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Finished A+ MCSE next?

Discussion in 'New Members Introduction' started by TOFFEEMAD, Apr 19, 2005.

  1. TOFFEEMAD

    TOFFEEMAD Bit Poster

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    I am 31 and have just passed my Comptia A+ exams. I got to the point in my career where I needed to give myself a kick up the rear to make a career for myself. Call it a mid-life crisis but I just want to get qualified and quick so i can leave my current job. I requested a visit from the NITLC chap who worked with me to recommending the MCSE course. As I have already passed the A+ element there is leaway with the pricing (I was told). I used the Mike Meyers book to pass the exam and the rather expensive LearnKey CD's. I have read loads of posts on this great forum but still cant decide whether to go through NITLC or buy books/CD's and self study? I have other interests out of work but can dedicate at least 6 / 7 hours a week to home study. I desperately want to leave my current job and I am panacking that I am letting my career slide into obscurity. Someone please tell me do I study for my Network+ and then work towards an MCSE or do I bite the bullet and wave my social life goodbye by doing the NITLC MSCE course. There, that's that off my chest I feel better already!
     
    Certifications: Comptia A+
    WIP: MCSE
  2. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    Greetings TOFFEEMAD. Welcome to CertForums. First of all, congratuations on the A+ pass. Well done. As far as the rest, I have a strict policy of not telling someone I just met which direction they should take their career.

    I can say that it takes years to finally get all the certs necessary to earn your MCSE so I don't think MS certs are going to be a very quick way to get out of your current job. BTW, you don't mention what you do for a job now and why it's so difficult to stay there. Are you working in IT now or will this be a total career change?
     
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  3. Jakamoko
    Honorary Member

    Jakamoko On the move again ...

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    Hi from me too, TOFFEEMAD - welcome to CF :)

    In hindsight, I'd suggest doing Network+ off your own back as well, but I'm saying that having done A+ and 2 MCPs, so I did have a slightly more involved experience of the networking technologies involved.

    Saying that, if you can afford the time and the £££ for a training provider who'll give you support, then maybe that would be best for you.

    So, all in all, I have been no help whatsoever :oops:
     
    Certifications: MCP, A+, Network+
    WIP: Clarity
  4. AJ

    AJ Administrator Administrator

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    Welcome to the forum. I'm sure you've taken the above advice on board coz it's all good. take a looksee at the Training and Development forum for loads of advice. :biggrin
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCSA (messaging), ITIL Foundation v3
    WIP: Looking at doing ..................
  5. NightWalker

    NightWalker Gigabyte Poster

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    Welcome to CF :)
     
    Certifications: A+, Network+, MCP, MCSA:M 2003, ITIL v3 Foundation
  6. nugget
    Honorary Member

    nugget Junior toady

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    Hi and welcome to the forum.:D

    My advice is to do the N+ first and then see.
     
    Certifications: A+ | Network+ | Security+ | MCP (270,271,272,290,620) | MCDST | MCTS:Vista
    WIP: MCSA, 70-622,680,685
  7. TurtleBot

    TurtleBot Bit Poster

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    Hi Toffeemad gratz on the pass:)
    I also think N+ would be the next step to give yourself a better base for MCSE, or do MCSA and use A+ and N+ as elective exams.
     
    Certifications: A+
  8. maverik

    maverik Bit Poster

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    Nice 1 m8 passing the A+. Can you say how much you payed for the exams, cos Im doing the comptia through e-careers.co.uk, which I think now is a 2 man band. £100+vat for the course, and for the A+ hardware/software exams its 1ner each + vat. that f*!*!!g stinks. I should of looked into it more. Still you live and learn. Good luck with the other courses. Does anyone have any ideas on how to get that bit of paper that says you can take apart a PC for less dosh?

    Cheers
    Mav
    :ohmy

    ADMIN EDIT(J): Slanderous content removed
     
    Certifications: BTEC ND in Computer Studies. A+
  9. nugget
    Honorary Member

    nugget Junior toady

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    maverik, the whole world pays roughly the same for the 2 A+ exams, and I mean everyone whether it's Fergal in Aberdeen, Tripwire in Boise Idaho USA, or me in Zürich Switzerland. As for the £100 for the A+ course, think about that to do the equivalent here it costs upwards of £1500. It cost me that much (£100) just for 2 decent A+ books.

    As for how to do it for less money, self study. Get 2 A+ books and then do the exams (after paying for both that is) like most of the members here are doing. If you've already paid for the course then learn as much out of it as you can.
     
    Certifications: A+ | Network+ | Security+ | MCP (270,271,272,290,620) | MCDST | MCTS:Vista
    WIP: MCSA, 70-622,680,685
  10. maverik

    maverik Bit Poster

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    I know now that comptia are like the governing body for all these exams 'in the whole world' and they set the prices, hey, well I am sort of having q half hearted go at these exams, I feel I could pass the A+ no probs after completing the course, It just makes me sick of how much money they make from the IT industry, and whats more, where does most of your money go....? Awnser...Bill Gate's wallet.

    On another thread.....the goverment are supposed to be helping ppl get into good employment, apart from going to college for 2 years a decade ago for a BTEC, I don't now how student grants work and I haven't signed on for donkeys, but you must be able to get help of some sort from the social ??

    Mav
    :dry


    Sorry for the previous language man, Ill go find my pipe of peace.. 8)
     
    Certifications: BTEC ND in Computer Studies. A+
  11. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    No worries, maverik. Actually, as far as I know, Bill Gates has nothing to do with CompTIA. I agree, I think that CompTIA sets their exam prices way too high but since they don't have any competition (what other organization is providing equivalent certifications?), they can get away with it. On the bright side, once you earn an A+, it's forever. You don't have to recertify every so many years.
     
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  12. maverik

    maverik Bit Poster

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    Well there should be a law against it..them and traffic wardens..
    enough of the rant, :) . It might be a smarter idea to go for one of the more higher profile certs, I don't know them all, but Im guessing the MSCE is a pretty good ticket if your not sure where your going . Y buy all the smaller certs 0and waste money, might as well work your arse off and go for a higher cert and save money?


    Ps. once I buy a house that will be forever 2 :D
     
    Certifications: BTEC ND in Computer Studies. A+
  13. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    Actually, the MCSE isn't really one certification, it is several and ultimately, you won't be able to pass the certification exams without having significant experience administering microsoft networks.

    I know it seems like a Catch-22, but in order to earn MS certs and get a good job, you have to have a job or jobs that give you the experience with MS systems. If you don't have a background like the A+ and Network+, it will be hard for you to move up the ladder.

    We all tend to miss this point, but a certification is really a statement that says "This person is certified to have the knowledge and experience with this particular type of OS/system/hardware whatever". For example, the A+ certification basically establishes that the person who passes the exam has about 6 months actual experience in maintaining and troubleshooting hardware and basic OS issues.

    The certification and certification training industries have pretty much reversed causality and attempt to state that "if you study with us, we can help you pass the test so you can get a job and the experience the job takes.

    That's why there were so many paper MCSEs in the late 1990s. They passed all the tests but were worthless in the server room because all they learned how to do was pass the tests. They never learned how to apply the information to a production environment. That's why you can't get a job anymore based solely on which cert you have. You need to establish you can actually do the work the cert says you can.

    In my opinion, certs like the A+ and Network+ are good stepping stones to build up to the "big boys". Also, it takes years to earn an MCSE. Since you don't intend to be unemployed and starve during those years, you'll probably want to start out with a junior level job in IT and gain the experience that will help you pass the certifications you want to have.

    Of course, I'm basing my statements on the assumption that you have little practical IT experience. If I've made an error here, I apologize.

    One more ironic point. The guy I work for is an accomplished network engineer and programmer and as a bonus, is very good at managing a diverse staff of programmers, helpdesk staff, network gurus and one, middle-aged technical writer. He has no certifications or college degrees. The secret to his success is that he knows what he's doing and can demonstrate it.

    Ultimately that's what a certification represents. It's a piece of paper that says "this person knows what they are doing with this system (microsoft, cisco, whatever)". Sorry if this sounds like a rant but all of us here need to stop in our tracks once in awhile and realize just exactly the sort of paper chase we are in and what it actually means.

    nuff said.

    :wink:
     
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  14. maverik

    maverik Bit Poster

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    Its good to know there are other ways into IT. just a start in IT with an average wage and something that won't bore me too much would be good. My experience is if you don't have the certs you won't even get a look in, but you could be lucky and find an opportunity.

    Is there a thread in here or somewhere else with information about specific areas of IT thats could serve as a bit of inspiration.

    Things I like about PCs is problem solving, programming and getting out and about. If we ever had any free time in college me and a couple of others used to make simple shoot em up games in COBAL and I used to be pretty good in Basic aswell.

    Best thing about the A+ was remembering how to convert binary and hex numbers. So its never too late to shake off the old rust.

    Mav
    :onthePC :slidedrin
     
    Certifications: BTEC ND in Computer Studies. A+
  15. TOFFEEMAD

    TOFFEEMAD Bit Poster

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    There's a lot of interesting and varied advice here and a lot to think about. At the moment I am administering state benefits (yawn)with limited potential for salary advancement. I dont mind taking a step back (money wise) if the experience gained in IT will enable me to move on to another level. If that makes sense? It sounds like Network+ is the next logical step up the ladder and then i suppose it's up to me which path I take next. It's good to know there are many other people in the same situation and I appreciate everyones opinion. I am really tempted to run before I can jump by doing the MCSE with no practical experience of working in IT but I probably needed bringing back to earth. I'm still deliberating though so I will be checking the forum on a regular basis. Thanks everyone!
     
    Certifications: Comptia A+
    WIP: MCSE
  16. Mitzs
    Honorary Member

    Mitzs Ducktape Goddess

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    I would do the N+ first too. It will teach you alot of little things that will make it easier when you go for the MCSE because the mcse level will expect you to know this already. David groth does a great N+ book though sybex. Mike is great for A+ David is the one for N+. N+ you can do on your own. You will then have the fundamentals you would need to move on to mcse on your own too. I know lots of people that have. Instead of investing that money in school invest in a little lab for yourself. There are great books plus the people on this site that can help you if you get stuck with something. Anyway that just my opinion.
     
    Certifications: Microcomputers and network specialist.
    WIP: Adobe DW, PS
  17. TOFFEEMAD

    TOFFEEMAD Bit Poster

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    It's kind of Ironic that the bloke who came to see me from NITLC advised me to read forums first to check out their credentials and it's this forum that is gently nudging me to do my Network+ first. Thanks Mitzs It's interesting what you say and its good to see such a wide cross section of opinions!
     
    Certifications: Comptia A+
    WIP: MCSE
  18. TurtleBot

    TurtleBot Bit Poster

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    I dont think these boot camp places that offer MCSE in 2 weeks help matters.
    It gives people false indications on how long it takes to get that cert in real life.
     
    Certifications: A+
  19. patientx

    patientx Nibble Poster

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    I am in the same boat as you, i wish for a career change as well, I am currently training with Nitlc.com and as i passed the A+, I will follow the path of Network+ and then onto Mcse and Mcsa and Ccna.

    In order to get the experience I will need to take a drop in salary and start from the bottom upwards to achieve my goals. You said you already have the A+, well Nitlc.com will give you a reduced price to their course in Technical & System Engineer.

    Hope this helps

    Cheers.

    Stevie
     
    Certifications: Comptia A+,Network+ MCSA.MCSE
    WIP: Ccna, Cwna, Ceh.
  20. TOFFEEMAD

    TOFFEEMAD Bit Poster

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    Hi Stevie,

    Good luck with your change of direction. I enjoyed studying for my A+ and found it very interesting.

    How are you finding training with NITLC? I am interested in anyones opinion on them and for the matter Computeach. Both expensive options I know but at least it's incentive to keep the studying up. What is the training material like and do you think the course is worth the money?

    Would appreciate your opinions.

    Steve
     
    Certifications: Comptia A+
    WIP: MCSE

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