Microsoft today revamped its training offerings with a three-tier certification programme aimed at IT professionals and developers.
The software giant said that the newly devised certifications (Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist, Microsoft Certified IT Professional or Professional Developer, and Microsoft Certified Architect) were designed to " better reflect the changing IT environment".
The first credentials will be offered for Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005, which will be available next month.
Partners will also be offered enhanced levels of integration between the Microsoft Learning and the Microsoft Partner Programme schemes, which will let them apply Microsoft Certified Professional certifications toward multiple Microsoft Solution Competencies.
"Today's systems require IT professionals and developers to possess more specialised skills," said Lutz Ziob, general manager for Microsoft Learning.
"These new certifications are key to helping customers and partners continuously build the skills they need to successfully adopt and deploy Microsoft technologies."
The three-tier programme offers more targeted credentials which can be achieved with fewer exams, making it more cost-effective for individuals and organisations to validate specific sets of skills, according to Microsoft.
"By focusing on specific job roles, and by using performance-based testing, this new certification programme is much more in line with the real-life job situation of IT professionals and developers, and should help them create and build more accurate solutions," said Olivier Nguyen Van Tan, industry analyst and senior consultant with Pierre Audoin Consultants.
"Beyond expanding customers' technology expertise, the utmost value lies in the new synergies with Microsoft's product strategy, and will be a key factor of customer success in using future product releases."
Certifications for Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 will be available in early 2006. Additional information about Microsoft Learning can be found here.
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