Back in mid-2016 Microsoft announced the Microsoft Professional Program (MPP). The MPP program is an online certification/”degree” program from Microsoft that allows anyone to study and obtain a larger certification (that is also similar to an online micro-degree) in a specific area of expertise. In the past, the program consisted of 5 programs to choose from, but recent Microsoft has added the sixth track of choice to the Microsoft Professional Program. Recently, Microsoft has added a brand new “IT Support” track to the Microsoft Professional Program. This sixth track certainly rounds out the MPP program to cover a very broad array of technology areas that ANYONE can study, learn, obtain certification/degree, and CHANGE THEIR LIFE by filling the skills gap!

What exactly is the Microsoft Professional Program?

You may be wondering, “What’s the difference between the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) program and Microsoft Professional Program?” This is a perfectly valid question, and the answer is quite simple. The Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) program is about passing single certification exams (or multiple exams for a bigger cert; like the MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification) that narrows in on a very specific technology from Microsoft. The MCP program is really great for professionals to provide proof they have skills with a certain technology. However, the Microsoft Professional Program (MPP) on the other hand is more like a “degree” program than what the MCP program is.

The Microsoft Professional Program was originally named the Microsoft Professional Degree program when Microsoft originally announced it. The program is designed to help fill the skills gap by providing a “micro-degree” using a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) platform. Most MOOC platforms (like Opsgility, Pluralsight, and others) provide online, on-demand courses that can be taken to learn specific tasks or skills, then the student can take that and do what they need to on the job, pass a certification exam, or what ever they may do. The Microsoft Professional Program is a bit different than this, as it takes a number of courses, puts them together in a way that they build on each other in a series, then the student creates and passes a final Capstone project to earn the “micro-degree” at the end.

The Microsoft Professional Program (MPP) is a program that sits in the middle between traditional technology certifications, and traditional college/university degrees. It’s a bit like a self-paced technical certification program; similar to what you may get at a local technical college. However, the Microsoft Professional Program is much cheaper to pay for, eliminates textbooks, and geared towards filling very specific job roles without any of the “general education” classes. This program is Microsoft’s latest attempt to help fill the skills gap and train qualified candidates for the many IT jobs that are remaining unfilled.

This program is Microsoft’s latest attempt to help fill the skills gap and train qualified candidates for the many IT jobs that are remaining unfilled.

The New IT Support Track

The new IT Support track of the Microsoft Professional Program (MPP) is geared towards training students interested in a career in IT working in a Help Desk or Tier 1 IT Support role. The curriculum covers a broad range of IT skills to support many different technology areas. It consists of a total of 14 courses that cover 13 skills.

Here’s a list of the skill categories with the course titles for each category:

  • Skill: Fundamentals
    • IT Support: Fundamentals course: Learn the core priorities and key responsibilities of the IT Support role. The course then examines what influences customer behavior when dealing with IT Support, including global cultural differences and communication styles. The course concludes with an introduction to the basic stages of case management, from initial receipt of a support call through solution development and closure.
  • Skill: Communication
    • IT Support: Communication course: Learn an appreciation for the communication skills that a successful support agent needs. The course reviews effective communication strategies that will help you develop a rapport with your customer. You then examine ways to connect with your customer through phone, email, chat, and social media, including a demonstration of empathy and communicating at the customer’s level of expertise. Finally, you examine how to deal with challenging customers and how to defuse a customer’s anger.
  • Skill: Troubleshooting
    • IT Support: Troubleshooting course: Learn an in-depth knowledge of the steps involved in troubleshooting a customer issue throughout its life cycle. Expand your skills to become a more efficient and effective troubleshooter including training on tips and tricks on developing analytical solutions, troubleshooting best practices, how to manage customer expectations and handle customer objections to proposed solutions regardless of product.
  • Skill: Documentation
    • IT Support: Documentation course: Learn importance of maintaining complete, detailed, and accurate documentation and when and how to apply that knowledge. This course follows up on the IT Support Troubleshooting course by delving deeper into the case management process and identifying the key issues that need to be documented throughout the evolution of a case. You will learn the reasons why documentation is so critical in the field of IT Support, the different types of questions to ask, and why it is so crucial to capture all viewpoints within case documentation, from the support agent, to the customer, and to any other internal resource who may get involved.
  • Skill: Hardware Essentials
    • IT Support: Hardware Essentials course: Learn the basic understanding of the different types of computing devices (desktop computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.), computer components (CPU, memory, power supplies, etc.) as well as peripheral devices, storage devices, displays and connection interfaces. This course includes in introduction to basic hardware troubleshooting skills.
  • Skill: Networking Essentials
    • IT Support: Networking Essentials course: Learn basic core networking concepts to learners that are new to IT Support. The course starts with explaining the purpose of networking and how networks are laid out in homes, offices, between offices and around the world with the Internet. Finally, the course goes into details of troubleshooting common networking issues. The detailed topics in this course includes understanding network topologies, understanding physical networking, understanding network protocols and troubleshooting common network issues.
  • Skill: Windows Installation
    • Windows Support Essentials: Installation course: Learn how to support the installation tasks associated with Windows 10. You will develop skills that include learning how to install and customize Windows 10 operating systems and applications, configure web browsers and OneDrive. You will also learn about upgrading and migrating to Windows 10.
  • Skill: Windows Configuration
    • Windows Support Essentials: Configuration course: Learn how to support the configuration tasks associated with Windows 10. You will develop skills that include managing storage, files, and printers as well as how to configure network connectivity for Windows 10. You will also learn how to manage authorization and authentication of users.
  • Skill: Windows Maintenance
    • Windows Support Essentials: Maintenance course: Learn how to support the maintenance tasks associated with Windows 10. You will develop skills that include learning how to manage network and device security. You will also learn about backup and recovery as well as how to optimize performance of Windows 10.
  • Skill: Troubleshooting Windows
    • IT Support: Troubleshooting Windows course: Learn the essential skills for troubleshooting basic issues that can happen with Microsoft Windows and how to find the issues and fix them. In this course we assembled the top issues people can encounter when using Microsoft Windows. We discuss the symptoms, what tools you will use to identify the issues and how to fix the issues on your Windows PC. These include troubleshooting Windows installation problems, troubleshooting Windows web browser problems, troubleshooting application installation issues, troubleshooting Windows Authentication problems, clean malware infected devices.
  • Skill: Microsoft Office Fundamentals
    • Microsoft Office Fundamentals: Outlook, Word, and Excel course: Learn basic Word, Excel, and Outlook skills including how to create and manage documents, organize information in tables, perform calculations on data, create graphs and charts, organize your email Inbox, and manage email automatically.
  • Skill: Troubleshooting Microsoft Office
    • IT Support: Troubleshooting Microsoft Office course: Learn the basics of setting up an email client in Outlook, troubleshooting connectivity issues, and troubleshooting cloud storage for both Windows and Mac platforms.
  • Skill: Cloud Fundamentals
    • IT Support: Cloud Fundamentals course: Learn the basics of core cloud concepts and a historical perspective of how IT evolved to needing cloud solutions. The detailed topics include building a case for the cloud, understanding cloud types, understanding the cloud services and security, introduction to Microsoft Azure, introduction to Microsoft Office 365.

After all the courses in the curriculum have been passed, then the last step of the IT Support track of the Microsoft Professional Program (MPP) is to complete and pass the Microsoft Professional Capstone: IT Support project. This project completes the program by validating the students skills and knowledge they’ve learned throughout the course. Upon successful completion, the student will earn the Microsoft Professional Program Certificate in IT Support.

For the official course curriculum and other information about the Microsoft Professional Program: IT Support track, please reference the official Microsoft Professional Program website here: https://academy.microsoft.com/en-us/professional-program/tracks/it-support/

Posted by Chris Pietschmann

Chris is a Microsoft MVP and has nearly 20 years of experience building enterprise systems both in the cloud and on-premises. He is also a Certified Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect (both MCSD and MCSE), a Microsoft Certified Trainer, and self proclaimed Cloud Advocate. He has a passion for technology and sharing what he learns with others to help enable them to learn faster and be more productive.

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