That MCP salaries remain strong is no surprise, given the increasing need for skilled IT professionals and developers.

What do the Numbers Really Mean—For You?

That MCP salaries remain strong is no surprise, given the increasing need for skilled IT professionals and developers.

You wouldn’t sign a new contract without reading the fine print, nor pick up a new cold medicine at the drugstore without first looking at its ingredients and warnings. And you shouldn’t look at MCP Magazine’s latest salary survey with any less care.

We live in a competitive society and many of us are curious about how we fare next to our colleagues and competitors. The salary survey makes comparisons easy. But “easy” and “meaningful” are different things. The averages, both for the U.S. and for the many countries included in the online international survey, may be of academic interest, but probably won’t reflect your specific salary. Many factors beyond certification determine salary levels, such as experience, job role, industry, and region, and even your metropolitan area.

The MCP program wasn’t designed to lift salary levels per se. It was meant to provide individuals with a tool to allow them to make their existing skill levels more visible. However, MCP certification works hand-in-glove with your experience to propel you to better salaries and positions in the industry. So be sure to consider the experience level when you look for meaningful comparisons.

What you’ll find is that—factoring in location and experience—MCP salaries remain strong and are rising. That’s no surprise, given the increasing need for skilled IT professionals and developers. With the new Windows 2000 certification track of the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer certification raising the bar with tests that measure your practical, hands-on skills, this trend is likely to continue.

With our enhancements to the testing process, certification is an increasingly effective way for businesses to identify people who have the abilities to help them compete and take advantage of Microsoft technologies and products.

And companies are looking for more of these people than ever before, helping to keep salaries strong. In one report, GartnerGroup predicts Windows 2000 will be the most prevalent network operating system by 2001. A million and a half copies of the upgraded operating system sold within the first two months of its February release, not including corporate enterprise agreements. That’s four times the early run rate of Microsoft Windows NT 4.0.

Microsoft created the MCP program to provide a credential to systems engineers and developers that acknowledges their skills with Microsoft products. Beyond its value for certified professionals, a MCSE or MCSD certification can also be of help to hiring professionals. It can help them to identify the most highly motivated, trained, and skilled candidates. It’s also a tool for organizations to identify leading IT professionals who are up to date on the most advanced technology available. It’s a crucial yardstick—provided managers also keep a candidate’s experience in mind.

Certification isn’t an end in itself for IT professionals or employers. But when it’s teamed with experience, certification becomes a win-win for both MCPs and those who hire them.

About the Author

Donna Senko is the Director of Microsoft’s Certification and Skills Assessment Group.

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