Death of the MCM program

Last week, in the immediate aftermath of the sudden announcement by Microsoft of the cancelling of the MCM/MCSM (Microsoft Certified Master) program, I kicked off a survey asking how the decision affects you. I hoped it would be one more data point that would help persuade Microsoft Learning (MSL) that the MCM program should continue. Alas, it is not to be, as on Monday’s con-call between the MCM community and MSL it was made very clear that the program is effectively dead.

Although the MCM webpage still says that October 1st is the deadline for taking the exams, for those of you now hurrying to complete the certification, MSL have extended the deadline to December 31st. See Ryan Rinehart’s comment for confirmation of this.

Here are the results of the survey.


The “Other” responses are:

  • 5 x “I had always planned to work towards MCM certification.”
  • 4 x “I’m disappointed, but accept the rationale.”
  • 3 x “I am taking the lab a week from tomorrow. I’d like to be able to retake if i don’t make it!”
  • 3 x “I support ms decision because the design of mcm is wrong though mcm’s purpose is right”
  • 3 x “I’m pretty much tired of all the changes going on, and will probably wait for SQL 2014 certification.”
  • 3 x “Just one more reason why i never pursued certs in the first place. the programs change to frequently”
  • 3 x “no i don’t see this having any direct effect on me but i am disgusted that miscrosoft can treat peoples investment of time and effort so casually.”
  • 1 x “Combination of spent time & money studying and taking the prerequisite certifications because they are prerequisites”
  • 1 x “I am an MCM who was planning to sit the MCA review board and won’t be able to before the program shuts down.”
  • 1 x “I was enrolled for the October rotation.”
  • 1 x “I was waiting for a BI one”
  • 1 x “I’m MCSM: Messaging and had another rotation (DS) scheduled in October”
  • 1 x “stop whining, its not like they are going to change this because of this poll”
  • 1 x “What is MCM?”
  • 1 x “Yes, I have a team of SQL Professionals and MCM is on all of their personal goals. I had 2 due to take this by EoY – one who is stuck between Exam and Lab, with booking engine down. Very disappointed that this prestigious and aspirational Certification is being cancelled”

And there you have it. I feel particularly bad for those people who have spent time and money taking prerequisite exams, or have passed the knowledge exam but not the lab exam.

I made my feelings on the decision pretty clear in the Insider newsletter editorial last week – I’m very sad about the decision, the manner in which it was made, and the manner in which it was communicated – having been deeply involved in the SQL MCM program since the very first Ranger rotation inside Microsoft.

I’m not going to waste your time by reiterating the same arguments about certifications and the MCM program that you’ve probably read several times now over the last two weeks. But I do urge you to read the eloquent post by Joe Sack (who used to run the SQL MCM program) on the subject and the really disappointing con-call with MSL: We can handle the truth.

I wholeheartedly agree with everything Joe says, including the part about being very wary of advocating any future advanced certification that Microsoft comes up with, if they even do – which many of us doubt.

Although the MCM has been removed as the focus point for learning goals, learning still goes on, and people will still aspire to make themselves better SQL Server professionals.

Don’t give up learning – it’s always worth it.

9 thoughts on “Death of the MCM program

  1. Maybe you guys should come up with a third party training/certification program? Who if not SQLSkills is more qualified to put together a top end evaluation of SQL Server skill sets?

  2. One extra bit for the people still intending to take the MCM Lab this month, the retake waiting period has been removed. So it could be possible to have more than one attempt this month.

  3. Paul, for me, the best part about the MCM Program will still be taking the series of SQLskills classes. Yes, I’m disappointed to finally have made the grade only to have the program close. However, when I look back on the Immersion Event classes, I’m amazed at friendships that were forged and what an impact they have made on my career.

  4. “Although the MCM has been removed as the focus point for learning goals, learning still goes on, and people will still aspire to make themselves better SQL Server professionals.

    Don’t give up learning – it’s always worth it.”

    I agree. The death of the program should not be the end of people’s aspirations to learn and become better Data Professionals.

  5. These certifications make the industry trust Microsoft products to be honest. To show the world that there are people who know these products inside out at Microsoft and at other companies is a strong point for marketing of the product. It’s also that motivating factor that many of us need to reach that high level of certification. I’ve spent hours studying and trying to figure out how to get my finances in order to actually go for the training in Redmond. Of course I will not stop studying, and I will not stop pushing myself. However, I have nothing that proves my skills. Nothing that I can scale myself against. I have the MSCE Data Platform cert, but it was easy. I want something challenging, I want to push my skills and I want to be able to measure that against the best Professionals in the world so I can keep pushing and keep climbing. For Microsoft to lose money on this should be ok, because they need the MCMs and MCAs they are the “super heros” of the products and that gives it strong brand recognition in the market. My two cents, I’m not a business major though :)

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