Kymber Lowe headshot
Kymber Lowe Senior Director, Global Partner Enablement, Global Partner Solutions

Maintain your edge with Microsoft certifications

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The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “The only constant in life is change,” and our modern business world proves him right. As organizations across the planet become increasingly digitized, the complexity and tech intensity involved with running a business is amplified. These changes open exciting new opportunities for the Microsoft partner ecosystem to meet the evolving needs of customers, and we’re committed to ensuring you have the tools and resources you need to be successful.  

To stand out in an ever-changing business landscape, it’s important to constantly refine your skills and find effective ways of communicating those capabilities to customers. Earning and maintaining certifications can be an effective way to break through the noise and highlight your expertise so customers can engage with the partner best suited to address their needs. In fact, research shows that attaining certifications correlated with 67% feeling more confident and 35% felt more optimistic about their career. 

Certifications provide globally recognized evidence that your organization has mastered specific technical skills. They also demonstrate a willingness to embrace new technologies and simplify talent identification. We know how critical it is for your organization to differentiate itself on an ongoing basis. 

Let’s explore some of the resources Microsoft provides to help you plan for and achieve new certifications, including our upcoming Certification Week, as well as recent updates to the certification renewal process. 

Supporting your certification journey 

Each partner organization is different, and so are the people in those organizations looking to become certified. To help you pick the right path for your organization and people, and to help you communicate the importance of certifications within your own organization and better understand the streamlined renewal process so you can plan appropriately, we offer a choice of resources. These include: 

  • video that walks through the benefits of achieving a Microsoft certification, which include endorsing your technical skillset and demonstrating a growth mindset. 
  • On-demand and semi-live certification preparation courses for Microsoft role-based and fundamentals exams. 
  • blog post that provides more information on renewing certifications, including how you can prepare for assessments, when you should take assessments, and how exam updates impact renewals. 
  • Frequently asked questions regarding certification renewals. You can find answers to queries including if you can renew a certification prior to receiving a notification, what to do if your certification has expired, rules around retaking assessments, and more. 

Attend Certification Week 2021 

For partners who are interested in obtaining a certification, Microsoft is hosting its inaugural Certification Week event from August 23-27, 2021. Certification Week is a free skilling verification event for partners who are ready to take the final step toward validating their technical expertise, showcasing mastery of a Microsoft solution area, and gaining a Microsoft technical certification as they apply for Microsoft advanced specializations. This four-day event combines expert-led study groups, pre-requisite training resources, and exam preparation sessions that qualify you to receive a practice test and a full exam voucher while refining your test taking skills and technical capabilities. 

To be successful, prepare by: 

  • Ensuring you have at least six months of relevant technical experience. 
  • Attending the exam preparation session aligned to your registered track. 
  • You can also take optional pre-requisite courses at least 30 days prior to Certification Week. 
  • Registering and taking the practice test. 
  • Actively participating throughout the week in formal subject matter expert-led study groups. 
  • Scheduling the exam within 30 days of the Certification Week. 

This event is designed exclusively for Microsoft partners. You will receive simple, on-demand, free resources to prepare, combined with final step study halls and exam prep sessions.  

You can learn more about the event and register here

Renewing your current certifications 

Microsoft recently introduced a new approach to help partners stay current with their certifications. Those who have an active certification expiring within six months can renew annually by passing a renewal assessment on Microsoft Learn—at no cost. The process for renewing a certification includes: 

  • Visiting your certification dashboard to identify which certifications are available for you to renew. 
  • Ensuring your certification profile is connected to your Docs profile on Microsoft Learn. As soon as you’re eligible to renew, you will receive an email notification directing you to the assessment that will be available on Microsoft Learn. 
  • Passing the online assessment, which will extend the validity of your certification by one additional year from the current expiration date. To help prepare for the assessment, you can access a collection of free, self-paced learning modules to help advance your skills. You can look through available modules via the certification renewal page. 

In our ambitious business environment, the right differentiators can make a tremendous impact when it comes to your organization’s success. By earning and renewing your Microsoft certifications, you can gain a real advantage over competitors and demonstrate your technical expertise to customers. I encourage our partners to attend Certification Week and carefully review the resources in this post. I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together  to meet the ever-changing needs of our customers.