About a year ago, I asked for volunteers to help out with creating the first Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) exams for IT Pro content areas. We shipped the first three IT Pro MTA exams in early July. (Yay!)
We are starting development on a new MTA exam: Windows Operating System Fundamentals. We are looking for folks who have experience teaching Windows operating systems to students who are new to technology. There will be several opportunities to get involved, some of which will only take half an hour of your time. If you have the experience we're looking for and would like to participate, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don't have experience teaching at this level? Well, I bet you know someone who does. Kindly forward a link to this post to folks you think might be interested.
I’m an MCT and have *many* other Microsoft certifications, and I’ve gotta say – I don’t think this new entry-level Microsoft certification is of any value. Sorry! It’s hard enough to get people to understand what an MCTS is, let alone respect it. Adding a certification under what used to be the entry-level certification isn’t going to make people more marketable. It’s also not going to somehow push the MCTS or MCITP up higher.
This really just looks like an opportunity for Microsoft to grow it’s certification business.
Don’t worry, nothing personal – and yes, I still drink the koolaid!
MTA was developed to provide an entry point for students who are new to technology. Successful candidates demonstrate that they have the foundational knowledge necessary to move on to the next stage of a career in that technology area. MTA is not intended to make candidates more marketable--because even if they pass, MTA only shows what the candidate knows, not what the candidate can do.
You're not the first person to voice such concerns. If you click on the "shipped" link above and scroll through the comments, you'll see how some folks changed their minds after they took a closer look. MTA fills a need in the academic market and potentially other places where students are starting from ground zero.
Regarding KoolAid, I have to say Don't Knock It Until You Try It. I've tried the grape flavor, and between you and me, it's not so good. On the other hand, I highly recommend the MTA-flavored KoolAid.
I'm an MCPD and have many .NET certifications. Just recently I was thinking about expanding my knowledge toward IT systems and I was delighted to see the MTA track for two reasons: to make sure I understand the basic concepts before tackling the real stuff, and because registration for an exam is the only way for me to actually complete my intentions.
I think the new MTA track is a great idea, I know lots of students that want to move in to IT but coming on a TS level course is beyond them. So they end up taking something like A+ and Net+ qualifications, which are useful but if the Students want to be Microsoft Specialists it’s much better they start their training there.
My issue is that it seems the Courses and Qualifications are only open to Academies. I would love to pitch these courses to my employer but we need our students to take exams at the end of the course, we are a Prometric and Vue testing centre but as I understand it these exams are not available through either of those providers? How do we offer the MTA exams?
You are right that it is aimed at the Academic market and hence at the moment only such institutions can offer such exams if they are a Certiport centre:
Zeshan is correct - MTA licenses and vouchers are only available for purchase by accredited academic institutions. The licenses are valid for faculty, students and can even be used as a development tool for staff. The exam has been in market for less than 3 months and we are receiving a lot of enthusiastic comments about how it’s helping teachers effectively prepare students for intermediate IT level courses. In fact, in a recent survey of IT faculty members conducted by Wiley, they found that when asked about students entering their first course as majors, 74% of database, networking, and programming instructors in community colleges reported that ‘many’ or ‘most’ of their students lacked a fundamental knowledge of the technology needed to begin the course. Pretty startling statistics! Enter MTA…!
I very much appreciate all of the comments about how MTA would be a great tool for ALL students new to IT, both academic and commercial. Please know that Microsoft Learning is interested in hearing from all of our customers and that we do consider that feedback when making decisions about the future of our products.
Getting back to our next title that Krista announced above; MTA Windows Operating System Fundamentals, this is going to be a key title in the MTA stack and we are looking forward to your participation in creating and testing it. Please contact Krista at email@example.com to find out how you can help Microsoft deliver sound, relevant exams for aspiring IT Professionals!
I think the MTA certification is a great path to add to Microsoft's certification offerings. I see great strategies and opportunities for the academic arena. By offering the MTA certification, students gain confidence to enter the job market while providing a way to showcase their knowledge to prospective employers. Academy's can use it as a standardized metric for their program. A win-win program!
As an instructor, I see a big gap between the MCTS candidate and entry-level and I think this fill that gap!
Looking forward to proctoring MTA exams at the AITP conference at Universit of Houston October 21-23rd.
Check us out at: www.houstonaitp.org/conference/index.php
I am and currently teaching using the MTA curriculum. One word comes to mind in describing the MTA program - FANTASTIC!
The material covered in the MTA is something that’s been badly needed. MCTs for years have been posting in the news groups asking Microsoft to create classes covering the basics. Microsoft listened and delivered.
I should point out these classes and exams are only for the academic community and not for CPLSs. I teach for a CPLS and this material not suited for the cliental or business model of CPLSs. For academics programs (where attend for several semesters) it is a perfect fit.
If you teach in the academic community I strongly encourage you to take a look and sign-up for the 45 day free trial. Your students will thank you for it. If you have any questions about how I'm using the MTA program or would like to hear commetns from my students send me a PM or post a message.
As an IT Pro for 10 years and a teacher for 7 years (MCT, CISSP, MCSE twice, A+, add infinitum-life-long learner), I see the gap between the experienced IT Pro seeking validation through certification and the beginning IT student as a legitimate need for training. The lines between those distinctions have been blurred by our previous methods and the legitimacy of certificate value has sufferred.
I have personally expereinced proctoring these MTA exams. I watched as beginning networking students, the "local PC guru"-type , gets humbled, challenged, and engaged to become better students and to rise to new levels of employability.
"We don't know what we don't know."
I am using the MTA exams as a pre-course, then post-course measurement of learning. Having the 3rd party verification would seem to be valuable.
With the primary aim being to help develop successful IT workers and managers, I believe MTA is a step in the right direction.
BTW, I passed all 3 MTA IT Pro exams in less than an hour on my first try.
My assistant passed all of them too. No, I didn't help him. :P