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An update on renewing Microsoft certifications

I love doing certification exams! I might be in the minority here, but I’ve done something since 1997, and I feel it allows me to learn about new technologies continuously. With the announcement on retiring MCSE, MCSD, and MCSA exams, it became evident that the future is with cloud-based certifications and exams.

You can see the current up-to-date list of these at https://aka.ms/TrainCertPoster.

For me, I have a few important certifications expiring soon:

One certification on Azure and another on Microsoft 365 are expiring during January 2021. I wasn’t sure what to do, as I don’t want to lose these.

Microsoft has the official guidance here, stating that specialty certifications (like the ones above) are valid for two years. They also state that due to COVID-19, those with an expiration date before December 31, 2020, will get extensions. It still does not state what someone in this position needs to do.

So far, my assumption has been that to maintain my certification; I have to pick one exam from the certification and do it again. After two years, those exams have evolved anyway. For example, the Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification consists of AZ-303 and AZ-304 exams.

This morning, I then received an email from Microsoft that they are also extendinng the expiration date for everyone with expiring certifications between January 1 and June 30, 2021.

What this means is that I now have until July 2021 to get recertified. It also reveals that Microsoft does not have a clear process on what the renewal policy is. My assumption has been that I’ll just re-do AZ-303, or the first in the list of exams for the certification.

For the previous exams, such as MCSE and MCSA, recertifying meant you would have to pass one elective exam. Note, that it’s unclear as of now how you will get recertified for the role-based exams in the future.

So, for anyone in the same position – hold on tight and prepare mentally that you’ll need to pass at least one exam before the summer holiday season in 2021!