA. They have validated skills that remain valuable in the industry today and for as long as the technologies they’re certified on are being used in the industry.

If you have earned an MCM, MCSM, or MCA certification, you will continue to hold that certification and will not be required to recertify your credential. You will continue to have access to the logos through the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) site, and your certifications will continue to appear in the appropriate section of your transcript.

Thus, to those who want to commit to this for the next years: Now is the time to act, to internalize last topics, and to take the exam until the end of December, or end of July 2014.

On that note, let me seize the opportunity to point to the SQL Server Master-Classes, which will enter the second (and, for Extended Events: the third) round in November: Particularly the workshop “Performance and Analysis, Techniques & -Tools” as well as the two Security workshops for a deep dive from encryption to monitoring with SQL Server will definitely be ideal for a “refresh” before the decisive practical exam.

Good luck and maybe see you soon in the shared “Alumni Distribution List.”


MCM SQL Server

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