Microsoft Gives Cloud Computing Center Stage In Certification Program Revamp

Microsoft Gives Cloud Computing Center Stage in Certification Program Revamp

For several years now, a Microsoft certification has opened doors to IT employment throughout the world. Whatever be the platform or application, a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) has found life easier on the job market. Almost every year we hear about a new contender to the title of youngest MCP, with the recent death of Pakistani prodigy Arfa Karim grabbing international headlines.

Now that cloud computing is set to rule the IT landscape and create millions of jobs worldwide (See: Cloud Hiring Reaches New Heights  and Cloud Computing to Fuel Job Creation in High Tech Industries, says London School of Economics), it isn’t a surprise that Microsoft has decided to revamp its certification program to address these developments.

Cloud computing certifications are not new. Other than enterprises like IBM and Saleforce.com, many educational institutions have realized the need for formal education in this field (See: University Down Under Offers To Make Students Cloud-Capable  and Cloud Computing Goes Mainstream with University Certification Course ).

At the same time, involvement of Microsoft, one of the most recognized names (if not the most) in the world of IT certifications will be a boon for the aspiring cloud professional. Again, with Microsoft’s belief in the potential of cloud computing (See: Is Microsoft Taking A Risk by Putting All Its Eggs In The Cloud Computing Basket?), this move is not unexpected.

In an interview with Microsoft Certified Processional Magazine, Don Field, senior director of the Microsoft Certification Program, said the next-generation MCP will be similar to the current generation, with three tiers of certifications – Associate, Expert and Master. However, there will be added emphasis on cloud technologies.

There are some other differences with the old order of things. According to Field, the challenge for Microsoft Learning is making it clear to candidates when exams get updated with new technology. He said that it’s easy to update exams tied to on-premise software, “which have versions,” whereas “cloud versions don’t have versions.” The dynamic cloud landscape would necessitate recertification at the Expert level every two to three years.

“We are reinventing our program to work with cloud services, our on-premises solutions, and a hybrid of on-premise and cloud,” he said. He cited feedback from customers and the Microsoft partner community for pushing the change toward more cloud-oriented certifications. “Customers are saying a deeper set of [cloud] skills are warranted as well,” he added.

For those interested in making a career in cloud computing, and as I wrote earlier, it’s a lucrative choice (See: Should You Train To Be a Cloud Computing Professional? – Part 2) , these certifications will help establish credibility in a competitive marketplace.

By Sourya Biswas

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