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Microsoft poor practices on retiring exams! RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • I don’t think it’s fair to technology workers that Microsoft retires certification exams before the actual underlying product that the certification relates to reaches its end of support date.  Employers still want their employees to obtain certifications in products that a company uses in the field. 

    For Example:  The extended support end date for SQL 2008 R2 products is July, 2019 but Microsoft is already announcing that it is retiring the exams in July 2013.  The R2 products may have been released in July, 2010 but not all the books, training materials, and training courses were even available from either MS &/or other vendors/publishers at that release date. 

    Personally, I think it should be left up to the individual to decide when to study and when to take the tests and Microsoft should change its policy and allow the tests to be taken as long as the product is in extended support or maybe even up to a year after extended support has ended since some consumers and companies are just not going to switch at MS timetable and thus still have a need for skilled workers.  It seems as if MS is too overbearing, too controlling, and way too rigid in its ways as well as tone deaf to its primary customers (i.e. the people that keeps its products running in the field) and unresponsive.  MS seems to set completely unrealistic policies on certification timetables and the retiring exams--as if--the people or “committee” determining this agenda are absolutely out-of-touch with outside world reality and totally out-of-sync with the real world of computers, companies, IT, and skilled IT workers and their needs.  Perhaps they would do well by listening to their customers instead of being an insular monolith that is unreceptive to changes.    

    Additionally, Microsoft should not be running policies which unfortunately could be perceived as that which may result ultimately in the actual undermining of the computer industry by lowering the quality of its skilled workforce via barring people from taking required certification exams by retiring the necessary exams related to products that are still used by companies in the field and for which workers still need training and certifications throughout the full support life cycle.   Retiring tests too early is counter-productive to having a high quality IT industry and the corresponding trained/certified qualified skilled workers.  Microsoft should end its anti-education policy of retiring exams much too early and adopt a more favorable approach towards education & certification in the technology industry.

    P.S. Microsoft People, let’s not make a federal case out of this or some future EU action…just change the damn policy to one that’s more workable and fair to all, as well, one that leads to quality improvements across the board per companies, workers, new rising technologies and new rising skill levels of the workforce—such which—requires changes to Microsoft’s policies of retiring tests.     

    I don't see why Microsoft retires it's exams at all before a product.  It doesn't make any sense!

    • Changed type Max21c Thursday, June 28, 2012 1:18 AM
    Thursday, June 28, 2012 1:08 AM

All replies

  • I totally agree. Microsoft is trying to push us into new certification paths to violently. I don't think that certifications should be available as long as there is support for the product. But it shouldn't be that they expire one year after new version of software was released. MS should let us finish our paths in our own time and give us appropriate time for upgrades. In my opinion SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2010 paths should be available at least till 2015. Right now I'm doing VS 2008-> 2010 upgrade and next 2010 path and I have less than a year to do it (4 tests!). I would like to do two of Sql Server 2008 tests and later upgrade to 2012 but I don't know if I can find enough time to do it.
    Wednesday, July 25, 2012 7:50 AM
  • So basically what you're both saying is that 3yrs isn't long enough to get certified in SQL Server 2008 R2 (4.5yrs if you take into consideration that current R2 certification consists mostly if SQL Server 2008 functionality)?

    When you see answers and helpful posts, please click Vote As Helpful, Propose As Answer, and/or Mark As Answer

    Jeff Wharton
    MSysDev (C.Sturt), MDbDsgnMgt (C.Sturt), MCT, MCPD, MCSD, MCITP, MCDBA
    Blog: Mr. Wharty's Ramblings
    Twitter: @Mr_Wharty
    MC ID: Microsoft Transcript

    Wednesday, July 25, 2012 9:01 AM
    Moderator
  • It depends on when you start certification and what technologies do you use and when. But yes 3-4 years for a product with 6-8 year lifespan isn't long enough. Especially for new developers who come to certification it the middle of that time. Standard support for SQL Server 2008 is 2014 so this should be certification support too.
    Wednesday, July 25, 2012 9:09 AM
  • Why should certifications be linked to standard product support? You don't need a certification to support a product?

    Yes certification in a product helps to get employment however if I was interviewing a candidate for a position (which I do frequently), I would be concerned if they only got their certification 6-8 years after a product was released. I'd also be concerned if they only got their certification a year before a products support was due to expire. This would indicate to me that they don’t have the relevant experience in a product required to support it, especially if a products support lifecycle was about to expire.   

    I would also place a candidate with certifications in newer technologies (such as SQL Server 2012) over someone who has only just got their SQL Server 2008 certification as a 2012 certification indicates that a candidate keeps up with technology whist a candidate with a recently gained certification in 2008 would indicate that they don’t keep up with technology or don’t have the experience required to support a product.


    When you see answers and helpful posts, please click Vote As Helpful, Propose As Answer, and/or Mark As Answer

    Jeff Wharton
    MSysDev (C.Sturt), MDbDsgnMgt (C.Sturt), MCT, MCPD, MCSD, MCITP, MCDBA
    Blog: Mr. Wharty's Ramblings
    Twitter: @Mr_Wharty
    MC ID: Microsoft Transcript

    Wednesday, July 25, 2012 12:01 PM
    Moderator
  • Jeff,

    Your comments are really funny to read, the way you discount SQL 2008 certifications as being old and useless in an interview compared to a SQL 2012 certified professional.

    Especially since it seems you are still proud enough of your MCSD (.NET 1.1, VS 2003) and MCDBA (SQL 2000) certifications to still put them in your message footer.


    Best wishes, Davin Mickelson

    Wednesday, July 25, 2012 4:55 PM
    Answerer
  • Jeff,

    Your comments are really funny to read, the way you discount SQL 2008 certifications as being old and useless in an interview compared to a SQL 2012 certified professional.

    Especially since it seems you are still proud enough of your MCSD (.NET 1.1, VS 2003) and MCDBA (SQL 2000) certifications to still put them in your message footer.


    Best wishes, Davin Mickelson

    Yes indeed I am however I'm not complaining that I only have 12 months to get my 2008 BI certification otherwise I'll miss out on getting MCSA: SQL Server 2008 and MCSE: SQL Server 2008 despite the fact that this requirement was only added a couple of months ago!

    BTW, I have my DBD and DBA in 2005 and 2008, and the only reason I don't have 2012 is because I haven't got around to it (yet).


    When you see answers and helpful posts, please click Vote As Helpful, Propose As Answer, and/or Mark As Answer

    Jeff Wharton
    MSysDev (C.Sturt), MDbDsgnMgt (C.Sturt), MCT, MCPD, MCSD, MCITP, MCDBA
    Blog: Mr. Wharty's Ramblings
    Twitter: @Mr_Wharty
    MC ID: Microsoft Transcript




    Wednesday, July 25, 2012 11:07 PM
    Moderator
  • Yes, that's exactly the problem.  I had been away from programming for several years, so my old certifications had retired.  I had no problem with that because my certifications were for .NET 1.5.  Everyone says you need a certain level of experience BEFORE taking the exams.  Since I was new to WPF, WCF, and EF, obviously I wanted a little time to gain that experience before attempting the exams.  As I was studying for .NET 4.0 and the 3.5 exams were still available, I thought I HAD that time.  I completed the WPF one and am studying for WCF.  When I found out that BOTH 3.5 and 4.0 are going to retire on the exact same day(!!), I was really upset about it.  I am at the point where I need to make that really hard push to finish getting ready for the WCF exam, but I don't know if it's worth it.  I don't see completing three exams before July 31 because I'm still green enough on WCF and EF that I need a bit more time to learn all the features.  It's frustrating because I really believe it is important to pass these exams in order to be familiar with most of the features of the products I use instead of just the features that my current employer uses.  It helps me use more efficient methods programming, as well as allows me to suggest possible solutions to various business problems.  Realistically, it may take a long time before businesses stop using 4.0.  I can certainly learn the features without taking the exams, but it is much better to back up the knowledge with a certification.  Also, if the exams are retired, it makes more sense to study for the 4.5 versions, I guess.

    Christine A. Piffat

    Thursday, July 26, 2012 3:10 AM
  • Hi, Christy!

    Please keep in mind that none of your past certifications are ever retired. Instead, the exams are retired so that no one can take them. You will take your .NET 1.0 certifications to the grave. You are certified for .NET 1.0 with VS 2002. I am (embarrassingly) certified in Microsoft FrontPage 98 for life.

    I agree with you that Microsoft is really dropping the ball by retiring their .NET 4.0 exams so early. Microsoft just release VS2010/.NET 4.0 two years ago! It's naive for Microsoft to assume that companies instantly upgrade their development and server environments as soon as Microsoft releases their newer versions of their products. To add to the confusion, new releases of ASP.NET MVC and EF continue to come out of Microsoft every six months; how do you study for these topics which are not attached to a particular version of .NET?

    Many companies are still using .NET 3.5 with VS 2008 because the newer tools haven't passed internal verification or been implementation by deployment teams. I see this first hand when asking students each week what they use.

    This week, I am teaching SSIS 2008. My students told me they have SQL Server 2005, 2008, 2008 R2 in their environments and almost everthing I cover is available in all three versions, even 2012.

    I passed my first developer exam in 1998. Since then, I've never seen Microsoft set retirement dates on the latest developer exams while newer exams were not yet available. Following this pattern, you can count on the .NET 4.5/VS 2012 developer exams to be announced for retirement in 2014, officially retiring in 2015. Unfortunately, you can also count on some people commenting on this forum stating, "There is nothing wrong with that. Microsoft can do no wrong."

    It is something to think about.


    Best wishes, Davin Mickelson

    Thursday, July 26, 2012 4:04 PM
    Answerer