Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Understanding Microsoft Certifications

In today’s world you need to continuously upgrade your skills and be able to provide proof of your expertise and skills. This is very clear in Namibia and can be seen by the number of tertiary training schools teaching business and technical skills.

Once you have undergone the training, it is important to ensure that you are certified as well. In technology this means getting international certification, probably through Prometrix or similar examination board. These certifications provide the recognition you need to excel in your career and provides employers with validation of your skills.

If you would like to understand the language IT people use to define their qualifications, read on about the Microsoft certifications below.

Microsoft Certified Application Specialist (MCAS)
The Microsoft Certified Application Specialist (MCAS) credential validates skills in using the 2007 Microsoft Office system and the Windows Vista operating system, meeting the demand for the most up-to-date skills on the latest Microsoft technologies. Candidates who successfully complete the program by passing a certification exam show that they can meet globally recognized performance standards.

To earn the Microsoft Office 2007 Master certification, you must pass the following MCAS exams:
• MCAS: Microsoft Office Word 2007
• MCAS: Microsoft Office Excel 2007
• MCAS: Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007
• MCAS: Microsoft Office Outlook 2007

Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS)
The Technology series is designed for IT professionals and developers who want to demonstrate their skills and in-depth knowledge on a specific Microsoft technology. The Technology Series Certifications typically consist of one, two, or three exams, and are focused on a key Microsoft software or technology. They do not include job role skills, and are retired when mainstream product support for the related technology expires.

Microsoft Certified IT Professional and Certified Professional Developer (MCITP and MCPD)
The Professional series is designed for the experienced IT professional and validates a comprehensive set of technology skills necessary to be successful in a particular job role. It’s for the individual who wants to validate his or her skills beyond technology prowess, and includes design, planning, deployment, and operations management. By validating a more comprehensive set of skills, these credentials give candidates and their hiring managers a reliable indicator of on-the-job performance.

The two Professional series credentials—Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) and Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD)—typically consist of one, two, or three exams and require one or more prerequisites from the Technology series as well as periodic re-certification.

Microsoft Certified Master Series
Master Series Certifications identify individuals with the deepest technical skills on a particular Microsoft technology. The program recognizes experienced IT professionals who can successfully design and implement solutions that meet the most complex business requirements. The strength of the program is advanced, experience-based training and testing on Microsoft technologies that goes beyond any product training offered outside of Microsoft today. The Master Series Certifications have prerequisite exams from the Technology Series and Professional Series and require the candidate to attend and complete all training. A final qualification lab exam focuses on a single technology platform.

Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA)
The Microsoft Certified Architect program makes it easy for companies to identify experienced IT architects who have completed a rigorous peer review process and exhibit exemplary business IT skills and a proven ability to deliver business solutions. The MCA program identifies prestigious professionals that have a minimum of ten years of advanced IT industry experience and three or more years of experience as a practicing architect. They possess strong technical and managerial skills, and form an elite community. Unlike other industry certifications, this credential was built, and is granted by the architect community. The Architect Series Certifications have a rigorous and competitive entry process, require the candidate to work closely with a mentor who is a Microsoft Certified Architect, and culminate in an oral review in front of certified architects. Microsoft Certified Architects are required to periodically refresh their certification.

Certifications for Microsoft Dynamics
Microsoft Dynamics is a line of integrated, adaptable business management solutions that automate and streamline financial, customer relationship, and supply chain processes in a way that helps drive business success. The Microsoft Dynamics Certification program identifies individuals who can help deliver comprehensive business management solutions. There are two Microsoft Dynamics Certification titles—Microsoft Certified Business Management Specialist and Microsoft Certified Business Management Professional.

Microsoft Dynamics Certifications typically have single exams for each Microsoft Dynamics or related business technology, along with other exams for other Microsoft technologies, such as SQL Server. The pre-determined set of required and elective exams for this set of certifications focuses on three specific knowledge areas for one Microsoft Dynamic product: applications, developer, and installation and configuration.