Microsoft Certified Professionals have mixed view of certification
Here’s a non-IT tidbit that you probably didn’t know: The Carnation food brand originally famed for its evaporated milk from “contented cows,” was founded in 1899 in Washington state, in the same general vicinity where Microsoft now has its world headquarters. In a related vein, the most recent annual survey of Microsoft Certified Professionals revealed that many folks with Microsoft credentials are generally satisfied with their Microsoft certifications, but found some nits to pick regarding the program that produces them. You might say that those chosen (at random) for the survey are not entirely contended certified professionals.
The results of the survey are not public, but Microsoft Learning blogger Liberty Munson divulged some of its findings on Wednesday, and while some of the feedback was apparently quite positive, participants in the survey also aired some beefs. Reflecting a fairly common view of certification in general, many of those surveyed feel that the value of a given certification is driven most by its ability to increase opportunities for employment. Within that realm, on the other hand, MCPs are apparently more likely to value a certification if it provides them with problem-solving skills. As Munson sees it, that puts the onus on Microsoft Learning to gear its exams toward real-world challenges and solutions.
On the positive side, survey respondents report that Microsoft certs do actually impact hiring decisions. Not only that, but the view of Microsoft Certified Professionals is that the perceived impact of a Microsoft cert in making a determination between job candidates has increased substantially in the past year. (Good news for those with Microsoft credentials. They like you! They really, really like you.)
Among the grievances aired, many Microsoft Certified Professionals responded that Microsoft training materials and exam content are not relevant, in large part because they don’t address real-world job skills. That is to say, people feel they aren’t being trained and tested on the important features and applications of Microsoft’s various technologies. Munson’s assessment here is that any worldwide certification program faces this challenge on a continual basis, because products and technologies are used differently by different organizations. She does add, however, that Microsoft Learning is very open to suggestions. So if you’re an MCP whose contentment is suboptimal … well, at least you have options.