Microsoft Certifications: What’s the Big Deal?

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How do you know you’re working with a professional? Given how tight the labor market can get at times, businesses have begun to look for a sign that potential employees have the skills to add value to their businesses, and one way to do that is through certification programs.

When it comes to Microsoft products, there are a ton of valuable education resources that companies can use to certify their expertise with a given Microsoft product. Obtaining Microsoft certifications can provide a baseline of skill that ensures you’re working with a knowledgeable professional.

But how exactly do they do that?

What it Means to Be Microsoft Certified

Microsoft certifications are designed to provide job-specific skills training to ensure an employee can utilize and service Microsoft products the way they were intended.

However, it’s not a slip of paper someone gets for reading through the start-up manual; instead, certifications provide learners with an in-depth training on how to use specific functions within the Microsoft ecosystem to achieve an end goal. Microsoft has tailored educational tracks that allow it to focus learning on tools that you’ll actually use.

In addition to providing tailored learning experiences, the Microsoft certifications provide a set of standards for professionals to measure themselves against when working in the Microsoft environment. While it’s possible for anyone to call themselves an expert, Microsoft’s commitment to providing a path for individuals to meet a clear standard makes it easy for organizations to trust an individual’s working knowledge of a Microsoft product when they have a certification.

The Process for Certification

Microsoft’s process for certifying professionals largely follows a similar formula. Students have a choice between doing the coursework at their own pace or through a self-directed process, followed by an exam.

Speaking with some of the Hammer Dev and Hammer Tech teams that have recently completed certifications in Azure and Power Platform, it was clear that the coursework required some working knowledge of the tools the trainings were designed for in order to succeed in the certification courses. However, what was most often the case was that the certification courses often were designed to develop a set of skills to solve problems the team members had already been working with prior to starting the certification process. In cases where the team was developing a new skill entirely, they could often leverage knowledge of existing skillsets (like setting up and managing on premises databases) to develop new ones (such as setting up and managing databases in the cloud).

So, Why Get Certified?

Many of Hammer Dev’s and Hammer Tech’s team consists of experienced professionals who have been working with software and database development for years, and that’s given them a broad base of knowledge to draw on when completing certifications. If the skills are already there, then why bother getting the certification in the first place?

Aside from showing that an employee has done the coursework necessary to meet Microsoft’s standards, getting certified can also show an organization’s commitment to providing the best service possible to its clients. As anyone who’s hired an “excel guru” or “Microsoft Office wizard” can attest, there’s a major difference between someone who’s practiced a few times with a program and someone who has an in-depth knowledge of a toolset. This heterogeneity in skills and practice is precisely what a certification gets around: it minimizes the chances that hiring someone will mean having to train them on the basics of a platform.

However, having a team with a high density of certifications showcases the talent they have amassed over the course of their careers. Anyone working with an organization who has a high number of certifications probably isn’t counting the number of digital badges, but they do recognize that the quality of the individuals they work with differs from those who don’t invest in the kind of training such certifications provide.

Building Trust into the Business Relationship

Clarity is the basis on which an effective business relationship operates; it’s what sets the expectations for key deliverables and how any partnership is going to operate to create those deliverables. Certifications are a way of establishing that clarity because it offers a means of showcasing the core competencies of a team you’re thinking of partnering with.

Microsoft is ubiquitous in the business world because of its versatility, but teams often lack the knowledge necessary to maximize the value of that investment. Understanding what expertise to look for is a great step to take, but it’s also important to know how to define the goals you want to achieve. If you’re looking for help in this area, contact us to chat with an expert specializing in defining and achieving Microsoft implementation goals.