Microsoft certifications are popular with IT professionals all over the world. They are highly in demand, in-depth and up to date programs of study.

The courses are an ideal way for anyone to increase their knowledge and skills across a range of Microsoft products. You will learn relevant new skills, ranging from basic applications right through to managing complex IT systems. All of these competencies can be applied in all modern workplace settings.

They are suitable for people who lack previous IT training, experience or skills, as well as for experienced IT professionals looking to learn about the latest Microsoft methodologies. Upon graduation you will not only gain a high level of accreditation, but will also learn how to utilise the latest software applications to their full potential.

To help you learn more about this subject, we have put together this page, hoping that it will give you a basic insight into Microsoft accreditation, and also act as a guide as to what to look for in a course. With a huge number of training providers out there offering courses in Microsoft products, there is sure to be something that meets your training needs and learning objectives.

Microsoft training course overview

You will be taught in a highly professional academic setting, and through classroom based learning centres which are dotted all over the country at locations and prices to suit all students and budgets. Courses will be delivered by certified instructors who are also known as Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs).

Courses are delivered through;

Classroom based teaching
These tend to be held in a general classroom environment, workshops or specialist IT training rooms that have banks of computers, Internet access and individual workstations for students.

Web based learning has revolutionised the way teaching is done. Certain Microsoft courses can be taught over the internet. You can still interact live with tutors, see demonstrations as they happen, and best of all learn at a time and place of your choice. On these programs you can watch lessons repeatedly, view course material as many times as you want, and research subject through online libraries. The technology is very user friendly, and there is no need to waste time travelling to classes.

On site
Some training providers are even willing to teach certain IT topics, on site, at your place of work.

Different types of Microsoft certification
Below is a list of Microsoft certifications, any of which can be gained by passing one or more exams. Each one of them is specialised and focuses on a particular Microsoft product.

Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP)
This is a umbrella term used to describe a IT professional who is qualified in the Microsoft networking and programming fields. It is a terms used to describe anyone who has completed a professional Microsoft certification course. A MCP award is gained by taking just one exam, and it is one of the most basic MS qualifications available. It can help job seekers get entry level IT jobs where they may be required to work on Windows Networks. Its also a gateway to other more advanced certifications.

Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS)
Previously known as Microsoft Office User Specialist (MOUS), as the name suggests it is aimed at students who want to become experts in Microsoft Office.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)
This mainly focuses on the ability of a person to design and build technology solutions, and manage network environments based on the Windows Server. It was a prerequisite for the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE), however it is currently being replaced with the MCTS.

Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician (MCDST)
Focuses on troubleshooting Microsoft operating systems. To gain this you need to pass 2 exams.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)
You must re-certify after every three years.

Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP)
This award has replaced the old MCSE. It covers a variety of MS technologies. The number of exams you need to take to gain this award can vary.

Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD)
This award is focused mainly on Visual Studio and ASP.NET.
They are gradually being replaced by MCSD’s (Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer).

This award is to be replaced with the Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP).

Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA)
This is the highest level of Microsoft certification available.

Microsoft Certified Master (MCM)
To pass this you need to attend a 3 week training program.

Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS)
This requires between 1 and 4 exams to pass

Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA)
Aimed at database administrators.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Master  (MCSM)
Requires certification every three years.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD)
This award is primarily for developers, and requires recertification every two years.

Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS)
Focuses on specific Microsoft products and technologies. You need to pass either 1 or 2 exams to gain this award. They are gradually being replaced by MCSA’s (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate).

Other Microsoft training courses available
Microsoft Accelerated Certifications
Microsoft Dynamics
Microsoft Exchange Server
Microsoft Forefront
Microsoft High Performance Computing (HPC)
Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS)
Microsoft Lync Server
Microsoft MTA
Microsoft Office
Microsoft ‘Private Cloud’
Microsoft ProClarity
Microsoft Project 2007
Microsoft Scripting
Microsoft Seminars and Briefings
Microsoft SharePoint
Microsoft Silverlight
Microsoft SQL Server
Microsoft System Center
Microsoft Systems Management Server
Microsoft Visual Studio
Microsoft Visual Studio Team System
Microsoft Windows Azure Platform
Microsoft Windows Desktop Operating Systems
Microsoft Windows Server

How long do Microsoft certification exams last?
They typically last between 2-3 hours.

Certification revamping
It should be noted that Microsoft periodically revamps its certifications, for instance the old MCSE is being replaced by the new Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP). However people will still be able to use any ‘retired’ certifications that they have gained.

Who are these training courses suitable for
They are ideal for anyone wanting to take their first steps into the world of Microsoft, as well as experienced professionals who want to further their expertise.

Why study Microsoft

  • It runs some of the most popular desktop and software programs  in the world.
  • Microsoft products are user friendly, robust and full of very useful features.
  • Becoming Microsoft accredited can help you stay competitive in the jobs market.
  • You can distinguish yourself to employers by demonstrating an in-depth knowledge and expertise in what are a broad range of specialised technologies.
  • For future employers it is a reliable indicator of future on-the-job performance.
  • Being Microsoft accredited will almost certainly get you invited to more job interviews.

Reasons to enrol on a Microsoft training course

  • Learn about functions and features that you never knew existed.
  • Vastly increase you career prospects by giving you a edge over non certified job applicants.
  • Learn how to implement Microsoft technologies in a cost-effective and efficient way.
  • Improve your work performance.
  • Improve the performance of your office as a whole.
  • Make every day office tasks easier.
  • Obtain recognition as a Microsoft professional.
  • Jump start you career in the Information Technology sector.
  • Gain a training certificate that is globally recognised.

Questions to ask any IT training provider

  • Are the tutors Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs).
  • Is all of the training material i.e. books and software provided for, or do you have to purchase them separate.
  • Will you train on laptops or desktops.
  • Does the price include the final exam and course completion certificates.
  • Is any free support provided once you have successfully completed the course?
  • The total cost of the course.
  • When do you have to pay the fee, up front or half no and half later?
  • When will you get your certificate.
  • How long has your company been running IT courses?
  • What type of certificate will you get at the end, can you see an example of it, and is it accredited by any trade or recognized industry body?
  • Where exactly will the course be held? (this question does not apply to online or distance learning courses).
  • Will you have to take an examination to pass the course, if so how many exams will you have to sit.
  • If you fail a test, then can you keep retaking it until you pass, if so is there an extra charge for every time you take a test?
  • What is the average pass rate of students?
  • Do have any testimonials from any previous students?
  • Are there any grants available for this course, or discounts for students etc?
  • How many people will there be in a class?
  • What resources do you provide students?
  • How do I register for a course?

What to look for in a course

  • High quality curriculum.
  • That its taught by subject experts (preferably Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs), people who know what they are talking about.
  • That you are able to quickly get answers to any of your questions.
  • Are flexible enough to suit different learning styles.
  • You get a wide range of support from tutors.
  • Make sure the courses reflect the latest developments in the IT industry.

Choosing a IT training course
Always search for an accredited training provider who offers courses that best match your learning needs, budget and timescales.

About Microsoft
Microsoft is a multinational software corporation, and is one of the world’s largest and most famous technology and software companies. It licenses, develops, manufactures and supports a wide range of computing software products. It is headquartered in Redmond, Washington USA.


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