"The Certification 17"

<I>MCP Magazine</I>'s survey finds that salaries play a smaller role than expected in attracting and retaining skilled IT professionals.

Irvine, CA—March 15, 1999—As Microsoft nears the half-million mark in its count of Microsoft Certified Professional certifications issued, more companies are learning how to attract and retain skilled, qualified IT professionals. The answer isn’t always big salaries, according to a recent survey completed by Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine.

The magazine asked readers and visitors to its Web site to nominate companies in its quest to locate the best companies for MCPs to work for. After sifting through hundreds of responses and performing extensive follow-up, the editors chose 17 companies that understand how to treat and retain high-tech professionals. The magazine reported its results, “The Certification 17,” in the April 1999 issue.

For instance, First Tennessee National Corp., the parent company of First Tennessee Bank, picks up the tab for off-site training, travel expenses, self-study materials, and certification exam fees. BlueRidge Solutions, a tiny Phoenix-based company that does Internet/intranet/extranet consulting, offers its employees a study budget for each certification exam, to spend as he or she chooses.
Although approaches differ among companies, all have proven they value technical staff members through a number of ways:

  • They encourage training and education by paying for classroom fees and study materials.
  • They offer bonuses and raises based on achieving certification.
  • They consider certification in determining project assignments.
  • They provide public recognition for certification achievements through broadcast email messages, announcements in company meetings, and coverage in company newsletters.

Concludes Editor-in-Chief Linda Briggs, “In our interviews, public recognition of achievements, hot project assignments, and encouragement from management got plenty of mention. Those kinds of perks cost companies little or nothing. Is management listening?”

This year’s Certification 17 encompasses the following companies:

  • Becton Dickinson and Company, Franklin Lakes, New Jersey
  • BlueRidge Solutions, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Corporate Software & Technology, Norwood, Massachusetts
  • Creative Business Technologies, Buffalo Grove, Illinois
  • DRT Systems, Toronto, Ontario
  • ENTEX Information Services, Rye Brook, New York
  • First Tennessee National Corp., Memphis, Tennessee
  • Intel Corp., IT Business Technology Unit, Northwest division
  • Levi, Ray & Shoup, Inc., Springfield, Illinois
  • NCR Corp., Dayton, Ohio
  • New Horizons Computer Learning Centers, Boston, Burlington, Westborough, Massachusetts franchise
  • Quantum Consulting Group, Inc. (recently renamed New Channel Technologies), Cleveland, Ohio
  • SARCOM, Columbus, Ohio
  • Shell Services International, Houston, Texas
  • Sprint Paranet, Houston, Texas
  • Star One Federal Credit Union, Sunnyvale, California
  • Systems Evolution, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio

To read the full report, go to the current issue online at


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