Roadmap to Success: MCSA Windows 10



Roadmap to Success is a series of posts designed to help learners better understand certification pathways, career opportunities associated with those certifications, and next steps beyond certification.

With the launch of Windows 10, workplaces are in need of IT professionals who can work effectively and efficiently with Microsoft’s latest operating system. Developing expertise using and administering Windows 10 can create professional opportunities to take your career to the next level. Generally, Windows 10 certifications qualify learners for roles in service or help desk, support, cloud services, IT admin, and more.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): Windows 10

The Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): Windows 10 certification is designed to prove that you have the expertise to configure, manage, and maintain a Windows 10 enterprise system. The MCSA Windows 10 certification is made up of two exams, both of which are covered by CBT Nuggets training:

Generally, learners interested in pursuing the MCSA Windows 10 certification should have six months to two years of professional experience, including direct experience with Windows desktop administration, maintenance, and troubleshooting; basic experience with and understanding of Windows networking technologies; and basic knowledge of Active Directory and Microsoft Intune. Microsoft considers the MCSA certification an entry-level certification, however, learners should note that CBT Nuggets lists the relevant coursework as intermediate due to the complexity of the content.

Exam Details

Learners can take the certification exams for the MCSA Windows 10 in any order, but most choose to take the exams out of sequential order, starting with the 70-698 and then moving on to the 70-697.

In addition, learners who earned an MCSA: Windows 8 certification between February 15, 2015 and May 31, 2015 can take the 70-697 exam for free. Learn more about the opportunity to take the 70-697 for free from Microsoft.

Time allotted for exam: 2 hours (120 minutes) per exam
Number of Questions: 40-60 per exam
Passing score: 700* per exam
*Because the number of questions varies, it is not necessarily true that learners must earn 70 percent to pass the exam.
Question types: Multiple choice/single answer; multiple choice/multiple answer; matching; simulations; short answer
Exam registration: Microsoft Learning or Pearson Vue
Please note that Microsoft Windows 10 certification exams may be available for online proctored delivery.
Exam cost: $165 (USD) per exam
Skills Measured: Each exam registration page on the Microsoft website provides a list of Skills Measured (free resources) to guide your study and preparation.

Microsoft exams have a reputation for being challenging. Many learners find they have to take an exam more than once to achieve a successful outcome. Fortunately, Microsoft is aware of the level of challenge associated with their exams, and often provides an “Exam Replay,” allowing learners to retake exams at no cost. Please note that the Exam Replay may not always be available. As of this post’s publication date, both the 70-698 and 70-697 exams include an Exam Replay, but that may change. Learners should research Exam Replay availability to avoid missing out on the opportunity.


Microsoft’s MCSA certifications do not expire, meaning no recertification or continuing education is necessary to keep your MCSA certification valid. MCSA certifications are, effectively, lifetime certifications that are valid as long as the technology exists.

The Next Step

Many learners completing the Windows 10 Specialist certification will choose to continue within the Microsoft universe by pursuing the MCSA Windows 10 certification, which requires just one additional exam: 70-698.

Other learners may choose to supplement their product-specific expertise with further Microsoft certifications. Often, learners opt for:

Career Considerations  and are excellent resources for helping learners determine average pay scales for job opportunities associated with roles in IT. The MCSA Windows 10 certification is typically held by system administrators. reports an average salary for those administering Windows 10 at $58,364. reports a broader range of salaries, dependent on professional experience, at $40,873 to $133,564. Common roles or titles for those who hold a Windows 10 certification include network administrator, systems administrator, IT manager, senior systems administrator, and more.

Microsoft Certifications

Microsoft certifications are laid out as a pyramid, with each level of certification leading learners to higher, more specialized, complex certifications. At the base of the Microsoft pyramid, IT professionals develop the foundation of knowledge with the MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate). The next level is the MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate) and MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer), which include many of the most popular certifications among IT professionals that are offered by Microsoft, including Server 2012, Office 365, and Azure. Finally, the MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solution Expert) represents the highest level of certification offered by Microsoft and provides learners the opportunity to develop specializations related to MCSA level content.

Begin exploring other Microsoft training and certification options to open up even more professional development opportunities.

Concluding Thoughts

This is a great time to pursue a Windows 10 certification! The product is on track to overtake Windows 7 (if it hasn’t already!), which means IT pros need to be prepared to effectively and efficiently support and administer Windows 10. Earning the MCSA Windows 10 certification equips you with the skills and knowledge you need to meaningfully support your organization while also advancing your career!

Watch. Learn. Conquer Microsoft Windows 10!

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