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A+ or MCDST?!

Discussion in 'A+' started by RichUncleSkellington, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. RichUncleSkellington

    RichUncleSkellington New Member

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    Hi,

    new poster here (obviously), I'm 25 with about 8 years experience in the industry, a few years in ISP support, the rest working for a distance learning college as a tutor/in housed IT officer (I know, I know!)

    Basically I'd say I have a good grounding in IT support, perhaps to 2nd line level in application support, hardware probably closer to 1st line.

    Anyway, after redundancy from the distance learning college, I've taken a role with a service desk, working as 1st line. Obviously I dont want to be doing this for very long, so I have started the A+, with the excellent Mike Myers book.

    BUT, my question is this. the A+ is very much led by the hardware aspect, I am struggling with all the CPUs and RAM types etc (not the logic, but the memorising of each variant). Now I may be being very ignorant, and if I am I apologise, but the MCDST seems much more based on the using of hardware, i.e using windows and its features to fix problems, rather than fiddling with whats 'under the hood'.

    Really where I want to be in a few years is desktop support, 3rd line here I suppose - the guys we get to do stuff basically! I'm not shying away from hard work, so I do apologise if it comes across like that, I just dont want to spend the next 9 months studying A+, and find that really I should've gone straight to the MCDST (which I plan to do next)

    I'm just looking for guidance to be honest, people have told me A+ is far too novice, but I'm 350 pages into Mikes book and it really isnt for me! Similarly the MCDST has been rubbished, but my company recognise this and its basically all I need to progress.


    Thanks in advance! (and sorry if this is in the wrong place!)
     
    Certifications: ECDL, ECDL Advanced
    WIP: A+, MCDST
  2. Gingerdave

    Gingerdave Megabyte Poster

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    Firstly - Welcome to the Forums

    Secondly don't double post - its bad form.

    The A+ is more hardware based - and is very useful to know as issues can crop up that if you only know OS and application support you may miss. The other upside is that it is vendor nutral - where as the MS things are, by definition, MS only.

    Given your experiance in the industry I would be massively surprised if it took you 9 months to do the A+ in fact in it took me 11 months to do them both and I was busy with a new job and was starting with less experiance then you. Cragie for instance has gone from no certs to MCSE and a 3rd line support job within a year. However this is far from normal and frightens me a little ;)

    If I were you I would do them both, but if money and time were tight I would do the MCDST first and then go back to the A+

    Good Luck
     
    Certifications: A+,MCP, MCDST, VCP5 /VCP-DV 5, MCTS AD+ Net Inf 2008, MCSA 2008
    WIP: MCSA 2012
  3. Josiahb

    Josiahb Gigabyte Poster

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    A+ and MCDST.

    If you want to get in doing desktop support you'll need both, and you need hardware knowledge. You can't support your users without the full toolkit available, to try to is totally nuts.

    People will rubbish any certification you study, many in IT don't understand why certification is important let alone those not in IT. The only way that improves is with the help of people like you, starting early on the path to certification and carrying through the knowledge of their worth when you reach management!
     
    Certifications: A+, Network+, MCDST, ACA – Mac Integration 10.10
  4. BigG

    BigG Nibble Poster

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    Hello there - I'm a new poster and hoping to get into IT myself

    Not knowing your qualifications, I think most people on here will suggest that you do the A+ exams to start you off with a foundation qualification. If you are already in IT support then I'm thinking that you shouldn't find this difficult. Then move on to the MS quals. That's what I plan to do, but with a stop at N+ first :)

    A+ shouldn't take you 9 months if you are already ok with IT. From start to finish I'm hoping the A+ will take me no longer than 3 months.

    After the exam, over time of non-use, learned lists will be forgotten*. However, if you mate buys a shiney new laptop and is complaining that the screen looks rubbish - wouldn't it be nice to be able to say "have you checked the screen resolution you are using? It's best to use the default which is 1440*900" and then look smug. :biggrin

    If work demand MS quals then aim for those - but there is no harm in gettting the A+ first

    G

    * not really forgotten but stored away in the grey matter, ready to surprise yourself that you know the answer after a bit of hard thinking!
     
    Certifications: BSc, Prince2 Practitioner, MCSA Win7, MCSA 2008
    WIP: Vmware, ITILv3 on the back burner
  5. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Remember, certification isn't to show employers what you WANT to be doing... certification is to show employers what you can ALREADY do. As such, the A+ is a great certification to pick up at this stage of your career. And with your experience, it shouldn't take forever to complete.

    Network+ and the MCDST are also good certifications to knock out. So it's not a dilemma of "which one should I pursue," because the answer is "Both!".
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  6. thepureintheheart

    thepureintheheart Bit Poster

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    A+, then Network+ and only then MCDST.
     
    WIP: A+, Network+, MCDST
  7. Gingerdave

    Gingerdave Megabyte Poster

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    It never has to be that strict - I did it without the N+, If you say that it has to be that way then atleast explain why as to the OP it will look like a lot of conflicting information.
     
    Certifications: A+,MCP, MCDST, VCP5 /VCP-DV 5, MCTS AD+ Net Inf 2008, MCSA 2008
    WIP: MCSA 2012
  8. Qs

    Qs Semi-Honorary Member Gold Member

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    Correct, it's only a guideline.

    I skipped both A+ and N+ and went straight to MCDST.

    Qs
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCSE: Private Cloud, MCSA (2008), MCITP: EA, MCITP: SA, MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003, MCITP: EDA7, MCITP: EDST7, MCITP: EST Vista, MCTS: Exh 2010, MCTS:ServerVirt, MCTS: SCCM07 & SCCM2012, MCTS: SCOM07, MCTS: Win7Conf, MCTS: VistaConf, MCDST, MCP, MBCS, HND: Applied IT, ITIL v3: Foundation, CCA
  9. RichUncleSkellington

    RichUncleSkellington New Member

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    Hey, thanks everyone for the helpful replies - its really reassured me, I didnt want to get stuck into the A+ then find it was all in vain!

    I'm kicking myself for not doing these certs sooner (I'd have got the materials/exams for nowt when I worked at the college!), but I'm determined now to get further up the line. These certs and my experience should be enough for to get deskside, and earning nearer the £30k I'm aiming for. Just need to do it now!

    Thanks everyone again!
     
    Certifications: ECDL, ECDL Advanced
    WIP: A+, MCDST
  10. soundian

    soundian Gigabyte Poster

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    I wouldn't bother too much with the different CPU types, the logic is the most important thing there.
    To stretch your car analogy a bit, I see the MCDST as more of a car salesman/valet (knows which options are available, keeps the car tidy) whereas the A+ is more of a mechanic. The MCDST will know how to use the sat nav but that's useless if the car won't start.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+,MCDST,MCTS(680), MCP(270, 271, 272), ITILv3F, CCENT
    WIP: Knuckling down at my new job
  11. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    No, it doesn't have to be that strict. But I'd recommend it.
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!

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