Will there ever be a PowerShell certification?

I am frequently asked or come across the question about PowerShell exams and certifications. Typically an IT pro has been learning PowerShell and wants to know if there is a Microsoft exam or certification that will validate their knowledge. I have no secret insights or access to Microsoft exams and certifications, but I can still confidently state, that there will never be a dedicated PowerShell exam or certification from Microsoft. If you stop and think about this for a moment, it makes sense.

Why we’ll never see PowerShell certifications

There is no dedicated exam or certification for a technology like TCP-IP. But, that is a core operating system technology that you must understand to pass some Microsoft exams, which ultimately lead to certification. In many ways, PowerShell is no different. There is PowerShell content in Microsoft exams, but it is in relationship to the underlying exam topic. If you are taking a Microsoft exam on Microsoft Exchange, then you will most likely encounter a few PowerShell related questions. Instead of answering questions on Format-Table, you’ll need to know how to use Get-Mailbox. The bottom line is that you will be tested on your knowledge of PowerShell as it relates to a specific task product.

PowerShell Certification
Will we ever see certifications for Windows PowerShell? Jeff Hicks doesn’t think so. (Image: Dreamstime)

I would venture that the more fluent you are with PowerShell in general, the easier it is to learn product specific aspects, such as Office 365 or SharePoint. This in turn will help you pass exams and obtain certifications. Yes, there is much more to an exam than a few PowerShell questions, but at least those questions should be easy for you. But I doubt you will ever see a Microsoft exam that validates your PowerShell knowledge. The only way an exam like this would ever come into being is if the world of IT management decided there was value in being able to identify people with requisite PowerShell skills. But I don’t see that happening. Instead, manager types want to know if you are capable of running an Exchange server or managing Active Directory. It won’t matter to them that you can write an advanced function to query event logs on 100 servers and create a styled HTML report.

So how can you prove you have the necessary PowerShell skills? Just do it. Many IT pros realize that PowerShell will be a critical piece of their career, exams notwithstanding. If you want to be able to demonstrate to a potential employer that you have the right PowerShell experience, then you need a body of work or a PowerShell portfolio. You should be using PowerShell as much as you can in your daily work. Develop PowerShell solutions that solve common tasks and make sure they are well written and documented. Write PowerShell scripts and tools that demonstrate a mature expertise. Even if you are barred from sharing the work product, you should at least be able to say, “Developed a PowerShell script to manage X, which cut management costs for Y$ and saved $Z per quarter.” That will get you further than any exam or certification.

PowerShell.org and the Verified Effective exam

However, there is one other possible option if you are seeking independent validation of your PowerShell skills. PowerShell.org, which is a non-profit organization devoted to PowerShell, used to offer a Verified Effective exam. This was a private examination that verified your PowerShell skills. Sadly, as with any certification, it only has value if enough of the right people recognize it. While the testing process itself was effective, the program over all never gained traction. Just recently PowerShell.org has announced a discontinuance of the program. However, if you are attending the PowerShell Summit in Charlotte, NC this year, then you still have an opportunity to take the exam. There’s an outside chance the exam will be offered at future events. It is hard to say if the exam has an relevance as far as your manager goes, but if nothing else there is a great deal of personal satisfaction in passing the exam.

According to PowerShell.org, in the long run we may see self-assessments from companies like Smarterer. Or you can use video training courseware like my Pluralsight courses as benchmarks for your PowerShell expertise. In any event, the best way to learn PowerShell and demonstrate proficiency is by using it everyday.