More on the Certified Master programs from me, Per, the program owner…


Hi All,


As Trika pointed out we just announced the Microsoft Certified Master programs at TechEd (Press info on it here). Based on some great conversations I’ve been having in several places across this vast ole’ internet, we thought it’d be a good idea to consolidate some of the information, provide a bit more behind the scenes insight into the programs and answer common questions we’ve received so far. Here are the high level answers in a nutshell.


·         It’s an awesome program for the intended audience.


·         We don’t expect, or want, everyone to earn a Master certification.


·         Master is not replacing Architect.


·         It’s not for everyone’s pocketbook.


I’ll start with a bit about myself, though, before we go any further: my name is Per Farny and I work in Microsoft Learning here at Microsoft. Officially, I’m “Director, Advanced Training & Certification”, which means that I own the Microsoft Certified Master programs and the Microsoft Certified Architect programs (the Technology ones). I ‘grew up’ as a messaging consultant working for one of our midsized partners in the Midwest (shout out to Goliath Networks!, R.I.P.) before joining Microsoft’s EC3 (anyone remember EC3? Bonus points for those that do) Enterprise Messaging Team where I spent several years visiting our enterprise customers across the world who weren’t exactly having the greatest time with our software and needed some guidance. I then ran the Exchange Ranger Program for 2 years which became known as the Microsoft Certified Architect: Messaging certification. We then added SQL and Directory to the mix, and I was able to hire some people much smarter than me on all of the technologies to run these programs. On a personal note: my name is Norwegian, but I’m German (go figure), I have a beautiful wife and two wonderful boys (2 and 5), have played soccer all my life (Go Deutschland in Euro 2008!!!), and used to love playing rock-n-roll when I still had the time (no, I’m not the singer…and I don’t play drums, so…).


ANYWAY…Hopefully you’ve already gotten the basics about our new Master programs from our webpage.  In short:


·         The programs are appropriate for those individuals who are highly experienced and highly specialized on one particular product and spend the majority of their time designing, building and troubleshooting solutions built on that product.


·         The programs provide the deepest technical training available via top subject matter experts, and will validate individuals via rigorous ‘written’ and lab based exams.


·         The programs consist of 3 weeks of mandatory training, 3 computer based tests, and one lab based exam.


That’s really the gist of it. By the way, we are coming to market with the following ‘flavors’, i.e. tracks:


·         Microsoft Certified Master: Exchange Server 2007


·         Microsoft Certified Master: SQL Server 2008


·         Microsoft Certified Master: Windows Server 2008 – Directory


And will shortly thereafter add:


·         Microsoft Certified Master: Office Communications Server 2007


·         Microsoft Certified Master: SharePoint Server 2007


I’ve been fielding a lot of great questions from you, and I have a lot more that I’d like to say about this program than what I could put on a few “official” web pages, so that’s what I’m sharing here.


Keep your questions coming btw, and we’ll get more details posted on microsoft.com soon, too. You can also sign up for the Live Meeting next month where we’ll cover this and you can ask any other questions you think of.  I know Trika and I (and others) will be there for sure.


          July 30, 2008, at 7:30 A.M. Pacific Time — (What time is this in my region?)


          July 30, 2008, at 5:00 P.M. Pacific Time — (What time is this in my region?)


So, here we go…


What this is all about


As we aim to do in all of our certifications, we’re trying to bring the appropriate certification to the appropriate audience.


The reason we’re adding the Master programs is in response to a specific audience that has been looking for a certification to differentiate itself with. These are individuals who spend most of their time deeply focused on designing, building and troubleshooting solutions based on a single product. Specialized consultants (whether working for consulting companies direct or filling that role via direct customer employment) who know the product inside and out, at a technical level that’s deeper than we’ve ever assessed before, will be the most appropriate audience and graduates for these programs. And by consultants I don’t just mean people who only consult in the design area (what I think most people think of when the word ‘consultant’ comes up) but also others that consult on the support / troubleshooting sides. Personally, I think specialized consulting companies are a natural fit for these but I want to make sure to acknowledge that it’s more about the job role / function than who you work for.


We’ve run some of these programs (Exchange, SQL) internally at Microsoft for several years (our ‘Ranger’ programs, for those that have heard the term), and based on a more external demand are bringing them (slightly tweaked) to the public via the Master certifications. Again, these programs are intended for a very particular, niche audience and we’re going to take our time rolling these out worldwide to make sure we do it right. To give you a sense of the neighborhood we’re looking at: our goal is to reach around 20,000 certified individuals over the next 10 years or so. That’s not a lot in the context of our other certifications, and that’s fine. We think it’s the appropriate approach for these programs (have I said ‘appropriate’ yet)?


Microsoft Certified Master isn’t supposed to be for everyone; it’s not “MCITP+”


Some of you have asked whether the release of Master means that MCITP isn’t “the end goal” or “good enough” anymore. Er, no. For the majority of IT Pros and developers, Master isn’t applicable —it’s too deep and too narrow in relation to those job roles. But if you’re one of those who truly specialize in one of these focus areas—and if you’ve done so for more than five years in truly complex environments—Master might be the perfect way to recognize your deep expertise. The MCITP certifications—and MCSE—that many of you have completed or are working toward are still the best way to show your highly skilled, professional-level expertise working with one or more Microsoft technologies.


Something different: required training and a comprehensive lab based exam


One of the main differences between the Master certs and the other certs you’re used to from us (MCP, MCSE, MCITP, etc) is that we are requiring candidates to attend a mandatory 3 weeks of training as part of the program. This training will initially be delivered at Microsoft by full time Microsoft employees or Microsoft contracted individuals (this has been the practice to date in the internal versions of the programs) until we can build up our instructor pool. The training will be delivered in Redmond only in FY09, and we will start rolling out worldwide in FY10.


 


Current instructors are utmost subject matter experts who spend the majority of their time designing, building and troubleshooting solutions on their respective technologies. They often have very close ties to Microsoft IT and the product development groups, and are looked to, across the company and industry, as go-to individuals for their particular area of technical expertise. Our goal for FY09 is to build up this instructor pool to enable worldwide delivery. Note that during the 3 weeks of training, candidates will have between 5-10 different instructors, i.e. no single instructor will teach the entire curriculum based on the deep, deep technical expertise and personal experience we’re looking to provide on each topic.


 


Also, every certification track will require a lab based exam as the capstone to the certification. This will take the better part of a day and will require actual ‘doing’ in a virtual environment. The focus will be building a solution given certain requirements, and then also troubleshooting a solution. This has risen to levels of infamy in our current programs as the “Qual Lab” (short for Qualification Lab Exam) as it requires comprehensive knowledge on the platform and surrounding technologies to complete successfully and the time frame given is very tight. In general, “those that know will pass; those that don’t, won’t”. We think it’s a great way to test whether people can put it all together.


Microsoft Certified Master Does NOT replace Microsoft Certified Architect


No, Master will not replace MCA—it will live almost side by side. We are fully committed to the Microsoft Certified Architect certifications. Based on feedback over the last several years, we are evolving the programs to more fully meet customer and industry needs. This will likely mean an expansion of the MCA family and a focus on growing the communities overall. In a nutshell, we’re making the differentiation clearer between a top technical person and an architect as we’re finding the skill sets and job roles are actually quite different.


Master certification is, in effect, an evolution of the purely technical pieces of the Ranger programs, more cleanly separating the technical from the architectural / business / consulting / soft skills. Stay tuned for further details on the MCA evolution.


This year the program is in Redmond only; seven more locations within two years


In our fiscal year 2009 (July 2008-June 2009) we will offer the 3 weeks of training all together in one block, in Redmond, WA (United States) only. In FY10, we want to offer the training in a 2-week and a 1-week module and  deliver these worldwide; so it should get better in terms of consuming the training in shorter blocks. The FY10 goal is to deliver in 2  locations in Europe, the Middle East, or Africa and 2 Asia Pacific locations in addition to 3 sites across the US.


Btw, I still want to keep the 2-week block because of the longer lab scenarios, and the community building it does. Quite honestly, odds are you’ll be in contact for a long time with the people you share that classroom with, and the community aspect of the programs is a really strong one. People bend over backwards for each other and help each other out as much as possible.


Not pocket change: pricing and registration


The prices for the programs are $18,500USD which includes 3 weeks of training, and the first attempts at each of the four required tests: 3 ‘written’ tests and one lab based exam. Retakes cost $250 per written test, and $1,500 for the lab exam, and you are only allowed a maximum of three attempts per test. We know this isn’t exactly pocket change, but based on customer feedback from the Ranger program, we are confident that it is a good value to those of you who will go through the program. We recognize that the cost may be a barrier to entry to some people who could otherwise make the grade—but that is something we will have to live with in the short term; getting top notch subject matter experts in one place for three weeks, the hardware, etc. just don’t come cheap.


We are not quite ready to sign people up for the program. We hope to have that ready in 4-6 weeks and details will be posted on our website once we’re ready.


For acceptance into the program, we have the pre-requisites already published on our site. (No, if you only have four years and 330 days, we won’t throw out your application…) We will request a resume (C.V.) which we will study to determine if you have good experience leading projects in the particular technology. We will only contact you if we have questions on this. Overall, we want to make sure that whoever signs up, is positioned for success. Depending on the amount of applications we get, we may have to move from “first come, first served” to some type of prioritization scheme based on resume details / work experience.


 


Seating will be very limited. 250 seats in FY09, 500 in FY10 and we’ll see from there. To give context here also: our certified partners for Learning Solutions (CPLS) partners train 800,000-900,000 individuals a year, with excellent quality courseware and trainers. We are not intending—and aren’t capable—of replacing that. Master is only a tiny blip on the scene and fulfilling a market need we see that is not being addressed right now.


More about the training: it’s an experience


We attempt to get a lot of information across to our candidates, and no matter how deep technically many of them are when they come into the training, we have repeatedly gotten the comments, “Wow, I had no idea what I didn’t know”. It can be quite humbling, actually; at least it was for me when I went through the Exchange program several years ago.

The reason for this is that we do our best in getting the utmost subject matter experts in front of you. One of my favorite examples: our ‘storage building blocks’ module has been taught by an individual who has dealt with hard drives and the surrounding technology for 30 years. He is a storage architect leveraged extensively across our company, and can analyze SCSI commands on the wire (which happen to fly by in nanoseconds, never mind milliseconds) in addition to being very future looking from a high level perspective. He has forgotten more than I have ever learned on the topic. What I’m getting at here is that personally, the best training I’ve ever attended is one where the instructor not only ‘has’ lived the life, but currently ‘IS’ living the life. They have their pulse on the technology and they answer questions mostly based on direct experience. Of course, they have to be able to teach, and that’s no small feat either. We’ve had a couple of our instructors plenty bright on the technology, but not a very effective teacher and we’ve had to address those issues; that’s why we’re hoping to leverage some of you in our proven MCT community when we start scaling up!
We have contacted a very small portion of that community already to help with the seeding efforts. If you’re an MCT, jump on the MCT newsgroups, I’ve been talking to you guys for the last few weeks in there (just look for the post with 130 some replies 😉 )!

Back on topic: by having folks like him in front of you, everyone gets inspired and determined to internalize as much as possible and of course pass the exams. The style, the feel is somewhat high pressure here: “I want to prove I’m one of the best, that I belong, that I deserve this”. So, during the training, candidates band together and start building community: study groups are the most common example. In general, if official training ends at 5-6pm, candidates take an hour for dinner, and then get together later on again to review and learn more. At the end of 3 weeks, you are quite literally mentally and physically exhausted…but it feels great
J. Lastly, everyone in the class knows something of course; everyone has something unique to bring to the table, so peer learning is also something great that happens during this time.


Each instructor has lecture and lab components. The labs are goal based, and candidates complete them on servers they are assigned to (most are now quad-core, 8GB of RAM, plenty of disk space, and we have 4 modular / enterprise storage arrays also available for certain storage stress testing scenarios). As for lab instructions: they are not what you’re likely used to. The concept here is: we just talked about it, so go do it! If candidates need help, the instructor is there, but otherwise, instructions are something like, “Configure a front-end / back-end infrastructure for Exchange utilizing ISA, and publish Outlook Anywhere”. We’ve received some of the most consistent feedback on this aspect, and that feedback has been very positive.

Depending on program, we also require candidates to complete labs that are not directly tied to an instructor but are more focused on putting all of the topics covered together in a single solution.

English only for now


Very sorry about this but for now that’s all we can offer. This is mainly due to our instructor pool being very limited right now (all native English speakers without secondary languages). We don’t really want to exclude anyone based on language; we just don’t have the resources to do more right now.


 


We haven’t forgotten you developers.


“What about the developers?” I’ve received this question several times in the last couple of weeks. Right now, we don’t have any plans for a developer based Master program, but once we get this first set out the door, we’ll look at other appropriate tracks. Perhaps a developer one is needed?


 


 


Geez, what a novel…sorry about that ! For those that made it this far – another round of bonus points for you!


 


Anyway, that’s all I can think of right now J I’m really excited to get these programs out there as I think they will meet the specific needs of the audience and that they will prove themselves to be very valuable.


 


Let me know if you have any questions / comments / feedback! And thanks, Trika, for inviting me here and giving me the opportunity!


 


All the best,


Per

Comments (74)

  1. Great insight of the program!

    Do you know when can we start with the applications? I’ve been a trainer for some years and I’m really interested on obtaining a higher grade and depth of knowledge on Windows Server 2008.

  2. Great insight of the program!

    Do you know when can we start with the applications? I’ve been a trainer for some years and I’m really interested on obtaining a higher grade and depth of knowledge on Windows Server 2008.

  3. Perfarny says:

    Hi David,

    Thanks! We’re hoping to have registration open in about a month or so. Stay tuned to the official website for progress and updates.

    Thanks,

    Per

  4. Paul says:

    The MCA program was-over hyped and now worthless in regard to marketability (I talked with 3 MCA’s who confirmed this when I building my study case).

    I’m a consultant and your asking for a pretty tall order to take month off/plus $19k to boot. All for a certification program that has no credibility.

    And with regard to MCITP, no hiring department or recruiter has heard of it. When I  mentioned that I am a MCITP, they thinks it’s a MCP and request if I have a MCSE.Or I continually get "MCITP?? What’s that?

    Now after Microsoft has failed at market crediblity of the last "new" certifications, you think this will be the premier certification to get? Your not looking at the score board. Clearly this is another sign that Microsoft has lost touch with reality.

  5. Peter Read says:

    Paul – I think the right people will get to know it, like the right people know about MCA while the PC World Helpdesk Manager probably doesn’t.

    HR departments always have been and always will be slightly braindead from our perspective – I’ve heard many tales of people turned down for Unix jobs as they’ve put 10 years of AIX, Solaris and Linux on their CV’s & so "didn’t have unix experience".  

    Anyway you should probably aim for the MCSE if you can and are going for jobs where it’s in demand 🙂

  6. Michael Dragone says:

    Per, these are probably silly questions, but here goes: is the 2-week/1-week training block planned for FY10 going to be offered in Redmond in addition to the "3 sites across the US" or will Redmond stay 3 weeks?

    Also, is Redmond included in that 3 site count?

    Thanks for coming here to Trika.com and giving us an update!

  7. Perfarny says:

    Paul – – can you give me some details why you believe the MCA program is worthless in regard to marketability? Would certainly love to fix it!

    I know Master won’t be accessible to everyone, but the prior internal versions have built up great credibility which should transfer to this more public facing cert.

    I’ll make sure the feedback on MCITP gets to the right folks here and we’ll continue focusing on getting it the visibility it deserves.

    Michael – – no silly questions here! The goal is to offer the 2-week / 1-week split across all locations worldwide, including Redmond.

    Redmond IS included in that 3 site count. I don’t have the other sites locked down yet, but we’re hoping for central US and East coast.

    Thanks,

    Per

  8. Reed Me says:

    If you weren’t already confused by the Microsoft Certification tree that means that you weren’t paying

  9. jtb says:

    Per, that’s a great news update…  of course the price really means it’s like vanity license plates on the car…  Not every company will have them…  Not even every service provider…  More will probably go for Architect (since that’s a salesy role anyway)…

    The only way I can see my company springing for that is if it helps make $1M extra in sales every year per successful candidate ($18,500 plus travel costs plus opportunity cost of having best/brightest gone for three weeks)…  And I wouldn’t want to be an unsuccessful one!!  😉

    BTW, to those of you who get to go, Indochine restaurant in Federal Way (south of the airport) has great food…

  10. The Microsoft Certified Master program has just launched. For now it only includes the following tracks

  11. Daniel M. says:

    Hey Trika, thanks for the Update.

    I got a special request about this. I’ve already contacted Microsoft Support (Global, EMEA MCP) three Times about this but they don’t get it.

    The Links on the MCP Master Page are broken: "http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/master/default.mspx"

    They look like that:

    <a href="learningmcpmasterproductsdefault.mspx#EZC">

    Everyone that knows the least thing about HTML knows that a Backslash is invalid in a URL. Yes, IE automatically "corrects" this mistake. But other browsers don’t. It would be great if the links could be corrected, that they are RFC compliant and working correctly on any browser.

    Thanks

    Daniel M.

  12. Wayne Anderson says:

    Re-Posting my own response to some of these same questions and comments.

    On the cost:

    I can understand some of the objection to the pricing however realize that these masters level credentials are targetted at organizations that invest in these kinds of pinnacle credentials in order to obtain a definite value in sales and marketing.

    As an individual it is hard to justify a value proposition where you are considering a cost of $18k.  As an organization, if you can justify that investment with a single additional sales win that you would not have had without a consultant availible with the masters credential, then it presents a compelling value to the organization.

    I am right now organizing many candidates who would like to proceed masters credentials.  Ideally, it would be nice if we could work out volume pricing or organizational non-volume discounts but other than that, I would certainly say there is a compelling value here.

    Does it devalue some of the intermediate credentials like the MCITP?  Sort of, yes.  Is it frusterating for SMB organizations or for individuals?  Absolutely, its an unobtainable certification tier.  But so was MCA before it.  And the Ranger programs which the Masters tier is replacing.

    Nothing has changed.  As individuals, you could not take "ranger" classes either.  The only difference is that these "ranger"/"master" certifications are being formalized, published, and made availible outside of the Microsoft Partner channel.

    On the validity:

    Building the brand takes time – whether it is the MCITP or the MCM program.  As our customers and the marketplace learn the depth of the MCA and MCM programs, the volume of requests we have seen for these credentials in RFPs only continues to escalate.

    True, its not to the level of the MCSE or something of that nature yet but look at the comparative difference in the time they have been in the marketplace and realize the MCSE didnt exactly take hold overnight either.

  13. Pierre says:

    First of all thanks a lot for all the information posted, i just have to book a couple of hours to translate it and cross post it on my blog (if that’s ok with you Per & Trika)…

    I have to agree with Wayne, i know two persons who attended Ranger courses, one successull one down, and i have to admit that the client I actually work with, is working with the MS consultant who didn’t manage to succeed MCA, and we all kind of WORSHIP his technical skills… so YES it certainly have a wonderfull value and is recognized. I also have to agree no individual or SMB sized IT firm can easily pull out that card, but it sure is a good investment (both technically and marketingly speaking) to have such a person in the organization.

    It just back up the fact you (and therefore your enterprise) have the ability to workout any situation from small and medium/standard architectures (MCITP) to large ones (MCM) and even manage otherwise ressource consuming problematics on your own (MCM/MCA).

    I see it that way:

    1- you have a person who also can single handedly answer any technically challenging question from a client and walk him through realization.

    2- you have the ‘card in the sleeve’ needed to take advantage over a competitor who has to bring 3/4/5 persons to answer your client’s audits/evaluation board during pre-sales, and therefore HAVE A CONTRACT SIGNED.

    3- you show your client/employees recognition and efforts in order to keep everybody on the cutting edge.

    Basically the openning of the Ranger (MCA) and now the MCM are the answer to individual/private consultants/SMB willing to get ahead of the pack and prove they have the magical mixture of technical skills, human ressources and money to make it happen!!!

    Those who have the needs will know the title value, and therefore go for it. Those who don’t know the title probably don’t need the skills associated with it, and will stick to MCSE/MCITPs…

    I am for now in that category (neither the skills, nor the money to afford it at the time) but I surely would if I had both.

    The few big clients I crossed in the last years did know the Ranger (MS Internal) title and knew what they were paying for when they got one! And i have to say I never heard them complain since they always had their money worth!

    Big Title, big skills, big bucks… every body’s happy!

    As for the lack of recognition for MCITP, it’s already changing here in France, IT Staffing now knows there’s a new kid in town! MCSE is still required as WS2003 is still in  charge …but the wheel slowly turns and we’ll get there!

    Keep up the good work!!!

    I’ll try to get there someday, hopefully 🙂

    Best Regards,

    Pierre.

  14. Chance says:

    I think the biggest hurdle that potential IT hires have when having to deal with a prospective employer’s HR department is that the HR folks have no idea what MCITP, MCTS, MCA, and MCM are, let alone what the myriad of specialties that are covered under these credentials cover.

    I spoke with a couple of friends of mine who are junior level IT managers in larger companies in the area and have some level of influence on who gets hired or not.  Their biggest concern was that HR typically goes through the resumes that are recieved, but that they have no clue that MCITP: Enterprise Administrator is essentially MCSE or that the MCTS credentials cover a distinct specialty.  After interviewing and not findong the right candidate, they said they will go through all of the resumes received, find an applicant who would have been a good fit, and then find out the reason that resume was not selected by HR was because the credentials did not list MCSE or MCSA, but instead listed MCITP:EA or a MCTS credential that fit the job requirements.  After a few of these instances, one of them went so far as to create a matrix outlining which "old" certification matched which "next gen" one and all the specialties that both covered.  He has since gotten one great hire and hopes his efforts in clarifying IT credentials to the human resources department continue to pay off.

    Based on those concerns, I think that MSL should put a bit more effort into educating HR departments on the "next gen" certifications.  I think it would go a long way in helping companies bring in the exact talent needed.

  15. Dans la série des changements dans les certifications, il y a eu les changements de MCDBA, MCSE et autres

  16. @Perfarny says:

    @Perfarny,

    Would you see this course being of benefit to a Senior Tech who looks after an SMB Windows network, who isnt involved in "Consultancy" outside the company but who would be the head tech. in house?

    If someone wanted to learn advanced directory skills and was looking for traning, would you point them to the MCA program?

    I am thinking of applying but Im not sure if I have the level required, apart from whats on the requirements page. You mentioned that its going to be at a 300/400 technical level (I think), could you point to a specific video/guide as an example (If possible) where you can say "This is the level we are looking for, if you understand/know this, you can apply"  …

    Either way, thanks for the post!

  17. Much better than I could possibly do, Per has posted over on Trika’s blog about the Master Certification

  18. Suzy says:

    Daniel M,

    The bad link should be fixed now. Thanks for pointing it out.

    Suzy

  19. Wesc says:

    Nifty beans. Sounds really fun. It’s probably not on the drawing board, but I would enjoy attaining an equivalent tier of the developer branch.

    So, ya know, the next time you’re at a meeting and everyone suddenly panics and goes "Yeah, but… what does *Wes* want?" you’ll now have the answers.

  20. Wayne Anderson says:

    Wesc, it actually is already on the drawing board.  Well, the whiteboard in the cours eof a discussion anyway 🙂

    Right now, they are concentrating on a couple of new programs and getting them out the door after that, i would be willing to bet that some really smart people sit down and think about what a developer program might look like.

    It is hard to do really advanced developer certification.  How could you certify that someone has really deep knowledge of being a "master" developer?  

    You could teach them really nifty little-known tricks with .NET and ask them to build a certain type of application in the last week of the course with some instructor/mentor support.  But what would the instructional portion of the course look like?

  21. Perfarny says:

    I’m hearing you guys on the work we need to do in regards to making sure HR departments and others out there really know what the newgen certs are all about. I’ve passed on the feedback to several people here at MSL already and have faith we will work on this.

    @Perfarny (funny, seems like I’m talking to myself, but that’s the name you left in your comment 😉 ). Seems like you’re looking for the Directory program specifically. I’ll ask Walter to chime in here shortly (Walter runs the Directory program on my team) so he can give you and others details direct.

    Wesc and Wayne – – yes, we need to get the programs on the table out first, and make sure we get them right. As I mentioned above, a developer track is possible, but I’m also not quite sure how we could/should attack that at this point (I have zero development background, btw, so I’ll rely on experts here). We’ll look at it, and with your feedback and input, perhaps there’s something there. Don’t hesitate to send me mail if you have ideas on this (or anything else). BIG DISCLAIMER: I’m not the world’s greatest email respondent, or shall I say, my SLA on replies is generally 1 week plus. just setting expectations 😉 Address: perfarny @ the place where bill gates used to work full time.com

    Thanks for all the comments and discussion!

    Per

  22. Niall says:

    Hi Per

    Greets from Norway!

    One of the criticisms at the moment I have for the MCM is the percieved lack of value to the organisation. As in why should I hire such a person. What is the benefit to me as an employer. This can worked out in a couple of ways with education of the hiring people and also increasing the benefits to organisations who have such talented individuals on their books.

    With the CCIE for example to get the Cisco Gold Partner status you need to have a certain number of these certified individuals.

    With the MCA it is worth only 3 points on the MCP scale, so it is up there with the MCPD, MCSE etc. Bit of scale difference in the MCA and MCPD 🙂 I suppose that its difficult to change the requirements on the partner program without screwing up a whole load more but maybe just increasing the value of the MCM and MCA on the Partner Program could be a start.

    Better support offerings for MCM/MCA might be also cool.. With the MCP you have access to the MCP knowledge base, is there anything that the MCM would gain above that.

    For a 20,000USD certification there is a lot of stuff that seems missing if you qualify, as in what are the benefits. We are all about the benefits 🙂

  23. Michael Dragone says:

    Per, I came up with another question today. If you don’t get have time to get back here to answer any more questions before the Live Meeting.

    Will the MCM be "versioned" like the MCTS and MCITP, MCSA, MCSE, etc. are today? And if so, what are the plans for upgrading to the current version? It would be really painful to shell out $18,500 for MCM: Exchange 2007 and have to shell out ANOTHER $18k for MCM: Exchange 2012 (or whatever).

    I suppose the same question applies to the Technology Architect series.

  24. My question, will the MCM be reflected in our company’s certification?  It only takes two MCPs to be a Gold Partner and that is ridiculously easy.  I would like to see a Platinum level for a single competency if an employee holds a MCM or MCA.  There needs to be a differentiation for these certifications or our company owners will not pay the $18K for training.

  25. Wesc says:

    @Wayne and Per:

    Ultramegasupergroovy. We need a big honkin’ Kneel Before Zod, Puny Human certification.

    Far too lazy to e-mail; I prefer to go off-topic:

    The current MCPDs cover .Net pretty well. They test whether someone can code. But they don’t test a person’s ability to design and architect and manage the lifecycle. Requiring all MCPD certs, and aligning the program  with Team System would both rock AND roll all the way to Funkytown.

  26. jtb says:

    "…As an organization, if you can justify that investment with a single additional sales win that you would not have had without a consultant availible[sic] with the masters credential, then it presents a compelling value to the organization…"

    BIG if…

    How do you quantify that?

    Is a company with 1 MCM better off than a company with 1 MCSE/MCTS/MCITP?  Sure (probably).  But a ratio might help.  One MCM can still only be in one client office at a time.  Do they really add more value to the "bottom line"?  

    If we cannot justify this to the CxO folks–who typically believe "no technical person should ever make over $80,000/year"–then we’re back to buying this one ourselves (like THAT’s gonna happen), or doing without the added "glory"…

  27. ioniancat21 says:

    As said in an earlier post; I like the concept of creating an elite CCIE-like certification in the Microsoft genre. I myself would be interested in acquiring this sort of certification being both and MCSE 2000 and MCITP Enterprise Admin already fulfilling the requirements 10 fold. Unfortunately, the problem for me and probably a very large majority of others is going to be cost and this alone will destroy any chance of this certification working.

    With one of the largest recessions to hit the US since the Great Depression, I can logically assume that most companies are not going to be springing for a $20K 3-Week course as they would be better served sending you for your Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree at the local College which is cheaper. As for myself, I don’t have the risk capital to invest $20K in a certification that may help my career options.

    I was also upset about the overall thoughts regarding the certification:

    ·         It’s an awesome program for the intended audience – yeah, a very wealthy audience. Tell me all; how many of you think your employer will spring for you to take this exam? Probably none. All and MCM says is that you have employers with big pockets….

    ·         We don’t expect, or want, everyone to earn a Master certification – I hope not at $20K a person!!! While I understand limited membership helps, I can’t help but look at this MCM as class discrimination amoongst IT people. Expect only high profile Consultants and CIO’s to be the MCM member makeup with little or no working class administrators in the group, even if their skills are MCM level.

    ·         Master is not replacing Architect – I hope not or what would us "little people" get certified in.

    ·         It’s not for everyone’s pocketbook – Once upon a time I thought being great in IT was about hard work, practice and experience, boy was I wrong!!! What it’s really about is money, we’ve turned into Real Estate agents!! Like Real Estate, agents create an image of wealth; they always have nice cars and clothes, etc. painting a picture that they are successful, regardless of the reality. With the MCM, ypu can rest assured that you have a very expensive, high profile candidate. The question is whether he will be better than non-MCM candidates, which isn’t guaranteed. I know of CCIE’s who have been fired before. I also know of Cisco administrators who had CCIE’s and suggest others not complete it because the work to complete it doesn’t return a large enough salary increase to make it worth it.

    With that said I believe this is the nail in the coffin of the impossible dream called the "MCM"………

  28. Josh says:

    When/where can we register?  The site says July 2008, but it is July and I see no registration link…

    Are you guys giving any discounts if the company has any premier contracts or partner agreements with MS?

    According to the site there will be a series of tests and labs that will need to be passed as well…are these going to be over the same material that we already passed with MCDBA, MCTS, MCITP? Or is it going to be over the additional indepth material covered in the 3 weeks of training?

  29. Perfarny says:

    ioniancat21…

    Thanks for the comments.

    I can understand that you’re upset about the cost of these programs. I would be too if it were something I’d feel qualified for, wanted, but couldn’t afford.

    It’s not all about the $, though. You can choose to believe me or not on that, and it’s OK whichever way you go. I wanted to be very transparent in my post about the cost of these programs; I didn’t want to conveniently hide that aspect.

    In terms of will MCM’s be ‘better’ than non-MCM’s? For people filling those job roles, MCM’s will have been extensively validated via common criteria, and non-MCM’s will not. You can ask the same question in regards to, "Is an MCITP better than a non-MCITP?", "Is a CPA better than a non-CPA?", etc. Personally, I’d rather hire an MCITP than a non-MCITP. I also like having my taxes done by a CPA vs. non-CPA. In both of these cases it’s because I want to entertain as little risk as possible. Their certified status removes a good portion of the risk.

    You get to the heart of this discussion via your comment, "Expect only high profile Consultants and CIO’s to be the MCM member makeup with little or no working class administrators in the group, even if their skills are MCM level". That’s exactly it, you got it right (I’d leave off CIO’s, though). This is the idea, the design of the programs. Not to exclude anyone on purprose, but to cater to a very specific audience that we haven’t catered to in the past. It is the appropriate certification for those indviduals. It is not appropriate for ‘working class administrators’ because it doesn’t focus on that job role, and therefore doesn’t make sense for that audience to invest in this. MCITP still is, and will continue to be, the most appropriate certification for that audience.

    Thanks as always,

    Per

  30. PJ says:

    Is it possible to acheive "too much" certification status?  For example, say you have a master degree from an accredited university or an MBA and then you have MCITP and on top of that you acheive MCM status.  Will companies look at you and say "I can’t afford this guy when I can get a normal MCITP for less money?"  Is there a point where too much is too much?

  31. Jim Goodwin says:

    Per,

    Thank you again for all of the information.  However, as an MCT, I have to wonder at the amount of time and effort that Microsoft Learning is spending on developing certification Programs, Tests, and training content for certs that appeal to 15 to 50 people worldwide instead of focusing on delivering usefull training for you most in-demand certificaions.  Next gen MOC is a complete rip-off from the students value perspective and tests for new certs are coming fast and furiously, while actual Official Curriculum training materials lag months behind.  I have to wonder where the priorities are focused lately.

  32. Adrian says:

    Hi Per,

    Any chance of Walter joining us on how the directory program will run or if he has a blog it would be great to see something on it.

    Do you not see this course of benefit to people trying to become "high profile Consultants"?

    I thought it was designed for people who weren’t MCA’s but wanted to progress towards becoming an MCA because the MCA was so hard to get?

    Thanks

  33. Perfarny says:

    @PJ

    I think with each certification focusing on a particular audience, there isn’t the case of ‘too much’. It’s all about getting the right person with the right certification for the right job.

    @ Jim Goodwin

    Priorities are high in all of the areas you mentioned, and it’s possible to do so based on different teams heading up each one of those efforts (i.e. my team exclusively focuses on MCM and MCA, and anything we do re: time and resource investment doesn’t directly correlate to another team having less time and resources).

    That said – can you get me/us some more details on your statements re: MOC? I’d like to make sure the appropriate team gets actionable feedback. I’ll look into the ‘Office lag’.

    @Adrian

    Walter should be here ‘shortly’, sorry for the delay.

    I absolutely see these programs as beneficial for ‘highly specialized consultants to be’!

    I don’t see it that closely correlated with MCA, though. True Architecture skills are just different than top tech skills, and one of the objectives here was to draw the line between the two more cleanly and clearly. Many top tech folks never want to become an Architect and that’s perfectly reasonable. That doesn’t make an architect better either, they just fulfill different roles.

    Thanks,

    Per

  34. Perfarny says:

    @Josh – sorry for not answering earlier!

    We’re still working as quickly as we can to get registration opened up but I unforunately don’t have a specific date for you. It’s one last issue we’re working on (long story).

    We don’t have any programmatic discounts built in, but for companies looking to send numerous candidates, I am willing to discuss.

    The exams are based on the content presented during the 3 weeks of training. The final lab exam may cover these contents also, or other materials that were not directly covered in class.

    Thanks,

    Per

  35. Andrew says:

    Per,

    Re Windows Server 2008 track. I am certified MCSE 2003, work extensively with W2K3/W2K8 in a production environment in complex fortune 100 datacenter.

    Due solely to SOX compliance, I cannot work with AD and have system access. But pre-sox worked with both, and know if I study the material and work with the product (lab environment) I get through certification which I have proved via W2k8 certification.

    My question to you is, if I am strong in Windows server infrastructure but weak in AD (and have ambition) – "is it possible" for someone like myself to make it through the W2K8 MCM certification? (e.g. the course(s) will provide enough material to fill-in the gap).

    Thanks in advance!

  36. Wayne Anderson says:

    Andrew:

    My two cents here would be no.

    I am frankly familiar with the material and the structure of the course.  In my opinion, those going after the WS2008 / Directory track really need to realize it is more focused on the directory and identity portions of the platform.

    Concepts like certificate services, schemas, integration of AD LDS with existing infrastructure based DS services.  Identity migration.  Cross platform directory services.

    There is a heavy emphasis in that area.  If you focus more on system administration, this is probably not the track for you, as the course pre-supposes a stout set of AD experience.

  37. Lunik says:

    Hi Per,

    With the new style Master certification qual lab: The first 2 times you take it; ok it’s obviously paid for… Succesive attempts? Just charge a fee to retake the exam, instead of banning the participant for life please, or forcing him/her to retake the whole training again, which will never happen imho. (It’s MS loss too that way)…

    Hopefully a good idea?

    About the training and the fee: I can and wil confirm that it’s 200% worth your money. I attended rotation 22 and all participants fully agreed they thought they knew much before they went into the program, but all got stunned about the amazing content and added value coming apparent during this journey. You will probably not find a tailored Microsoft training of this quality and depth anywhere else on the globe. Even though our customers don’t know all the MS terminology and certification abbreviations and grades, YOU will be able bring in the delta during your projects with them, which they will not forget.

    Cheers all,

    Nik

  38. Marcus says:

    This looks like a great set of certifications, along with MCA and MCITP. As mentioned, the initial trouble will be that while we in the certification-know will understand what it means to be a Microsoft Certified Master, not many companies and hiring managers will know. Most likeley, HR departments will cling to their habits of scanning resumes for the usual hot-button terms: "MCSE", "CCNA", "A+", etc. It will take time before any new cert will be recognized, and it will be the trailblazers that start out on the path and set the standard that will make or break the reputation of these programs.

    Give it time. Five years from now, given that the individuals certified stand out as experienced and knowledgable, the MCAs and MCMs out there will stand shoulder ot shoulder with CCIEs and CISSPs as "the elite" of the IT industry. Either way, I’m looking forward to seeing more information as it comes out on the MCM program, I’ll be chomping at the bit to "upgrade" my current status.

  39. Adrian says:

    @Nik

    Whats rotation 22?

    Thanks

  40. Perfarny says:

    @ Nik

    For now, the first attempt is included, and one needs to pay for the 2nd and 3rd attempts. We are not offering more than 3 attempts at this time based on several factors, a main one being resources to ensure we have n versions of each exam so that the integrity stays where it should.

    Thanks for the good feedback on the training, I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂

    @Adrian

    That’s what we call our training sessions..’rotations’ :). For Exchange, we’ve had 22 rotations over the last 5 years of the ‘Ranger programs’ and Master training is the evolution of this. On that note, we also have a habit of calling students ‘candidates’, and have at times posted a sign on our classroom door that a past attendee created which has the background from one of the Alien movies with the title, "RANGER – In 11/2088 (the classroom number), no one can hear you scream." I posted a copy here, http://s4.thefarnys.com/Misc/ranger.jpg

    Work hard, play hard, it’s all good fun 🙂

  41. Ivor says:

    Thanks for the update Per. These programs are great but it is out of range. I work for a huge Global consulting company and I’m 100% sure that they will not be interested in speding that amount of money for training. You mentioned volume discounts. I am very interested in how this will translate to figures that are attainable. I understand the economics around the certifications but if the company employing you does not have the insight to invest in such training…oh well, back to plain old MCITP / MCSE.

  42. AspiringGeek says:

    @Ivor

    Here are two more options.

    1) Robert Kiyosaki, author of among other titles "Rich Dad, Poor Dad", teaches that statements such as "I can’t afford it" can be re-framed to a question: "How can I afford it?".

    2) Consider changing jobs. It worked for me.

    Good luck!

  43. Wayne Anderson says:

    Per, can you clarify the permanence of this program’s certification status?

    Is this a permanent credential?

    Will there be mandatory re-education or re-testing?

    Will you simply require that masters interact at least X times a year with the product team or attend the product team livemeetings?

    One of my potential candidates came to me yesterday with the observation that if he was interested in going the full track from MCITP to MCA, he felt like he almost wouldnt have time to be a consultant.  

    I made the observation to him taht his significant experience should accelerate the process for him and that he doesnt have to do it all at once, he could achieve MCA in 3 years if that is his goal if he chose to work through it.

    It did raise the good point, however, of how long the MCM and MCA credentials will be good for and what kind of requirements they will have to have to re-up the credential.

  44. If you haven&#39;t already heard, Microsoft is upping the ante in the certification arena by introducing

  45. Kristof says:

    Hi Per,

    I’m a consultant from Belgium and although I’ve got family living in Oregon I haven’t ever made it to Redmond WA.  Now I’ve received oral confirmation from my employer that I will be able to obtain my MCM on Exchange 2007.

    Even if I can take the courses and seminars somewhere in Europe, I’d prefer to see Redmond "while I’m at it" …

    In that regard is my question.  Does Microsoft have a partnership with hotels in the region?  Are they easily accessible?  Will I be needing a car?

  46. Perfarny says:

    @ Wayne

    Master is a permanent credential and it is product version specific. We will not require re-education or te-testing on the same version of the product, but we will provide additional opportunities to be completely up to speed on the product especially when service packs come out, etc. This will be via announcements on our distribution list and Live Meetings. Our expectation is for everyone to consume these as it makes them that much more relevant in their jobs.

    For our technical MCA programs, we will require re-certification every 3 years. At that time, we will check to make sure the candidate has a current Master certification in their specialty area. Aside from that, we will require some documentation, and perhaps a 60 minute phone call / Live Meeting discussion to re-certify vs. having to do another in-person review board. This MCA re-certification piece is still being worked out right now.

    @Kristof

    Great to hear! We can assist in securing some housing. We have access to 1,2, and 3 bedroom apartments which all rent for ~$100/night. These are equipped with full kitchens, living room, bedroom. Many of our attendees chose to, for example, get a 3-bedroom together thereby making the cost for each @ $33/night; quite a good deal! Plus, as most candidates study at night, it’s an ideal setup for facilitating study groups.

    Once we have the registration going, and you sign up, we’ll be able to help you with that. On the registration note – still shooting for the end of this month.

    Thanks,

    Per

  47. Naveen Rao says:

    Mr Farny,

    I was curious to know about MCM, and I found that one stop shop "Trikia", Thanks for that.

    I am working as Consultant in a well known organization in India, could you eloborate on the launching of Masters Prog(MCM) in Asian countries(India).  

    looking fwd to meet you on July 30th.

    Regards,

    Naveen Rao.

  48. Perfarny says:

    Hi Naveen,

    Gald you found us here 🙂

    In FY10 (July 2009-June 2010) we will look to conduct the training at several locations worldwide. We are not locked on where yet, but India is often requested. To be clear: in FY09 we will accept people from anywhere in the world, but they will have to come to Redmond for the training.

    Thanks,

    Per

  49. JohnH says:

    Government agencies and most firms along the Gulf of Mexico would not be interested in paying for this program, as they would fear losing certified individuals to a better paying competitor, like their MCSEs/MCITPs.  The economy of this region is much deflated in comparison to much larger cities.  

    The dreaded "over-qualified" is often heard by those of us who have years of experience in Microsoft OS trying to land the few MCSE-type positions available.  The recent college grads land all the good jobs, since they are willing to take very low pay (~$32K) for a few years of experience.

    I can see the value in persuing this cert, but I would have to get a loan to pull it off, as I would get help from no one. It is a big risk, probably worth it, but a big risk of passing, none-the-less.

    Will Microsoft come up with a Program to help successful candidates find placement with a Corporation or Client that would be inclined to employ successful graduates with the requisite experience?  Is there an average-fair salary calculated from those that have successfully completed the previous Ranger rotations?  Which cities have companies that are already employing Rangers/MCMs?

  50. AspiringGeek says:

    @JohnH

    John, your post reminds me of the quote attributed to both W. Edwards Deming & Zig Ziglar:

    "The only thing worse than training everyone and having some of them leave is not training any of them and having them all stay."

    As a devout capitalist (yet a not-so-great stock-picker), the best investments I’ve *ever* made by far are investments in my "intellectual capital", i.e., in educating myself.

    For example, my first SQL cert got me in the door as a full-time DBA.  I’ve gone on in the past decade to become a real-world database architect.  I’ve since moved on from that posiition, and it turns out now thanks to equal measures of hard work & passion that I will soon be attending a rotation of this program & won’t have to pay out-of-pocket.  

    Yet even if this weren’t the case, based on my experience, I am confident it would be a personal investment which would pay off.

    I think Microsoft would place itself in an uncomfortable position were it to sponsor a placement program; that is, perhaps many of the companies now sending candidates would be less willing to do so.

    Realizing the program is relatively new, I’d be interested in some of the stats you request, too.

    There are a lot of resources for job placement.  Good luck in whatever direction you take!

  51. rmays3 says:

    Per,

    I was reading on MS website that the new certs are only good as long as the product is supported by MS.  When the perduct is retired the cert is nolonger valid.  In other words guys that have an MCSE in 4.0 still can show that they attained an MCSE eventhough the product is no longer supported by MS.  Are you saying that does not apply to the MCM and MCA?

  52. Perfarny says:

    @ rmays3,

    For Master certifications – I am not saying that.

    For MCA certifications – I am.

    If you attain a Master certification, it will never expire as each certification is version specific, i.e. Microsoft Certified Master: Exchange 2007. You will be able to show that you have a MCM:Exchange 2007 certification just like you can show you have an MCSE 4.0 today.

    For MCA, the certification needs to be renewed every 3 years. If you do not renew, it will expire.

    -Per

  53. rmays3 says:

    Per,

    I know you are not going to like this post however, as an IT professional and someone that is looking at paying 30K to achieve an MCA, can we speak in direct terms.

    When MS NEEDED MCSE’s under the original 4.0 track to help it sell the product, it was a pure numbers game. You need to convince your market that they will be supported. MS exams were easy and not one word was said about the many dumps site the doted the internet. We all have horror stories about the guy who got the job with a MCSE and screwed your network up. Once the numbers were higher enough MS used their massive legal are to shut down most of those sites. We all know that could have been done earlier.

    The thing that bothers me is for years I have been hearing how they are going to make the certs have more or better value however the opposite keeps happening. For example: you keep adding specialization without a reasonable way to distinguish them in the overall cert title.

    Example, A person with a MCSE and more than two or three specializations should have BEEN considered a Master MCSE. You could have added a master’s test and a board review to the existing 03 cert a long time ago.

    Now we have an unreal and unreasonable cost of achieving what appears to me a Master MCSE (MCA) or the equizilant to a regular MCSE (MCM) and again the titles are backward, next the lower certs are still very convoluted.  MCITP should not be a catch all and it is NOT equivalent to a current 2003 MCSE. This will really water down salaries and do nothing to help HR dept’s and IT managers in there process of hiring.  A server tech and an Enterprise tech have nothing in common, therefore at a glance the market will price them the same based on the certs title. Very few companies will understand the difference between the two.

    There should be a cert between the MCITP and a MCM; if a person achieves a MCITP in server, enterprise and exchange you should show that progression with say a MCSE.  The new program still looks like a combination of a numbers game for MCTS and MCITP and money grab for the people at the top because once your cert value falls you are forced to prove your worth and MS is waiting with a 30K invoice.

    MS now sees its IT people as a balance sheet entry. The partnership that was supposed to develop never did and the fantasy is over. I agree with the school portion because that will give the cert a consistent level of knowledge and that has been lacking, however there are thousands of MS certified schools that teach MS curriculum that could have and should have been tasked with coming to Redmond and learning this from a trainer level. Then come back and teach it to those people admitted to the program BY MS. You still will maintain total control of who gets admitted and certified.

    Most important, it then could be done at a slower paste and not require a 3 week, time off work commitment.  8 weeks of evening and weekends makes more sense. The boot camp environment is not the best way to teach, slow with labs and time to redo, redo, redo is the best way to impart knowledge.

    I currently have a Cisco CCNA and for 10K to 15K I could achieve a CCNP and CCIE and the higher cost is adding in taking the CCIE twice because most people fail on the first try.  This cert is the industry elite and commands a salary of 125K and above in my market.   Is MS going to stand behind their MCA cert promote and help those who achieve it get positions or even be private consultants?  I am very skeptical base on past decisions.  Last what are the projections for MCM’s and MCA’s numbers and salary?

  54. Lunik says:

    @Per

    Thx. While still processing all training data (trying to crawl out of the broken ranger egg, which is now my wallpaper) i misread you already mentioned 3 attempts to certify as a Master in your initial post. So kudos to you, my bad.

    And i meant that the same person attending the same exact training content twice is unlikely to occur, but never say neffer… I would surely signup for the next level of the Exchange 14 bootcamp, after carressing my boss 😉

    Does the benefit in terms of cost still apply for attending follow- up Master training, once you have succesfully attended one before (meaning you passed the 80% scorebar on the overall training), Per?

  55. Mike says:

    $18k and 3 weeks for another multi-letter certification that most hiring managers and (most importantly) clients won’t understand, really?

  56. That was actually a Rick Astley video. Here is the right link for the recording from this morning’s meeting

  57. Walter Boyd says:

    Chiming in now that we’ve finished the beta rotation.

    I’m the PM for the Directory program. I’ll address "@Perfarny"’s question about the appropriatness of the Master program for a SMB person. And now that we’re not in rotation a can respond to others in a bit more timely fashion.

    Q. "Would you see this course being of benefit to a Senior Tech who looks after an SMB Windows network"?

    A. The course will benefit anyone needing advanced Directory skills ( or Messaging or SQL ) that has the experience and knowledge to successfully attend the training and pass the associated certification exams.

    However, I wouldn’t think the typical SMB implementation would justify training at this level. Master-level training is aimed at meeting the needs of complex (and usually larger) implementations. Some SMB networks might fit that broad description but they would be the exception. So while you may be ready, your current role may not be.

  58. Ok, so correct me if I’m wrong:

    An existing a MCDBA (SQL 2000) simply needs pass the upgrade exam 70-447 to gain "MCITP: Database Administrator", then 3 more exams (70-431, 70-441 and 70-442) to gain "MCITP: Database Developer" (shame MCAD does not count), as requirments for the "Microsoft Certifed Master: SQL Server 2008" training program? (I understand that alone does not guarantee participation, but defnitely is required.)

    If so, I know what I’m doing in August, grin.

    Cheers and thanks for the great presentation today (20080730),

    Martin

  59. Niall says:

    Hey Martin

    To get the MCITP. DBA cert from MCDBA you need both 70-431 and 70-447.

    Then its 2 more exams for MCITP: DBD.

    Still the same number of exams tho :).

    70-431 is required for either of these certs regardless if you have previous certs like MCDBA.

  60. Perfarny says:

    @rmays3

    I like your post just fine 🙂 It’s all about having a discussion here.

    One point I want to clarify for starters: I’m not sure where you get the $30,000 number from? The Master programs are $18,500 and we are revising pricing for MCA to be $5,000.

    As I’ve tried to state in the post and various webcasts that I’ve done: Master is not the next MCSE. It is not meant to be ‘the next step’. It is purely designed for highly specialized individuals. I did some numbers on this just yesterday: it looks like we have somewhere around 2.2 million certified individuals. My goal for Master is that within 10 years we have 20,000 certified individuals across all programs. That adds up to just 1% of the current certified community. It is a niche program.

    I know my co-workers are working hard to drive the value message for our ‘newgen’ certs (Pro, TS) to hiring managers and employers overall. I hear you saying it’s not where it needs to be right now, and they have heard it, too.

    I also hear you saying you want an ‘advanced MCSE’. Again, Master is not that (MCSE and Pro generally cover more breadth), but we are always looking to see how we can improve our programs overall. I will discuss this concept with my coworkers.

    Finally, we will definitely stand behind these certs and promote them as best we can. Only time will tell whether we (and you) get the results or not.

    @ Mike – No, I’m not mad 🙂 So far, the customers, partners, press, and individuals that I’ve spoken with about this seem to understand it quite easily. So, the message seems to be clear and now we’ll put our efforts into getting that message out to everyone who should hear it.

  61. Have you already completed the four MCTS certifications available for SharePoint and would like to have

  62. So just got this in an email and wanted to share with you: Thank you for registering for and/or attending

  63. brennang says:

    I have been waiting for something like this since doing all the 2005 exams – I’m excited and the thought of getting trained by people who really are subject-matter experts is great. I have been on a few courses and most have been presented by people with little realworld experience.

    Per

    I had a chat about the MCM program with my Business Services manager today and I was quite surprised that even though he was shocked by the price he did not rule out the possibility of finding the budget to send me. However, he did ask for a detailed breakdown of the course content so that we can estimate the realistic value of the program for our company.

    Thanks in advance

  64. alaa says:

    hey , guys .

    i know we are all suffering of the IT live but we are on love with it.

    starting from ignoring the middle east totaly for this certification and ending to the very high price which will not worth indeed .

    but please think in this night mare 18k$ .

    what will it add to us ..in depth training ,wow ,

    what else ..one aliace in my cv also ,wow,

    but in the fact what is the development will come bake to me in order to pay this amount of money ."NO thing because all our bosses will not pay more"

    i really feel like us all i wish to take this training but not that way .

    microsoft start think in only profit behind this exams .

    we need this training ,but why?

    i myself need this to prove that i am cabable to do it and help my self understanding the cause of each problem in deapth but it’s not a majority for me means my clustered live will goo somooth with out it.

    so at last every one of us should know that we can continue with out this certificate .

    hey guys, you forgot some thing !!

    you don’t know what is the deapth of the information you will have in there so you are paying 18k$ for some thing you even don’t know.

    this earning will not be useful for all of us and we must take some action to learn microsoft how to respect people and making all the chances equal for all not just for the reach people you know if you calculate this amount for an egyptian guy it will be his salary x190 times and for the reach people in GULF at most a rate of X13 and this without any extras like tickets and accomodation fees.

    so, in this case if you approve to my openion i am inviting you to not take this training and make them fail in this to show them that they need us not us need them.

    i hope that they are strong enough to publish this and not removing it from here.

    and will see after the first patch and the second fail how will this certificate price go down.

    To :microsoft "not only Americans are humans also middel east people are".

    this is my personal ideas and thanks for reading.

  65. Bob says:

    Any news on when the next track for UC/OCS will be ready for registration?

  66. Here&#8217;s what I hear about registration for the Master program you&#8217;ve been chatting with Per

  67. How many of you have heard of this?&#160; This is the new “Premier Technical Credential” from Microsoft

  68. Neil's blog says:

    As most of you are already aware, Microsoft places a huge amount of emphasis on certification. Not only

  69. Afgelopen november vond de eerste (alfa) training plaats van het SharePoint Master programma (MCM). Ik

  70. Ryan McDonald says:

    Are there any plans to add a security track to the Master program?

  71. Per Farny says:

    Hi Ryan,

    Sorry, no plans at this time…but it has certainly been brought up before. We’ll continue to evaluate when and which new tracks we’ll add. Right now, I don’t think there’ll be any new ones in the next 6-12 months.

  72. Jason says:

    When will the European training centres be announced? I guess it will be in the UK first?

  73. Joe Sack says:

    Hello Jason,

    No plans for adding MCM training locations just yet.  It is a popular request, but nothing planned in the next year.  We’ll be sure to announce this on The Master Blog if and when this changes.

    Best Regards,

    Joe