Technical support and help desk positions remain traditional points of entry into IT for many people nowadays. One way to make yourself stand out as a help desk professional is to validate your knowledge and skills through one of these leading help desk certifications.
Although training and credentials for help desk positions are available, a large number of candidates come into these jobs fresh out of school or from other fields without the benefits that help desk certifications can provide. Nevertheless, we're seeing increasing interest in help desk certifications, and an increasing tendency for high schools, community colleges and even some four-year institutions to include elements of help desk training in their curricula, where some also embed certificate or certification content or credentials in their programs outright.
When it comes to help desk positions, there are a small number of certificate and certification programs that focus more or less exclusively on the help desk function, and the various job roles it supports. A greater number of credentials that style themselves as verifying technical support skills are also available, where most such credentials focus on particular sets of vendor platforms and products.
We include a mix of such credentials in our list of leading help desk certifications, understanding that in some organizations, help desk positions may be staffed to meet support requirements for specific vendor products, platforms and tools, whereas other positions may be open to anyone with a good general technical background and an understanding of IT operations, practices and procedures.
Not coincidentally, it is this latter set of skills that most out-and-out help desk credentials seek to inculcate and cultivate in their recipients.
Knowing which certifications that employers want their employees to have can be a big help when choosing the best cert for you. Table 1 compiles information from searches performed on six different job-related sites for the certifications featured in this article. The clear winner is CompTIA A+, followed by the Microsoft Specialist credential. This year, we replaced the HDI-Customer Service Representative with its sister certification, the HDI-Support Center Analyst (HDI-SCA). The HDI-SCA is one of the most popular HDI certifications and it appears to be more popular in the job market. The ACSP and HDI-SCA are relatively similar in terms of their popularity with employers. However, the iET certifications (Service Desk Analyst and Service Desk Manager) don’t appear in the table because they’re more popular in Europe than the US, and they don’t appear very often in US job boards. Second, because those cert names are frequently the same as help desk position titles, the results were muddied, at best.
Table 1: Job Board Survey Results
We hope you find our top 5 help desk certification picks for 2016 useful (presented in the following screens in no particular order).