From home users to developers and IT architects, it pays to know Microsoft technologies. Microsoft certification training gives students the targeted knowledge they need to gain fluency in Microsoft technology and pass certification exams that can be vital to a future career in the IT industry.
From basic MS Office programs to advanced developer tools, Microsoft certifications help enforce a standard of knowledge across the company's product line. Popular certification programs include:
- MCITP: The Microsoft Certified IT Professional credential prepares students for work in database development and enterprise and server administration.
- MCTS: Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist covers skills in specific technologies, such as SQL Server business intelligence, database creation or server administration.
- MCPD: Microsoft Certified Professional Developer proves a developer's ability to work with Visual Studio, .NET Framework and more.
While the certification exams themselves are offered directly through Microsoft, training programs in related areas help students prepare for the often-costly exams.
Because Microsoft certification programs are possible in such a wide range of fields, workers with different goals can benefit from earning certifications in Microsoft technologies. An individual who wishes to work in office administration can benefit from MS Office Specialist certification, for example, while advanced developers can prove their skills with the MCPD certification.
Earning Microsoft certifications online
Studying online to earn Microsoft certification comes with specific benefits. Most importantly, students get a chance to work hands-on without leaving their homes, allowing for convenience without sacrificing training. Additionally, any student who wishes to go into further online training or eventually work as an IT trainer can take a look behind-the-scenes at distance learning programs.
Because Microsoft certifications are designed to complement IT degrees or to enhance existing careers in information technology, many individuals pursuing these credentials are already working in the IT field. Online Microsoft certification courses help working professionals prepare for certification exams while holding down a job. An added bonus to this type of training is the opportunity to apply new skills in the workplace as soon as they are learned in an online class.
Common careers after certification
Careers for certified Microsoft professionals vary. Due to the popularity of Microsoft products in the U.S., individuals in a range of computing careers can benefit from developing expertise in Microsoft technologies. Take a look at a few popular options, with mean annual wages as reported in 2010 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- Database administrators: $75,730
- Computer systems analysts: $81,250
- Computer support specialists: $49,930
- Network and computer systems administrators: $72,200
Many Microsoft certification programs are meant to be paired with existing training, degrees and work experience. For example, a career as a computer systems analyst generally requires a bachelor's degree, but a Microsoft certification can help prospective workers transition into a new career or advance in their current roles.
Microsoft certifications at a glance
- Popular certifications: MS Office Specialist, MS Office Specialist Expert, Microsoft Technology Associate, Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist
- Common careers for certified workers: database administrators, computer systems analysts, computer support specialists, network and computer systems administrators
- Salary averages for common careers: $49,930 - $81,250, according to 2010 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.