Some think certifications are just revenue generating schemes created by companies to push more of their product. Others think no certification in the world can replace years of experience “in the trenches” business acumen. While both of these psychologies have merit in some cases, most often than none, companies who institute certifications do so to raise awareness of the level of technical prowess needed to obtain such a certification.

In order to complete a certification program you need to have the skillset in a particular technology which often comes with years of experience. What better way to show that you add value to your company and improve your own worth than by attaining a certification?

Microsoft’s certification program has certainly changed over the years and in my mind for the better. Having gone through the program (MCSD now MCPD) I’ve seen the changes to the curriculum, web site and benefits that such a certification brings.

2011 brought with it a whole host of changes to the program with a sampling being:

  • Microsoft Certified Career Conferences
    • Virtual events that hosted thousands of MCPs from around the world during a 24+ hour marathon of speakers, companies looking to hire MCPs, and networking opportunities. The next conference is coming in March.
  • Member Site Updates
    • Launch of a streamlined and updated user interface that allows MCPs to easily locate and access the various program benefits from the Home Page.
  • Elance.com
    • Launch of an MCP-focused page on the Elance site to help MCPs find project based job opportunities with a focus on Microsoft Bizspark and Partner Network companies.
  • Industry-Wide Transcript
    • As a member of the IT Certification Council (ITCC), Microsoft has joined the ITCC's efforts to aggregate credentials across vendors, thus enabling individuals to have one; industry-wide, consolidated transcript (only participating vendors can currently be added).
  • New Technical Certifications
    • Launch of several new certifications into market.
  • New Security Metrics
    • Put into place to identify and handle any identified fraudulent activity.

These are only a few updates but it’s clear that Microsoft is continuing to make an investment in its certification program. As is always the case with technology, change is the only constant but if 2011 is any indication, 2012 should be another great year to become part of the Microsoft certified family!

For more information visit either of the listed training portals or search the main site for a particular certification/technology.