Careers and Hiring Guide menu >

Exploring training and certifications in the Microsoft community

Whatever the Microsoft Cloud role, use our guide to benchmark your salary or contact rate, or to uncover what you should be paying employees in your team.

With Microsoft solutions being constantly developed and updated, staying ahead of the curve is critical for any Microsoft professional. Building a rewarding, sustainable career in cloud technology means taking a life-long approach to learning new skills and embracing new technologies—and while there may be more to learn about than ever before, there are also more certifications and specialist learning paths available to help professionals showcase their expertise.

In this section, we’ll take a look at what Microsoft professionals know, what accreditations they’re earning, and what kind of certifications are most highly valued in the market today.

What percentage of candidates hold a Microsoft certification?​

The number of certified professionals is now 54%—down from 59% in 2023.

54%
32%
14%
57%
28%
15%
49%
36%
15%

Types of Microsoft Cloud certifications held by candidates

Microsoft Azure certification(s) 49%
Microsoft Dynamics 365 certification(s) 38%
Microsoft Power Platform certification(s) 22%
Microsoft 365 certification(s) 15%
Microsoft Security, Compliance, and Identity role-based certification(s) 13%
Another Microsoft certification 23%
Over two-fifths (41%) of respondents have undergone certification renewal to maintain their Microsoft Certified status.

Top Microsoft Azure certifications held by candidates

Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals 60%
Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate 30%
Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Fundamentals 22%
Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert 22%
Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Fundamentals 19%
Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate 17%
Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate 11%
Microsoft Certified: DevOps Engineer Expert 11%
Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate 10%
Microsoft Certified: Azure Database Administrator Associate, Microsoft Certified: Azure Virtual Desktop Specialty 5%

Top 10 Microsoft Dynamics 365 certifications held by candidates

1.

27%

Microsoft Certified:
Dynamics 365
Fundamentals (ERP)

2.

22%

Microsoft Certified:
Dynamics 365
Fundamentals (CRM)

3.

18%

Microsoft Certified:
Dynamics 365 Business Central Functional Consultant Associate

4.

17%

Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Finance Functional Consultant Associate

1.

27%

Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Fundamentals (ERP)

2.

22%

Microsoft Certified:Dynamics 365 Fundamentals (CRM)

3.

18%

Microsoft Certified: 
Dynamics 365 Business Central
Functional Consultant Associate

4.

17%

Microsoft Certified:
Dynamics 365 Finance Functional
Consultant Associate
5 Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Sales Functional Consultant Associate 17%
6 Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365: Finance and Operations Apps Developer Associate 12%
7 Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management Functional Consultant Associate 11%
8 Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365: Finance and Operations Apps Solution Architect Expert 11%
9 Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Customer Service Functional Consultant Associate 10%
10 Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, Manufacturing Functional Consultant Associate 6%

Microsoft Power Platform certifications held by candidates

Microsoft Certified: Power Platform Fundamentals

62%
Microsoft Certified: Power Platform Functional Consultant Associate

33%
Microsoft Certified: Power Platform Developer Associate

29%
Microsoft Certified: Power BI Data Analyst Associate

25%
Microsoft Certified: Power Platform App Maker Associate

25%
Microsoft Certified: Power Platform Solution Architect Expert

23%
Microsoft Certified: Power Automate RPA Developer Associated

4%
Microsoft Certified: Customer Data Platform Specialty

2%

Microsoft 365 certifications held by candidates

Microsoft 365 Certified: Fundamentals 57%
Microsoft 365 Certified: Teams Administrator Associate 37%
Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator Expert 25%
Microsoft 365 Certified: Security Administrator Associate 22%
Microsoft 365 Certified: Modern Desktop Administrator Associate 18%
Another Microsoft 365 Certified: Collaboration Communications Systems Engineer Associate 12%
Microsoft 365 Certified: Teams Voice Engineer Expert 9%
Microsoft 365 Certified: Teams Application Developer Associate 7%
Microsoft 365 Certified: Messaging Administrator Associate 6%
Microsoft 365 Certified: Exchange Online Support Engineer Specialty 4%
Microsoft 365 Certified: Teams Support Engineer Specialty 3%

Microsoft Security, Compliance, and Identity role-based certifications held by candidates

Microsoft Certified: Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals 54%
Microsoft Certified: Identity and Access Administrator Associate 25%
Microsoft 365 Certified: Security Administrator Associate 22%
Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate 22%
Microsoft Certified: Information Protection Administrator Associate 13%
Microsoft Certified: Security Operations Analyst Associate 13%
Microsoft Certified: Cybersecurity Architect Expert 10%

Other Microsoft certifications held by candidates

SQL Server
0 %
Microsoft Windows
0 %
Microsoft Office
0 %
Microsoft Teams
0 %
SQL Server
0 %
Microsoft Windows
0 %
Microsoft Office
0 %
Microsoft Teams
0 %

Does holding a Microsoft certification make you a more valuable professional?

78%
12%
10%

Over three-quarters (78%) of respondents with certifications believe they make you a more valuable candidate—this is up from 75% in our previous survey.

78%
12%
10%

Over three-quarters (78%) of respondents with certifications believe they make you a more valuable candidate—this is up from 75% in our previous survey.

Maximizing value: How might certifications make candidates more valuable to employers?

Reasons for considering that certifications add value to a candidate can be grouped into the following key themes:

Summarizing the skeptics: Why don't respondents believe that certifications make candidates more valuable to employers?

Three themes cover the reasons for considering that certifications do not add value to a candidate:

What are the main benefits you can gain from undertaking a certification?

Added skills and value to my organization
0 %
A way to verify my skills with Microsoft products
0 %
Better career progression opportunities
0 %
Increased efficiency at my job 35%
Improved and increased industry knowledge 34%
The ability to perform complex tasks more confidently 32%
Better marketability to employers/enhanced professional profile 29%
Recognition from my employer that my skills adhere to a professional standard 28%
More respect from co-workers 28%
More trust from my employer 25%

How does gaining a certification impact your salary?

43%
57%

Those who reported earning a salary increase post-certification received an average raise of 20%, which is a decrease of 2% from our last survey.

Are employers contributing towards the cost of certifications?

Yes, they paid for my certifications in full 57%
Yes, they partially paid for my certifications 11%
No, I paid for my certifications 29%
Other 3%
Yes, they paid for my certifications in full 38%
Yes, they partially paid for my certifications 15%
No, I paid for my certifications 42%
Other 4%
Yes, they paid for my certifications in full 70%
Yes, they partially paid for my certifications 10%
No, I paid for my certifications 18%
Other 1%
‘Other’ responses include a free voucher provided by Microsoft after attending training programs or webinars.

What Microsoft certifications can boost your pay according to our respondents?

Top 5 Microsoft Azure certifications that can increase your earning potential​
1 Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert 39%
2 Microsoft Certified: DevOps Engineer Expert 25%
3 Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Engineer Associate 23%
4 Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate 19%
5 Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate 16%
Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365: Finance and Operations Apps Solution Architect Expert 28%
Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management Functional Consultant Expert 14%
Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, Manufacturing Functional Consultant Associate 14%
Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Finance Functional Consultant Associate 13%
Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Sales Functional Consultant Associate, Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management Functional Consultant Associate 12%
1 Microsoft Certified: Power Platform Solution Architect Expert 54%
2 Microsoft Certified: Power Platform Developer Associate 25%
3 Microsoft Certified: Power BI Data Analyst Associate 24%
4 Microsoft Certified: Power Platform Functional Consultant Associate 23%
5 Microsoft Certified: Power Platform App Maker Associate 14%
Microsoft 365 Certified: Security Administrator Associate 41%
Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator Expert 38%
Microsoft 365 Certified: Collaboration Communications Systems Engineer Associate 18%
Microsoft 365 Certified: Modern Desktop Administrator Associate, Microsoft 365 Certified: Teams Application Developer Associate 16%
Microsoft 365 Certified: Teams Administrator Associate, Microsoft 365 Certified: Teams Voice Engineer Expert 15%
Microsoft Certified: Cybersecurity Architect Expert 56%
Microsoft Certified: Identity and Access Administrator Associate 29%
Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate 26%
Microsoft 365 Certified: Security Administrator Associate, Microsoft Certified: Information Protection Administrator Associate, Microsoft Certified: Security Operations Analyst Associate 23%
Microsoft Certified: Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals 13%

What motivates a Microsoft professional to get certified?

We also asked those professionals who are not currently certified or actively pursuing a certification what would encourage them to undertake one. Employer funding for certifications is again the top motivating factor to encourage non-certified candidates to get certified.

Employer funding
for certifications
0 %
The opportunity of
learning new skills
0 %
The promise of a pay increase after gaining certification
0 %
Paid time off to attend training or study 37%
The incentive of a promotion or a new role after gaining certification 31%
If it was a requirement of my role 25%
Discounted certifications 21%
None of the above 11%
Other 2%

What are the barriers to achieving a certification?

Interestingly, 34% of professionals have begun studying for a certification but stopped before taking the exam. Reasons given for not sitting the exam include:

Lack of time to study because of a high workload

68%
Lack of time to study because of personal commitments

28%
Procrastination

15%
Lack of motivation

13%
Struggles with self-directed learning

12%
I was worried I wouldn't pass the exam

9%
I found the course material too complex/difficult to understand

5%
Other
8%
‘Other’ responses include a change in career direction.

Conclusion

While over half (54%) of respondents are certified, this number has dropped slightly since our last report. In 2023, 59% of respondents reported holding at least one certification.

Given that 78% of respondents believe having certifications makes a professional more valuable, there is clearly a disconnect between those who think certifications are worth earning, and those that go on to do so.

This small drop in professionals with certifications could be due to a number of factors. Increasing workloads for tech professionals, exacerbated by the skills gap, can mean employees have less time available to study for such accreditations. Economic factors may also play a part, with businesses cutting budgets for learning and development.

In light of the ongoing skills gap, and the importance of investing in learning and development to both employee satisfaction and attraction, employers must maintain a focus on upskilling in their organization if they are to build a sustainable talent pipeline for the future.

Why not explore even more of our content:

Skills and experience

Explore the skill sets and expertise of Microsoft professionals

Where to go to learn about Microsoft

We look into resources you can use to expand your professional development

Want the highlights from this year's Careers and Hiring Guide at a glance? Our key findings report contains our top level insight and salary tables, so you can compare your own salary or benchmark your teams' across the Microsoft ecosystem.