A Guide to Microsoft Certification
for IT Hiring Managers and Recruiters
HIRE + DEVELOP + RETAIN
HIRING GUIDEBOOK A GUIDE TO MICROSOFT CERTIFICATION
Microsoft Certification improves organizational Certification
performance and fills the gap in IT education
The role of IT within organizations has expanded, “It is a validation of the skill set,
According to a recent report from the National Workforce Center for Emerging Technologies,
with IT professionals and developers involved today’s IT professionals are highly specialized and often geographically diverse, with larger
not only for the employee’s self-
confidence, but for management’s
in virtually every aspect of the enterprise. organizations gravitating to more specialization in both technical and management skills.1
Microsoft Learning Solutions, and specifically Microsoft Certifications, are important
confidence in that employee. And
that’s key. If you have somebody
When reviewing resumes, hiring managers and qualification indicators for IT hiring managers and recruiters, providing a skills profile to
quickly identify, hire, and develop proficient and competitive IT teams.
that you brought into your team
from within the organization and
HR professionals focus on three qualifiers: a Microsoft Certifications are a useful and reliable way to help validate professional and
turn them loose on SMS to manage
an 8,500-machine environment,
candidate’s education, professional experience, practical knowledge. Certified employees are typically better prepared, more knowledgeable, management would really like to
know that they have the skills it
productive, and capable of contributing to the bottom line. By defining what it means to be
and whether or not they are certified. proficient in a specific job or task, IT hiring managers can identify the certifications necessary
to validate these skills across current employees, or use them as qualifiers to augment their Brent Black
existing team. IT Manager, Seattle
Microsoft Certification can be used as a critical
® When developing the current certification program for IT and developer professionals,
Microsoft identified the most desired skills to address real-world challenges. The process
indicator for validating IT skills, and plays an began by conducting Job-Task-Analysis (JTA) research to define, at a detailed level for a range
of job types, the tasks people perform daily, and what skills are most important in their
important role in continued IT skills development professional life. Using that data, a Unified Skills Domain (USD) was developed to define those
responsibilities at a very granular level in order to create an efficient, job role-focused curriculum.
The Microsoft Certification framework:
robust, relevant, and cost-effective
Today, the Microsoft Certification program is designed to provide a robust, focused
framework for managers to validate core technical and professional skills, while offering
skills development for teams to drive better productivity and lower cost. Certifications also
provide a more relevant, flexible and cost-effective way to test and validate those skills. The
new certification framework reflects the changing IT career landscape by offering a series of
four credentials—three technical series, and an architect level—that supports the needs of IT
professionals wherever they are in their careers:
• Technology Series: Specialist Certifications train IT professionals to build, implement,
troubleshoot, and debug a specific Microsoft technology.
• Professional Series: Professional credentials validate the skill set required for a particular job.
• Master Series: Master Certifications identify individuals with the deepest technical skills
available on a particular Microsoft technology.
• Architect Series: The Certified Architect program makes it easy for companies to identify
experienced IT architects who have completed a rigorous peer review process.
75% of managers believe that
55% of hiring managers consider
certifications are important employee certification as
to team performance.7 criterion for hiring.8
HIRING GUIDEBOOK A GUIDE TO MICROSOFT CERTIFICATION
Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) Certification curriculum Microsoft Certified IT Professional and Certified Professional Microsoft Second Shot
offers real-world experience. plus Career Assist
The Technology series is designed for IT professionals and developers who want to
“The certification process is also Take advantage of the Career Assist
demonstrate their skills and in-depth knowledge on a specific Microsoft technology. The The Professional series is designed for the experienced IT professional and validates a
a great educational experience, Package: Register for Second Shot
Technology Series Certifications typically consist of one, two, or three exams, and are focused because you’re given a curriculum comprehensive set of technology skills necessary to be successful in a particular job role. It’s and get limited time access to a
on a key Microsoft software or technology. They do not include job role skills, and are retired of things you need to know, and for the individual who wants to validate his or her skills beyond technology prowess, and Microsoft E-Learning collection.
when mainstream product support for the related technology expires. procedures that you need to be includes design, planning, deployment, and operations management. By validating a more
aware of and familiar with. It gives In the real world, you might
comprehensive set of skills, these credentials give candidates and their hiring managers a
The following MCTS Certifications are currently available. Technology series Certifications are you the opportunity to test what need more than one chance at
reliable indicator of on-the-job performance.
developed and become available as new technologies are introduced. you do know, learn new things, and certification. With Second Shot,
really develop your skills.” if you do not pass a Microsoft
The two Professional series credentials—Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) and
Certification exam on your first try,
Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD)—typically consist of one, two, or three
Keith Terry you can retake the exam for free.
exams and require one or more prerequisites from the Technology series as well as periodic
Current MCTS Certifications include: IT Professional, Seattle
re-certification. Plus, along with the benefits
of Second Shot, Career Assist
.NET Framework 2.0 Windows Mobile® 5.0 gives you access to a collection
of Microsoft E-Learning courses
• Web Applications • Applications Microsoft Certified Master Series to help you master a Microsoft
• Windows Applications • Implementing and Managing technology and prepare for
• Distributed Applications Master Series Certifications identify individuals with the deepest technical skills on a particular certification.
Business Desktop Deployment Microsoft technology. The program recognizes experienced IT professionals who can success-
.NET Framework 3.5 To learn more visit:
fully design and implement solutions that meet the most complex business requirements. The
SQL Server 2005
• ADO.NET Applications strength of the program is advanced, experience-based training and testing on Microsoft
• ASP.NET Applications technologies that goes beyond any product training offered outside of Microsoft today.
SQL Server 2005 Business Intelligence
• Windows Communication Foundation
The Master Series Certifications have prerequisite exams from the Technology Series and
SQL Server 2008 Professional Series and require the candidate to attend and complete all training. A final
• Windows Forms Applications qualification lab exam focuses on a single technology platform.
• Windows Presentation Foundation • Business Intelligence Development and
• Windows Workflow Foundation • Database Development
Applications • Implementation and Maintenance Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA)
Windows Server® 2003 Hosted BizTalk® Server 2006 The Microsoft Certified Architect program makes it easy for companies to identify
Environments—Configuration and experienced IT architects who have completed a rigorous peer review process and exhibit
Managing Projects with exemplary business IT skills and a proven ability to deliver business solutions. The MCA
Microsoft Office Project 2007 program identifies prestigious professionals that have a minimum of ten years of advanced
IT industry experience and three or more years of experience as a practicing architect. They
Windows Server 2008
Microsoft Exchange Server 2007— possess strong technical and managerial skills, and form an elite community. Unlike other
• Active Directory® Configuration industry certifications, this credential was built, and is granted by the architect community.
• Network Infrastructure Configuration
• Applications Infrastructure Configuration The Architect Series Certifications have a rigorous and competitive entry process, require the
Windows Embedded CE 6.0
candidate to work closely with a mentor who is a Microsoft Certified Architect, and culminate
Enterprise Project Management with in an oral review in front of certified architects. Microsoft Certified Architects are required to
Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 periodically refresh their certification.
Microsoft Office Project Server 2007
• Application Development
Microsoft Office Live Communications • Configuration
Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server 2007
• Application Development
63% of managers feel certified
1 For each and every team
individuals are more member certified, team
productive on the job.5 performance increases.7
HIRING GUIDEBOOK A GUIDE TO MICROSOFT CERTIFICATION
Below is a complete description of Microsoft Certification titles: Certifications for Microsoft Dynamics Certification helps
Microsoft Dynamics is a line of integrated, adaptable business management solutions that
“It’s just like having an advanced
Certification Title Certification Description automate and streamline financial, customer relationship, and supply chain processes in a way
degree. I’d take the employee who
that helps drive business success. The Microsoft Dynamics Certification program identifies passed the certification because
MCTS Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) Certifications enable professionals to target specific technologies and to distinguish individuals who can help deliver comprehensive business management solutions. There they’ve been using this product on
themselves by demonstrating in-depth knowledge and expertise in Microsoft specialized technologies.
are two Microsoft Dynamics Certification titles—Microsoft Certified Business Management a daily basis and they have gotten
MCITP Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) Certifications demonstrate comprehensive skills in planning, deploying, supporting, Specialist and Microsoft Certified Business Management Professional. certified so they know the nuances
maintaining, and optimizing IT infrastructures. of the particular technology that
Microsoft Dynamics Certifications typically have single exams for each Microsoft Dynamics or they’re using.”
MCPD Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD) Certifications demonstrate comprehensive skills designing, developing, and deploying related business technology, along with other exams for other Microsoft technologies, such as
applications for a particular job role. SQL Server. The pre-determined set of required and elective exams for this set of certifications Lance Candia
focuses on three specific knowledge areas for one Microsoft Dynamic product: applications, IT Professional and Partner, Chicago
Microsoft Certified The Microsoft Certified Architect program targets Solutions Architects and Infrastructure Architects who successfully apply frameworks
Architect Program and methodologies to create an architecture through the entire IT lifecycle. developer, and installation and configuration. See the appendix for more details about
Microsoft Dynamics specializations.
MCDST A Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician (MCDST) demonstrates technical and customer service skills in troubleshooting
hardware and software operation issues in Microsoft Windows environments.
MCLC The Microsoft Certified Learning Consultant (MCLC) credential recognizes Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs) whose job roles have
grown to include frequent consultative engagements with customers. These MCTs are experts in designing and delivering customized
Certification develops and validates IT talent
IT managers face daunting challenges. The cost of downtime is high, and the search for
MCSA A Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) administers network and system environments based on the Windows operating qualified IT professionals is increasingly difficult. According to a Gartner study,2 40 percent of
systems. Specializations include the MCSA: Messaging and the MCSA: Security. operational downtime is due to operator error—attributable to a significant lack of training
on core systems. At the same time, the availability of trained, qualified IT job candidates
MCSE A Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) designs and implements an infrastructure solution that is based on the Windows
operating system and Windows Server System software. Specializations include the MCSE: Messaging and the MCSE: Security.
is dropping. The number of undergraduate computer science majors fell by 40 percent
between 2000 and 2004, and there has been a 70 percent decline in interest in pursuing the
MCDBA A Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA) designs, implements, and administers Microsoft SQL Server databases. major.3 Moreover, an IDC study places the gap between the demand for, and the supply of IT
professionals, at 40 percent4 in the next five to ten years.
MCT A Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) is a qualified instructor who is certified by Microsoft to deliver Microsoft training courses to IT
professionals and developers.
Training and certification can be used to address the lack of qualified employees in order to
MCAD A Microsoft Certified Application Developer (MCAD) uses Microsoft technologies to develop and maintain department-level applications,
help an organization’s IT stay competitive. A recent IDC study notes that a certified workforce
components, Web or desktop clients, or back-end data services. helps maximize the value of IT investments, and teams with a higher percentage of certified
members outperform teams with fewer certified members.5 The need for skilled workers,
MCSD A Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD) designs and develops leading-edge business solutions with Microsoft development has driven a 24 percent increase in the growth of the certification industry (Microsoft has
tools, technologies, platforms, and the Windows operating system.
experienced even greater growth), reflecting the growing and importance of certification in
Microsoft Certified A Microsoft Certified Business Management Solutions Specialist demonstrates proficiency with Microsoft Dynamics and related business the learning process. For IT professionals, Microsoft training and certification ranks second as
Business Management technologies. a satisfaction driver (after E-Learning).6
Renewing or upgrading employee credentials can add value to IT teams by building both new
Microsoft Certified A Microsoft Certified Business Management Solutions Professional demonstrates professional proficiency with Microsoft Dynamics in one and advanced skills. Certification helps ensure employees are prepared to take advantage
Business Management of three knowledge areas: applications, developer, or installation and configuration.
of the latest technologies, driving better productivity, and lower costs. Plus, by seeking
job candidates with current credentials, HR managers and recruiters can efficiently assess
MOS A Microsoft Office Specialist (Office Specialist) is globally recognized for demonstrating advanced skills in using Microsoft desktop individuals on the basis of valid skill sets.
MCAS A Microsoft Certified Application Specialist (MCAS) has advanced business skills with the 2007 Microsoft Office system and Windows
MCAP A Microsoft Certified Application Professional (MCAP) demonstrates advanced cross-industry and cross-job role capabilities in using the
2007 Microsoft Office system and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server sites.
of hiring managers consider
of managers believe that
certifications improve the
employee certification as level of service offered to
criterion for promotion.8 IT end users and customers.7
HIRING GUIDEBOOK A GUIDE TO MICROSOFT CERTIFICATION
Certification helps build an organization’s
Certification validates Certification provides real-life advantages Gurango Software gives
knowledge. highest priority to
IT agility and strategic advantage Microsoft Certifications deliver significant advantages to IT organizations, including increased certification.
“It’s a validation of yourself. You’re
productivity, greater efficiencies and reduced costs. The following are just a few real-life
An additional survey7 conducted by IDC and sponsored by Microsoft, studied the organiza- not saying ‘I know this stuff.’ You’re “The ‘badge of honor’ I received
actually saying ‘Microsoft says
examples of the positive impact certification has on companies. upon earning certification was
tional performance of 1,200 IT teams, examining the relationship of team performance to
I know this stuff. I learned the an incredibly effective way to
the percentage of the team certified by Microsoft on a variety of technologies. The study Improved customer confidence and satisfaction
product well enough to pass the market myself. I could now clearly
concluded that certification correlated positively to organizational performance improvements.
exam.’” The Gurango Software Corporation strives to differentiate itself from its competitors, and demonstrate that I was proficient in
The IDC study concludes: “It is clear that every increase in team skill improves organizational
maintain a highly motivated and educated software development team. The company that particular technology.”
performance. So, this research demonstrates that for each new team member certified, team Jeff Shelby
gives the highest priority to Microsoft Certification as a means for determining internal
performance increases.” IT Manager, Seattle Joey Gurango
promotion—90 percent of employees hold at least one certification.
Chief Technology Officer
By positioning its certified workforce as a competitive advantage, Gurango Software has
Why get certified? successfully closed an impressive number of deals. In addition, the company credits its
investment in Microsoft Certification in helping employees deliver shorter development cycles
To better understand the current IT market and how certification can best serve it, Microsoft and faster implementation. A certified workforce has also helped Gurango establish a track Certification speeds
commissioned research about the perceived value of certification.9 The study initially surveyed record for fewer errors in the development and delivery phases of projects, which has boosted troubleshooting.
Certified individuals have
nearly 1,500 certified and non-certified IT professionals globally. Through the course of the client satisfaction and referrals.
access to valuable resources. “Certified employees have the
research, three common themes present the driving factors for why IT professionals pursue
Paying a premium for Microsoft certified professionals ability to pinpoint the cause of
certification and why it’s relevant for IT organizations: “I like the exclusive resources for
errors faster than others as we
certified professionals. You’ve Sarbjit Singh Gill is a Unified Communications and Collaborations Specialist and regional apply best practices learnt. For
Relevance: Certification reflects and validates real-world skills and job-related experiences proven that you understand the Microsoft Consultant at British Telecommunications (BT) in Singapore with 19 years of IT example, by using a check-list to
used every day, aiding in practical technology problem-solving and improving the concept, so Microsoft can give you experience. Sarbjit describes how bids for new projects often require Microsoft certified troubleshoot problems, we are able
professional performance. more resources that you’re qualified
members on the team. When Sarbjit ran his own consultancy for seven years prior to joining to solve most cases quickly,”
to use. If you weren’t certified, you
• Certification programs are continually updated and measured for relevance in the BT, his team won 50 percent of their new projects thanks to Microsoft Certifications that
might not be able to properly use Sarbjit Singh Gill
marketplace, so they remain effective tools for job satisfaction and career growth. them.”
earned clients trust.
Unified Communications and
• Microsoft guarantees exam security and is aggressively pursuing and winning the piracy battle. “I had customers who felt comfortable knowing there was an MCSE on the team. In some Collaborations Specialist
• New performance-based testing technology guarantees real-world experience in a more IT Manager, Seattle cases—where the customer was also certified—they felt good to have a peer with the vendor
secure environment. and thus were willing to pay a premium,” said Sarbjit.
• As evidence of the relevance of certification, Microsoft requires its own staff to be certified. IronOne wins new projects based on certification
Development: Microsoft Certification is designed to add value across all stages of an Joy Rathnayake, a Senior Software Engineer from Sri Lanka, works for IronOne Technologies,
individual’s career path, so it is valuable for job seekers, as well as new and advanced skill a software design and development company that specializes in outsourced IT services. Joy
building, and upward career growth for employees. helped increase IronOne’s business by 80 percent by winning new projects on the basis of
certification. IronOne Technologies is a preferred partner for projects involving Microsoft
• 55% of hiring managers consider employee certification as a criterion for hiring.
Global Services and Asia Consulting Services thanks to their various areas of expertise with
• 46% of hiring managers consider employee certification as a criterion for promotion. certified employees. Joy stresses that having certified staff gives the company hard evidence
of skill sets, which leads to project wins and increased business.
IT Agility: Microsoft Certification can be used as an important employee development tool
to help increase IT agility and strategic advantage. Certifications help demonstrate that your continued on next page
staff has the skills and is empowered to work with your existing systems in order to get the
most out of your software investments.
• Certifications are a valid and reliable way to assess professional and practical knowledge.
• Certifications differentiate individuals with a credential apart from those who have not earned one.
• Certified employees are typically better prepared, more knowledgeable, productive, and
capable of contributing to the bottom line.
40% of workers report that
43% of office workers report
helped them find a job salary increases as a result
or led to a promotion.8 of Microsoft certification.8
HIRING GUIDEBOOK A GUIDE TO MICROSOFT CERTIFICATION
Complete tasks faster while doing more with less Certification used as a Appendix
people management tool.
Edwin Sarmiento, a Senior Systems Engineer for Fujitsu Asia Pte Ltd based in Singapore, holds
10 Microsoft Certifications. Specializing in Enterprise Hosting Services, Edwin’s team provides Certifications for Microsoft Dynamics
“We hire more and give more
organizations with secure network infrastructure. The certified professionals on his team promotions to the people that are The pre-determined set of required and elective exams for this set of certifications focuses on
created a script that alerts users to expiring passwords and completes tasks efficiently. certified and give them larger raises, three specific knowledge areas for one Microsoft Dynamic product: applications, developer,
too. But remember, those are also and installation and configuration.
“We created a script which alerts mobile users who seldom connect to the domain to expiring the people that are demonstrating
passwords and sends them a reminder to change them. Also, auditing was previously hard dedication, professionalism, drive
to do manually so we created a script to help us in terms of hardware and software. Now, we and desire to succeed. They’re the
Microsoft Certified Business Management Solutions Specialist:
complete the same task within hours instead of a couple of days. This gives us more impetus right people, the people you want
to obtain certification and increases our confidence in fulfilling projects,” said Edwin. to take care of.” For IT professionals who want to demonstrate their proficiency in one module of a Microsoft
Dynamics or related business technology. Specializations include:
“Having certified staff within the team enables members to talk about their competencies and Keith Terry
IT Manager Microsoft Dynamics:
share knowledge which helps in solving problems in their day-to-day job. It also helps them
correlate the exam questions with real-life situations and how to address those challenges.” • CRM • SL
• AX • Retail Management System
• GP • Point of Sale
Keeping up with the changing IT landscape
Certification is a proven way to keep up with the changing IT landscape, improve Microsoft Certified Business Management Solutions Professional:
troubleshooting, and to demonstrate skill, knowledge, and motivation levels that differentiate
For IT professionals who want to demonstrate their professional proficiency in Microsoft
IT professionals from their peers. It delivers benefits both to organizations and individuals and
Dynamics. Specializations include:
is a documented way to increase overall performance and improve service and support levels.
Certification provides a framework that helps individuals advance their skills across all Microsoft Dynamics CRM: Microsoft Dynamics NAV:
stages of their careers, not just in the lead-up to getting their first job in IT. It also provides
• Applications • Applications
a significant and industry-accepted measure of an IT professional’s skills—a benchmark that
• Developer • Developer
helps IT hiring managers and HR managers find the most qualified candidates for positions.
• Installation and Configuration • Installation and Configuration
Microsoft Certification recognizes and validates real-world IT skills, supports the certified Microsoft Dynamics AX: Microsoft Dynamics SL:
community by providing access to unique resources, and offers a life-long career path for IT • Applications • Applications
skills development. • Developer • Installation and Configuration
• Installation and Configuration
For more information on Microsoft Certifications, visit www.microsoft.com/learning.
Microsoft Dynamics GP:
• Installation and Configuration
“Building a Foundation for Tomorrow, Skill Standards for Information Technology,” National Workforce Center for Emerging Technologies, 2003.
Gartner Security Conference presentation: Operation Zero Downtime, D. Scott, May 2002
The Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California
“Certification at the Entry Level” by Matt Walker, Certification Magazine, July 2008
IDC Market Analysis for Worldwide and U.S. IT Certification Training and Testing 2008.2012 Forecast
Metrics That Matter
IDC Whitepaper sponsored by Microsoft, Value of Certification: Team Certification and Organizational Performance, Doc #204360, Nov 2006
Microsoft Learning (2007). Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) customer satisfaction study (2007 ed.). Redmond, WA: Various.
Intrepid Consultants, “Microsoft Learning, Value Of Certification: Market Intelligence Meta-Analysis,” 2008