Microsoft, CompTIA and HDI Collaborate to…

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Three of the most prominent certification providers, Microsoft, the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) and the Help Desk Institute (HDI), have joined forces to promote four certifications as complementary programs in the field of IT service and support, officials from all three companies announced.

CompTIA’s A+ certification for PC service and support technicians; HDI’s Customer Support Specialist (CSS) or Help Desk Analyst (HDA) certification levels, which deal with interpersonal “soft” skills; and the Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician (MCDST) certification, which focuses on desktop operating systems and applications, will be promoted as a comprehensive package for support services professionals.


“Our goal here is to address the skill sets of an individual who is in a help-desk scenario, where they’re dealing with customers either internally or externally and are helping them troubleshoot a situation that’s related to either a problem with an operating system or a PC- or hardware-related problem,” said Carl Bowman, CompTIA’s certification program manager.


“The help-desk profession is really a mix of technical and soft skills,” said Dan Truax, director for business and product strategy for Microsoft Learning. “The help-desk professional that’s really going to do the best job of servicing their customer is the one that has a really well-rounded set of competencies. The partnership we have with HDI and CompTIA is so compelling because those are two organizations that are clearly experts in their realm of understanding. As a help-desk professional, if I have all three pillars of those skill sets (soft skills, hardware and operating systems), I’m going to do a fundamentally better job of supporting my customer.”


Both Truax and Bowman said a large part of promoting the certifications collectively would be delineating to customers how they fit together. “We are looking at outlining our objectives,” Bowman said. “We’ll probably have some kind of documentation sometime in the near future that will outline that in more detail.”


“One of the most compelling things we can do for customers is provide them with a very solid and detailed road map to these different competency areas so they understand what each of these certifications qualifies, and when they need which one and how they should go about preparing for them—how they’re different and how they complement each other,” Truax said.


Although the partnership undoubtedly will benefit the companies involved, the main beneficiary will be the consumers, Truax said. “I feel great when I see partnerships like this, because one of the things you’re starting to see in certification is the general recognition that offers like this are really best for the customer. It shows them that, along with the other organizations, we’re thinking about what’s best for them and don’t view it as a competing kind of effort. We’re truly trying to come up with the right skills solution that will help our customers do the best job they can.”

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