In a completely bizarre left-field move, Microsoft has just announced the termination of the Advanced Certifications including Microsoft Certified Master, Microsoft Certified Solutions Master, and Microsoft Certified Architect. These are certifications that require months to years of study well above any other certification, and include a lab and in some cases $18,000 of onsite training. Candidates got just 30 days notice – the email went out last night, and they will no longer issue certifications as of October 1.
From a personal-stake perspective I can understand searing outrage. I have had a dream to achieve the Master-level certification, and now somebody hasn’t just moved my goalpost, they’ve taken it away completely with no replacement in sight. I personally have just begun my investment in the 2012-era certification path; others I’m reading about are weeks away from their final lab exam and may not make the deadline – after three years of study.
From a community and public relations perspective, MCMs are seen as the top tier of knowledge resources: the really high-end consultants that companies call when they have exhausted other options, or the consultants who know the internals to explain how, why and exactly when a Microsoft product is going to react to a vendor’s off-the-wall use of it. I’ve interacted with and sought help from MCMs – they know their stuff. Every one of them knows internals of SQL Server that qualifies as Master level. That’s a level of learning that I seek for myself – a higher standard, because mediocrity is boring.
This news is discouraging, as I don’t know what the future holds. For now, I can only continue the path of studying, perhaps get certified at the MCSA level as planned, but mainly study for my personal improvement – basically, what I have done all along.
Below are links to some other blog posts with reactions to this news. The first link includes a full copy of the email announcement.