With the growth in cloud computing, it's an exciting time to be teaching the next generation of IT professionals and developers.  In a recent study, IDC estimated that, in the last year alone, cloud computing helped organizations generate more than $400 billion in revenue and 1.5 million new jobs. In the next four years, the number of new jobs will surpass 8.8 million.

Candidates for Microsoft certifications—and the organizations who will employ them—are indicating a higher demand for cloud services as part of their qualifications. To accommodate these changes, Microsoft recently reinvented certifications for “cloud-ready” IT professionals and developers. The certifications are now tiered in three levels—Associate, Expert, and Master. And the flagship certification—the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) now focuses on the depth and breadth needed for cloud, on-premise and hybrid solutions.

A Visual View of Microsoft IT Academy Certifications
To help you understand how to guide your students through the new certification paths, we have created an infographic that provides a visual view of five reinvented certification paths. Click here to download the infographic (PDF, 127kb).

 A visual view of the Microsoft IT Academy Certification roadmap. Click to download the high-resolution PDF.

  • The Business Path: Microsoft Office Specialist certification demonstrates that an individual is proficient in the Microsoft Office suite and has the most up-to-date skills. Becoming a Microsoft Office Specialist helps increase everyday productivity while providing the tools to succeed in a technology-driven world.

  • The Client Path: Getting certified on the Windows operating system can help your students expand career goals. In today’s increasingly complex IT environment, a Windows certification helps prove to customers and employers that they have the technical skills necessary to do the job.
  • The Server Path: Windows Server 2012 takes a big step in the areas of virtualization, networking, storage, and user experience. Certification validates students’ expertise in designing, implementing, configuring, or managing a Windows Server infrastructure or desktops and devices. Students can advance to earn either the MCSE: Server Infrastructure certification or the MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure certification.
  • The Database Path: The data explosion is happening at every level of the business—across devices, applications, and individual roles. Becoming certified on Microsoft SQL Server proves students’ knowledge and skills in designing, building, and maintaining the next wave of cloud-ready database and information solutions. Two MCSE certifications are available for SQL Server 2012: 
    • An MCSE: Data Platform certification demonstrates indispensable expertise to build enterprise-scale data solutions on-premises or in the cloud. 
    • Students can showcase skills in developing and deploying visually rich business intelligence solutions and reports by earning an MCSE: Business Intelligence certification.
  • The Development Path: Organizations demand beautiful, elegant apps that are alive with activity. This certification path demonstrates your students’ expertise at designing and developing the fast and fluid Windows 8 apps by earning Windows Store Apps and Web App certifications. There are two paths to achieving Windows Store Apps certification—using HTML5 or C#—as well as a separate path for Web Apps.
Boost Your Students' Potential
If you haven't yet integrated Microsoft Certification into your curriculum, now's a great time to get started. Microsoft IT Academy Program members are eligible to receive academic pricing on select Microsoft Certification exams for their students, educators, and support staff.  Educators at institutions who are IT Academy Program members can stay current with the IT industry by becoming certified in the Microsoft technology about which they teach. Students who obtain a Microsoft Certification to augment their academic achievements may have an edge when entering into the IT workforce. 

Visit the Certification section on the IT Academy website for full certification exams and offers, and sign in to the member portal for additional help getting started.