For two weeks I've been contemplating the news that Microsoft is terminating several high-end certification programs.
Microsoft is retiring the masters-level certification exams, which include Microsoft Certified Master, Microsoft Certified Solutions Master, and Microsoft Certified Architect. Many of those who worked so hard and spent so much time and money to reach these levels and distinguish themselves have exploded with anger and frustration over this decision, not to mention the ones who were still in the process of obtaining the coveted Master (aka Ranger) designation.
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The MCM program began in 2001 as the Exchange Ranger program and was later expanded to include Active Directory, Lync, SharePoint, and SQL as part of 2005's MCA program. These programs have had a good run. As for why Microsoft is cutting the program, it's very simple, says Tim Sneath, a Microsoft senior director: Too few people are trying to get certified, which means there's little money to maintain it.
In Microsoft's formal announcement, Sneath wrote: "Only a few hundred people have attained the certification in the last few years, far fewer than we would have hoped. We wanted to create a certification that many would aspire to and that would be the ultimate peak of the Microsoft Certified program, but with only about 0.08 percent of all MCSE-certified individuals being in the program, it just hasn't gained the traction we hoped for."
I'll admit it: I always wanted to be a Ranger -- specifically, an Exchange Ranger. Over the years, I've met some Masters, and that designation always inspired a little awe in me. It's good, even for adults, to have heroes.