I know that this is a hot topic at the moment and I wanted to put my thoughts about the recent announcement from Microsoft to discontinue the MCSM, MCM and MCA certifications into words.
Microsoft believe that the certification track at master level is making a loss even though the labs and training can set you back $20K. Dollar for dollar and pound for pound this may be true in financial terms. What this track actually buys Microsoft is loyalty to their products as these masters know the products inside and out and they tell their employers and the businesses they work with exactly how to get the most from their purchase. A win for Microsoft.
The fact that not many people take up this route to be a master makes them more sought after. This is very simple supply and demand. The less there are, the more rare and valuable they are. A win for the individual and for Microsoft as the individual can charge a higher rate and as its common knowledge most master level individuals work for Microsoft anyway.
Wanting to discontinue the master track of certification is a loss for Microsoft and the masters. The current masters have put in a load of time and money to get to where they are right now just to hear that in one months time it will be sent to the recycle bin. Not consulting the people that make you look great is a big mistake as it gives everyone the feeling that they may not be needed much longer.
Simply put to become a master they had to go through three weeks worth of training at Microsoft for the MCM and complete a long lab based test and I believe deliver a presentation to a board similar to the CITP certification that the BCS have as their flag ship certification.
It relies on years of actual experience in the field not just memorising some new features that Microsoft wants you to know about for the latest MCSA or MCSE certification. As this is an in depth test of your knowledge the number of candidates available for this master track is going to be from a much smaller pool than those that have used the products day in and day out for just a few years. It does actually say this track requires around 5 – 10 years of experience with your chosen technology ad over 10 years experience for the MCA level. The master stroke if you will with this track of certification was the demonstration to others that are at that level and are your peers and the actual lab based work needed to prove that you can use your knowledge and not just guess the correct answer from four options. This is what makes it 100 times more valuable than other exams and tests.
Personally over the next 5 years MCSM is where I wanted to be. Why? Simple I have chosen SQL as my speciality. I want to be the best, I think anyone that does not want to be the best is selling themself short and being told that by someone that is already considered to be the best is the only way that would mean anything. Would you feel just as good if a bloke down the pub said that you were the best football player ever or would it mean much more to you coming from David Beckham, who has probably seen all the best in his time?
My words really do not convey the disappointment I am feeling about this decision. I see the other losses Microsoft has made recently and the running of this program is a drop in the ocean. Why did Microsoft pay $8·5 Billion for Skype when they could have bought it for $1·6 billion directly from eBay a year or so before? I doubt that they have made a bigger loss on the master certification program than the $850 million they have written down due to lack of surface RT tablet sales. I can go on but you get the point.
I am hoping to hear about an updated master track however if it is just multiple choice exams like the MCSA and MCSE there will be no real value in completing it. If you can complete it with a 9 day fast track course then where is the value?
I am here for the long term. I intend to put years of my working life into SQL, developing myself and my skills along with the product. Reading and writing blogs, watching live meetings with those delivering sought after content to help continue their journey. Being able to demonstrate that knowledge to a person that knows the path that I have walked brings some much needed personal feedback and recognition to the people in an industry that works with machines and are tested by machines. I don’t want an easy ride I want to be the best and being told that I am one of the best by those that walk the walk is the only way I will feel like I am at that level.
I will however have to take another look at the BCS CITP as in the mean time that might be the only place to get the feedback that I am looking for.
- Microsoft kills Masters certification programmes (pcpro.co.uk)