The Microsoft MTA certification is a new certification that Microsoft has created as part of its re-vamped certification track. It’s primarily aimed at students and those who are just beginning their IT or programming career with Microsoft technologies. To quote the MS Learning web site:
Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) is a recommended entry point into IT certification and job preparation. Pass just one exam and you’ll earn a certification, taking your first step toward a career in technology. If you are just starting your IT career path or are looking to enhance your understanding of IT fundamentals, MTA will validate your core knowledge. MTA is an optional industry-recognized certification for those pursuing a career path in IT infrastructure, database design, or software development using Microsoft technologies.
Microsoft’s new certification tracks tend to build on one another; for example, you need to first complete your MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Architect) before you can get your MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Engineer) or your MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer). You can only become an MCSM (Microsoft Certified Solutions Master) once you have your MCSE or MCSD. However, the MTA certification is not a pre-requisite for anything. Its main purpose is for people getting into the workforce to prove that they have basic skills, or for instructors in an academic setting to test their students on what they’ve learned.
I took exam 98-368: Web Development Fundamentals last week. It was testing on very basic web concepts such as how commonly used web controls work, how postbacks work, etc. I completed the exam in about 15 minutes. (Although many many things have changed in the 13 years since I started programming, luckily some things have stayed fairly consistent for the last decade!) I do think taking the exam would be a great way for a beginner to test their knowledge, and get a little confidence to know they have grasped some fundamentals.