MCTs Play a Role in Narrowing the Skills Gap

Microsoft Learning

Editor's note: The following post was written by MCT Rachel Jones

Last year alone, there were 566,308 computing jobs open in the U.S. alone, while only 42,969 computer science students graduated into the workforce.  As we witness the growing role of technology in almost every aspect of our daily lives, we fall  short of meeting workforce demand.     

Closing the skills gap requires a collaborative effort of industry, academic, government, and community leaders working together.  There is much to be done. Teachers require professional development, companies must provide on-going training opportunities for employees, and community and government leaders need to work together promoting awareness and support.  As technology professionals, there are ways we can all contribute.

The Role of an MCT

Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCT's) play an important role in providing training to narrow the technology skills gap. MCT’s provide innovative training on the latest Microsoft tools and technologies in a wide variety of industries and academic settings.  While some MCT's work full-time as a trainer in private and academic settings, other trainers work as free-lancers balancing their training role with other jobs in the industry such as  IT consultants, software developers, speakers, and authors. Additionally, many promote the advancement of technology in education and in their communities by participating in various local and national organizations.

One example organization is Code.org. Code.org is a non-profit organization whose vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science. The program fosters awareness and interest for careers in computer science by providing K-12 comprehensive curriculm and training for teachers. Code.org strives to break the barrier and gender gap by making computer science available to all students.

 As an MCT and advocate of computer science education, I've been recently selected as a facilitator for Code.org.  The position involves the mentoring of high school teachers in preparation for teaching AP Computer Science curriculum. When Laura Kline, Senior Program Manager, of Code.org, was asked if the MCT credential influenced her selection process she replied: “Yes, it did! The MCT certification indicated that you were both tech savvy but also experienced in presenting and facilitating adult learners. Those are two key qualities that we look for in terms of facilitator quality. "

How can you help drive the initiative to reduce the skills gap?  

When asked how technology professionals and educators can  help promote computer science education in their local communities, Laura Kline suggests to visit  https://code.org/promote and download state-specific fact sheets and other visuals that can be shared with politicians, school board members and other key community stakeholders. For technology professionals specifically, she suggests volunteer opportunities at  https://code.org/volunteer.  Here, you can opt in to be contacted by teachers all over the world to volunteer for in-person speaking events or video chat with students. 

While many MCT's work towards narrowing the gap, you do not have to be an MCT to help. Please join me and my fellow MCT’s in helping fill the skills gap!  Become involved in an organization or local community project. In addition to Laura's suggestions, here are a few more links to get you started.

  • Npower provides tech skills to individuals, nonprofits, and schools.
  • Girl Who Code focuses on closing the gender gap in technology.
  • BlackGirlsCode empowers young girls of color to become innovators in STEM fields.
  • YouthSpark is Microsoft's global initiative to increase access for all youth to learn computer science.

Are there additional links you would like to contribute? Do you have an inspirational story you would like to share about fostering technology careers and skills development in your community?

 Let us hear from you!

Rachel Jones

Microsoft Certified Trainer

twitter: @rachelmcjones

Comments
  • Fabien ZIZEK(MCT)
    | |

    hi, i share some French content on www.facebook.com/.../

    Heure de code is for promote Code.org on France.

    Thks for the next Generation !

  • kadji thierry
    | |

    Hello Rachel,

    I have a question.

    I would like to work in a windows environment, and i'm preparing myself for a windows certification. I have two months for self training . Wich one between these two would you advice me ?  Installing and configuring windows server 70-410 ,and microsoft specialist 697.

    The aim is to have a job as a desk operator or a system administrator.  

    Thank you.

  • abettany@outlook.com
    | |

    Hi Kadji Thierry,

    Thanks for your question. I am also an MCT like Rachel.

    My advice to you would be to secure some entry level IT qualifications prior to taking the 70-XXX series of exams. The 70-XXX require a lot more experience and at least 6 months hands on with the technology.

    Consider the CompTIA A+ or N+ or the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) series. The MTA's have been recently updated to cover Windows 10, Mobility, and cloud technologies including Azure, Office 365 and Microsoft Intune.

    Exam 98-369 Cloud Fundamentals

    www.microsoft.com/.../exam-98-369.aspx

    Regards

    Andrew

  • Rachel Jones (MCT Regional Lead - Western US)

    Kadji, Andrew has left some excellent advice for you! We wish you good luck with your certifications.

    Additionally, you might check https://mva.microsoft.com/ for some free self-training.