The Value of Microsoft Certification
(+ The Real Reason Developers Should Get Certified)

Microsoft Certification Overview

Over the last 20 years, 4.5 million IT professionals, developers and office professionals have earned a Microsoft certification, including over 24,000 Microsoft employees.

Microsoft has invested heavily in certification and training because it is known, from third party and Microsoft's own research, that the certification process drives satisfaction for individuals as well as business owners.  In fact, Microsoft is so committed to certification, that each new training course is designed as a preparation tool for a specific exam and certification.

Microsoft Certification Benefits the Employer

Microsoft certification reflects and validates real-world skills and experiences while improving the performance of IT professionals, developers and information workers.  It adds value across all stages of an individual's career path, so it is valuable for job seekers, new and advanced skill building and upward career growth.

Proof Point No 45

Certified individuals are more valuable team members, they can troubleshoot better, are more effective and more productive.  In the IDC white paper, overall, individuals with certification were more valuable to organisations.

Microsoft certification is continually updated and measured for relevance in the market place, so it remains an effective tool for job satisfaction and career growth.  There is a myth that IT professionals who earn certification leave the organisation quickly thereafter for better jobs.  In fact, certification leads to higher job satisfaction and better employee retention, especially in the current economic climate.

Certification training provides skills that professionals can immediately apply in a work situation.  It also improves staff stability, which is a good criterion for companies to evaluate the return on investment of their training spend.

Microsoft Certification Benefits the Employee

As individuals advance in their careers, certification develops into a tool that adds value across all stages of an individual's career path.  Certification is the key driver for staying current on the latest technologies and being eligible for pay rises and promotions.

A Microsoft study found that nothing replaces experience to prospective employers - and the best validation is Microsoft certification.  Certified professionals stand to gain more pay as well as being viewed as more productive and valuable.

One of the key benefits of Microsoft certification for individuals is access to a professional community of peers.  This community enables the IT professional to take advantage of networking and professional growth opportunities enjoyed by being a member of a community spawned by Microsoft.


The Increased Demand for IT Certification

The IT Industry Challenge

Globally, IT is facing some challenges.  The aging workforce is a key trend worrying employers worldwide.  As experience leaves a company, retaining or replacing knowledge will be critical.  The effect of the lack of skilled IT professionals is already being felt.  According to a Gartner study, 40% of operational downtime is due to operator error - attributable to a significant lack of training on core systems.

A recent study commissioned by the Computing Technology Industry Association that surveyed more than 3,500 IT Managers in 14 countries, found that there are gaps in several critical technical areas.  There is a wide gap between the IT security skills that organisations want and the corresponding skills that workers bring to the job.

The Increased Demand for IT Certification

Today, the demand for IT certification has increased dramatically, with Microsoft alone experiencing a 24% growth over the last year.  There are several studies that suggest there will be a significant gap in the next five to ten years between the demand for and supply of IT developers and professionals with the right technical skills.  According to Certification Magazine, and IDC study places that gap at 40%.

IDC forecasts increased global spending on the IT education and training market through 2012 and increasing demand for IT skills that will drive the need for more certification.

Proof Point No 85

There is a growing body of research that confirms the positive impact certification has on IT organisations.  A study by IDC looked at 1,200 IT teams, examining the relationship of team performance to the percentage of the team certified by Microsoft on a variety of technologies.  The study concluded that certification correlated positively to organisational performance improvements.



Microsoft Certification Program Overview


Q - What is the recertification requirement?

. In order to ensure that our certifications are meaningful and valuable indicators of candidates’ skills, Microsoft has implemented a recertification requirement for the MCSE and MCSD certifications. MCSE candidates will be required to recertify every three years, while MCSD candidates will recertify every two years. Initially, recertification requires passing one or two exams.


Why You Should Use F1 for Microsoft Certification

IT professionals and their managers perceive certification to be confirmation of successful training.  They also value the access to authentic training materials that certification through a Microsoft Certified Partner for Learning Solutions (CPLS) provides.  In a customer branding survey of 550 IT professionals in 10 countries, when asked if it were important that a training company be a CPLS, 76% of the respondents said it was important.

F1 Computing, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, has been a training company for over 20 years and uses this expertise to ensure that its training clients have both the theoretical knowledge supplied by Microsoft Official Curriculum and the practical knowledge that its certified trainers can give.

F1 Computing Systems Ltd participated in a review and audit by the Microsoft Quality Assessment Program in 2013 and was found to have met the requirements for courseware utilization, trainer certification, hardware, facilities, and customer satisfaction.

When purchasing Microsoft certification packages, we agree that you should 'shop around' to get the best deal.  But, don't just look at the published price... you should compare the package as well.  At F1, we believe that it's hard enough to get a large training spend authorised in the first place, without having to go back to the beginning for additional costs such as exams, so we include everything you need to obtain your certification in our stated price.  All of our certification paths include the following:

  • Microsoft Official Curriculum manual for each course.
  • Microsoft Exams stated in the route.
  • Award-winning Transcender (Self Test Software) exam preparation software for all of the exams on the route, where available.
  • Ongoing Support from a Microsoft Certified Trainer.
  • 18 months in which to complete your certification, so no 'boot camp' style training.
  • A discount of up to 50% of the retail cost.
  • Other benefits such as eLearning may be included, depending on the certification and route.

Does your training provider include ALL of that in their certification route price?  We will even tailor the route to suit your experience and knowledge, giving you a price for your specific requirements. 

Call us on 0800 169 1890 or email for more details.


The Real Reason Developers Should Get Certified

Below is a very good and clear explanation of why developers should get certified even if they are not so interested in career development. When it comes down to it, staying current with your certification means that you are familiar with all of the new features and tools of the current release of the Framework

"In my role as a MCT Regional Lead, I get asked a lot of questions. One of the rapidly recurring questions is "I'm a developer. Why should I get certified?" Most people expect me to respond with something about job security or income increases. However, this is not the typical answer I offer. The real reason you should get certified is to learn your framework.

The .NET framework has been in a state of rapid (r)evolution in recent years. More companies, including Microsoft, are moving to a rapid release schedule. As developers, we have a tendency to start a project with a given framework and a given set of tools. We use these frameworks and tools for months, even years, as the technological world marches forward.

I started a project in the later parts of .NET 2.0. By the time the project ended, .NET 4.0 had been released. After 2 years on a project, I might as well have changed my name to Rip Van Winkle.

When a developer stays on top of his or her certifications, he or she keeps a mental inventory of tools that have become available. As developers, we are often not able to keep on top of every advancement in our field.

However, the certification tests do two things. First, it proves to your employer or contracting official at you have knowledge of the current trends. I may not have written a Windows Store App that needed Semantic Zoom, but I now have proof that I am familiar with it.

Second, and more importantly, it gives you the tools to quickly merge into new areas. I have often joked that 2% of my brain lives in my head. That 2% is the index terms into the other 98% of my brain, which lives on the web.

For example, I was recently working on a side project that required me to access a third-party RESTful service. All of my professional work has used WCF. Since I have stayed current on my certifications, I had an academic knowledge of what I needed to do. Using this knowledge, I was able to effectively find the information I needed to consume this service in a matter of minutes.

There are very few ways to quickly prove to yourself that you really have touched the breadth of knowledge in a specific area.

Certification are a way to not only guide you through the roots of emerging technologies, they offer you a way to measure your understanding of these new technologies.

As a professional that lives or dies by my ability to stay current, I find great value in spending a little time, money and effort keeping my certifications current. While it does benefit my professional endeavours, the satisfaction I get knowing I'm prepared for any challenge that may come with my next project is priceless."

Chris Gardner (Regional Lead)


Further Reading on Certification