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If I gain an Open University degree plus an MCSA then what would be my job prospects?

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by jo74, Jan 25, 2011.

  1. jo74

    jo74 Byte Poster

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    I'm half way through an Open University degree, and I'm confident of obtaining the degree. This degree will consist of a mixture of computing and maths/stats modules.

    I've already got some Comptia IT tech certs but I've not yet found an entry level job.

    Now I was wondering, suppose I do get the OU degree and it's followed up (or perhaps partly overlapped) with the MCSA, what would be my job prospects ?

    Would I have to start at the bottom (assuming I don't find an IT job until graduation) or would the degree help me find a higher level job?

    Should I even do all of the MCSA if I've got a degree but no IT work experience?

    And I'm 'getting on' a bit, I'm not that far from a certain age milestone.

    Please can I make it clear that I'm not expecting to stroll into a higher level IT job upon (probable) graduation, I just want the opinions of other members.:)

    Also I might include the OU's CCNA course next year as part of my degree.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, Sec+
    WIP: CCENT, CCNA
  2. westernkings

    westernkings Gigabyte Poster

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    Chances are better than without one. :D
     
    Certifications: MCITP:VA, MCITP:EA, MCDST, MCTS, MCITP:EST7, MCITP:SA, PRINCE2, ITILv3
  3. coolc

    coolc Nibble Poster

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    I have so many certs and 1 year experience and none cares about me they ignore me, but thats just me.
     
  4. EvilSmurf

    EvilSmurf New Member

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    Hi there,

    After reading these forums for a couple of years I think most people will feel that real world experience would be more important to get into IT therefore 1st line would be a good entry point (unless you can try and get in on a graduate scheme).

    Personally I'm leaving the armed forces in the next couple of months with 8 years experience in IT, having completed my MCSA: Messaging, MCITP:Server Administrator, ITIL Foundation and 2 modules away from finishing an OU degree myself. I'm finding it difficult finding a 2nd line job at the moment.

    I don't want to come over as being negative but this is my personal experience - you may also find location may dictate what is available to you.

    Goodluck to you though
     
  5. zet

    zet Byte Poster

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    A mathematics degree/computing degree will help and if you are of that experience then obtain the MCSA. However in terms of job position you can get would typically be entry level (either as a graduate or just getting into your first role). Some roles are willing to pay graduates more and if you're maths degree is strong then in some circumstances it can be looked as favourable.
     
    Certifications: BSc, MSc, A+
  6. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    To be honest, the same as without your degree and without the MCSA. Degrees aren't required for entry-level tech work, which is all you'd be qualified for without any experience. And the MCSA is designed for people who already have six months of experience doing server administration - which is not something you would typically be doing much of (if at all) in an entry-level job.

    What I would recommend is for you to get an entry-level IT job now, while you are pursuing your degree. That way you can be building the experience that employers desire.

    Most likely, yes, at the bottom.

    The degree might make you look more attractive to some employers. However, a degree isn't required for entry-level IT jobs, and in fact, isn't even desired by some entry-level employers - to them, you'll look like a flight risk. This is why McDonalds doesn't usually hire people with BS degrees to be fry cooks.

    Considering it is recommended for people with six months of server admin experience, I wouldn't recommend it. But the choice is yours.

    Doesn't matter how old you are. Employer requirements and desired traits/skills don't change just because you're older.

    Same situation as with the MCSA. The CCNA is designed for people who are starting to get experience administering Cisco devices. And again, that's not something you'll typically be asked to do in an entry-level job.

    Don't misunderstand me - degrees and certifications are great. However, without experience, they're not very useful, and at the start of your career, is more likely to slow you down than speed you up.
     
    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!
  7. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    What he said ^

    I am not being funny Jo but you seem to ask a lot of questions like will the CCNA get me a good job or something to that effect and will the MCSA and degree get me a good job etc. You are making the same mistake I made and that is why it took me years to get into IT.

    You are going beyond your level in the hope of a well paid exciting career right from the start. It doesn't work like that and it hasn't been like that since the dot com bubble burst. You need to start at the bottom regardless of what your qualifications and certs are however that does not mean you have to start on a help desk or something like that.

    As Michael said having the MCSA or CCNA and a degree may hinder you a bit as some employers will think as soon as you get some experience you will move to a better paid job somewhere else and this costs employers money, because they have to introduce a new recruitment campaign to fill your job role again.

    Having the degree plus entry level certs are fine though, these will make you stand out to an employer.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  8. billyr

    billyr Kilobyte Poster

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    Where have you been looking for work? In my experience you shouldnt have any problem finding work.
    Have you got security clearance? My guess is you are RSigs, and should at least have SC as minimum.
    Get your C.V in to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office for one. There is always plenty of contract work going with MOD contracters for people with your skills.
     
    Certifications: CCNP, CCSI, MCSE W2k/W2k3, MCITP_SA
    WIP: Taking it easy for a while.
  9. billyr

    billyr Kilobyte Poster

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    Evil smurf - p.m inbound.
     
    Certifications: CCNP, CCSI, MCSE W2k/W2k3, MCITP_SA
    WIP: Taking it easy for a while.
  10. jo74

    jo74 Byte Poster

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    I'd disagree with that - I'm well aware that I'd have to start at the bottom. I'm merely asking questions to obtain information.

    And isn't this forum partly about asking questions?

    I was in two minds about starting this thread because I thought other posters would get the wrong end of the stick.

    I don't think I've assumed that a higher level cert like the CCNA would get me a good job - in another thread I started on the OU and its CCNA, I simply asked other posters whether it helped them find a job and what their experience was, I was looking for information.

    Look at what I've highlighted in bold in my original post, that was done deliberately to avoid any misunderstandings about my expectations.

     
    Certifications: A+, N+, Sec+
    WIP: CCENT, CCNA
  11. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    Stick with your OU degree by all counts - but things aren't what they used to be.

    Competition among graduates for jobs is fierce, and if you apply for a non-graduate position you may look over-qualified.

    The best card to play is always the 'continued personal development' one. It doesn't matter so much what you've got, more the case that you have continued to study and try and improve yourself. That sets you above those who have't done squat since leaving school and usually looks good to an employer.

    The OU CCNA course is good, and they have now introduced Microsoft Server Technologies. They don't state any major pre-requrements - but you need to bear in mind that you won't actually get the CCNA or MCTS certs out of them unless you fork out for the relevant exams yourself. The other thing to watch with the CCNA is that there are compulsory residential schools. These are severly limited in terms of frequency and location - so don't sign up unless you are sure you can get to one...

    But whatever you do, don't make the mistake of thinking that qualifying/certifying yourself up to the eyeballs will make employment any easier to come by. You're better off getting out there and gaining experience.
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  12. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    You misunderstand I am trying to stop you making the mistake I was maiking. You need to get experience wether thats in a pc shop fixing things or as a tech or whatever. Dont let the fact that you haven't had any luck finding a job yet. You may find that you are applying for ages before something comes a long.

    By all means do the degree but do not over certify yourself or your job search may well be even harder and I dont want that to happen to you.

    It took me 8 years to get into IT with a 3 year break because I was pissed off and I was applying for jobs beyond my experience level. IT is very competative so getting a degree and some certs should do you well but it wont if you go for certs like the CCNA or MCSA.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  13. jo74

    jo74 Byte Poster

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    With respect, I don't think I have misunderstood you.

    I'm well aware (thanks to Certforums) that I'd have to start at the bottom and that higher level certs such as CCNA/MCSA/MCSE without experience aren't a good idea without the experience.

    I was just wondering about a combination of an OU degree and such certs and this thread has now answered that question.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, Sec+
    WIP: CCENT, CCNA
  14. gionny

    gionny Bit Poster

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    I don't think Certifications and degree are without value without experience.
    Maybe they don't guarantee a good job ,at the beginning , but , they guarantee a deep understanding about related topics and make you advance faster in others. For example a friend of mine , has no working experience , he 's a kind of geek , and He bought four switches and two pc connected with GNS3 , and for an entire year he worked full time for getting CCIE R&S certification.At last he got it and now he has a very good job , concerning not only R&S but more IT fields..
    I think that a good certification like CCIE , CISSP , CISA , JNCIE or a difficult degree , can help you to get a good job for the simple fact that they confirm you're able to have a deep analysis about IT technlogies.
     
    Certifications: CCNA , CCNP , CCIP
    WIP: CCNA Voice , JNCIA , CCIE R&S
  15. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Unfortunately, Gionny, certification without experience no more qualifies you to be a tech than me reading a bunch of medical books qualifies me to be a surgeon. And most employers realize that. Your friend got lucky; it doesn't usually work like you think it does.

    On another note, the Cisco IOS can't legally can't be used with GNS3. It is against Cisco's licensing terms to use their IOS anywhere outside of the hardware platform for which it was designed. And without the IOS, GNS3 is about as useful as a doorstop.
     
    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!
  16. jo74

    jo74 Byte Poster

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    I don't think that's a great analogy.:biggrin

    Bit of a difference between computers, and networks, and the human body. You could fiddle about with your own PC and home network but not with a live person! :biggrin

    Maybe a better example would be that board game 'Operation':dry
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, Sec+
    WIP: CCENT, CCNA
  17. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    What I'm saying is that fiddling about with your own PC and home network does not automagically qualify you to administer a business network.

    For what it's worth, surgeons-in-training watch others perform real, live surgeries, then assist with those surgeries before they're allowed to do it on their own. Optimally, that's how it works in IT as well.
     
    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!
  18. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    what he said ^

    Why am I not administering servers and doing all the funky stuff like remote installs? Because the network manager would be a dumbass to let me because of my experience level alone on the network.

    What is happening is I am doing the low level stuff like testing cables, reading documentation, ghosting the network bods so I can see how they do stuff and assisting them when the ask me to.

    I am also doing things like making images of drives for network installs so I can use USMT to transfer settings and stuff to new systems.

    Eventually at one point I will be doing higher stuff on my own but none of my certs or qualifications will get me there it's the fact of what I said above will get me there.

    This is how it works they dont give you a job and say there you go, do stuff. But they would say that if you had a high level cert like the CCNA or MCSE because having those certs means you know what you are doing and the only training you will need at a company is that you know how to use their bespoke apps if they have any, where the coffee is and where the crapper is and thats about it.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  19. TheITCrowd

    TheITCrowd Kilobyte Poster

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    Surely if Jo74 has time on his hands, I don’t see the problem in starting higher end certifications; He can always hide them until he is established in an I.T role and then make them magically appear on his c.v.:rolleyes:
     
    Certifications: Network + |CCNA |MCTS-70-680,MCTS-70-401, MCTS-70-656, MCTS-70-351 |HP AIS ProCurve Networking -2011 | HP2-896 |VCD-CP27|JNCIA |Hewlett Packard ASE - Network Infrastructure (2011)
    WIP: 642-813
  20. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Sure, he certainly can. But there are a few reasons why this isn't the best idea:

    1) Without real-world "hooks" to hang knowledge on, it's gonna be an uphill struggle. Sure, it can be done, but you're extremely likely to miss something if you've never "been there, done that". You'll be so stuck on stuff you should already know that you won't catch the nuances involved with the more advanced concepts. I know this from experience, because it's happened to me.
    2) What you don't use, you are more likely to lose. Add that to the fact that you have to recertify many certifications, so you'll likely need to learn it all over again (and pay again for training materials and testing) when that time comes.
    3) The time and energy spent overcertifying on things he's not going to immediately use would be much better spent working in the IT field getting real-world experience, so that once he does get out of college, he can get a better job. Someone with a year or two of real-world experience will almost always get a job over someone with a degree and no experience.

    Ultimately, the choice is his. But he wanted advice, and speaking as someone who has been a senior-level tech AND as someone who has sat on the hiring side of the interview table, this is the best advice I can give him.
     
    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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