I just got through writing a couple of articles about Microsoft Certifications and higher education — one will show up on TechTarget soon, and the other one on Tom’s IT Pro when its turn for release comes up — and came to some very interesting realizations. First, let me give credit where credit is due, and say that MS does a bang-up job in making its certification training materials available to academia in high schools, trade and technical schools, community colleges, and at four-year colleges (Bachelor’s level) and universities. They also offer killer deals to those same institutions to train up their staff, purchase OSes, applications, and other software, and provide lots of great support for students and educators to dig into and get up to speed on a whole host of Microsoft platforms and tools, and related Microsoft certifications.
The IT Academy Locator lets you find schools, training companies, colleges (both 2- and 4-year)
and universities that belong to the program by city and state.
There’s even a pretty nifty IT Academy Locator that enables interested site visitors to find community and regular colleges and universities that belong to the program. What the locator lacks, however — and what makes up the basis for the “modest request” mentioned in the title of this blog post — is the ability to search directly or explicitly for online programs that also belong to the MS ITA. I was able to find quite a few by using the locator tool in major metro areas like NYC, LA, Dallas, Houston, and so forth. But it would be really, really helpful if they added an “Online” option to their search capability, too.
I’m going to send a link to this blog post to my contacts at Microsoft’s PR firm, and in MS Learning. With a little luck, it will at least garner some kind of response. Frankly, it seems so very obvious to me that this should be a search option that I’m having difficulty understanding why it’s not already in there. I’m more than curious to see what, if anything, might happen next! And if MS Learning is feeling especially ambitious, I’d also really like to see them create a section in the IT Academy for those institutions that offer what I call “degree+certification” programs where, in addition to taking students through a typical two- or four-year degree program in computer science, information technology, or other departments whose graduates are likely to toil in the IT patch upon earning their sheepskins, those same students also get prepped for (and may even be required to earn) a certification like the MCSA or MCSE as part of their overall academic experience. As I’m learning by trial and lots of error, it’s difficult to run down all of the no-doubt numerous institutions that do offer such plans. Wouldn’t it be nice if Microsoft Learning lent a helping hand here? Yes it would!