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MCSE Certification and Certificate Program Overviews

Learn about MCSE training programs and certification requirements. Explore program coursework and take a look at continuing education options.

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Essential Information

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) certification is for information technology (IT) professionals who want to demonstrate their familiarity with the Microsoft servers and databases used to run computer networks and infrastructures. Certification candidates must pass an exam or series of exams to earn MCSE credentials. Specialization options are available in business intelligence, server infrastructure, desktop infrastructure, data platform, communication, messaging, private cloud and SharePoint.

Preparatory training for MCSE certification exams is available in a variety of formats. Some colleges and universities offer short-term continuing education certificate programs that focus exclusively on exam prep, while other certificate programs offer certification coursework as part of a networking or computer information systems track. There are also stand-alone courses developed to correspond with individual exams. These are typically offered in conjunction with Microsoft and can take as few as five days to complete.

Program Coursework

Students pursuing either type of training can develop the skills required to design, configure, install and troubleshoot Microsoft database systems and servers. However, some hands-on experience working in IT is generally needed to benefit from these courses and programs.

Introductory coursework can prepare certification candidates to pass the first three exams, which cover strategies for installing and administering Windows Server 2012 or Microsoft SQL Server 2012. Depending on which certification option candidates are pursing, they can also take courses to learn how to monitor, develop or deploy the following:

  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013
  • Microsoft System Center 2012
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2013
  • Microsoft Lync Server 2013

Continuing Education Information

Microsoft states that IT professionals who hold MCSE certification will need to update their credentials every three years by taking a recertification exam. Those who would like to earn the next level of certification can pursue the Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM) credential for data platforms, SharePoint, communication or messaging. Additionally, IT professionals with retired MCITP certifications may be able to upgrade to the MCSE designation by taking as few as three exams.

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