REDMOND, Wash., April 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Microsoft Corp. today announced changes to its Microsoft Certification Program for IT professionals and developers, designed to specifically address the growing skills gap in the technology industry. As jobs with new skills profiles are created by public and private IT cloud computing solutions, certification and training enable IT professionals and developers to differentiate themselves and align their skills to these new profiles, which are in high demand in the market. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20000822/MSFTLOGO) The three skill levels — associate, expert and master — create a clear certification path for a strong career journey, from entry level to the most esteemed. Each certification level is now updated to be solutions-focused and addresses the industry's changing needs while ensuring quality and relevance. Because cloud computing talent is in short supply, Microsoft has reinvented its flagship credential, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, for the cloud. The new Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) shows employers and peers that those certified have the skills to do the job in an expanding market. Forecasts show that public and private IT cloud services will generate nearly 14 million jobs worldwide between now and 2015.(1) The MCSE is the flagship credential for those who want to lead their company to the cloud and is the target credential for established IT professionals and developers who have expertise working with Microsoft technology solutions. "The new Microsoft certifications are raising the bar across the industry and reflect industry shifts that require a broader knowledge base and deeper skills across solutions that cloud computing requires," said Don Field, Microsoft's senior director of Product Management. "The Microsoft certifications reflect the experience and skills needed to build, manage and evolve solutions in a cloud-based environment, ensuring validation of real-world skills for individuals and helping hiring managers identify the best-qualified job candidates." The new framework will help IT professionals and developers navigate their own path, while also making it clearer for hiring managers to identify credentials that offer the greatest value to their organization's needs.