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Hi, I'm an MCSE Instructor

Discussion in 'New Members Introduction' started by BlueTac, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. BlueTac

    BlueTac Bit Poster

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    Hello,

    I work as an instructor for a Microsoft IT Academy in East London and I come from a 3rd line support background (freelanced all over London). I still freelance in my spare time (Microsoft, Cisco, VoIP & all things Open Source), so my students tend to get more than they bargained for ;).

    I stumbled across this site after trying to get some market research done for a new blended learning course we're developing. I am really interested in developing an MCSE programme which meets the needs of beginners. As a not-for-profit organisation, we're not really interested in lining our pockets so we would really like to hear what you guys want/need and then to incorporate some of these suggestions in our training programme. I've certainly heard a lot of nightmarish stories. My brother for example attended one of these "guaranteed job scheme" programmes and to his horror found the doors shut one day with an eviction notice from the landlord (yep, unsustainable biz. model = bankruptcy)! I'm not hear to plug anything so please don't get the wrong idea!

    I've also a blog which is updated once in a while with technical issues I've come across. I don't know the policy on posting links so I won't be posting a link to the blog yet!

    Thanks for reading

    Adam
    MCSE, MCT, CCNA (expired too long ago!)
     
    Certifications: MCSE 2003, MCT
    WIP: CCNP
  2. nXPLOSi

    nXPLOSi Terabyte Poster

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    Problem is, MCSE isn't for beginners.

    Welcome to CF btw, good to have you :)
     
    Certifications: A+, Network+, Security+, MCSA 2003 (270, 290, 291), MCTS (640, 642), MCSA 2008
    WIP: MCSA 2012
  3. BlueTac

    BlueTac Bit Poster

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    Thanks for that nXPLOSi. I'm sure I'll learn a lot from your's and others' experiences here.

    I've trained some "beginners" with no IT background, but with degrees who've had great aptitude for learning new technologies. Obviously they've had to put in a lot of hours of practice to get up to speed. But the most important skills needed are things like logical analysis, sequencing, READING and most importantly an immense interest in the subject they're studying.

    We've developed aptitude tests to identify these "beginners". With the right support in place, I know it's possible.

     
    Certifications: MCSE 2003, MCT
    WIP: CCNP
  4. Leehaa

    Leehaa Gigabyte Poster

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    ........
     
    Certifications: MCP, MCDST, ITIL v3, MBCS, others...
    WIP: BSc IT & Computing, RHCE
  5. Leehaa

    Leehaa Gigabyte Poster

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    :rolleyes: Hmmm. NO IT background? I thought MCSE is supposed to be for those who have had a year or more practical experience administering a server environment related to the exams they are going for...I'm not sure how you'd get around that one with a course....how long does your course go on for?

    Welcome by the way! :biggrin
     
    Certifications: MCP, MCDST, ITIL v3, MBCS, others...
    WIP: BSc IT & Computing, RHCE
  6. Rafek

    Rafek Kilobyte Poster

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    Hello & Welcome,

    Internesting idea regarding the training for MCSE... I'd be interested how your students fair without the experience as previously stated.

    All legit training support is good in my book.. Welcome :biggrin
     
    Certifications: A+, Network+
    WIP: IPT/IPCC stuff
  7. BlueTac

    BlueTac Bit Poster

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    Hi Leeha,

    Thanks for your comments. My first job in IT involved lugging around heavy CRT monitors and inserting a floppy disk into PCs and doing the IT equivalent of watching the paint dry while a standard build of Windows 3.1 was being dropped onto the PC. I was then taken under the wing of a sympathetic techie who knew I had potential and I soon started learning stuff at an amazing pace. Nothing can replace experience except "experience"! My MCSE students have to script mass imports of 3000 hollywood actors/actresses as part of their exercises. I tried my best to introduce "real world" scenarios to break AD and see them sweat until they found the solutions. I think the syllabus/curriculum is really there as a base and it's not possible to teach "beginners" without introducing custom aspects.

    About the course length/hours. I have been converted to web conferencing recently and we get a good deal on Microsoft Live Meeting 2007 (I know it's bloatware but we're a MS shop and its cheap). The students would do Microsoft Elearning for the MCPs, spending around 3-5 hours per week on their own. I would then meet them for a live session where I'd do a 1.5 hour lecture on the material they've covered and then answer questions. They would also be supported through a moodle learning environment. For IT Academy students, we get discount exam rates and a free 2nd shot at exams. I myslef failed a couple of MCPs before passing them eventually back in the day, so I don't see why there's so much pressure to pass on the 1st attempt!

    I think 6 weeks per module allows us to complete the MCSE in less than a year, which gives the guys the opportunity to do a LOT of reading!

    Tell me what you think.

     
    Certifications: MCSE 2003, MCT
    WIP: CCNP
  8. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    Hi Welcome
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  9. wizard

    wizard Petabyte Poster

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    Hi there and welcome to CF.

    So you take on students without any experience at all?

    That's the problem being faced today, too many Academies taking on students that don't have any experience despite Microsoft saying what the expected experience level is.

    Is it just the ££££s infront of the academies eyes for taking on all comers?

    Sure some of your students will have the aptitude to do the MCSE, but whats the point if they have no experience to get their foot in the door once they've passed?

    Why is the whole world in such a rush to churn out folks with paper MCSEs etc?

    So by the time I come to concentrate on my A+ and come to try and get my foot in the door, the jobs have been taken by people who have tons of certs but no experience to back it up.

    It's all well and good having excellent lab setups and set scenarios, but it isn't going to help in the real world where everything is not black and white.

    I just wish more training places would ask for proof of previous experience before taking student's money from them and flooding the job market.
     
    Certifications: SIA DS Licence
    WIP: A+ 2009
  10. Leehaa

    Leehaa Gigabyte Poster

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    Hello again....maybe your answer is here - aim the course at those people (like myself who perhaps have MCDST and been in IT for a while) who have had a fair bit of experience but need a bit of extra stuff - labs etc ontop of their study books to get them ready for the rest of the exams...

    (sorry - can't answer properly as a bit busy, but like think your course sounds like it has good potential!)
     
    Certifications: MCP, MCDST, ITIL v3, MBCS, others...
    WIP: BSc IT & Computing, RHCE
  11. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    Greetings. The quote above is the perfect way for "MCSE candidates" with no IT experience to begin a career.

    As I recall, Microsoft's current certification strategy involves the MCTS rather than the traditional MCSE. Frankly BlueTac, at the risk of being less than a gracious host, I'm going to take what you've said so far with a grain of salt. I hope that part of your intent by joining our group is to be an active and contributing member and that you are not here just to promote your business (profit or non-profit).

    Many people with no IT background and a desire to enter a technological career path have been "lured" into training courses by the promise that the magic MCSE would provide the way to a well paying job. In fact, this particular set of certifications can only be rightfully earned after years of hard work and learning, both using educational materials and in hands-on training. Despite what Microsoft may market, this certification/career path isn't the only one available for those who want to work in IT since Microsoft isn't the only vendor that produces IT-relevant technologies. Unfortunately, the acronym "MCSE" is the best known and for many, the least understood.

    Hopefully, any prerequisites your company recommends for your educational track includes material equal to the A+ and Network+ certifications (for starters) and plenty of hands-on training at the entry-level before attempting to learn how to support Microsoft infrastructures. It will do your students absolutely no good to "book learn" the materials related to this set of certifications and yet not have the slightest idea how it all works in a production environment (labs aside...there's no replacement for actually doing the work on the job).

    I'm interested in how this thread (and any others you choose to be a part of) will progress. Cheers.

    -Trip
     
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  12. BlueTac

    BlueTac Bit Poster

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    Hi Wizard,

    Microsoft have especially developed the Microsoft Official Academy Courses for educational institutions. I doubt many enrollees on these course would have much commercial experience. My brightest students do get entry-level jobs without lying on their CVs about their experience. Some of my students get jobs WITHOUT any certs, due to their confidence in the subject and there are still employers out there that have junior positions. I personally don't consider an A+ to be a prereq. for the MCSE, but that is MY opinion based on MY experiences.

    So, I beg to differ. I seriously am not motivated by the money my Academy can supposedly make from this, but delivering a course which meets the expectations of the students, hence the aptitude test. I am not interested in churning out paper certs. I have interviewed paper certified people in the past who have lied about their experiences. It's very hard to fool someone like me though :D. Have you considered the possibility that there are genuine people out there in the vast jungle of money-grabbing institutions?

     
    Certifications: MCSE 2003, MCT
    WIP: CCNP
  13. rwlk

    rwlk Bit Poster

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    BlueTac,
    Please don't turn down students just because they don't have real experience. Let them learn and encourage them to look for work experience while they are learning. Learning and certifying for what you acquired is a never-ending course and buiding work experience is another course on its own. Tell me, will you stop learning just because you haven't found a job, or this is the time you should be intensively learning because once you start working you may not have same amount of time.

    My advise is, give to your students hand-on materials, and possibly placements, provide them with real world career advice (but no false promises) and when they land on the labour market, let them fly on their own wings!!!!
     
    Certifications: B.Sc.
    WIP: CCNA, CWNA, Security+
  14. wizard

    wizard Petabyte Poster

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    BlueTac,

    There may be one good apple in the bunch, but no good if the rest of the apples are bad.

    I hope that you do prove us all wrong and can turn a few heads and I hope that you will continue to post and not see this as everyone ganging up on you because you are an instructor.

    As you may have guessed by my tone, I'm a very frustrated job seeker, who's motivation has been out of the window since loosing a long term permanent job back in 2006 and being only able to find temp call centre jobs in a totally unrelated field to get money in the door.

    It just gets my heckles up when folks go for certs without any experience, a big mistake when I attempted the CCNA last year, it made me quit wanting to get into IT full time until now.
     
    Certifications: SIA DS Licence
    WIP: A+ 2009
  15. Stoney

    Stoney Megabyte Poster

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    Yes, our forum is full of them!

    Hi by the way.

    I do think your intentions are good and you are geniually interested in developing your students (as apposed to £££'s), but I do not see why you would want to train somebody with no IT experience to the level of MCSE?

    Surely it would make more sense to give them a solid grounding in networking technologies like DNS, DHCP, TCP/IP, etc, before pushing them through the MCSE.

    Just my 2 pence.
     
    Certifications: 25 + 50 metre front crawl
    WIP: MCSA - Exam 70-270
  16. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    I have to agree with what Wizard said.

    MCSE is a proffesional certification NOT for people starting out in IT.

    If it was for beginners then that would make A+ etc useless, we have had people join CF who have said I have my MCSE and I can't get a job, there is a reason for this as I am sure you will know.

    Just this week we have had new boy join the IT dept at my work, he used a well know BD site to pass it, but the guy doesn't even know what a Vlan is, now even if he had not used a BD site to pass his MCSE he should still have the experience and knowledge of what a Vlan is.

    Why should people stuggle to get into IT when some **** has an MCSE an no experience?

    They shouldn't, these training courses and providers should have a syllabus where if someone is wanting to do A+, N+, MCDST then MCSE it should be a long 5 year course where atleast 1 - 2 years is on a placement doing a real job.

    Anyone can set up a network in their own house providing they have more than one computer, a NIC and a ethernet cable, but as was said in a previous post on another thread..If you have some IT manager or director breathing down your neck, phones going off all the time and people getting on your tits can you do the job with no experience, I doubt it.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  17. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    Hi & welcome to CF :)

    I'm also an instructor and do MS modules up to the complete MCSE.

    MS released the Microsoft Official Academy Courses in order to provide a standardised structure for learning MS products:

    MCSE (and the new MCITP) track are not a beginners qualification. By putting beginners on this track, you're giving them false hope & and may even put people off the IT route. And by some miracle they pass, this devalues the certificate as it's suppose to valid your work experience and not just used as a entry level cert. Hence why MS has introduce the MCDST and the likes for different levels of experience/knowledge. You might as well start a beginners course for the CCIE, ACSA, etc.

    -Ken

    These are my opinions only.
     
    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
  18. BlueTac

    BlueTac Bit Poster

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    Hi Ken,

    Thanks so much for your comments. I wanted some opinions and joining this forum was the best way to get them.

    I appreciate that there is also a camp that believe that the MCSE is all about certifying experience, rather than really learning much. I worked for ten years in 2nd/3rd line MS support roles without an MCSE so I know certifications are often overrated. Personally, I don't think the stock MS courses cover enough for someone to hit the ground running, but nevertheless it would make them an MCSE. Also, I don't think they necessarily prove that a Server support technician is capable of doing his job. How many 3rd line or server support people have really designed a large AD infrastructure, spanning multiple sites for example. In my experience, this is where the big buck consultants come in and do their thing.

    My question is, if someone has the aptitude to genuinely get the MCSE certification, without 5 years of industry experience, have Microsoft done something wrong? I see the MCSE for some as a challenge, but not an insurmountable one and for others as a way of certifying their experience. We'd like to attract the people who are up for the challenge. There's always the MCDST and other courses for the less "able".

    The problem nowadays is that a lot people are recruited without really evaluating their skills which is something that HR & IT have got to work out. Sure, there are lots of braindumpers out there, but there always will be. In my experience, soft skills and "team fit" are often a bigger consideration than certifications or dare I say, experience. Some braindumpers have the right soft skills and some genuine MCSEs have none.

    As far as the comment concerning people not knowing but a vlan is even with an MCSE. I totally agree, it's disgraceful that an instructor shouldn't make their students aware of such a fundamental aspect of the "real world". You have to really love your job as an instructor to patch things that Microsoft have left out, even though it's vital for interoperability in the real world. I'm doing a MSc in Information Security and my Network Security lecturer dismissed VLANs as a security nightmare, without mentioning that they're standard issue in industry. From listening to that lecture, most students without industry experience would probably attend a job interview and say something stupid like, we shouldn't have VLANs!

    Please keep the comments coming in.

     
    Certifications: MCSE 2003, MCT
    WIP: CCNP
  19. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    I hate to put it this way, but "so what"? They'd be an MCSE. Outside of having the title, what would it mean? I'm sure you recall the flood of "paper MCSEs" that hit the market in the mid to late 1990s and into the early 2000s. They were also "MCSEs", nevertheless, they didn't have a clue.
    I agree that certifications don't prove that a person can do the job. I also believe that a lot of employers ask that candidates have an MCSE when it really isn't necessary for the job at hand. Certifications are (ideally) in existence to establish that a person already has the background and experience to be able to perform at the level represented by the certification. Like it or not, a person with an MCSE is *supposed* to be able to design "a large AD infrastructure, spanning multiple sites", for example, even if the job they are applying for doesn't require those skill sets.
    *Sigh*. A bit chauvinistic on your part, don't you think? For some bizarre reason (which is probably Microsoft's marketing of their certification program), everyone, including many training providers, seem to think that the *only* valid set of certifications on the market and the *only* IT career path that is valid is the MCSE. All others are considered "lesser" or "inferior". Desktop support is a perfectly acceptable and valid IT career path which may or may not lead to more global responsibilities such as "Domain Administrator". One of the issues I have with many training providers is that they "sell" a particular set of certifications based on the needs of the training provider (because those are the classes they offer) rather than the goals and skill sets of the student. It's traditionally been easy to dazzle potential students with the lure of what an MCSE could do for their career and their bank account, but as you've put it previously (although not in so many words), not every IT job really requires one to be an MCSE and many people get along for their entire career lifecycle possessing only some of the certs that make up the MCSE...or even possessing no MS certs. At the end of the day, it really is about whether or not you can do your job, not just that you've passed a set of tests.
     
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  20. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    Well said Trip

    Rep given 8)
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?

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