EDU2011_7028_Jennifer_cmykAbout ten years ago, I was awarded my Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) certification, I can honestly say I have never looked back. I really love being an MCT and being part of the MCT community. MCTs are geeks with personality. If you are passionate technology and like sharing your knowledge, consider becoming an MCT! There is something incredibly motivating and empowering about being able to help people master a concept or a technology. At the MCT Summit in October there is a fantastic promotion to help you earn your MCT, details are at the end of this post, but first I’d like to help you understand what it means to be an MCT.

Many consultants have an MCT certification. Training is a different skill, but can make a fun break from 6 month contracts writing code or doing OS upgrades. Some consultants discover they like training so much they do it full time.  The skills you develop earning your MCT certification and through the MCT program will also improve your credibility and your skills as a consultant. If you really love the classroom, you can become a full time contract trainer, or some training centers have full time instructors on staff, so you can have the stability of a full time job with the constant change and fun of teaching different courses to different students. It can be a lot of fun, make no mistake it can also be a lot of work, but it is a lot of fun. Imagine earning a living where your job description is to learn and stay on top of the latest technology and then share it with others!

Teaching a course can seem intimidating at first, you worry that there will be students in the class who know more about some aspects of the product than you do. Guess what, that will happen. But every student is in class to learn what you know and I can assure you that every student in that room can learn something from you! When you walk in front of that class, you are already seen as the expert, share what you know effectively, admit to what you don’t know, when you get questions you cannot answer be honest, research the question and get back to them with an answer. The students will leave happy and talking about what a great instructor you are.

Sometimes you introduce a feature that is completely new to a student, when the student finally “gets it”, when they understand how this feature will help them, how they can apply it at work, seeing the light go on in their eyes is addictive . You can see the excitement as they imagine looking like heroes when they walk back to the office Monday morning and show everyone this feature. You are really helping them with their day to day jobs, with their projects, with their careers!

There are other small aspects I enjoyed about training. Getting evaluations every Friday from my students. When you get a performance evaluation at work it always focuses on what you have to improve. To get any praise you have to go way above and beyond expectations. Students will praise you for simply meeting their expectations. It’s true! If you take a course and you leave feeling like you learned a lot, you will leave happy and you will say so on the resume. There is nothing quite like reading “The instructor is awesome” to start off your weekend right. I’ll let you in on another little secret about training, the students don’t generally want to listen to you lecture at 4:30 on Friday, so you often (not always, but often) get to go home a bit early on Fridays Smile

Of course eventually you will have one of “those” weeks. A week where technical problems are causing you pain, or a particular student is being difficult, or (yes it happens) you discover you should have spent more time preparing for the class and the students know it. Like any other job it has its highs and lows. But at least when you are teaching a course, the lows end when the course ends on Friday Winking smile.

Working as an MCT also can open up other opportunities, I’ve had the opportunity to write courseware, get involved in certification exam development, work at Microsoft conferences, author or review books, meet an incredible network of other MCTs from all other the world who I would happily meet for a drink (and frequently do) when our travels find us in the same town. The MCT community is another great benefit of earning the certification. MCTs tend to be intelligent, outgoing, supportive, and friendly, and in general excellent company.

So that’s my story, there are MCTs all over Canada, in fact we are now making it easier for Canadian MCTs to connect through the MCT Canada Rock Stars on Born To Learn (you do need to be an MCT to access this forum, if you aren’t signed in, clicking the link will take you to the sign in page, click the link again after signing in to visit our forum). Have I sparked your interest? Then read on to find out about a great opportunity to get jump start your MCT certification and at a discount!

The 2011 North America MCT Summit offers a unique opportunity to anyone who’s ever thought about becoming an MCT. A 1.5 day bootcamp style Train the Trainer event will be offered the Tuesday before and the Wednesday during the MCT Summit. This event will satisfy the requirement for proving instructional presentation skills for the MCT credential.

Due to the nature of the event, there will be some prep work that will be required beforehand. The prep work will be sent out to all TTT attendees beforehand. There will also be homework on the Tuesday to ensure success.

You can expect a very busy 1.5 days. During the event, you’ll work on your instructional skills to improve your effectiveness as a trainer. As a trainer you never stop working to improve, and the course will also help you work on a personal action plan for continuing your development.

Hopefully this event will be the starting point of a career as an MCT.

Beside the style of the event, this is unique in the timing and cost as well.

The timing is right before the MCT Summit, and entry to the event includes your fee for the MCT Summit. The MCT Summit is a conference for MCTs by MCTs. It’s an amazing chance to network with colleagues, who often become friends, and improve both technical and presentational skills.

On top of that, the fee for the TTT will also include the fee for the remainder of the MCT enrollment period, which ends in April of 2012 and normally costs $400 USD.

So if you are considering becoming an MCT, this is a great opportunity. I’ll be at the MCT summit, presenting, and talking to MCTs.  If you have any questions about MCT certification, the Summit, or life as an MCT, drop me a line (sibach@microsoft.com).

Hope to see you in San Francisco!

This post is also available at Susanibach’s blog