Home > Certification, MCT > The Value of Certification

The Value of Certification

In this article, we want to explain what the value of certification is, and what it means to be certified

First, let’s drill down on what certification is, and what it means to be certified.  Being certified is having successfully taken one or more certification exams. For Microsoft technologies, this can mean a MOS (Microsoft Office Specialist), MTA (Microsoft Certified Associate), or MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) exam.  Perhaps even higher up the certified ladder, there is also MCM (Microsoft Certified Master) or MCA (Microsoft Certified Architect).  Check out this link for more detail on the above programs.

The various Microsoft Certification tracks

Passing one of these exams and achieving certification is for most people, the culmination of hard work in study and real world experience, to prove their skills in a measured and standardized way.  The audience for this newsletter is going to be people interested in pursuing certification in IT Pro MCP exams, in technology areas like Windows 7, and Windows Server.

The Microsoft Certification program is global and offers localized examinations in a choice of languages.  Importantly a Microsoft certification is recognized internationally.

Certification is so engrained in many areas of professional life, which we often just take for granted. For instance, you would expect your doctor to have attended and passed exams at medical school. Likewise, at the time of writing, I am about to board a plane. I hope there is a qualified pilot aboard!

Is running your company’s network, or rolling out Windows to the desktop any different? The person at the helm should be someone the company can have a degree of assurance in to complete their job successfully. Certification can certainly help this. It’s no guarantee that that person won’t make mistakes, but statistics tell us that an IT department with certified staff is much more likely to be more productive, than one without certified staff. 1

Looking from another perspective, some people are able to drive proficiently without a valid drivers license, but would you allow them to drive your son or daughter to the prom without a licence?  Just as the drivers license can be the gateway to the open road, professional qualifications can open the door to careers that experience alone does not open.

Remember, certification itself will not guarantee a job, or a job promotion. It’s true though, that it is proven to help open doors, and opportunities that would not otherwise be visible. This has certainly been the case for both of us, and we see it every day in the classroom with our students.

Just as with any learning, it is often the first certification that is hardest to achieve.  Both of us have over 20 IT qualifications each, and the first few were harder to pass than the later ones.  Does this mean exams are easier now?  This is a common misconception – the answer is not at all!  The years of IT experience gained alongside regular study and exam preparation help the process to become easier.  This continued “professional development” together with experience can look great on your resume.

Where should you start?  A wise man once said, start with the end in mind….So decide what technology you either enjoy, currently work with, or that you would like to specialize in.  Then establish the certification path which you need to follow.  Behind each certification will be suggestions for learning which could offer traditional books/ebooks, instructor led training or e-learning to mention the key methods.  Work out a study plan which fits with your schedule and then set yourself a goal to take the test!  A couple of months should be ample per certification but of course this will vary between learners.

Categories: Certification, MCT
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