Microsoft recently announced two new certifications--Microsoft Certified Application Specialist and Microsoft Certified Application Professional--focused on end-user career advancement and salary potential. Lutz Ziob, general manager of Microsoft Learning, said, "For people looking to advance their careers, certification is a proven benefit." Citing the Robert Half International "OfficeTeam 2007 Salary Guide," Microsoft's announcement stated that information workers could earn as much as 10 percent more if they have Office Specialist certification.

Application Specialist certification covers the skills necessary for using a single application, including individual Microsoft Office applications or Windows Vista. Application Professional certification measures a user's ability to use multiple products--including Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007--to accomplish four key business tasks: managing budgets, managing presentations, managing team collaboration, and supporting organizations. However, Microsoft's announcement doesn't address IT's concerns about the support costs associated with users learning about Microsoft Office 2007's UI and functionality.

For more information about how these certifications or the pretest skills assessments can help your users transition to Office 2007, see the following URL:

   http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/msbc/datasheet/default.mspx