Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS)
(Please note that this certification is part of a series launched by Microsoft primary for IT professionals or as Microsoft classifies it -; IT Professionals-; for those who are Information Technology (IT) specialists in that this is there career (there are also additional certifications for Developers and Trainers). Please do also not that people whose careers lie in Computer Science and Information Systems are also classified as IT Professionals in this manner.
Introduction: What is this certification all about?
The Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certifications are what Microsoft calls the ‘basic’ level in certifications for IT Professionals. These certifications are designed such that the test your skills relative to various Microsoft technologies (apart from Microsoft Office and the Windows XP/Vista/7/Mobile Operating Systems).
What are the Pre-requisites?
As such no pre-requisites are required in general – other than the fact that you have sufficient preparation for the exams. However Microsoft recommends that you have “One or more years of experience implementing, troubleshooting, and debugging a specific technology” – here by technology they mean the relevant product or system that corresponds with your certification – for example a SQL certification will require experience in MS SQL Server management and usage. This can be acquired by a job in a small IT company, through internships or while at College or University as part of your training.
Also depending upon the exam and location, several pre-requisites may be required. Since this certification is divided into further sub-certifications, requirements may vary. It is essential that you check the exams of each certification carefully.
Who is this certification for?
This certification is for ‘IT Professionals’ – for those who use software and technologies other than Microsoft Office or Windows Vista/XP/7 in their work. This covers nearly all fields in information technology, computer science and information systems.
Why should I get certified? What benefits are there?
The quote below, taken from the Microsoft website should be more than enough.
“Forty-three percent of survey respondents report salary increases as a result of Microsoft Certification.”
– Redmond magazine 2006 survey of Microsoft IT professional’s compensation
These certifications allow an IT professional to keep up with a dynamic marketplace and gain an ‘edge’ – which will at times be the only thing that will differentiate you from a number of candidates. It also provides you technical problem-solving skills and experience that is useful in real world problems one encounters in the workplace.
Additionally, and as is the case in many jobs, Microsoft technologies are being used. And example is the usage of Microsoft SQL Server technologies that are used in databases. Having certification in this may be a requirement or an added advantage for you.
This also provides access to several online resources on the Microsoft website that are specifically for Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCP’s)
How do I take the exams?
Exams are conducted by Prometric (www.prometric.com) and are conducted in various locations – and possibly online. However, you have to check the website since this depends on your location and time of registration.
How do I prepare for the exams?
There are several options in terms of preparing yourself. Please note that some such as the books and practice tests can be used together whereas the practice tests cannot be used alone to prepare yourself. These are:
- Practice tests: Provided by several websites, which are Microsoft Certified Practice Test Providers, these allow you to get a feel of your current levele and in the case where you are pursuing independent study, these tests will prove useful. These cannot be used alone as preparation methods.
- Instructor-led training in centers worldwide: various centers worldwide have Microsoft Certified Trainers who provide a superior learning experience by using in-depth knowledge that they possess as well as by using Microsoft Learning Products. However, please check that your trainer or training centre is certified by Microsoft or not before starting preparation. This is the recommended method.
- E-Learning Self-paced training: another option provided by Microsoft; this allows those who use Microsoft technologies in the workplace and want to enhance their skills,. “Microsoft E-Learning self-paced training offers you the flexibility to learn at a time and place that is convenient for you” – ideal for those whose schedule cannot allow fixed classes. However please note that this is for those who have the ability to grasp concepts easily and have experience in independent study, in for example, university during the time when they were preparing for their degree.
- Microsoft Official Distance Learning: Distance learning is a sort of system whereby the classroom is ‘virtualized’ – in essence you learn exactly as though you were in a classroom. This is also a recommended method since it is conducted by Microsoft Professionals and is also cost effective. Additionally, it can also fit into your busy schedule easily. It is also a combination, sort of, of the E-Learning Self Paced Training and Instructor led training – the best combination by far.
- Microsoft Press books: Microsoft has published various books on nearly all of its certifications. Using these hand in hand with several other options and as a reference is suitable. Studying through these alone is not recommended – although it depends on the person.
- Self-paced training kits: these are complete, DIY type, kits that combine a number of items that allow you to study independently. These have been developed by Microsoft specialists and are also a suitable mode of learning. These kits include the following items (as per Microsoft’s website):
- A 15 percent exam discount voucher from Microsoft
- Official, self-paced study guide, including a fully searchable e-book version
- Practice tests with multiple, customizable testing options and a learning roadmap based on your results
- More than 200 practice and review questions
- Case scenarios, practice exercises, and best practices
- A 180-day evaluation version of the product that is covered by the kit
- Microsoft online resources: Microsoft has included various resources on its own website that provide you with information, allow you to create your own study guides, interact with professionals and students alike and much more.
How am I certified?
To be certified you have to pass the exam or exams – by a substantial mark as dictated by Microsoft and as per the exam. For this certification no other requirements – such as interviews or experience proof is required.
What certifications and exams come under this?
Here is a complete list of the certifications and various exams that come under this specific certification category – since as mentioned above, even this certification is divided into further certifications.
These are the following basic certification categories:
- Windows technologies
- Microsoft Visual Studio and Microsoft .NET Framework technologies
- Microsoft SQL Server technologies
- Microsoft Office System technologies (including Office SharePoint Server and Office Project Server)
- Microsoft Exchange Server technology
- Other technologies
|MCTS: Business Desktop Deployment|
|MCTS: Connected Home Integrator|
|MCTS: Windows Embedded CE 6.0: Application Development|
|MCTS: Microsoft Windows Embedded Standard 2009, Development|
|MCTS: Windows Essential Business Server 2008, Configuration|
|MCTS: Windows Mobile 5.0, Applications|
|MCTS: Windows Mobile 5.0, Implementing and Managing|
|MCTS: Windows Server 2003 Hosted Environments – Configuration and Management|
|MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Configuration|
|MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure Configuration|
|MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure Configuration|
|MCTS: Windows Server Virtualization, Configuration|
|MCTS: Windows Small Business Server 2008, Configuration|
|MCTS: Windows Vista – Configuration|
|MCTS: Windows 7 – Configuration|
|Microsoft Visual Studio and Microsoft .NET Framework technologies|
|MCTS: .NET Framework 2.0 Web Applications||
|MCTS: .NET Framework 2.0 Windows Applications||
|MCTS: .NET Framework 2.0 Distributed Applications||
|MCTS: .NET Framework 3.5 ADO .NET Applications||
|MCTS: .NET Framework 3.5 ASP .NET Applications||
|MCTS: .NET Framework 3.5 Windows Communication Foundation Applications||
|MCTS: .NET Framework 3.5 Windows Forms Applications||
|MCTS: .NET Framework 3.5 Windows Presentation Foundation Applications||
|MCTS: .NET Framework 3.5, Windows Workflow Foundation Applications||
|Microsoft SQL Server technologies|
|MCTS: Microsoft SQL Server 2005|
|MCTS: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Business Intelligence|
|MCTS: SQL Server 2008, Business Intelligence Development and Maintenance|
|MCTS: SQL Server 2008, Database Development|
|MCTS: SQL Server 2008, Implementation and Maintenance|
|Microsoft Office System technologies (including Office SharePoint Server and Office Project Server)|
|MCTS: Enterprise Project Management with Microsoft Office Project Server 2007|
|MCTS: Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, Configuration|
|MCTS: Microsoft Office Groove 2007, Configuration|
|MCTS: Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2005|
|MCTS: Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007, Applications|
|MCTS: Microsoft Office Projects 2007, Managing Projects|
|MCTS: Microsoft Office Project Server 2007, Configuration|
|MCTS: Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 – Configuration|
|MCTS: Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 – Application Development|
|MCTS: Microsoft Office Visio 2007, Application Development|
|MCTS: Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 – Application Development|
|MCTS: Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 – Configuration|
|Microsoft Exchange Server technology|
|MCTS: Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 – Configuration|
|MCTS: BizTalk Server 2006 R2, Custom Applications|
|MCTS: BizTalk Server 2006|
|MCTS: Designing and Providing Volume Licensing Solutions to Large Organizations|
|MCTS: Designing and Providing Volume Licensing Solutions to Small and Medium Organizations|
|MCTS: Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, Configuration|
|MCTS: Microsoft Forefront Client and Server – Configuration|
|MCTS: Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2006, Configuration|
|MCTS: Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007, Configuration|
|MCTS: Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007, Configuration|
|MCTS: Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008, Configuration|
|MCTS: Microsoft Team Foundation Server: Configuration and Development|
|MCTS: Microsoft Virtual Earth 6.0, Application Development|
Link to Microsoft Office Specialist Official Website
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