Through Apple, Cisco, CompTIA and Microsoft, individuals interested in computer systems can earn certifications at various levels and in multiple specialties.
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What Computing Certifications Are Available?
Some computer and software manufacturers offer certification programs that serve as proof of competency in particular applications or skills. Requirements typically include paying a fee and passing an exam. Here are descriptions of some of the most common certifications found in the computer administration and network industry.
Apple offers several certifications for professionals in OS X, as well as a certification for technicians. The available options are:
- Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP) in MacOS Sierra
- Apple Certified Associate in Mac Integration Basics in MacOS Sierra
- Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP) in OS X El Capitan
- Apple Certified Associate in Mac Integration Basics in OS X El Capitan
- Apple Certified Macintosh Technician certification (ACMT)
Through the operating system certification programs, information technology (IT) specialists can learn how to combine Macintosh and Windows computers in the same network, such as those used in business and education. Candidates who earn the ACMT certification demonstrate their ability to identify and repair the everyday problems that might occur on Apple desktop or laptop computers.
To prepare for certification, students can attend short-term courses at Apple Authorized Training Centers and review the self-paced training materials, available online through the company website. While most tests must be taken at a training center, individual exams may be offered online. Candidates who successfully complete the certification process will be listed on the Apple Certified Professionals Registry.
Cisco Systems, Inc. offers a number of certification and training programs. Certifications are available at the entry, associate, professional, expert and architect levels, and the company also provides candidates with opportunities to recertify. Certification benefits include access to a talent network and job opportunities. Some of the specialization areas include:
- Network design
- Network security
- Routing and switching
- Data center networks
Pre-certification training takes place through blended learning programs and online discussion groups; self-paced guides, videos and other materials are available for purchase from the Cisco Learning Store. In addition to a written exam, individual certifications require timed, hands-on lab tests.
The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is a non-profit trade organization that serves the needs and interests of IT corporations and specialists. The association offers four categories of certifications, including those at the basic, specialty, professional and mastery levels.
Entry-level certifications are offered in:
- Strata IT Fundamentals
- Cloud technology
- Green technology
- Healthcare technology
- Social media technology
Candidates who pursue professional certification can obtain credentials in:
- Basic networking installation and maintenance
- The Linux operating system
- Mobile app security
The CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) is the only credential available at the mastery level.
Preparation and training materials for CompTIA certification are similar to those of the aforementioned companies and include books, classroom presentations, interactive instruction and study guides. Tests are taken on site at Certiport or Pearson VUE testing centers.
This company offers a number of credentials in database, desktop, developer, applications and server technologies. Certifications are available at multiple levels and confer several different designations. Each designation may also be associated with a particular specialty. Options include, but are not limited to:
- Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)
- Server Infrastructure
- Software Development
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)
- Cloud Platform
- Linux on Azure
- Office 365
- Database Development
- Database Administration
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)
- Data Management and Analytics
- Business Applications
- Cloud Platform and Infrastructure
Candidates for certification have access to case studies, an electronic reference library and practice tests. Students can register for their tests through Certiport and Prometric.
Entry-level, intermediate and advanced information technology professionals can demonstrate their skills with computer systems work by earning a professional certification from an industry organization.