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Microsoft Cert Ladder? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello everyone!

    I am taking my first Microsoft class this fall, and I'm a bit confused about Microsoft's certification ladder. I thought MCSA was the basic certification set, but the class I am taking is supposed to be at the lowest cert level, and it covers MCTS (exam 70-680). I can't seem to find a current ladder or pyramid diagram of Microsoft's certifications.I have a pretty good grasp on how MOS certs work, I'm more concerned with Microsoft's client/server certifications.

    Can anyone help?

    Thanks!

    Saturday, July 27, 2013 1:43 AM

Answers

  • Hi Cody,

    Thanks for your question. Welcome to the forum.

    In the area of Windows client and server solutions, Microsoft certifications exist at various levels. The two most basic levels are the MCTS and the MCSA.

    The MCTS (Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist) certification is achieved by passing a single qualifying exam. It validates your skill in the use of a particular Microsoft technology, for example, a client operating system such as Windows 7. MCTS Exam 70-680 is one such exam for Windows 7.

    The MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate) certification is a broader certification, and requires the passing of two or more qualifying exams, including at least one MCTS exam. It validates your ability to design and build solutions using Microsoft’s client or server technologies. For example, the MCSA: Windows 7 certification requires the passing of two exams, MCTS Exam 70-680, and either Exam 70-685 or Exam 70-686.

    Therefore, you are starting at the bottom with your first exam. By passing this first exam you will become a Technology Specialist (MCTS). Should you pass two or more qualifying exams, you will become a Solutions Associate (MCSA). Should you choose to go further, you can become a Solutions Expert (MCSE) or even a Solutions Master (MCSM), which, although not the absolute pinnacle, is as far as most professionals will ever attempt.

    Here is a diagram of the certification pyramid you asked about:

    http://saxonslearningsolutions.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/MS-Cert-Pyramid.png

    I wish you every success with your certifications.

    James

    Saturday, July 27, 2013 3:49 AM
  • Hi Cody,

    Good to hear you again. I will try to answer your questions.

    The MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate) program provides an entry level IT certification meant primarily for students or people will little or no IT experience who are now entering the IT field. It is attained by passing a single exam, like the MCTS certification, but it’s at a level below the MCTS. You will find more information on the MTA here:

    http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/mta-certification.aspx

    The fact that your institution has signed you up for the MCTS 70-680 exam suggests that they consider you to be at the MCTS level.

    The 70-685 and 70-686 exams are quite different in focus, and target different segments of the Windows 7 market.

    Exam 70-685: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Support Technician. This exam focuses primarily on the maintenance and support of Windows 7 systems in the enterprise, and focuses a lot on desktop troubleshooting. It overlaps significantly with the 70-680 exam, so if you can pass the 70-680, then you probably can pass the 70-685 without too much worry.

    If you pass Exams 70-680 and 70-685 by January 31, 2014 you will be awarded two certifications, MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician 7, and MCSA: Windows 7. If you pass after January 31, 2014, you will only be awarded the MCSA: Windows 7.

    Exam 70-686: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Administrator. This exam’s main focus is the design, planning, management and deployment of large scale Windows 7 installations in the enterprise. It focuses a lot on automated deployment, instead of desktop troubleshooting, and does not overlap significantly with the 70-680 exam. For this reason, it is considered harder than the 70-685 exam.

    If you pass Exams 70-680 and 70-686 by January 31, 2014, you will be awarded two certifications, MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator 7, and MCSA: Windows 7. If you pass after January 31, 2014, you will only be awarded the MCSA: Windows 7.

    These are the two MCSA Windows 7 certifications. There are also MCSA Windows 8 certifications, as well as MCSA Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2012 certifications. There is no “better” or “worse” certification within any category. It all depends on your job focus and your career objectives.

    For your information, following is a link to a certification guide from Microsoft, outlining their current certification paths:

    https://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/certification-overview.aspx

    I hope I have been able to answer your questions. Please let me know if you need any other help.

    James


    Monday, July 29, 2013 10:23 PM

All replies

  • Hi Cody,

    Thanks for your question. Welcome to the forum.

    In the area of Windows client and server solutions, Microsoft certifications exist at various levels. The two most basic levels are the MCTS and the MCSA.

    The MCTS (Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist) certification is achieved by passing a single qualifying exam. It validates your skill in the use of a particular Microsoft technology, for example, a client operating system such as Windows 7. MCTS Exam 70-680 is one such exam for Windows 7.

    The MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate) certification is a broader certification, and requires the passing of two or more qualifying exams, including at least one MCTS exam. It validates your ability to design and build solutions using Microsoft’s client or server technologies. For example, the MCSA: Windows 7 certification requires the passing of two exams, MCTS Exam 70-680, and either Exam 70-685 or Exam 70-686.

    Therefore, you are starting at the bottom with your first exam. By passing this first exam you will become a Technology Specialist (MCTS). Should you pass two or more qualifying exams, you will become a Solutions Associate (MCSA). Should you choose to go further, you can become a Solutions Expert (MCSE) or even a Solutions Master (MCSM), which, although not the absolute pinnacle, is as far as most professionals will ever attempt.

    Here is a diagram of the certification pyramid you asked about:

    http://saxonslearningsolutions.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/MS-Cert-Pyramid.png

    I wish you every success with your certifications.

    James

    Saturday, July 27, 2013 3:49 AM
  • Thank you for the help James! Your post definitely helped answer some questions.

    As for the MCSA certification exams, is there a difference between 70-685 and 70-686? I've noticed that, with the Microsoft certifications, having an MCSA doesn't really mean you know both servers and clients (i.e there are separate MCSA exams for each). So I'm just worried that one of the exams is considered "better" or, at least, one covers more than the other. Is there a place that has a list of each certification and the exams associated with it? I know my way around Cisco and CompTIA's websites, but I'm completely new to Microsoft's. :P

    Also, where does the MTA certification fall in relation to MCTS and MCSA?

    Thank you again!

    Saturday, July 27, 2013 10:39 PM
  • Hi Cody,

    Good to hear you again. I will try to answer your questions.

    The MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate) program provides an entry level IT certification meant primarily for students or people will little or no IT experience who are now entering the IT field. It is attained by passing a single exam, like the MCTS certification, but it’s at a level below the MCTS. You will find more information on the MTA here:

    http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/mta-certification.aspx

    The fact that your institution has signed you up for the MCTS 70-680 exam suggests that they consider you to be at the MCTS level.

    The 70-685 and 70-686 exams are quite different in focus, and target different segments of the Windows 7 market.

    Exam 70-685: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Support Technician. This exam focuses primarily on the maintenance and support of Windows 7 systems in the enterprise, and focuses a lot on desktop troubleshooting. It overlaps significantly with the 70-680 exam, so if you can pass the 70-680, then you probably can pass the 70-685 without too much worry.

    If you pass Exams 70-680 and 70-685 by January 31, 2014 you will be awarded two certifications, MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician 7, and MCSA: Windows 7. If you pass after January 31, 2014, you will only be awarded the MCSA: Windows 7.

    Exam 70-686: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Administrator. This exam’s main focus is the design, planning, management and deployment of large scale Windows 7 installations in the enterprise. It focuses a lot on automated deployment, instead of desktop troubleshooting, and does not overlap significantly with the 70-680 exam. For this reason, it is considered harder than the 70-685 exam.

    If you pass Exams 70-680 and 70-686 by January 31, 2014, you will be awarded two certifications, MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator 7, and MCSA: Windows 7. If you pass after January 31, 2014, you will only be awarded the MCSA: Windows 7.

    These are the two MCSA Windows 7 certifications. There are also MCSA Windows 8 certifications, as well as MCSA Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2012 certifications. There is no “better” or “worse” certification within any category. It all depends on your job focus and your career objectives.

    For your information, following is a link to a certification guide from Microsoft, outlining their current certification paths:

    https://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/certification-overview.aspx

    I hope I have been able to answer your questions. Please let me know if you need any other help.

    James


    Monday, July 29, 2013 10:23 PM