The city of Atlanta, Georgia hosted a heat in one of the world’s more unusual competitions in mid-June this year, when 150 finalists tested their skills to eventually decide who would be named the US winner of the Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship for 2018.
The annual event, which is now in its 17th year, sees students aged 13 to 22 from countries across the globe compete on accuracy and speed in completing projects using Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Rather than using Office 365, which is altered too frequently to offer a level playing field, the competitors are tested using their choice of either Microsoft Office 2013 or 2016.
To enter the qualification round for the event, students simply need to take a Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam, which automatically enters their score into the World Championship tally. Degree-seeking students at recognised academic institutions are then able to participate in several heats around the country. The first-place winner, which is to be decided in August, will take home about £5,300 in prize money as well as a trophy and other gifts from Microsoft. Second and third place winners win a medallion and special certification, as well as £2,600 and £1,200 respectively.
In 2017 the competition, which is sponsored and organised by IT certification company Centiport, attracted over half a million candidates from 122 countries. The eventual winners came from countries as widespread as Romania, Thailand, China and the United States.
This year’s national winner in the PowerPoint division was 17-year-old Linh Nguyen of Washington state. Using the Office 2016 version of PowerPoint, Nguyen recreated a printed version of a project she was given by the event’s judges. She cited the importance of hard work and accuracy in gaining the title.
Nguyen said: “Do not care about time too much, because accuracy is important. Accuracy helped me win.”
Her training regime involved staying after school each day and practicing for 30 minutes in PowerPoint presentations. Eventually, she was able to achieve her goal of completing an online practice test with a perfect score in under five minutes.
Nguyen moved to the United States from Vietnam only three years ago. Her original aim to compete in the Microsoft Word division hit an obstacle when she found her English language typing ability was limited by it being her second language. After switching to PowerPoint, however, she found it easy to use her techniques to create presentations with advanced transitions and animated charts.
She said: “I think there are not any obstacles or constraints for me to learn about technology and join in competitions like this.”
Also noteworthy is that Nguyen was the only female winner at the national round of this year’s competition. She hopes this will inspire more women to immerse themselves in the field of technology.
We don’t expect you’ll be entering any competitions, but as specialists in Microsoft Office 365, SharePoint and other leading business technology, we can give your business a competitive edge. Contact our friendly customer service team at WM Reply to find out more.