In the next decade, 77% of jobs will require some degree of technology skills-a requisite not only for IT-centric roles, but for jobs in traditionally 'analog' business roles, such as sales, marketing and management. The question is, will today's students bring the communication, collaboration and productivity skills needed to the 21st century workforce?
For thousands of students participating in the 2015 Certiport Microsoft Office Specialist World Championships, the answer is a resounding 'yes.'
Entering its fourteenth year, the global Microsoft Office competition provides a platform for students to test and showcase their skills on Microsoft Office applications. Although only a select few will progress to the World Championships in Dallas Texas this August, the competition rewards every participant: helping students gain the upper hand in today's competitive academic and professional marketplace.
The Global Showcase for Business Productivity
The scope of the MOS Championships is truly impressive, outsizing many other world competitions. In 2014, more than 400,000 unique candidates from 130 countries competed to demonstrate their mastery of Microsoft Office products.
Like an academic World Games, countries host local competitions to select regional representatives based on Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) exam score and completion times. Students who outperform peers-typically with perfect exam scores and speedy exam times-progress to semifinals; where the 'best of the best'-123 students in 2014-participate in the final rounds.
At the end of the journey, from the hundreds of participants, six student competitors claim the top prize in each category: Word 2013, Excel 2013, PowerPoint 2013, Word 2010, Excel 2010, and PowerPoint 2010.
Reflecting the global breadth of the event, the winning participants represent a variety of countries and cultures, such as China, India, Brazil, Nepal, Czech Republic, Taiwan, and United Kingdom.
A recent IDC Research survey revealed that Microsoft Office skills ranked third out of the top 200 skills required for tomorrow's best jobs, just behind essential 'soft' skills-oral and written communication and attention to detail.
By training on Office applications, and validating skills through Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification, students build skills needed for both advanced studies and a multitude of careers-technical and business across industries. Like the MOS World Championship, Microsoft Office skills are global-universally applicable across academic and career pursuits.
The global popularity of MOS training and certification has spiked in recent years, with more academic institutions integrating Microsoft Office into curriculum thanks to low-cost, classroom-ready programs, such as Microsoft IT Academy. Educators who teach Microsoft Office mention the practical benefits of MOS-better organized students producing higher quality work and real-world skills acquisition that is proven to land jobs ( just one recent example ).
Microsoft Office training benefits communities, too, by providing local, workforce-ready job candidates. In fact, a study by ICD show that a MOS certification can earn an entry-level business employee as much as $16,000 more in annual salary than uncertified peers.*
Set your students' sights on MOS and the World Championship!
Any school can participate in the 2015 (or future) Championship. When a student takes a MOS 2013 Word, Excel, or PowerPoint exam or a MOS 2010 Word, Excel, or PowerPoint exam at a Certiport testing center, they will be prompted to participate. If they opt-in to participate and pass the exam, they will be entered into the competition.
If your school is interested in integrating productivity training (in addition to Computer Science and IT Infrastructure curriculum), or is already a Microsoft IT Academy, we recommend the following steps:
- Join the IT Academy program to get the benefits of curriculum that can help prepare you and your students for the Microsoft Office Specialist exams.
- Download the Microsoft Official Academic Course (MOAC) review kits and study guides available for teachers to prepare their lessons, using MOAC as their student curriculum.
- Get your students excited! Share the World Championship video with your students and provide the available IT Academy materials to give them more details they can share with their parents.
- Prepare your students for exams using the curriculum available in IT Academy and consider hosting a MOS Test Fest.
- Encourage your students to complete their exams at a Certiport Authorized Testing Center and recognize them with a wall of fame at your school.
We hope to see you at a future competition!
* Anderson, Cushing, and John F. Gantz. Skills Requirements for Tomorrow's Best Jobs: Helping Educators Provide Students with Skills and Tools They Need. IDC/Microsoft. October 2013.