Microsoft Certifications for Networking Jobs - dummies

Microsoft Certifications for Networking Jobs

By Peter H. Gregory, Bill Hughes

If you’re hoping for a career in networking, you may want to consider a Microsoft certification. Microsoft makes a lot of software, but they also have technical certifications, specifically Microsoft Office certifications and Microsoft Technology certifications.

The following Microsoft Technology certifications include topics that are relevant to networking:

  • Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA): Covers the basic skills IT of infrastructure, database, and application development

  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): Goes deeper into a particular piece of Microsoft technology

  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Focuses on an application category

Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)-IT Infrastructure

The Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)-IT certification offers multiple tracks. The MTA IT infrastructure track has the following four tests:

  • Windows Operating System Fundamentals

  • Windows Server Administration Fundamentals

  • Networking Fundamentals

  • Security Fundamentals

This certification is an entry-level (no IT experience) kind of test that is a good way to get started in the certification world. There are no requirements to prepare for taking the test.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)

Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) is proudly listed as a prerequisite for becoming a Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert in much of the promotional literature. However, it looks pretty good as a certification by itself. The Solutions Associate specializes in configuring and maintaining one of the following systems:

  • Windows Server 2012

  • Windows Server 2008

  • Windows 8

  • Windows 7

  • SQL Server 2012

  • SQL Server 2008

  • Office 365

These certifications do not expire but the products in which you get the MCSA may expire. An MCSA in the Windows NT operating system will not open many doors for you these days.

All MCSA certifications involve multiple tests. You can take the tests in any order. A general guideline is that you should be able to take all three tests in 90 days if you focus on them. Hands-on experience with the technology is essential.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)

Now you are talking. Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) is a widely recognized certification that will impress the folks you want to impress. The MCSE can cover any of the following areas:

  • Server infrastructure

  • Desktop infrastructure

  • Private cloud

  • Enterprise devices and apps

  • Data platform

  • Business intelligence

  • Messaging

  • Communication

  • SharePoint

One of the good things about the MCSE is that you can go ahead and earn the MCSE and pick up the MCSA as you complete the first two or three tests.

The MCSE is the highest certification that Microsoft currently offers. They used to offer a Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) certification but cancelled the program because there were only a few hundred MCAs.