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Hi all!

Discussion in 'New Members Introduction' started by Stevie G, May 20, 2010.

  1. Stevie G

    Stevie G New Member

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    Hi guys

    I've just joined the forums as I'm intending to do some IT qualifications to try to help me get into IT. After working for 15 years in local government (UK) I've totally had enough of it and need a career change. I've always had an avid interest in computing and am finally getting my arse (or ass for you Americans!) into gear to do something about it! About time I spent my working day doing something I enjoy and not getting paid to do a job I hate and spending my free time doing something people get paid for! :blink :biggrin
     
  2. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Welcome to the forums!

    The A+, Network+, and MCDST certifications will give you a great foundation. :)
     
    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. Stevie G

    Stevie G New Member

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    Thanks BostonMichael!

    I wish I'd found this site ages ago! I've been going round in circles looking at various sites for 'colleges' based in London that do different Microsoft course but have struggle to determine which is best to start off with, but it looks like there's lost of useful information on here!

    I was thinking of starting with the A+ and then a Microsoft one, although I'm feeling a little put off the A+ after doing a few test exams and finding the amount of questions that are pretty random and don't appear to really be relevant to everyday stuff! I have a 1000 page Comptia A+ book and I didn't have to expect to really remember every single Intel and AMD processor type going back to the year dot, what connectors they use and how many pins they have! And they're the questions I did know! It seems you need to remember an encyclopedia of information that's not really relevant for most tech stuff. I've spent the last 15 years building, repairing PCs etc, and you can easily work out what you need when you need it!

    I'll see though. Need to read up on here.
     
  4. wagnerk
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    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    Hi & welcome to CF :)

    -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
  5. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Boson, not Boston. If I went by city name, I'd go by NashvilleMichael. ;)

    Yep - on this forum, you'll not only find system and network admins who have "been there, done that", you'll also find many authors and instructors (many of whom were/are admins).

    Well... some practice exams are better than others. I'm not saying that you don't need to know general things about processor models... but in my experience CompTIA doesn't typically ask questions regarding useless bits of trivia. Do you have to memorize some things? Certainly... but I wouldn't go crazy memorizing every field in a table of the bajillion processors out there.

    Hope this helps.
     
    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. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    Hi welcome

    Some bits may seem a little irrelevant that the books have but knowing how things started like the 8088 was 16 bit (although there were 4bit and 8 bit cpus before this) whilst CPUs today are 32 bit and 64 bit will actuall help you in the future.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  7. Stevie G

    Stevie G New Member

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    Apologies! The brain sometimes reads what it expects to read! lol

    I've done half a dozen of the tests and the results have tended to range from 65% to 85%, usually nearer the top end, but I thought I read somewhere a while back that you need about 85% to pass? Is the pass mark a fixed percentage or does it vary from test to test? Also, is there any reason to go for the older 600 exams over the newer 700 ones?

    With regard to Microsoft Certs, is it worth doing the MSCE these days or has that actually been replaced? I've just looked at Craigie's MS Cert roadmap and it looks purtty confusing!
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2010
  8. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    The MCSE is not for someone looking to get into IT. Having the MCSE before getting into IT will make your job search harder. The MCSE is designed for someone who is already a systems engineer and has atleast 12-18 months experience.

    Starting certs are A+,N+ and MCDST plus the MCDST upgrades if you want. Go any higher than this and if it may backfire on you.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2010
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  9. Stevie G

    Stevie G New Member

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    Ah, ok, thanks! You're the first person who's explained that to me - I've spoken to loads of friends in IT and agencies (for what worth they were!) but no one has really been much help. I've felt like I'm not getting anywhere in ever deciding on what courses to do and where, so have been feeling prerrty disolussioned and stressed out! The friends I've spoken to tended to end up in their jobs as post grads but with no IT experience and were trained up but don't seem to know much about the industry or how anyone else got into it!

    So the A+ can be studied at home, but what about the N+? Does that need access to a good network? Or can you get by with a home PC and an install of Windows Server on it?

    I feel that I have a good knowledge on a home level but need to take that onto a work level, and know that I am going to be having to start at the bottom, and know that getting that first job will be tough. I was thinking that the best direction will be a helpdesk or IT department in a business so I can work my way from there, so would the A+, N+ and MCDST be the best way to go for that?

    Strangely, I can't find the MCDST on any of the college sites for London.
     
  10. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    all certs can be studied at home with just the books and a pc. No need to spend loads of money on courses that usually end up costing thousands.

    Most of us on here use virtualization software on out home PCs to simulate networked environments. You can get trial copies of server 2003 from technet and with the MCDST press books you get two trial copies of xp so you can setup your own little networked world on your home pc.

    Some of us actually have the equipment to build real home networks.

    As I said above you dont need courses just some determination and the books and practice a lot.

    You book compTIA exams through pearsonvue or prometric and you will find your nearest test centers on their sites you can also buy discount vouchers which usually means you don't pay any VAT and you can get these from www.gracetechsolutions.com just make sure you buy the international ones.

    To book Microsoft exams they are only available through prometric and you get discount vouchers with the MS press books.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  11. Stevie G

    Stevie G New Member

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    Ah, ok, that's encouraging to hear anyway (as I was not far from paying around £1500 for a couple of courses!)

    I have a home network set up that consists of a Windows XP PC and a Win 7 laptop, plus a NAS drive (although that's Linux based - a Qnap) and a few other multi media type devices, so I have some experience of managing a network on a simplified level, but when you say most of you guys have a network set up over home PC's, what do I actually need to do with them to learn for a work type scenario? I already have the basic stuff set up; drives/partitioned shared, shared ones mapped to each device, IP addresses allocated, my NAS acting as a web server for a shared basic home page. Presumably setting up and managing a Outlook/Exchange server would be a good thing to learn? Does that need Windows Server edition? I'm probably jumping the gun as I imagine that is not relevant to the A+, but presumably relevant to the N+ and MCDST?

    For the A+ am I better off sticking with Windows XP and 7 on my two PC's, or would I benefit from having Server installed on the Win XP PC as a dual boot? I can see on the MS site that Server 2008 R2 is available for the 6 month trial, although I may also be able to get hold of 2003 from a friend if neccessary (my desktop is Intel Core2 Quad, but the memory only 2 gig - presumably that'll be sufficient for either?)

    With regard to the MCDST, does that also consist of different MS exams, or just the one? What does the course/exam cover, and can you recommend a book worth getting (in the UK)?

    Sorry.... this has gone from being an introduction to a full on thread! If I need to start a new thread for this in a dedicated forum please let me know! Apologies also for the numerous questions.... my main problem with learning is needing focus; I need to know a specific thing or area to concentrate on otherwise I tend to just flit from one element to another without gaining much from any! I need to make an action plan for study so I'm maximise my learning and concetrating on the right things at the right time!

    .....and thanks again for the help! I feel like I'm starting to get the options clearer in my mind, so that's a good thing!
     
  12. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    You can choose any OS you wish, because the A+ is a vendor-neutral exam. And none of it is truly server-based.

    Two exams: 70-271 and 70-272. You can get all the information you need on Microsoft's Web site, here (271) and here (272).

    For study guides for Microsoft exams, I generally recommend MSPress and/or Sybex.
     
    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!
  13. nugget
    Honorary Member

    nugget Junior toady

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    Hi and welcome to the forum. :biggrin



    Some of us are still doing it. :twisted:
     
    Certifications: A+ | Network+ | Security+ | MCP (270,271,272,290,620) | MCDST | MCTS:Vista
    WIP: MCSA, 70-622,680,685
  14. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Some of us are trying to remember how to do it.

    Oh, wait, we're talking about IT, right? :oops:
     
    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. Stevie G

    Stevie G New Member

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    Can I ask another question.... in you guys' opinion would my time be better spent doing the MSDCT before the A+? I'm thinking that if I start looking to apply for helpdesk/support type roles having the Microsoft desktop cert might be viewed better than the A+, simply because that's more hardware related? Or would you recommend still doing them in the order of A+, MSDCT, N+?

    Re the MS Press books, there seems to be a lot of similarly titled books on Amazon but I can't find one that's recent. I also can't find any on the MS site for MSDCT. Can anyone point me to a good recent MS Press one, or let me know the ISBN number please.

    Many thanks again!
     
  16. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    What makes you think that the knowledge of hardware isn't desired by entry-level employers? :)

    That said, the A+ isn't just a hardware exam. The A+ will provide you a good foundation upon which you can add Network+ and MCDST knowledge. Thus, I would recommend doing them in A+, Network+, MCDST order.
     
    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!
  17. Josiahb

    Josiahb Gigabyte Poster

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    This.

    The A+ does have a heavier hardware focus, but isn't entirely hardware, and a lot of what you'll learn on it is definitely desired by employers.

    In regards to your home lab, most people use virtualisation technology such as Virtual PC, VirtualBox or VMWare for their home labs. This will allow you to set up whatever you need for whatever your learning without having to worry about having a massive mountain of hardware in your house (a nice side effect being that virtualization knowledge is well worth having in the current market with many companies using it to varying degrees).

    As you've already got a Core2 Quad running all you'll need for a decent virtual lab is a nice extra lump of RAM!
     
    Certifications: A+, Network+, MCDST, ACA – Mac Integration 10.10
  18. ThomasMc

    ThomasMc Gigabyte Poster

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    A great little tool that Phoenix posted has been helping me with my labs, its called CloudShare Pro(currently free because its in beta) you could have a full lab setup in minutes
     
    Certifications: MCDST|FtOCC
    WIP: MCSA(70-270|70-290|70-291)
  19. Stevie G

    Stevie G New Member

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    Ah, ok, thanks for the opinions. I just wondered which would be seen to be better, but that looks like sensible =advice.

    I was about to buy the Exam Cram book from Amazon (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/078974242X/ref=ord_cart_shr?ie=UTF8&m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE but noticed a review on there where someone's mentioned that there are numerous errors in the book. Has anyone used this book and know if it's accurate?

    Re running a virtualised network, that looks a good thing to learn (a number of places I've worked recently using Citrix, and more places do seem to be using this type of set up more), but it's things like that that I'm likely to get sidetracked with and need to concentrate on specific A+ stuff for now I think. My mobo only takes up to 4gb as well, and I only have 32bit Windows XP on it.

    Re the A+ stuff, I intend scanning through the book and doing a few test exams and noting where my weaknesses are to concentrate on those and less on the stuff I already know. I think the main things I need to read up on with detail are printers (I've never had any need to know much about them), using DOS commands, networking (I think I need to read up on the commands, etc and get a better understanding of the technical side of things), and just refresh on various acronyms across all areas. Hopefully doing as many test exams as I can will help highlight where I'm falling short.
     
  20. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    I dunno - I've never used it, nor do I know anyone who has. I wholeheartedly recommend the A+ All-in-One Exam Guide 7th Edition by Mike Meyers and PC Technician Street Smarts 2nd Edition by James Pyles.... there's really no reason to look for any other books outside of those two.

    That depends on what test exams you plan on using. Some are low quality; others are braindumps, which are illegal collections of questions stolen from the live exam. You want to avoid either of those.
     
    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!

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