Chrome to offer new operating system admin certification

Three students, two male and one female, use an Acer Chromebook Spin 311 to collaborate on a class project.


IT administrators, take heed. Google plans to introduce a new certification exam for the Chrome operating system.

The Professional Chrome OS Administrator certification will launch in the fall, a Chrome spokesperson confirmed to ZDNet. It will replace the Chrome OS admin certification, which is currently offline.

“Like all certifications, this exam is meant to showcase to the market an individual’s extensive skill set in a certain area,” Leah Coleman, who works on partner training and enablement for Chrome OS, told ZDNet. 

Certifications in computer science are offered by a variety of organizations and are typically test-based measures of your proficiency in a certain skill or tool. 

The previous version of the Chrome OS administrator credential measured your ability to:

  • Manage Chrome OS devices with Google’s Admin console

  • Configure and manage organizational unit access and security and privacy settings

  • Create, delete, and administer user accounts for an organization

“Google wants to make sure that the exam meets the high bar the industry expects of Google,” Coleman said. 

In this case, we think we are excelling beyond what’s expected in that our new exam will offer a hands-on lab, which is actually less common. Google wants to give those who pass the test something to be really proud of. With that, we are just working on some improvements to make it the best in the business.

Linux-based Chrome OS has 11% global market share for desktop operating systems, according to market intelligence firm IDC. Linux-based Chrome OS lags far behind Microsoft’s Windows, which has about 80% of the operating system market. However, in 2020 ChromeOS pushed macOS to third place with about 7% of the market.

SEE: What is an Apple Certified Support Professional?

Chromebooks powered by Google’s Chrome OS dominate the K-12 education market. 

One reason is pricing. For about $250, parents can buy — or schools can give — students a functional web-capable digital device with an 11.5-inch screen and a keyboard. Chrome OS-powered devices are also available at higher and lower price points.

When the Professional Chrome OS Administration certification exam goes online, Coleman said it’ll be free for 12 to 24 months. 

After that, “it will cost around $125, like most exams in the market,” said Coleman. “It’s worth noting, though, that many exams cost that amount but do not offer a lab portion like this exam will. We think the lab portion is critical to differentiate in the market and help test-takers feel really proud of their accomplishments.”

Coleman said the term “professional” refers to the challenge level of the exam. In contrast with associate-level certification exams, the Professional Chrome OS Administrator exam’s target audience is people with at least 12 months of functional experience.

“This means the bar is higher, which means those who pass can feel really proud and confident about their skill in managing within the Google Admin console,” Coleman said. “With that, it signals to the market, future employers, and customers that those who have earned this certification have the right skill to offer their professional services and make a difference in schools or businesses.”

Ahead of the new certification exam’s introduction, people with access to Google’s Partner Advantage Portal may take the Chrome Enterprise Deployment Credential through Google University.

Coleman said the Chrome OS team expects to announce more details about the rollout of the Professional Chrome OS Administrator certification later this year in mid to late summer.

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