Microsoft realizes the benefit of certifications from other organizations. As a sign of approval and to show their support, they have made a few exams outside of the Microsoft family of certs eligible as electives for the MCSA credential. Since A+ is considered an entry level IT cert, it must also be combined with Network+ or Server+ to add up to one MCSA elective. Since A+ consists of two exams, one would have to take a combined three exams in order to benefit. But wouldn't it be better to take one exam and still get the same benefit? One option is to take CompTIA's Security+ exam as your elective instead. One and done as they say.
I highly encourage taking a non-Microsoft exam for MCSA elective credit. Achieving your MCSA states that you have a baseline of knowledge in Microsoft technologies, and frankly there are plenty of MCSAs in the world. So consider this example: An employer has two candidates for one job, and both have their MCSA. What sets them apart from one another? Perhaps one of them can also list a security credential without having to take any more exams. Security professionals are in high demand, so having both MCSA and Security+ can only bolster your resume.
This was first published in February 2007