Certification

How Mac Admins is boosting Apple training efforts

The Mac Admins Foundation went from 12 friends to 40,000 users, and now they want to train the next generation
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· 3 min read

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The Mac Admins Foundation—a forum that began on Slack in 2015—was dozens-strong at first, according to its co-chair Tom Bridge.

“It was just a way to kind of shoot the breeze about, you know, ‘Hey, let’s see if we can get our friends on here talking about Mac IT stuff,” Bridge told IT Brew.

Since 2015, Mac Admins has gone from ~12 buds to over 40,000 registered users, with approximately 5,000 weekly active members in any given week who discuss a range of Apple-specific topics, from Microsoft Office integration to patch management.

The nonprofit has also partnered with Apple to offer an unspecified number of need-based vouchers for the company’s new training courses and certifications: Apple Device Support and Apple Deployment and Management.

In an IT Brew Q&A, Bridge discussed the importance of Apple-specific expertise in supporting a new generation of admins.

The following responses have been edited for length and clarity.

What kind of expertise can these new tests provide?

I think that they give you a set of conversancies. You need context as an IT professional. If you’ve been just managing personal Macs your whole life, but suddenly you need to do it for a company and you’ve been hired on as a junior IT professional to handle Apple devices, this is a great way to get all of the “lingua franca” down.

Out of all the different course offerings, what was a subject where you thought, “Oh, I’m really glad that they’re teaching this?”

Device supervision. It's one of the most important things for an admin to understand is when you've got a device that's supervised, versus when you have a device that's just managed.

When would a user need to be “supervised?”

When you have a company device that’s used in a role-based access tool. Think about airline iPads that are issued to pilots, or the supervised iOS devices that are given out to flight and cabin staff, who use them to take credit-card payments. Those are heavily supervised devices…They only work with this wi-fi network; they only work with these three applications that are specific to the role of the person using the device.

What connected Apple’s new training programs and Mac Admins?

One of our founding principles at Mac Admins is that we should be more diverse as an organization, that we should be more diverse as a practitioner community…And so what we really want is to focus on building the next generation of Mac admins. There’s a whole bunch of people in the industry who are going to retire in the next five to 10 years. We need to find more Mac admins. We need to train them.—BH

Do you work in IT or have information about your IT department you want to share? Email [email protected] or DM @BillyHurls on Twitter.

Top insights for IT pros

From cybersecurity and big data to software development and gaming. Our IT Brew newsletter delivers the latest news and analysis of trends shaping the IT industry, like only The Brew can.