Microsoft’s decision to end Masters level certification exams has generated a flurry of protests from IT professionals, some already upset over the demise of the company’s TechNet Subscription program.
Microsoft said the Masters program has only generated “a few hundred” new certifications over the past few years and reached “only a tiny proportion of the overall community,” according to a Microsoft executive quoted in InfoWorld.
The certifications tests that will end Oct. 1 are Microsoft Certified Master, Microsoft Certified Solutions Master and Microsoft Certified Architect, previously the top-level certifications for IT professionals working with Redmond’s products.
Those who already hold the certifications will keep them and won’t be required to periodically re-certify, according to an email sent to program participants.
Ending the Master program comes only two months after Microsoft announced the end of the TechNet Subscription service, which among other things made low-cost software available to IT staff and developers. It ended August 31.
Taken together, Microsoft’s actions mean “hard times ahead for Microsoft consultants,” said one commenter to a TechNet blog post.
A poll created on Microsoft Connect showed wide support for maintaining the certifications, with 692 votes in favor to only 11 opposed, as of Tuesday afternoon.
But while a strong majority is upset by Microsoft’s actions, others say good riddance to a program they could not participate in or afford. Wrote one opponent:
I am from China. This program is for an elite group of people from U.S.A., Canada and Europe … For people like me to take the exam for $2,500 (this is 5 years of savings for us). On top of it, I have to fly to go to an authorized test center to take the exams.
Worse, the user said, the Masters program works against the values Microsoft appears to be seeking to promote in the developing world.
Certifications are great, but the way the master program targets people from the developed countries is not at all compatible with Microsoft’s values which are generally anti-discriminatory and enhancing equality of opportunities.