Microsoft has another October surprise planned for us, but it’s not an OS release. Windows 10 has already arrived (and is already at 5 percent market share), so that’s not it. This fall will see a change to the Microsoft Certified Professional program as it applies to Windows 7 and Windows 8 technologies.
At present, the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) Windows 7 credential is available to those who pass Exam 70-680: Windows 7, Configuring plus either exam 70-685 or 70-686 (Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Support Technician or Windows 7 Enterprise Administrator, respectively). The MCSA Windows 8 credential is given to those who pass both Exam 70-687, Configuring Windows 8 and 70-688, Supporting Windows 8.
That program changes soon, though in some surprising ways. Starting in fall of 2015, though the Windows 7 exam will continue to be offered, the MCSA Windows 7 credential will not be available. You can still prove your expertise as a Windows 7 guru, and add that credential to your official Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) transcript, if you pass the MCSA Windows 7 exam. Those certifications will appear in the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist portion of your transcript, which you can access here.
Eventually, those who are MCSA Windows 7 professionals will see the credential move to the Legacy Microsoft Certifications portion of the transcript, alongside other credentials that are moving further into the rearview mirror, like my Windows Server 2003 MCSA, here:
Things are different for the Windows 8 family of credentials. Not only will the MCSA Windows 8 credential become a legacy item, but the Configuring Windows 8.1 70-687 exam and the Supporting Windows 8.1 exam will be retired. That means that if you don’t get certified on Windows 8 or 8.1 soon, you’ll lose the chance to do so forever.
Now, depending on your perspective, that may not be a huge loss. As of this writing, Windows 8.1 holds a mere 11.4 percent share of the market (lagging behind Windows XP at 12 percent), and Windows 8 barely appears on the chart at 2.5 percent, hanging out between minor players like Vista (1.8 percent) and Mac OS X (4.76 percent). It’s rather telling that Microsoft is phasing out the 8/8.1 certifications before the Windows 7 certs, an apparent recognition of the unfavorable reception of the 8/8.1 family of OSs.
For those of you keeping score, yes, this does mean that Windows 10 already holds a larger share of the market than OS X 10.10, right from its first month in the marketplace. I’m hoping for great things from Windows 10 – starting with triggering the overdue departure of those ancient Windows XP desktops from the enterprise.
Windows 7 and 8 MCSA credentials are like pumpkin spice lattes: get ‘em quick – because once fall’s gone, they’re gone.
Microsoft Specialist: Windows 7 Boot Camp for Desktop Administrators
Microsoft Specialist: Windows 7 Boot Camp for Desktop Support Technicians
Installing and Configuring Windows 10 (M20697-1A)
Use our Microsoft Certification path to track your way to these updated Microsoft certifications.