Computer Certifications

MCDST Certification

MCDST study guides, practice questions and more...

The MCDST (Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician) is a specialised I.T. certification that is aimed at personnel working in a Desktop Support role. As an entry-level certification the MCDST is designed for those who have about 6 months or more experience supporting users in an Windows XP environment in a small, medium or large-sized organisation.

With the emphasis of the MCDST on troubleshooting and resolving Windows-based problems, the MCDST helps to develop skill-sets that will certainly complement real-world experience in a support environment. Furthermore, as a stand-alone certification, the MCDST is probably a more suitable introduction to more advanced Microsoft certifications than, say, the MOUS (or MOS).

Gaining the MCDST credential offers a number of potential benefits:
The MCDST certification is focused entirely on the technical aspects of the support or helpdesk environment, and not the delivery of service to the customer. In other words, although customer service skills are a key ingredient of any support position, the MCDST exams are focused entirely on troubleshooting and resolving Microsoft product problems and therefore only test your technical proficiency, not your customer service skills. If you really want to develop or demonstrate your all-round skills you may want to consider complementing the MCDST certification with a more customer-service focused certification as well (for example, the Help Desk Analyst Certification from the HDI).

To gain the MCDST certification you need to pass two multi-choice exams:

70-271 - Supporting Users and Troubleshooting a Microsoft Windows XP Operating System

70-272 - Supporting Users and Troubleshooting Desktop Applications on a Microsoft Windows XP Operating System

If you are already an MCDST and wish to become comparably qualified for a Windows Vista platform you only need to take one exam to earn the MCTS and MCITP: Enterprise Support Technician certifications for Windows Vista:

70-621 - PRO: Upgrading Your MCDST Certification to MCITP Enterprise Support

Passing the exam 70-621 gives you a credit toward any Microsoft certification requiring exam 70-620: TS: Windows Vista, Configuring as a required or elective exam. This means that if you pass the 70-621 exam you are not required to pass the 70-620 exam.

The MCDST exams themselves are comprised of mostly multiple-choice questions, but there are a number of scenario-type questions where you'll be presented with an interactive display. As a general rule of thumb you can expect to answer 60-70 questions, although this may vary from time to time. Always check the official MCDST certification home page for up to date information.

There is no need to go for both exams at once - you can spread them out and concentrate on one at a time and you can take whichever exam you wish to first. You are MCDST qualified only once you have successfully passed both exams. The MCDST exams can be taken through any Prometric or VUE testing centre that is local to you, and the cost is the same as for any Microsoft MCP exam.

The MCDST certification does not expire as such but it is tied essentially to the Windows XP operating system. The upgrade exam does make it possible for candidates to port their credential to the newer Vista-based certifications tracks (and earn credits for newer and more advanced Microsoft certifications in the process) but, with the widespread popularity of XP, there should still be plenty of life left in the MCDST certification yet - but that won't always be the case.

MCDST study guides, practice questions and more...

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