A guide to the new MCSA: Windows 10

Ed Jones works for Firebrand Training, a Microsoft Gold Learning Partner. He has worked in the IT training and certification industry for the past 4 years. He is a tech enthusiast with experience working with SharePoint, Windows Server and Windows desktop.

On December 7, 2015, many of us were surprised by the announcement of a new MCSA certification for Windows 10. Following the release of Exam 697 – Configuring Windows Devices leading to the Specialist: Windows 10 certification, the message we were hearing was that no MCSA was to be offered for the latest desktop operating system.

This led some of us (myself included) to speculate whether this marked the end of the MCSA credential, we were wrong. Christmas came early and we were delivered the new MCSA: Windows 10. This article will explore the format of this new certification, its planned evolution and round off with some resources/guidance on how to achieve the new credential. So, let’s get started.

How do I achieve the new MCSA: Windows 10?

In its current format, earning the MCSA Windows 10 certification is positioned as an upgraded path.

Step 1: Earn MCSA: Windows 8.1 – this can be done by achieving the credential as a new certification or as an upgrade. The pathways are as follows:

Achieve MCSA: Windows 8 from scratch by passing the following exams:

Alternatively, you can upgrade from a past certification to the MCSA: Windows 8 via the following routes:

  • Upgrading your Windows 7 skills to MCSA: Windows 8 – Exam 70-689
  • Upgrading your Windows XP skills to MCSA: Windows 8 – Exam 70-692

Step 2: Pass Exam 70-697, titled Configuring Windows Devices.

What do you get for completing these steps?

By completing these steps you can prove to employers you have the expertise to configure, manage and maintain both Windows 8 and Windows 10 enterprise systems. You will also come away with 3 certifications:

  • MCSA: Windows 10
  • Specialist: Windows 10
  • MCSA: Windows 8.1

Although exams 687, 688, 689 and 692 were planned for retirement on 31st January 2016, due to the inclusion of MCSA: Windows 8 as a pathway to MCSA: Windows 10 these exams will now remain active until 31st July 2016.

There’s another way

This, however, is not the only route to achieving the MCSA: Windows 10. In Spring 2016, Microsoft are planning to launch a new Windows exam, creating an additional and “pure” Windows 10 pathway which is as follows:

Step 1: Pass Exam 70-697, titled Configuring Windows Devices

Step 2: Pass the new Windows 10 Administration exam

If you’re new to certification as a Windows administrator, this is the pathway I would recommend to achieving the credential.


Resources to prepare for MCSA: Windows 10 exam success

So, now you know how to achieve it, let’s look at the resources to help you prepare for exam success:


Exam Ref 70-697 Configuring Windows Devices

  • This official Microsoft guide is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to pass exam 70-697.

Windows 10 Step by Step

  • This book was written by experts Joan and Steve Lambert. Although not aligned to Windows exams, the guide is designed as a quick way to learn Windows 10.

Windows 10 Inside Out

  • Want to learn Windows 10 inside out? Look no further. Again, although not specifically aligned to Windows exams, this book will teach critical Windows 10 knowledge required to successfully use the platform.

Exam Ref 70-687 Configuring Windows 8.1 (MCSA)

  • This official Microsoft guide is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to pass exam 70-687.

Exam Ref 70-688 Supporting Windows 8.1 (MCSA)

  • This official Microsoft guide is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to pass exam 70-688.

Take a Course

There are many courses available that will prepare you to achieve the MCSA Windows 10. Firebrand specifically offer an accelerated 6 day MCSA Windows 10 course designed for those who have already achieved the MCSA: Windows 8 credential.

Microsoft Virtual Academy

Accelerate deployment of Windows 10 at scale

  • If you’re looking to deploy Windows 10 in your organisation this is a must watch. You’ll learn how Microsoft Intune and System Center Configuration Manager will support and improve features in Windows 10. You’ll also discover key enhancements for deployment and upgrade in System Center Configuration Manager, Microsoft Intune, and Windows 10.

Getting Started with Windows 10 for IT Professionals

  • Learn all the new features in Windows 10 designed to shift the digital ecosystem towards a mobile workplace. You’ll also develop knowledge on Windows 10 deployment and management, runtime provisioning, Mobile Device Management (MDM), secure authentication and other features encompassing the use of Windows 10 as an enterprise Operating Ecosystem.

Windows 10: Update for IT Pros

  • Delivered by Microsoft Australia Senior Evangelist, Jeff Alexander, this video guide takes you through everything you need to know about Windows 10 as an IT pro. You’ll run through critical areas like Windows as a Service, Windows 10 deployment and the new era of security features included in the new OS.

Preparing for the Windows 8.1 MCSA

  • This seven module video is designed as a “crash course” to develop the skills and knowledge to pass exams 70-687 and 70-688 in order to achieve the MCSA: Windows 8.1. It takes 4 hours to complete, however this excludes the additional labs, knowledge checks and assessments built into the course.

Preparing for the Supporting Windows® 8.1 Exam (70-688)

  • This nine module video aligned to Exam 70-688 will develop the knowledge and skills you need to support the Windows 8.1 system and solve technical troubleshooting problems in Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 networking environment. It takes and estimated 5 hours to complete and should prepare you accordingly for exam success.
Comments (1)

  1. Anonymous says:

    It’s time to get all nostalgic and take a look back through the history of the world’s biggest operating system, Windows. Have you used them all?

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