The Apps and Infrastructure path is where you’ll find most of the Azure-focused certifications. This path is built for those who want to validate their skills in building, developing, and securing Azure infrastructure and solutions.
The Data and AI path is geared more towards those who work with data on Azure, like data scientists and business analysts.
The Modern Workplace path is all about fostering operational efficiency and collaboration in today’s organizations. This path covers products like Microsoft 365, Office 365, SharePoint, OneDrive, Teams, and Azure AD.
Finally, the Business Apps path features certifications for functional consultants working with various apps within the Microsoft Dynamics 365 family.
With the introduction of the role-based certifications, there are now two hierarchies within Microsoft’s certification structure.
Both types of certification have the same kind of grading, with an entry-level certification covering basic concepts as the first step, a more technical mid-level cert, and a final, top-shelf certification aimed at experienced pros. The first certification on the ladder isn’t a prerequisite for the mid-level cert, but you must achieve a mid-level badge before you can attempt to earn the final certification.
The only difference between the older product-aligned certs and the new role-based certifications is that the role-based badges are titled slightly differently.
The first rung on Microsoft’s certification ladder, these certs are recommended for those new to technology, MTAs have no prerequisites, and aren’t required to sit an exam at the next level. MTAs represent the basics of technological understanding, but they do provide a worthwhile starting point and a solid foundation of knowledge.
Though a useful starting point, passing an MTA exam doesn’t qualify you for as an official Microsoft Certified Professional, nor are they a prerequisite for obtaining a higher level cert.
If you’re already working with technology, or have a decent understanding of it, you can probably skip over the MTA and head straight for a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA). Recommended for those seeking an entry-level role in IT, an MCSA certification authenticates the basic set of skills you need to hit the ground running. If you want to gain a higher level certification in the future, you need to earn an MCSA first before you can progress on to an MSCE.
The Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) is the highest certification awarded by Microsoft and is intended for IT professionals aiming to validate multifaceted technical abilities.