When I read on the MS learning center site last month that the company had plans to help cash-strapped IT professionals boost skills and knowledge, quite naturally I e-mailed their PR folks to ask what was up. At the time, they couldn’t yet tell me anything but I have recently come into possession of some information that provides a foretaste of announcements planned for next week in this general arena.
A new learning program is on its way from Microsoft: it will be called “Career Assist,” and will be laid out in detail on Wednesday, February 4. Certain e-learning course collections–especially those that aim at specific certification exams–will become subject to a substantial discount (wish I’d saved my $100 of “try-it-out money” already spent last month to investigate offerings for this opportunity!). The Second Shot offer will also attach to this program, so that individuals who go on to take exams based on their learning will be allowed a second, free re-take if they don’t pass on a first try.
The whole idea is to make obtaining certification easier and more affordable. I’m not necessarily sure about the “easier” part because none of the content or exam coverage has changed (nor am I sure anybody really wants it to). But for those willing to follow an e-learning path toward certification preparation, those costs are going to get significantly cheaper. And because MS has focused its e-learning collections first and foremost at the most popular/sought-after certification exams, this could provide an interesting double-whammy where the costs of self-study actually go down for the first ime in many, many years.
Be sure to visit the Microsoft Learning pages on February 4 to get all the details. I know I will!