Microsoft Computer Specialist: Salary and Career Facts

Learn what it takes to become a Microsoft computer specialist. Find out about Microsoft certifications available and the career and financial benefits of earning a certification. Schools offering Computer Support Technician degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Microsoft Computer Specialist?

A Microsoft computer specialist is an information technology (IT) professional with expertise in one or more Microsoft products. Becoming a Microsoft specialist typically involves earning certification through the software company. Several certification options exist whether you're just starting your career in the IT industry or are a seasoned server administrator, database designer, or network architect. Earning these credentials demonstrates your knowledge to potential employers, showing you have a great deal of experience working with Microsoft products. Potential job opportunities will vary depending upon your greater education and skill set, though many companies find it advantageous to hire those with certification. Two of the top job providers are the computer systems design and education industries.

Read the chart below for some basic information on this career.

Education Required Formal education not always required, though professionals generally have completed at least some postsecondary education
Key Skills Problem solving, attention to detail, interpersonal communication, customer service
Job Growth (2014-2024) 12% (for all computer user support specialists)*
Average Salary (2015) $52,430 (for all computer user support specialists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Kind of Education Will I Need?

Some employers desire you to have a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related major, though Microsoft certification testing doesn't require formal education. However, before taking any certification exams, Microsoft recommends you have at least a basic knowledge of computer software and hardware. Several schools offer programs that prepare you to test for specific Microsoft credentials, including Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA), Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS), and Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD).

You can also participate in self-paced, online, or classroom courses offered or authorized by Microsoft. Each certification listed on the software vendor's website lists applicable instruction methods and options designed to cover the material you need for a specific test (www.microsoft.com). Microsoft specifies the level of additional experience you'll need working on its products for each credential.

What Kind of Certification Should I Get?

Obtaining certification through Microsoft could increase your job opportunities and credibility with employers. If you're just starting your IT career, the MCSA certification demonstrates that you have a fundamental grasp of hardware and IT infrastructure, and it can prepare you for advanced certification. Earning the MOS credential shows that you can adequately troubleshoot advanced Microsoft Office applications.

Upper-level certifications include the MCSE credential. This expert-level certification demonstrates mastery in the most advanced programming and developing concepts Microsoft has to offer. As improvements and upgrades are released for these technologies, you can update your certification, usually by passing one or more upgrade exams.

How Much Could I Make?

Your compensation as a Microsoft computer specialist can vary based on your level of experience, location, and employer. According to January 2017 information provided by PayScale.com, the 10th-90th percentile range for a software engineer with MCSD certification was $57,768-$123,304 annually.

What Careers Can I Get With These Credentials?

Computer programmers write and edit code that directs how software and applications react to different commands. These professionals typically must have a bachelor's degree for professional work. Web designers plan and create different websites for personal and business use, constructing them in a way that is both informative and engaging for the audience they try to attract. They will typically need an associate's degree. Software developers plan new software ideas and modify existing work to be better and more efficient, working with programmers to make their plans function properly. They also require a bachelor's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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