Let’s talk upgrades!

Some people have been asking, and we've hinted some before. Although you won't get the 100% be all, end all answer here, there is some more info to share. The most recent question came from Triton.Deep over at the MCSE World forum. The question is: what's the cost to upgrade my Master cert when new versions come out?

Stap yourselves in, here we go....

First off, 'upgrade' is a bit of a misnomer. If you have your Exchange 2007 Master certification (we'll stick with Exchange for our example), you will always have that on your transcript (it gets moved to the 'expired' section when the time comes, just like all of our other technical certs do). You can ADD another version of your Master certification (Exchange 14). So, technically speaking, the question should be, "Do I need to pay another $18,500 every time I want to add another version of my Master certification?" 

 The short answer: No, but it will cost you something.

 We have 3 options when we talk about adding new versions of certs for the already certified individual.

  1. Exams only
     § Written upgrade exam and / or qual lab

  2. 1 Week course (virtual or ILT, TBD)
     § 1 written upgrade exam
     § 1 Qual lab

  3.  Require sitting a complete rotation
     § Offered at 1/2 price for previous attendees

Which one of these 3 is the case, really does depend on the product and the version. In terms of version, I talk about 'evolution' and 'revolution'. If it's a 'service pack' type of upgrade (i.e. not a lot of changes) we consider it an 'evolution' and it'd most likely be option #1 (which allows for written AND/OR lab based exams). If the product has fundamentally changed, it's a 'revolution' (think Ex 5.5 to 2000) and we'd be hard pressed to have someone certified as a Master without going through the full training again. If it's somewhere in the middle of these two scenarios: option #2 will come into play.

We've also thought about the following: should someone be able to just 'upgrade' version after version after version via just options 1 or 2 above? Our answer: no. We want to make sure the integrity of the program and the community stays at the top of the quality bar always, and after 2 versions have come and gone, we're going to request you come back for a full new 3 week rotation. So, what we're saying today is, "Individuals may upgrade their MCM via options #1 and #2 above, from either the n-1 or n-2 version of the new cert (new cert=n)". Example: you had your MCM Exchange 2003...you upgraded by taking a lab exam to 2007, you then upgrade to E14 by (whatever it will be....NOT a full rotation). Now you want to upgrade to Exchange 15 - - can you do it via #1 or #2 above? No - you'll need to come for a new rotation...and we'll let you do that at half price. 

Thinking about E14: it's not a revolution, but it's no service pack either. It's all Greg's call as to what we do here, but I know for certain it won't be option #3. How much will options #1 or #2 cost? Don't know yet. But we do know that written exams are $250 and lab exams are $1,500. If option #2 is the case, those exam costs will be included, and you'd likely be looking at $4-5k for the 3-5 days of training plus the exams. None of those numbers are in stone...we need to look at the costs ourselves to see what it will take to develop this 'upgrade scenario' first.

One thing to keep in mind: when we start offering Exchange 14 Master rotations - there will be no more Exchange 2007 Master rotations..that's it, we'll be done with 2007. If someone wants to become a 2007 Master after that's happened and they never attended training before? Sorry..we're just not built to deliver two at the same time. You have missed your chance. When do we make that switch, btw? Usually within 3-6 months of when the new version of the product hits RTM.

Now - what do our customers do? Do they upgrade right away? Yeah, right! They'll wait until SP1 at least, or longer. Most enterprise customers I used to work with would upgrade 12-18 months later...or longer. So - it's actually a really great opportunity today, to take advantage of the 2007 program, get certified, and 'upgrade' to a 2010 cert when the time comes vs. just waiting for the 2010 program. That way, if someone needs the newest of the new - you'll have it via your E14 cert. If a year or two down the road someone is looking for a 2007 Master - - you got that, too. And anyone that didn't attend / get certified when we offered that program, is plain old out of luck. There's no way they can become one now. Looks like you'll just get all that work 🙂

Whew...there's a mouthful. Hopefully that helped a bit...let me know if you have any questions!




Comments (7)

  1. Greg Taylor says:

    We don’t like the ‘wait for the SP’ thinking either, don’t worry Chris, but that’s just the way some customers are….

    Discounts for 2010, not yet, maybe in the future, but it’s too early to say at this time.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi All, Yes, many have been asking, and now thou shall receive: our new Microsoft Learning website went live today (great new look and feel) and as part of that, we have posted our dates for upcoming rotations: go take a look!

  3. perfarny says:

    Good question, Rob.

    Up to 1 year after training attendance or until the first training rotations of a subsequent version are delivered; whichever is longer.

  4. perfarny says:

    Chris – take a look at my ‘let’s talk upgrades’ post too, if you haven’t already. It really makes the most sense (financially) to invest in a 2007 rotation now, and get an ‘upgrade’ to 2010 later.

  5. Jim Raymond says:

    Good to know. Nice job, Dad! 😉 Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the future of the program. I had been wondering about that.

    I’m looking forward to OCS 2010

  6. Chris Lehr says:

    I dont like the wait for a SP thinking.  Things are tested more throrughly now than when those opinions were likely formed.   I have already asked to deploy the 2010 beta in dogfood here, and am moving forward!   Now, the 2007 Master program would be nice…   I want to know if I wait for 2010 material if the discount will still be around!

  7. Rob Silver says:

    Ok, here’s an interesting question:

    You mentioned that the MCM isn’t geared to deliver on 2 different versions simultaneously.  This makes perfect sense and I agree with this thought.  Get with the times and increase the potential duration of the MCM by choosing the most recent technology.

    However, what about individuals who do not pass one or more theory/LfH exams?  My initial understanding was that these candidates would have an opportunity to resit the relevant exams.  However, I haven’t seen any comentary about the duration of this offer.

    E.g. someone on MCM DS 2008 R5 who needs to reattempt the LfH.  R6 (or DS 2008R2 R1 perhaps…) will already be in the pipeline while candidates are still planning on completing the previous cert.

    Any thoughts on this?

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