Microsoft certification training is valuable, but because of that it can also be a bit pricey. However, with the value your training can bring to a company, you may be able to convince your employer to sponsor your training.
Asking for things involving money can be really awkward, even when it’s from our friends. Throw your boss into the equation and you can potentially add a whole new level of stress. However, when you consider how important continuing your professional development (CPD) is within an ever changing, competitive job market such as IT, keeping your certifications up to date is essential.
With courses usually costing in the thousands, many of us simply cannot foot this bill alone, no matter how much of a pay raise certification is likely to get us.
This is where employer sponsored training comes in. Put simply, it means that your employer pays some or all of your course costs, allowing you to become more skilled in your respective specialty.
This becomes a quid pro quo situation, as you are gaining a new skill set and your company is gaining a higher trained staff member, who could help to maximize profits, or ensure their network is more secure.
In this article we’ll be looking at how you should go about asking your company or employer to sponsor your Microsoft training.
We’ll be taking a look at the courses available, and their costs, before moving on to the correct approach for broaching this topic with your boss.
What Microsoft Training Courses are Available?
There are more than 20 different certifications offered by Microsoft, so for the purposes of this article we’ll be taking a look over some of the more popular options. It is worth noting that the costs of the courses mentioned are for on-campus packages, including flights, accommodation, instruction, and exam fees.
1) Microsoft Azure
Courses include: Azure Fundamentals, DevOps, Solutions Architect, Developer, Administrator, Platform & Infrastructure.
Cost: $4,495 – $6,485
Microsoft Azure is a cloud-based computing service, and is designed to build, test, deploy, and manage the various applications and services through Microsoft data centers. Training in this specialism is ideal for system administrators and developers.
2) Microsoft 365
Courses Include: MCA Security Administrator, MCA Modern Desktop Administrator, MCA Teamwork Administrator, MCA Messaging Administrator, MCE Enterprise Administrator.
Cost: $3995 – $5,595
As you can probably tell, there are a broad range of Microsoft 365 courses available for an even wider range of specializations. As Microsoft represents the gold standard for computing and IT, completing a course accredited by the company will not only look great on your resume, but ensure your knowledge is at a top-tier level.
How to Ask your Boss/Company for Sponsorship
There are several steps you can take to ensure your sponsorship request is as likely to be accepted as possible.
1) Do Your Research
Make sure you know the ins and outs of the course you’re intending to apply for, including the benefits to you and the company, the cost, the time it takes, and any other logistics you think will be pertinent to your specific field. Being knowledgeable about the course you want to take will show you are committed and have taken the time to undergo accurate research and are not simply expecting your boss to sponsor you on a sudden whim.
2) Sell the Course
While you should of course keep the key information of the course as accurate as possible when presenting it to your boss, you should also be sure to up-sell the benefits of being certified, both for you and most importantly for the company.
3) Make the Request Formal
Put in an official ‘request for budget’ form, or whatever your businesses’ comparative system is. Make sure you show the work you have put in from the previous two steps, to ensure your claim is well rounded and thought out.
Be sure to emphasize the value that becoming certified will give, not only monetarily, but also in regards to your job performance and expertise.
4) Share the Knowledge
A key thing to emphasize that can often make a difference between acceptance and refusal is your willingness to share the knowledge you will gain on the course with those around you. This is a boon to employers as in theory they get multiple trained individuals for the price of one!
5) Don’t be Dismayed
If your request isn’t accepted first time round, then don’t be disheartened! It may be that your employer either does not have the funds left in the yearly budget, or that they feel you need more experience before accepting your request.
Try reapplying at the start of the new financial year, or buckle down for a while longer, and resubmit your request, emphasizing what you have learned since your last attempt.
Another important thing to keep in mind when it comes to talking to you employer about certification is that the course provider matters.
You can’t just pick anywhere — you need to make sure the company you’re offering as an option is the best there is when it comes to training. With the right training and the support of your employer, you’ll have a valuable certification under your belt in no time!