This year’s Microsoft Certified Trainer summit took place in Redmond, WA. The summit’s purpose is four-fold:

1. To facilitate any trainers-to-be to become MCT-certified via the train-the-trainer bootcamp

2. To learn and share information on the state of the art of Microsoft technologies in the field

3. To update hard skills by taking new exams or attending the exam crams

4. To socialize and expand your network

To become an MCT, one must demonstrate soft skills in addition to becoming professionally certified in a technology of your choice. Learn more about the full requirements here. The MCT designation is probably one of the most misunderstood of the Microsoft certifications.  A technical qualification with soft skills does not always mean that MCTs only teach courses to other Microsoft stack developers. MCTs also branch out into other areas, such as technical sales, internal corporate competency management and consulting.

For me, the summit began with the soft skills bootcamp, to convert my Windows 8 MCSD into an MCT. The two-day bootcamp teaches you the difference between a learning environment and a presentation, how to connect with different types of people that may be in your audience, how to ensure the reception of what you are delivering to them and how to evaluate how much they had learned at the end. In my opinion, if you are interested in branching out from being a developer into the technical sales or pre-sales fields, becoming an MCT will give you the leg up that would otherwise take a long time to attain on your own. The boot camp ends with your delivering a recorded 10-minute presentation on the subject of your choice. Once I receive the video file, I will post my 10-min WinJS MVC presentation on YouTube.

During the presentation days, the summit had high quality presentations to offer. The introduction keynote was delivered by Lutz Ziob, who spoke about the emerging technologies in learning and the changing learning technology industry. Information is now widely available on the internet and universities around the country are making online courses available for free. Instead of making their revenue on the delivery of training they are trying to capitalize on the exams, charging students 6-8k for each exam. Personally, I believe that modern learning institutions have 3 things to offer: signal without noise in content, expertise in the field through instructors and credibility via examinations. Providing access to free lectures online is an acknowledgement of the free availability of simple content (like what is available on the MSDN – which is why I don’t believe you should ever parrot the MSDN in a blog or presentation) but there are still people who will not be able to learn from it without additional help.

Other presentations included a range of topics from advanced SQL development to using the Windows Server 2012 PowerShell. My role during the presentation days was to deliver a talk on WinJS design patterns and advanced development. The slide deck for it is now available on Slideshare.

It was great to meet everyone who attended the summit and I would like to thank the organizers whose hard work made it possible. I highly recommend becoming an MCT if you are interested in pursuing a career that requires strong soft skills.

There is another blog post coming soon after this one, related to the subject of WinJS design patterns that I talked about during the summit. Keep checking our BlueMetal blog and be sure not to miss it!