Yes, you read it right: the Microsoft certification program turned 20 years old on the last day of January, 2012. In a Microsoft News Center article posted on 1/31/2012 entitled “Microsoft Announces 20th Anniversary of Microsoft Certifications,” the company proclaimed not just 20 years in the “certbiz” but also “… recognizes the more than 7 million people globally who are certified on Microsoft technology” (the emphasis in the quote is mine, and reflects the first time MS has updated its total certified population tally since last summer when it indicated that tally had topped 6 million.
The news story is worth perusing for those interested in reading the tea leaves about the future of the MS cert program, as well as for its summary of that program’s coverage, activities, and impetus in the past and present. My favorite line in the piece is “…the emergence of the cloud has compelled Microsoft to shift toward a more fluid, up-tempo rhythm of refreshes and recertification.” I like this statement not only because it reflects a new paradigm for education delivery and access, but also because it explicitly recognizes the need for quicker action, more frequent content and exam updates, and … wait for it … the “recertification” word. To me, this captures the tenor of the ongoing evolution and development of the MS certification program over the past couple of years better than anything else I’ve seen from the company during that period.
Here’s another nice snippet from the article that captures today’s frenetic pace of education, exams, and certification activity at this major global software concern (the emphasis on the number of exam-takers is once again mine):
Along with the cloud has come a deluge of new products — phones, games, apps, security, among others — that continues to drive a greater range of career paths and certifications. The numbers are indeed startling: During the past year, more than 1 million people worldwide took Microsoft Certification exams thanks to the company’s broad network of more than 17,000 Microsoft Certified Trainers, 1,400 Learning Partners and roughly 5,000 Prometric testing centers globally.
Be sure to check out the article in its entirety for an interesting retrospective on MS certification, along with a status report on the way the program stands today, with some tantalizing suggestions about where it is headed in the future.