With all of the shutdowns and quarantines with the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft has extended their deadline to finish the MCSA, MCSD, and MCSE certfifications. Previously old certification exams were due to expire on June 30, 2020. You had until then to complete your work. Now the timeline has been extended to January 31, 2021. This gives you more time to earn the cert you started.
I haven't held an active certification for years. I found them useful for studying and focusing my learning early in my career, but less so now. Working towards a test is also a time sink for me, when I often don't quite have as much time as I'd like to get other things done. Life is busy, and I haven't been as focused in a single area in a long time. My schedule also becomes hectic at times, which can create a lot of pressure if I have a deadline for an exam.
However, I do think that certifications can be helpful in a few ways to many people, in addition to focusing your learning. Scheduling an exam puts pressure on you and will drive you to learn more. The semi-vague requirements will force you to learn more things than you might otherwise work on, which broadens your knowledge. I've found that to be particularly helpful in my career, when I have a wide variety of skills in different areas. I can often solve more complex problems.
Maybe the one area that you can use to further your career and open doors is to point to the certification not as a measure of knowledge and skill, but of desire. It takes active effort to learn and pass a certification exam, and employers need people that are hungry to learn and grow, and most importantly, willing to do this on their own time. It's a good point to make if you talk about your work in an interview or write something on your blog.
In addition to extending the deadline, Microsoft has changed the fees for rescheduling and cancellation, which is good. They're also working for more remote proctoring of exams, which will allow more people to take these tests from work or home instead of having to drive to a facility. They are also extending out voucher and discount dates.
If you're interested in pursuing something, let us know today. I'm considering some of the Azure role based certifications, mostly because they may focus my learning. Now I just need to find time and make the decision to actually move in that direction.