Since writing the following short on a particular Windows 7 certification practice test that was made freely available, I’ve received a number of emails from people inquiring about Microsoft certifications in general; everything from if they’re a valid means of getting you out of where you are job-wise and into something much more enjoyable to Microsoft training classes, where people can take the tests, exam costs, et al. As for their validity, Microsoft certifications can absolutely be the way to go if you’re looking to get into a new career.
There are quite a number of choices you can make where Microsoft certifications are concerned: MCAS, MCITP, MCPD, MCSA, MCSE, MCTS, etc. So, where do you start to learn about all of them? Naturally, Microsoft’s Web site is a great point of reference. Check out the Microsoft Certification Overview page to get a feel for how extensive these programs actually are. If you want to take it a step further, you can have a look at Wikipedia’s Microsoft certification page to see how the certifications have changed through the years. Only then will you get a good feel for their legitimacy (part of why they are very credible ways to make a grand entrance into a new field of technical expertise).
Once you make the decision to really dig in, the next step is to start studying interactively or locally at a school or training facility like ACE, CPCC, or wherever is local/convenient for you. The cost of training is ultimately up to how you choose to learn, but where the exams themselves are concerned, each one costs about $125 to take. One look at Indeed shows that a job requiring MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) credentials has the potential to pay and pay big — just another justification for putting in the effort to attain certified status (the other justification being job satisfaction)!
So, if you’ve been considering certification, start by asking yourself what your goal is. What do you want to achieve? When you get a rough idea, begin browsing job sites like Indeed, Career Builder, Monster, et al and see what kind of qualifications/certifications are expected of you. Sites like Indeed will also provide a salary range on the left-hand side of the site, so you can get a good idea of if compensation will be sufficient for the time you put in to begin your new career.
All the best to you should you decide to make the move and step towards a new career as an MCP!