Microsoft Learning has come up with a novel way to promote certification. It is planning to donate up to 5,000 entry-level Microsoft Technology Associate exams and training during its year-long 20 Years | 20 Ways campaign.
2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the Microsoft certification program, which was initiated in 1992 to validate skills associated with its products and services. Since then over 7 million individuals have been certified on Microsoft technology.
To celebrate this milestone Microsoft has launched a year-long effort called “20 Years|20 Ways,” to encourage those working with its current technologies to:
support, mentor and guide both peers and potential successors in the importance of training and certification
According to Microsoft's announcement of the new initiative, during the past year, more than 1 million people worldwide took Microsoft Certification exams using a network of more than 17,000 Microsoft Certified Trainers, 1,400 Learning Partners and around 5,000 Prometric testing centers globally.
In celebrating the success of the certification program so far, Microsoft is looking to "give something back". According to Lutz Ziob, general manager of Microsoft Learning (MSL):
"Our objective [with 20 Years | 20 Ways] is to encourage established IT pros and developers to grow their own careers and, at the same time, motivate the next generation. By giving a little, we can do a lot for aspiring IT professionals around the world.”
The campaign has opened with three ways to participate.
The first is to take one of seven qualifying exams from a list which includes Windows Azure Developer 970-583) and Designing and Developing Windows Phone Applications (70-599) - register between now and April 15 and Microsoft will donate an exam voucher at Microsoft Technology Associate level.
If you want to Tell Your Tale, clicking button number 2 will take you to a Facebook page for sharing your thoughts on certification. The third current option is to find out about and donate to the NetHope Academy which provides technology training and resources to international development organizations.
During the year there will be another 17 ways to participate in this campaign, revealed at a rate of once or twice a month.