I am considering a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) or Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) qualification. I am a qualified graphic designer and Mac operator with a broad knowledge of Win9x, medium to advanced networking and many third-party applications. Is an MCP qualification enough to secure a well-paid position?
I want to up my salary bracket from $40,000 to $50,000 without taking three years off working to get there. I am self-taught in the desktop environment and consider myself an advanced user. I have knowledge of LAN/WANs, TCP/IP and network configuration as well as Windows Explorer, Internet Explorer, email clients, gateways and proxy servers. I know Photoshop, Illustrator, HTML.
I need some sort of qualification to prove I have these skills. I plan on travelling to Europe in a few years and want qualifications that will help secure a well-paid job there.
Dear Graphic Designer
You have significant technical know-ledge covering a wide range of IT products and technologies.
This route of starting as a user and assuming more and more technology is not unusual. Sometimes this path produces the best technologists as the person has a very good perspective of the industry as user and support/technical person. Many people in technical support roles have no formal qualifications — so don’t get hung up on qualifications (or lack of them).
But having a qualification makes it easier to convince a potential employer to hire you — especially if you intend travelling on your OE. An MCP is an initial step into more serious qualifications (like MCSE). If you want to use your qualification as a stepping stone into Europe, I would suggest a qualification like MCSE or Certified Novell Engineer or Cisco certification or similar.
Readers can have career questions answered in this column by IT recruitment specialists — the question above was answered by Wilson White. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Dear Adviser” in the subject line.