1. Technology

Choosing A Microsoft Certification

Which Cert is Right For You?

By

The certification you choose will be very dependant upon your current position or planned career path. Microsoft certifications are designed to take advantage of specific skills and enhance your expertise.

So what is your job title? The information below should help you decide what certification path is right for you.

Software Application Developer

The MCAD (Microsoft Certified Application Developer) and MCPD (Microsoft Certified Professional Developer) certifications are for you. The MCPD establishes you as an expert developing on a variety of platforms using Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0. The MCAD encompasses the application lifecycle from development to maintenance. If you are interested in analysis and design, go for the MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solution Developer). An MCSD has full knowledge of the application lifecycle from analysis through design, development, testing and maintenance.

Systems Engineer

Depending upon the level of knowlege you need, an MCSE or MCSA are great choices. The MCSE is an industry standard and provides the skills to do everything from analysis of business requirements to design and implementation of infrastructures. The MCSA is one step down and takes out the analysis and design, focusing on managing and troubleshooting system environments.

IT Business Analyst

A Microsoft Office Master combined with a MCP or MCSD would be very useful for most business analysts. An Office Specialist certification would demonstrate expert knowledge of Microsoft Office products. A MCP would be a great starting point for additional certifications. Be sure to choose an exam that will apply to any future cert tracks you may take. The MCSD would be the ultimate certification because it encompases the entire application lifecycle from analysis through design, development, testing and maintenance.

Systems Analyst

As a Systems Analyst you will perform many rolls and could need a MCAD or MCSD depending upon which stages of the application lifecycle you will need to know. The MCAD (Microsoft Certified Application Developer) encompasses the application lifecycle from development to maintenance. However, for an analyst, the MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solution Developer) may be necessary to encompass the full application lifecycle from analysis through design, development, testing and maintenance.

Software Engineer

As a MCSD you would be the decisive expert on all aspects of the application lifecycle. You would know how to design and develop using Microsoft development tools, technologies, and platforms. As an MCSE you would have the knowledge to do the analysis, design, and implementation of infrastructures. Depending upon the demands of your job or where you want to go with your career, either of these certs is an excellent choice.

Database Analyst/Administrator Web Application Developers Internet Developers

The obvious choice is the MCDBA (Microsoft Certified Database Administrator). It is the most respected certification for those who are responsible for the implementation and administration of Microsoft SQL Server databases.

Technical Consultant

Depending upon your career path and direction there are several certifications that would enhance your skill set. Start with an MCTS which will target a Microsoft technology and continue to the MCITP, which will demonstrate your skills in hanling all aspects of IT infrastructure.

Another route would be to get an MCTS and continue to the MCSD, MCSA, or MCSE. As a MCSD you would be the decisive expert on all aspects of the application lifecycle. You would know how to design and develop using Microsoft development tools, technologies, and platforms. As an MCSE you would have the knowledge to do the analysis, design, and implementation of infrastructures. The MCSA is one step down from the MCSE and takes out the analysis and design, focusing on managing and troubleshooting system environments.

Network Adminstrator

The MSCE is targeted to any Network Administrator who uses Microsoft Windows and backoffice applications. As an MCSE you would have the knowledge to do the analysis, design, and implementation of infrastructures.

A Quick Note on Microsoft Certifications:

Microsoft has restructured their certification program to create customized certification paths that are very targeted. You start with a MCTS (Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist) that consists of one to three exams on specific technologies. You can then continue to the MCITP (Microsoft Certified IT Professional) and then to the MCPD (Microsoft Certified Professional Developer). All of the exams along this certification path allow you to learn and develop skills according to your area of expertise. Be sure to check Microsoft Learning to see a complete list of exams.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.