Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) – The pinnacle of Microsoft certifications, the Microsoft Certified Architect is targeted at individuals who have over 10 years relevant industry experience with at least three years experience as a practicing architect. The MCA is intended to measure not only a candidate’s expertise in technology matters, but also their business management skills. The MCA will test a candidate’s knowledge across a variety of technologies and platforms, and not just Microsoft technologies. Microsoft suggests that the total expected time from application to review should take the candidate between 6 to 12 months.
There are currently four different MCA certification tracks:
- MCA: Microsoft Messaging
- MCA Microsoft SharePoint
- MCA: Microsoft SQL Server
- MCA: Directory Services
To become a Microsoft Certified Architect, candidates must first gain the relevant MCM or MCSM certification in the specialist technology of their choice. Candidates who gain that certification and have sufficient relevant work experience can then apply to join the MCA program. Upon receipt of the application the MCA Review Board will determine if the candidate meets the required criteria and, if accepted, the candidate will be granted access to documentation and resources to help the candidate prepare for the MCA Board exam.
An MCA candidate will be required to present to the Review Board a dossier containing their work history, an architectural solution of their own design and creation, and a document outlining situations and examples of how they have demonstrated the six competencies of an architect.
The review requires the candidate to make a 30 minute presentation where they present their architectural solution to the Review Board. The candidate is then subjected to a lengthy question and answer period by the board. At the conclusion of the presentation the board members will vote to award the candidate the MCA credential or not.
For more information on the Microsoft Certified Architect program, visit the official Microsoft Architect home page