Why a lot of companies still need IT pros with an MCTS certification

Microsoft has apparently eliminated the MCTS certification program, and hasn’t made any moves or announcements in the way of declaring a replacement for it

Well, the official word is in now, the MCTS (or Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist) program has been phased out. Don’t believe it?  Just ride on over to their cert page, scroll down to the bottom and see for yourself.

In their own words:

“Note* MCTS certifications are no longer in development. However, your MCTS certification will remain valuable as long as companies are using the technology on which it certifies.”

In other words, those who actually have an active MCTS specialization might very well find themselves in greater demand from companies who still utilize the corresponding MS products and technologies. While it would be easy to say that there aren’t very many businesses that are still using older software / hardware, the truth is that not everyone is riding on the cutting edge.

According to commonly known and understood statistics, around 40% of the world’s 1.5 billion PCs are still running Win XP. Basically, a significant chunk of individuals and businesses have yet to even upgrade to Windows 7. This brings an interesting question to light; if Microsoft is looking to eliminate older certification programs, are they anticipating a dramatic shift toward newer OS’s / software like Windows 8 and Server 2012? It certainly seems that this is the case; however, research organizations like Gartner are not as positive:

“80% of Businesses Will Never Adopt Windows 8”- Gartner

To get right to the point, it seems that a great portion of businesses are apt to keep on using older software while others are moving toward newer technologies, like the cloud. The question is, where does this leave all those businesses who are still plugging away with out-of-date software? In some ways this points toward an inevitable and dramatic shift in terms of software and cloud service purchases, but it’s difficult to tell at what point such a shift might occur. In general, organizations and individuals who are not eager to upgrade are usually forced to as their software loses support from its manufacturer. Furthermore, the exact same thing can be said about every other software / app development company; for example, if the newer releases of basic and critical apps stop offering support for older OS’s, the only option is to upgrade.

Once again however, one must ask the question, what are companies who are dependent on older software setups supposed to do in the meantime? Arguably, the statistics above point toward a need for MCTS specialists who understand and can service older Operating Systems and Software. While Microsoft has phased-out the MCTS program and have rearranged their training tiers to get rid of entry-level programs, they seem to be positioning MSCE and MSCA to replace it.

For those that have previously received an MCTS certification, perhaps the best thing to do is refresh your knowledge base with some learning materials. Not only will this reorient you with some concepts you might have forgotten about, it will also help you to re-familiarize yourself with the ins-and-outs of older software. Given that both the MCTS certification exams as well as the software(s) it supports are on the way out, there’s absolutely no reason why someone who is completely unfamiliar with the cert program couldn’t use these study materials to enhance their understanding of older systems. In other words, once the certification “goes off the market” all bets are off and companies might feel that it is prudent to hire those that can demonstrate their knowledge of specific systems and setups.

In the near future we may very well see a dramatic increase in businesses moving toward cloud computing, but it’s unclear when the big shift might take place. In the mean time, there are plenty of organizations out there who are probably very eager to find employees who can deal with their current infrastructure and its related software versions. Some of Microsoft’s newer products like Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, which are largely set up to take advantage of cloud computing, have created a bit of a “vacuum” when it comes to support and training for their older products. If you are a clever, intrepid IT professional, you might very well want to take advantage of this lopsided situation while there’s still time.

Click here for an MCTS study guide “100 success secrets

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