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Certification/Career advice

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by PonteBoy, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. PonteBoy

    PonteBoy New Member

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    Hello,

    I'm currently working as a senior technical support analyst/Consultant for a software company.

    I've been working in IT for over ten years now. I started my career at the bottom in a helpdesk role and after two years of doing that I came into a bit of money and was able to go on an NT4.0 MCSE training program. I completed it and gained two MCP qualifications (Couldn't afford the exams for the others!!) and went looking for a new job. I got a new job at the company I currently work for and was keen to build on my newly found knowledge of windows infrastructure and they promised me I would be involved in this type of stuff. To cut a long story short I wasn't really involved in any of that stuff but ended up staying anyway (I loved the company). I progressed from 1st line analyst to 2nd line and then into my current role of senior technical support analyst/consultant which I've been doing for about four years. My work is orientated around Db's mainly Progress and SQL.

    I get involved with installations, training, Db administration, Business continuity, performance tuning/troubleshooting and have exposure to a variety of technologies and platforms, Windows 2003 server, Linux, Citrix, XP, Windows 2000, SQL 2000/5, Progress,VMWare, networking blah blah blah. Our software goes out to a lot of clients on a lot of different platforms hence the exposure.

    I want to further my career and feel that although I've had exposure to all these technologies I'm only ever scratching the surface as my role restricts me from learning about them in depth (Jack of all trades good at none!!). My company isn't willing to train me in windows infrastructure as I'm not a system administrator so all the knowledge I have is on the job knowledge that I pick up from working with system administrators when dealing with our databases on site. I want to further my career and move more into a system administrators role and get into the networking side of things and possibly network security. I have seen a training program I would like to sign up for which includes A+, Network+, MCSE and CCNA but it will take me 3.5 months to complete so I would have to quit my job do the training and then apply for a new job in that area.

    I know I need experience and certificates to stand a chance at getting a job and I will have both providing I complete the course and pass the exams. My worry is that my experience isn't in the right area i.e. System/Network administration. I've had plenty of exposure in this type of environment and have strong analytical and troubleshooting skills but I've never actually been a system administrator before. My question is will this hold me back, is it the same as having no experience at all and hence be a "paper mcse"???

    Your comments are gratefully received.
     
  2. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Excuse my ignorance... but wha? :blink To start with, let's get on the same page regarding terminology...

    You say you work with Windows 2003 Server... but then you say you have no system administrator experience. What do you think a system administrator does? Because, as long as I've been in the IT industry, that's EXACTLY what a system administrator does: administer systems, including servers.

    For the record, you CAN be a jack-of-all-trades AND good at what you do. I was, and am.
     
    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!
  3. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    3.5 months that sounds just a tad over enthusiastic, thats like 11 exams or something.I'd be very wary of a place that says that.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  4. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Dude, Im confused, you say you are a senior technical support analyst but have not done any server admin before? :blink
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  5. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Dude, that's what I'm sayin! :blink Truly an enigma...
     
    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. PonteBoy

    PonteBoy New Member

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    Please click one of the Quick Reply icons in the posts above to activate Quick Reply.
     
  7. nugget
    Honorary Member

    nugget Junior toady

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    You need to put in a message when you press the quick reply button mate. At the bottom of each post there are 4 buttons; edit, quote, multi-quote and the quick reply. Click this one to activate the quick reply box and the post quick reply button to post the message once you have finished.
     
    Certifications: A+ | Network+ | Security+ | MCP (270,271,272,290,620) | MCDST | MCTS:Vista
    WIP: MCSA, 70-622,680,685
  8. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

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    "jack of all trades, master of none"

    A+, Network+, MCSE and CCNA in 3 odd months??? Highly doubt that!
     
    Certifications: MCSA , N+, A+ ,ITIL V2, MCTS
    WIP: MCITP 2008 Ent Admin, Server Admin, Exchange 2010, Lync 2010, CCNA & VCP5
  9. PonteBoy

    PonteBoy New Member

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    Ok, apologies for the confusions I have caused here. Let me try to clarify my position.

    I work for a software house, they sell software to a variety of different clients using a variety of different platforms. I work within the support department which is split into application support and technical support/installations. Application support looks after our application and technical support look after the database back end (SQL/Progress). I fall in the technical support category hence the technical support title. I accept that you may think it's a joke to have such a title when I don't administor systems but hey that's my job and that's my title, it was given to me. Given half a chance I would love to move into a system administrators role hence posting on this forum for advice on how to do it.

    My job involves going out to clients site installing the software and the db, integrating it with all third party products and then supporting the backend from that point forward. I also help train the client so they know how to monitor and tune their db's etc and where required help with the business continuity plans, data replication and stuff like that. So this is where I get my exposure of different platforms and infrastructures from, I stress exposure! I am by no means a system administrator but work closely with system administrators where we sell our solutions to get the package in and support it.

    To do this I have to know a bit about the infrastructures I'm installing the software in so I learn a bit of everything really but never learn it in depth. Just enough to be able to install our software properly and troubleshoot performance problems should there be any.

    My question is would this type of experience be worth anything if I was to apply for a system administrators job with the right certificates? What's the best way of getting into a system administrators job basically.

    I hope that clarifies my position. I'm sure you'll let me know if it doesn 't.:biggrin:biggrin
     
  10. PonteBoy

    PonteBoy New Member

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    Cheers Nugget, I was on my blackberry when I hit quick reply and had to dash. Didn't realise i'd posted anything. Doh!!!
     
  11. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Dude... that's what system admins do. A lot. :) Install software, ensure stuff works, monitor and maintain stuff, and troubleshoot when necessary. Sure, you may have not worked with AD much, if any... but the experience you have is more than many people have.

    Therefore, I would think that some of what you're doing IS applicable to system administration. I'd apply for a junior or regular system admin role and see if anyone bites.

    Most people go from desktop support to systems administration. How are your desktop support skills? You could always get a senior desktop support role and work up from there...

    Considering your experience managing databases, have you considered becoming a DBA?
     
    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!
  12. PonteBoy

    PonteBoy New Member

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    I have thought about DBA as it is my strong point. I don't know why but I just seem to be more attracted to networking. Seems more interesting than DBA, maybe because I've been doing DBA work for a while now. I'm not bad with desktop support but would much prefer server and network support.

    Basically my NT4 MCP's have expired and i'm keen to learn and get some qualifications under my belt but just wanted to research what my job prospects were and if it was worth it. I read a lot of people getting the certs but not finding employment due to lack of experience and then started questioning my own experience and what it was worth in todays job market. I've worked for my current company for over 8 years now so I've not been out in the market for a long time!

    Your comments have given me a bit more confidence in my work experience anyway. I think it's just my lack of qualifications that lets me down. As I mentioned I've seen various boot camps marketed as career enablers offering A+, Network+ moving onto MCSE and CCNA. I thought this would give me the right knowledge and certs to move confidently into a system admin role. What do you reckon?
     
  13. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    With your background why would you want to throw your hard-earned money away to pay a "trainer" to teach you what you can learn on your own with a couple of used systems, trial software, and books for a whole lot less money, let alone all the time you have to take off work to attend classes or bootcamps.

    If you really want to learn this stuff you must have hands-on with what you're learning and a bootcamp is designed to teach you how to pass a test, not develop skills. And the "training" organizations are just as bad. They charge a fortune and you end up teaching yourself anyway, so why throw away your hard-earned money?
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCDBA, CCNA, A+
    WIP: LPIC 1
  14. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Agreed. You don't need expensive training courses. Get yourself a couple of books and you're ready to study! Add in some practice exams (legitimate ones, not braindumps) if you feel you need them to find out if you're ready, and go in and take the exam. Simple as that!

    Certifications can help get your resume noticed. But the real-world experience you have counts for SO much more to an employer. Even if you did have to "settle for" a desktop support role, you'd likely move up quickly... not a guarantee, but that's what my gut and my experience tell me.
     
    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!
  15. PonteBoy

    PonteBoy New Member

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    I hear what you are saying. I guess I have two choices:

    1. Self learning (Cheap way)
    2. Training (Expensive way)

    Thanks to everyone who has offered advice. I think the doubts about my experience have all but gone so I think the certs are worth doing, just need to choose the correct path to getting them.

    Thanks a lot for all your help dudes.

    Enjoy the weekend or rest of it wherever you are.:biggrin
     

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