Microsoft kills Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCM/MCSM)

Posted by in Microsoft, Microsoft Certified Master, Microsoft Certified Solutions Master

What could be worse than a sneaky email, stealthily dropped into your mailbox at 1AM Saturday morning if you are in Eastern Time zone in USA, letting you know that the intense training you attended literally a week ago, the joy of passing that grueling written exam hasn’t yet faded, the fear of facing day long mortifying qualification lab is still fresh in many minds, has all been in vain! That the program is no more. That Microsoft has decided to end the program and “will continue to evaluate the needs of industry”!

To summarize my career of 15 years, not counting my college education (which was Civil and Structural Engineering), has been pro Microsoft all along. I was considered the go-to guy when someone had issues with their system running DOS 6.22. I was called a doctor, because I had a kit containing array of tools to restore systems to full health after they have been badly infected with pesky viruses. I was probably the youngest teacher who was hired to teach AutoCAD but eventually was fully dedicated to teaching Windows 3.1.

I was the first one to achieve MCSE in my state and first one to achieve MCSE+I in my country (India, for you curious ones). I was very proud of my achievements and loved to be identified as a Microsoft pro. Even when every other person loves to take a swipe at Microsoft and their products, people, culture, you name it. I still loved the company with passion. I then joined the company. I became one of them. I felt even more proud.

In my years with the company, I spent almost all my time on complex environments demanding deepest knowledge of the product I was dedicated to. That’s when I earned the coveted MCM certification in Exchange. It was considered holy grail of certifications from Microsoft. The toughest one to achieve. The most difficult to pass. The dreaded 3 weeks in Redmond. The amazing company of super intelligent men (and few ladies who might have tried, I know only one) from all parts of the world.

As if the punishment wasn’t enough, I decided to feel the pain one more time and I went through Lync MCM program as well! Passing it made me one of the few in the world who had managed to attempt and survive both.

In the meantime, I had also joined the few and even more proud, instructors who teach MCM. I was teaching Load Balancing and RBAC to Exchange MCM candidates. Eventually, I was invited to teach at Lync MCM as well.

The reason to feel proud was obvious. The amount of knowledge on tap, the access to amazing community and product groups, the ability to call that “911” if needed was unsurpassed. And I am sure I can say I am not speaking for myself. Entire MCM community whether you are an Exchange MCM, a Lync guy, SharePoint, SQL or Directory MCM, the feeling wouldn’t be any different.

But all that came to an end faster than the train that crashed in Spain. No disrespect to victims of that incident, but while no lives were lost by Microsoft’s innocent looking sneaky email, the impact is no less. A comment has complained about my bad analogy here and I am sorry for that but do read my comments as, like I said, impact on community if not small.

And by no means I am exaggerating when I say the one who will be affected the most is going to be Microsoft. It has shown no grace, dignity or respect to those who have dedicated almost all of their energy and best part of their productive life on advocating Microsoft’s products against all odds. It has shown no consideration in analyzing impact on professionals who distinguish themselves from hundreds of thousands of paper MCSEs (yes they exist and I have personally dealt with many in my career) by dedicating significant amount of their time to learning guts of Microsoft’s products, mastering them and helping thousands of customers worldwide, design, deploy and support these products at highest possible levels. This applies to both genuine MCSEs as well as MCMs. You know who you are.

Microsoft has lost community’s trust. And I believe it’s mind.

Who in their right mind decided to piss off the community of professionals who ferociously defended Microsoft’s products that didn’t even deserve defending at times? Who in their right mind at MSL would take such a drastic measure with no regards to its repercussions? Who in their right mind would think that the relatively small (numbered in hundreds in whole world combined by all products) MCM community would just roll over and die when they read that email? Who in their right mind thought there won’t be a response?

I think the best has yet to come. I think the best being reinstatement of program by Microsoft has yet to come. I can assure you that the MCM community won’t be silenced. I assure you the MCM community won’t just roll over and die.

Let’s hope MCM is brought back. Scratch that. Let’s do what it takes to bring it back. Isn’t one such pursuit made us a Master?

Read more on this topic:

Neil Johnson – Microsoft Employee and MCM Instructor

Paul Robichaux – MCM Instructor

Devin Ganger - Exchange MCM

Adam Toth – SharePoint MCM

Listen to what The UC Architects and experts have to say about MSL’s decision:

http://www.theucarchitects.com/1213