MC ID:  3724854
Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Twitter: @sharepointmcts

 I remember my first certification exam. It was 2006 and I was just a few years into my IT career. I started with an IT Pro exam for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. I took the exam because I wanted to use Microsoft certification to validate my skills to myself as well as to my current employer.

I found the exam experience to be very rewarding and passing this exam allowed me to be promoted to a more senior position.

Since my first exam, I’ve passed 14 additional exams and achieved 5 certifications. These certifications have provided me with the opportunity to rapidly advance in my career and gain exposure to new opportunities. It’s also confirmed my belief that Microsoft certification is an ongoing measure of my experience and technical ability. In fact, certification has been so rewarding that I decided to become a Microsoft Certified Trainer to help others with their journey toward Microsoft certification.

I’m currently studying for my next certification, the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert – Private Cloud.To train, I’m using  Microsoft Virtual Academy, which is a great resource and provides the most current information, directly from Microsoft, on a variety of technical subjects. This current certification relates directly to my job as I have started implementing a private cloud environment for my employer and it also allows me to continue my Microsoft certification journey.

Neal’s Tips:

1)      Relax. If you haven’t taken a Microsoft certification exam yet, it may feel like a daunting experience. Remember that you have prepared yourself and this is your chance to show what you know.

2)      Reference the “Exam Details” page that Microsoft Learning publishes for each exam. This page is very valuable and will help you understand what you need to study for the exam.

3)      Find a buddy in the IT community to study with. I will expand your focus: you not only learn the topics you’re focusing on but gain additional knowledge from the topics your peer is focusing on, while helping each other achieve certification.