How to Keep Your Certifications Relevant

We live in a evolving and changing world. For us developers, the times they are a-changin’ at an ever-increasing pace. We have new versions of our favourite technology coming every year or two, and just to keep updated we have to embrace the change and learn along the way.

However, there are new technology paradigms that require us to broaden our view and to challenge preconceived notions. Technologies such as cloud computing, ubiquitous touch-enabled smart phones and deep social media integration have established themselves as the mainstream in very short period of time. Today we can’t even predict what will the mainstream be in the next few years (although the guys at Redmond do try to envision it).

So, there’s an increasing pressure on us to stay certified on the current and new technologies. We will have to specialize a lot more than we were used to. Just imagine how for instance the single XAML technology has evolved and specialized in the Windows Phone 7, Silverlight, Windows 8 Metro Applications and the WPF desktop apps, each one with a specialized certification path.

For me as a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) it has been an ongoing challenge to keep with the relevant certifications and provide others with the information and facts they need to assess and choose their certification path. I’ve been watching Microsoft Learning evolving and adapting the certifications (both the exams and the technology tracks) to the new, challenging times. The guys at MS Learning have a tough time balancing between the stable set of deep-rooted technology tracks (keep the number of options small enough not to be overwhelming) and the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink explosion of new technologies. In between, they need to watch when there’s a significant change in the technology to warrant a new certification track.

For example, the cloud computing is slowly becoming yesterday’s news. Developers and IT Pros alike are being used to the cloud as the everyday platform, one more to be aware of when making daily decisions. Lately the focus has been cast on the private clouds, where we can leverage the same excellent ideas and approaches that are the basis of Windows Azure and apply them on a smaller scale with our own datacenter. Microsoft has been providing the underlying Azure technology in its System Center and Windows Server products to allow you to cloudify your datacenters for a quite time now and the certification has also kept in sync. There is a private cloud certification track available now on Microsoft Learning where you can prepare and practice for the certification, sign up for the upcoming Private Cloud Jump Start course, and get a head start on your private cloud certification.

This new offering is just another example of how the technology keeps evolving and the certifications are evolving together with it to keep current and valuable to you as developers and IT Pros. Embrace the change!

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