In late 2020, Microsoft announced major changes in the Microsoft Certification program. Namely – as of mid-2021 all newly earned role-based and specialty certifications are valid for a year from the date the exam was taken. The shift from two years span of the certificates to validating year-over-year came to promote continuous learning mindset among Microsoft learners. In the ever-changing world of cloud technologies, the certifications of job roles and in-demand skills should also be able to evolve rapidly. This approach also helps professionals to prove that their skills are relevant and up to date with the current market.
So how does it work?
You can make sure that your certification does not expire without taking any exams – just a free renewal assessment that you can take online. Yes, that’s right – it’s free! Just go to Microsoft Learn and connect your learn profile with your certification profile and you can take the online assessment at any time within 6 months of your expiration date. As of the time this article was written (late Jan 2022) there are 37 certifications that are available for renewal.
When to take the assessment?
In sync with cloud technologies Microsoft aims to make the certification renewal assessments as flexible and frictionless as possible for the learners. You can decide when within the six months prior to certificate expiration you feel ready for the assessment. Even better – you can try as many times as you want until you pass it. If you don’t pass on the first go, you may attempt it immediately. However, after the second attempt you must wait for 24 hours until your next try.
This flexible timeframe is especially beneficial for people holding multiple certifications. You can plan and pace your assessments to avoid the pressure to have to take them all within one month or even one week. No matter when you pass the assessment, your certification will be extended by an additional year from its current expiration date.
NOTE: If you do not pass the online assessment prior to your certificate expiration date, you will have to take the full certification exam in order get it back.
How to prepare?
You can check the skills that are measured on the specific page of the certificate. And dust-off your knowledge on the topics by going through the short modules prepared by Microsoft. Upon taking the assessment you will also receive personalized list of topics you might need to spend some more time on.
What if the exam I took was updated?
The renewal assessment is in sync with any changes made to the certification exams to guarantee that your skills are up to date. This means that if there are any changes to the exam or exams that lead to specific certification, there is no need to re-take the updated exam/s – the changes will be reflected in the skills measured within the renewal assessment. In example: you took AZ-103 to acquire the Azure Administrator Associate certification and now the exam is replaced by AZ-104. You don’t have to take the new version, passing the renewal assessment will be enough. If however the certification is retired altogether the option to renew it will no longer be available.
Why going through the renewal process?
The main goal here is to keep Microsoft Certification what it is – globally recognized evidence of real-world skills. Taking the renewal assessment stands as a testament of your hands-on proficiency and your ability to keep the pace of the ever-changing world of modern technology. It spares you the stress of going through new exam, it’s flexible, it’s free.
Not sure where to start?
We here at ITCE, as your trusted learning partner, are ready to help you with advice or training in taking your certifications or renewing them!