Microsoft Unveils New Certification Programs

Microsoft's new certification program, Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA), which has been in beta testing for over a year, went live Tuesday. MCA is a system of certification based on seven competencies as displayed to a four-member peer review board.

Microsoft says it has striven for an objective, vender-agnostic system that measures the candidate's ability against an ideal, rather than against the performance of others. Skills are assessed in areas of: technical depth, technical breadth, communication, organizational dynamics, leadership, strategy, and tactics.

The sessions have proven to be useful for the candidates whether they pass or fail, according to the Redmond company. Individuals participate in a deliberation that could be as long as several hours, covering the areas where they can grow from a developer to architect, or from architect to advanced architect.

The result of MCA certification could be thought of as a skill set report card.

There are three disciplines among the MCA credentials: Infrastructure, Solutions, and Messaging. The first two cover the full IT spectrum, while the third focuses directly on messaging systems, which is directed at Microsoft Exchange customers.

Microsoft additionally on Tuesday unveiled the Office Specialist Certification, which covers Windows Vista and Office 2007. The program is intended to help customers prepare before the launch of the two new products early next year.

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