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Microsoft’s New Certification Poses Challenges

A raft of changes and a new tiered structure are forcing trainers to adjust their programmesTraining providers and businesses are grappling with Microsoft’s “New Generation of Certification”, which will eventually replace the current MCSEs and MCSAs.

Microsoft announced a raft of changes to its certification programme and structure way back in November 2005 but only now is it working its way through the training sector. The so-called “New Generation” features a three-tiered structure of Technology Professional plus Architect-series credentials.

Mike Hadley, general manager of corporate training solutions for Avonmore, says people can’t keep up with the pace of change with Microsoft’s qualifications. Instead, firms would still rely on staffer’s knowledge whether certified or not.

Grant Burley, director for recruiters Absolute IT says that as the Microsoft world becomes more complex, specialisms are necessary. Microsoft certifications give IT professionals “the edge” in gaining work or pay rises, but the new credentials may cause problems for trainers, possibly leading to a lower take-up.

“It’s all about perception. If Microsoft doesn’t educate the IT population, not just the technical people, then they will not be seen as valuable or an asset to employment or career development,” Burley warns.

Others spoken to in the industry were more positive.

Tim Regan, training manager for Auldhouse, says as Microsoft offers a wider and more complex range of products, it is no longer reasonable to expect an IT staffer to know and be able to manage everything.

Auldhouse already offers many courses supporting the new credentials, which he says will emphasise specialist skills.

“The MCSA and MCSE certifications are still as valuable as ever but are perhaps not ideal to showcase the skills of a Sharepoint specialist for example. The MCTS certifications fill the gap,” Regan adds.

ACE training manager Trevor Carman says the changes “align the qualifications better to job descriptions and roles out in the market.”

AMES CEO George Marr also supports the new credentials, which he will soon offer.

“They will allow the students to get the training necessary to do the jobs they feel more comfortable in,” he says.

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Microsoft, Certification, MCSE, MCSA

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