MCSA stands for Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate. It is kind of IT certification that is meant for the web/software developers and the IT professionals, who want to get a job on the basis of their skills and competency in Microsoft technology. Further, the MCSA windows-server 2016 certification is a first step taken by software professional towards being an MCSE or Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert.

MCSA is a qualification that you require to be a computer network specialist, or a network/computer system administrator. All IT professionals who have the tasks related to the designing and building of the IT solutions, which use the various Microsoft technologies should have this certification. The technologies include the Windows Server, Windows, Linux, SQL, Microsoft Dynamics, and Exchange Server among others. The IT certification can easily get you and IT job in any of the Fortune 500 companies.

The MCSA certification training and program inculcates within you all the skills that are needed for running and managing a new-age data centre. You also get expertise in systems management, identity management, storage, virtualization, and networking. It will get you jobs like Computer Systems Administrator, Network Engineer or the Computer Network Specialist. MCSA certification qualifies you for other certifications as well, and these include:

  • MCSE or Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer
  • MCSD or Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer
  • MCPS or Microsoft Certified Product Specialist
  • MCT or Microsoft Certified Trainer

MCSA 2016 certification replaces the older Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator course and certification. You as a student can select from a number of specialty areas while learning the new MCSA course. These include:

  • MCSA Windows Server 2016
  • MCSA Windows server 2012
  • Windows 10
  • MCSA SQL Server 2016
  • MCSA SQL Server 2012/2014
  • MCSA Office 365
  • MCSA Linux on Azure
  • MCSA: Cloud Platform

Earlier Qualifications/Experience/Knowledge Required

If you know computer basics, the Windows operating system, and networking, you can begin learning MCSA. For joining and learning MCSA, you need to have knowledge about computer basics. You can also qualify for joining the course by processing the MTA certification.

Fee for Studying MCSA

The combined fee for appearing for all the 3 MCSA course is around $450 ($150 for each exam), and this can be termed as the MCSA certification cost . The courseware and study material can cost around $376.

Exam Schedules for MCSA Certification

In order to pass the MCSA exam successfully, you need to pass 3 exams. You are awarded the certification of Microsoft Certified Professional when you clear the first 1st exam of the series. A brief description of the MCSA 3-tier exam is given below.

  • 70-410– The 1st examination paper: Concerned with the installation and the configuration of the Windows server. A candidate can appear for the other 2 papers when he or she clears this one. This paper also has questions on Hyper-V, administration, and installation of the active directory, creation, and management of the Group policy. It also deals with the various server roles and features.
  • 70-411– The 2nd examination paper: Concerned with the administration of the Windows server. Topics covered under this paper include DCS or Data Collector Sets, WDS or Windows Deployment Services, implementation of the patch management, and the monitoring of the virtual machines and configuring alerts, among others.

Further, the 2nd paper also covers configuration and installation of the DFS namespaces, scheduling the replications, creation of the clone or copied databases, procedures for unlocking of the network, management of the various Bit locker policies, and the settings related to remote differential compression.

  • 70-412– The 3rd examination: Concerned with the configuration of the advanced Windows server. The last exam of the 3 exams series is also the hardest and toughest one. Other than the theoretical aspects of the syllabus, questions in the 3rdtest can also relate to the practical skills attained by the candidate while learning the course.

The 3rd exam asks questions on the configuration and the management of the high availability servers by using the Network Load Balancing procedure, the movement of the virtual machines and the clustering of the failovers. Topics also include optimization of the storage capacity by using the iSCSI target/initiator, the fault tolerance techniques, using backup for recovering from the disasters, and configuration and management of the NFS (Network File System) data store.

Why MCSA For Your Career?

MCSA can serve as the foundation stone of your IT career. It helps you gain skills and knowledge that is required to perform several critical tasks related to the modern IT and their inherent responsibilities. MCSA can benefit your career path in the following ways:

  • Widely recognized. Helps you gain good salary and promotions in a number of leading organizations.
  • A clear and well-defined career path.
  • A sustainable career in IT.
  • Apart from professional benefits, the MCSA course also helps you achieve academic excellence while bringing in the academic responsibilities.
  • Validates your skill set, helps you focus more on the specific job responsibilities.
  • Helps you gain more certifications.
  • Work and show your skills on the core Microsoft platform.
  • Helps you reduce the business costs and IT costs.
  • Helps you to best use the servers.
  • Helps you implement the business continuity and makes you an expert in disaster recovery

Objectives of the MCSA Course

The MCSA course and certifications has objectives relating to the running of the windows servers. At the end of the certification course you will:

  • Learn about the installation and configuration of the Microsoft Windows Server
  • Learn about the deployment and the administration of the server
  • Gain more proficiency in the configuring of the more advanced Windows servers
  • Design the various network infrastructure protocols and implement them wisely

How to Prepare for MCSA Certification

While you need to process certain basic knowledge for joining the course, for preparing for the 3 papers you have various methods available.

Training through instructors: You can get trained towards the certification at a “Microsoft” training centre. Here trainers who possess the “Microsoft Certified Trainer” certificate will give you both practical and theoretical course information so that you can easily accumulate the required skills. You stand to gain from the exceptional expertise of the passionate and experienced teachers and trainers. You will be able to exploit your own potential fully and comprehensively when you join this training program.

Self-Training: Microsoft has its own website by the name “Microsoft Virtual Academy”.

Book Study: The Microsoft Press Store sells the books for the 3 exams viz. 70-410, 70-411 and 70-412. These books are in the form of e-books. You can also get the hard book of the same content.

Other than the above-given ways, you can also study for the exam by accessing the “Born to Learn” official forum and the Microsoft virtual academy. Here you can find the sample test papers, information, and resources that will help you study for the exam easily. Microsoft TechNet is another platform that can be useful for the candidates.

Related Blog:- MCSA Interview Questions and Answers

MCSA Salary

An MCSA can easily get a salary above $80,000 easily after attaining 10 years of experience. Those with lesser experience work at a salary of around $50,000. MCSA is also the first step and one of the top microsoft certifications that you take to attain the next Microsoft technology certification in the line, which is MCSE or Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer . An MCSE gets a salary of around $94,000 or above.

Below are some jobs that you can get after having the MCSA certification and the salaries that are offered to these professionals.

  • IT (information Technology) Manager- $76,036
  • Senior Systems Administrator- $81,187
  • Network Administrator- $56,441
  • Network Engineer- $67,390
  • Senior Systems Engineer- $91,328
  • Systems Administrator- $63,404

The MCSA course imparts you solid and comprehensive foundation knowledge so that you can carry with expertise on the career path of computer support expert and specialist. 100% of the recruitment managers and experts find MCSA a useful certification, and more than 91% of them give preference to those who possess it during recruitment.

Growth in Demand in the Coming Years

Studies and surveys indicate that the demand for the MCSA IT professionals will continue to increase in the coming time, and will increase at a rate of 18% each year till the year 2020. This growth will be primarily driven by the companies who create, expand or upgrade their IT department. Other than this, there is also an increase in the demand for the health care services, and this will indirectly fuel the demand for the IT and MCSA professionals.

All Microsoft certifications are validations of your expertise and skills in the Microsoft technology. The certified professionals also get access to a plethora of community resources, and can also join the Microsoft community where they can add more skills and knowledge, communicate with their peers towards exchanging information, and also get number of career opportunities. Microsoft offers the most popular and highly successful server infrastructure, and anyone who wants to make a career in this area should opt for the MCSA course and certification instantly.

Armin Vans
Pradeep is a Microsoft Certified Trainer and a Cyber Security professional with rich experience in Vulnerability Assessment, Penetration Testing, and Security Management. I deliver training to corporate clients on IT Security, Cybersecurity, Advanced Penetration Testing, CCISO, CCNA, CCNP, Firewall, AD, Linux, ISO, CEH, ECSA, CHFI, and several other customized courses of IT Security.



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