By Sharon Collins, Microsoft Partner Network Manager and Competency Lead, U.S. Partner Team.

New Microsoft certifications are made available shortly after Microsoft releases a new version of a product. To ensure ongoing relevance to your customers, the Microsoft Partner Network updates the requirements for gold and silver competencies on a semi-annual cadence (usually in October and May).

With the May 2012 competency changes and updates now in effect, you may have received a notification email from Microsoft that you need to meet the new exam requirements. You must meet these requirements before your next Microsoft Partner Network membership renewal date* to retain your existing competency or competencies and continue using your competency-related benefits, like internal-use rights, MSDN, and TechNet. image

Competencies affected by the May 2012 updates include, but are not limited to:

Steps for Updating Your Certifications

  1. Understand the Requirements. Review the competency page(s) relevant to your Microsoft Partner Network membership on the U.S. partner portal. The full list of competencies is published at http://aka.ms/uscompetency (you can also navigate to it from anywhere on the U.S. partner portal by clicking Membership > Microsoft competencies).
    • Select your competency, then select either the silver or gold requirements link from the “Start Earning this Competency” section.
  2. imageCreate Your Action Plan. Contact the U.S. MPN Experts by phone, email, or chat to create a customized action plan for your company that outlines the steps you need to meet the new competency requirements.
  3. Take Advantage of Training Benefits and Offers. Use the Get Certified page at http://aka.ms/usgetcertified (or Training > Get certified) to find the resources to help you meet the new exam requirements, like the no-cost and fee-based options through the Partner Exam Academy. Or, try the Learning Plan Tool, which lets you build, share, and track training plans and progress by Competency or Exam.
  4. Stay Informed About Future Changes. The Microsoft Competency Roadmap is a comprehensive guide for understanding upcoming changes to the portfolio of Microsoft competencies—requirements, benefits, new competencies, retiring competencies. It is refreshed on a regular basis, so check back often to download the latest PDF.

More competency-related posts in our series at http://aka.ms/uscompetencyblog.

*Membership information and renewals are managed through the Partner Membership Center. For assistance with the Partner Membership Center and answers to membership-related questions, contact Microsoft Partner Network support. You can access the support page from any U.S. portal page by selecting “Contact Microsoft Partner Network” from the top right of the page.