Microsoft Office Certification questions (Temp agencies too)

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Microsoft Office Certification questions (Temp agencies too)

Postby Mary Mary » Tue Mar 18, 2014 5:43 am

I have some questions about getting a certification for Microsoft Office (and/or some of the other Microsoft certifications.)

Some background: I have an associates degree in computer programming...that I have never actually used. It's nearly 30 years since I got it.

I've not really worked much during my adult life. I've been a stay at home mom pretty much since I was 21 and I am almost 50 now.

I have two adult kids and two much younger kids, my youngest is in 1st grade.

I'd love to have a job where I'd be able to be home in the summers. For that reason I'm contemplating contacting a temp agency. I'm thinking that might be a reasonable way to re-enter the work force AND maintain some ability to NOT take jobs during the summer. I really know nothing about how they function though.

In perusing job listings I notice that a LOT of them specify that a person must be proficient in Microsoft Office products. At this point I have very limited experience with those products. I have a bit more experience with similar programs under a different brand. (For example, I wrote an application in Lotuscript using Lotus Approach for my husband that has 26 linked databases. I also taught myself the basics of Object Oriented Programming at the same time. That was at least 15 years ago and he still uses that application.)

In the past I've considered pursuing training and certification in Microsoft products but just never followed through. (Obviously, prior to last year I had a preschooler.) I'm feeling more serious about that now, especially with both my little kids in school full time.

So...I guess just talk to me about Microsoft certifications. What should I know? Would it be worth my time without also having a more current college degree as well? Would it be enough to get me a basic 'office work' type job?

And what should I know about working for a temp agency?

I feel very much at square one here.
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Re: Microsoft Office Certification questions (Temp agencies

Postby SquarePeg » Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:18 am

I worked for a temp agency during three summers while going to college. I was proficient in a particular type of printed circuit board (PCB) design software, and there was good demand for my skills. I would call in my hours by a certain time every week, then I'd pick up the paycheck in person (because I was driving past them anyway). I didn't bother with health insurance. There was nothing to dislike about temping, but I didn't want to do PCB design for the rest of my life. Yet if I lost my job today, I'd immediately temp out to keep my income stream going.

I didn't have any expectations about temping, but I was mildly chagrined that I was treated with more respect than I was accustomed to. I did get the occasional job that no one wanted to do or could do, but the fact is that I got jobs that were fairly easy I think because no one wanted to have to explain intricate details. So I wasn't dumped on at all.

I've taken some classes that are recommended for folks who plan to test for certification. They are basic, boring and expensive (but my employer paid for them). So I'm thinking you could teach yourself what you need to know right now for free using the SAMs "Teach Yourself" books or on the job if they ask you to do a mail merge or something else that's slightly more involved. And the temp agency that you decide to work with probably might not require MS Office certification. But the classes give you the chance to compare yourself with others. And you might just decide that teaching such classes would be better!

I don't think college will help you get what you're after.

That's all I have time for now...
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Re: Microsoft Office Certification questions (Temp agencies

Postby Scenario Thinker » Tue Mar 18, 2014 1:28 pm

I'm sure you have the aptitude if you taught yourself OO programming.

I would first start teaching yourself and see if you even like them. You might like going behind the scenes and coding in VBA which is what I do a lot of. If you can claim to know MS products and can code VBA or write macros, you probably wouldn't need a certificate. I'm sure a certificate would teach you a lot while you went for it, but I've taken about every Excel and Access class out on the business circuit over the years, and they don't go very deep into VBA, I learned most of that on my own and a lot of trial and error and reading online (thank God for Google these days).

But, if you can get a job using Microsoft stuff, you can get your foot in the door and expand on that while on the job.

In general when I see that a job wants proficiency in Microsoft products, it just means that practically everyone uses their word processor, spreadsheets, databases and presentations (Powerpoint), so they just want you to be able to use them to support the main job if it's not an admin or something.
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Re: Microsoft Office Certification questions (Temp agencies

Postby Mary Mary » Tue Mar 18, 2014 2:03 pm

Thanks for the replies!

I do suspect that all I would need would be some time working with the software packages and I'd catch on quickly. It's good to know that there wouldn't need to be a ton of education needed to get reasonably proficient.
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Re: Microsoft Office Certification questions (Temp agencies

Postby Knight » Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:33 pm

Check and see if there are any free practice tests online. You might find you already know more than you think you do, and it should highlight areas you need to work on.
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Re: Microsoft Office Certification questions (Temp agencies

Postby Mary Mary » Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:07 pm

Knight wrote:Check and see if there are any free practice tests online. You might find you already know more than you think you do, and it should highlight areas you need to work on.


I think I will do that. Thanks!
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Re: Microsoft Office Certification questions (Temp agencies

Postby Elaine Glimme » Mon Apr 07, 2014 10:32 pm

The library might be a good place to start.

Just a heads up. Everything to do with computers gets upgraded at a ridiculous speed. Icons get moved to a different part of the screen. Operations are carried out in different ways. Working with an upgraded computer program is like learning a new language. It's something that you can learn to do but it does have its frustrating moments.

At least it's frustrating for me. I've done a little of this :bash:, but, that said, if I can do it, you can too.

p.s. I have some friends, including internet friends on Barbara's Boards who have helped me when I got stuck. Also p.s. I mean this post as a heads up, and not to be discouraging. You talked about working for a temp agency, and that would be a great way to get your feet wet, and also a great way to master Microsoft.

Good wishes. (I won't say "good luck" because luck has not much to do with it.)
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