Companies that pay for professional IT certification for their staff will reap a return on their investment within three months.
That is the claim of analyst company IDC, which looked at the benefits for users of NT servers that have trained their staff as Microsoft Certified Professionals. IDC found reduced server downtime and faster problem solving far outweighed staff training costs and higher salaries.
Based on a survey of 203 IT managers in three countries, the UK cost of certifying an employee was put at $4,263 (#2,642). Savings for each trained member of staff were calculated at $16,675 (#10,335), based on IDC estimates of two extra hours of server uptime a day at $329 (#204) per hour.
The research was paid for by Microsoft, but IDC programme manager Harald Himsel said that the same benefits apply to users of any large piece of software, especially applications such as SAP's R/3 package.
He said server uptime is particularly important for companies relying on constant availability of services. "Certification provides an aura of confidence," he said.
Microsoft certificates are not necessarily the passport to a job. Computing has received several letters from people who have gained Microsoft qualifications, but found jobs hard to come by without experience.
Microsoft's group manager for skills, David Burrows, said this was partly due to employers demanding experience, adding that Microsoft is working to make its qualifications more practical.
Zenon Chomyszyn, the Halifax's NT technical area manager, said: "If staff can do the job, they will probably get the Microsoft certification without any problem."
For further stories see 15 February issue of Computing
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