Microsoft has revamped its IT professional certification scheme to make it more fitting for the cloud age.
The company's certifications are important for many IT workers, who use them to prove expertise in managing Microsoft's enterprise products. Microsoft said on Wednesday that the new qualifications were intended to help fill a growing skills gap.
"The Microsoft certifications reflect the experience and skills needed to build, manage and evolve solutions in a cloud-based environment, ensuring validation of real-world skills for individuals and helping hiring managers identify the best-qualified job candidates," senior product management director Don Field said in a statement.
According to Microsoft, the changes were needed because the older qualifications were based on managing the kind of infrastructure that is increasingly being abstracted into the cloud.
The biggest change affects Microsoft's 'flagship' credential, that of Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE). The qualification retains its acronym, but is now named 'Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert'.
Crucially, people holding the MCSE qualification now have to re-certify on a regular basis, because of the rapid development of cloud services.
"Cloud services don't have versions, so we needed a new way to identify that an individual's skills are current," Field said. "Members of our program recommended that we use re-certification to ensure value moving forward."
The entry-level credential, Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA), is now 'Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate'. The level above MCSE is now called 'Microsoft Certified Solutions Master', or MCSM.