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New Microsoft qualifications replacing the MCPs can be easily understood by HR professionals

The Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) programme has long been the key certification programme in the IT sector. Firebrand Training, the accelerated learning specialists welcome the new qualifications introduced by Microsoft to replace it and offer guidance on the new “techno speak-free” training courses.

The IT world is known for its love of the TLA – three letter acronym – but to outsiders it can make an already confusing sector more difficult to understand. Combine this with geeky technology and techno speak and it’s easy to get lost in the jargon, especially with more acronyms like MCSE, MCP, MCSP and MCSA.

Firebrand Training (www.firebrandtraining.co.uk), specialists in advanced learning courses have long heard the pleas from HR Professionals to guide them towards the right courses and now, help is at hand. Microsoft has revamped its MCP certification programme to make it far more transparent and easier to understand for anyone looking to hire or train staff in the Microsoft world of technology.

What’s the story for the IT world?

Microsoft recently launched the next generation of certifications for IT professionals looking to prove their experience in the technology world, replacing the MCP. They are designed to provide a much simpler framework to validate technical, professional and architectural skills based around Microsoft solutions. The Microsoft qualifications that IT professionals have been focussing on in recent years are the MCSE, MCSP and MCSA courses, all of which are being re-vamped.

Replacing the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) programme, which had a one size fits all feel when it came to technology specialisms, these new qualifications are designed to be reflect the holder’s specific knowledge and range of expertise. They can cover anything from server and enterprise administration to .NET and Vista.

What type of certifications are on offer?

There are three core areas within the new generation of certifications. These can be summarised as:

Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) – the most basic level qualification which is designed to demonstrate expertise in core areas of Microsoft technology and products.

Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) and Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD) – the next step up, these qualifications are more closely linked to specific job roles and cover operational processes, operational procedures, and analysis of business problems.

Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) – the very highest level of certification covering technical breadth, technical depth, communication, strategy, organisational politics, process and leadership.

Each certification is related to a different type of Microsoft solution so that it is clear where a holder’s expertise lies, whether it’s Visa, network infrastructure or system administration for example.

There are currently 19 Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist certifications with more expected to come on line later this year.

All qualifications can be arranged through www.firebrandtraining.co.uk – along with other IT accreditations.

What does it mean to HR professionals?

MCP was generally considered far too generic to show off a person’s specific skills. Anyone holding a MCP qualification could be considered an IT professional rather than an expert in a specified Microsoft technology solution.

The new MCTS programme will enable HR professionals to have a much better idea of the areas of expertise that staff and potential employees possess.

From a hiring point of view, it should make it much easier for HR professionals to identify skills gaps in their business and undertake targeted recruitment drives for potential employees to plug the gaps. Those with the relevant expertise and skills set will be much more easily identifiable from their industry certifications, improving the efficiency of the HR process.

For employees looking to gain relevant official qualifications in their chosen areas, it makes the argument for requesting training stronger. The new certifications can be closely linked to the day-to-day technologies that employees are using so there is clear criteria in terms of which course is most appropriate for them.

So, these new Microsoft certifications should reduce some of the mystery around the world of IT for HR professionals looking to make the right hiring and training decisions to help their business.

By making qualifications more transparent and specific to technology areas, HR teams should have a much easier time wading through the hundreds of CVs and the numerous training courses and qualifications to ensure they make the right hiring decisions and improve the existing skills sets within their businesses.



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