Microsoft Certification Training: Process, Types and Benefits

By Indeed Editorial Team

August 23, 2021

Microsoft Certification Training provides resources to help you prepare for and excel in jobs that require these software skills. With proof of Microsoft training on your resume, you will be ready to succeed in a variety of professional fields. In this article, we will discuss what Microsoft Certification Training includes and how you can benefit from earning this credential.

What is Microsoft certification training?

The Microsoft certification program prepares employees and prospective employees for success in using Microsoft products, such as Office, and related software skills, such as coding and database administration. While a bachelor’s degree in computer science indicates that you have a foundational understanding of the IT field, Microsoft’s program can help you display your specialized knowledge in specific areas of the field.

Since the Microsoft certification program offers multiple tiers of training, you can consider this training whether you are an entry-level applicant aiming to make a good impression on your resume, or you have been in the tech field for 10 years and are looking for growth opportunities. 

Microsoft certification process

The Microsoft certification process can accommodate any skill level. To meet you at your individual level, there are three different stages of certifications for you to pursue: 

  • Fundamental: This is the beginner level for Microsoft’s certification program. Start here if you are shifting into a new career space or just entering the tech field.

  • Associate: Start here if you have two years of experience in the tech field. Microsoft suggests having Fundamental certifications before acquiring Associate certifications, but those initial certifications are not required.

  • Expert: Begin at the Expert level if you have between two and five years of technical experience. You may need to complete Associate-level exams to qualify for Expert-level certifications.

At the beginning of the certification process, you will take a qualifying exam that, once you pass, makes you a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP). After you attain MCP status, you will be able to access more advanced exams and program benefits. From there, you can choose a specialization path. 

Types of Microsoft certification

 Microsoft offers a large range of products and systems, so it also provides a wide variety of certification trainings and exams. Different types of certifications will earn you one of five credentials:

  • Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)

  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)

  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)

  • Microsoft Solutions Developer (MCSD)

  • Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS)

  • Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT)

You might decide to complete each exam to become an expert in multiple areas or specialize in only one. There are many possible paths and specializations for Microsoft training. Whatever your need, Microsoft has certifications in the following categories:

Microsoft Cloud

On the cloud certification track, you can eventually earn both the MTA and MCSA credentials. Since the MTA path focuses heavily on technology, including network topologies, Office 365 and firewalls, this certification will communicate to employers that you can adequately use the services and systems related to Microsoft’s cloud.

On the other hand, the MCSA path prepares you to better understand servers and development. Follow this track to prove your knowledge in Windows Servers, BI Reporting and SQL BI Development.

Microsoft Mobility

The Microsoft Mobility path can also lead you to an MTA certification. This course will boost your knowledge of Windows devices and test your experience with firewalls, Windows-based networking, Active Directory and anti-malware products. This certification will illustrate your ability to improve systems and enhance productivity and efficiency on all devices connected to a company’s network. 

Microsoft Data

The Microsoft Data certification path will lead you to a trio of credentials including the MCSE, MCSA and MTA. The MTA path only requires you to take a single exam on the fundamentals of databases and the MCSE Data path includes a single certification in Data Management and Analytics. 

On the other hand, the MCSA course contains six certifications, each of which contains a different area of emphasis: SQL Server 2012/2014, SQL 2016 Database Development, SQL 2016 BI Development, and SQL 2016 Database Administration. These options will help you master databases and database development.

Microsoft Productivity

The certifications you can earn on the Microsoft Productivity course may vary more than in any other certification category. This option can display proficiency in Microsoft Word or in managing Microsoft cloud services. Since this path varies widely, you can follow it to earn both the MCSE and MOS credentials. 

The MCSE Productivity track tests your knowledge of multiple versions of Windows Servers, Exchange Server and SharePoint Server and Skype for Business. This course will prepare you to transfer your company to the cloud, improve productivity and enhance your organization’s data security. 

If you’re interested in following the MOS Productivity track, you’ll need to decide if you want to pursue a certification for every application in the Office Suite or if you only require specialization in a single application. While Microsoft offers certification in Office 2013, you are more likely to use the knowledge at work by becoming certified in Office 2016. In order to earn an Expert MOS certification, you’ll only need to take two exams. The Master certification, however, requires passing six exams.

Microsoft App Builder

The Microsoft App Builder track involves the foundations of applications and programs. On this path, you can earn MCSA, MTA and MCSD certifications. The MTA option is meant for entry-level software developers who want to improve their fundamental skills. In order to earn this certification, you must pass one of five examinations on a variety of topics, including HTML5 app development fundamentals, Python or JavaScript, HTML and CSS, software development fundamentals, and an introduction to programming block-based languages.

On the MCSA track, you can pursue two credentials. The first, a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) certification, tests your knowledge on professional development, specifically on C# programming and on mobile application development. The second Web Applications credential shows that you can develop web applications and tests you on ASP.NET MVC Web applications and programming in HTML5 with JavaScript.

Finally, the MCSD track will lead you to the App Builder certification. Before earning this credential, however, you must have first completed the MCSA: Web Applications certification. The MCSD track allows you to specialize in one of five areas of emphasis: developing Azure solutions, building mobile apps, developing Azure and web services, developing MS Azure, programming in HTML5 with JavaScript, programming in C# and developing ASP.NET MVC applications.

Microsoft Business Applications

With the Business Applications option, you can earn both MCSA and MCSE credentials. The MCSA path includes Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations certification. Having this certificate on your resume will demonstrate your mastery of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and illustrates that you have the skills required to implement Microsoft Dynamics 365 in your company’s operations. This is the ideal path if you’re planning on applying to be or to progress as a technical consultant, programmer or IT personnel. 

If you are pursuing the MCSE credentials, you must first acquire the MCSA: Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations credential and then pass another exam. You’re permitted to choose which exam will better fit your specialty from eight emphases: customer service, distribution and trade, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for sales, trade, field service, talent, retail and financial management. Where the MCSA certification better proves your proficiency in technical matters, the MCSE emphasis illustrates your ability to apply Microsoft Dynamics 365 in other consumer-facing branches of your business. 

Core Infrastructure

While you will have to make a variety of decisions in other categories, the Core Infrastructure path offers only one certification: MCSE. The MCSE Core Infrastructure course certifies that you are proficient in systems management, storage, virtualization, data centers, identity management and networking. Before completing this option, Microsoft requires that you first complete either the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 or 2016 certification. 

Once you have completed this prerequisite, you’ll need to pass one exam from seven options: configuring and operating a hybrid cloud with Microsoft Azure stack, designing and applying Cloud Data Platform solutions, securing Windows Server 2016, applying software-defined datacenters, developing server infrastructures, implementing advanced server infrastructures and building Big Data Analytics solutions.

Microsoft Certified Trainer

After you have built your expertise in at least one of these areas, you can become a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT). As an MCT, you can teach others about Microsoft software, programs and technology. In addition to the benefits from the other areas of the Microsoft Certification program, adding “Microsoft Certified Trainer” to your resume will display not only your Microsoft expertise, but will also highlight your leadership and communication skills.

Benefits of Microsoft certification training

In addition to being a generally helpful educational tool, the Microsoft Certification program offers many benefits that will apply both in your current workplace and your future job search: 

Higher growth potential

Microsoft Certification Training can bolster your resume to help you acquire a job, but it can also enable you to progress in your current company. With the qualifications granted by the certification program, you could be more likely to negotiate a salary increase. Those qualifications may also make you a more attractive candidate for promotion within your current business. The knowledge validated through the Microsoft certification training should make you more productive and better equipped to solve problems, which prepares you to excel in leadership positions. 

Related: 10 Tips To Negotiate Your Salary (With Examples)

Improved visibility

One challenge in both searching for a new job and progressing in your current one is standing out among the many other candidates. The Microsoft Certification Training can set you apart by providing additional verification of your abilities. Rather than simply placing “Proficiency in Microsoft app development” in the skills section of your resume, you can allow a Microsoft certification badge to represent your experience with a visual emblem. The certification program also makes it easy to share your credentials online, which can help you stand out in your professional network as you seek out new employment. 

Related: Become a Networking Expert in 7 Steps

Fluency in Microsoft Office

Being able to compose a document in Microsoft Word is a common requirement for most job applicants, but complete fluency across all of Microsoft Office’s apps can provide you the transferrable skills to solve a variety of problems using the Office suite. 

In addition to proving your ability to develop professional documents and impressive presentations, the Microsoft Certification Training will also show that you can develop effective charts, which are crucial in work as a finance professional, business analyst, data analyst and many more positions.

Your ability to effectively develop charts will also illustrate your skill in collecting and interpreting data. Through your fluency in Microsoft Excel, you can also make conclusions drawn from data understandable and significant for others in your business. 

Increased flexibility

Today’s workplace requires adaptability to frequent technology changes and problem-solving strategies. The variety of skills you can learn in the Microsoft Certification Program allows you to display your flexibility to current and prospective employers. These credentials demonstrate to your employer that you can use a variety of strategies to solve problems and resolve the concerns of consumers and stakeholders. 

Microsoft’s Certification Program allows you to officially display your credentials by completing specific training. Such a record enhances your resume to better reflect the breadth of your skills and show your employer that you deserve the progress for which you’ve been striving.

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