After a successful run last year, Microsoft Learning has decided to commence another round of its Second Shot certification promotion. The program, which launched last week, allows certification candidates who don’t pass their credentialing exams the first time to have another chance at it free of charge.
“We were very surprised with the success of the promotion the first time around, which is why we’re repeating it again this year,” said Noury Bernard-Hassan, marketing director for Microsoft Learning. “The kind of behavior that it drove was very much in line with what we were hoping for, which was namely that people would try to get certified and drive more skills into the marketplace. We felt that now would be a good time to revisit the program and relaunch it to give people another opportunity to get certified.”
The main appeal of the Second Shot promotion is the fact that Microsoft shares the risks involved with attempting a certification with the candidates, Bernard-Hassan said. “Hopefully, more IT professionals will take these exams and if they fail for whatever reason then they know they have that safety net. They can go and retake that exam in a set time period. In turn, that gets them out into the marketplace, where these skilled individuals can start making a difference in the workforce.”
One key distinction between the current version of Second Shot and the one that preceded it is that this round includes exams from Microsoft’s next-generation certifications, the first ones released following the restructuring of its credentialing program. Bernard-Hassan speculated that the new tests wouldn’t necessarily have a higher fail rate, though. “It’s important to consider that along with changing the certifications, we’ve made some improvements to the exam preparation materials,” he said. “We’re making it easier for them to get to a higher level.”
While the launch of Second Shot and the new certification exams coincided nicely, the main reason behind the promotion is to expand the pool of knowledgeable, competent IT professionals not market the new credentials. “What we’re doing today with the Second Shot is in a sense the latest iteration of how we’re trying to innovate in the marketplace,” Bernard-Hassan explained. “Clearly, having the new generation of certifications out there really helps give this more relevance in the minds of people who are perhaps sitting on the fence. It would certainly help drive awareness and uptake of the new exams, but in general, this is mainly about accelerating skills development.”
For more information, see http://www.microsoft.com/learning.