The road to becoming a Microsoft certified professional

  • Posted on July 29, 2015

The following blog post was written by Avanade alum Jean-Paul van Ravensberg.

Being a Microsoft Certified Professional is a great way to show your knowledge. It’s also a great way to become more visible in the big job market.

I first started pursuing certifications in 2012 while at school when I was 17 years old and the first year was very easy. I’ve always liked working with computers and servers and at the time was looking for a challenge that let me do the work I wanted to do. I then found out that I could become certified as an IT professional.

The Microsoft IT Academy exercises helped me to work with real-life scenarios and gave me a great overview of the exam topics. With the IT Academy, I was able to create a stable base of knowledge to build on. If you are in the position of choosing the right college or maybe you want to get certifications when doing college too, make sure you check the Microsoft IT Academy locator.

I was very proud of myself when I passed my first certification exam, but still, it was “just” one exam so I decided I needed more. I immediately began studying for Exam 70-686: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Administrator to become a Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP). I had 2 options left. I could do the 70-410, 70-411 and 70-412 all separately, or follow the upgrade path with the Exam 70-417: Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows Server 2012. My teacher told me that it was one of the hardest exams, also because you have to pass all 3 elements of the 70-417 exam. If you fail one, you are out. But it could save me the costs of the 2 other exams.


Jean-Paul van Ravensberg Jean-Paul van Ravensberg


Eventually, I started to learn the contents of the 3 exams and the contents of the 70-417 exam. It took me quite a long time, because I wanted learn every feature and do every step of the training courses in my home lab. I passed it with 800/900+ score. My Microsoft skills were ready for the job market! To improve my other skills, I started to learn about Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), Linux Professional Certification (LPIC-1), and Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA). Even though I had to pay for all the certifications by myself, I think it was a great investment that I would absolutely do again.

When I completed my studies, I had no problem finding a company where I could do my internship. That’s because after you finish school, if you have Microsoft Certifications you are distinctive and well-positioned in the job market.

When I was almost finished with school, like most graduates, I started searching for a job. I connected with a couple of companies that I thought only hired bachelor graduates, but I had to give it a shot and apply. I never thought that those companies would hire somebody without a bachelor degree. But with my certifications, I got offered a job and I started work at Avanade, which is a great opportunity for me!

I’m currently working on some fantastic projects with Windows 10, Windows Server 2012 R2, Azure, System Center 2012 R2 and PowerShell. I really love my work and the way Avanade does business. With Avanade, I’m able to show my passion for technology to the world and I’m bringing my technical skills to a higher level.

Recently, I passed the 70-413 and 70-414 exams to become an MCSE: Server Infrastructure and, in addition to my work, I’m studying for my bachelor’s degree in information and communications technology (ICT).

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