Saturday, June 12, 2010

Free Microsoft Certification Classes

Closeup of a stone sign bearing the Microsoft ...Image via Wikipedia
One of the reasons unemployment is so extended during this recession is because many who have been laid off from their jobs have not just lost their job.  They have lost their career.  Their entire industry is shut down indefinitely and, for some, it is shut down permanently. 

In this case, we must begin working towards a new career with different skills in industries that have not come to a screeching halt. Of course, this usually takes time and money.  While the unemployed have plenty of time in one sense, money is not necessarily available to cover the cost of retraining or for going without income for an extended period of time while doing the needed retraining.  The bills just keep rolling into the mailbox, don't they? 

Here is the good news!  With our nation facing a real challenge in retooling so many Americans with skills that will get them back to work, Microsoft has come up with an offer that is hard to refuse.  They are trying to help some people toward that goal of re-employment.  Even better, they are offering this free of charge.  All you have to do is ask.  If you are willing to do the work, they will foot the bill.  (In some cases,you must pay for your exams, but I was pleasantly surprised when they sent me a free exam voucher too boot.) 

A number of states have already begun to work in conjunction with Microsoft in offering free classes in a very long list of Microsoft courses.  Some are full certification programs with multiples courses.  Many of these certifications, which ultimately result in highly-regarded credentials, will qualify you for work in the Internet technology field, programming, web development or any number of other computer-related positions--even if you did not work in IT in the past. 

Other of the free programs teach you the basics, such as how to use the computer or how to use the Office Suite of products such as Word, Powerpoint, Excel and several others that predominate almost all workplaces you enter in today's world.

Microsoft even has online tools to help you figure out what work best suits you, and they offer online details about various training paths to get you to your chosen goals.  To see if your state is participating in Microsoft's Elevate America program, go to .  If they are, applying is very quick and easy. 

While I used these remote features while teaching elementary school students how to use the Office Suite of products, this is a whole new way of using these tools - to solve tech problems.  By the way, you have never lived until you have walked a classroom full of 20 fourth graders through a 30-minute lesson using your master computer to lead them through a series of steps to do something like how to create a database - lol  But, they learned and they learned amazingly well. 

I am presently working on the Microsoft Certified Technician Specialist (MCTS) learning how to use troubleshooting tools such as remote desktop and remote administration to solve problems with malfunctioning computers that could be halfway around the world.  For instance, a customer or employee calls in with a computer issue.  The technician gets permission to take control of their computer remotely, make the fix, and get them up and running again.  Wah - la! 

My program includes 10 courses and a prerequisite or two.  I have almost completed the first course and I find my curriculum to be top drawer.  I highly recommend them.  It is clear, easy to follow and effective in teaching you new skills if you are willing to do the work online. 

Check it out!  It never hurts to expand or update your skills in any area.  But, I think it is safe to assume computers are not going away anytime soon.  So, let's learn how to work with them and tool ourselves to be able to put them to their best use.

Thank you, Microsoft!
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