Thursday, June 13, 2024

Certification Watch: New Certs Focus on Help Desk

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Both Apple and Microsoft recently have unveiled help desk-focused certifications, a potential boon for end users who will have more places to turn to for competent help. Plus these new titles can be used as a learning blueprint by individuals seeking to expand their operating system skills beyond the everyday level.

Nortel and Check Point have new offerings as well, and IBM has resurrected a batch of retired exams. Here are the latest developments in computer certification:

Microsoft Launches Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician (MCDST)

The newest certification from Microsoft may prove very useful to businesses worldwide, by creating a corps of certified support technicians to troubleshoot Microsoft applications, including the Windows operating system and the programs that run on it.

The MCDST focuses on a help desk, technical support role rather than network administration or programming. In fact, MCDSTs are not expected to have network administration skills. They will, however, have to pass two exams: Exam 70-271: Supporting Users and Troubleshooting Microsoft Windows Desktop Operating Systems, and Exam 70-272: Supporting Users and Troubleshooting Applications on a Microsoft Windows Desktop Operating System Platform. These exams are not available yet, but should be out by the end of this year.

Apple Adds New Help Desk Certification, Adds OS X 10.3 Exams

The new Apple Certified Help Desk Specialist (ACHDS) designation is intended for individuals who support Mac OS X customers over the phone or who perform Mac OS X troubleshooting and support in schools and businesses. This single-exam certification covers the Mac OS X client operating system, but not Mac OS X server. The exam costs $150 and is available through Prometric test centers.

The ACHDS exam is also the first of two exams required to earn Apple Certified Technical Coordinator (ACTC) on OS version 10.3 (the second covers OS X Server essentials). New exams for OS X version 10.3 are now available for both ACTC and ACSA titles. Previous exams were for version 10.2. Upgrade paths are available for those certified on the earlier version.

New Contivity Security Design Expert Certification from Nortel Networks

Nortel Networks adds to the Security Solutions suite of certifications already available with the release of Nortel Networks Certified Design Expert (NNCDE) – Contivity Security certification. In order to achieve this new Design Expert certification, you must hold a Nortel Networks Certified Design Specialist (NNCDS) certification in Contivity VPN Switch plus successfully complete the Contivity Security (#920-441) exam. You should also have 6-12 months related work experience.

New Entry Level Security Title Available from Check Point
Check Point Certified Security Principles Associate (CCSPA) is an entry-level certification that validates proficiency in security fundamentals, concepts, and best practices. Individuals who earn this title should be able to recognize network security threats and recommend security options in the enterprise. The necessary exam costs $150 and is available through the Pearson VUE network.

2004 MCT Applications Now Being Accepted

Individuals who want to become a Microsoft Certified Trainer can now submit applications for the 2004 program year. Applications are taken online via the MCP Member site The program fee to become an MCT vary by country. In the USA the 2004 fee is $400. Individuals employed by a CTEC get a 25% discount.

For a full description of MCT requirements, see GoCertify’s Microsoft MCT page.

IBM Reinstates WepSphere V4.0 Certifications

Due to popular demand, IBM has reinstated the WebSphere 4.0 product specific certifications that were retired September 30th. The full list is available on IBM’s Web site.

That’s all for this edition of Certification Watch. Please keep your
certification news and tips coming to

Anne Martinez is the author of Cheap Web Tricks: Build and Promote a Successful Web Site Without Spending A Dime and Get Certified and Get Ahead. She also is the founder of

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