About two weeks or so ago I enrolled, registered and paid for the MCSM (Microsoft Certified Solutions Master) for Directory Services rotation during the month of October in Seattle. After years of experience and being an MVP for Directory Services I thought this would be my next step and goal. I was really looking forward to attend this deep dive training. Passed Saturday morning, while having a cup of coffee and reading my e-mail, I opened the e-mail I had received during the night from MSFT about the MCSM training program. That’s when I read the sad news about Microsoft cancelling/retiring the MCM/MCSM/MCA programs as of 1 October 2013. WHAT!? That sucks! I just registered and paid for this a few days ago and everything was accepted. Made hotel reservations and flight reservations. Ready to go in October! Just a few days after getting everything ready and with just one month to go they cancelled everything!?!?!?!?! How the hell can you accept a registration and say “Welcome to the program” and then a few days later cancel everything and say “sorry for any inconvenience this may cause”? Are you nuts!? If you look below, they already knew about this for months, but were still accepting registrations and payment. How ridiculous is this? Thanks for refunding the training fees. Who’s going to refund the other costs?
This is the official mail that I received:
We are contacting you to let you know we are making a change to the Microsoft Certified Master, Microsoft Certified Solutions Master, and Microsoft Certified Architect certifications. As technology changes so do Microsoft certifications and as such, we are continuing to evolve the Microsoft certification program. Microsoft will no longer offer Masters and Architect level training rotations and will be retiring the Masters level certification exams as of October 1, 2013. The IT industry is changing rapidly and we will continue to evaluate the certification and training needs of the industry to determine if there’s a different certification needed for the pinnacle of our program.
You are receiving this mail because you have registered for an upcoming Microsoft Certified Solutions Master training rotation that is being cancelled. You will be receiving a refund of the training fees you paid.
If you have paid with a credit card, the refund will automatically be credited to that credit card. If you paid via other means (eg. check, money order, etc.), please contact our Advanced Certifications team at XXX to provide them with the necessary information to issue a refund.
We thank you for your commitment to Microsoft technologies and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
No more MCSM, crap!
Basically, the general opinion is that people are quite disappointed in MSFT for cancelling/retiring these programs. I’m one of those people. I hope there will be some kind of replacement in the area of Directory Services.
So, what’s next? Killing the MVP Program?
Other blogs talking about this:
If you want to vote against Microsoft retiring the MCM, MCSM And MCA Programs, go to the following link: Please don’t get rid of the MCM and MCA programs
The following is an “explanation” from the person at Microsoft that made the decision to retire these programs:
Posted by Tim Sneath on 8/31/2013 at 1:32 PM
Thank you for the passion and feedback. We’re reading your comments and take them seriously, and as the person ultimately responsible for the decision to retire the Masters program in its current form, I wanted to provide a little additional context.
Firstly, you should know that while I’ve been accused of many things in my career, I’m not a "bean counter". I come from the community myself; I co-authored a book on SQL Server development, I have been certified myself for nearly twenty years, I’ve architected and implemented several large Microsoft technology deployments, my major was in computer science. I’m a developer first, a manager second.
Deciding to retire exams for the Masters program was a painful decision – one we did not make lightly or without many months of deliberation. You are the vanguard of the community. You have the most advanced skills and have demonstrated it through a grueling and intensive program. The certification is a clear marker of experience, knowledge and practical skills. In short, having the Masters credential is a huge accomplishment and nobody can take that away from the community. And of course, we’re not removing the credential itself, even though it’s true that we’re closing the program to new entrants at this time.
The truth is, for as successful as the program is for those who are in it, it reaches only a tiny proportion of the overall community. Only a few hundred people have attained the certification in the last few years, far fewer than we would have hoped. We wanted to create a certification that many would aspire to and that would be the ultimate peak of the Microsoft Certified program, but with only ~0.08% of all MCSE-certified individuals being in the program across all programs, it just hasn’t gained the traction we hoped for.
Sure, it loses us money (and not a small amount), but that’s not the point. We simply think we could do much more for the broader community at this level – that we could create something for many more to aspire to. We want it to be an elite community, certainly. But some of the non-technical barriers to entry run the risk of making it elitist for non-technical reasons. Having a program that costs candidates nearly $20,000 creates a non-technical barrier to entry. Having a program that is English-only and only offered in the USA creates a non-technical barrier to entry. Across all products, the Masters program certifies just a couple of hundred people each year, and yet the costs of running this program make it impossible to scale out any further. And many of the certifications currently offered are outdated – for example, SQL Server 2008 – yet we just can’t afford to fully update them.
That’s why we’re taking a pause from offering this program, and looking to see if there’s a better way to create a pinnacle, WITHOUT losing the technical rigor. We have some plans already, but it’s a little too early to share them at this stage. Over the next couple of months, we’d like to talk to many of you to help us evaluate our certifications and build something that will endure and be sustainable for many years to come.
We hate having to do this – causing upset amongst our most treasured community is far from ideal. But sometimes in order to build, you have to create space for new foundations. I personally have the highest respect for this community. I joined the learning team because I wanted to grow the impact and credibility of our certification programs. I know this decision hurts. Perhaps you think it is wrong-headed, but I wanted to at least explain some of the rationale. It comes from the desire to further invest in the IT Pro community, rather than the converse. It comes from the desire to align our programs with market demand, and to scale them in such a way that the market demand itself grows. It comes from the desire to be able to offer more benefits, not fewer. And over time I hope we’ll be able to demonstrate the positive sides of the changes we are going through as we plan a bright future for our certifications.
Thank you for listening… we appreciate you more than you know.
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