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Career Choice?

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by craigie, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    I'm currently trying to plan my next years worth of studying and a collegue came up with an interesting variation.

    I would appreciate your feedback, in where you think I should go.

    I should be moving into 2nd Line Support in the next couple of months (one month after recieving security clearance, which has been OK'd by the Service Delivery Manager). In this position, we will get access to the Server side on things, but it is locked down by 3rd Line Support as they set all the Group Policies, Exchange settings etc.

    The chances of getting into 3rd Line is possible, but whether or not I will or won't be recongised is something that I will not count on!

    The position, I'm in currently, is that the Helpdesk that I work on is all focused on Microsoft products. Please bear in mind, I only started my first IT job 2 1/2 months ago :blink

    My plan is as follows:

    Pass 290, 291 and then 284 to get MCSA: Messaging

    The Messaging part of the MCSA, I will not use at all in my current role, but thought it would be a bonus on my CV as I assume that alot of companies out there want people who know about Exchange.

    This part I'm happy with and hopefully this should be done by the end of Feb 09.

    The next part of the 'plan' is where I need the help, I want to get into System Admin.

    The choices are:

    A - Get an MCSE, however, the skills that I would learn in passing the 293,294, 297 would not be used is my currenty role. I would probably pass these all by the end August 09 (allowing two months per exam).

    B - Go for the CCNA, again I would not be using these skills in my current role. Again, I would look to achieve this by the end of August 09.

    So which would look better on my CV, I'm thinking that the MCSE is too high level and the CCNA would broaden my skill set.

    I do want to keep focused on the studying and combine both knowledge and qualifcations, so doing nothing and getting more experience is not an option, as I do not have the luxury of time (within reason) to increase my earnings capacity e.g. wait three years until progression.

    Hope this makes sense and I would appreciate any feedback.
     
    Certifications: CCA | CCENT | CCNA | CCNA:S | HP APC | HP ASE | ITILv3 | MCP | MCDST | MCITP: EA | MCTS:Vista | MCTS:Exch '07 | MCSA 2003 | MCSA:M 2003 | MCSA 2008 | MCSE | VCP5-DT | VCP4-DCV | VCP5-DCV | VCAP5-DCA | VCAP5-DCD | VMTSP | VTSP 4 | VTSP 5
  2. Bambino1506

    Bambino1506 Megabyte Poster

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    Hi mate, congrats on the promo to 2nd line.

    A CCNA is just as "High end" as an MCSE. From what I gather about your work situation you are going to find it difficult obtaining the CCNA as you won't have the chance to gain practical experience.

    You will already have several exams towards your MCSE but this will still be tough without being able to get practial experience at work.

    What does your boss think is the best action plan ? He/she would be a good person to discuss this with.

    It also comes down to what you think you would prefer to continue studying, what element of IT do you have most passion for ?
     
    Certifications: MCP,MCDST,MCSA
    WIP: CCA
  3. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    Funnily enough, it was my Team Leader who suggested it!

    We where chatting about my goals and he mentioned the CCNA, as he felt it would look better on my CV than an MCSE, even though it would not benefit the department in any shape or form.

    He felt that I could move across to a different Helpdesk with these skills once I start studying for the CCNA.

    As I'm new to IT, I do not know which area I want to specialise in, I just want exposue to lots of stuff and to see which one 'floats my boat'.

    So far, I have to say I'm enjoying the Server side of things, but who knows, I could find networking to be my 'Golden Chalice'!
     
    Certifications: CCA | CCENT | CCNA | CCNA:S | HP APC | HP ASE | ITILv3 | MCP | MCDST | MCITP: EA | MCTS:Vista | MCTS:Exch '07 | MCSA 2003 | MCSA:M 2003 | MCSA 2008 | MCSE | VCP5-DT | VCP4-DCV | VCP5-DCV | VCAP5-DCA | VCAP5-DCD | VMTSP | VTSP 4 | VTSP 5
  4. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    If you're not using the technologies even marginally, then it won't be all that worthwhile to get the MCSA, MCSE, or CCNA certifications... yet.

    Keep in mind that certifications aren't designed to show employers what you WANT to do... certification is designed to show employers what you can ALREADY do.

    Personally, I think you're trying to put the cart before the horse... and then trying to push the horse into the cart. There's a reason why Microsoft recommends 6-12 months of server administration experience before pursuing the MCSA.

    You've taken the next step into 2nd line, which is quite admirable... but don't be foolhardy. Patience, Padawan. Build some solid server administration experience, learning from the guys on the 3rd line... then get your MCSA certification AND the server admin job.
     
    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!
  5. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    Thanks for the feedback, I have always been very driven when it comes to my career.

    When I changed into IT, I knew that I would be able to apply those same skills to anything (within reason) that I put my mind too.

    I will be using some of the MCSA experience in 2nd Line so by the time I have finished the MCSA in Feb 09, I would have been using those skills for approx 4 maybe 5 months. Doing things like account moves, user and group permissions, logical printers to name a few. I won't be involved in items like setting Group Policy or WSUS installations. So I will probably be utilising abuot 50% ish from what I have seen so far in the 70-290, but all of the Client stuff.

    Crikey I was rambling a bit there..

    Anyways something I did not mention, other Service/Helpdesks have alot less restrictions than the one I'm currently on. They also have a broader remit, including things like Citrix, Cisco and HP. There could be an opportunity to move into those as well...
     
    Certifications: CCA | CCENT | CCNA | CCNA:S | HP APC | HP ASE | ITILv3 | MCP | MCDST | MCITP: EA | MCTS:Vista | MCTS:Exch '07 | MCSA 2003 | MCSA:M 2003 | MCSA 2008 | MCSE | VCP5-DT | VCP4-DCV | VCP5-DCV | VCAP5-DCA | VCAP5-DCD | VMTSP | VTSP 4 | VTSP 5
  6. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Being driven doesn't mean you have to be reckless while doing it. ;)

    The recommendation is not for when people should *finish* the MCSA... but for when people should *start* the MCSA. :) Thus, according to Microsoft, the 70-290 exam should be gotten AFTER you've had 6 months of experience of messing with XP in a domain environment. And I agree with their recommendation.

    Nobody is saying that you cannot pass the exam without that much experience. In truth, many people pass without any real-world experience at all. But the question is this: of what use is it without the experience that employers desire? Plus, it'll be *much* more difficult to understand without the real-world experience... it can feel like a slow slog, even for very intelligent people.
     
    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. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    Sorry mate, I disagree with you there. The CCNA is a level 3 cert, while the MCSE is a level 4 cert.

    Apart from that, I agree with what's been said here already :)

    -Ken
     
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: PGDip
  8. Bambino1506

    Bambino1506 Megabyte Poster

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    My bad ken :oops::biggrin
     
    Certifications: MCP,MCDST,MCSA
    WIP: CCA
  9. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    That's some top advice there, Craigie.

    Whilst I have no doubt you'll be able to take on board the material and probably pass your exams, the MCSA will be a tough nut to crack without the hands on work to bolster the theory you're taking in. And there's a lot of theory.

    My basis for comparison would be CCNA (well, CCENT). I've been trying to study this on and off for a year, but without access to the routers at work I've found it hard to apply the practical side of the studies. Topologies and things like that have been great, as we have full schemas of our network and I can apply that to what I've learnt... but the rest of it has been like swimming against the tide, and it hasn't been a very pleasant experience.

    I have put that on the back burner in favour of the MCDST. I have more than enough experience to tackle this Cert, and studying for 70-271 has been like a breath of fresh air. When I've done that, I'll probably move on to MCSA in full, as I also have the domain experience to boot - I've had a gander at the core exams, and won't have an issue applying that in my work environment.

    As you seem to have a fully tiered second to third line system, I'd consider your MCSA in full before tackling the MCSE. The MCSE is a beast to crack (so I've heard) and you'll want as much practical experience as you can cram in before considering it. I have the AD book, as I was considering that exam (much of my current work involves AD, lucky lucky me) and it was nauseatingly boring. Also, without the *other* experience required at MCSE level, some of the references had me scrambling for Safari and Google.

    With the MCSA, Microsoft recommends that you have
    Given that you think you should start on the Second Line team in a few months, you could start studying towards 70-270 now - as it involves the client side of the MCSA requirements, it is the side you can get most hands-on with at your level of access at work.

    By the time you've got that under your belt and you're finished adjusting to the wonderful life in second line, you should be able to tackle 290 and 291 in turn, say 3 - 6 months for each Cert depending on the experience you've gained and the amount of free time you can give it - giving you MCSA status. (Possibly starting with 290, as that is probably your highest level of exposure again.)

    I can't see the benefit in your getting the MCSA: Messaging specialisation especially if, as Michael has pointed out, you don't use it in your current job role. You sound like you want to go 'all the way' with this company, and you have rightly earmarked other areas that could help you get to where you want to go.

    If it helps, my own current studying roadmap uses this logic:

    I've worked where I am for 18 months, and have 'lead' the helpdesk for around 9 - 12 of those. I tread on the toes of second and third line almost every day, assisting clearing blocked mail queues on servers, doing server reboots, configuring scripts, nosing in on group policy rollouts, monitoring exchange mailboxes, and generally helping out where I can. I say 'treading on the toes' because I do this above and beyond my work remit. I'm officially first line, but there's no reason why I can't help out, especially if they're down on staff.

    This, coupled with the fact my job uses AD as standard, and I have full domain admin access to the network, puts me on the following study track:

    70-271 and -272 to get my MCDST, affirming what I already do in my work.

    MCSA - to bolster the experience I'm getting through my encroachment on what the second and third line teams do. To this end, so I don't bugger up a server at work, I am starting to set up a lab environment at home as well.

    ITIL Foundation - because I'm a customer service hound, and a lot of places appreciate having process methodologies these days. Apparently.

    After that... I may revisit the CCNA, although between that lot I am trying to get my CCENT bashed out, as I am about to get my hands on some kit to get the practical side of it straight in my head.

    And then after that... I dunno. See where the interest takes me, I suppose. The MCSE might always be a possibility, but there again I might have a bash at the Project+ to see if my interest in Project Management has any true footing.

    Whatever you choose for your job progression, keep it sensible. You've done awesomely well to get where you are so far, and as well as giving great advice on the boards, you've also received some great advice from Mr BM as well as others. And congratulations on the promotion :)
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
    WIP: Modern Languages BA
  10. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    And this is exactly the way to get real-world experience with the "next step" in your career... by assisting (and learning from) those who are doing the job you eventually want to be doing. :) It absolutely worked for me, it's working for Arro, and I suspect it's working for many others on this forum who have been in IT for a while. Anyone have a similar testimony to share?
     
    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!
  11. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    Thought I would give you an update, as it has been an interesting few days.

    I have been asked to be seconded to a different Service Desk, which covers support from 1st Line to 3rd Line using Citrix, Cisco, Microsoft and other software.

    The good news is that as this desk operators differently. The proceedures in place mean that when you are awaiting clearance, you recieve full access.

    After a 30 minute 'chin wag' with my new Manager, I naturally said yes and I will be let loose from Tuesday onwards, doing everything after a few days training.

    It is going to be a steep learning curve as the Service Desk looks after 19 conracts, with each contract having different access levels into there systems from Full Access 3rd Line to 1st Line.

    The reason why I'm really happy, is that I was chosen from all the Uncleared people on our desk (around 15 and approx 5 of these being 2nd line).

    This new desk it is considered to be slightly higher level then my current desk as we deal in exclusively MS stuff.

    So it looks like my studying for the 70-290 will be coming in handy :)
     
    Certifications: CCA | CCENT | CCNA | CCNA:S | HP APC | HP ASE | ITILv3 | MCP | MCDST | MCITP: EA | MCTS:Vista | MCTS:Exch '07 | MCSA 2003 | MCSA:M 2003 | MCSA 2008 | MCSE | VCP5-DT | VCP4-DCV | VCP5-DCV | VCAP5-DCA | VCAP5-DCD | VMTSP | VTSP 4 | VTSP 5
  12. Qs

    Qs Semi-Honorary Member Gold Member

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    Sounds good! :) Well done. Let us know how it goes.
     
    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

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