A variety of Microsoft Certification programs are available to choose from, most of which will allow you to become a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP). Being a Microsoft Certified Professional will grant you an extra edge against your peers as you apply for employment and seek out greater compensation.
In addition to validating your skills and allowing you to brush up on core competencies, Microsoft Certification allows you access to MCP Member Sites, which offer you tools sought after by IT professionals and exclusive access to certain discounts. Membership in several professional associations is also offered, as is MCP documentation to identify your expertise.
Microsoft certification tracks include programs to certify knowledge and expertise in Systems administration, Windows Security, Windows Server products, Microsoft Systems Engineers, Database Administration, and others.
Microsoft Certification exams are extensive and rigorous, requiring you to know the ins and outs of your course of study thoroughly. The Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer certification, for example, requires candidates to pass seven exams on various Microsoft operating system networking, installation, and maintenance, in addition to designing network infrastructures in various Microsoft environments. One exam is on a topic of your choice and accordingly, a variety of courses are recommended.
Courses to prepare you for your Microsoft Certification exam will depend on your certification track but will likely include coursework to ensure competency in core Microsoft technologies, in addition to coursework on security safeguards and networking. Other coursework specific to your certification exam is recommended.