Microsoft Office Specialist championship event set for Dallas in 2015

MOS contestant generic

In youth sports, there's always the kid who really, really wants it. The one who stays after school in the gym shooting baskets until his parents drag him away. The one who gets up at 5 a.m. to head to the tennis court and hit a few hundred balls before her first class. The one who knows Microsoft Office so well that the school secretary asks him how to enter formulas in Excel, or turn off smart quotes in Word. Yes, those kids are athletes too. And let's be honest, one type of skill is most likely going to provide fond memories and creaky knees (or a stiff back) at age 35, while the other type is a lifelong skill that many young people will grow up to use every day at work.

 

But getting back to that teen who has memorized the keyboard shortcuts for every function in every product in the entire Microsoft Office suite — it's time to get serious, young master. Just like there are football and softball championships for students, there are Microsoft Office Specialist competitions for budding IT professionals ages 13 to 22. And it's time get in Eyes on the Prize mode, because Certiport and Microsoft have officially announced the dates and location of the 2015 Microsoft Office World Championship. The Main Event of MOS certification will be held Aug. 9-12 in Dallas, Texas. It's the 13th year for the august competition, and students from around the world will compete. In 2015, two of the six world champs were from the United States.

 

Certiport, a subsidiary of test provider Pearson VUE, has managed the contest since its inception. Pearson VUE CEO Bob Whelan said in a press release formally announcing the 2015 event that the competition, which drew more than 750,000 contestants from 40 countries in 2014, is only getting bigger — and better. "The event is more than fun and prizes," Whelan said. "Microsoft Office Specialist certification prepares students for future success in college and careers. In the end, anyone who earns certification is a winner, with a valuable credential on their resume to prove their skills."

 

The most recent competition featured the 2007 and 2010 versions of Microsoft Office, but the degree of difficulty will be a bit higher this time around. The 2007 Microsoft Office products have been retired from competition, and Microsoft Office 2013 will be featured for the first time this year. With students now facing exams based on the 2010 and 2013 versions of Microsoft Office, it's probably time to finally upgrade. Look at it this way kids: If the pattern of past competitions holds true, and you start to compete on 2013 products this year, then you can keep competing on those products clear through 2020. To be eligible to compete, students must pass a qualifying MOS certification exam in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint no later than June 15.

 

Country and regional representatives will be determined based on exam scores and completion times, and the winners will move on to compete in Texas. In recent years, the World Championship event was held at Disneyland in California. Dallas is probably a little bit less glamorous (to say nothing of being a heck of a lot further from the beach), but there's better barbeque there, so tough noogies, Mickey.

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GoCertify's mission is to help both students and working professionals get IT certifications. GoCertify was founded in 1998 by Anne Martinez.