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Microsoft said today it has reinvented its certification program to directly address technology’s evolution to the cloud.
Because organizations are increasingly turning to the cloud to improve productivity, cut costs and fuel business growth. By 2015 IT innovation produced by the cloud could create US$1.1 trillion a year in new business revenues according to a recent IDC study (1). As a result, top of mind for companies today is making sure they have the right skills and people in place to help them fully realize the benefits the cloud has to offer.
Don Field, senior director of product management for Microsoft said that the changes to the certification program “will help technology professionals gain the skills they need to plan, design, implement and operate cloud and hybrid solutions today and into the future. Field added that the changes will also assist in the hiring process to find those “who have the skills they expect in their IT environments moving forward.”
These new certifications aim to reflect the changing role of IT professionals and developers in the cloud. Peter de Tender, managing partner of the IT companyICTinus, has firsthand experience with the skills shift the cloud requires. De Tender is also a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) and member of Microsoft's MCT Advisory Council. “Most of our time was previously spent on deploying the base infrastructure, where now this entire infrastructure is already available in the cloud,” De Tender said in a Microsoft-issued Media statement.
The new certifications are also designed to align to real-world solutions rather than specific products and validate a broader and deeper set of knowledge and skills. Because many organizations will continue to have a mix of both cloud and on-premise technologies, the new solutions-based approach helps ensure technologists can work with a range of products and services and manage a mixed environment in a way that is seamless for users within and outside their organization.
The certification framework has also been streamlined to three skill levels to make it easier to navigate:
For hiring managers and employers, recertification provides assurance that certified individuals have current competencies even amid a rapidly changing technology environment of service packs, revisions and new product version releases. More or less, it means the certification will hold its value over time, which is also crucial to the person who earned it.
The value of Microsoft certifications is something Microsoft takes very seriously. Referring to the last annual Microsoft Certification Program Study, Field of IDC says 91 percent of hiring managers consider Microsoft Certification a criterion for hiring. “The bar is higher,” adds Field. “For an individual to successfully earn these new certifications, they’ll have to demonstrate real-world, hands-on experience — not because we want exams to be harder in their own right, but because that’s the skill level that’s needed in the marketplace to be consistent with the requirements the cloud is placing on IT professionals and developers.”
To learn how to attain Microsoft certifications, log on the Microsoft Learning site.
(1) “Cloud Computing’s Role in Job Creation,” IDC, March 2012