Tuesday 25 November 2008

MS Certified Master in MOSS

This one will be a bit of information and also a bit of a rant at the same time.

Microsoft has brought out two new additions to their elite level qualifications in the form of the Microsoft Certified Master: Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 or MCM:MOSS and the Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) in SharePoint.

Both of these very prestigious certifications require a high level of understanding of the product. Of course there are certain prereqs for each. In the case of the MCM it is the 4 current MCTS based on SharePoint technologies and a number of years experience in MOSS (2 years SPS2003 & 1 year on MOSS).

As part of this cert, there is a 3 week intense training regime comprising of hands on labs, written tests, lab tests and some a lot of work on the part of the candidate. It’s stressful, but it means to make a master of you.

All well and good. It’s a strong cert. Technology focused on both dev and admin sides, enterprise level functionality, best practices and above all deep understanding of the product.

To do all this, you must first fill out an application form with a non refundable fee and include your current resume.

If you are selected, it a program fee of USD18,500 for the course and 3 weeks in Redmond, completely offline due to the amount of time you will spend on this thing.

The MCA requires the MCM as its prereq and there is very little information on it at this time.

Now is the bit of a rant...

If you look at the certification stack that MS is currently using (here) you will see there is a track up from MCTS to MCA.

MS themselves describe it as

Microsoft Certification structure

Technology Series: Specialist certifications train IT professionals in implementation, building, troubleshooting, and debugging of a specific Microsoft technology.

Professional Series: Professional credentials validate the skill set required for a particular job.

Master Series: Master certifications identify individuals with the deepest technical skills available on a particular Microsoft product.

Architect Series: The Certified Architect program makes it easy for companies to identify experienced IT architects who have completed a rigorous peer review process.

So you progress from MCTS to Pro to MCM to MCA. That is the current roadmap. The jump from Pro to MCM is simply massive. It is akin to jumping from high school to PhD in one go.

Even the description of the Master cert, tells you how much they want you to know when you finish. And it’s only a three week course. So you better be just honing your skills in those three weeks rather than trying to learn a whole new set of skills!

I have always wondering why there isn’t an interim certification path to and of the Master certifications.. Apprentice maybe :) There are always 2, the Master and the Apprentice. Donald Trump/Star Wars would have a field day.

Now for the requirements.

Now the MCM MOSS doesn’t have a Pro level requirement. So the jump is even longer. 4 MCTS requirements only. I have 2 of them (both on WSS3.0), and wouldn’t consider myself within an ass' roar of the MCM (an Irish expression, ass being a donkey).

When you look at the MCM requirements for the SQL 2008 track, it is a lot higher. 7 years+ experience on SQL 7.0 and above. 2 Pro level certifications in the form of the MCITP: Database Admin and MCITP: Database Developer a total of 5 exams, 4 of which are Pro level.

It is similar for any of the other MCM level certifications. All of them require a professional exam or more.

I have enquired about professional level certifications for MOSS, both on the developer and admin sides of the house. I was lucky enough to be able to discuss this with Gerry O’Brien from Microsoft at PDC. We had a good conversation about it. This was before the announcement of the MCM for MOSS mind you.

But since that announcement it seems more and more necessary to have one. Purely to provide conformity to the certification roadmap, and also to give those who don’t want to achieve the master level certification, another certification to aim for.

While I am happy there is a now an MCM for MOSS, I am left wondering if it was fully thought out and was it rushed to market to capitalise on the increase in MOSS deployments and solutions worldwide.

Hopefully there will be a push to get the professional level certifications designed and out there and use them as the prerequisite for the MCM.

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