If you are looking for a desktop support credential, Microsoft is offering 20 percent discounts on both exams required for its Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician (MCDST) certification. If you hurry, you can also qualify for special Charter Membership recognition, which will be granted to the first 5,000 people to earn their MCDST.
The two exams required to obtain this credential are:
* Exam 70–271: Supporting Users and Troubleshooting a Microsoft Windows XP Operating System
* Exam 70–272: Supporting Users and Troubleshooting Desktop Applications on a Microsoft Windows XP Operating System
By using a promotional code ("MSDTEX") either at the Thomson Prometric or Pearson VUE Web pages, candidates can take advantage of this offer, which lowers the cost of the abovementioned exams from the $125 normal cost for Microsoft MCP exams to $100 each.
The MCDST program was announced in the fall of 2003, but the exams weren't released until this past January and February. The discount offer remains good until August 31, 2004 so early candidates have six full months to take advantage of it. In the meantime, uptake for the credential is still a little bit difficult to estimate given that individuals have only been able to earn this credential for a little more than three weeks as I write this tip.
That said, Microsoft seems to be betting heavily on the MCDST and going to greater than usual lengths to promote the program and encourage participation. Discounts on exams are just one aspect of this effort. Other incentives include instructor led courses (Course 2261 for 70-271, and Course 2262 for 70-272), forthcoming Self-Paced Training Kits from MS Press on both exams, and all kinds of name recognition and special promotions.
It will be very interesting to watch this program over the next six months to see if Microsoft can attract the thousands of prospective candidates and MCDSTs it apparently yearns to certify.
For more information about the MCDST, logon as a guest to the MCDST Web page.
Ed Tittel is a long-time certification follower. He's series editor for Exam Cram 2, a popular assembly of cert prep books from Que Publishing, and a contributing editor for Certification Magazine. He also covers certification topics for InformIT.com, and numerous other TechTarget Web sites.
This was first published in March 2004