MVPs know better than most that education is not something that starts and ends with a formal experience like college. Instead, education is a life-long process and requires continual upskilling.
Four MVPs were recently featured in two separate sessions at MS Ignite about the importance of skilling and certification in their careers. In the first session, Azure MVP Tiago Costa and Office Apps & Services MVP Chris Hoard shared the digital stage with tech trainers and managers on the value of Microsoft Certifications.
Tiago, from Portugal, says he has personally used Microsoft Certification to progress into new roles and climb the corporate ladder. Tiago advises tech enthusiasts of all experience levels to experiment with MS Learn, a resource that is “free and of amazing quality and accuracy.”
“If you have the willingness to learn, it doesn’t matter what level of expertise you have,” Tiago says. “I have helped people with literally zero – I will repeat, zero – experience in IT and today they are tech leaders with their field.”
UK-based Chris agrees: “Authenticity, validation, knowledge, closing skill gaps, finding a new passion, the prospects of better wages or even a better job – these are all good reasons why learning and certification are important."
“My advice is that it is never too late to start. Set yourself a modest goal and once you have started, don’t stop – keep learning and unlearning,” Chris says.
Later at the conference, Business Apps MVPs Amey Holden and Lisa Crosbie shared their learning journeys as part of the Australian tech community.
Amey says that she was thrown into the deep end when a respected practice lead sold her to a project as an expert in Dynamics 365 when “actually I was a clueless graduate with some impressive Excel formulae skills.”
Thus, Amey’s Power Platform journey began with a three-day crash course in Dynamics 365 Sales and “piles of PDFs with labs and content to learn everything (back in the days before MS Learn!)” Now, however, Amey is a big fan of the platform as it “has given me the tools to understand all new features and functionality.”
“Being officially recognized by Microsoft for your knowledge and achievements helped to boost my confidence earlier in my career when the impostor syndrome kicked in or I genuinely had no idea what I’m doing,” Amey says.
“It has helped me attain knowledge that I never knew I would have needed until I find myself calling on it during client conversations. This has helped me to more easily become a trusted client advisor who can have a positive and valuable impact.”
Lisa similarly uses MS Learn to illuminate new tech knowledge. Lisa made a career change from book publishing to tech in 2016, and says MS Learn “is an awesome revision tool for a number of certifications in my main area of Power Platform and Dynamics 365, as well as using it to upskill in new areas and pass certification exams in M365 and Azure AI.”
“It is a good discipline to make sure I stay up to date with new features and review the things I use less often. I also feel it gives credibility to the advice I give to customers and gives me confidence in my knowledge,” Lisa says.
“I always have more collections bookmarked and not enough hours in the day!”