Albania, Haiti, Malawi, Kenya, India, Brazil and the Philippines:  What do these countries have in common?  Actually, not a lot but for today they are sharing in the early launch of an alliance between Microsoft and NetHope that gives aspiring young IT professionals a chance to earn a Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certification.  It’s all part of Microsoft’s 20 Years|20 Ways, a year-long effort which celebrates 20 years of Microsoft Certification.  Young people from these seven countries are the first to apply for this program and we couldn’t be happier with their energy and enthusiasm for getting the first of what we hope are many certifications.
Everywhere we go in the developing world, we see young, talented IT students that are working hard for a new career and a better life, yet they are often challenged to find the time or the resources to get the coveted industry certifications that future employers value so much.  In this program, there are seven different options for MTA certifications where students can show their competency in areas like Server Administration, Sharepoint Application Development, Windows Phone Applications and Lync Server Administration. 
Each of the applicants to this program has a fair amount of work in front of them to master the subject matter.   Fortunately for these students, Microsoft is providing great self-study materials (also for free) and helping to make it easy for the students to sit for the exam.  We will keep you posted as we hear stories about how these young students and aspiring IT professionals are taking advantage of the program.
To learn more about NetHope and the NetHope Academy, go to www.nethope.org and www.nethopeacademy.org.  To learn more about the 20 Years/20 Ways Program, go to http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/certification/20yrs20ways.aspx.
 
Frank Schott
Senior Global Program Director
NetHope