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The Other Windows 10 Shoe Drops for MCSA

Windows and MCSA
Credit: Foxy burrow/Shutterstock

As I write this post, IT professionals are required to take Exam 70-697: Configuring Windows Devices to upgrade their MCSA on Windows 8 to obtain Windows 10 MCSA status. That is, the only way to get certified on Windows 10 right now is to first get certified on Windows 8, then to upgrade the credential by taking exam 70-697 (the exam is free for those who earned the MCSA: Windows 8 between February 15 and May 31, 2015). But with all exams associated with Windows 8 now scheduled for retirement on December 31, 2016, namely exams 70-687: Configuring Windows 8.1, 70-688: Supporting Windows 8.1, 70-689: Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows 8, and 70-692: Upgrading Your Windows XP Skills TO MCSA Windows 8 – there's got to be a native Windows 10 path to MCSA certification to replace those older items.

That's what the new exam 70-698 is intended to deliver. The full title for the exam is 70-698: Installing and Configuring Windows 10 and it is currently in development. More information on it is now available on Microsoft Learning and there's also a post on the "Born to Learn" blog from Larry Kaye that has additional information as well as the retirement schedule for the Windows 8 certification exams (70-687 is analogous to 70-698, so I guess that makes 70-688 analogous to 70-697; and 689 and 692 are update exams to Windows 8 MCSA from Windows 7 or Vista, and Windows XP, respectively).

More: Microsoft Certs and Career Paths
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We now have more details on Microsoft's Certified Solutions Associate credential for Windows 10. Exam 70-697 is entitled Configuring Windows Devices, and deals with issues related to setting up and deploying Windows 10 that include managing identity, working with Intune, configuring networking and storage, managing data access and protection plus remote access, managing apps, and managing updates and recovery.

The new exam 70-698 focuses on Windows installation including install prep, performing the install, working with drivers and devices, dealing with post-install activities, and enterprise features and services. It also addresses detailed configuration for networking, storage, data access, and remote management, as well as working with updates, system and data recovery, authorization and authentication, and advanced management tools (such as Device Manager, Microsoft Management Console (MMC), Task Scheduler, working with PowerShell, and so forth).

Together, these two exams cover the full gamut of Windows 10's considerable features and functions. The MCSA credential will be able to maintain its relevance and credibility thereby, and it's nice to see Microsoft putting the final piece here into place.

Microsoft also announced two paths to earning an MCSD: Universal Windows Platform (UWP). In addition to the current path documented in the preceding blog link, a new path has been disclosed that keeps exam 70-483: Programming in C#, but adds two new exams scheduled for upcoming betas: exam 70-357: Developing Mobile Apps (beta in July 2016), and exam 70-358: Developing Cloud Services (beta in September 2016). IT pros interested in learning more about these exams should stay tuned to the "Born to Learn" blog, where it's likely that the earliest intelligence from Microsoft will be made available as those beta dates draw closer.

Ed Tittel

Ed is a 30-year-plus veteran of the computing industry, who has worked as a programmer, a technical manager, a classroom instructor, a network consultant and a technical evangelist for companies that include Burroughs, Schlumberger, Novell, IBM/Tivoli and NetQoS. He has written and blogged for numerous publications, including Tom's Hardware, and is the author of over 140 computing books with a special emphasis on information security, Web markup languages and development tools, and Windows operating systems.