Vendor certifications play an important part in the IT world, and Microsoft sets the industry standard. Training to gain proficiency in Microsoft products and technology allows professionals to get up to speed on the essential tools that hiring managers value today. Whether students come to technical training programs after completing a degree program or on their own, Microsoft technical courses offer a valuable service--so valuable, in fact, that the software giant claims its certification reduces downtime by 20 percent and makes teams 28 percent more productive.
Who is best suited for Microsoft technical training?
Students come to technical training programs from a range of backgrounds. Many are adding on to existing training and degree experience, while others pair training with work experience. Some students come back to training to bring their knowledge up to date or explore new career paths. Students are often self-motivated and interested in advancing their current careers or taking their job futures in a new direction.
Which professions require Microsoft training?
Microsoft reports that 75 percent of managers in an IDC survey believe certifications are important to team performance. Because of this, workers trained in Microsoft products and technologies are found across a range of businesses. Take a look at the mean annual wages from 2009 for a few popular careers in the field, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- Network and computer systems administrators: $70,930
- Computer systems analysts: $80,430
- Computer support specialists: $47,360
- Computer programmers: $74,690
While no training or certification can guarantee a particular career or salary, hiring managers are often looking for educational experience and proof of high-level skills, and Microsoft training works to provide just that.
Popular technical certification exams
While it's not usually required to log training hours, a little formal training can mean the difference between passing and failing a costly certification exam. Consider the following certification exams offered through Microsoft:
- Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS): Basic certification for individuals looking for proof of in-depth mastery in a particular technology, such as .NET Framework, BizTalk Server, and Small Business Server 2008. ($125)
- Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA): Intermediate certification for those looking for proof of knowledge within network and systems environments. ($500)
- Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE): Advanced certification for individuals hoping to design and implement server infrastructure. Candidates must pass seven exams on networking systems, operating systems and core design. ($875)
Other certification exams include Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP), Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD) and Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA). The Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) is the highest level of certification, and requires 10 years of experience, 5 years of architectural experience and a $5,125 fee.
Some topics covered by Microsoft technical training
- .NET: This framework allows developers to apply their work across many devices, including phone, browser, server, client and cloud
- Microsoft SQL Server: A powerful database management system. Editions include Enterprise, Web, Workgroup and Fast Track
- Microsoft Dynamics: Offering enterprise resource management and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions
- Microsoft Visual Basic .NET (VB.NET): An evolution of the standard Visual Basic programming language, including object-oriented programming
- Microsoft Exchange Server: Business email and contacts across devices, including phone, browser and PC
- Microsoft Windows: Family of operating systems, including Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP
- Microsoft Windows Server: Manage IT needs, security, applications platforms and more
- Microsoft BizTalk Server: Integrate systems between businesses and communicate flawlessly with a range of devices
- Microsoft Visual Studio: Integrated development environment that ensures quality code through the application's lifecycle
- ASP.NET: Web application framework designed to help programmers build dynamic websites
With a host of certifications available for a host of products, Microsoft technical training can boost an existing or be the first step in a new career in IT.