Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) refers to the broad certification program for Microsoft, although it can also refer to an individual candidate who had completed any one exam within the program (subject to some exclusions).
The MCP program offers multiple certifications, based on different areas of technical expertise. To attain these certifications, a candidate must pass a series of exams within the program. The current certifications are Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS), Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD), Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) and the Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA).
Popular previous generation certifications include Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE), Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD) and Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA).
Some employers require or prefer certain MCP certifications for specific jobs that involve Microsoft products and technologies. Other vendors have their own certification programs such as the Sun Certified Professional program, the Red Hat Certification Program, the Oracle Certification Program, the Cisco Career Certifications program, the Ubuntu Certified Professional program and the Apple Certification Program.