Microsoft Certification a Home Run for Individuals and Employers

REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 6, 1998 — In two studies made public today, Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCPs) were rated more productive than noncertified counterparts, handling 30 percent more help desk requests and decreasing IT department costs to employers by over $2,530 per server, per year. In addition, 84 percent of employers surveyed rated Microsoft Certified Professionals more productive at least in their area of certification. Furthermore, Microsoft certification provides individuals with increased professional credibility and earning power, with companies paying an average of 20 percent more to individuals who are certified.

The studies, International Data Corp.’s
“Financial Benefits and Market Perception of the Microsoft® Certified Professional Program”
and Southern Illinois University’s
“Microsoft Certified System Engineer Criterion Validation,”
further validate the continued need, importance and return on investment of certification.

“Certification makes the difference. The independent studies reinforce the fact that both managers and IT professionals recognize the benefits of certification,”
said Nancy Lewis, general manager, training and certification, Microsoft Corp.
“Certification helps ensure that individuals are knowledgeable and have the complete portfolio of skills necessary to perform their jobs. In addition, certification is used by employers as one method for evaluating job candidates.”

The studies, conducted in the third and second quarters, respectively, of 1998, demonstrate an important and statistically significant relationship between certification and job performance. They conclude that Microsoft certification is beneficial to both individuals and their employers by assuring a high level of knowledge and performance that relates directly to increased productivity.

“An effective means of proving a successful certification program is through reliable studies that explore and pinpoint positive results,”
said Rebecca Segal, director of services industry consulting at IDC.
“IDC’s recent study confirms that companies with Microsoft Certified Professionals experience greater productivity around the help desk and lower server downtime. This translates into significant cost savings to employers, which more than compensates for the training, testing and indirect costs associated with certification. The certification process is a win-win situation for both the employee and the employer.”

Employers Benefit From Certification

The IDC study shows that employers with at least one Microsoft certified employee benefit through cost savings and productivity. Specifically, in the Southern Illinois University (SIU) study, participating supervisors rated Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers (MCSEs) as more competent than noncertified systems engineers in nine job functions and three global dimensions (human resource decisions, performance weaknesses, overall competence). Almost one-third of companies with MCPs stated that certified employees were more productive in all areas, not just in their area of certification. Furthermore, the SIU study discovered that supervisors maintain that MCSEs’ superior competence and performance compared with noncertified systems engineers holds for new MCSEs as well as for those who have been certified longer.

The IDC study demonstrates that the costs involved in certifying one employee are recouped in less than one year for a company with approximately 10 servers. And a company with at least one certified employee saves over $10,000 in downtime costs per year based on an average 11-server company.

“At Parian-Wang Global, we invest in getting our employees Microsoft-certified because we found that certified employees work more efficiently,”
said James L. Conway, vice president of Parian-Wang Global, a Microsoft Certified Solution Provider company that requires all of its consultants to obtain Microsoft certification within the first year of employment.
“We also have found an increase in employee retention, job satisfaction, server uptime for our customers and a corresponding reduction in operating costs.”

Individuals Benefit From Certification

The studies show that Microsoft certification also positively affects individuals financially and increases their credibility. The SIU survey results show that MCSEs find certification
“very useful to extremely useful”
for professional credibility with employers and customers. In addition, the IDC study found that nearly 60 percent of companies surveyed said they pay MCPs an average of 20 percent more than noncertified individuals. Those survey results also show that certification is a factor in job promotions for 66 percent of the companies surveyed.

MCSEs stated in the SIU study that certification is useful for areas of their job including configuring and managing resource areas, integration and interoperability, monitoring and optimization, troubleshooting, planning, installation and configuration.

Certification Pays Off

Similar studies evaluating MCSE and Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD) certification were conducted by Southern Illinois University in 1995 and 1996, respectively.

“The studies we have conducted at SIU clearly show that certification conveys an advanced level of competence to both employers and IT professionals,”
said Jack McKillip, professor of applied experimental psychology and associate dean of the graduate school at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
“We found that Microsoft Certified Professionals had a high level of competence on all of these important skills – reliably higher than those who were not certified. In addition, results were consistent with findings in our 1995 evaluation of the program and show the same pattern as for the MCSD program. Both showed that the care taken in designing the exams paid off in the ability to identify high performers on critical job tasks.”

For more information on the studies, please see the related white papers located on the Microsoft Training and Certification Web site at later this week.

Candidates receive Microsoft certification by passing one or more performance-based exams that measure their ability to apply skills and knowledge to real-world problems. The Microsoft Certified Professional Program was founded in 1992, and more than 300,000 people are currently certified. Certifications include MCSE, MCSE+Internet, MCSD, MCP, MCP+Internet, MCP+Site Building and Microsoft Certified Trainer.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft is either a registered trademark or trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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