Microsoft Certified Professional: Membership Has Its Benefits

I earned my first Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) credential so long ago, I can't remember exactly when it happened, or what it was for. I believe it was either for Windows NT 3.51 or 4.0, which places when all this was going down roughly somewhere between May 1995 and the first quarter of 1997.


Ed Tittel mcp pin

Photo of my ancient MCP pin, acquired circa 1995.


In all those years, I've had the option to exercise the privileges associated with that credential, which actually provide some genuine benefits of interest and use to practicing IT professionals. Because most vendor-sponsored credentials include similar benefits (or at least a subset of what I'm about to recite), these are worth looking into for those who expend the time, effort, and money necessary to achieve "certified" status.


I was reminded of this when reading today's issue of the MCP News Flash from Microsoft. It indicates that those who wish to purchase Microsoft Press books can get a 50 percent discount on ebook titles and a 40 percent discount on print titles by logging into the MCP eStore their MCP registered account when making such purchases.


This is a pretty nice benefit, given the overall caliber of Microsoft Press. The company imprint provides anywhere from great to decent coverage of Microsoft tools and technologies in general, and Microsoft certification exam preparation tools, study guides, and so forth, in particular. This got me to thinking: What other benefits does MCP status confer?


I found my answer on a Microsoft Learning web page headlined "Become a Microsoft Certified Professional." Here's the deal, based on what I learned there, as well as from other sources I consulted:


1. Access to online certificates and certification logos. (No more free pins apparently — alas — though you can order a lapel pin, a wallet card and/or printed certificates suitable for framing for a modest fee.)
2. Lots of intangibles like improved job prospects, higher ratings from current and prospective employers, enhanced earning capabilities.
3. Access to technical and product information though a secured area of the MCP website (you get information on how to register when you earn any qualifying credential), plus training discounts and evaluation software, job search tools, and more.
4. Access to Certification Planner software, plus an official transcript download and sharing tool.
5. Invitations to Microsoft conferences, training sessions (relevant to MCP exams taken), and special events.
6. MCP community access through the Born to Learn blog at Microsoft Learning.
7. Ongoing promotional offers (like the Microsoft Press discount program now underway).


The details vary from program to program, so take this MCP recitation as an illustration of what's possible from other similar vendors — Oracle, Cisco,VMware, and so forth — rather than as an outright promise. It does, however, affirm the value of looking into (and even asking about) program benefits from the sponsor, for each certification you earn.


You may find yourself coming in for unexpected discounts, restricted information, or community participation. Use them when you can, and you'll get that much more value out of your certification(s).


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About the Author

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran who's worked as a software developer, technical marketer, consultant, author, and researcher. Author of many books and articles, Ed also writes on certification topics for Tech Target, ComputerWorld and Win10.Guru. Check out his website at, where he also blogs daily on Windows 10 and 11 topics.