Are You An MCP?

There has been a lot of confusion out there when it comes to the new certifications from Microsoft. This is partly because the old certifications are still in play, and the new ones don’t conform to the same framework of named designations as they have in the past.

One of the most confusing ones would be the MCP designation. In the past if you passed any of the certification exams you were awarded a MCP designation, as a “Microsoft Certified Professional”. It would clearly state on your Microsoft transcript under Microsoft Certification Status as a MCP and the date this was achieved by passing your first exam. You can see this below in this transcript:

Transcript with MCP

Transcript with MCP

With the new certifications though this is no longer the case. When you pass your first exam you are said to be part of the “Microsoft Certified Professional Community“, but you are no longer awarded the MCP designator. This is clearly evident on this transcript from a candidate that has just recently passed 70-620 to earn his first MCTS status. You will notice it does not include a MCP designations under the Certification Status, only the MCTS:

Transcript without a MCP

Transcript without a MCP

Even though the new certifications have been out for more than a year (See Death to the MCSE by Scott Skinger for more details) there still is confusion by people even in the learning community that should know better. It is also a question that gets asked several times a month on the Technet Learning Forums that has to be answered. So why all the confusion even after all this time?

I chalk it up to a few things:

  • A ton of out of date information on the web by even highly respected sites
  • The fact that both old and new versions of the certifications are still available because of product life span. I would have liked to see a more clear cut change for even the older versions of the exams if possible.
  • Old timers that just don’t keep up with the newest trends. I will admit that I was in this boat for a long time. Having been certified for so long, while I heard about new certifications, it didn’t really hit home how different the new system was until I really took the time to start reading up on it about 6 months ago.

So in summary if you are just starting out taking the new Microsoft certification exams and you pass, congratulations! You are now part of the MCP Community, but sadly you are not a MCP. Now that being said, if you are still dying for a MCP designation after you name you can still take one of the live tests from the 2003 tracks and receive it. You can even still get your MCSE if you are so inclined. The confusion will die down in time as the older certifications start to retire and only the new system is in place. Then you can tell all the upstarts coming through about the good old days when you were a MCP or MCSE and see them stare blankly at you when they have no idea what those are. :)

Update: Trika was nice enough to email me an earlier link to an article that she wrote about this earlier in the year.  You can find it at http://blogs.msdn.com/trika/archive/2008/01/09/so-an-mcp-and-an-mcts-walk-in-to-a-bar.aspx

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