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.
- Exams only
§ Written upgrade exam and / or qual lab
- 1 Week course (virtual or ILT, TBD)
§ 1 written upgrade exam
§ 1 Qual lab
- 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!