Microsoft certifications are a great way to earn the recognition of your peers and potential employers in the IT industry. They focus on specific areas of expertise, allowing professionals to demonstrate their knowledge and skills.

These are vendor-specific exams, meaning they rely on Microsoft software and hardware. The certifications are offered by Microsoft and take into consideration the needs of IT professionals in today’s business environment.

What types of Microsoft certifications exist? How are they organized, and where should you start? MyComputerCareer can help you with that!

This blog post looks at all the Microsoft certification paths and what you can expect from each one.

Administrator Path

Microsoft administrators are tasked with keeping networks and systems running smoothly. They implement, monitor, and maintain various Microsoft solutions to ensure that users have access to information when needed. This certification path is designed to help prepare candidates for the job role of a network or system administrator.

Certifications on this path are divided into three levels according to their difficulty – Fundamentals, Associate, and Expert levels.

Here are the certifications in the Microsoft administrator certification program:

  • Azure Administrator Associate
  • Azure for SAP Workloads Specialty
  • Windows Virtual Desktop Specialty
  • Azure Stack Hub Operator Associate
  • Messaging Administrator Associate
  • Modern Desktop Administrator Associate
  • Security Administrator Associate
  • Enterprise Administrator Expert
  • Teams Administrator Associate
  • Identity and Access Administrator Associate
  • Information Protection Administrator Associate

AI Engineer Path

AI refers to artificial intelligence. AI engineers are in charge of creating machines that can think and learn like humans. Their focus is machine learning, knowledge mining, and cognitive services.

This path consists of only one type of Microsoft certification – the Azure AI Engineer Associate.

Data Engineer Path

In today’s digital world, data is at the core of everything we do. Data engineers are tasked with designing and maintaining data-driven systems that help people make better decisions by providing insights from the vast amounts of information they have collected or created.

You should first take the Microsoft Azure Fundamentals certification exam to get your baseline skills to become a data engineer. Then it is recommended to complete the Azure Data Engineer Associate certification.

Like the AI engineer path, this one includes a single certification (the Azure Data Engineer Associate).

Data Scientist Path

Data scientists solve business problems by employing machine learning and data mining techniques. They train, evaluate, and deploy models that encourage data-driven decision-making.

Once you acquire your Azure Fundamentals cert, you can opt for the Azure Data Scientist Associate exam to specialize in data science.

Developer Path

Software developers are responsible for implementing the technical design to create and maintain code that solves a business problem. They typically need to know one or more programming languages and work closely with both customers and software architects to design and implement custom software for an organization.

There are several types of Microsoft certifications you can earn to complete your Microsoft developer path:

  • Azure Developer Associate
  • Dynamics 365: Finance and Operations Apps Developer Associate
  • Developer Associate
  • Power Platform Developer Associate
  • Azure IoT Developer Specialty

DevOps Engineer Path

DevOps is short for “development operations.” DevOps emphasizes the collaboration and communication of software developers and information technology professionals.

DevOps engineers are responsible for designing, implementing, monitoring, testing, and maintaining an organization’s DevOps infrastructure: the people, processes, tools, and technologies.

Some DevOps engineers work with teams to monitor code deployment, while others may build automated testing suites for new features.

DevOps engineers are often responsible for setting up continuous integration (CI) so that developers can easily integrate their changes into a shared repository without involving IT staff in every step of the process.

Microsoft provides the following DevOps certification:

  • DevOps Engineer Expert

Functional Consultant Path

The primary role of a functional consultant is to use Microsoft Power Platform and Microsoft Dynamics 365 to create business and technical solutions for clients. They need to anticipate and plan for customer needs and use the Microsoft environment to design, prepare for, and manage all aspects of a project.

The following types of Microsoft certifications are available in the area of Functional Consultancy:

  • Dynamics 365 Customer Service Functional Consultant Associate
  • Dynamics 365 Field Service Functional Consultant Associate
  • Dynamics 365 Finance Functional Consultant Associate
  • Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, Manufacturing Functional Consultant Associate
  • Dynamics 365 Marketing Functional Consultant Associate
  • Dynamics 365 Sales Functional Consultant Associate
  • Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management Functional Consultant Associate
  • Power Platform Functional Consultant Associate
  • Dynamics 365 Business Central Functional Consultant Associate

Security Engineer Path

Security engineers protect a company’s most valuable assets and protect against cyber threats. They implement security measures to protect networks, devices, and data. They also monitor security systems for any sign of an intrusion and manage the company’s overall security.

Certifications included in this path are:

  • Azure Security Engineer Associate
  • Security Operations Analyst Associate
  • Identity and Access Administrator Associate
  • Information Protection Administrator Associate

Solution Architect Path

In information technology, solution architects design and implement an organization’s information systems. They create the technical strategy, including specifying hardware, software, or network infrastructure design to meet business goals.

To become a Microsoft solution architect, you need the following types of Microsoft certifications:

  • Azure Solutions Architect Expert
  • Dynamics 365: Finance and Operations Apps Solution Architect Expert
  • Azure for SAP Workloads Specialty
  • Power Platform Solution Architect Expert

Where to start?

Given the almost overwhelming number of paths and certification choices, it is natural to be unsure where to start with the different types of Microsoft certifications.

If you are a beginner in IT, look for certifications that have the word fundamentals in them. They could be:

  • Azure Fundamentals
  • Microsoft 365 Certified: Fundamentals
  • Power Platform Fundamentals

From there, you can go for associate certifications, and later on, for the expert certifications.

Suppose you are an intermediate-level IT professional with a good background in most Microsoft’s applications and technologies. In that case, it may be easier to go straight for an associate-level exam.

Make sure that you choose a path appropriate for your experience and the direction you want to take in your career. If you’re going to work with data, there’s no need to complete the Administrator or DevOps path. Similarly, focusing on the Security Engineer Path should be more than enough to work in cybersecurity.

Conclusion

No matter what branch in IT you want to specialize in, Microsoft has a type of certification that will help you get there. Choose from nine paths that will help you become a specialist in your chosen field:

  • Administrator
  • AI Engineer
  • Data Scientist
  • Data Engineer
  • Developer
  • DevOps
  • Functionality Consultant
  • Security Engineer
  • Solution Architect

If you have questions about any of these paths or Microsoft certifications in general, don’t hesitate to contact MyComputerCareer. We will be happy to give you a hand in your journey to becoming a certified Microsoft specialist.