MCP Perks.   Maybe a good coffee blend?  Surely, it would be of distinguishing taste of a global variety and different blends to create the best.   No, it is not coffee, but is something quite good! 

MCP Perks is a project being vetted to help the MCP community with their continued engagement and relationship with your Microsoft learning.  Together, if we are able to help you with your IT / Dev career and knowledge, the better of a channel for Microsoft we will be right?  Right.

With this scenario, I would like to understand if you took one or two exams this coming year, what would you most likely think was a value to receive from the list below to help you continue your engagement and relationship with your Microsoft learning?

Elearning Course FREE

ERef Title at 20% off

MCP eStore Coupon for $15 off

TechNet Plus 4-Month Free Trial

MCP Exam Voucher at 25% off

Then to go further, the more you do to continue your engagement, the bigger the discount…  Examples would be free Elearning collections, a free TechNet Plus subscription, & free exam vouchers.

Does this incent you?  I am guessing that the more you are involved with MCP, the more likely you are to be reading this blog, so if you don’t mind – please let me know how many exams you take per year average (or any other information about your MCP status you wish to share).  Please post your comments and send me an email at sgrant@microsoft.com.  For the first 100 or so individual’s comments + emails I get, I have a lovely gift for you.


I’m a PC and proud that I can be whatever I choose.

Sarah Grant

--------------------

Comments

Friday, November 21, 2008 10:04 PM by Jim Goodwin

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

Sarah,

I would take the 4 month Technet Plus trial.  That would seem to be a great incentive.  I take 5 - 6 Microsoft exams per year most years.  I kind of have to as a MCT working for a Gold CPLS, and the fact that I don't have to pay for training materials, practice tests, or exams doesn't hurt either.  So I might be a little ambitious than most.

Saturday, November 22, 2008 12:06 AM by abarkl

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I take about one exam per month. As an MCT I already receive exam discounts. I vote for the MCP eStore Coupon for $15 off. I'm all for collecting trinkets that I can use as gifts or prizes in the classroom.

Saturday, November 22, 2008 12:36 AM by Michael D. Alligood

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I think the items listed is a great gesture on the part of Microsoft Learning. The knowledge and experience alone used to achieve any distinguishing certification is enough. However, incentives are always well received! Here is my thought to add to the posted idea. Start with one incentive per exam or exams. For example, if you take one exam you will receive XYZ incentive. If you take your 3rd exam within the year, you will earn another ABC incentive. Take exam number 5 and you will receive yet another incentive. At the magic number (to be determined) you will reach your cap of incentives for the year. On that thought, you don't have to give away the bank. Swag is always well received - and relatively inexpensive.

Saturday, November 22, 2008 1:56 AM by lukasbeeler

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I think the TechNet trial provides the most value for IT professionals (maybe MSDN for developer tracks?).

There's one thing that i would see as an even greater incentive, and that would be internal use licenses.

Books & Swag doesn't interest me much, as i prefer learning using online content and Swag doesn't provide any value whatsoever.

Saturday, November 22, 2008 2:34 AM by Steve

# Mr.

I took more than 10 last year. About half of them are beta exams.

But coming year is tough, expected to take less exam as my company will definitely cut cost on sponsoring training and exams. Bit I guess I'll still took more than one or two exams.

To me, Free Elearning Course will be most attractive, exam disount voucher will also be good.

Saturday, November 22, 2008 5:10 AM by Andrew Storrs

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I would be most interested in either the TechNet Plus subscription or exam discounts. I like the idea of being cumulative, so multiple exam passes would result in a cumulative effect (pass 3 exams, get 12 months free TechNet Plus, etc). SWAG doesn't interest me and I tend not to be overly impressed by the eLearning courses - although collections would be nice.

This past year I finally started down the certification path (after 12 years in IT) and wrapped up 13 Microsoft exams (including 2 betas). Next year I would be looking at less, but I could still see myself doing around 6 next year.

Saturday, November 22, 2008 6:27 AM by Sven Schubbe

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I take approximately 10-12 exams per year on average. (most of them are betas)

I would agree to the idea of Michael to provide "progressive" incentives. (after 1..3..5 exams)

I work for a Gold Certified Partner and through the Partner Program I have already personal access to a MSDN/Technet subscription and also receive a 32% exam discount.

Therefore I would free exam vouchers or free Elearning courses/collections regard as an attractive incentive.

Saturday, November 22, 2008 9:36 AM by Anders Bratland

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

Am I the only developer here? Technet Plus, I dhardy know it exists. MSDN subscriptions on the other hand, thats a great thing!

I think that as MCT's we should get the licences that we are certified to teach for free. No evaluation install/uninstall crippled version. Make it easy for us to help you.

We also have to take in concideration that there are two types of MCT's those ho pay for licenses, cerifications by themselfes and those who gwt all that from their company. The first grup of people probably likes a good discount, the other group couldn't care less. Conclusion is that it's neccessary to have atleast two benefit models.

/A

Saturday, November 22, 2008 10:48 AM by Aaron Margeson

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I'd like the free elearning courses.  For those of us who have their employers paying for books or exams, discounts on those don't help us much.  But they often won't pay for elearning courses.

Saturday, November 22, 2008 11:49 AM by eliahhan

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

Hi Sharah, I've also sent you a more detailed email, but here's the core:

I'd prefer exam discounts, as most companies don't pay for employee exams even if they pay for their training.

IT staff in almost any mid-size company and upwards have access to TechNet and/or MSDN through their VL agreement with Microsoft, so this can't be useful to everyone.

Saturday, November 22, 2008 1:38 PM by LawrenceGarvin

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

Hi Sarah.. given the options listed for an immediate ("Congratulations on passing your second exam this year") incentive I would choose [1] The exam discount voucher (as if I've already done 2, I probably have one or more pending to complete an MCITP/MCPD cert) or [2] The free eLearning course (as access to training might be what's keeping me from taking that last -- usually most difficult -- exam).

I already have access to the MSPress eReference Library and Technet Plus, so those are definitely not incentives to me, directly.

I've never purchased anything from the MCP eStore so I can't say whether that would be of value or not. If there were a $15-$20 item in the store that I wanted, then a $15 discount would be very motivational, but I've not looked, so I don't know. However, I doubt an eStore discount would incent me to sit for a certification exam in any case.

I definitely like the idea of encouraging the engagement with Microsoft Learning, and from a long term perspective, and the interest of the MCP program as a whole -- while I'd love to take free exam vouchers all day long -- I don't think free exam vouchers would incent the type of exam candidates that we really want to see in the program. In that scenario -- long term incentives -- I'd go with the free eLearning collections -- which would actually encourage *education*, rather than just sitting for a no-risk exam session.

**btw.. whilst we're trying to incent people to engage with Microsoft Learning, maybe somebody could consider repairing the eons-old defects in the Microsoft Learning Web UI? Being able to see an *ACCURATE* transcript of my completed eLearning coursework over the past six years would really be useful!

Saturday, November 22, 2008 1:45 PM by LawrenceGarvin

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

Oh.. I forgot to answer... according to my transcript I've taken seven exams in the past 12 months (five of those were Win2008 beta exams) -- and in my current efforts to achieve active certifications I've taken 11 exams in the past 34 months. I have five more exams on the schedule to complete by 3/31/09.

Saturday, November 22, 2008 4:01 PM by serg_x

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

Hi Sarah!

For me will be useful to receive Free e-Learnings or discount for exam Voucher

I've never bought anything in eStore due to that fact - delivery to Russia will be cost several times more than cost of the item.

Saturday, November 22, 2008 6:30 PM by Rob Roach

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

For me the best incentive would be the MCP store credit.  I do however like the idea of a credit toward your next test - nice incentive to get another exam completed!

Saturday, November 22, 2008 8:05 PM by Mike Clarke

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

Hi Sarah,

The free eLearning courses would be the greatest value to me.  The other discounts don't interest me.

Thanks

Mike

Saturday, November 22, 2008 10:39 PM by Jeff Senter

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I take between 10-20 exams in a year. My company pays for some and not others so I am always scouring the MS blogs for free exams.

I would be interested in exam discounts and then in e-learning material.

Jeff

Saturday, November 22, 2008 11:11 PM by Christopher Kusek

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I like the idea of the ELearning course or other things for free, though my reasoning may differ from others.

I take many exams each year.  Whether it is just 'keeping current' or trying out the latest thing in my arsenal, and my study and learning techniques tend to utilize freely available information and methods.

However, if I gained perks such as vouchers for free learning, etc - I would give it away.

I personally greatly enjoy giving these things away to others who want to excel in a particular area, and it helps provide that extra hand (especially given the current economic climate) of someone who wants training but cannot afford it or otherwise.

Infact, I partially see it is an added benefit of our experience to help contribute back to the community - and if we have extra collateral and leverage to be able to assist those who really need it most.  I'm fully in favor of more I can provide to others so we continue to raise the bar of knowledge within Certification and IT as a whole.

I'll take whatever it is, because I'm going to continue to take tests, regardless of perks - But the more I can give away (or we can toss into a Pool of "help the others") the better!

Though on the flipside I could see there being a benefit or incentive (Perhaps a kind of modified second shot program, where if you fail an exam you provided with an ELearning program in the course you failed, so as to make the next time a little better!)

And if you pass... well, the ELearning of your choosing!

Just some ideas I hashed around in my head while writing this up, haven't committed one way or another to how I'd execute given in your position :)

Christopher

Sunday, November 23, 2008 3:00 AM by rafalfitt@gmail.com

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I have passed 6 exams in last year. I think that Technet Plus trial have the biggest value. I work for Gold Partner, so I already have MSPP discounts.

I've never bought anything in eStore due to delivery fees to Poland.

Sunday, November 23, 2008 9:47 AM by dobby10

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

Hi Sarah,

I'm new to MS Exams and have taken (and passed) my first 2 this month. And I am shooting for taking one more next month.

I'll be aiming for an additional 5 (non-beta) next year.

Technet Plus or the Elearning would probably be the most beneficial.

A different suggestion is to expand on an offering you have now with the % off a test if you pass one of your first try. Make it stack with a 2nd chance.  If you pass test A on the first try, take test B at 20% off plus get a 2nd shot if you don't pass. Test C you get 20% off if you passed B, or you pay full price for C if you didn't pass B.

~Mike

Sunday, November 23, 2008 10:49 AM by rsolima

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

Free exam vouchers would definitely encourage many professionals to take more exam and upgrade current certifications...

Sunday, November 23, 2008 2:01 PM by cjs

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

The Free Elearning course is the incentive that would interest me most.  I find the second shot promotion that is currently being offered an incentive as well, so I would hope Microsoft would continue to offer this in addition to any of the promotion ideas listed here.

Sunday, November 23, 2008 3:02 PM by Søren Fisker

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I've done 3 MCTS and 2 MCITP this year and next year will probably be approximately the same.

The idea of increasing the discount (or add more stuff) with the number or difficulty of exams is great.

I'm not a big fan of the MS elearning (I do most studying with the pdfs from MS Press books).

Eref is great but I'm about to become an MCT and that's a 50% off...

MCP eStore: $60 shipping to Europe ?! If you give "free shipping" as a benefit it would be cool!

TechNet plus would be OK (haven't tried it)

MCP exam voucher is in all the MS press books so no biggie :(

Søren

Sunday, November 23, 2008 3:02 PM by Peter Doherty

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

Technet subscriptions and e-learning interest me most.

I currently do between 3-6 exams per year all paid for by my employer

Sunday, November 23, 2008 3:52 PM by TitusT

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I took more than 10 exams this year. I would definitely love the discounted/free exam vouchers as I do most of my learning using msdn/technet online. The courses don't attract me much as they are too time consuming. My employer doesn't pay for the exams. For me, I can easily find the learning material online and through books (with minimal cost). Getting discounted exams and software to try will be a great benefit to me and encourage me to do more exams. My choice would be discounts on exams and technet/msdn subscriptions.

Thanks

Titus

Sunday, November 23, 2008 4:20 PM by Niall

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I think an MSDN sub would be nice. Discount to the eStore etc is negated with shipping to Europe (and import taxes!)

Take about 10+ exams a year, so exam discounts would be nice especially for my boss (who pays for mine)

Online courses maybe if I could transfer them to other staff, give them away at talks etc would be nice

While you are there can we get some better info from the number of MCPs etc, allowing us to run custom queries such by location which is very handy when pitching to potential customers

Sunday, November 23, 2008 4:26 PM by IanL

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I would say some kind of combination of the E-Learning and exam vouchers would be an ideal addition to the program.  Finding the time to study the new products is fairly difficult, so to know that you can access the E-Learning resources to add to the study regime would be beneficial.

I tend to do exams as required, rather than doing a large number consistently.  I've sat a couple in the past year and am planning for quite a few more next year to update my MCSE.

Ian

Sunday, November 23, 2008 4:47 PM by Dave Lawlor

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I started ramping up my exams late in the year, but I am on track to do 3 this year and probably another 6 next year according to my time table.

I already subscribe to Technet Plus, but when I first started I would have loved that bonus when I first got my MCP.  It would definitely help with getting hands on with some technologies that some people might not otherwise get. 

The Exam discounts would be big for me because I am paying for my own exams, and it does limit me sometimes to when I can take the exam.

Sunday, November 23, 2008 11:03 PM by Richardson Porto

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I took 4-5 exams this year, and have plans to take 8-10 exams next year.

I like the idea about progressive incentives and prefer TechNet Plus and exam vouchers.

Monday, November 24, 2008 2:57 AM by Dan

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

My order of preference would be:

CHOICE of either :MSDN sub for development exams , Technet for sys admin  OR exam vouchers OR E-Learning

As said somewhere else, a lot of employers provide MSDN/ Technet access as part of the job - so aside from a home version, this is of limited value in some instances - however I think the key is that for people who might want it, to still offer it.

Choice and all that - does it have to be a one size fits all approach?

BTW - "incent"? What's wrong with incentivis(z)e.. or "Does this act as an incentive?"

I expect incent probably is a word, somewhere - however it seems so unneccessary to use it!

Monday, November 24, 2008 3:13 AM by Peter Kremers

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

Good to know you guys are looking at some perks for your MCPs.

I’ve been saying for years that MCITPs should get a Technet Direct subscription, so I’m going for that option. A free e-learning course would be a nice perk too.

Over here (the Netherlands) exam vouchers are usually paid for by the company you work for, so there’s not much added value to that option.

The coupon for the MCP Store could be a nice present for people who obtain one of the entry level certificates.

Personally I take about 4-5 exams a year, which by now has gotten me a list of 30 Microsoft exams (I believe, I lost count at some point).

Monday, November 24, 2008 4:35 AM by Dan

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

Couple of things to add to my earlier comments...

Microsoft DID use to offer Technet etc as a perk of passing. This was one of the reasons I did an MCSD in 1998 - because of the perks you got on gaining the qualification.

When the certification programme expanded (and I suspect the costs soared) all the 'useful' benefits disappeared, leaving effectively just a certificate and even that's not quite what it used to be.

Basically, I think it's a victim of it's own success - to make it cost effective to offer these now, I would suspect either a) there is a HUGE profit margin currently that will be to be cut, or b) the price of the exams will go up.

The cost already acts as a disincentive (disincent?!!) for me taking exams (I have to know I'll pass, not just for the challenge), so adding benefits at the end probably wouldn't outweigh this.

Monday, November 24, 2008 8:14 AM by msavastano

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I took 2 exams this year and plan on taking a few more next year.  I would really like to have free exam vouchers.  That would probably entice me to take more exams.  Other related discounts, subscriptions, etc. would also be nice

Monday, November 24, 2008 8:17 AM by Paul

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I would prefer the eStore discount since the exams are mostly paid for by the employer and the goodies are not :)

My second choice would be a free elearning course.

Monday, November 24, 2008 9:23 AM by Milo Gancarz

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

In my optinion continuing the engagement with Microsoft Learning would best be served with good and thorough exposure to Microsoft products - I understand that's what TechNet Plus provides. 

To answer in a different way - all other perks can already be obtained in other promotions and neither really goes out to bring someone significantly further into the Microsoft learning realm - they only take you a small bit further. 

Milo

Monday, November 24, 2008 10:01 AM by charmless

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I take about 5 exams per year.  And the best incentive for me would be the eStore discount.  The discount on the exam voucher would be great but my employer currently picks that up for me.

Monday, November 24, 2008 10:23 AM by Michael Dragone

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I would say a free e-Learning course would be my first choice, followed by the exam discount and eStore discounts.

Fourth and fifth would be TechNet Plus (I subscribe to it already and have for years, so this wouldn't be much of a benefit to me personally) and the e-Reference discount.

Monday, November 24, 2008 1:00 PM by Aaron C

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I would be interested in the TechNet 4 month subscription. I take 2 or 3 a year and to keep up on what is coming out it would be nice to have an easy source for the software that would be tested on.

Monday, November 24, 2008 2:18 PM by Eduardo Kita

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I just got my first MCP last week, and already begun to study for my next one in a couple of months. So I guess 2 to 3 tests a year is a good average for me, specially considering I´m my own sponsor.

The TechNet Plus 4-month free trial really interests me... but for my job-related issues.

Thinking only about my engagement with MS Learning, I would chose the MCP Exam voucher (again as I´m my own sponsor) and secondly the free e-learning.

Monday, November 24, 2008 4:22 PM by Mike Wells

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I take usually 1-2 exams a year unless I am working on a particular Cert.  For instance, I took all 3 MCAD exams in the same year.  I think the eLearning or the Exam Voucher would be the most benefit and I really like the idea of the TechNet subscription for 2+ exams.  It would also be nice if something similar could be done with an MSDN subscription for people who pass multiple Development exams.

Monday, November 24, 2008 5:15 PM by Gareth Harrison

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I'm guessing I'll average five or six exams per year, maybe a few more. I already have a TN plus subscription and full access to e-learning (I think all MCTs do). The exam vouchers would be nice though... Could we please get perks for taking Betas too ?

Monday, November 24, 2008 11:29 PM by Warwick James

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I'd definitely go with the exam vouchers (free or dramatically discounted) and/or free elearning.

Perks such as technet or MCP eStore don't add value, as many people here are working for partners that provide this already (technet/msdn, and for the store international shipping makes the deal less than worthless.

Just my 2 cents.

ps: I average 6-7 passed exams per year, since 1996.

Monday, November 24, 2008 11:33 PM by Ryan

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

Deffo the Technet sub, be nice for premium level certs to bring back the annual sub, but I like the idea of 'more exams = more months' mentioned above, encourages commitment, development and gives us access to the tools to make it happen!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008 10:12 AM by Nicole

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I haven't begun any exams yet, as I would probably have to foot the bill myself.  However, if there were incentives for me to take the exams, it would definately help push me along.  Espcecially the TechNet plus subscription trial. This would give me time to prove its worth to my boss so they would cover that cost!  However, eLearning courses are a great way to keep up with ever changing technology and prepare for future exams.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008 6:16 PM by Larry West, MCSD, MCPD, MCITP, MCTSx8, MCSA, MOSx2, MCP, FLMI, ACS, ...

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I used to take an exam every other month, but since you all dropped Vue, and thus the ability to take exams on Saturdays, I've dropped considerably.

I would like to have it all, although if I had to choose one, it would be the software.

Actually I would like to see Microsoft set up a system where companies who want to be Certified Partners in a certain area can get together with those of us who have the desired certifications.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008 9:30 PM by richarddp

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I've taken a bunch of exams this year (5). Been an MCP since '02

I think the greatest benfit to MCPs would come from greater / free access to resources that will help us stay current.

So elearning would be a great start. For those of us outside the USA MCP store discounts are a non starter I would say - I had a look at the MCP store not so long ago and to order a mug I think the freight was about $65 USD! Pass on that.

Technet plus, yep some kind of free access, maybe a few months for every new qualificaton/ Exam - now that is a great incentive to keep on the certification treadmill.

Exam discount vouchers, well I would hope that most of us have employeres that pay for our exams - so so a 15% discount voucher, not a great draw card.

And I wonder how many MCPs that are in organisations that are MS Partners are aware of the Training resources available via the partner program - there is a wealth of reource there!

Sunday, November 30, 2008 8:05 PM by Breiner Queiroz

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I've made just one exam this year and I confess that we need more incentive to keep studying, specially when you`re in the road for a long time...

I think that this project will be very interesting and if I had to pick one choise, I'd like the discount or the Teched Plus subscription or some gift, like a shirt, etc...

Thanks.

Breiner

Monday, December 01, 2008 5:06 AM by Tom Van Hauwaert

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I passed 8 exams in 2008, all developer related.

I prefer studying using books. Most of the books I bought have a voucher on the last page. If the MCP Perk Exam voucher can be cumulated with the book's voucher, I would go for that.

Monday, December 01, 2008 4:24 PM by Ciprian L

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

Hello,

Well this year I took some beta exams, around 4 exams, that till now I passed successfully. The value would be Elearning course free and TechNet Plus. The most important wan was the free vouchers that was provided with Beta exams

To me, Free Elearning Course will be most attractive; exam discount voucher will also be good and also free TechNet Plus subscription

I like the idea of being cumulative and I would agree to the idea of Michael to provide "progressive" incentives. (after 1..3..5 exams)

Monday, December 15, 2008 7:02 PM by Daniel Westlake

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

To be honest, I really only take exams when it has a direct benefit either to my resume or to our partnership with Microsoft.  That said, I took four this year, two in 06, two in 04, five in 01, and one all the way back in 99.  I don’t know how many I’ll be taking next year but I’m aiming for three more for CRM, and two for SharePoint at least.

I don’t take exams for fun, so I don’t take any for any products that I’m not involved with in the real world.  I don’t get involved in real projects where I don’t have any experience so I usually plan what area I want to work, then I study, then I work, and then if I have a reason I’ll take the test.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009 8:55 AM by Mick

# re: Get Your Opinion On! MCP Perks.

I think incrementally reduced prices for your next exams would be a good idea, also the technet plus is a great resource, I already have a sub and get great use from it, also the elearning is very useful, already passed one MCTS in Jan 09, hoping to take 2-3 more this year