Hidden beneath the salary survey numbers are additional important facts, including the non-monetary perks of certification.

Salary is Just One Perk of Certification

Hidden beneath the salary survey numbers are additional important facts, including the non-monetary perks of certification.

This issue of MCP Magazine is the most eagerly awaited issue of the year, and with good reason. The MCP salary survey provides real, substantive information. But it can obscure as much as it reveals if you don’t review the data carefully. For example, national averages are an interesting curiosity, but unless you plan to work everywhere around the country, they’re irrelevant to how much you can or should expect to earn. Data for your region or, even better, for your metropolitan area, are more important. MCP Magazine provides these geographic breakdowns online so you can see how fellow MCPs are doing in your area.

Geography is only one important criterion for MCPs. Experience, length of time in the industry, company size, and industry are also important breakdowns—and their effect on salaries also varies by geographic region. As you examine these variables and others, be sure that you don’t lose sight of important truths: MCP salaries remain strong, and the demand for qualified professionals continues to climb. Microsoft anticipates that Microsoft Certified Solution Provider companies and enterprise organizations will have 647,000 openings this year.

Beyond salary nuances not captured by the numbers, there’s another part of compensation that the salary survey doesn’t attempt to consider—the non-monetary perks. Working conditions, benefits, promotions, and a range of career enhancements are all parts of total compensation for MCPs, and they don’t all show up on the salary survey.

As these additional aspects suggest, MCP certification is a win-win for individuals and their employers in ways that go far beyond salary. The program is a win for individuals, because it gives them the confidence, credibility, perks, and benefits that come from achieving a demonstrable, in-demand skill set. As Cyndy Fitzgerald pointed out in June’s “@microsoft.com” column, Microsoft is taking steps to retain the certification’s value by using cutting-edge testing techniques to ensure that the program accurately measures real skills and the ability to put those skills to use on the job. Other steps that Microsoft is taking include periodically replacing exam questions over time, a revised exam-retake policy, continuing certification requirements, and increased exam security. Employers know that Microsoft certification is a valuable credential, which is why MCP compensation stays strong, and why MCPs receive increasing control over their jobs and careers.

The program is also a win for employers, because MCPs are more knowledgeable and efficient than their non-certified peers, enabling better solutions and superior management of existing systems. For example, a 1998 MCSE criterion validation study found that MCSEs are more competent than non-certified systems engineers in all relevant job dimensions that were identified by the job analysis. Furthermore, IT managers don’t believe that certified employees are more likely to leave an organization in greater numbers than non-certified employees—in a recent GartnerGroup study, 90 percent of 250 IT managers reported that certified employees either stay with the company longer, or as long, as non-certified employees.

Compensation, credibility, greater productivity, and a highly valued credential—Microsoft certification is a winner for MCPs and employers alike.

About the Author

Donna Senko is the Director of Microsoft’s Certification and Skills Assessment Group.

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