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Microsoft's Inactive Date: Scary for Microsoft; Scarier for Us! RRS feed

  • Question

  • Greetings, all!

    I understand that Microsoft is implementing a new certification transcript strategy in order to be ISO-compliant with their certification program. It will include assigning unique numbers (great!) and assigning "Inactive" dates to our hard-earned certification titles. When a Microsoft decides to end mainstream support for a given product, the associated certications titles will be marked "Inactive" in our transcripts. They have stated that these certifications are not considered to have any value in today's IT job market (this is verbatim to how they explain the term, "Inactive").

    So... we as IT folks have to continue to take and pass more exams on the newer versions of the product in order to keep our certifications valuable in today's IT job market. This makes sense. I would assume (I hope!) that Microsoft will step up and release newer versions of the Microsoft product exams sooner so people like us can earn them sooner  - ultimately, so that we can stay valid in the market longer. We are at the mercy of the Microsoft's certification team's exam release schedule for new exams on the latest products. If they take an extra year on a given set of exams for a technology, we have to wait patiently. How long was it for all the .NET 4.0 exams to be released after VS 2010/.NET 4.0 was released? This is scary for us as IT people and can even be scary for partners trying to meet their partner certification requirements.

    QUESTION: As someone who spends $125.00 per exam attempt, would you take a Microsoft exam knowing that it will be marked "Inactive" in less than two years? This is scary for Microsoft. Certification is a product. People may opt not to.

    Have I wasted my time just earning the MCITP: BI for SQL 2005, knowing that it will be considered "Inactive" soon? I'm upgrading to 2008 and wanted to have the history of both products on my transcript. However, an "Inactive" title just doesn't seem (feel) to carry much weight. To be honest, as a BI specialist myself, I would still hire someone certified in SQL 2005 for my company's SQL 2008 R2 environment because the technologies haven't change that much in the 2008 versions of SQL Server.

    These are just thoughts I have about this. Microsoft's has to be really delicate with this new "Inactive" feature.

    Separate note: I love the fact that I will eventually be able to share just a portion of my certifications (even just one exam certification) to a potential elient/employer if I choose. Good idea!

    28 exams passed - 24 inactive?


    Best wishes, Davin Mickelson
    Wednesday, April 13, 2011 5:32 PM
    Answerer

Answers

All replies

  • Hi Davin,

    The official line can be found on

    http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/certification/cert-get-started.aspx#tab3

    So a certificate is marked 'Inactive' after mainstream support, or if you do not retest and this is a requirement (candidates Azure, Silverlight) or possible after two product releases.

    Most complaint I have seen is from people who have very old certs pre MCTS.

    I do think that there is a lot of confusion between old and new Cert titles amongst employers, maybe this will help.

    I already do not mention earlier certificates as it just seems to confuse, so not that concerned.

    I like the fact that the certificate will be grouped by certification types, currently they are just in date order.

    On the other side a lot of compaines cannot and do not move at the pace Microsoft would like, there is still a lot of value in older certificates.

    Those are my thoughts,

    Ozzy Geoff

    PS I think SSAS has changed quite a bit between 2005 and 2008 but I take your poin

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011 6:07 PM
  • Thanks for the helpful points and information, Ozzy.

    This situation begs the question - shouldn't an exam exist until the title is marked "Inactive"? I mean, if the title is still valid, shouldn't people still be able to earn the certification?

    A lot to think about with this change. I wonder why Microsoft is so bent on following the ISO standards. They were doing just fine before.


    Best wishes, Davin Mickelson
    Wednesday, April 13, 2011 6:28 PM
    Answerer
  • Whoops!

    According to this:
    http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/search/default.aspx?sort=PN&alpha=SQL+Server+2005&Filter=FilterNO

    ...mainstream support for SQL Server 2005 ended yesterday, April 12, 2011 - the day I passed the SQL 2005 PRO BI exam.

    The thing is, the SQL 2005 certification exams are going to retire on June 30th, 2011 - even though they are "Inactive" certifications. http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/certification/cert-sql-server.aspx#tab2


    Best wishes, Davin Mickelson
    Wednesday, April 13, 2011 7:04 PM
    Answerer
  • Well, I just hope that the employers would not think "inactive" as another word for "decertify". Many employers do not use the "latest and greatest" technology. For myself, I have never seen a project that is based on Visual Studio 2010. Heck some of them are still using VS2005.

    Alot of companies out there are still using older version of the technology because they are more confident about it, not many companies would have their product updated whenever there is a new version of a microsoft product.

    I am still confident that the inactive certificates are still worth something within the IT industry, but you need to have a very good explanation with the HR department for that "inactive" part on your cert.


    MCPD - ASP.NET Developer 3.5
    Wednesday, April 13, 2011 8:33 PM
  • There is a lot more information and a lively discussion going on here: http://borntolearn.mslearn.net/btl/b/weblog/archive/2011/03/21/transcript-and-certificate-changes-coming-soon.aspx
    Thursday, May 19, 2011 3:47 PM