Last week, I took an exam to prove to Apple that I understand their products and know how to use them. And I passed! So now it’s official: I’m an Apple Certified Associate. But what does that actually mean? Great question.
The exam I took specifically covers “Mac Integration,” which means taking a Mac computer and setting it up in a Windows Server environment. Why? Well, what I’ve learned over the past few years is that lots of corporations use Windows Server software to run their companies (such as Windows Server 2003, etc), but then the bigwigs who run the company go out and buy a MacBook Air because it’s the coolest laptop on the market today, and it’s super-portable, then bring it into the office and have a heck of a time getting them to work with their Windows software. In almost every instance, the business owner will hand his new Apple device to his IT guy and say “can you make this talk to the server?“, and the IT guy will give him a puzzled look and hand it back, saying “I don’t know anything about Apple.” I’ve heard this from so many businessmen that it’s become rote. There are very few IT guys that understand anything about Mac, and even fewer of them are actually Apple Certified Associates—most of the ones who know what they’re talking about only do because they have an iPhone themselves and play with it from time to time.
So over the past few years, I’ve helped businesses integrate Macs into their corporate networks, and it’s been really fun to watch how excited the customer is when I help them turn their expensive toys into real business tools. But I didn’t even know there was a certification for this until late last year. As soon as I learned about it, I signed up right away and took the test. So now I can say I’m official, and I can even put “Apple Certified Associate” on my business card. How cool is that? So now only one question remains: can I start charging more for what I do?