Individuals entering into any Microsoft-sponsored training program should have superior computer and technical skills, access to a computer and a familiarity with Microsoft's programs and platforms. Through certificate training programs, the complexities of Microsoft systems are scrutinized while students complete homework and engage in group studies and hands-on practice. Many Microsoft certification training programs are offered online and are self-paced. Upon completion, students are prepared to take the certification exams, which can eventually lead to entry-level technology positions.
Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) Certificate of Completion
Of all the Microsoft certifications, the MCP credential is the most basic and gives an applicant the most flexibility in determining his or her specialization. A Microsoft Certified Professional is anyone who has passed any of the Microsoft examinations. Students typically have a background or degree in computer science or information technology, although skills and knowledge are more desired. Students interested in working in an office or corporate environment can benefit from mastering Windows and SQL servers and Windows Developer. In the MCP training program, students take courses in their chosen subject, such as:
- Information technology
- Database administration
- Desktop support
Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) Certificate of Completion
The MCSE certificate program, which prepares students for the actual certification exams, focuses on the networking aspect of an operating system. Prospective systems engineers learn how to build a secure structure of networks to be used in business information systems. They also learn to troubleshoot, design, install and configure networks. The MCSE certificate program is best for students who have hopes of being systems analysts or architects. This program covers:
- Configuring hardware
- Installing drivers
- Maintaining a server and its infrastructure
- Establishing security frameworks
Popular Career Options
Those who earn a Microsoft certification demonstrate a keen grasp of technical content and a willingness to work hard to advance in their profession, both of which are attractive qualities to employers. With a general Microsoft Certified Professional certification, graduates with no previous professional job experience may find employment as helpdesk technicians, computer programmers, database developers or network administrators.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the BLS, the employment for computer support specialists, from 2014-2024, is expected to grow 12%. This is faster than average growth. For computer programmers, the employment is expected to decline 8%, according to the BLS. As of May 2015, computer user support specialists made a median annual wage of $48,620. Computer programmers, as of May 2015, made a median annual wage of $79,530.
Licenses and Certifications
Preparation for the certification exam may take place in a classroom, online or through self-study. In reference to the Microsoft Certified Professional training, all of the focus-area examinations are different. An MCP has the option of being certified in the following areas with an MC prefix:
- Technology Specialist
- Systems Engineer
- Professional Developer
- IT Professional
- Systems Administrator
- Database Administrator
In addition, MCP certifications are available in different series, including master, architect, technology and professional. The exams for all of these series consist of multiple-choice test questions. The Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer certification exam tests a student's ability to solve problems and maintain and manage different Windows platforms and server software, specifically Windows servers.
Workshops and Seminars
Many websites and schools offer computer courses for individuals seeking advanced training. Microsoft offers several training conferences and workshops for all technical levels. The company also collaborates with universities to host seminars for students and faculty.
For individuals seeking other ways to prepare for a certification exam, the Microsoft website (www.microsoft.com) and other websites offer self-paced training packages. These kits typically include guidebooks, practice exams and quizzes. Students may also purchase a computer-training video or visit Microsoft testing blogs and forums to ask questions before taking the certification exam. Many certified technology professionals go on to earn additional certifications to stay current with the industry and for career advancement. There's no limit to the number of Microsoft certifications one may hold.
Computer programmers and user support specialists can add credentials and learn new skills by pursuing an MCP or MCSE certificate of completion.