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Certs to Backup my Experience.

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by AMH, Jan 5, 2015.

  1. AMH

    AMH New Member

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    Hi,
    As I have said in my new members thread, I have 20 years of work experience in IT Sector.
    Figuring I only got 25 years left to work (or less if I can retire in my 50s!), I better start these twilight years by knuckling down & actually doing some hard work.

    Currently I am a self employed contractor and struggling to find opportunities for the next leg up.
    Fed up of being an employee where the employer offers you the earth & gives you nothing. I have had 3 different employers that promise certification & career development yet none invested any money in me. Luckily with my Can Do attitude I do have a broad range of experience, but I have kinda hit the buffers & know I need Certs to get back on track.

    My current role is in end user support, with a bit of account administration, AD work, etc.
    The logical step from here would be to move 100% hiding behind the monitor screen as a sys admin.
    Kinda skills that get asked for in my neck of the woods are:-
    • Window/Wintel Servers.
    • Exchange.
    • Active Directory.
    • VMware/Virtualisation Products.
    • Citrix XenApp etc.
    • Disaster Recovery
    • Anti-Virus McAfee
    • Design Experience.
    • There is also quite a few Cisco roles that pop up from time to time, but they are so infrequent, I don't fancy dropping a load of money on training & then sitting & waiting for the right role to come up. I have Cisco experience, just enough to get others out a hole if something goes bad & they can't connect remotely.
    Basically, Infrastructure, Virtualisation & Networking.

    Which I am out of the loop for quite a lot of them. Seems the bigger the organisation you work for, the further away you are pushed from being in the loop! Because of that, a lot of my skillset can also be classed as redundant.
    SCCM? it was SMS back in my day! I remember the first time using AD & thinking these kids got it easy these days.....

    So basically, I am looking to get back on track and out of the pigeon hole I have been pushed into - but not sure where to Start in terms of Certs. VMWare is the shortage around here, but I guess thats chicken & egg without MCSA/MCSE.
     
  2. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    First of all I would suggest reading my post here - http://www.certforums.com/threads/entry-level-it-certifications-and-beyond.49085/ and have a look at the certs available (I may well have to update it shortly with some additional material, it's getting old).

    Secondly I would ask where you see yourself going?

    Just to give you an idea, I started with Novell, working with both Netware 3.12 and IntranetWare, I soon moved over to the Windows platform because Novell lost the race for the Network OS to Microsoft. During my career I have done a lot of EUC and Server work, started using SMS 2003 and moved to SCCM 2007 and some of the other System Center products (mainly DPM). I soon found myself bored of the whole Windows platform and decided to look elsewhere and that's where the VMware market space came in.

    As long as you're a seasoned Sys Admin there are no issues with moving in to virtualisation, obviously it's better to have some decent server skills but virtualised servers aren't the only thing that VMware brings to the table. As your career has been EUC focused I would suggest perhaps looking at the VMware Horizon View product set, it focuses on virtualising desktops, it's a niche market tho and not to everyones cup of tea.

    If you want to prove existing experience and you're Windows 7 focused then you could look at the MCSA for Windows 7, get that out of the way and try getting a role with a 3rd line Windows team to get some exposure to full on Windows Sys Admin work, don't make the mistake of getting the MCSA Windows exams just yet tho, as you said, the exams are there to prove experience.

    As a side note, I stopped taking Microsoft exams 5 years ago now, not worth my time investing in that technology, my focus these days will be VMware with perhaps some Cisco exams just to improve my networking (I held an older Cisco CCNA many years ago but stopped using it and didn't renew).
     
    Certifications: CNA | CNE | CCNA | MCP | MCP+I | MCSE NT4 | MCSA 2003 | Security+ | MCSA:S 2003 | MCSE:S 2003 | MCTS:SCCM 2007 | MCTS:Win 7 | MCITP:EDA7 | MCITP:SA | MCITP:EA | MCTS:Hyper-V | VCP 4 | ITIL v3 Foundation | VCP 5 DCV | VCP 5 Cloud | VCP6 NV | VCP6 DCV | VCAP 5.5 DCA
    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).
    AMH likes this.
  3. AMH

    AMH New Member

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    I went to get out of end user/deskside support. When working for smaller companies, I used to get my hands dirty a lot more, so the roles was a lot more varied. These days its just the usual rubbish day to day checking users groups/policies/resetting passwords, etc. With large companies teams dont cross as much to help each other out. Im guessing my route is MCSA so I can follow VMWare, as I think that is where the market is heading & where my interest would be (along with Cisco - but the cisco jobs ain't out there for me to pursue unless I want uproot - which I have no intention of doing). As for MCSA, I am guessing it would be hard for me to move into a SysAdmin role (as a contractor) without one & VMWare would similar a similar scenario. Most of my Server experience is going back to NT4 along with bits of Novell.
    The job markets around here are not interested in experience without certification. The Job Market also pretty much dictates what route I need to follow.
    Even end user support is getting more difficult without ITIL, etc. Luckily I have both NOMS & been vetted for clearance to work at other places. Most of the time in job descriptions its just client buzzwords. I do chuckle when you see MCSA jobs being advertised for £20k

    Career Path wise, Im looking down the same route as yourself. Just starting out late on something I should have done 15 years ago!

    So is MCSA certs the one I should be pursuing?
    I am going to look at VCA if its something I can do at home. Just to have something to go with an MCSA.
     
  4. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    I don't know how old you are but I turn 45 this year, I got in to management last year and have been in IT since 1998, it's never too late to start getting in to something different within IT.

    As far as the VCA's are concerned, they are ok as an introduction to the subject but they don't hold any water in the industry, even the VCP these days is starting to wear a bit thin, these days people are really looking for the VCAP (VMware Certified Advanced Professional) as the standard (one of the reasons VMware changed their exams from 85 questions to over 125 is the fact it's harder to brain dump that many answers, the VCAP - Admin exams are all hands on, no dumping that baby at all). If I advised anything it would be to do the 3 hour training for the VCA and wait to see if you can find a voucher for the exam rather than paying full price for it.

    I would honestly look at both the MCSA in Desktop and Server (it never hurts if you want to go in to desktop virtualisation later down the line).

    Any questions at all, just give me a shout.
     
    Certifications: CNA | CNE | CCNA | MCP | MCP+I | MCSE NT4 | MCSA 2003 | Security+ | MCSA:S 2003 | MCSE:S 2003 | MCTS:SCCM 2007 | MCTS:Win 7 | MCITP:EDA7 | MCITP:SA | MCITP:EA | MCTS:Hyper-V | VCP 4 | ITIL v3 Foundation | VCP 5 DCV | VCP 5 Cloud | VCP6 NV | VCP6 DCV | VCAP 5.5 DCA
    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).
  5. AMH

    AMH New Member

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    Thanks for your input, Guess it is MCSA I need to start with.
    My thinking the VCA was that it will at least give me some exposure/background without much financial outlay. While it may not hold to much water, at least its something better than nothing. I would not want to do anything higher (or pay for training) without actually working in an environment where I use VMWare

    I was under the impression to gain VCAP you need to be employed using VMWare & not just sat at home with your own lab?
    Also, you need to pay & go an approved course? or do I have that mixed up with another VMWare Cert?
     
  6. Josiahb

    Josiahb Gigabyte Poster

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    Have you thought about getting out of contractor land for a bit? If you want to get back into to some hans on server time looking for work with a smaller MSP (Managed Service Provider) might be a winner. We've got 5 engineers here and we're all knee deep in servers and network equipment every day of the week.

    Might be a good way to update (and polish) your skills before piling in to the MCSA etc
     
    Certifications: A+, Network+, MCDST, ACA – Mac Integration 10.10
  7. AMH

    AMH New Member

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    Nope, the MSP's around here pay a pittance unfortunately & the roles come up few & far between. When they do, they still ask for the earth. Plus I wouldn't be able to afford the wage drop! I am better of staying in the Corporate/Financial/Government Sectors than taking a massive step back, as it is easier to move around internally if the right people trust you can do the job!
    Server guys where I am are friendly enough, so hopefully I can lean on them a bit. I have helped them out enough over the last few years!
     
  8. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    Currently the only VMware cert that requires course attendance is the VCP, once you have the VCP exam you're eligible to sit the VCAP exams.

    The VCA doesn't really mean much, to give you an example, a colleague of mine sat the VCA-Cloud exam and passed with under 400 (the passing score is 300) but when you consider that this guy has all 4 current VCPs (DCA, Cloud, DT and NV), 4 VCAPs and the new VCIX-NV certification, he isn't stupid when it comes to VMware technologies but because the VCA is specifically aimed at the 3 hour training module that you're advised to do it doesn't really measure real world experience.

    As far as the VCAP is concerned, the requirement is lots of hands on experience and if that just means hands on lab time at home then so be it, would you be better off working with it day in \ day out, of course but the fact is that if you manage to pass the VCAP based purely on home lab experience you have proven you have the skills required to pass the exam and that's all people really want (as I mentioned earlier, the VCP is really classed as an entry level virtualisation certification these days, the VCAP proves you can do more than just pass a paper exam, you can get your hands dirty and pass real world experience labs).

    When I interview people these days, if they have a VCAP (or two) I don't bother asking them technical questions, I spend more time talking about the environment they will be working in, getting to know them etc, because I trust the candidate has the required skills to have passed the VCAP and that means he can do the work I need him to do, I am now more interested in his personality and whether he would fit in with the team dynamics (we are a bunch of highly qualified nerds who love hands on tech).
     
    Certifications: CNA | CNE | CCNA | MCP | MCP+I | MCSE NT4 | MCSA 2003 | Security+ | MCSA:S 2003 | MCSE:S 2003 | MCTS:SCCM 2007 | MCTS:Win 7 | MCITP:EDA7 | MCITP:SA | MCITP:EA | MCTS:Hyper-V | VCP 4 | ITIL v3 Foundation | VCP 5 DCV | VCP 5 Cloud | VCP6 NV | VCP6 DCV | VCAP 5.5 DCA
    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).

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