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Learning new subjects

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by j1mgg, Feb 8, 2010.

  1. j1mgg

    j1mgg Kilobyte Poster

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    How do we go about this as people always says certifications are to certify what you have been doing or have expeirence in.

    So how do we go about learning new stuff?

    I want to move up in IT to maybe working with exchange, but in my current job i dont have the chance to work with it. Any job i apply for at the moment are all looking for expierence using this for their position.

    So it seems to be a catch 22, TPs advertise themselves as training providers who supply these materials but they arent supposed to be used as training materials.

    I hope you get the jest. I am just bored at work and always thinking the grass is greener.
     
    Certifications: Comptia A+, ITIL V3 Foundation, MCDST, 70-270, 70-290
    WIP: 70-291, security+ and SSCP
  2. beaumontdvd

    beaumontdvd Kilobyte Poster

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    I would like to know this answer too. If you need experience to study for a cert. How can you learn new things, as a company won't hire you to use something you have never touched before?
     
    Certifications: 070-271, 070-272, (MCDST)Level 1,2,3 NVQ
    WIP: 070-270, A+, N+, S+,MCDST 7 Upgrade
  3. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    The key is knowing what certs require little or no experience and what certs too.

    I am not being funny but I knew when I was 17 or so that the MCSE in NT3.51 (I think it was back then) was for people who knew what they were doing and was for pro's only, I mean it's pretty obvious.

    However I didn't know that there were certs for begginners otherwise I would have done them back then.

    You can usually find descriptions for the certs that vendors create on their websites, ones to do for begginners are usually coupled with the words "Is for candidates looking to gain entry into the IT field". or "Is for new tech with limited experience".

    Where as certs for pro's will read something like "Is to demonstrate an IT professionals knowledge and experience" or "Is for candidates with a background in".

    Certs like the A+ will say something like you need 500+ hours but generally speaking it is meaning that you can turn a pc on and can use the odd app where as the 12-18 months experience suggested for the MCSE means that you can plan, design a complex network with servers, routers and whole shabang aswell as being able to support it and all users that use it.

    I know for a fact that I shouldn't go for the MCSE and there are people who have joined cert forums going for it and I am more experienced knowledgable than them. I know that if I did go for it I'd fail a lot of it but I also know that it would harm my prospects even if I passed it all.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2010
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  4. derkit

    derkit Gigabyte Poster

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    I've struggled with this question/situation also and I find there are two camps of thought:

    1) do some studying, build some VMs, use that to get the job
    2) wait until you find a job that will give you the experience, either via volunteering or paid work.

    Whilst the "ideal" way and even what Microsoft says about their MCSA/E is that you should have 6/12 months of certain experience before you look at these qualifications/exams - I have a hard problem with this and focus on what tends to happen in the real world - few employers (and that doesn't mean none!) will take someone on the off chance that they will need an entire training package to get them up to speed, the employee will need to bring something to the table.

    Of course, there will be some areas of every job the new employee won't know, but to get through the issues of HR and recruitment agents that simply look for buzz words, MCSA/E, Sharepoint, Exchange, Cisco, Firewall, Citrix, Breakfix, I think you need to have this "experience" from somewhere, and whilst you won't have 1000 users hanging off your domain controller at home, it will give you a better insight into what happens, how to set it up, how to sort it out.

    I'm in the 1st camp - I have a limited experience with Exchange, I can search for messages and can track them where they go, but that really is the limit. I don't know how to update the Global Address List, or dismount a database, or even know whether these two things are even possible, but through doing some studying, in this case 70-284, or 236, I'll have a better knowledge of Exchange than if I just waited for the job to come along and allow me such access.

    Using the knowledge to help you get a foot in the door is one thing, using it to claim you are an Exchange god is a completely different ball-park!

    Edit - I for one shall be doing this for Exchange, Citrix, Sharepoint etc.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2010
    Certifications: MBCS, BSc(Hons), Cert(Maths), A+, Net+, MCDST, ITIL-F v3, MCSA
    WIP: 70-293
  5. Boycie
    Honorary Member

    Boycie Senior Beer Tester

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    this is indeed the one million dollar question.

    sometimes it is difficult to get in the position to be seen as wanting to go somewhere and with a company that wants to go somewhere!

    whilst it is true that experience and certs go hand in hand, people like yourself are keen to learn and advance their own career - that's good.

    whatever field you work in there are usually a similar category of people:

    people who know nothing and dont want to know anything
    people who know nothing although want to although struggle to get in the position above their role
    people who can do their job although lack the passion and a bit cheesed off with it
    people who are good at their job, enjoy their job and like to improve their skills - even if it means using their own time, money etc

    once working for a company which has positions you desire, do your best to show them you are the point 4
    a lot of it relies on having a break. Good luck, keep plugging away!
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2010
    Certifications: MCSA 2003, MCDST, A+, N+, CTT+, MCT
  6. LukeP

    LukeP Gigabyte Poster

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    To me all that is completely fine. Certificate in Exchange for example is to show you can administer exchange on your own. Even after passing the cert but with no experience, you are not able to do it. Simple as that. If you went beyond the books and played enough on the home lab then fair play. But it doesn't change the fact that no employer will hire you to play with exchange and rely on your exchange skills.

    Basically when you're in a job, it's much easier to expand your area with new skills (learnt by self study, by shadowing someone or just by casually playing with new technology) as you work there and people know you can be trusted and what you're capable of (skills-wise). As you get more and more exposure you can pursue the certs as you have some experience.

    As been said, you can't just jump into a new job that involves something you've never done before. Can you imagine surgeon getting training in brain surgery and getting a certificate after training, and right after that doing proper surgery on live patient? No, he has to shadow X amount of hours. Watch and learn in real environment on live people before anyone will let him carry on the surgery by himself.

    Basically at the early stage of your career you learn what you work with and don't ask questions, hence why we support systems we don't like supporting.

    The other way is that for example Exchange skills are not that important but new role will involve some of it. My new job for example has Exchange as desirable skill listed and however I have little (close to none) experience in Exchange and I have stated in during the interview, they're still fine as I can do all other things.
    Now I expect this certain role to be my introduction to exchange.

    So if you want to learn new technologies, go ahead and learn. But don't expect anyone to give you a job in which one of main responsibilities will be this technology. So to me, certify in what you work with statement still stays valid.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2010
    WIP: Uhmm... not sure
  7. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    That's a tough but decent question.

    In this day and age, you're lucky if you work somewhere where your boss will let you get some experience with something you know nothing about. And by 'lucky' I also mean those who get new technology dumped on them as a thankless project.

    The thing to remember, is that if you are studying towards a cert, you're studying.
    That's how we learn new stuff, so there's nothing wrong with working along with a structured curriculum.

    The most important thing is how you study.
    Home labs, virtual stuff etc.
    What doesn't necessarily work is reading a book then cramming like mad to pass an exam and think that's the end of it.

    I think the industry is mixed.
    There are those who are 'purists' who believe that you should only get certs in subjects that you already have experience with.
    Then there are those who believe that before we let Dave loose on Exchange we have to send him on a course and get him certified. Then we won't get crucfied if he ballses it all up - we've done the responsible thing.

    I don't think there is a hard and fast rule - it's all about being responsible and realistic.

    I think the main thing that we can disapprove of is the taking of certs purely to try and land a job or because you feel it will have an automatic effect on your salary.

    Unfortunately we're also seeing increased laziness in terms of personal development whereby line managers are tasking employees to 'achieve MCSA by the end of the year', which of course means that it can have a meaningless effect on people's salary and promotion prospects.
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  8. beaumontdvd

    beaumontdvd Kilobyte Poster

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    I guess it all comes down to how willing you are to learn and if your learning for yourself and not for your wage packet :). For example I am learning the 270 but then going back to a+, I have touched servers briefly at my old job and created users using AD. But nothing major, hence the reason why im interested in learning it. I will probly even go back to the 270 when I actually get a job that involves it. Even though I have passed the cert I will be learning it from experience then and I guess thats why most people on CF say that experience is an important factor. Not because it will get me into a job or a higher salary. its more because I want to know as much as I can about xp because it interests me, also I haven't yet learnt the server side so I'm creating a few virtual pcs and using server 03. Thanks for everyone thats replied even though it's not my thread its really helped me..

    Dave
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2010
    Certifications: 070-271, 070-272, (MCDST)Level 1,2,3 NVQ
    WIP: 070-270, A+, N+, S+,MCDST 7 Upgrade
  9. MLP

    MLP Kilobyte Poster

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    I think its fine to 'play' with new tech in your own time as much as you like. If you can find a way to tie in your playtime to work, all the better. I build virtual domains, with trusts, migrate them to server 2008, play with group policies, deploy client OS's etc. However, I know that I'm nowhere near ready to certify in 2008 or any of the higher Microsoft 2003 certs. I don't feel quite ready for the 70-290 yet.

    What I am hoping to achieve from this lab setup is opportunities to work on some of this stuff in my work, and be able to ask meaningful questions of those much more in the know than me. This at least gives me a chance to show I'm interested, and means when I do get up to the higher level stuff, I know some basics to help me on my way. Then, I'll take the certs.

    A different slant on the question, what if an employer wants you to certify on a technology that you don't have the experience yet?

    Maria
     
    Certifications: HND Computing
    WIP: 70-680, 70-270, 70-290
  10. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    I would ask that employer if I would get the experience if I certified in that area.

    I agree with what you said about its fine to learn but certifying in it may not be right as playing with stuff in a virtual environment helps you learn and is all fine but doing it for real is another issue all together.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  11. MLP

    MLP Kilobyte Poster

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    Just to add, the question was purely hypothetical. My employer puts no pressure on me to certify at all. They bought me the Windows 7 70-680 book, and said work through this, we'll be using it soon enough.

    Definitely. Lab work is a world away from production - its just a good way to learn stuff, in an environment where mistakes don't matter. Certifying is for later, when you actually get the production experience.
     
    Certifications: HND Computing
    WIP: 70-680, 70-270, 70-290
  12. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    Personally, I have nearly always done the Certification first then the experience later.

    There are two schools of thought, experience first or certification first.

    I know what has worked for me, and has taken me from 1st Line Support to 3rd Line Support in 12 months, I think my post is pinned in the Jobs section.

    Have a read, I think it might sway you, but do things the right way mate.
     
    Certifications: CCA | CCENT | CCNA | CCNA:S | HP APC | HP ASE | ITILv3 | MCP | MCDST | MCITP: EA | MCTS:Vista | MCTS:Exch '07 | MCSA 2003 | MCSA:M 2003 | MCSA 2008 | MCSE | VCP5-DT | VCP4-DCV | VCP5-DCV | VCAP5-DCA | VCAP5-DCD | VMTSP | VTSP 4 | VTSP 5
  13. soundian

    soundian Gigabyte Poster

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    No offence Craigie, but you're a freak.
    Not just that you have a seemingly inhuman way of absorbing that much knowledge in such a short time (which shows you have a natural aptitude for IT support) but the fact that you've also managed to "land on your feet" and get employed by a company that recognises this and has a need for your skills.
    Very few people will have the skills/aptitude/environment that you seem to have.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+,MCDST,MCTS(680), MCP(270, 271, 272), ITILv3F, CCENT
    WIP: Knuckling down at my new job
  14. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    I take that as a compliment mate!

    I wish I had found IT earlier on in life, but I have always known what it takes to get ahead and how you should handle yourself to ensure that you are viewed in the best light.

    When I changed jobs from my first IT employer to where I'm know, I didn't take it lightly, I applied for tonnes of jobs and got a few interviews and then landed my current position (been hear for seven months now).

    I absolutely love what I do and have been working my nuts off since starting in IT in June 2008, I will slow down at the end of this year.

    I currently work for a Managed Service company and we are lucky in the fact that our employeer pays for our courses.

    However, I do go beyond this and learn alot more stuff off my own back, which no one else in the organisation does.

    For example my Cisco stuff, I use that every day now, changed a PIX config today, migrating an ASA and a Router over to a new line this week.

    Another example is that I'm working the next five weekends doing three migration projects. I'm not the lead on them (yet), but I'm putting myself out to enhance my skills.

    If you are lucky enough to work in IT, think outside of the box and you will get ahead, if you are willing to put the effort in to do so.
     
    Certifications: CCA | CCENT | CCNA | CCNA:S | HP APC | HP ASE | ITILv3 | MCP | MCDST | MCITP: EA | MCTS:Vista | MCTS:Exch '07 | MCSA 2003 | MCSA:M 2003 | MCSA 2008 | MCSE | VCP5-DT | VCP4-DCV | VCP5-DCV | VCAP5-DCA | VCAP5-DCD | VMTSP | VTSP 4 | VTSP 5
  15. MLP

    MLP Kilobyte Poster

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    Craigie, just read your thread - a fantastic career route. I've definitely got a bit of thinking to do now!

    Although soundian has a point. I don't know anyone who could keep up that pace for study and certs. You *must* have some sort of super-human power.

    Maria
     
    Certifications: HND Computing
    WIP: 70-680, 70-270, 70-290
  16. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    Nah I wish (always wanted to be able to fly), I work really hard and then study in my spare time.

    It can be done, you just have to want to do it. Look at Q's at the moment, he is like a man possessed.
     
    Certifications: CCA | CCENT | CCNA | CCNA:S | HP APC | HP ASE | ITILv3 | MCP | MCDST | MCITP: EA | MCTS:Vista | MCTS:Exch '07 | MCSA 2003 | MCSA:M 2003 | MCSA 2008 | MCSE | VCP5-DT | VCP4-DCV | VCP5-DCV | VCAP5-DCA | VCAP5-DCD | VMTSP | VTSP 4 | VTSP 5
  17. soundian

    soundian Gigabyte Poster

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    My apologies Craigie, I did you an injustice of sorts. I failed to mention you've also worked your butt off.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+,MCDST,MCTS(680), MCP(270, 271, 272), ITILv3F, CCENT
    WIP: Knuckling down at my new job
  18. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Actually it’s not too bad certifying in something new when you are further into your IT career. I passed the Server 2008 upgrade with no commercial experience and now that we are rolling Server 2008 out I feel more confident with it as Im starting to get the hands on to back up the certs.

    That said I think we all agree that doing the MCSE as a first cert is not a good idea even though it is a new subject.
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  19. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    By simply... learning new stuff. :blink You don't have to get certified to learn new stuff...
     
    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!
  20. OnFire

    OnFire Nibble Poster

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    Whilst doing the MCSE I certified based on experience. However moving forward since then I have mainly learn/certified and then got the experience.

    This mainly down to my employer who would prefer you to learn and certify fully before playing with it. Saves them time for training and you already have a good idea whats going on when they do actually show you all the cool stuff.

    That said I will only certify in something I need to know for the future within my role, if we don't use it then it is pointless certifying for something I will nothing get the experience with.
     
    Certifications: See Signature
    WIP: None....at last!!

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