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Microsoft and other Certifications
By Richard Rost   Richard Rost on Twitter Richard Rost on LinkedIn Email Richard Rost   13 years ago

Every now and then I get a customer who asks me about certifications. "Do you offer any certification exams, tests, or prep courses?" "Are certifications important?" etc.

Let me start out by saying this: if you are looking to learn how to use a piece of software because you want to use it for your OWN purposes, then NO, certifications are not important. For example, if you own a small business, or you work in a company where you need to use Access or Excel, then you do not need a certification.

On the other hand, if you're looking to GET A JOB and the employer wants to see a certification (especially large corporations) then you might benefit from a certification. Employers use certifications as the first line of screening to make sure you have a fundamental working knowledge of the program in question.

Personally, I think that certifications are not that important. As a former employer, I interviewed people who had certifications in different topics (Windows, Office, etc.) but when it came down to practical knowledge, they didn't know anywhere near as much as someone who just simply USED and studied the product for a few years, and had some hands-on experience.

Me? I don't have any certifications, and I consider myself to be pretty knowledgeable when comes to Microsoft Access, Excel, Word, Visual Basic, Windows, etc. I have learned from working with the software, reading books, and practical, hands-on experience. I wish I had my own video tutorials to learn from when I was starting out!

Anyhow... there are plenty of test prep courses out there that will teach you what you need to know to pass the certification exams, but that's all they're good for... PASSING THE EXAM. If you really need that piece of paper, then go for it. If, on the other hand, you're interested in really learning the software, then I would suggest (a) my tutorials, (b) a good book or two on the subject, and (c) lots of hands-on experience.

No, I don't have any test-prep courses available. I'm not interested in teaching people just how to pass an exam. I want you to LEARN.

Most certification test-prep courses that I've seen are like cramming for exams in high school... you're going to remember the material just long enough to pass the exam, and then you'll forget it. What good is that?

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Carol F 
6 years ago
As an employer Richard, what would have been the best way for a prospective employee to demonstrate to you (in the interview) that he KNEW how to use the applications and was qualified?  I have an interview coming up and would really appreciate your feedback. Read More...
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Nathaniel Tyler 
6 years ago
I agree with Richards statement. Furthermore, I find it easier to learn when you are driven not by necessity but by personal desire. I'm simply glad I found such a great teacher who can speak my language AND communicate effectively with his audience.
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7 years ago
Richard is right, I have looked for years to try and find someone that offered a service (videos) that I could learn from, I am not interested in being "Certified", I just want to learn the program, Richard has taught me SO SO much in this regard. Because of Richard I have learnt so much, BUT it is more then offering the lessons, it is the EXCELLENT service that goes with that, Richard is a Businessman as well, Orders are made and invoices received via email, Richard is the full package, EXCELLENT lessons and EXCELLENT Business service, the two are very important. Read More...
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James Fisher 
9 years ago
I too have also completed my mcas certified using Access. As Ricahrd say they arn't as useful as his own classes. I find you lean so much more by watching Ricahrd's videos. They are so much better Read More...
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Richard Rost 
13 years ago
Sure - it's like cramming for tests in high school (or college). You remember the material long enough to take the test, but afterwards, forget it.
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Melvyn Fearn 
13 years ago
I don't like exams. I can study for ages and when it comes to the exam I don't remember everything. But in real live when you're completing a piece of work and you can't remember how to do something you look it up. The best way of learning for me if using the programme regular.
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Richard Rost 
13 years ago
I agree completely... and even if you DO want to make Access your living (I did for almost 10 years) then the Certifications still aren't going to help you unless you NEED that piece of paper to get a job/promotion.
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Alan Hill 
13 years ago
Right on!! I have no qualifications in Access, I am still learning.
I have completed two business projects and I have been paid for my efforts. I remain a hobbyist. I took an Access exam ages ago and found it to be of little benefit. I just keep doing it over and over. I still forget stuff, especially at exam time. However I have a collection of routines that I use on occassion. If Access was my job I think I would hate it and want to do something else. I have the luxury of stopping whenever I like, and picking it up again when I want to. My tip unless you really want to this for a living, forget qualifications and have fun and get heaps of satisfaction out of doing it for yourself. You will probably accomplish more in the long run. Read More...
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