If you are an MCP hopefully you attended one of the two webcasts with George, Trika Harms zum Spreckel, and Bill Wall (Director of Certification Strategy) today. Some of the information has already been talked about, but there were also some new items.
Those new items center around the Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) program, and specifically the Ranger program. The Ranger program is designed to
Provide top tier training and certification on Microsoft products for building a community of trusted architects who successfully address the most complex customer requirements.
What this really means is that while the Ranger program is still under the MCA umbrella, it is focused on specific technologies instead of broader infrastructure type knowledge. Currently, there are two Ranger programs: Database and Messaging, with a third in Windows Directory currently under development.
The Ranger program is just as intense to achieve as the other MCA certifications, but does include a very intense, highly-focused 4-week training session in Redmond. This training session is 6 days a week for about 8 - 10 hours and is taught by subject matter experts, product group program managers, and MSIT engineers. Each student receives hands on training with enterprise class equipment and is focused on design with deep component level understanding. Each week will end with a written test (multiple choice and short answer questions) and you must pass with an average of 80% across all 4 weeks in order to continue.
In case you’re wondering why that much training is required, the certification process includes the following:
- 4-hour performance based lab test. This is a pass/fail type test where you have 4 hours to get a solution working.
- Review board. This is similar to the other MCA review boards and will validate both technical and non-technical skills.