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Helping Individuals and Organizations Succeed in an IT World  - By Patrick Batson

A recent study by the Information Technology Association of America estimates that, in the year 2000, more than 843,000 Information Technology (IT) jobs will go unfilled in the United States alone. What's more, the shortage of qualified IT professionals is a challenge worldwide. That means there are real opportunities today for people with the skills to succeed in this dynamic industry.

The newly redesigned Microsoft Training and Services Web site is assisting those people who wish to gain these skills and helping organizations get the most from their IT investment.

Inside the site

The site is comprised of four key service areas: Training, Certification, Enterprise Services, and Tech Communities. Microsoft Training offers instruction on Microsoft technologies ranging from introductory courses for newcomers all the way up to advanced courses for experienced systems engineers, database administrators, and developers. Certification helps professionals turn their knowledge and hands-on skills into industry-recognized credentials. Enterprise Services works with large organizations to develop business solutions based on Microsoft technologies. And Tech Communities offer professional networks and resources for developers, IT professionals, businesses, and resellers.

The new site is loaded with features designed to help make it easy for individuals and organizations to find what they need. For example, improved navigation and search tools enable you to quickly locate the right training products, exam preparation guides, and Microsoft approved training providers. In addition, you'll find links to IT career resources, as well as success stories from individuals and companies that have benefited from Microsoft Training and Services.

What success looks like

Jo Harder is one such success story. With little prior technical training, Harder set her sights on becoming a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE), so she enrolled in training courses offered by a Microsoft approved training provider, supplemented her coursework with self-study using books and materials from the Microsoft Official Curriculum (MOC), and got some on-the-job practice. "I spent at least 2 to 3 hours each day learning and practicing," she reports. Jo's hard work paid off, and before long, she had earned her MCSE credential and was supporting a large multi-site call center in El Salvador and Guatemala.

Mike Kerley is another beneficiary of IT study. He leveraged Microsoft training to transition from his role as a file supervisor in a law office to a new career as an IT consultant. Mike regularly flexes his new knowledge in the vast realm of end-user support, dealing with issues such as troublesome hardware and software, server maintenance, and printer support. "This is a great time to be involved in IT work," he says. "Technology is changing so fast and there is so much to learn. It keeps you on your toes and your brain functioning."

Companies are discovering the value of having Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCPs) on their staff.

Just ask Jason Montgomery, director of information systems and technology at The Target Group in Lawrenceville, GA. "Even though I feel very comfortable in what I know and don't know about technology, our customers perhaps don't have that same comfort level," he says. "Microsoft's MCP program is a perfect way for me to demonstrate my level of expertise. Having an MCP status has even helped my confidence level when meeting people who have more experience than I do."

Navigating the IT pathways

Veteran visitors to the Microsoft Training and Services site like Jo, Mike, and Jason can still find all of the resources they have come to depend on. However, the new look-and-feel of the site makes it easier to use than ever before. For example, links to new exams are conveniently located right on the Certification front page. In addition, the new left navigation lists all of the MCP certifications for easy access to benefits, requirements, and frequently asked questions.

New users should feel at home, too, with intuitive pathways to the training, certification, and enterprise services they need to succeed in the new digital economy. For example, the "I want to" site search quickly locates resources based on the activity you want to pursue. Also, the Technology Learning Centers conveniently group together all available training resources for different Microsoft technologies, including Windows 2000, Office 2000, SQL Server 2000, and Exchange Server 2000.

Given the astronomical growth of the information technology industry and the current shortage of professionals, there is almost no limit to the career possibilities for those with the right skills. Moreover, companies that know how to leverage their IT investment and the talent of their people will enjoy significant advantages in the new digital economy.

Microsoft Training and Services is a great place to get started and to keep your momentum going.

Patrick Batson is editor for the Training and Services Web site.

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Last Updated: July 03, 2000