Best certifications for deskside technicians?

N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
A+ of course is the defacto certification.

However are there others you could look for that really align with deskside. 680 to me is not a deskside certification, however we are doing a Win 7 rollout. I want to encourage people to do the Win 7 certs but it has to add value not just waste a bunch of time.

What type of Windows certs are out there that align with deskside type functions?

685 looks like something that might but then again I am not sure. I don't want to encourage a certification that doesn't align with the type of work. Especially since I will be attempting to get them paid for......

Thanks for the replies.


  • ptilsenptilsen Member Posts: 2,835 ■■■■■■■■■■
    My snarky answer is MCSA 2008 or CCNA, which allows them to get the hell out of their job and into a good one.

    I wouldn't totally discredit 70-680 for deskside purposes, but I do agree that far too much of it will not be useful. The 70-685 is more appropriate, but to get the actual cert 680 is still needed. One other problem is that 680 is actually fairly hard for someone at the bottom to just pick up, compared to CompTIAs.

    I would actually say Net+ aligns well, because the knowledge learned can greatly aid in troubleshooting. Particularly, it will help in isolating an issue to a particular component or area.

    Whenever I interviewed entry-level guys, I would ask questions to see if they could isolate DNS, DHCP, and physical network issues. They guys who didn't have Net+ or any other certs could almost never even come close, and often wouldn't know what DHCP and DNS even were. We're talking about fairly tech-savvy guys who weren't dumb, one I even hired despite his greenness. But I've never had someone with Net+ fail that line of questioning.
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  • AkaricloudAkaricloud Member Posts: 938
    I would honestly suggest both 680 and 685. Having done them myself while in Desktop Support I can vouch for how useful a strong understanding of the OS is while troubleshooting problems.

    Your certifications should help you get out of deskside and into something better which both of these are a good start with. No point getting certified in knowledge you already have unless you're looking for a lateral transfer.
  • sratakhinsratakhin Member Posts: 818
    70-686 may also be a good choice, especially if you are going to do mass roll-outs.
  • RouteMyPacketRouteMyPacket Member Posts: 1,104
    I don't see any reason to get some Desktop level cert if you are already in a Desktop role. If you know what you want to do (Cisco, VMware, MS) then start reaching for those certs.
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  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,161 Mod
    I'm going to go with the non-snarky version of saying, "Go with more advanced certs." icon_lol.gif

    Basically, there are two reasons why someone working in desktop or deskside support might want to have some server and networking knowledge under their belts - like they would if they had earned their CCNA and MCSA 2008/2012 by labbing and reading until their eyes bleed - and they break down something like this:

    1) It cuts down on time spent twiddling your thumbs when you're waiting for someone higher on the food chain than you to do something on the server or network-side. If (big IF) you have the access, you can always go troubleshoot problems yourself, even if they're not being caused by an end-user or a workstation.

    2) Even if you don't have access to all the levers and knobs in the server room, having some idea of what goes on back there is going to help you in your day-to-day work out in the trenches. The better you understand how the workstations/laptops/portable devices interact with the servers and network, the more clear of a picture you have of what could be causing the issue you're seeing in front of you. There's nothing worse than being assigned a ticket that says an error message pops up for the user, and then when you see the actual message it's NO MORE SPECIFIC THAN THE USER WAS. Without some broader knowledge than what most desktop-related certs give you, it's only a matter of time before you have to tuck your tail between your legs and escalate that mofo. . . even if you had the proper permissions and tools to fix it, but didn't know how.

    Of course, having more advanced sysadmin or networking certs will definitely help someone in deskside support step up and out of that role, should they want to. The idea is, that knowledge can be very beneficial, and I've found that many certs and training guides aimed at the desktop side of things will often, and frustratingly, leave out server-side details that would have helped immensely.

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  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I'm looking for a win win situation.

    Providing training that leads to a certification to strengthen the employees knowledge

    Aligning that knowledge to make them stronger at an understanding of the OS. Which in turn would make them stronger deskside technicians in the environment.

    If they want to get out of the deskside support area they will have to pay for that on their own. I don't want to hire someone only to have them bounce out in 3 months partly because I paid for a certification that allowed them to.

    With that said I never stop the development of an employee. I'm just not going to fund it out of my budget.

    Besides most of the employees would rather have bonuses and free meals than a certifications. (I've asked almost all of them) :)
  • paul78paul78 Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I am going to suggest a slightly contrarian viewpoint. Have you considered a less technical certification like HDI? Something that promotes customer service skills and not technical skills. Soft-skills can carry a person throughout their entire career. And by encouraging the team to develop those skills you are offering them a leg up as well. It doesn't always have to be a raw technical knowledge.
  • ptilsenptilsen Member Posts: 2,835 ■■■■■■■■■■
    N2IT wrote: »
    If they want to get out of the deskside support area they will have to pay for that on their own. I don't want to hire someone only to have them bounce out in 3 months partly because I paid for a certification that allowed them to.
    If you keep the gravy train rollin', they'll stay longer. Give a career path to a higher-level position, but base it around certifications and experience.

    Do anything less, and what's the point? Only people lacking in aptitude or intelligence will stay in that position for very long, and getting them certified won't make them smarter. It might make them a little better, but they'll still leave for a $1 more an hour or so or a promotion. The only chance you have at keeping good people in this job is to give them carrot that takes some work to achieve, but is at least achievable.

    I still think that Net+ and the 70-680/70-685 combo makes sense, but I think paying for 70-640/642/646 and the opportunities for real growth out of that position will actually keep them in that position longer and obviously with the company longer. Maybe you're not in the position to directly offer that, but you should bring it up with whoever's above you. Another option is to give raises or bonuses, but expect employees to buy materials and test on their own pocket -- at the very least, only pay for passed tests, not attempts, no matter which cert you send them after.

    I can't stress enough that there is really no other way to keep truly skilled employees in that position long-term. Smart employees won't stay put with no growth, and only offering deskside-related certifications is really not growth. Think about why you're there -- Mayo didn't have real growth for you, and you were stuck below your skill level. That's the definition of a deskside support position held by anyone with skill when there is no path to an admin-type position.
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  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Paul this is a great idea. Driving CSAT ratings up is never a bad thing.

    @PT I agree sort of, but the budget is the budget and I can't afford to pay these guys to do something like that. If I pitched that to my management team I would first off lose respect and secondly get laughed out of the office, phone call, etc.

    With additional time to review I think I am going to give up on the idea of certifications and generate knowledge sharing through cross training and lunch and learns. Hit on one or two major items per week and drive knowledge and improvement that way.

    Workshops could work to but I would have to price them out. Maybe a HDI deskside workshop.

    Less cost ;)

    Thanks for your input I really appreciated it.
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