Re: MCSA, MCSD, MCSE certifications retire; with continued investment to role-based certifications


Originally posted February 27, 2020 and updated March 26, 2020


Microsoft’s focus on role-based training and certifications can help you develop necessary skills and experience to advance in an accelerated and increasingly competitive cloud-based world. Role-based training and certifications are kept current with new features and services that Microsoft is constantly adding to the cloud solution areas, minimizing skill gaps associated with the applicable job roles.

Since we announced our focus on role-based training and certifications in September 2018, we’ve added a total of 34 certifications to our portfolio across Azure, Modern Workplace, and Business Applications. As we continue to expand on role-based learning offerings, all remaining exams associated with Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA), Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD), Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) will retire on January 31, 2021.

If you’re working towards a MCSA, MCSD, or MCSE certification, you’ll want to pass all required exams before they retire. The list below shows existing exams that will retire. Note that training content may continue to be available in these areas even after the exams have retired.

If you have an existing MCSA, MCSD, and MCSE certification, it will remain on your Microsoft transcript, even after the exams retire. In fact, it will remain in the active section of your transcript for two years from January 31, 2020; at that time the certification will be moved to the “inactive” section of your transcript.

If you currently hold a MCSA, MCSD, or MCSE certification, why not update your profile with one of our new role-based certifications that may be relevant to you. Check out our recommended role-based certifications:


(Download recommended certification path)

Be sure to visit Microsoft Learn to discover all the information you need to know about the role-based certification that best matches your career aspirations. On Microsoft Learn, you’ll find information on free self-paced online training and/or with classroom training available, through Microsoft Learning Partners, to help you prepare for certification. We look forward to having you join us on this exciting journey as we evolve our certifications to focus on job roles that better-align with industry and hiring trends, helping you keep pace with today’s business and technology needs.

For answers to common questions, please see our FAQ below .

Certifications with exams scheduled to retire on January 31, 2021

MCSA: BI Reporting
MCSA: Dynamics 365 for Operations
MCSA: SQL 2016 BI Development
MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Admin
MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Dev
MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014
MCSA: Universal Windows Platform
MCSA: Web Applications
MCSA: Windows Server 2012
MCSA: Windows Server 2016
MCSD: App Builder
MCSE: Business Applications
MCSE: Core Infrastructure
MCSE: Data Management & Analytics
MCSE: Productivity

Exams Retiring on January 31, 2021

These exams retire at 11:59 PM Central Time on January 31, 2021

70-333: Deploying Enterprise Voice with Skype for Business 2015
70-334: Core Solutions for Microsoft Skype for Business 2015
70-339: Managing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2016
70-345: Designing and Deploying Microsoft Exchange Server 2016
70-457: Developing Mobile Apps
70-410: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012
70-411: Administering Windows Server 2012
70-412: Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services
70-413: Designing and Implementing a Server Infrastructure
70-414: Implementing an Advanced Server Infrastructure
70-417: Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows Server 2012
70-461: Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014
70-462: Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014 Databases
70-463: Implementing a Data Warehouse with Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014
70-464: Developing Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014 Databases
70-465: Designing Database Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server
70-466: Implementing Data Models and Reports with Microsoft SQL Server
70-467: Designing Business Intelligence Solutions with Microsoft SQL Server
70-480: Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3
70-483: Programming in C#
70-486: Developing ASP.NET MVC Web Applications
70-487: Developing Microsoft Azure and Web Services
70-537: Configuring and Operating a Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure Stack
70-705: Designing and Providing Microsoft Licensing Solutions to Large Organizations
70-740: Installation, Storage, and Compute with Windows Server 2016
70-741: Networking with Windows Server 2016
70-742: Identity with Windows Server 2016
70-743: Upgrading Your skills to MCSA: Windows Server 2016
70-744: Securing Windows Server 2016
70-745: Implementing a Software-Defined Datacenter
70-761: Querying Data with Transact-SQL
70-762: Developing SQL Databases
70-764: Administering a SQL Database Infrastructure
70-765: Provisioning SQL Databases
70-767: Implementing a Data Warehouse using SQL
70-768: Developing SQL Data Models
70-777: Implementing Microsoft Azure Cosmos DB Solutions
70-778: Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Microsoft Power BI
70-779: Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Microsoft Excel
MB2-716: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customization and Configuration
MB6-894: Development, Extensions and Deployment for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance
MB6-897: Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Retail
MB6-898: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Human Resources


Q: What happens to the MCSA, MCSD, MCSE certifications that I already have?
A: Nothing happens to the MCSA, MCSD, and MCSE certification that you already have; they remain on your certification transcript even after the exams retire. In fact, it will remain in the active section of your transcript for two years from January 31, 2021; at that time the certification will be moved to the “inactive” section of your transcript.

Q: Can I still achieve the MCSA, MCSD, MCSE certifications before they retire on January 31, 2021?
Yes, you can continue earning the MCSA, MCSD, and MCSE certifications as long as the required exams are still available. As we retire the exams that are part of those certification paths, you will no longer be able to earn those certifications.

Q: You’re retiring exams that lead to the MCSA, MCSD, and MCSE certification(s) that I am pursuing. What should I do?
A: Before the exams expire, you must pass all required exams which are a part of the MCSA, MCSD, or MCSE certification(s) that you are trying to achieve. If you pass the required exams before they expire, you will earn the certification and it will appear on your certification transcript.

Q: If Microsoft is focused on role-based certifications, what will happen to Windows Server and SQL Server certifications? Will there be Windows Server 2019 and SQL Server 2019 certifications available?
A: No, there will not be Windows Server 2019 and SQL Server 2019 certifications. Windows Server 2019 and SQL Server 2019 content will be included in role-based certifications on an as-needed basis for certain job roles in the Azure Apps & Infrastructure and Data & AI solution areas.

Q: How do the exam retirements affect Microsoft partner competencies if my company is a part of the partner network?  
A: If you passed a qualifying exam prior to its retirement, it will still count toward competency attainment for 12 months after the exam is retired. If you have not passed the required exams, please see this overview document for the full list of retiring and new exams and certifications required for competency attainment and renewal. The new exams and certifications will be available in Partner Center in March 2020.

Q: Does having the MCSE Productivity Solutions Expert certification still meet pre-requisite requirements for the Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator Expert role-based certification?
A: The MCSE Productivity Solutions Expert certification will meet one of the pre-requisite requirement options for the Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator Expert until June 30, 2022.

Q: Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certifications are product-based certifications. Will they be retired as a part of this?
A: No, MOS certifications are not being affected by this retirement.

Q: Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certifications are product-based certifications. Will they be retired as a part of this?
A: No, MTA certifications are not being affected by this retirement.

There are no words to describe how shortdsighted this is.   Wow.  Are you never releasing another on prem product or do you really plan to shove azure down our throats instead of just offering it as an option?

This is exactly how I felt @TowedJumper. Is everything but Azure collapsing in this world!? I was considering passing some exams to become MS certified but from what I see now I’m wondering if it’s even worth when we’re left with no other choice but Azure. MS did a big and wise move when they adopted open-source techs but now, with this Azure thing (which seems to be great but…) they seem to be longing for the old “nothing but Windows everywhere” days. Very sad…

Please clarify, here it says:

MCSE Productivity Solutions Expert certification will meet one of the pre-requisite requirement options for the Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator Expert until June 30, 2021.

This contradicts this MCSE Productivity Solutions Expert Certification will not qualify as a pre-requisite option for Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator Expert Certification after January 31, 2022 (1 year after MCSE is retired).

You need to be clear on the dates because this affects the careers of IT Pros.

@halsc – thanks for the flag. This was incorrect in the article above and it has since been corrected. MCSE Productivity Solutions Expert certification will meet one of the pre-requisite requirement options for the Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator Expert until June 30, 2022.

I Am working as Help Desk/ End-user support,

Well planning on doing the MCSA: Windows Server 2016,  i like to work in servers & Data centers & upgrade a career , but I realized that this certification is going to be retired on January 31, 2021. am confused to choose career certificate,What would be your recommendation for an ideal certification instead of MCSA and  there are Certification MSCE: Core infrastructure Start Azure Journey,  

Why 70-483 will be retired? Is there any Certification Exam for C# programming language?

Is there any news when the new certification paths will be released? I am wanting to do some study but not invest my time in any certs retiring in 6 months. I have asked this question below but all the documentation I am sent to has the same retirement date: January 31, 2021.…

I have scheduled exam 70-740 (first exam) as part of my path to MCSA Windows Server 2016. However, Pearson VUE has rescheduled me until September. All this due to COVID-19 in my city. If this continues, I will not be able to complete my MCSA. What if they reschedule me again?

This doesn’t make any sense. This is like saying that C#, .Net, SQL sever and all the other good things that MS have cannot exists outside Azure. This is such a bad move from MS, a very desappointing one…

For the certifications that are retiring, you state that “… at that time the certification will be moved to the “inactive” section of your transcript.”  What does that mean if the certification is inactive?  Does it mean that it can no longer be shown on something like a resume and that it’s not recognized anymore?

Hello All,

After retirement/expiration of 70-764 and 70-765 Jan 31,2021, what will be the replacement exam for MCSA ?

Kindly share the way forward etc 

Hi Team, I saw that the 70-705 course will be withdrawn. Could you kindly indicate if there will be an exam that will replace it in the future and if there will be, what is its code and name?
Thanks and good job


Hi @allisonkraker ,

 I am appearing for Exam 70-765: Provisioning SQL Databases. The exam is expiring on 31 Jan 2021. I wanted to confirm that will my MCSA exam remain valid even after 31 Jan 2021 and for what duration. Please also confirm do the MCSA expire’s ? . If yes, Then after what duration.



Hi All,

Most of the people have this question, what will be the replacement of the below exam but nobody knows 



Microsoft certifications are like being in the movie “Bird Box” … you never know where you’re going.  Not just a moving target, but a randomly-moving target.  

@Ranv0123 – There is a section on the certification transcript that shows inactive certifications. Typically certifications are moved into inactive 2 years after they retire. You can still show this certification and it remains a valid certification on your transcript, its just moved to the inactive section to designate that it’s no longer an achievable certification. 

@Ankit_T – your MCSA won’t expire. The certification retires on January 31, 2021 and it will remain in the active section on your transcript for 2 years. After 2 years, it will be moved to the inactive section of your transcript. 



No more certifications out of Azure?

Bye bye Microsoft…

What about MCSA Windows 10? When does it retire and for how long the cert. will be active?


Very disappointing, this exams retiring dates should have been extended.

Will the MD-100/ Windows 10 MCSA be retiring as well? 

I’m livid about this not having been broadcast earlier. I had planned to do “70-764” and “70-765” this year to gain the MSCA in SQL Server 2016, however my tests have been put back due to Covid from April to October. The exam retirements should be extended by at least this amount of time in order to allow myself and others to be able to study and take them as originally planned.

Hello Team,

As a part of our course, we are offering the 70-480 exam voucher to our students.
Could you advise what the best replacement for this exam is?
We have a class starting in November.

Kind regards.

Forcing developers to move to Azure is not wise. It’s a good product, but damm you think all countries are same level of development?

Even connection still a problem in some countries, so all entreprises can’t go cloud.

Thoses new certifications are good, and a way to go, but not ONLY way to go.

it all can be explain in 3 words: Stupid, Stupid and Stupid.

really, do you think you can teach some one to work with Azure VMs and VNets and secure the port using NSG and all, while they are not prepared for the even basics of IT like IP addressing, DHCP, DNS, and even Active Directory? you think they understand your migration paths to Azure if they don’t know how to Image a local Windows or Windows Server machine? that’s just WOW!

let’s be prepared for the upcoming wave of next-gen incapable crowd of “Certified Azure Experts” who really don’t have any idea what they’re doing because they don’t have the proper foundation in their knowledge.


At least the retirement date should be aligned with the product lifecycle Mainstream and Extended End Date.

Simply ignorant decision!

If YOU @microsoft respects Your products You should respect not only the clients who pay for them but also the professionals who invest time to make the product work for them!

I understand that what MS supports and wsnts to focus on changes however…

I really wish that Microsoft would wait with retiring these exams until after the pandemic is in check.

I, for one, can not go to a test centre as this is not a necessity and I know it is difficult to set up a space to complete the tests independently.

Please can someone consider to retire the exams after the pandemic is in check?

I can’t imagine it makes such a difference?

Those interested in Windows Server Administration, I recommend the Microsoft press store books. It should give those who need it, a refresh on deploying and maintaining a Windows Server on-prem environment.

First it was the 70-697 and now as someone who has purchased the learning materials for 70-410, 70-411, and 70-412 respectively this eliminates not only the ability to test to the certification and upgrade but also effectively undermines anyone else who has already passed one or more of these exams. Add this to a continued list of disappointments in recent years with no remedy. With any luck we will get a new version of the OS soon, and we can at least test for that.

As they extended deadline for Microsoft MCT for free. Microsoft should listen to us one more time and until pandemic is over please can you extend it for couple more months? 

Is there a  powershell command to reverse this horrible policy? On premise equipment is not going anywhere, except to Linux the way MS is acting.

I wanted to schedule 70-417 but it can only be done onsite at a learning partner center, its a shame indeed, health goes way before any cert.

Bye bye to my MCSA 🙁

01-31-2021 01:30 PM CST – I can’t book 70-413, because NO available appointments  

although These exams retire at 11:59 PM Central Time on January 31, 2021

This is extremely disappointing !!!

Your chart/map itself shows there are no certifications for developers (both web and desktop).

Not everything is migrating on the cloud immediately! Azure is something that definitely I don’t need for at least the next couple of years.

Very bad move by Microsoft. Forcing people to learn Azure will only cause them to move away from Microsoft technologies.  

So which of these Role-based Certification Options replaces ’70-483: Programming in C#’ and ’70-486: Developing ASP. NET MVC Web Applications’?

Is it the ‘Azure Data Engineer Associate’ or ‘Azure Data Scientist Associate’ in the ‘MCSE: Data Management and Analytics’ path, or something else?

It’s said to say that, as Microsoft is moving away from those certification, people also can see the future that Microsoft is doing away with those on prem systems and applications. 

When doing so, people also will be terified to move to azure, only because of security, data over the internet to another part of the world is a great risk to take. Example: Especially in a banking sector.

This would mean one thing, moving to open source, or other technologies that still support on prem environment. 

This would mean Microsoft will lose most of its clients. Period.

They have seemingly forgotten about all the Closed Restricted Networks in the Federal government space. None of them are switching to Azure. Administrators will no longer be able to comply with DoD 8570.01-m, these certifications are useless. Who is going to bother to take these? I suspect we will see third parties COMPTIA/ICS2 develop their own certifications for onprem Microsoft products. 

@MSCovid19 – I guess medium-sized businesses might move to Azure Stack?  The real question is will there be standalone apps like Windows Server or SQL Server anymore?   I’m thinking not.  The expectation is you’ll be running Azure Stack on-prem or Azure on the MS Cloud, and if you need an instance of a server you’ll instantiate one within the Azure environment.  Eventually those ‘servers’ will disappear entirely into the hodge-podge of services already within Azure.  I think that is what Microsoft is signaling here.  Why credential something that no longer exists? 

@chrisasmith Azure stack is just simply not an option for agencies that have very deep security controls and compliance policies.  For supply chain security reasons OEM hardware lockin is typically a non starter during procurement analysis. Hardware modularity is a key principle.


I have passed 70-410 and 70-411 but could not pass 70-412 inspite of multiple attemtps. Is there any alternate paper that I can write and can get MCSA though microsoft certification exam has expired. 

Other thing is can I download and print the MCP Certificate ? Now I am planning for Azure.



Hi Microsoft Certification Team !

I can say with no doubt that almost all Windows Server & Client administrator; SQL Administrators thinks like me. 

Please, save the classic MCSA and MCSE certification.

Please, don´t see the things only inside US market. Microsoft Certification program should see all global market. Several regions still relay on premises infrastructure; and still relay on Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016

Microsoft should never retire these kind of certification

Microsoft Certification Team, please take a survey from Administrators and Customers around the world and you will see how important is to keep the Classic MCSA / MCSE certification type for top products. 

Thank you !

I have small idea. whenever Microsoft decide, what are you planning to do. On another hand the purpose not to gain or earn certificate and pass exam but what is your own project or idea. I have my own project and I am still studding in retired certificate. All to achieve my target project not to achieve a certificate.

Again, thanks for all and thanks for Microsoft will fast growing . I hope success for all.

I won’t say anything about retiring MCSA/MCSD/MCSE certifications that are still required today like Windows Server or SQL Server since there are a lot of comments about this questionable move from Microsoft. But i will argue about retiring exam 70-483 about C# and exam 70-486 about ASP.NET, it can be acceptable if you are planning a .NET Core version of those certifications, but nothing have been announced about them. Isn’t Microsoft developing a .NET 5 and .NET 6 with MAUI? So why retiring those certifications? All the effort of the professional community to get certified will go to waste, just like it happened with the Xamarin certification that you didn’t even release a purely Microsoft-made cert. Retiring a certification of a core Microsoft technology like C# or ASP.NET is like saying that those technologies aren’t that important and are useless. It happened with Xamarin certified developers that demand dropped and no one cares about it, companies just prefer to go native.

Since a company like Microsoft isn’t going to back down, I still hope they consider releasing a new version for the .NET stack, for C# and ASPN.NET, and maybe about MAUI that can be the new Xamarin. There are still developers that want to get certified in .NET because of their jobs requirements. Or maybe just because they grown up learning Microsoft technologies like vba on office apps or visual basic 6.0 and want to prove themselves with a cert of a technology they used since long time ago. I’m one of those developers.

Retireing all the Developer Exams and Developer Certificates except “Azure Developer” (Which by the way has not really something to do with Developing like the client side or desktop or mobile or web) is completely ridiculous! Why Is Microsoft developing .NET Anymore? Why is there a big announcment of .NET 6 Preview 1 This makes no sense at all! Don’t get me wrong the change to Role Based is good but where are the REAL Developer Roles? Why is no more support for other technologies from Microsoft besides Azure? Specially after the year of the pandemic when Mr. Nadella recognized the importance of Windows again? Go and think about this. You are loosing a lot of customers and developers! Realy silly!

Wow, you start the Server 2016 certs in late 2019, work through and earn the MCSA Server 2016 certs all through this COVID pandemic managing to grab them just in time with a view to doing the upgrade to 2019 only to find there will be no 2019 MCSA certs and your 2016 cert will be inactive in 12 months.

All that Hyper-V you shoved down my throat that absolutely everyone said was a waste of time as VMWare is pretty much industry standard and I bought it, I was actually starting to like Hyper-V despite it’s short falls and now I’m on the receiving end of the “I told you so” lines.

Thanks, really appreciate it MS.

I’ve defended Microsoft certs for such a long time but what’s the point, it’s clearly a waste of time and money.

So, if I’m dotNet developer who doesn’t work with Azure, I have no certification option. 

There are moves made that you don’t like, but you understand, but this I just can’t wrap my head around. I have some of my guys on MCSA tracks. Now I must tell them
“Sorry, Microsoft is being Microsoft again. You know all that effort that I’ve asked you to put in to train beyond your normal work duties? Yes, the knowledge is still useful, but there’s no longer a carrot at the end for you.”. 
You may not care much about that, but it makes me look bad as a manager and it sews doubt about our own roadmap with you as a technology provider.
Don’t mistake this for hyperbole. 
Businesses have massive amounts of capital invested in on-prem technologies and most couldn’t simply switch over if they wanted to, and some of us are contractually not allowed to be in the cloud.

Sorry M$, this is just stupid.

There are many companies that cannot move to the cloud, and even if they do, they want the option to selcet provider.

You are basically trying to force more companies over to Azure by only having MS certified IT professionals on your service.

This is comes from greed, and I think it will backfire.

I know I am already looking at going a completly different path away from MS

Good luck, I really think you will need it.

@alexpayn Please! Bring back the product based certifications.

Companies around the world search for IT Pros with specific product certification like Microsoft Windows Server 2019 or 2022. SQL Server, etc. We, IT Pro, should be able to be certified in a specific product. Bring back the good days. The most known certifications. Don’t focus only in Azure. 


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