Microsoft Certification Gives High School Students an EdgeMeet a Store Employee Who Got an Early Start

Note: This article was originally published on the Microsoft JobsBlog.

Young technology enthusiasts are discovering the value of Microsoft Certification for launching a career. Training programs such as Microsoft IT Academyone of several options for high-school students—provide knowledge, resources and inroads right out of the gate.

Ryan Miguel is a case in point. Ryan is a Microsoft retail store employee who started on his certification path while looking for electives to fill his high-school schedule. He happened upon two Microsoft Office Specialist courses—one in for Microsoft Word and another for Excel—and he was off! We asked Ryan to describe his experience.  

What is the value of Microsoft Certification?

I liked technology but I didn’t realize I had an aptitude for Microsoft Office programs until I took these courses. I competed at the Microsoft Office Specialist World Championships. It’s the largest international competition in Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint.

Winning a medal in the MOS championships built my confidence and showed me I was really good at using these programs efficiently—one of the best in the world. For me, finding this strength guided the path I took after high school.

Are you seeing a direct translation between certification and employment?

I enrolled in college at Western Connecticut State and majored in Management Information Systems. A few years later, a Microsoft store opened in my hometown of Danbury, Connecticut. I was hired as a part-time employee, and every day I put my Microsoft Office knowledge to good use as a product advisor at the Danbury Microsoft retail store.

I am lucky my high school offered this type of learning opportunity. Mastering Microsoft programs in high school put me one step ahead of my peers as I graduated and looked for a job. Now I have a clear career path.

Have you signed up for the free Microsoft IT Academy Webinar series? Sign up now! On October 10th, a panel of technology education and career experts will discuss “Guiding Students Toward a Successful Career in Technology.”