This paper will provide details of a qualitative research study undertaken by The Open University in the UK as part of the European Social Funded (ESF) funded JIVE (Joint Interventions) Partners project. It reports important results relating to lessons and experiences of women who have embarked on the process of seeking the vendor-specific certification of Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE). The research study is significant because it represents the first known academic study of vendor-specific certifications that focuses on the experiences of women. Given the small percentage of women working in network administration, it is hoped that results from this study will provide valuable insights into the challenges such certification presents to women.\ud The paper describes the context for the study. It then outlines why the training providers, both established voluntary sector women’s training centres, and the women trainees themselves chose this particular vendor-specific certification. It outlines results from qualitative interviews with women studying at two Microsoft Academies, The Women’s Workshop in Cardiff (WWiC) and Oxford Women’s Training Scheme (OWTS). This section of the paper will focus on:\ud Why study for MCSE certification: women’s reflections on why they embarked on this path;\ud Issues associated with offering the MCSE pathway;\ud Importance of a women-only training environment
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