Software

Office poll: How important is Office certification?

Take the TechRepublic Office Blog poll question: How important is Office certification? Add your thoughts on the topic to the accompanying discussion thread.

A couple of years ago, we had a great discussion on Microsoft certification  in the Office area. Just this morning, someone asked me if I thought certification in Office was helpful. I'm wondering how you guys feel about it--three years later. Have any of you recently gone through the process? If you're certified, do you believe it's helped you get a better job? If you're not certified in Office, are you considering it?

By the ways, the links in the 2007 post on Office certification are still valid.

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

9 comments
Fregeus
Fregeus

If your duties are to support Microsoft Office users, then its important. If not, then its not. Pure and simple TCB

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

Depends upon your specific job and who is doing the hiring. Certainly if one is seeking any one of several office type jobs where one is expected to be routinely producing/editing Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc documents in a professional capacity Office Certification can be important and relevant. Lets face it. Lots of folks SAY they know how to use one or more of those apps. And in the minds of those people, they probably believe what they're saying. But in the case of many (perhaps most) of those same people, their real skill and knowledge level is pretty pitiful at best. Which results in much wasted time plus inadequate and/or unprofessional/amateurish results. For some job positions this wouldn't matter much. For others, it does. On a part time basis I occasionally teach at a technical college. And am on a curriculum development/review board at the same institution. Routinely we have conversations with possible future employers of our students and ask them for feedback as to how we are doing, what areas of training and education they'd like to see changed, etc. Some years ago, many of those employers told us they'd like to see increased emphasis on basic office application skills. Specifically word processing, spreadsheets, and ... perhaps ... some sort of presentation/training software. By far, the majority of them wanted an increased knowledge level specifically for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. MS Office being the de facto business standard. They expressed the opinion that no, it was not all that important for the brand new hire, the youngster who just got hired right out of our school as a hardware installation/repair specialist, or as the newest and most junior network admin type. However, as that person moved up, was given more responsibilities, etc part of the expected new responsibilities was for the person to be able to handle formal document creation/editing. So we added a requirement that our students complete at least basic certs in MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Feedback from the prospective employers we talk to has been positive. Then ... and now. They like it. It at least gives them some sort of metric to go by when hiring. Something more than just a new hire prospect's claim that he or she "knows" how to use Word or Excel. For instance, I had a recent experience with one fellow. A friend. Who had a job but was looking to move up and was applying for another. His core skills in his job specialty were more than adequate for the position he was going to apply for, a move to a low level management/supervisor position. He was making up a resume specifically geared towards getting that job. And in that resume he listed one of his skills as being "proficient" in the use of Word and Excel. Chuckle, I watched him work on that resume for a bit. He was using Word. And then made him change the wording to "possess a basic knowledge of". Indeed, in his own mind he thought of himself as being proficient. But his real skill level wasn't even close to that. Where I work, in my regular job, any supervisory or management position requires AT LEAST a level of knowledge and skill in the use of Word and Excel roughly equivalent to basic certification.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

If you're applying for a Level 1 help desk position, maybe. If you want to be an executive assistant or enjoy secretarial temp positions, definitely. I don't see it as very useful to someone seeking a long-term career in IT

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Both are nice to have if you work in that environment, but nobody asks if you have them.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Is Microsoft Certification still relevant in today's market? Is it more relevant than in years past or less? What is your certification?

djbates
djbates

How many IT/Helpdesk folks ring ME up on a daily basis to help them with Office questions they don't have the answer to. So it doesn't hurt to have it. It may not get you far in an IT department, but I see no reason I can't be valuable knowledge.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

But you don't have to be certified to be competent in Office. Has anyone seen a job posting that lists Office certification as a requirement?

library assistant
library assistant

I HAVE seen the requirement that a person needs to be very familiar with office. I would think that in a situation like that, if you had 2 employees of the same caliber, the one with the certification would win out as it's proof that they are familiar with the programs. side note: having just taken Excel 2007 certification test on Tuesday, I can tell you that you DO need to know the program to pass it with a decent score. I used Microsoft's e-learning to prepare, and there are questions on that exam (and the Word Exam) that are not covered by e-learning. My own experience with certifications is that Office certifications, and the A+. Network+ certs get a "so what" response in most of the places I've been. I even had the head of a the repairs department for IT ask me what A+ certification was - no one in his department had it.

radams36
radams36

Yes, I have seen a few job listings that ask for MOUS or MCAS Certification. In most of the corporate help desks I've worked in, the vast majority of calls were MS Office How-To's. Smart help desks would be more inclined to consider Office certs as a plus, at the least.

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