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How to Choose the Right Microsoft Certification for Your Career

The Microsoft certification program offers a number of IT industry-recognized certificates for its core products. The credentials are designed to demonstrate a professional’s proficiency with specific roles and technologies, including software development, cloud infrastructure, IT management, business intelligence, and more. The certification process requires a certain amount of experience and expertise as well as passing a series of exams for each role. The certifications remain valid for two years, though some credentials can be extended if the professional passes an exam six months prior to expiration.

There are many reasons to consider earning a Microsoft¬†Microsoft Certified .NET Professionals certification, such as the long term value of these credentials and the salary benefits that come with them. These certifications also show that the professional is willing to continually improve their skills and upgrade their knowledge. It’s also important to note that the investment in these programs is often negligible, with the cost of training courses and exams far less than a traditional college education.

Choosing the right Microsoft certification for your career is vital. Depending on your career goals, you can pursue one of the following certification paths:

Technology Associate (MTA): This entry-level certification is ideal for those who are new to programming. It teaches the basics of computer programming and can be used as a foundation for more advanced Microsoft software developer certifications. Upon completion, you will have the ability to build simple applications and services using the.NET framework and languages such as C#, VB, and F#.

Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP): MCPs are responsible for delivering IT solutions to businesses. They have a deep understanding of IT architecture and how the solutions they build fit within the larger IT environment. MCPs also know how to develop and deploy apps that support the enterprise, as well as how to create, optimize, and operate those apps. Depending on the MCP you choose, you will either need to pass a fixed path of exams or a list of aligned optional tests.

MCSE (Microsoft Certified Enterprise Specialist): The MCSE is the most popular and in-demand certification for IT professionals who use Microsoft server technology. This credential validates your ability to administer, install, and manage Microsoft Windows Server operating systems, Microsoft SQL Server database, and Web applications built on the.NET Framework. It is also the first step to becoming a Microsoft Certified IT Professional, which has higher requirements and more in-demand skills than MCTS.

MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solution Developer): The MCSD is a certification for software developers who want to design, develop, and implement workflow-enabled apps using the Microsoft Visual Studio.NET platform. This includes creating, deploying, and debugging workflow-enabled apps and services on the Microsoft Azure cloud. This credential is a prerequisite for the Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP): Workflow Foundation Developer certification. It also requires a higher skill level than the MCTS and MCSA certifications.