Microsoft Office Specialist Qualifications are an industry recognised method of certification, used to measure proficiency in softwares such as Excel, Powerpoint and Word. They allow the student to gain valuable knowledge and real world experience using these tools, boosting your CV and employability. The range of qualifications offered vary from server and database management, Desktop applications, to developing. In short, certifications last as long as their relevant software does, giving them a long useful lifespan. After you pass the first Microsoft Certification exam, you become a member of the Microsoft Certified Professional community with access to all of the benefits provided through the Microsoft Certification Program and the MCP member site. You can also share all your transcript with other peers to prove that you passed that exam and show your progress towards a specific certification.
The following review is for a MOS Excel core certificate. The following screenshots demonstrate GMetrix, a training software which accurately mimics a real test.
The above Homepage lets the user review progress on tests undergone so far, and begin/continue practice tests. An access code is provided by the institution the qualification is gained via, and is necessary in order to access the system.
This is the instruction panel that appears below the excel spreadsheet. Key words and phrases are displayed in Bold to let the user know the most significant actions to undertake. Often, this also indicates which section heading to look out for. The panel can be resized if necessary, however rarely does it obstruct the user. The options ‘Skip’ and ‘Next’ are how the user can progress through the course, whilst ‘Reset’ begins the question again if things are not going your way. The lightbulb symbol is the help desk; this is what appears when selected:
This offers an in depth analysis on what actions need to be done. Instructions are clear to follow and require no prior knowledge of the software. When using the software myself, I used this feature once every three questions on average. It is an essential feature of GMetrix and was incredibly useful when learning the ins and outs of Excel.
Once an action has been completed, the user arrives at the following page:
Reaching this page is a gratifying experience to say the least! If the question was carried out incorrectly a red cross will appear instead of a tick. ‘Save’ allows the user to leave the test without losing progress, and directs back to the Homepage described earlier.
I believe gaining a qualification such as this is invaluable to students. No matter which industry, country or High Street shop you’d like to work in, software such as Excel will play a detrimental part of their day to day running. It has applications in hundreds of sectors and is not limited to just IT tech jobs. Having certification to prove you’re trained in such a valuable resource helps to differentiate you from your peers after graduation and is essentially another ‘gun to your arsenal’. It also helps to prove competency and your ability to learn, which is a key feature in the eyes of an employer. It’s likely that an employer will ask you to undertake a qualification anyway; from this perspective, you’re best doing it at university where:
a.) It’s free.
b.) A support network exists – lecturers and IT staff are more than willing to assist.
c.) You have the time.
Thank you for reading 🙂