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I am so confused....

Discussion in 'General Cisco Certifications' started by ee01akk, Mar 20, 2006.

  1. ee01akk

    ee01akk Bit Poster

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    Can someone please give me an explanation of the similarities and differences between Network+, CCNA, MCSE, MCP and CCNA, and a recommendation of which one would be best to do for a beginner wanting to be a network engineer.

    I know some of you recommend that if you're new to IT, you should do the Network+ for a career in networking, but you never see employers asking for this cert. MCSE seems to be most popular amongst employers, but this costs over £1000 worth of exams and unless you're mega rich (I'm not since I still got a student debt to pay off!), you might as well forget it. I am beginning to wonder whether an IT career is really worth it. :ohmy
     
  2. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    A+ and N+ are entry level exams, their place is to prepare you for the more complex certifications. If you don't do these first, you will find yourself very quickly getting lost in a plethora of gobbledygook and acronyms. In an ideal world, you would read and understand everything the first time through. Unfortunately that is not how our minds work. If you are going to pay for courses, it is better to have a solid foundation, good basic knowledge on which to build. If you jump in at the deep end, most of what you read and or most of what your tutor is teaching will go straight over your head. It is tough enough *if* you have a solid understanding of the basics.

    Now an MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) is a vendor specific certification that is awarded to anyone that passes a Microsoft MCP exam. There are many exams which on their own qualify as MCP. The one most people go for first is the workstation exam. At the moment that would be the XP exam.

    MCSA (Microsoft Certified Systems administrator) is awarded to someone that has passed four specific MCP exams or three MCP exams and the CompTia A+ and N+. It is targeted at people that are involved with administrating Microsoft server and products.

    MCSE is seven MCP exams, hence why it is so expensive and tough. It is targeted at people with at least a years experience administrating server products and is intended to prepare someone to be able to design an enterprise Active Directory Infrastructure, from the ground up.

    CCNA/CCNP are vendor specific, in this case Cisco. I haven't done them myself but from what I have gleaned, the CCNA is one or two exams depending on how you approach it and is rated as quite tough. The CCNP is very tough. Both these certs are awarded to people with expertise on configuring Cisco routers and switches in complex networks.

    HTH
     
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  3. simongrahamuk
    Honorary Member

    simongrahamuk Hmmmmmmm?

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    Adding on to what Bluerinse said you have to remember that a cert will not get you a job, it may help, but it wont guarantee a job. If you're starting out you should be looking to build the foundations and gain employment, then when you are employed you can develop your skillset with the relevant certs depending on your job role.

    8)
     
  4. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    If you're wondering that before you even start, then I'd go and do something else... :D

    An IT career is a lot of hard work and you never stop studying. You really have to be comitted right from the start. You don't meet many half-arsed network administrators. Not more than once anyway.
    The best way to do it would be to start on an entry level exam like A+. You don't need to fork out huge resources to do it, and it will give you an idea if this is what you want to do for the rest of your life.
    It might not be what employers are looking for, but you can't spring fully formed and fully certified from the loins of Microsoft overnight.
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  5. Pete01

    Pete01 Kilobyte Poster

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    A+ then N+ if you want to be a network engineer. Depending on what kind of network engineer you want to be after you've got the basics you should either do MS certs, Cisco certs or Linux certs.


    Depending on whther you want to be a system administrator and look after servers or a network engineer and look after routers/switches/firewalls you should choose Cisco or MS/UNIX. A lot of role cross over the 2 but for the purpose of getting in and up the ladder start out focusing on one.

    Get A+ and N+ and an entry level job to start with. You'll be able to make a more informed decision after that.
     
    Certifications: MCP (NT4) CCNA
    WIP: 70-669, Learning MSI packaging
  6. ee01akk

    ee01akk Bit Poster

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    Can you do the Network+ before the A+? How do you find an entry-level job without work experience?
     
  7. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    Yes - you can do the Net+ before the A+ - there is no requirement by CompTIA for any order.

    It is just that A+ seems to be a more general approach to computers, and Net+ is a bit more specialist, which is why many here recomend A+ first.

    An entry level job may involve making tea for the rest of the team! But, in theory, you should start to pick stuff up after a bit. Once the management see that you can be reasonably trusted then you will be able to progress.

    Harry.
     
    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+
  8. ee01akk

    ee01akk Bit Poster

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    I have never seen an entry-level job in IT that requires the network+ certification. Usually it is always the MCSA/MCSE or CISCO with 1-2 years experience.

    I don't have enough money to do 3 certs (A+, Network+ then CCNA) either so why can't I do the CCNA straight away?
     
  9. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    You can do anything you like - there is no requirement for any order in those 3 certs. People are merely suggesting a possible path.

    And I wouldn't call 1-2 years experience 'entry level'! In my book 'entry level' implies just starting, so no experience.

    Don't forget that CompTIA describes A+ as roughly equivalent to 6 months actual experience.

    Harry.
     
    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+

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