MCA – Microsoft Certified Architect Program
The Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) program helps enable the highest-achieving professionals in IT architecture to distinguish their expertise. If you have proven experience as a technology architect who designs and delivers IT solutions for enterprise customers, and technical and leadership skills that surpass those of your peers, consider earning the MCA certification. By doing so, you can validate your advanced proficiency and join an exclusive, world-class community of experts.
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Level: Successful candidates generally have ten or more years of IT experience, and five or more years of specific architectural experience. Microsoft Certified Master certification is a prerequisite for all MCA Technology certifications.
Audience: Practicing IT Architect, Microsoft Certified Master
Type: Microsoft Certification
Microsoft Certified Architect Program Overview
Why get certified?
Earning a Microsoft Certification validates your proven experience and knowledge using Microsoft products. Designed to be relevant in today’s rapidly changing IT marketplace, Microsoft Certifications help you utilize evolving technologies, fine-tune your troubleshooting skills, and improve your job satisfaction.
Whether you are new to technology, changing jobs, or a seasoned IT professional, earning a Microsoft Certification demonstrates to customers, peers, and employers that you are committed to advancing your skills and taking on greater challenges. In addition, certification provides you with access to exclusive Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) resources and benefits, including opportunities to connect with a vast, global network of MCPs.
Why get an MCA certification?
Individuals who earn an MCA have achieved the capstone certification from Microsoft, proving their ability to architect large-scale complex solutions with Microsoft technologies. As such, they are recognized by Microsoft and the IT industry worldwide for having achieved the highest level of professional certification on Microsoft server products. MCAs report that their certification has brought them:
More market credibility
More effective deployment services
Increased number of requests for advice or participation in projects
In addition to providing opportunities for career advancement and higher earning potential, an MCA offers these benefits:
Recognition for achieving the capstone certification from Microsoft, proving your ability to architect large-scale complex solutions with Microsoft technologies
Membership on the MCA distribution list in your specific solution area
Promotion of your name and technical services on the Microsoft website
MCA certificate and plaque
Potential to participate on future MCA Review Board panels and in beta exam development
The MCA certification is granted after the candidate successfully passes the MCA Board exam, which includes a portfolio submission, multiple presentations, and an intensive Q&A with a panel of Microsoft Certified Architects on the MCA Review Board. During the MCA Board exam, the candidate must definitively display the six competencies of business acumen and technological proficiency.
Microsoft currently offers four MCA certifications:
MCA: Microsoft Exchange Server
MCA: Microsoft SharePoint Server
MCA: Microsoft SQL Server
MCA: Windows Server: Directory
These certifications are designed for architects who specialize in using Microsoft technologies to provide solutions for enterprise customers. Professionals who hold an MCA certification are generally recognized by Microsoft and the IT industry worldwide as individuals who hold the highest level of professional certification on Microsoft server products.
Steps to Becoming a Microsoft Certified Architect
Earn a current Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) certification for the technology for which you wish to pursue an MCA technology certification. MCM certification is a prerequisite for all MCA technology programs.
Register for the Microsoft Certified Architect program.
The registration team will review the application to ensure that you have met all of the application requirements.
Note The application fee for the MCA program is US$125. If you are accepted into the program, the fee to take the MCA Board Exam is US$7,500.
Review the program resources.
After you successfully register for the MCA program, you will be granted access to portfolio documentation and resources to help you prepare for your MCA Board exam.
Prepare the required program documentation.
Prepare a portfolio that includes your work history, a project case study, and a project presentation, all of which should show how your skills and work experience directly apply to each of the six MCA competencies.
Review the program competencies
Submit your documentation and schedule your Board Exam.
When your portfolio is complete, submit the documentation for review by the program manager for your technology track. If your portfolio addresses the objective content requirements for an effective Review Board review, the program manager will approve you to schedule an MCA Board Exam. Once the portfolio documentation is approved, you may pay the program fee and schedule your appearance before the Review Board.
The following MCA Review Board dates are currently scheduled for the Microsoft Certified Architect program. All MCA Board Exams will be held in Redmond unless otherwise noted.
Important: Registration deadline for an MCA Board Exam is two months prior to the indicated Review Board date.
Microsoft Certified Architect: Microsoft Exchange Server 2010
Microsoft Certified Architect: Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
Closed Beta at SharePoint Conference
Microsoft Certified Architect: Microsoft SQL Server 2008
Microsoft Certified Architect: Windows Server 2008 R2: Directory
Note MCA Board Exam dates are subject to change at the sole discretion of Microsoft.
Learn more about the MCA Board Exam
Successfully complete your MCA Board Exam.
You will appear before an MCA Review Board of peers, which consists of Microsoft Certified Architects (MCAs). Your MCA Board Exam will last up to four hours and will include presentations you deliver based on your portfolio and a technology-specific case study, each of which will be followed by intensive Q&A sessions with Review Board members. You will receive performance results by email within two weeks.