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IT qualifications explanation please

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by urbycoz, Sep 21, 2007.

  1. urbycoz

    urbycoz New Member

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    I'm new to these forums, so I apologise if this has been said elsewhere.

    I'm looking to train in IT (specifically to work with vb.net ), but am totally confused by all of the qualification names: MCP, MCSE, MCAD, MCTS and the like. I've got 9 months before I will be leaving my current job, so ideally I'd like to get some kind of qualification in that time.

    Is there anywhere that gives a thorough explanation of what each one means, and where a beginner should start?
     
  2. Tinus1959

    Tinus1959 Gigabyte Poster

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    The best page to go to is www.microsoft.com/learning.
    In the menu you'll find "certifications" with in it all explanation you need.
    To get you started:
    MCP is someone who passed 1 MS exam.
    For programming you'll be interested in MCAD or MCSD.
    New certifications have new names as TS or PRO instead of MCP.
     
    Certifications: See my signature
    WIP: MCSD, MCAD, CCNA, CCNP
  3. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    A beginner should start with the A+, Network+, and MCDST. Start looking for entry-level jobs as soon as possible... don't wait until you've gotten these certifications!
     
    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!
  4. Tinus1959

    Tinus1959 Gigabyte Poster

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    He wants to be a programmer if I read correct.
     
    Certifications: See my signature
    WIP: MCSD, MCAD, CCNA, CCNP
  5. urbycoz

    urbycoz New Member

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    That's great! Thanks both!

    I guess the next problem is how to go about it. I've found a home-study IT training organisation called seetec. But, having read previous articles on this forum, I'm worried they may be dodgy! What do you reckon?

    Any other UK-based IT training companies that anyone can recommend?
     
  6. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Ah, you are correct.

    In that case, you should learn how to program before considering any certifications.
     
    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. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Certs in general mean very little to most employers when looking for a programmer. The most important thing is what you know and what you can do, certs are just a useful aid to get you to the interview stage, then you will have to impress. If you self study, a cert is often the only proof that you studied at all, unless you have a project you can show them. Generally there will be a technical test where you will be expected to prove you know your stuff.

    If you can't already program you will be unlikely to get more than an MCP qual if you study part time for 9 months.

    Microsofts site explains all the details.

    Theres the old cert track :-

    MCP->MCAD->MCSD

    The cert lasts for life but covers .Net 1.x

    then theres the new track

    MCTS->MCPD

    I think the MCP cert no longer exists on the new track, I've only received a MCTS certificate so far, the old certs are for life the new ones 3 years. The new track covers .Net 2.0 which is more up to date but is already nearly obsolete as .Net 3.0 is nearly out.
    Hence the 3 year recert madness, shame they didn't just make exams on v3 eh ?

    It really depends what you want, programming is a passion, just creating something should be an end in itself without the cert madness.
    I'm not a VB fan, I'd reccomend C# if thats your thing, otherwise maybe look at the SCJP cert, the sylabus is more suitable IMHO than the MCAD/MCSD/MCPD for someone just starting out.
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  8. urbycoz

    urbycoz New Member

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    That's a very thorough explanation. Thank you.

    So many confusing letters and acronyms! Think maybe I'll just study for this "IMHO" you mention. :-)

    In fact I am not starting from scratch. I have a (now rather out-of-date) qualification from a university, and have done bits and bobs of several languages. I'm really looking to get a more specific and up-to-date qualification. I've also been learning VB.net from a book and know most of the basics already.

    What books would people recommend for learning vb.net?

    Approved - Boyce
     
  9. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Points of clarification:

    1) The MCP certification does not exist for the new track. Passing an MCTS exam does not give you the MCP certification.

    2) The MCTS certifications do not expire after three years; they expire when mainstream support for the technology or product expires (7-10 years after initial product release). The MCPD certification expires three years after you earned it, and must be recertified by taking a single exam.

    3) If they had made exams on 3.0 and simply ignored 2.0, what would 2.0 people have done? In your opinion, should Microsoft have simply ignored testing on Framework 2.0 until 3.0 was released? That'd be like saying, "Shame they didn't just make exams for Server 2008; guess you'll have to settle for the Server 2003 exams!"
     
    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!
  10. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Maybe, maybe not, its just I don't buy the whole lets certify on version X argument.

    I've seen alot of tech over the years, I've been with MS Studio since 1.52, certs didn't exist but if they did would i reccomend re-certifying every ten minutes, NOOO !!! :biggrin
    I'd have gone nuts by now if I had even tried to cert on all the MS tech, Win16,Win32,MFC1-8,WTL,ATL,COM,DCOM,COM+,OLE,ActiveX,OLEDB,ADO,ODBC,DirectX and theres more, did I still learn learn them yes !

    Would it really matter if the people had to cert on .Net 1.0 for one more year ? I don't think so, is it really necessary to have the exams mirror the versions ? I don't think so.

    I'd say you are more brainwashed by the microsoft marketing than you even realise, just because recent releases have been several years apart and have included major features doesn't mean recert inline with the version always makes sense.
    What about MS DOS 1-6.22, Win1-3.11, NT 3.1-3.51, Win95/2/2.1/2.5, Win 98/SR1, etc.

    I think if you look at the minor versions, service packs etc you will see that the cert program is feature and marketing driven not version driven. .Net 3.0 includes major new features, I'd say most new .Net v2.0 features were minor.
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  11. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    That's so completely not my point. Plus, you can still certify on .Net 1.0... and it won't retire.

    If you have a complaint about it, why don't you contact Microsoft Learning?

    Windows NT 3.5 did have certification exams devoted to it, if I remember correctly.

    Windows 95 and 98 had no certification track, but there was a certification exam for each.

    On the contrary, I'm not "brainwashed" at all. I've not said anywhere that people NEED to get recertified. I think you're trying to put words in my mouth. I simply say that there's no reason to NOT have a track (or an exam) for each major version release. Otherwise, you abandon the users of those major versions.

    The question I am asking is this: Should Microsoft have released a Windows 98 exam, or should they have just had a Windows 95 exam and a Windows XP exam? Of course they should have had a Windows 98 exam. Whether you certify (or recertify) on it or not is up to you... doesn't matter to me one bit whether you do or not. Thus, no "brainwashing" here.

    I'd say most Windows 98 features were minor. But an exam was created for it anyway.

    When minor version changes occur, the current exams are usually redone (particularly for the more popular exams) to reflect those minor versions, and no new exam is released for the minor version. When major versions are released, an entirely new exam is ALWAYS created. Additionally, the certifications themselves are also version specific (MCSE on NT4.0, MCSE on Windows 2000, MCDST on Windows XP, MCTS: Windows Vista, Configuration). So in what way is Microsoft's certification program NOT version driven?

    Of course Microsoft's certifications are completely about marketing. The more certified people out there pimping their products, the more Microsoft sells. They create new versions of their certifications so that employers will know that the tech is certified on a certain version of the technology... with the additional benefit of having certified people out there pimping the NEW versions of their products.
     
    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!
  12. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    I think I did get your point, do people need the choice of an extra exam ? Do they need to have an instantly outdated cert ? Do they need to wait for extra training packs because they are constantly out of step with current exam ?

    Its just my opinion, I've stated it publicly on many forums, including Microsoft learning blogs and in Microsoft cert surveys.

    Obviously I realise that there are not cert exams or tracks for all the versions, that was my point, sometimes it makes sense sometimes it doesn't. The major / minor version thing is not always helpful in itself as well, sometimes minor versions have major features, sometimes major versions have minor features, again thats my point. Lately its been better organised hence the reasonable match you point out, I'm pointing out that Maybe .Net 2.0 would have been better skipped in the education program in hindsight, of course without detailed knowledge of the roadmap or the release schedules and slippages we will never know.

    As I said I don't buy the version thing, surely its more important to test on knowledge/features ? Sometimes the version helps in this, sometimes not. I think its deeply unprofessional to pimp things unless they are the right solution to the problem, your employer pays you to make the best decisions in the interest of their business. The new MCA cert in fact says even Microsoft values a technology agnostic approach although its hard to know how genuine this is. A linux professional paying microsoft $10,000 for a piece of paper would seem to be a no lose situation for microsoft.

    I'll leave it at that as poor urbycoz must be wondering what happened to his thread, sorry urbycoz ! :biggrin
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  13. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    It's not outdated; companies still use it.

    But... there are exams and/or tracks for all the major versions. They'd have had to have made an exception for .Net 2.0 if they chose to ignore it.

    They do test on knowledge and features. They aren't necessarily testing on NEW features, though that sort of stuff is tested on. And nobody HAS to get certified, especially programmers who can rely on a portfolio of code.

    The MCA might have a vendor-neutral, technology-agnostic approach, but none of the other certification tracks do... they're specifically focused on Microsoft-based solutions. If you feel this is unprofessional, tell Microsoft Learning... don't just gripe about it on a public forum. Your voice MIGHT be heard here by them... and it might not.
     
    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!
  14. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    IMHO - In my honest opinion :D

    I meant the SCJP, its similar enough to C# so that the effort won't be wasted if you decide to change tack later, its only one exam instead of 2-4 for the MS certs. The one exam is hard and covers alot of ground but its all fundamental stuff you should know as a programmer and the sylabus starts from the ground up so potentially you can study from just one text.

    If you have some experience then the MS certs become more of an option, I used the MS press books for C#, they were good for the exams but fairly average quality books overall.

    Perhaps someone else can help with VB .Net book reccomendations ?

    Theres this :-
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0735613753/ref=nosim/visualbasicbookr

    The problem you will have is whether to buy a VB 6 -> .Net conversion book or a 'from the ground up' book, I don't know which would be more suitable for you, bear this in mind when looking at the books, I think the 'step by step' titles are microsofts attempt at addressing this.

    You'll need to first learn VB .Net using at least one good book, then you can think about the various exams and certs, MS generally produces a training book per exam. So certification will involve at least four fairly large books really.
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  15. Tinus1959

    Tinus1959 Gigabyte Poster

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    Certifications: See my signature
    WIP: MCSD, MCAD, CCNA, CCNP
  16. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Opps yep, thats what i meant to say ! :biggrin (Edited now..)
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  17. UCHEEKYMONKEY
    Honorary Member

    UCHEEKYMONKEY R.I.P - gone but never forgotten. Gold Member

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    Hello and Welcome to CF:biggrin

    Besdies the website Tinus posted there is another dedicated to give advice on IT Certifiaction Routes and that is

    CERTZ.COM

    The website also contains a top 50 list of all the IT Certifcate websites

    Click Here to See 8)
     
    Certifications: Comptia A+
    WIP: Comptia N+
  18. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Top 50 ? theres only 6 sites and CertForums isn't one of them ! :blink

    Brainbench a top site ? Don't make me laugh....
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  19. UCHEEKYMONKEY
    Honorary Member

    UCHEEKYMONKEY R.I.P - gone but never forgotten. Gold Member

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    Your right that is a bit pants!

    So here's another link:-

    The Web's 10 best IT certification sites, Part One :biggrin

    Hosted by ZDnet (IT news group)8)
     
    Certifications: Comptia A+
    WIP: Comptia N+
  20. urbycoz

    urbycoz New Member

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    One problem I am foreseeing with self-study, rather than using a training school, is that I am not sure what level of ability I should be at before taking the exam.

    I have read a beginner's guide (learn vb.net in 24hrs type of thing), so I know a good bit about the language. I'm guessing I should know a bit more before thinking about certification, right?

    Any useful indications of when you know enough to take exam?
     

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