Microsoft recently increased the qualifications needed to become a Microsoft Certified Trainer and, as a result, life could be very different for today’s practicing MCTs. Beginning January 2001, all MCTs must earn either a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) or Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD) credential in addition to passing their required MCT exams.

What will this mean for MCTs? Read on to find out.

Added value and credibility?
MCT certification qualifies trainers to teach Microsoft Official Curriculum (MOC) instructor-led courses. Only trainers who intend to deliver MOC instructor-led courses at Microsoft Certified Technical Education Centers are eligible to become MCTs.

Microsoft reports that 69 percent of MCTs already meet the new requirement. Some say the new requirement will give trainers more knowledge of the Microsoft curriculum, while students can rest assured that their instructors are qualified.

Leland G. Hoover, president of Hoover Consulting, Inc. in Tucson, AZ., said the new requirement gives “added credibility, both personally and for the MCT rating. It also weeds out those without the technology background.”

Hoover, an MCT and Microsoft Certified Professional, specializes in IT planning, systems architecture, vendor selection, and project management services. His clients have included Oracle, Borland, Pegasus Systems, and Hypercom. He has been working toward Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA) certification “for fun,” he said, and will soon begin studying for the MCSE requirement. He said the time and money spent on additional certification is worth it because “it makes the rating more valuable.”

Unnecessary burden on MCTs?
Other MCTs are less than happy about the additional requirement. Robert Brents, a managing general partner of River Otter Productions—an Internet development and computer training company—has been considering whether to continue as an MCT in the future.

He completed MCSE certification before becoming an MCT, but if he had to do it again, “I probably wouldn’t because I’m not a practicing MCSE anymore and would find this requirement an onerous burden both in terms of time and money,” he said. “It strikes me as yet another ploy by Microsoft to extract more money from its professionals.”

Brents has managed projects for the University of California, Residential Funding Corporation, and Cellphone Solutions, and conducted customized technology training for PeopleSoft, Calico Technologies, Metropolitan Life Insurance, and Merrill Lynch. He sees no correlation between a person’s status as an MCSE or MCSD and the ability to teach students.Brents said his own years of experience will let them know he can converse about more than what is in the course, rather than just having passed an exam.

He added that Microsoft is asking too much of its MCTs by requiring the additional certification. “Why should I have to get the MCSD certification if all I intend to teach is Visual InterDev and Site Server?” he asked.

Where to go for more info
Despite any grumblings about the changes, Microsoft is giving current MCTs more than eight months to prepare for the change. Most courses are available in several formats, including instructor-led and self-paced. For more information about the process of becoming an MCT, refer to the Microsoft Certified Trainer 2000 Guide.
Should Microsoft require its MCTs to attain MCSE or MCSD certification? Have you been considering it yourself? Share your thoughts by posting a comment below or sending us a note.