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Transitioning from MCSA/MCSE to Azure: Updating Your Legacy Certifications and Recertification Options

[fa icon="calendar"] May 14, 2024 4:09:42 PM / by Paul Ricketts



As cloud technology revolutionizes the IT industry, professionals with Microsoft certifications, such as MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate) and MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert), are finding themselves at a crossroads. The advent of Microsoft Azure has introduced a new suite of certifications that align with the evolving demands of the cloud-centric world. Understanding the process of transitioning to Azure and updating your skills is crucial if you are holding legacy certifications. This article provides a strategy to upgrade from MCSA and MCSE to Azure certifications, focusing on key steps, recertification options, and the benefits of this transition.

Understanding the Transition

The shift from on-premises solutions to cloud services has made legacy certifications like MCSA and MCSE less relevant. Microsoft has streamlined its certification paths to reflect the skills needed in the modern IT environment. These new Azure certifications are role-based, focusing on specific job roles such as Administrator, Developer, and Solutions Architect.

Having guided students through Microsoft certifications for many years, we understand the challenges posed by the shift from traditional MCSA and MCSE exams to the current array of smaller, Azure skills-based certifications. We're ready to step you through it, so lets get started ...


Steps to Transition from MCSA/MCSE to Azure Certifications

  1. Assess Your Current Skills and Certifications. Begin by evaluating your existing certifications and skills. Identify the areas of overlap between your current knowledge and the skills required for Azure certifications. This will help you determine the most efficient path for transition.

  2. Choose the Appropriate Azure Certification Path For You. Microsoft offers several Azure certification paths based on different job roles. For MCSA and MCSE holders, the most relevant certifications are:

  3. Choose the path that aligns best with your career goals and current expertise. These days the IT industry has become so large that determining a career path can be a bit daunting. There's plenty of advice on reputable websites, or you can get in touch with TrainACE for free and friendly discussion about your goals and what to do next. 

  4. Utilize Transition Exams (If Available). Microsoft occasionally offers transition exams for those holding legacy certifications. These exams bridge the new certification paths, covering only the new content not included in your existing certification. Check the Microsoft certification website for available transition exams relevant to your MCSA or MCSE.

  5. Leverage Your Existing Knowledge. Remember that your MCSA and MCSE certifications have provided you with a solid foundation in Microsoft technologies. Many concepts and principles you've learned, such as networking, security, and infrastructure management, are transferable to Azure. Identify these transferable skills and build upon them.

  6. Engage in Focused Training and Study. To prepare for the new certifications, leverage online resources, instructor-led training, and study guides. Microsoft Learn, and TrainACE are excellent resources for Azure certification training. Enrolling in structured courses can provide a comprehensive understanding and hands-on experience with Azure.

  7. Gain Practical Experience. Practical experience is crucial for mastering Azure services. Utilize free trials and sandbox environments to practice deploying, managing, and securing Azure resources. Engaging in real-world projects or lab environments can solidify your understanding and prepare you for certification exams. Consider setting up a free Azure account or using the Azure sandbox environment to experiment with various Azure services and scenarios. Participate in hackathons, contribute to open-source projects, or take on personal projects to solidify your understanding of Azure.

  8. Take the Certification Exams. Schedule and take the certification exams once you feel confident in your knowledge and skills. Passing these exams will validate your expertise and officially transition you to the Azure certification path.

  9. Stay Up-to-Date with Azure Updates. The Azure platform constantly evolves, with regular updates and new features and services. Keep updated with the latest updates by following Microsoft's Azure blog, attending virtual events, and engaging with the Azure community. Continuous learning is essential to maintain your Azure expertise.

Recertification Options

Microsoft's role-based certifications require periodic recertification to ensure professionals keep abreast of the latest technologies and practices. Azure certifications are valid for one year, and recertification can be achieved through:

  • Renewal Assessments: These are shorter, online assessments that can be taken for free to renew your certification.

  • Continuing Education: Participate in continuous learning activities such as webinars, courses, and workshops to stay abreast of the latest developments in Azure.

Benefits of Transitioning to Azure Certifications

  1. Relevance and Demand. Azure, alongside AWS, is one of the leading cloud platforms, and expertise in Azure is in high demand. Transitioning to Azure certifications ensures that your skills are current and marketable.

  2. Career Advancement. Azure certifications can open doors to new job roles and career opportunities. They demonstrate your ability to handle modern IT challenges, which can lead to higher salaries and promotions.

  3. Comprehensive Skill Set. The role-based nature of Azure certifications ensures a maturely developed skill set that covers a wide range of topics, from infrastructure management to application development and security.

  4. Future-Proofing Your Career. As organizations migrate to the cloud, having up-to-date Azure certifications positions you as a forward-thinking professional ready to tackle the future of IT.


Transitioning from MCSA and MCSE to Azure certifications is a strategic move that aligns your skills with the future of IT. Your transition can be smooth and successful by assessing your current skills, choosing the appropriate Azure certification path, utilizing transition exams, engaging in focused training, gaining practical experience, and staying updated through recertification. Embracing change and upgrading legacy certifications will open new career opportunities in the dynamic world of cloud computing.

Topics: Cloud Computing, Microsoft, Azure

Paul Ricketts

Written by Paul Ricketts

Originally from the UK, Paul Ricketts is the Director of Marketing at TrainACE in Greenbelt, MD. Having started out in the field of Geographic Information Systems, Paul has a wealth of experience in a wide variety of industries, focused on tech., graphics and data analysis. Having finally settled in the field of marketing, he has spent the last 8 years fine tuning his skills in the art of communication and persuasion.

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