Microsoft Certified Mayhem

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.—the-end-of-an-era?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+WictorWilen+%28Wictor+Wil%C3%A9n+-+SharePoint+MCA%2C+MCM+and+MVP%29



4 thoughts on “Microsoft Certified Mayhem

  1. Greg

    Just got email from Microsoft today regarding those still pursuing the MCM and here is what it says:

    Hello Candidates,

    According to our records, you are registered for an upcoming MCM/MCSM Knowledge or Lab exam. To allow additional time for exam preparation, and earning of the certifications, we have extended the retirement date of the exams to December 31, 2013. Registration for the exams must be completed by December 17, 2013.

    If you would like to leave your exam as scheduled, there is no action required. If you choose to reschedule your exam, please send an email to with a few preferred dates. We will do our best to accommodate your requested date. There will be no fee’s associated with rescheduling your exam. The new exam time is not confirmed until you have received a new outlook invitation. Due to the high volume of requests, our response may be delayed.

    Best regards,

    Advanced Certification Operations

  2. Greg

    Earlier this morning I also received an email that was somewhat similar; but some added information:

    Hi Greg,

    I apologize for the delay. We’ve been reviewing all requests to ensure we’re addressing them appropriately. In the call on Monday, we announced that the exams will continue to be available until Dec. 31st, 2013. We have also committed to maintaining the benefits for those certified (eg. Distribution lists, access to any recordings/community call, access to any older training materials, etc.). Hopefully by moving the date back to the original retirement date, the additional time will give you the time you need to finish studying and earn the certification.

    We will also be delivering the exams at SQL Pass in a couple of weeks. If you’re planning on attending, this might be an opportunity for you to take it in a lab setting and not remotely.

    Please let me know if you have any other questions.

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