Now’s the time to invest in training

The media’s been flooded with news about various kinds of job training, including Microsoft’s Elevate America program and various state programs targeted at autoworkers, manufacturing workers, and so on. This makes sense, given that the economic mess we’re currently in means that there’s a lot of turmoil and uncertainty about jobs at all levels. Getting better training almost always makes sense, especially if that training helps increase your market value.

Greg Taylor, who runs the Microsoft Certified Master for Exchange program, just e-mailed me to say that he only has 2 open slots in the next MCM | Exchange course, starting May 4. We’ve had a lively debate about whether the MCM certification is actually valuable, in the sense that it’s worth what it costs. After seeing the back-and-forth between people like Tony Redmond (who owns H-P’s Microsoft consulting business), Gary Cooper, and Devin, the answer is clear: yes.

How is that possible? Simple. First, you get training that’s literally not available anywhere else. A couple of weeks ago, I was there when Tim McMichael was teaching CCR and SCR. In the back of the room were Scott Schnoll and Ross Smith IV. It would be difficult to conceive of a better group to teach the real-world intricacies of how CCR and SCR can be deployed.

More importantly, when H-P (or IBM, or Dell, or other large shops) go in to a customer, the customer already knows them. They’re not facing the problem of trying to convince a customer that a smaller, lesser-known shop can do a great job– and can justify its bill rates. On the other hand, for smaller consultancies, MCM | Exchange is a terrific way to immediately lock the competence flag to 1. As Microsoft continues to evangelize the program, this effect will grow. That’s why I’d jump into this rotation if I could… but I can’t. However, you, dear reader, can. It’s true that the training is about $13,000 (plus your living expenses). However, I believe strongly that for independents and smaller shops, you can sbsolutely recoup this value, and more. Check out the page, and if you’re interested in signing up, ping me directly and I’ll put you in touch with Greg.

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