Whether seeking a promotion, career change or salary boost, certification is a great way of making it happen. Employers and recruiters have long considered certification as a crucial part of the hiring process. After all, what better way to validate your skills and expertise, than to attain an industry-recognised certification awarded by an independent body?
Benefits backed by numbers
This is not just idle speculation, CompTIA, the IT Industries non-profit trade association published their Employer perceptions of IT training and certification report, which highlights some compelling figures:
- An overwhelming eighty six per cent of recruiters singled out IT certifications as medium to high priority when evaluating candidates.
- IT Professionals gained an average nine per cent salary increase immediately after receiving a certification, and twenty nine per cent in the long term, versus uncertified colleagues.
So if you’re thinking about certifying your route to career progression in 2014, and you work with Microsoft Technology, have a look at some of the following options available to you. We’ll start at entry level and move through to advanced.
Beginning your career with Microsoft technology
Cloud is not the only area of demand, European Commission research predicts a shortfall of 700,000 IT roles by 2015, IT skills are in short supply. If you’re looking to begin a career working with Microsoft Technology today by attaining the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA).
There are three tracks available to you:
- Database – this is the first step for those looking to build a career in data platform administration or business intelligence working with Microsoft SQL Server.
- IT Infrastructure – if you’ve ever dreamed of working with computers and servers, prepare for your first role working with Windows Server and Desktop operating systems.
- Developer – want to build websites, applications or games using Microsoft technology like Windows Azure ore Visual Studio. The developer track will prepare you for what lies ahead.
If paying for training to attain the MTA isn’t an option, you could always look at taking a Firebrand IT Apprenticeship. If you’re between the ages of 16-24, you can apply for the programme to secure employment and get paid while you attain the MTA certifications.
The MTA provides a much-needed entry level introduction to Microsoft technology, setting you up for the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) track. You can read more in this MTA case study.
A stepping stone
If you have experience working with Microsoft technology as a computer support specialist, system administrator or database developer/analyst, the MCSA certification reinforces your experience and proves you have the core technical skills required to build a long-term career in IT.
MCSA tracks focus on the core Microsoft technologies; Windows Server 2008 & 2012, SQL Server 2008 & 2012 and Windows 7 & 8, and provide great stepping stone to the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) certification. Those considering the certifications should be aware that the Microsoft Official Courseware (MOC) will be changing over the course of 2014 with updates to Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 8.1 and SQL Server 2014.
Playing catch up with Cloud
The implementation of Cloud technology is spreading like wildfire; demand for qualified IT professionals has now outpaced human resource, opening up a skills gap. A joint report between the IDC and Microsoft, predicts that by 2015, there will be 1.4 million additional Cloud related roles.
You can prepare yourself for the current demand by attaining the MCSE: Private Cloud Certification. By proving you can build and maintain a private cloud utilising Windows Server 2012 & System Center 2012, you will be eligible for a variety of roles including that of a Server Administrator, Systems Programmer or Network Manager.
Be prepared with the Microsoft Virtual Academy
Whether you’re starting out on the MTA, focussing on the MCSE or simply looking to brush up on the latest technology, the Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) is a fantastic resource. Gain free access to thousands of hours of exclusive learning material on all the key technologies, straight from the experts.
Better still, the beginning of March sees the launch of the MVA ‘Hero’ campaign, where you can earn a range of fantastic prizes whilst preparing yourself for Microsoft certifications to boost your career.
So what are you waiting for?
Start working towards that certification in 2014 and take your career to the next level. For those looking to fast track their route, Firebrand Training offer the full range of Microsoft certification’s in an accelerated format.
Become an MTA in 4-6 days, or take the combined MCSA & MCSE and be certified in SQL Server 2012 or Windows Server 2012 in just 15 days.
As part of Firebrand's global marketing team, Edward Jones actively works to serve the IT community with news, reviews and technical how to guides. Working in the Industry for almost 3 years, Edward has a wide variety of experience with Microsoft Technologies including SharePoint and Windows Server and Exchange Server. Edward is an active member of the IT community contributing to a variety of tech publications including Entrepreneur, Channel Pro and PC Advisor among others.
A very thorough and informative article from Ed. If you’re just starting out and fancy dipping your toes in the water… The TechNet team are running upcoming IT Career Evenings in London. The perfect opportunity to network and get a better understanding.