MCP Success Story: Jamie Barry

Microsoft certification has a way of changing a career. Take Jamie Barry, for example. When Barry went to IT Base Ltd. in Manchester, United Kingdom, last winter, he thought he was only going to take a class to prepare for certification on Microsoft Windows 2000. He didn’t know that the training company was going to end up offering him a job—as a trainer for Microsoft technologies.

"Becoming certified on Windows 2000 really helped turn things around for me," says Barry. "It meant I was being taken more seriously by employers and colleagues alike. It’s a true measure of your skill, of what you know—it’s not just a ‘paper’ certification. And from a financial standpoint, Microsoft certification is gold; it helps you to get great financial rewards."

Jump-Starting a Career

Barry’s Microsoft certification and career success contrast with his situation just a year earlier. After a decade in a range of Information Technology (IT)-related positions—service and support management, computer support, computer audits, and programming—Barry had found himself unhappy in a dead-end position. In a tight labor market, it was difficult to develop successful job leads. He needed a way to jump-start his career.

"I knew I had good knowledge of IT, but I needed a way to prove that knowledge to potential employers," he recalls. "I also wanted to expand on what I already knew. That was my motivation to pursue certification."

Barry had already taken a Microsoft Official Course in Microsoft Windows NT Server so he decided to start working on his ultimate goal by gaining certification on that product. To prepare, he took another Microsoft course, read articles from Microsoft TechNet and the Knowledge Base, and turned to self-paced study books. Throughout, he found the information on of great help in showing him exactly what he needed to learn for certification.

Immediate Employer Interest

After two weeks of study and preparation, Barry passed his certification exam. After becoming certified, he put the MCP logo on his resume and sent it off to apply for a senior IT support job.

"I got the interview the same day," he says. "MCP certification helped me immediately."

Emboldened by this success, Barry sought out additional opportunities for training and certification. He discovered IT Base, a Microsoft IT Academy for small businesses and individuals. Barry enrolled in the company’s two-week training program in Microsoft Windows 2000 Server and Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional. After completing the course, he passed the Windows 2000 Professional exam and then things took an unexpected turn for Barry.

Not Satisfied with Just One Certification

"After passing the Windows 2000 Professional exam, the people I knew at IT Base came to me and said they were looking to hire an additional trainer," he says. "They had my resume as part of my application for the classes and they saw that, as part of my 10 years of IT experience, I’d served as a trainer for a software house here in the United Kingdom. They asked me if I was interested in the job."

Barry was interested. IT Base made hiring him as a "trainee trainer" conditional on his passing the Windows 2000 Server course the next week. With that motivation, he passed the exam. Barry is now working toward his Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) certification, which will certify him to teach Microsoft Official Courses at IT Base. He enthusiastically projects earning that certification, as well as certifications for Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE), Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA), and Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD) within 12 to 18 months. But he’s not stopping there. Barry is also pursuing a master’s degree in IT management at the University of Sheffield and says he finds each education program reinforces and supplements the other.

"Microsoft training gives me the practical side, relevant to the workplace, and the university training gives me more theoretical training," he says. "So when I train people, I have both the formal concepts and the workplace orientation."

For others pursuing or interested in certification, Barry advises frequent visits to the Microsoft Training & Certification Web site to understand what content they need to master, as well as making the most of Microsoft materials, especially Official Microsoft Learning Products. He also urges people to avoid the so-called "brain-dump" sites that publish actual test questions.

"Not only is that cheating, it’s self-defeating," Barry warns. "Those sites give you a false sense of security that you can learn enough to pass an exam. The exams are there to prove you have the real knowledge to apply concepts to real-world problems. You can’t learn that from a brain-dump site."

"I’m looking forward to a career helping others thanks to Microsoft, IT Base, and the MCP program," he says.

Posted By: R.v.KirubaKaran
Microsoft Certified Professional


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