Apple has overhauled the professional training and certifications it offers for IT support and management in an effort to build up the skills a growing number of enterprises now need.
Can’t get the staff? Why not train them?
We know that more and more companies are deploying Macs, iPhones, and iPads, which is creating a new challenge: demand for Apple-skilled tech support and staff is also growing. (The demand for Macs is growing even as the PC industry shrinks.)
To help put this into perspective, demand for skilled staff in these fields is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations into 2030, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. At the same time, research shows lots of investment in digital transformation and employee choice, which implies Apple’s growth is accelerating, something that has been happening for years.
“More people than ever are using Mac, iPad, and iPhone to do their best work, and the demand for Apple-certified IT professionals has never been greater,” Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of enterprise and education marketing, said in a statement.
“Apple Professional Training helps anyone with an interest in technology — whether they are changing careers or upping their skill set — pursue high-paying IT jobs with certifications that will stand out to potential employers. We believe deeply in inclusion in technology, so the new courses are self-paced and freely available, and we are working to ensure ability to pay isn’t a barrier to earning Apple certification.”
“There’s a lot to like about the all-new Apple Professional Training courses, which give users a solid grounding in the concepts and theory around supporting and deploying Apple products,” said Tom Bridge, the Mac Admins Foundation’s co-chair.
The Mac Admins Foundation comes from a network of tens of thousands of Mac support professionals, and the size of that group continues to grow. “This is an important milestone for the Mac Admins community — which has grown 48% since 2019,” said Bridge.
What are the new training courses?
Apple’s newly updated courses — Apple Device Support and Apple Deployment and Management — have been completely redesigned and moved to an online format. They are also sequential and build on skills and concepts as the user progresses.
At the completion of each course, new certification exams have been introduced. The courses are free, while the exams required to earn certification from Apple cost $149. Certification can be displayed on resumes, online profiles, and job boards.
The change comes amid fast growth across the sector. For example, Apple-focused device management and security company Jamf reported that its community of Apple IT professionals has grown by more than 150% since 2017 to more than 100,000 members. That means there’s a compelling need for Apple experience in IT at all levels of business — even among larger companies.
Ford now offers Macs to employees
That’s certainly the case at Ford, whose Chief Enterprise Technology Officer, Mike Amend, said in a statement: “Transforming Ford and delivering great value to our customers is being fueled by technology — including enabling our people to do their best work with the best tools as we create the digital factory of the future.
“As part of that process, we’re rolling out Mac as a choice for our employees,” Amend said. “Apple’s new professional training certifications will help us attract highly talented IT people and see that they’re successful carrying out our Ford+ growth plan.”
Ford isn’t alone. IBM, SAP, and many other big names now boast Apple kit across their fleets, and the extent of that reach seems to be expanding fast. “I don’t believe you can be a credible provider of enterprise software if you’re not part of the Apple ecosystem today,” said Jeetu Patel, general manager and executive vice president, Cisco security and collaboration, last year.
What is the Apple Device Support course?
The Apple Device Support course consists of a series of articles and guided exercises aimed to build the kind of skills required to run a help desk or coordinate services across fleets of Apple hardware and devices. The 14-hour course covers the tools, services, and best practices used by a help desk professional, technical coordinator, or service provider.
The exam provides an Apple Certified Support Professional certification.
What is the Apple Deployment and Management course?
The second level of training in the IT series, the Apple Deployment and Management course, covers how to configure, manage, and secure Apple products using mobile device management (MDM) tools.
The 13-hour course will explain how to develop a deployment strategy using Apple Business Manager and Apple School Manager, and then configure devices with an MDM solution. Once a person completes the exam, they get the Apple Certified IT Professional certification.
Building diversity and opportunity, too
Apple is also working to build diversity and opportunity in this sector with these two courses by working with community colleges and universities to offer on-campus prep courses for the Apple Certified IT Professional badge. The company will provide scholarships to cover the cost of the exams for participating students at its Community Education Initiative (CEI) partner institutions.
Andrea Swanson completed the Apple training course after earning her associate’s degree at Austin Community College (a CEI college) in networking administration with a speciality in cybersecurity.
“Consulting with small businesses and managing Apple devices was a perfect fit for my situation, offering flexibility and appealing to my nature to help,” says Swanson, who was recently hired as a full-time IT consultant and works remotely from Austin.
Apple is also working with the Mac Admins Foundation to broaden access to these exams. It is supporting the Foundation so it can offer exam vouchers to applicants with financial need. For more details and to apply, visit macadmins.org.
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