Choosing A Microsoft Certification

Which Cert is Right For You?

The certification you choose will be very dependant upon your current position or planned career path. Microsoft certifications are designed to take advantage of specific skills and enhance your expertise.

So what is your job title? The information below should help you decide what certification path is right for you.

Software Application Developer

The MCAD (Microsoft Certified Application Developer) and MCPD (Microsoft Certified Professional Developer) certifications are for you.

The MCPD establishes you as an expert developing on a variety of platforms using Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0. The MCAD encompasses the application lifecycle from development to maintenance. If you are interested in analysis and design, go for the MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solution Developer). An MCSD has full knowledge of the application lifecycle from analysis through design, development, testing and maintenance.

Systems Engineer

Depending upon the level of knowlege you need, an MCSE or MCSA are great choices. The MCSE is an industry standard and provides the skills to do everything from analysis of business requirements to design and implementation of infrastructures. The MCSA is one step down and takes out the analysis and design, focusing on managing and troubleshooting system environments.

IT Business Analyst

A Microsoft Office Master combined with a MCP or MCSD would be very useful for most business analysts.

An Office Specialist certification would demonstrate expert knowledge of Microsoft Office products. A MCP would be a great starting point for additional certifications. Be sure to choose an exam that will apply to any future cert tracks you may take. The MCSD would be the ultimate certification because it encompases the entire application lifecycle from analysis through design, development, testing and maintenance.

Systems Analyst

As a Systems Analyst you will perform many rolls and could need a MCAD or MCSD depending upon which stages of the application lifecycle you will need to know. The MCAD (Microsoft Certified Application Developer) encompasses the application lifecycle from development to maintenance. However, for an analyst, the MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solution Developer) may be necessary to encompass the full application lifecycle from analysis through design, development, testing and maintenance.

Software Engineer

As a MCSD you would be the decisive expert on all aspects of the application lifecycle. You would know how to design and develop using Microsoft development tools, technologies, and platforms. As an MCSE you would have the knowledge to do the analysis, design, and implementation of infrastructures. Depending upon the demands of your job or where you want to go with your career, either of these certs is an excellent choice.

Database Analyst/Administrator Web Application Developers Internet Developers

The obvious choice is the MCDBA (Microsoft Certified Database Administrator). It is the most respected certification for those who are responsible for the implementation and administration of Microsoft SQL Server databases.

Technical Consultant

Depending upon your career path and direction there are several certifications that would enhance your skill set. Start with an MCTS which will target a Microsoft technology and continue to the MCITP, which will demonstrate your skills in hanling all aspects of IT infrastructure.

Another route would be to get an MCTS and continue to the MCSD, MCSA, or MCSE. As a MCSD you would be the decisive expert on all aspects of the application lifecycle. You would know how to design and develop using Microsoft development tools, technologies, and platforms. As an MCSE you would have the knowledge to do the analysis, design, and implementation of infrastructures. The MCSA is one step down from the MCSE and takes out the analysis and design, focusing on managing and troubleshooting system environments.

Network Adminstrator

The MSCE is targeted to any Network Administrator who uses Microsoft Windows and backoffice applications. As an MCSE you would have the knowledge to do the analysis, design, and implementation of infrastructures.

A Quick Note on Microsoft Certifications:

Microsoft has restructured their certification program to create customized certification paths that are very targeted. You start with a MCTS (Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist) that consists of one to three exams on specific technologies. You can then continue to the MCITP (Microsoft Certified IT Professional) and then to the MCPD (Microsoft Certified Professional Developer). All of the exams along this certification path allow you to learn and develop skills according to your area of expertise. Be sure to check Microsoft Learning to see a complete list of exams.

Which Cert is Right For You? The certification you choose will be very dependant upon your current position or planned career path. Microsoft certifications are designed to take advantage of specific skills and enhance your expertise.

So what is your job title? The information below should help you decide what certification path is right for you.

Software Application Developer

The MCAD (Microsoft Certified Application Developer) and MCPD (Microsoft Certified Professional Developer) certifications are for you. The MCPD establishes you as an expert developing on a variety of platforms using Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0. The MCAD encompasses the application lifecycle from development to maintenance. If you are interested in analysis and design, go for the MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solution Developer). An MCSD has full knowledge of the application lifecycle from analysis through design, development, testing and maintenance.

Systems Engineer

Depending upon the level of knowlege you need, an MCSE or MCSA are great choices. The MCSE is an industry standard and provides the skills to do everything from analysis of business requirements to design and implementation of infrastructures.

The MCSA is one step down and takes out the analysis and design, focusing on managing and troubleshooting system environments.

IT Business Analyst

A Microsoft Office Master combined with a MCP or MCSD would be very useful for most business analysts. An Office Specialist certification would demonstrate expert knowledge of Microsoft Office products. A MCP would be a great starting point for additional certifications. Be sure to choose an exam that will apply to any future cert tracks you may take. The MCSD would be the ultimate certification because it encompases the entire application lifecycle from analysis through design, development, testing and maintenance.

Systems Analyst

As a Systems Analyst you will perform many rolls and could need a MCAD or MCSD depending upon which stages of the application lifecycle you will need to know. The MCAD (Microsoft Certified Application Developer) encompasses the application lifecycle from development to maintenance. However, for an analyst, the MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solution Developer) may be necessary to encompass the full application lifecycle from analysis through design, development, testing and maintenance.

Software Engineer

As a MCSD you would be the decisive expert on all aspects of the application lifecycle. You would know how to design and develop using Microsoft development tools, technologies, and platforms. As an MCSE you would have the knowledge to do the analysis, design, and implementation of infrastructures. Depending upon the demands of your job or where you want to go with your career, either of these certs is an excellent choice.

Database Analyst/Administrator Web Application Developers Internet Developers

The obvious choice is the MCDBA (Microsoft Certified Database Administrator). It is the most respected certification for those who are responsible for the implementation and administration of Microsoft SQL Server databases.

Technical Consultant

Depending upon your career path and direction there are several certifications that would enhance your skill set. Start with an MCTS which will target a Microsoft technology and continue to the MCITP, which will demonstrate your skills in hanling all aspects of IT infrastructure.

Another route would be to get an MCTS and continue to the MCSD, MCSA, or MCSE. As a MCSD you would be the decisive expert on all aspects of the application lifecycle. You would know how to design and develop using Microsoft development tools, technologies, and platforms. As an MCSE you would have the knowledge to do the analysis, design, and implementation of infrastructures. The MCSA is one step down from the MCSE and takes out the analysis and design, focusing on managing and troubleshooting system environments.

Network Adminstrator

The MSCE is targeted to any Network Administrator who uses Microsoft Windows and backoffice applications. As an MCSE you would have the knowledge to do the analysis, design, and implementation of infrastructures.

A Quick Note on Microsoft Certifications:

Microsoft has restructured their certification program to create customized certification paths that are very targeted. You start with a MCTS (Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist) that consists of one to three exams on specific technologies. You can then continue to the MCITP (Microsoft Certified IT Professional) and then to the MCPD (Microsoft Certified Professional Developer). All of the exams along this certification path allow you to learn and develop skills according to your area of expertise. Be sure to check Microsoft Learning to see a complete list of exams.

Trainer

The Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) is for you. MCTs are highly respected in the industry and are required to hold a MSCE, MSCD, or MCDBA certification in addition to the MCT. MCTs are also required to complete continuing education credits (CEC) and perform at least 10 hours of Microsoft certified training every year. The certification requirements must be renewed yearly. Once you are a MCT, you can continue your certification path to become MCLC certified.

MCLCs are trained to create customized learning paths for customers.

Office Manager, Executive Assistant, Technical Writer

A Microsoft Office Specialist certification is ideal for anyone who uses Microsoft Office products on a daily basis or who is looking to enhance performance in the workplace. There are three levels of Office Specialist certification: Specialist, Expert, and Master. You can begin at the Specialist level and continue to take exams as you become proficient enough to reach the Master level. You may also consider becoming an MCP. This requires only one exam in any area, allowing you to choose the best exam based upon your job requirements.

Available Microsoft Certifications

Trainer

The Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) is for you. MCTs are highly respected in the industry and are required to hold a MSCE, MSCD, or MCDBA certification in addition to the MCT. MCTs are also required to complete continuing education credits (CEC) and perform at least 10 hours of Microsoft certified training every year.

The certification requirements must be renewed yearly. Once you are a MCT, you can continue your certification path to become MCLC certified. MCLCs are trained to create customized learning paths for customers.

Office Manager, Executive Assistant, Technical Writer

A Microsoft Office Specialist certification is ideal for anyone who uses Microsoft Office products on a daily basis or who is looking to enhance performance in the workplace.

There are three levels of Office Specialist certification: Specialist, Expert, and Master. You can begin at the Specialist level and continue to take exams as you become proficient enough to reach the Master level. You may also consider becoming an MCP. This requires only one exam in any area, allowing you to choose the best exam based upon your job requirements.

Are you considering adding some Microsoft certs to your resume? Are you wondering what certification will work best for you? The following information will help you on your path. Good luck!

MCP
Microsoft Certified Professional
Must pass one current Microsoft certification exam that has not been retired.
Cool Fact: 958,242 MCP certs have been awarded worldwide to individuals who hold no other Microsoft certification (as of July '04).


More info from Microsoft . . .

MCDST Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician
Two core exams.
More info from Microsoft . . .

MCSA Microsoft Certified Systems Administration
Three core exams.
One elective exam.
More info from Microsoft . . .

MCSD Microsoft Certified Solution Developer
Three core exams.
One elective exam.
Cool Fact: According to our 2004 Salary Survey results, a MCSD will earn you around $76,800.
More info from Microsoft . . .

MCSE Microsoft Certified System Engineer
Five core exams (four operating system exams & one design exam). Two elective exams.
Need Practice? Try the MCSE 70-290 practice test.
More info from Microsoft . . .

MCAD Microsoft Certified Application Developer
Two core exams.
One elective exam.
More info from Microsoft . . .

MCDBA Microsoft Certified Database Administrator
Three core exams.
One elective exam.
Get five MS certs in five steps: Click Here
More info from Microsoft . . .

MCT Microsoft Certified Trainer
Must be MCSE, MCSD or MCDBA certified. Requires application process and continuing education credits (CECs).
More info from Microsoft . . .

Microsoft Office Specialist Master certification requires three required exams and one elective exam.
Expert certification requires one Expert exam.


Specialist cerficiation requires one Specialist exam.
These exams can build upon each other until the Master level is reached. For example, one Specialist exam satisfies the elective at the Master level, and one Expert exam satisfies one of the required exams at the Master level.
More info from Microsoft . . .

FYI: Microsoft exam vouchers cost around $125 for each test.

Are you considering adding some Microsoft certs to your resume? Are you wondering what certification will work best for you? The following information will help you on your path. Good luck!

MCP
Microsoft Certified Professional
Must pass one current Microsoft certification exam that has not been retired.
Cool Fact: 958,242 MCP certs have been awarded worldwide to individuals who hold no other Microsoft certification (as of July '04).
More info from Microsoft . . .

MCDST Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician
Two core exams.
More info from Microsoft . . .

MCSA Microsoft Certified Systems Administration
Three core exams.
One elective exam.
More info from Microsoft . . .

MCSD Microsoft Certified Solution Developer
Three core exams.
One elective exam.
Cool Fact: According to our 2004 Salary Survey results, a MCSD will earn you around $76,800.


More info from Microsoft . . .

MCSE Microsoft Certified System Engineer
Five core exams (four operating system exams & one design exam). Two elective exams.
Need Practice? Try the MCSE 70-290 practice test.
More info from Microsoft . . .

MCAD Microsoft Certified Application Developer
Two core exams.
One elective exam.
More info from Microsoft . . .

MCDBA Microsoft Certified Database Administrator
Three core exams.
One elective exam.
Get five MS certs in five steps: Click Here
More info from Microsoft . . .

MCT Microsoft Certified Trainer
Must be MCSE, MCSD or MCDBA certified. Requires application process and continuing education credits (CECs).
More info from Microsoft . . .

Microsoft Office Specialist Master certification requires three required exams and one elective exam.
Expert certification requires one Expert exam.


Specialist cerficiation requires one Specialist exam.
These exams can build upon each other until the Master level is reached. For example, one Specialist exam satisfies the elective at the Master level, and one Expert exam satisfies one of the required exams at the Master level.
More info from Microsoft . . .

FYI: Microsoft exam vouchers cost around $125 for each test.