Microsoft’s entry-level Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certifications are obtained through exams and cover a wide range of Microsoft products. Each certification is well-sought and has a standard procedure to follow in order to qualify. MCSA certifications are designed for IT workers to demonstrate their knowledge and capabilities in handling a variety of Microsoft products, especially for entry level roles in the industry and as a prerequisite to other higher-level courses.
Microsoft offers you certifications based on your ability to handle problems and design solutions on their various software. Certifications are available for displaying skills in various products like SQL Server, Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Exchange Server and Windows Server.
Each MCSA certification exam has up to three exams that you’ll need to pass in order to get certified. The various exams are:
MCSA: BI reporting
The BI reporting certification is focused on consuming, transforming, modeling and visualizing data with Excel and Power BI. You will have to pass two exams on visualizing data in order to earn this certification. Here, you learn data analysis and get the basic guidance on playing around with data, much needed in today’s data driven world.
MCSA: Microsoft Dynamics 365 for operations
No qualifications are required for this certification. You will need to pass three exams on SQL and Dynamics 365 to get certified. This particular certification is best suited for developers, solution finders and implementers who rely on Microsoft Dynamics 365. This certification is also vital if you are looking to be a Microsoft Dynamics 365 developer in the long run, as a foundation course.
MCSA: SQL 2016 BI development
It is recommended by Microsoft itself that you have basic IT skills before undertaking this certification path. This certification is for extract, transform and load (ELT) and data warehouse developers who create BI solutions. You’ll have to pass two exams, one on BI development and the other on implementing SQL to get the certificate. You directly work with SQL and get to improve your analytical skills.
MCSA: SQL 2016 database administration
It is preferable that you possess some foundational IT skills and some basic working experience with SQL for getting this certification. In case you want to brush up on your foundations, Microsoft Technology Associate Certifications are a good place to work upon before opting for this particular certification. There are two exams you are required to pass- one on administering a SQL database infrastructure; and the other one is based on provisioning SQL databases. Overall, this certification covers database installation, database maintenance, configuration and provisioning.
MCSA: SQL 2016 database development
This particular certification is meant for database professionals to showcase their skills with on-premises and cloud-based databases. There are no qualifications required but it will help you if you have at least basic IT knowledge. Once again, go for the Microsoft Technology Associate certifications in case you are not very confident about your basics in IT. This basically requires you to acquire pass marks in two exams, querying data with SQL and developing SQL databases respectively.
MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014
This certification requires you to have foundational IT knowledge and is best suited for database developers and analysts. You will need to pass three exams on querying, administering and implementing databases with Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014. This is also a good base to move ahead and procure a MCSE:Data management and Analytics certification.
MCSA: Universal Windows platform
MCSA: Web applications
MCSA: Windows Server 2012
This is the best pick for computer network specialists and administrators and it covers windows server virtualization. You’ll have to pass three exams on installing, configuring and administering Windows Server 2012 to earn the certificate. It is also the prerequisite for you to move ahead and become a Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) in the near future.
MCSA: Windows Server 2016
This certification is for computer systems administrators and computer network specialists to display skills with Windows Server Virtualization. It requires you to have foundational IT knowledge at the beginning of the course which can be easily achieved by pursuing any Microsoft Technology Associate Certification and then at the end, pass three exams on installation, storage, computing and networking with Windows Server 2016 to clear the course.
Microsoft provides you with a lot of options to assist you in preparing for any of the above certification exams. You can choose between on-demand training or classroom training which are offered through Microsoft’s training partners. Microsoft also provides you with free materials for training and for practice exams. Along with that it gives code samples and access to all necessary products in order to help you prepare for the above exams.
Each certification does come with its own distinct requirements and basic qualifications. You will want to make sure that you are clear in your head about each of them before you choose your certification course. Clarity also means ensuring you know about the course, qualify on grounds of the initial requirements and then put all your efforts in clearing the exams. If you are an entry-level IT professional, cracking these examinations and getting the certifications is not going to be difficult for you.