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Are Microsoft's New Certifications Worth the Effort?

I'm sure you've seen endless analysis and opinion about Microsoft's re-re-revamped certification program, so I'll avoid adding any more to the pile. However, I do want to ask some questions -- because ultimately the value of these certifications comes from decision makers in organizations. If the boss cares, then the employees care, HR cares, and so forth.

First, one minor bit of opinion: "MCSE for Private Cloud" does, I have to admit, make me puke in my mouth. Just a tiny bit. I'm so sick of the "C" word, and this certification -- simply some Windows Server 2008 exams added to a couple of System Center 2012 exams  -- seems to be no "cloudier" than a nice day in Phoenix. But whatever. The marketing people probably could help themselves.

Microsoft's new certification program stacks into three tiers: The Associate level, the Expert level, and the Master level. These each break into two categories: "Certifications" and "Cloud-Built Certifications" (deep breath, hold, out the nose).

So... do you care?

In the beginning, these certification programs -- and I'm talking Windows NT 3-era here -- were largely a play by Microsoft to say, "Look, there are tons of people who can support our products, so why doesn't your business just send us a check for some software, hmmm?" Microsoft's certifications, like most IT certifications, have never been an attempt to protect businesses, to protect the public, and so on -- not in the way other professional certifications, like those in the medical or legal industries, are intended to do (whether they do it or not is, I'm sure, debatable).

So does the large body of Microsoft-certified human beings make you sleep more easily at night?

Do you find that a Microsoft certification acts as anything more than a bare-minimum filter for HR to hone in on when sorting through incoming resumes?

Knowing all about the "paper MCSE" syndrome, the scores of brain-dump Web sites, the certification cheats and all of that, would you still rather hire a certified individual over a non-certified one?

Would you discard, out of hand, the resume of someone claiming eight years of IT experience who doesn't have a certification over someone with less experience who does have a Microsoft title?

If you were to offer some advice to an IT person who doesn't have a certification but who's worked in a lower-tier IT position for a year or so, would you advise them to the exams needed to earn the new MCSE, MCSA or whatever? Or not? Why?

In short, how does Microsoft's certification program affect your business? I'm genuinely curious, and I'd love your comments. Drop 'em in the box below.

Posted by Don Jones on 06/05/2012 at 1:14 PM


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