Best Microsoft Certifications: 2021 List

Microsoft certifications are a huge asset for professionals in the tech industry to validate their skills and knowledge. Microsoft has recently revamped its certifications and started offering new role-based options. They are centered around the Microsoft suite and help you establish your profile for in-demand tech jobs.

This article will guide you through the best Microsoft certifications, their value, and how to decide which is the right one for you. Microsoft learning paths help you upskill and advance your career. Earning one of the best certifications offered by Microsoft also makes it possible to successfully branch out to a different sector, such as Microsoft Azure certification.

Why Are Microsoft Certifications Important?

Microsoft certifications are important because they allow you to focus and become an expert in specific software. These certifications are a gateway to great opportunities as passing the certification exams proves expertise in different areas.

Microsoft certifications can be indispensable for your job profile as you learn skills and knowledge through learning materials and an accreditation process. They show employers that you are a seasoned professional with vital skills.

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Professional Certification
vs Certificate Program

Microsoft offers professional certifications to experienced professionals upon passing an exam. Professional certifications validate a certain set of skills by third-party entities. This establishes someone’s ability to perform tasks associated with certain software or subjects.

These are different from certificate programs that are awarded by schools and other training platforms. Students of certificate programs can be beginners or industry veterans. They take a course to learn about the subject and receive a certificate at the end.

Professional Certification Certificate Program
Involves an exam Involves lessons, assignments, and quizzes depending on the program
Awarded by a professional third-party entity Accredited on a national, regional, or program level
Assesses pre-existing knowledge and skills Acknowledges learning by completion of a course
Taken by experienced professionals Taken by anyone from beginner to expert
Usually expires after a certain number of years or months Does not expire

What’s Demand for Microsoft
Skills Like in 2021?

Microsoft certified professionals are in high demand. They can get desirable tech jobs due to their know-how in relevant Microsoft technologies. Having an IT certification from Microsoft will open up opportunities for you. The best certifications give a competitive edge for the best and most important roles in the tech field.

Candidates with Microsoft skills can offer more value to potential employers as many of them demand certified candidates. They are considered more capable of supervising peers and leading teams. Having new Microsoft skills in your portfolio shows employers that you believe in investing in your career development and are keen to learn more.

The Best Microsoft Certifications

The Best Microsoft Certifications

The following is a list of certifications worth researching. They help you specialize and gain expertise in Microsoft software. Microsoft certifications include fundamental, role-based, and additional certifications.

Microsoft also offers certifications at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. All fundamental certifications are permanent and don’t expire. The others are valid for two years. You can choose from these certifications depending on your experience, budget, and job outlook.

Cost: $165

Validity: 2 years

The Azure Developer Associate certification focuses on developing Azure compute solutions, developing for Azure storage, implementing Azure security, and troubleshooting Azure solutions. Candidates for this certification should already have experience in designing, building, and working with Microsoft Azure.

There are no prerequisites for this certification and just one exam. Passing the exam proves your skills in Azure SDKs, PowerShell, CLI, APIs, debugging, and similar features. It will lend you the professional credibility to be hired for well-paying jobs such as an Azure developer.

Cost: $99

Validity: Permanent

The Azure Fundamentals certification establishes foundational knowledge of Microsoft Azure for cloud services. It is ideal for beginners in Azure and cloud-based services. It opens opportunities to become a network administrator, developer, technology manager, and more.

To get this certification, you must have a good understanding of general technology concepts. This includes networking, storage, application support, and development concepts and practices. Also familiarize yourself with Azure services, workloads, and pricing.

Cost: $165

Validity: 2 years

This is a specialty certification for architects and engineers who operate SAP solutions on Microsoft Azure. You need to be proficient in the SAP system and standards specific to the integration of SAP solutions on Microsoft Azure. Your chief responsibility will be managing resources for optimal performance.

This certification shows expertise in various SAP applications like SAP HANA and Azure portal. To clear the exam, you must be able to migrate SAP workloads to Azure. Then you should be able to support and maintain these workloads. Although there are no prerequisites, you should possess other Azure or SAP certifications.

Cost: $165

Validity: 2 years

This advanced certification demonstrates familiarity with Azure administration and development. You must be able to develop strategies for instrumentation and site reliability. You should be able to facilitate communication and collaboration. Also, you must be able to define and implement continuous integration, delivery, and release management strategies.

As a prerequisite, you must either be certified as an Azure Administrator Associate or Azure Developer Associate. All costs mentioned do not consider the exams for prerequisites. DevOps engineering is a thriving field with a great future. To prepare for this certification, you can try one of the best DevOps bootcamps.

Cost: $330

Validity: 2 years

If you use finance and operations apps in Dynamics 365, this is the ideal certification for you. This certification measures your ability to create finance and operations solutions. You will need experience in using standardized application coding patterns, extensible features, and external integrations.

You should be familiar with software development cycle methodologies, data integrity, and data security compliance. Also, you must know the underlying framework, data structures, and objects in Dynamics 365. Two exams test your relevant abilities and validate your skills as a developer.

Cost: $165

Validity: 2 years

You must be a Dynamics 365 professional with significant experience to earn this certification. You will illustrate your skills to refine business needs into well-defined and cost-effective solutions. Take your career to the next level with this expert certification.

This certification is ideal for a solution architect with a deep understanding of Dynamics 365 finance and operations apps. Furthermore, you must be able to successfully design, implement, deploy, and adopt an overall technology solution in an organization. As a prerequisite, you must have a Dynamics 365 certification at the associate level.

Cost: $99

Validity: Permanent

The Dynamics 365 Fundamentals certification (ERP) focuses on the understanding of Dynamics 365 capabilities in enterprise resource planning. You learn how this software integrates finance and operation into the Microsoft ecosystem.

The exam content covers applications of Dynamics 365 in supply chain management, finance, and commerce. You will need to be familiar with business operations and financial principles. This certification has versatile uses. Obtaining this certification shows a broad understanding of Dynamics 365 across many business functions.

Cost: $165

Validity: 2 years

This certification is for those with hands-on experience in developing solutions with Microsoft Power Platform. To earn this certification, you must be able to create application enhancements, custom user experiences, system integrations, and similar solution components.

You also need a basic understanding of DevOps practices for Microsoft Power Platform. Plus, you should be experienced with software like JavaScript, C#, HTML, .NET, Azure, and Microsoft 365. With this certification, you can pursue a successful future as a Microsoft Power Platform developer.

Cost: $99

Validity: Permanent

The Power Platform Fundamentals certification focuses on Power Platform apps. These include Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power Virtual Agent. You need basic knowledge of data analytics, cloud computing, and computer technology. Earning this certification will teach you how to automate basic business processes.

This is the first step in growing your skillset towards advanced certifications. It shows that you understand the value and application of the Power Platform. You can work with these apps to build applications without any knowledge of coding.

Cost: $165

Validity: 2 years

Similarly, solution architects on Microsoft Power Platform can advance their careers with this certification. You must be qualified with functional and technical knowledge of Power Platform, related Microsoft cloud solutions, and third-party technologies.

You can demonstrate an ability to architect a solution based on requirements and then implement it. For this certification, you need extensive experience as a Power Platform solution architect. This can also be shown with long experience as a senior consultant or developer along with deep knowledge of Power Platform architecture.

How to Choose the Right Certification

Since earning a certification is an investment, it is crucial to select the proper certification that will serve your career. You can browse the entire catalog to find a suitable certification. By taking the following factors into account, you can choose the one that is right for you.

Current Skillset

You should start by assessing your current skills and their level of proficiency. Some certification exams have requirements or prerequisites. Build on your skills and knowledge to pass the exams associated with becoming certified.

To apply for some expert-level certifications, you need to have an associate-level certification. The associate-level certifications build on your fundamentals. There is an advantage in building your profile with basic and then advanced certifications.

Career Goals

When choosing a certification, get one that aligns with your career goals. The divisions that Microsoft has already made it easier to choose between different roles. You might want to become a database administrator, an Azure developer, or an Azure data scientist, to name a few.

Select the certification that specifically helps you in your job. For example, to showcase your expertise with Azure, you can get the certification for an Associate Azure AI Engineer or Data Scientist.

Online Community

Learn from other professionals in the Microsoft community. Many share their experiences about the exam and certification content, as well as how earning one of the certifications impacted their professional life. This will give you a more well-rounded idea of which certification suits you.

Resources to Prepare for
Your Certification Exam

You must clear all the exams associated to get certified. Many resources can help you prepare to get the best results. They support you and get you ready to succeed. The following is a list of some of the best Microsoft certification courses.

Type of Resource: Online Course

Cost: Varies by Course

Microsoft provides its own learning resources, which means you can get the exact training you need. You can use the Microsoft Learn documents to prepare for any of the certification exams. They provide a full track and cover all the relevant topics. There is a free option for self-learning and a paid instructor-led option.

The course Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure is a great resource to prepare for the Microsoft Azure Developer Associate certification exam. Instructors will teach you how to utilize fundamental Azure tools. You can be confident that you are learning all the relevant material.

Type of Resource: Online Course

Cost: $59 per month

Coursera is a popular subscription-based service for dozens of online courses. Microsoft offers some specializations where you can prepare for some of the certification exams. There are other courses on relevant topics.

The Microsoft Azure Data Fundamentals specialization prepares for the DP-900 Exam. You will learn the fundamentals of database concepts in a cloud environment within Microsoft Azure. Through five courses, you will be ready to take the DP-900 exam.

Upon completion of the specialization, you will be offered a discount to the Microsoft Azure Data Fundamentals Certification Exam. You can redeem it at Pearson Vue, Microsoft’s proctor exam site.

Type of Resource: Online Course

Cost: Varies by Course

Udemy is another reputable service for online courses. There are preparatory courses for some of the certification exams. There are other courses on relevant topics where you can get full access to excellent material by simply purchasing a course. The prices vary depending on which exam you are prepping for.

AZ-204 Developing for Microsoft Azure Exam Prep will completely prepare you for the certification exam. For $49.99, you will master the core concepts of Azure. Dedicated videos cover all the relevant subjects and a sample exam prepares you thoroughly.

Type of Resource: Online Technical Documentation

Cost: Free

Microsoft documents contain detailed information about Microsoft products and how to practically use them. You can read tutorials, samples, how-to guides, and other references on these documentations.

Coming from Microsoft itself, these are reliable and resourceful with many tips and tricks. You can benefit from these as a learner, developer, or technology professional. If you want a free way to get better at Microsoft skills, this is a great option.

Type of Resource: Online Events

Cost: Free

Microsoft Education is an online platform for students to empower students and learners. An updated calendar of workshops, webinars, and training shows upcoming events to choose from. You can gain and share valuable knowledge about Microsoft products.

You get the chance to learn from Microsoft employees and agents and network with other users. The diverse and knowledgeable community members help you in your journey to gain Microsoft certifications. You can learn about trending topics remotely, start a discussion, ask questions, or post replies to questions from other members.

Should I Pursue a Microsoft
Certification in 2021?

Yes, you should pursue a Microsoft certification in 2021. Microsoft certifications are an asset in finding a tech job and advancing your career. They substantiate your skills and help give credibility to your software skills. The certification is proof that you have the required knowledge and experience to be a professional in your specific field.

Microsoft certifications are widely recognized in the tech world. They offer a wide range of specialties to pursue jobs according to your interests and career path. You can increase your value and have a higher chance of netting a higher-salary position with a Microsoft certification.

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