There has been a great discussion string lately on the private MCT newsgroups where we have been talking about what an MCT really is and how the MCT certification is perceived by those that hold the certification and by the general IT public.
It made me go back and think a bit about the last 12 years of my life.
In 1996, I was working at Digital Equipment Corp (DEC) and we had the contract to support Windows NT Workstation 3.51 for Microsoft. So when people called the 800 support number that was in the manual, they got us. I think the group had about 10-12 of us in it. It was really fun for me, and I had a great time helping people get NT Workstation 3.51 installed and configured. Then the contract ran out...
It was at this time that I had to make some decisions about where I was going in this industry. This was one of the many decisions that I made in my career that I am really 100% glad that I made. At the time, the MCT program was growing and Microsoft Learning was writing some great courses. I was going down the Novell CNE track at the time, and I changed gears and made the decision that I would get my MCSE and see if it were possible for me to become a trainer in a training center. I must have called about 12 different Authorized Technical Education Centers (ATEC was the program at the time) in the area asking about the program and trying to get somebody to sponsor me. At the time, to become an MCT, you had to prove your ability to teach (there were a few ways to do that), you had to be sponsored by an ATEC, you had to sit the course that you wanted to teach, and you had to pass the exams that related to the course. I found a center, and started going down the road towards both certications. In September of 1996, I got my MCSE and my MCT. At first, I was only authorized to teach the SQL 6.0 Administrator course, but soon became certified to teach NT 3.5, NT 4.0, and Windows 95. I ladded TCP/IP real shortly afterwards, and kept on going.
As an MCT, I got to know many of my competitors and found that not only did we share a love for the technology, but most of us really had similar personalities and interests in helping others. My competitors became my best friends. My best friends helped me open doors that I did not even know existed at the time.
Since then, I have worked as a consultant with some pretty big enterprises, and I have worked as a trainer as well. I have learned a great deal about Microsoft products, the needs of the IT community, and I have learned a great deal about my peers as well as my students.
What I have learned is simple: What you do to help others always comes back to you in a multiplicative manner. Yes, I believe in IT Karma. The more you help others, the more it pays off for you. I have always been very giving of my knowledge, or at least I like to think that I have been giving. In many cases, it has paid off with return favors, and in many cases it has directly translated to more work in the industry. I could relate this to my religious beliefs, but I will leave that for another time.
So, what is an MCT? Officially, an MCT is a Microsoft Certified Trainer. An MCT is authorized to teach Microsoft Official Courseware at certified training centers around the world based upon the compentencies of the individual trainer. Unofficially, an MCT is way more than that. As a member of the MCT community, I have access to the minds of many other MCTs, but most importantly, it is a certification that is recognized throughout Microsoft. The MCT really seems to represent a certain skill set that includes the ability to present complex material to students in such a way that they are able to understand it and absorb it. This skill of knowledge transfer is extremely valuable in the industry and it has led to many great jobs for me over the years. After all, what company doesn't want somebody that understands the technology and can explain it to other technical and non-technical people.
The huge benefit to me of being an MCT is being part of a very close knit group of people with great knowledge and great desire to help others.
After thinking about this recently, I have to say that of all the certifications that I hold, the one that I value most is the MCT. Without it, I would never have met so many great people that helped me in my career. Without the MCT, I would not be in the position that I am in today, and would never had the chance to impact so many others in my career.