In December 2012, Microsoft announced the Microsoft Technology Associate certification program was being opened to the public. Providing IT fundamentals in three different career paths (IT, Infrastructure, and Database), MTA certification builds a solid foundation for a career in IT.

How MTA Certification Works

The MTA certification validates 80% knowledge and 20% skills through a series of proctored exams. Each exam covers fundamentals in a broad technology area, including:

  • 98-365 Windows Server,
  • 98-367 Security Fundamentals
  • 98-366 Networking Fundamentals
  • 98-368 Mobility and Device Fundamentals
  • 98-369 Cloud Fundamentals
  • 98-364 Microsoft SQL Server
  • 98-361 Software Development Fundamentals
  • 98-375 HTML5 App Development
  • 98-379 Software Testing Fundamentals

By passing only one exam, a student receives the appropriate MTA certification, which never expires. Passing more than one exam earns multiple certifications. Each certification lets potential employers and college admissions offices that a candidate is committed and has obtained a basic understanding of core IT concepts.

Exams usually take between two to three hours to complete and consist of 40-90 questions, consisting of multiple-choice, drag-and-drop, and simulated real-world content.

In order to help prepare for the exams, Microsoft makes its complete developer toolkit available for free to students and academic institutions through its DreamSpark program.

When a student earns an MTA Certification, he/she becomes a member of the Microsoft Certified Professional community and gain access to members-only benefits such as special offers, the MCP transcript tool, and private newsgroups to network with professionals around the globe.

An MTA Certification is also the first step toward becoming a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) or Microsoft Certified Trainer. Students who don’t pass the exam are given a free retake to try to earn the certification again.

Preparing for the Exam

Microsoft provides several preparation guides to assist in exam preparation. There’s also a practice exam in the form of the “Are You Certifiable?” game.

ONLC is a Microsoft Gold Partner for Learning. As such, we provide authorized technical Microsoft classes taught by Microsoft Certified Trainers. This means students get training from a certified professional who’s passed the exam before and knows what to look out for.

Signing up for MTA Certification classes is the best option to prepare for the exams, as it’s guided by a professional. There’s no prerequisites, and our counselors can assist in creating a certification path to the MTA or MCTS certification program you choose.

Microsoft’s training certifications are training programs tailored specifically to Microsoft programs. While this doesn’t provide a full-range of IT job training, the focused content is seen by employers as a worthy certification to complete. This is because MTA certification provides a basic foundation in key knowledge areas necessary for a career path or job in IT.

If a career in IT is the path you want, an MTA certification from ONLC is the first step toward achieving your dream career.

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  1. Having said that, I think certifications are more important the earlier on in your career you are. As a hiring manager, I never use certifications or the lack thereof to filter potential employees, but I do think some companies may look for these as proof that you know what you are doing. Personally, I want the job candidate to

  2. It doesn’t really matter whether this is a good or valid or accurate view of those who get certifications. What matters is that this attitude does exist among your potential peers — at least as those kinds of companies. If you want to work in software at a different kind if company, then YMMV.

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