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Advice to which course to take please!

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by Nursa, Jun 18, 2009.

  1. Nursa

    Nursa Bit Poster

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    Hi I'm a newbie to the forum and need some advice as to which course I should take to get back into IT study. Currently I work full time and would be studying in the evenings. In the long run I would like to be working within networking but would love a technician role to start with (as it seems thats the only way to 'get your foot in the door'

    I have already gained a BTEC National Certificate for IT Practitioners (Networking) which I studied at college for 2 years, I passed this qualification around 4-5 years ago. The course was something along these lines:

    http://www.sutcol.ac.uk/search.aspx?pid=98&aid=3&level=1&courseid=281&searchType=3

    The second year was directly concentrated on networking and I passed the CISCO CCNA semester 1 of 4 during the this time (which I found complex), along with studying other areas.

    Since passing that I haven't studied or worked in IT at all, what a waste I know :( And have forgoten the alot of stuff that I learnt although with a recap I'm sure it will come flooding back.

    I went down to my local college this week on open day to enquire about taking either a comptia N+ or CCNA. They basically told me I could easily be applying for jobs with my BTEC cert which I found hard to believe, but he said schools and companies are screaming out for people like me in a technician type role and he gave me a few job leads to follow up on to which I was saying I NEED some sort of recap course to get my skills back on track. One was a technician in a school and the other a junior role in a networking company.

    He said it was pointless to study the A+ because it would basically be going over the same stuff as my BTEC cert which I think could be true and would be a waste of money.

    He then went on and advised a foundation degree which is this:

    http://www.sutcol.ac.uk/search.aspx?pid=98&aid=3&level=1&courseid=618&searchType=3

    Its 3 years part time but the second year they put you in a placement working within the IT industry which to me sounds like a good option and a certain way to get some experience. Also I can get help with the funding of the course unlike CISCO and comptia certs. The problem is its a long time to study and the course is covering alot of stuff i'm not interested in eg programming.

    Personally I would like to take the N+ which he said was an decent option then after take a CCNA.

    Basically I would like some advice as to which course is going to get me into work, is am employer going to take me on if he sees a CV with BTEC and N+ but no A+ ..... Is there any networking covered in the A+ course?

    The comptia courses run at the college 1 night a wk for the 'hands on' labs then study at home, and should last around 6-12 months.

    Sorry for the rant but i'm confused lol :(
     
    Certifications: BTEC in Computing
    WIP: A+
  2. ericrollo

    ericrollo Megabyte Poster

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    Do a degree.
    If you got a good grade on your BTEC you might get an IT job, I have DDD on mine and i have had no look.
     
    Certifications: MOS Master, A+, MCP 271
    WIP: HND, Programming, Another Job
  3. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    Actually having the A+ would only add to your achievments, yes you may go over some stuff again but it will certify your knowledge.

    Most people starting out go for N+ and MCDST after the A+. The N+ goes into Networking and the MCDST is about supporting XP and the applications that run on it. You could do those certs and consider doing a degree part time.

    Welcome to CF
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  4. Nursa

    Nursa Bit Poster

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    Why do you say study the degree over a comptia cert?

    I got mainly merits and passes on the BTEC course but the tutor at college seemed to think I defo had the skills to land a job, I'm going to follow up the leads because I haqve nothing to lose from it but I need to recap!!!
     
    Certifications: BTEC in Computing
    WIP: A+
  5. Nursa

    Nursa Bit Poster

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    Is there any networking covered in the A+? Is there a site anywhere that goes into detail exactly what these courses cover? I know the standard route is A+ then to N+ but because I have covered alot of the stuff in my BTEC im unsure if I should go straight in for the N+ or MCDST?
     
    Certifications: BTEC in Computing
    WIP: A+
  6. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Although you can learn new things when studying for certifications, that's not the point of certification. Certification is designed to make you look more attractive to employers by showing them that you have a baseline level of knowledge about a technology. Thus, even if you have already covered A+ stuff in your BTEC studies, the A+ certification will make you look attractive to employers who know what the A+ is but haven't a clue about the BTEC.
     
    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!
  7. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    The A+ does goe into networking a little bit, that part of the A+ is designed to prepare you for the N+ but as BM said certs are there to make you look more attractive to an employer.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  8. Nursa

    Nursa Bit Poster

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    So you think I may aswell do the A+ maybe self study so its cheap and I can get through it quick because I have learnt alot of it before? Then move onto the N+?

    Any advice on the foundation degree? Are IT employers going to find attractive on my C.V over the certs?

    Still highly confused over here lol :eek:
     
    Certifications: BTEC in Computing
    WIP: A+
  9. Qs

    Qs Semi-Honorary Member Gold Member

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    Yep. Just because it may go over stuff you already know isn't a deterrent, it just makes it easier to pass. Whomever said that it's not worth it doesn't know what they're talking about.
    Yep. The N+ is a natural progression from the A+ that will enable you to understand networking basics which should help you with future certs (MCP, MCDST, MCITP etc etc).
    The foundation degree is a cert... :p

    Regardless, think of the degree as the main decent grounding qualification on your CV. If you get it then it proves you're capable of passing a higher level of national study. Now that's not to say employers will find it more useful than say the A+, but there's a good chance they will appreciate the effort put in to attain it.

    You need to decide if the foundation degree is beneficial to you and go from there. For instance, how many job listings have you seen where they would prefer/require a degree in order to go for an interview? Could you do something more worth-while in the two or so years that it takes to obtain the degree that will further your career opportunites to a larger degree (boom boom).

    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
  10. Nursa

    Nursa Bit Poster

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    Thanks for your input Qs!

    Whenever I've searched for jobs on the net they are alsways asking for proffesional certs like Microsoft / Cisco which is what is confusing me really, although a degree on your CV is going to look good due to the effort thats been put in to gain it as you say. The degree does cover CISCO and Microsoft and a placement in the second year would get me experience that I require. The main thing is in the 3 years it takes to graduate I could have passed quite a few comptia / microsoft / cisco certs but will cost ALOT more due to no grants or funding......Which is going to be more benificial in the long run?
     
    Certifications: BTEC in Computing
    WIP: A+
  11. Qs

    Qs Semi-Honorary Member Gold Member

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    You've got to remember that a lot of the higher level IT jobs will be requiring higher level industry certs (CCNA, MCSE etc).

    You're presumably aiming lower down on the ladder, which is where everyone has to start. To put yourself in the best position to get a 1st-line role you need:-

    • Experience
    • Relevant Certifications
    • Luck

    Unfortunately there's no guarantee. As you say, doing the degree (with its built-in sandwich part) will get you the experience.

    For me, I couldn't be arsed with a degree. I really didn't want to do a full-time degree course when I could be earning cash and whilst I was already doing the IT job I liked. This is why I chose a part-time HND over two years.

    It's very close to a foundation degree in the grand scheme of things and I could continue working.

    You're not going to lose anything by doing the degree but there are other options available to you.

    It all depends on you I guess.

    Perhaps other users' experiences and comments will help you make your decision more easily. :)

    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
  12. Nursa

    Nursa Bit Poster

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    Yeh I'm going to aiming for 1st line, or support technician to begin with! :D

    The foundation degree is a part time course tho, 1 night a week at college then alot of home study / work. So i would be able to carry on working and earning while studying. It covers these areas:

    Course Content: Year 1
    Business Context & Application of Technology
    ICT Fundamentals
    Programming
    Web Design and Multimedia Authoring Systems
    Networking

    Year 2
    Client/Server Operating System
    eBusiness Solutions
    Database Systems
    Switched LANs and Routing
    Business Project Development

    ^ Thats full time with the second year being a work placement, its split over 3 years part time.

    Has anybody got experience in studying a degree in computing
     
    Certifications: BTEC in Computing
    WIP: A+
  13. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    HNDs are not that different from degrees, degrees are just an extra year with a dissertation attached to it.

    But some good advice there from QS. Do some certs whilst looking for a job, get a job and do the degree part time if a degree is what you want.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  14. Nursa

    Nursa Bit Poster

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    Thanks for the advice!

    The Degree starts in September and enrolment in August so I have a month or so to decide what I want to do. The degree is around 1000 a year for 3 years but I think I will get a non repayable grant to cover most of that.

    My question is really has anyone on here got a degree in IT and is it going to be benificial in the long run?

    Or is it worth self studying for the 3 years instead? Gaining an entry level job after say the A+ and N+? Then studying higher certs whilst working in IT?! The advice I've read on here has been extremely informative as how to go about learning myself so thank you too everone for that! :D
     
    Certifications: BTEC in Computing
    WIP: A+
  15. Qs

    Qs Semi-Honorary Member Gold Member

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    There are a couple of guys on the forums with BSc/BA (and one with a MSc iirc) so you'd be better getting their responses.

    The only real reason to get a degree from a job-hunting perspective is to... get a job. Some employers put down degrees/HNDs on job adverts as a pre-requisite or prefered qualification (it shows that you're cabable, determined and competant enough to obtain a higher level qualification).

    If you decide to go for the degree then obviously it's going to be somewhat beneficial to you in the future but as for specifics it's entirely depedant on what potential employers are looking for.

    My advice for you is this - look at the type of jobs that you're hoping to obtain in the future through job hunting websites such as Monster, JobSite etc and see if they desire certain higher quals. If not then you may want to go the work + part-time study route to obtain a relevant qualification (HND, HNC etc) as well as experience.

    Each person's experiences are going to be different, so hopefully some different replies will help you deicde what's best for you.

    The best of luck :)

    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
  16. Nursa

    Nursa Bit Poster

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    The predicament I'm faced with right now though is that enrolment for the degree is once a year in August so it gives me a month(ish) from now until then to decide what to do. As I said I NEED some sort of recaping course before I would feel comfortable in applying for any 1st line / technician job, and this isnt going to leave me time to complete the A+ (which would be a perfect touch up on my skills) and apply for some jobs to see if I can get my first job in IT without taking a 3 year degree. I hope that makes sense lol!!!

    The main reason for going back to any sort of study for me is to change my carrer to IT as quickly as possible as I'm sick of the job I do now. I'm 26 in July and don't want to waste any more time. :x

    Where is the best place to post to find out from people who have studied degrees what there views and opions are?
     
    Certifications: BTEC in Computing
    WIP: A+
  17. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    The best place to post is right here in the thread you've asked the question.

    Are degrees worthwhile? Absolutely. Do you NEED a degree to get an entry-level job? Absolutely not.

    Getting a degree will make you attractive to some entry-level employers, as they know they're getting someone who can stick to an extended course of study. On the other hand, getting a degree will make you LESS attractive to some entry-level employers, as you are more likely leave the entry-level position rather quickly, leaving the employer to find, hire, and train someone all over again.

    For the record, I have a BSc in Chemistry.
     
    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!
  18. Nursa

    Nursa Bit Poster

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    Can some one please share experience in a degree in computing, I notice a few people have passed Networking and systems support degree which I think would be more suited to the route I want to take, would that course run in a part time foundation method?

    How do I change the thread title is that possible on this forum?
     
    Certifications: BTEC in Computing
    WIP: A+

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