What Type of Jobs Can I Get With a Microsoft MCDST Certification?

If you became a Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician you could pursue entry-level information technology jobs that help others resolve their problems with Windows-based systems. Read on to learn more about the Microsoft certifications leading to computer support careers. Schools offering Computer Support Technician degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Essential Information

The Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Certification (MCDST) was retired shortly after Microsoft upgraded their operating system for consumers and businesses (from XP to Windows 7 and beyond). The professional certification was designed for individuals interested in computer support careers; those interested in re-certifying or beginning a career in this field can pursue certifications for Microsoft's more recent operating systems (Windows 8 and 10). Though optional, such credentials demonstrate to employers a professional capability to resolve Windows system issues.

Important Facts About Possible Occupations

User Support SpecialistNetwork Support Specialist
Mean Salary (2014) $51,500$66,140
Job Growth (2014-2024)13%8%
Required Education Postsecondary coursework Associate or bachelor's degree in relevant area
Top Paying Industry (2014)Aerospace Product/Parts Manufacturing ($80,380) Oil & Gas Extraction ($89,300)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Professional Certification from Microsoft

Although Microsoft's certifications are typically voluntary, earning one or more might increase entry-level job opportunities in information technology because many employers prefer to hire individuals with certification. Certification ensures employers that you have achieved a minimum level of knowledge, skills and proficiency.

If you're new to the field and interested in a certification that demonstrates basic skill with Microsoft desktop products, you might consider earning the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) designation. This credential begins with a single exam in a foundational area of IT and allows the candidate to continue building his or her credentials with more specific examination in that field. Individuals with IT experience or those with a currently strong grasp of Windows may skip the MTA, which is not required for the more advanced and professionally viable Microsoft Solutions Expert (MCSE) or Microsoft Solutions Associate (MSCA) certifications.

Computer User Support Specialists

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer user support specialists (help-desk technicians) help non-IT customers who are experiencing difficulties with hardware, software and/or computer systems (www.bls.gov). As they often work remotely and communicate by phone or e-mail, listening to the client and diagnosing the issue properly is fundamental. They may then resolve hardware and software issues by running specific diagnostic programs, often by guiding the user to do so with verbal or written instruction. Some help-desk technicians work for support services firms and perform duties on a contract basis only.

Computer Network Support Specialists

Also known as technical support specialists, these professionals typically work in an organization's IT department in order to ensure that a company's networks operate smoothly. They may troubleshoot issues with local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), or other network/online systems- typically in communication with fellow IT staff. They also perform regular network maintenance and create file backups, playing a pivotal role in a company's loss prevention efforts.

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