The MD-102 exam has just been announced, and even though it won’t be available until May, that doesn’t mean we can’t take a closer look at what it covers, and how it differs from its predecessors, MD-100 and MD-101. Perhaps the most important thing to start with is that this exam replaces both of the previous MD exams, so does this mean that it covers everything that they cover, or has it cherrypicked objectives from the others?

Comparing the objectives between the three exams, it’s very clear that MD-102 is mostly based on MD-101, but there are still some MD-100 objectives in there, as well as a few new items that are reflective of changes that have occurred in Intune over the last few years.

Comparing MD-101 to MD-102 is most easily done by discussing things that don’t seem to have moved to the new exam. It’s important to note that just because something isn’t explicitly listed in an exam description doesn’t mean that it won’t be expected knowledge. The way I like to position this is that the baseline skills for exams evolve over time, and something that is directly mentioned early in a technology’s lifecycle as it may need to be called out, but years later it’s just “stuff you should know”. For this reason, it’s worth keeping a copy of latest MD-100 and MD-101 exam descriptions just in case there are things listed that you may still need to know.

Where this can be seen is where most of the MD-101 objectives didn’t carry over to the new exam – many of the Azure AD related items. Things like user and group management and the basics of Conditional Access policies. These are examples of things that may not have been viewed as assumed knowledge when MD-101 was first introduced, whereas now it really is assumed knowledge in many cases. I’ll cover the specifics about Conditional Access later, as they have been finetuned, rather than removed from the exam.

The domain objective that has been streamlined is for Microsoft Deployment Toolkit. Even though about half of the items aren’t included in the new exam description, those that are missing are still mostly covered by the ones that did move over, An example here is the new exam description doesn’t include “Create and use a task sequence”, but it still includes “Create, manage and deploy images”, which would expect you to know how to create and use task sequences. For those of you who don’t have much MDT exposure, the MD-101 MDT section is definitely worth using as part of your preparation.

As you can see from the previous paragraphs, there’s really not much that didn’t make it’s way from MD-101 into MD-102 in some form. MD-100 is the opposite, and it will be easier to discuss what did make it instead what didn’t make its way into MD-102. These are Select the appropriate Windows edition, remote management (excluding Remote Assist and Quick Assist), and not much more. Once again though, remember that some of the non-included MD-100 objectives really do fall into the things that a Desktop Administrator should be familiar with, so it wouldn’t be surprising to at least see some inclusion of them in MD-102 scenarios.

Where does that leave us in terms of new topics that have been added? Here’s a list of the new additions, as well as some of the reworded for clarity items. It’s not a big list, which is great news for those of you considering waiting for MD-102. If there’s anything major I’ve missed let me know in the comments.

  • Remote Help
  • Role Based Access Control (RBAC) for Intune
  • Intune Connector for Active Directory
  • Local Administrative Passwords Solution (LAPS) for Azure AD
  • Conditional Access policies with compliance status
  • Conditional Access policies with app protection policies
  • Microsoft Tunnel for Intune
  • Adoption Score
  • Android profiles

Something I’ve discussed with others about these exam changes is that there will no longer be a traditional/classic/legacy Windows desktop exam once these changes take effect. Something that I hadn’t really thought about with MD-100 was that it mostly focused on non-cloud capabilities of Windows 10/11, which means that it wasn’t really aligned with most other Microsoft exams which are cloud focused. So while we may have better alignment moving forward, there is a gap being created for someone who is looking for something that focused on core Windows functionality and troubleshooting.

Deploy Windows client (25–30%)

Prepare for a Windows client deployment

Plan and implement a Windows client deployment by using Windows Autopilot

Plan and implement a Windows client deployment by using the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT)

Configure remote management

Manage identity and compliance (15–20%)

Manage identity

Implement compliance policies for all supported device platforms by using Intune

Manage, maintain, and protect devices (40–45%)

Manage the device lifecycle in Intune

Manage device configuration for all supported device platforms by using Intune

Monitor devices

Manage device updates for all supported device platforms by using Intune

Implement endpoint protection for all supported device platforms

Manage applications (10–15%)

Deploy and update apps for all supported device platforms

Plan and implement app protection and app configuration policies