Available until a recent overhaul of the Microsoft professional certification system, the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist program covered skills on specific Microsoft programs, including the Exchange Server, SQL Server, and Windows operating system.
When in use, the MCTS program was Microsoft’s entry-level option for database administration. Courses offered covered topics including an introduction to the server or operating system, implementation, maintenance, and skilled tasks including query writing.
The program is no longer in development, and is one of several certification options that were left behind in a recent redesign of the Microsoft training community. Those seeking training in the skills covered by the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist program might consider one of the revamped training courses outlined at microsoft.com/learning.
According to microsoft.com, the shift in certification format is being executed in hopes of staying relevant by industry standards as more IT products and professionals move to the cloud. Certification programs now include re-certification requirements every three years to improve relevancy. Also according to microsoft.com, those with a current MCTS certificate should find it useful for the next few years. Over time, however, the company will retire those certificates and will give them “legacy” status. The company will announce retirement dates for products currently covered by the MCTS program as new certification options for those products are announced.
Microsoft’s replacement for the MCTS program is the MTA, or Microsoft Technology Associate, program. The program will be fully implemented by the end of December 2012, and will offer a starting point for all other specialist, professional and master Microsoft product certifications. The program will largely be geared toward academic institutions hoping to incorporate base-level Microsoft product skills into curriculum, but also will be available for private licensing.
For those further along in their information technology training or career, Microsoft suggests the following options:
Upon completing one of the two Associate programs, a student might move on to one of several Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) programs. Certification areas include: Server Infrastructure, Desktop Infrastructure, Private Cloud, Data Platform, Business Intelligence, Messaging, Communication, and SharePoint.
Depending on the new certification desired and the technology it covers, those originally interested in going through the MCTS training program will likely want to look for career options in: database administration, systems administration, systems engineering, network administration, or desktop support.