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Certs without experience

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    Gigabyte Poster Rob1234's Avatar
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    Certs without experience

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    Lately there has been a lot of people on here discussing (!) certs without experience my question is how can people even pass the exams to get these certs if they are meant to have x amount of years experience? If someone with no experience can come along read a few books and pass the exams then they can not be that difficult (which I do not think is the case) or you simply do not need x amount of years experience to take the exams. Also the fact that people with no experience can pass the exams does that not devalue the certs in the eyes of the employees as they may see it and think well if anyone can pass it then it does not really represent much of a challenge. I am not trying to start people arguing I was just wondering as I hope in the future to take some of these higher certs when I have progressed in my job to a position where the certs will represent what I do which at the moment they would not.

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    Terabyte Poster BosonJosh's Avatar
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    You are right that people without experience gaining the certs devalues the certification for everyone, including the person who obtained the certification without experience. Most people accomplish this by cheating; that's how they're able to pass without experience. Some people can legitimately grab a few books and set up a home lab and learn enough to pass the exam. Even those people will have difficulty performing the job role in the "real world".

    Most employers have already adapted to this and won't hire someone with no experience, even if they have certs, to perform high-level administrative tasks. This wasn't always the case in the mid-to-late 90s when the MCSE was rising in popularity, but employers have been burnt and learned that this didn't work.

    There is a case for getting some entry-level certifications without professional experience. For example, getting A+ and Network+ can help get in the door of some companies. However, this doesn't apply to higher-level certifications.

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    Yottabyte Poster greenbrucelee's Avatar
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    I think with the entry level certs like the A+ and N+ although it is stated you should have 90 hours IT experience and a couple hundred hours respectively you can do these with a good amount of study and determination.

    As for higher certs like MCSA and MCSE I can very much see why Microsoft say a years experience implementing desktop and networked operating systems and I wont be doing either until I have the required knowledge through experience and the books to supplement it.

    Some people can study and pass all sorts of qualifications without experience, these people are good Academically but usually it turns out that they are not good socially or professionally.

    Its the people who fit both spectrums, they are good academically and are good socially/professionally that usually end up doing well by studying and passing the exams whilst having relevant experience to go with the studying.

    I myself was always a hands on sort of guy until I went to University then I started becoming better academically and could study well

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    Kilobyte Poster JonGlory's Avatar
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    You can pass a degree without experience in the field you are studying. So entry and mid level certs are not exactly hard to pass if you put the time in.

    Also alot of people using Active directory or Cisco routers on a regular basis as there job, are not certain to pass an exam just because they have experience in using the technology. They may not need to study as hard, but there are a lot of things in It-courses that they will never have used or never will use outside the classroom/study lab

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    Gigabyte Poster Rob1234's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonGlory View Post
    You can pass a degree without experience in the field you are studying. So entry and mid level certs are not exactly hard to pass if you put the time in.
    Good Point I never thought of it that way.

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    It depends on what you class as experience.

    I do think that your certifications should always reflect areas in which you have substantial experience. If you can't use a product you have no business trying to pass the exam for it.

    However that being said my definition of experience includes any type of hands on. So if you've taken the time to setup a home lab and work through the scenarios, if you've tinkered, played, broken, fixed, broken again and fixed once more. Then I consider that experience.

    Whilst this isn't as good as real world experience it still counts and as long as you know what you're doing then that's good enough in my book. On the other side of the coin looking to pass a multitude of certs in a few weeks with no prevous knowledge of the products is not only stupid but harmful to the industry as a whole.

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    53656e696f7220 4d6f64 Phoenix's Avatar
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    Spot on John

    Exactly how I feel about experience too
    any hands on is hands on, it may not be commercial, but its hands on none the less!

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    Petabyte Poster ffreeloader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnBradbury View Post
    It depends on what you class as experience.

    I do think that your certifications should always reflect areas in which you have substantial experience. If you can't use a product you have no business trying to pass the exam for it.

    However that being said my definition of experience includes any type of hands on. So if you've taken the time to setup a home lab and work through the scenarios, if you've tinkered, played, broken, fixed, broken again and fixed once more. Then I consider that experience.

    Whilst this isn't as good as real world experience it still counts and as long as you know what you're doing then that's good enough in my book.
    I tend to agree from what I've learned from my own experience. I learned a lot by putting my hands on the product and using it. By the time I started my certification journey I knew enough to know approximately what a business network would be like and what some of the needs would be from an admin's perspective. Putting together a lab based on my experience and then setting up desktop environments for users, network security, setting up AD, breaking it, fixing it, letting things break due to their own instability, fixing it again, learning to use the text-based tools to do repairs and change settings taught me a lot. Much more than I could have ever learned from any exam-based book.

    It's still not the same as being in an actual environment though as the complexity just isn't the same. But, it did give me a lot of insight into what things looked like and how they basically acted.

    I also have to say though that I didn't stick to exam books. I built a library of books on the different aspects of things I studied. I covered just about everything from the basic fundamentals of networking--i.e. packet encapsulation, TCP, UDP, IP, DNS, DHCP, etc...--to how AD works to the command prompt, VBScript, etc.... I covered the gamut of the routine things an admin has to do every day, and I have the library of books to prove it.

    I'm now doing the same with Linux, open source products, and the open source scripting languages. I already have 40+ books in these areas to go with the approximately 100 books I have on Windows-based stuff. On top of that I have a subscription to Safari Online that I use daily.

    I study fundamentals a lot. I pay more attention to them than I do the implementation specifics because if I know how things are supposed to work, then I can figure out an implementation much easier, and be far more confident. Knowing how things "should" work is always an advantage.

    I know some people who only want to know enough about a subject to make a specific implementation of it. By that I mean they want to follow a recipe, use a cookbook approach. The problem with this approach is when things break. Then you're lost, and have a no idea as to why something broke or how to figure out how to fix things. My fundamentals knowledge has allowed me to troubleshoot things about which I know very little about specifics. I just know how things should work, and when they don't, I can give reasons why they probably aren't working.


    I've amazed the guy I'm working for now with some of the diagnoses I've made about things which I tell him I know very little about. I'll figure out problems that he can't, and he's the one the put the system together and used it for the last few years. However, he put it together by cookbook. I troubleshoot it through fundamentals.

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    Banned Crito's Avatar
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    Experience is overrated. I've worked with guys who did nothing but keep a chair warm and play office politics all day. Yet they can claim years of experience working in large IT environments. When the sh1t hits the fan they end up running around like chickens with their heads cut off though.

    That said, it's much easier to forget something you've read about but never used in the real world. The "hands-on" work does help ingrain the info in your brain.

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    Megabyte Poster fortch's Avatar
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    Haha! I've had a run-in with more than one of those guys, and they do seem to propagate in government jobs. While your statement is a bit tongue-in-cheek (I would guess), it is very valid. Point is, its the motivation, knowledge, and people skills of the individual that make someone successful in IT, and not necessarily in that order.

    I also concur about repetition -- I've forgotten a large chunk of my MCSE knowledge through lack of use, sadly. Every time I crack the 292/296 book, I close it again because it feels like I'm starting from scratch.

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    Petabyte Poster ffreeloader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crito View Post
    Experience is overrated. I've worked with guys who did nothing but keep a chair warm and play office politics all day. Yet they can claim years of experience working in large IT environments. When the sh1t hits the fan they end up running around like chickens with their heads cut off though.

    That said, it's much easier to forget something you've read about but never used in the real world. The "hands-on" work does help ingrain the info in your brain.
    Well, let's see. We have now dissed both certs and experience, and since people are the ones that would have to have both, then people are useless too....

    I guess it's just computers that have value in IT.

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    Yottabyte Poster BosonMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crito View Post
    Experience is overrated. I've worked with guys who did nothing but keep a chair warm and play office politics all day. Yet they can claim years of experience working in large IT environments. When the sh1t hits the fan they end up running around like chickens with their heads cut off though.

    That said, it's much easier to forget something you've read about but never used in the real world. The "hands-on" work does help ingrain the info in your brain.
    Don't confuse "time spent in IT" with experience. Just keeping a chair warm doesn't build experience. They can claim experience all they want... but those folks are discovered just as easily as braindumpers are, because they can't do the job.

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    In my opinion, never go for a cert over getting a job/going to school. If your in school and you have no work experience, get the basics like a ccna, a+ and one mcp, but dont be a retard and grab a mcse. ccna, a+ and some of the lower level microsoft exams are very easy to pass if you have a decent virtualized home lab

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    Yottabyte Poster BosonMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firemouse View Post
    In my opinion, never go for a cert over getting a job/going to school. If your in school and you have no work experience, get the basics like a ccna, a+ and one mcp, but dont be a retard and grab a mcse. ccna, a+ and some of the lower level microsoft exams are very easy to pass if you have a decent virtualized home lab
    Only one problem with that... the CCNA is not an entry-level exam, nor does it have anything to do with entry-level work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BosonMichael View Post
    Only one problem with that... the CCNA is not an entry-level exam, nor does it have anything to do with entry-level work.
    hmm I tend to disagree, ccna mostly covers very basic networking. I know employers wont throw a ccna with no experience on their cisco equipment, but a ccna can be very helpful in basic desktop support networking troubleshooting

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