How to Become a Microsoft Certified Professional
The Microsoft Corporation is no stranger to the average digital native. The company was founded in 1975 with the objective to create microprocessors and software for an early version of the personal computer.
Since then the company has exploded in growth and expanded into various other fast growing technology domains, which include cloud computing, artificial intelligence, internet of things and data science just to mention a few.
With Microsoft venturing into these new domains the company has rolled out an array of certification opportunities for professionals who are interested in improving their technical skills as the world continues to adopt innovative technologies at a rapid pace.
With that said, how does one become a Microsoft certified professional? How does certification benefit the average employee and what type of certification does the company currently offer?
We explore these questions by looking at:
Microsoft certified professionals
Let us first define what these certified professionals are. Much like a project manager who seeks to obtain certification from accredited institutions such as the Project Management Institute (PMI), Microsoft certified professionals obtain their certification as a result of undergoing an assessment such as an examination.
By obtaining a specific certificate one can infer that a certified professional has experience working with a particular software stack or solution. For example, an employee who has obtained a Data Engineer certificate from Microsoft implies that they are quite capable of designing, implementing and managing the full stack of a data service.
These types of roles can be quite technical and require logical thinking. In essence, a Microsoft certified professional is an individual who has developed their expertise in what is often a technical skill by means of having undergone training with a particular system.
How to obtain certification
Before deciding which certification is suitable for you, it is imperative to understand what it is you want to achieve, what it is that interests you and the demand for a specific set of skills.
Aligning these factors will often ensure that you are likely to achieve the most out of pursuing a certification – after all, you are investing valuable resources to obtain the certification.
Once you have decided on the ideal profession to pursue you can approach the various options with more confidence. As mentioned before, Microsoft provides certification for a wide variety of technical job roles. In order to obtain one of these certificates it is required of you to undergo training via one of the available channels, these consist of online courses or live instructor-led training sessions.
A hybrid channel which involves accelerated bootcamp training is also available for those who want to be better prepared for the examination. Microsoft recommends that the best way to prepare for the examination is by understanding the skills that will be measured, working through the self-paced content, attempting the practice exam and reading through the certification documentation. Once you are ready, you can register for the exam and upon successfully passing, you are awarded with your certificate.
The benefits of obtaining certification
The first and obvious reason why employees pursue certification in a professional role is to improve their employability and career prospects. The same applies to those who seek to obtain a Microsoft professional certificate.
Holding a certificate which demonstrates one’s technical capabilities is especially useful in today’s current climate where technology roles are seeing an increased demand among the workforce. These types of certificates often receive greater recognition of skills given that they validate that you have successfully passed an assessment such as an examination.
As with many scarce technical skills that are in high demand, they are often associated with higher salaries. However, it is important to note that while a higher salary is an attractive benefit, there are also many individuals who value self-development over the monthly pay cheque. This too is another benefit in that those who enjoy solving problems and are driven by passion could also reap the rewards from obtaining a certificate. It is important to understand that the benefits of a certificate is often subjective based on the perception of the individual pursuing it.
Types of available certification
The types of professional certification offered by Microsoft vary in nature and complexity.
The company offers three overarching types of certificates which include fundamental certification, these are regarded as the most basic and recommended for those individuals who are starting to seek a career in technology.
There are also role-based certificates that are slightly more advanced and allow an individual to specialise in a particular job role – many of these carry an associate status which ranks one level higher than the fundamental certification.
There are also additional certificates which encompass certified educators and other technical certifications – these carry an expert status and seem to be the most complex of all the certificates that are available.
For a technology company that has been around for decades which constantly innovates, it is no wonder that many companies may find value in Microsoft’s certification. While empowering employees and offering them a better outlook in terms of career paths, it also provides organisations with a competitive advantage across multiple industries.
Obtaining certification is facilitated by various training channels which are also important since different individuals have different learning preferences – it is wonderful to see that Microsoft is able to cater to the different needs of individuals.
The level of certification is also an important factor given that some roles might require a more technically experienced individual than others, so the variety of certificates also plays a big role.