You may be wondering whether an exchange server 2010 certification will benefit you, as an Information technology professional. Having a college degree is good, but having a certification lets an employer know that you are serious about your career.
A college degree normally takes between two and four years to complete or longer depending on the degree that you are trying to achieve. A certification may only require that you spend about six months of you time to achieve. Even though the length of time to achieve a certification is shorter, you should not underestimate the value of a certification.
Having a degree and a certification is better, but you do not need to have a degree in order to achieve a certification.
Many information technology employers recognize some certifications over a college degree. These employers are aware that certifications are more specialized, and specific to a particular area of study. In other words, if you have a certification, then most of your study time may have been spend on just that particular subject.
Spending time in one area of study, rather than many other areas would make you and expert within that subject matter. This is the true meaning of specialization, in my opinion.
Benefits of Exchange Server Certifications
There are many benefits to be realized as a certified professional, in the area of exchange server. This is also true in other information technology related fields.
As a certified professional you are normally the first to know whenever new technologies are introduced within your market. Changes are communicated via of an email notifying you of the change in the application from the vendor, or the creator of the certification.
Another benefit of being certified would give you the license to include your certification credentials in your email signature.
A signature template would normally be received from the vendor that can be modified to include your area of certification within.
If at any time you need assistance with the product that you are certified in, you are given first priority over your peers, in the same field, that are not certified.
In addition to the benefits of being certified that are listed here, there are many more that I have not listed, because of the limitations of this article.
Disadvantages of Not Being Certified
Working as an exchange system administrator, without a certification can be compared to a doctor, with general knowledge of a topic. This does not mean that an exchange administrator working without a certification would not have extensive knowledge about exchange.
If you require medical assistance, would you go to a doctor that only has a general understanding of your problem? Or would you go to someone that is known to have specialized knowledge of the problem you are faced with?
I can assure you that the specialist will be of more benefit to you. In fact, the general practitioner will recommend that you see a doctor that specializes, within the area of your health issue. Even the general practitioner recognizes certifications as being a valuable asset.
Having no college degree or certification in an area of study will put you at a disadvantage, when trying to find employment, even if you have experience. This would also be true if you are older, in some cases.
The person without a certification will normally need some kind of recommendation and assistance, from another reputable professional, to be considered for a job, in some cases.
Exchange server 2010 certifications are beneficial as long as the company that you are employed with recognizes the value of the certification. Sometimes employers have to be educated about the value of the certification that you have, for you to benefit.
Exchange Server Certification Prerequisites
Following the prerequisites for becoming certified as an exchange server administrator will make you a better administrator, once you are employed.
Many persons have attempted to take the exchange server examinations, without having prior hands on experience. These persons are known as “book smart” persons. Due to their lack of experiences in this area, they are unable to resolve problems that may occur while they are employed.
Studies have shown that the best administrators are normally the ones that already possessed some knowledge, in the area that they are trying to become certified.
Before you begin the process of acquiring any exchange server certifications, you should have already spent some time working directly with the product. In fact, the creator of the certification recommends that you have prior hands on experience, before sitting the exam.
Whether the certification is exchange server, or any other technical certification, hands on experience will put you at an advantage, when sitting the certification exam.
Exchange Server Certification Paths
There are several paths to becoming an exchange server certified professional. All you have to do is decide on the certification path that you are interested in. At the writing of this article, exchange server 2010 would be the latest certification to date.
Even though Exchange server 2003 is several years old, certification is also available with this version of the product. Exchange server 2007 is also available to become certified in.
Any one of these certifications will be beneficial, because Microsoft always allows several years before any product is retired, or has reach its end of life.
I will recommend that you always try to stay with the latest versions of any software. If the company you work for is presently using one of the earlier versions of this software, then certification in that version should be fine. The general idea should always be to move forward.
A “Microsoft Certified Professional” designation certificate can be achieved with exchange server 2003. You have probably heard this certification abbreviated as (MCP).
Another certification track is known as the “Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist”, sometimes referred to as (MCTS). This designation can be achieved with exchange server 2010, and exchange server 2007. This certification path demonstrates your ability to administrate, and validates your expertise in the exchange server enterprise environment.
The final certification for exchange server is known as the “Microsoft Certified Information Technology Professional”. This designation is sometimes also abbreviated as (MCITP).
Other certification designation that applies to not just the exchange server product includes the Microsoft Certified Master program, or (MCW). This is the certification of all certifications. This sets you above other professionals in the same field.
Certification tracks in any area, including exchange server may change as time progresses. Having an exchange server 2010 certification or any certification can be a very valuable asset.
Once you have acquired an exchange server 2010 certification, you should try to update your certification whenever possible, to new tracks that are introduced.