Certification Spotlight: Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)

November 26, 2013

What Is MCSA?

The MCSA is Microsoft’s second level of IT professional certifications; the first being the MTA certification. The newly updated MCSA certification is intended for IT professionals seeking entry-level IT positions, and focuses on core technical skills needed for a career in IT. The six specialty areas in which you can receive a MCSA certification are Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012, SQL Server 2008, SQL Server 2012, Windows 7, and Windows 8.

What’s The Process?

For each specialty there is a process of 2-3 exams which cost $150 each. There are no required courses to qualify for the exams, but each exam is accompanied by a set of optional training courses to help you prepare.  One option is a 5-day course that ranges from $2,500-$3,000 depending on the institution. And, another option is a 3-day course that can range from $1,500-$2,000.

Windows Server 2008

An MCSA certification for Windows Server 2008 validates your skills and ability to work with Windows Server 2008 in a real-world business context. This specialty has 3 exams with 4 optional training courses.

View the training courses Here.

Windows Server 2012

This certification shows that you have the primary set of Windows Server 2012 skills which are relevant throughout multiple solution areas in a business environment. The certification qualifies you for a position as a network or computer systems administrator or a computer support specialist. There are 3 exams for this specialty with 3 optional training courses.

View the training courses Here.

SQL Server 2008

Earning an SQL Server certification qualifies you for a position as a database developer or database analyst. The SQL Server 2008 certification has 2 exams with 5 optional training courses.

View the training courses Here.

SQL Server 2012

The SQL Server 2012 certification demonstrates your skills and insights in developing and maintaining the next wave of mission-critical environments. The specialty has 3 exams and 3 optional training courses.

View the training courses Here.

Windows 7

This certification proves you have the expertise to configure and support a Windows 7 enterprise system. The MCSA Windows 7 certification has 2 exams with 2 optional training courses.

View the training courses Here.

Windows 8

Earning an MCSA Windows 8 certification qualifies you for a position as a computer support specialist and proves you have the expertise to configure, manage, and maintain a Windows 8 enterprise system. There are 2 exams and 2 optional training courses for this certification.

View the training courses Here.

Is It Worth It?

Although the MCSA certification is intended for entry-level IT professionals, it is important to note that getting an MCSA certification is a prerequisite for the next level of Microsoft certifications. Therefore, it is worth the time and money if you plan to work toward those higher certifications. As with any certification, being able to include the accomplishment on your resume will help you get noticed by a hiring manager because it shows that you are proactive about advancing in your career in the IT industry.

Are you MCSA certified? Let us know what you thought about the certification process!

Click Here to view our other IT certification spotlights.

Posted By: Sarah Brown

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