Microsoft titles and certificates explained

MSP, MVP, MCT, MCP, MPN… Microsoft sure likes their acronyms. What do they stand for? What do you have to do, to use one in front of your name? You can feel confused when you hear any of those titles. Especially considering all other acronyms developers use daily. 

So many titles

Let’s break those down, shall we?

MPN – Microsoft Partner Network. The program is designed for companies, so they can have access to Microsoft technologies and build their products around them.

MCP – Microsoft Certified Partner/Microsoft Certified Professional. The first one is used for companies confirmed by Microsoft. It means they know what they’re doing and clients can trust in their expertise. To become one, your company will have to be in business for at least 5 years and employ a minimum number of Certified Professionals. The title of Professional is used for individuals. If you want to get it, you’ll have to pass one of Microsoft’s exams listed in the next part of this article.

MCT – Microsoft Certified Trainer. An annual membership program for experts who deliver training in Microsoft technologies. To apply for this title you’ll have to be certified by one of the Instructional Skills Certification. I will list them in the next paragraph.

MVP – Most Valuable Professional. This one is probably the most known among .NET developers. Microsoft gives this award to “technology experts who passionately share their knowledge with the community”. The award lasts for a year and means that a person had a significant influence in the Microsoft community in the past 12 months. As for this moment, there are less than 50 MVPs in Poland and almost 3.000 around the globe. There’s no single way to achieve this award. But most of the people who got it had an amazing year in one of the following categories:

  • Contributing code to open source projects
  • In-Person speaking
  • Helping others
  • Creating content
  • Providing feedback

If you’d like to learn more about the MVP award, please click here.

Microsoft Student Partner

MSP – Microsoft Student Partner/Azure Expert Managed Services Provider. The first one is a program for college students who share their knowledge with other students by organizing lectures and events (like ITAD or our own Zombathon). To become such, you’d have to be a member of the Microsoft scientific group and be engaged in organizing lectures. As for the benefits, you get access to most of the Microsoft services (such as Office 365 or Azure). Right now there are about 50 student partners in Poland from what 6 people are Region Leaders (they take care of 2 or 3 districts) and one is a Country Leader. You start your journey with the Alpha 1 title. If you want to get to the Alpha 2 you’ll have to pass one of the Microsoft learning paths. The next level is Beta. To get there, you’ll have to organize an event in which at least 30 people will attend. The last one is Gold: only the most dedicated partners can get this title when they finish their college (the rest will just lose their titles). If you’re interested and would like to learn more about that, please check out Microsoft’s page.

The Azure Expert Managed Services Provider title is for companies specializing in Azure. To get this, they’ll need to meet plenty of prerequisites as well as complete the Microsoft audit.

And what about the certificates?

Microsoft also offers plenty of certificates, let’s check them out as well.

MTA – Microsoft Technology Associate. The best certificates for a starter. If you want to test your fundamental knowledge, this one is perfect for you.

MCSA, MCSE, MCSD – Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate/Expert/Developer. Those tests are required for you to achieve Microsoft Certified Professional title. There are plenty of categories in which you can get one of those:

  • Cloud
  • Mobility
  • Data
  • Productivity
  • App Builder
  • Business Applications
  • Core Infrastructure

MOS – Microsoft Office Specialist. As the name suggests, those are for you if you’re working in Microsoft Office technology (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.)

MCT, MCE – Microsoft Certified Trainer/Educator. Those certificates are for those interested in teaching Microsoft technologies. They last for a year and you can renew them after meeting specified requirements. For example teaching at least 1 class in the last year.

If you’d like to check what exactly you’d have to learn to get any of the certificates, please check out the link.


As you can see it is possible to get around all the acronyms without getting a headache. Hopefully, after reading this blog post, you won’t recognize MVP only as one of the CS:GO titles, and MSP won’t bring a picture of Movie Star Planet anymore.