Becoming a MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) is your first step toward more advanced training
Over the course of the last decade or so Microsoft has arguably become the world’s foremost tech company. They’ve expanded well beyond operating systems and have moved into virtually all areas of computing, software/hardware production & design, as well as networking, cloud computing and much more… Simply put, Microsoft is a technological behemoth the likes of which the world has never seen before. Given this information, the emergence of Microsoft-centric training and certification programs are perfectly understandable, wouldn’t you agree?
The Microsoft Certified Professional (or MCP) qualification isn’t simply one program however; it is a buffet of various certification courses and exams that one can take. What’s more, there are specific certifications for different areas, each possessing subcategories of additional cert offerings:
MCSE – Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer
MCSA – Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator
MCAD – Microsoft Certified Application Developer
MCSD – Microsoft Certified Solution Developer
MCDBA – Microsoft Certified Database Administrator
MCDST – Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician
MOS – Microsoft Office Specialist
MCAS – Microsoft Certified Application Specialist
MCT – Microsoft Certified Trainer
Naturally, more certification programs are being added all the time (in order to keep up with growth and various changes in the industry), however these are the well-established exams.
Anyone who passes one or more exams in the various categories (or subcategories) will not only have that particular merit to their name, but they’ll also be working toward achieving even greater distinctions, like:
MCM – Microsoft Certified Master
MCITP – Microsoft Certified IT Professional
MCA – Microsoft Certified Architect
MCPD – Microsoft Certified Professional Developer
MCTS – Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist
As you might expect, individuals with the aforementioned certifications are generally in high demand by potential employers. Moreover, the sort of companies that are interested in people with MCM, MCITP, MCA, MCPD, or MCTS qualifications are generally involved in more advanced work (and their respective proposed salaries should reflect this as well).
Those who are seeking any type of MCP cert tend to be interested in both ‘climbing the corporate ladder’ as well as long-term job security. In other words, a Microsoft Certified Professional is the type of person who is interested in progressing their career and abilities through a program that contains several unique pathways toward mastery. For instance, the MCITP, MCPD, and MCTS pathways all require different prerequisites. MCITP is the most lax, only requiring one upgrade from either MCDST or MCDBA. Next there is MCPD, which requires either one or two exams be completed prior to taking on the cert; various combinations of MCAD/MCSD to MCPD. Lastly there is MCTS, which offers 5 unique upgrade pathways for prospective professionals to choose from; in any case either a MCITP or MCPD is required.
Still not convinced or interested? Well, according to information gathered via mcpmag.com, a typical Microsoft Certified Professional starts at a base salary of around $80,000 (USD), and will receive up to around $3,000 in bonus funds per year. This comes on top of raises ($2k annually) and other perks, of course. There is perhaps one caveat however; most MCP’s tend to have at least a decade’s worth of experience to their credit. In other words, if you’re just embarking on an IT career working toward an MCP is definitely a solid long-term goal. Likewise, if you’re already well-established, it’s probably time to consider reaching out to become an MCP (for various reasons). Those who have been dedicated to their job(s) for years will find that an MCP will open new doors for them as well as help to secure their position and garner the rewards they so richly deserve.