The Value of a Certification

I just attended the 2nd Microsoft NetWork event in Bosnia-Herzegovina. I spoke about how to start with SharePoint development for existing ASP.NET developers. I really enjoyed the conference and made a lot of friends there.

There was one thing that stuck on me, during the initial experts’ panel speaking on competitiveness and opportunities for Bosnia-Herzegovina in the regional and global IT industry. The piece that piqued my curiosity was the one when the value of the university degrees was cast into doubt in face of several private universities operation in the “gray” area of legality. The CEO of LogoSoft, the MS Learning Partner, replied that there should be more focus on the global certifications that are recognized worldwide. They are much more difficult to achieve and very difficult to bluff on.

That’s the subject of my post: how the Microsoft certification has been improving in order to keep the value of the certification current and untarnished. Several years ago there were many sites where you could download the “cram” sessions and even the whole exam questions list, answered of course. That really diminished the difficulty that the candidates faced on the certification exam and thus diminished the value of obtaining it.

Microsoft has improved since then, pursuing the offending sites and rotating the question pool frequently. In the next wave of the exams (addressing NET Framework 4 and Windows 7) they even contacted us MCTs to listen for improvements. With our feedback, and feedback from other subject matter experts (SMEs), the exams were adjusted to keep the bar high enough and to test the really relevant questions to evaluate the candidate level of knowledge, focusing on real-world usage instead of textbook examples.

This all means that when you earn a Microsoft certification, your employers and peers know that you have up-to-date technological knowledge, and can bring more insightful problem solving skills to the workplace.

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