The Global Knowledge 2020 IT Skills and Salary Report found that 86% of women in IT positions hold at least one certification.1 Being certified can help establish a path for advancement in tech roles and can be critical for success in a competitive field. In this edition of our #ProudToBeCertified blog series, we’ll dive into how certifications have helped two women on very different career paths.
Sharon: Supporting her growing family while moving her career forward
Sharon Bennett, a senior IT instructor, has a history of overcoming adversity through solid planning, persistence, and dedication to continuous learning. Even as a high school dropout, these priorities have helped her achieve a college degree, a successful career, and the ability to support her family financially. Earning certifications were a big part of that. As she says, “Certifications keep my career moving forward.”
Sharon began her certification journey right out of college. Her first job after graduation required that she become certified. “That's how I started my certification journey,” she says. That first experience motivated her to keep seeking more knowledge and skills through Microsoft Certifications.
Even when she became a mom, Sharon knew she needed to keep learning to reduce the “motherhood penalty” – typical when one pauses their career to start a family and unfortunately finds themselves at a disadvantage in the workplace. To help close that gap and misperceived competence, she says, “I'd be at home, baby in arms with a textbook in the other hand.” While her learning progress slowed, it didn’t stop.
Sharon credits her certification accomplishments to her professional and financial success. She says, “I can directly align my learning and certification to where I am today.” She’s just one of many persevering women who are #ProudToBeCertified and moving ahead – professionally and personally.
Jaqueline: How helping herself led to helping others
As a product manager working for a Microsoft partner, Jacqueline Ye needs to operate in two worlds: business and technology. When she began her role, she needed to be able to communicate with stakeholders and customers to clearly understand their technological and business needs. Then, she would use those insights to collaborate with solution architects and engineers while bringing innovation to life. While building her technical skills with Microsoft Learn, she discovered and earned Microsoft Certifications which helped her gain the confidence and credibility to successfully work with colleagues on both sides.
As a result of sharing her certification achievements through channels like LinkedIn, Jacqueline started hearing from her professional network – they wanted advice to get ahead but didn’t know where to start. In response to this, Jacqueline launched a Microsoft skill up campaign within her organization to encourage and help her peers advance their skills and careers through learning. Her results? “Today, I'm proud to tell you,” she says, “within six months, we had more than 60 people join us and earn more than 100 certifications.”
Earning certifications has become more than a personal goal for Jacqueline. She built a community with her leadership and experience during her certification journey and has made continuous learning a mission to help her colleagues. “I want others to know that with some hard work, dedication, and having an always be learning mindset, you can have a fulfilling career.”
Share your #ProudToBeCertified stories and opportunities
#ProudToBeCertified is one part of the Microsoft Certification community – where people like Sharon and Jacqueline can inspire peers to move ahead professionally and personally through the power of continuous learning. In the weeks ahead, we’ll keep sharing stories of those who have made education their foundation for success. We also encourage you to share your certification stories. When people share their struggles and triumphs, the more motivated we all are to keep going, and keep learning – together.
Check out the latest videos and submit your own on Twitter, LinkedIn, or your preferred platform with #ProudToBeCertified.