If you’re a Project Manager, it’s likely you’ve heard it through the grapevine: Microsoft has officially retired their MS Project certification exam 74-343 Managing Projects. Though the exam has been retired as of July 31, 2019, those who have taken the exam will be recognized for competency until June 30, 2020.
Originally published and made available in April 2013, this examination has been popular in the project management world, and there are a number of questions about what — if anything — will replace it. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers in regards to the 74-343 certification exam.
What was the 74-343 examination for?
The exam was designed for professionals who use(d) Project Standard, Project Professional, and Project Pro for Office 365 desktop features. It was primarily taken by those with a solid understanding of project management.
Those who took and passed the 74-343 Managing Projects exam achieved the certification titled, Microsoft Specialist: Microsoft Project 2013, and were also recognized as a Microsoft Certified Professional. The test was a requirement for earning a Professional in Project Management (PPM) certification.
Why is Microsoft retiring this course?
Microsoft Learning continually reviews their current and planned certifications to ensure that they reflect the latest Microsoft technologies, as well as those that Microsoft Certified Professionals use in their day-to-day work. Examinations and certifications that are retired are typically done so due to changing technologies.
In late 2018, Microsoft announced a number of changes to Microsoft Project — a “new vision”, as they called it, that would change Microsoft Project in a fundamental way, making improvements that best fit the rapidly changing world of project management and the technologies available to us. These new changes are being rolled out over the course of 2019, and it seems likely that the 74-343 exam is being retired because it no longer fits with the direction that Microsoft is taking Project.
Will Microsoft be replacing this with something else?
The official Microsoft response on the topic is, “This exam does not have a replacement at this time, but we are looking forward to our Business Team creating something that may have relevance with its technology.”
For those working towards Project Portfolio Management (PPM) Certification, the 74-343 exam can be substituted with Microsoft 365 Certified: Teamwork Administrator Associate. This teamwork exam prepares you for efficiency in Office 365 workloads that focus on efficient and effective collaboration, such as SharePoint (online, on-premises, and hybrid), OneDrive, and Teams.
Though this is not technically a replacement, it is an indication of where Microsoft is focusing its efforts for the future of Project and other project management technologies.
What if I am already certified?
If you’ve already taken the 74-343 examination and hold the certification, it is still recognized as a competency until 2020. Once a certification has been retired, it will no longer be able to be attained, but, if it has already earned, it will remain on your transcripts in the Active section on Microsoft Certified Professional portal/member sites.
The 74-343 examination does not currently credit towards any certification, though it used to when Specialist certifications were still available. Specialist certifications were officially retired in March 2017, and now Exam 74-343 has followed. This was a program change made as part of the Microsoft Certified Professional Program evolution, and is intended to strengthen the program overall by focusing on specialist certifications rather than exams.
Are there similar exams/certifications available through other platforms (besides Microsoft)?
There are a number of Microsoft Project courses and instructional videos available both online and in person through numerous vendors. At this time, MPUG does not endorse any particular course or vendor.
Click here to read more about Microsoft’s vision for the updated version of Project.