Courage to Change
For those that haven't heard, Microsoft is planning on discontinuing the MCA/MCM/MCSM certification track. These are the top of the certification pyramid and served as a differentiator for partners and consultants to prove their deep product knowledge. I have never gone through the training rotations, but have worked with several who have and I have to say, none of those with the certification were less than impressive. However, the costs to maintain this program are non-trivial, and the uptake was minimal (less than 1% of eligible MCSE/MCITP/MCSD). Some would argue that maintains the "elite" corps de esprit of the MCM program, but it doesn't sit right with me that Microsoft should lose money to maintain branding for a limited pool.
I do see the value in deep technical training, and I do hope that the knowledge and camaraderie shared by this program lives on. I've met many MCM (and MCM-capable) at conferences, Code Camps, SharePoint Saturday and so forth. The community capable of this certification gives so much in terms of blogging, speaking, teaching, writing, and open source that it would be a shame to see it dissolve. On the other hand, these men and women will continue to be recognized as leaders in their products/geographies/specialties regardless of how many acronyms are on their resume/cv. I encourage all of my readers to keep learning and keep giving to the community. We should see this as an evolution rather than an extinction.
Reminder: I am a Microsoft employee, but my thoughts and these words are mine. I am not involved in the management or delivery of certification programs in any way.