Applied Skills frequently asked questions

Are Applied Skills credentials replacing role-based Certifications?

No. Applied Skills credentials are not replacing Certifications. We are expanding our credentialing portfolio to better meet the needs of our learners and customers by allowing people to validate very specific skills sets with this new offering.

Certifications are role based and evaluate a wider range of skills needed to be successful in critical roles that organizations need to be successful in today’s rapidly changing technical environment.

Applied Skills credentials are scenario based and evaluate a narrower skill set that is specific to a critical business problem or challenge that organizations are facing.

How do I choose between a Certification and an Applied Skill credential?

If you are looking to demonstrate that you have the range of skills needed to be successful in a given job role, a Certification is the right way to go. If you want to validate your skills on a specific business problem or scenario that your organization is facing, an Applied Skills credential will make more sense.

Here are some key differentiators between Certifications and Applied Skills:

  • Breadth of skills validated: Certifications typically validate 4-6 skill sets while Applied Skills validate one specific skill set.
  • Focus: Certifications are job role based while Applied Skills are product-based.
  • Purpose: Certifications are intended to validate skills needed for the technical aspects of job roles that leverage Microsoft solutions and technologies while Applied Skills are intended to validate specific scenarios that may be hindering an organization’s digital transformation goals.

Will attaining an Applied Skills credential help me pass a Certification exam?

Many of the Applied Skills credentials can be used to help you prepare for Certification exams. Because Applied Skills are awarded based on performance within a lab, that experience may set you up for success on a Certification. All role-based Certification exams require experience, so earning an Applied Skills credential is one way to get some of the experience that is needed to pass the exam. However, not all skills assessed on a Certification exam will have an associated Applied Skills assessment lab, so you should not rely on Applied Skills alone. Visit how to prepare for a Certification exam.

I already have a role-based Certification. Should I pursue an Applied Skills credential?

If you want to demonstrate that you have skill sets that were not assessed by the Certification, are Certification “adjacent,” or our needed for a specific project that you would like to do or are working on, then an Applied Skill credential would be a great way to show your employer and peers that you have those skills as well as the skills validated by your Certification.

I’m just getting started on my Microsoft credentialing journey. What should I pursue first? An Applied Skills credential, a fundamentals Certification, or a role-based Certification?

It depends on your technical expertise and why you want to earn a Microsoft credential.

If you are exploring technology or just beginning your learning journey in technology, starting with a fundamentals certification makes the most sense because it focuses on ensuring that you have the foundational knowledge you need to get started in technology.

If you have some experience and want to explore the different ways Microsoft technologies and solutions are used to solve critical business problems, an Applied Skills credential is a great way to get started validating real world skills focused on specific projects or scenarios.

If you have some experience and are pursuing a job that leverages Microsoft solutions, a role-based certification is the logical solution to validate role-based skills. Note that some Applied Skills credentials are related to our certifications and may provide another way to prepare for a certification exam.

Check out the Choose your Microsoft Credential guide to help you decide.

If you have other questions about Applied Skills credentials, visit Assessment lab frequently asked questions.