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MCAD Study Advice...

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by MuddyFox, May 16, 2005.

  1. MuddyFox

    MuddyFox Bit Poster

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    Hi All

    I have decided to study for my MCAD (distance learning from home).

    Having read most of the stuff on this forum and done some of my own research, it seams there are quite a few providers out there, some fly by night and others who seem to be reputable and follow through on their promises.

    I need some help avoiding the fly by nighters...

    If you have had a good experience with a particular provider, or know of a reason why I should avoid a provider, please post here.

    I am also interested to know how much you paid for the course at your chosen provider, what the course materials comprised of, ease of study, etc (anything you wished you knew b4 you started...)

    I already have copies of visual studio and SQL 2000, as well as Windows XP pro and .NET 1.1 so I don't need any software (unless there's somthing else I need to study the MCAD)

    Finally, is it really worth it to fork out so much cash to these providers, when you can get (what looks like) the equivilent study course in book form direct from Microsoft for £30ish...

    See http://www.microsoft.com/mspress/books/5774.asp

    Thanx for your help,

    Rock on... :D

    Muddy
     
    Certifications: Certified Web Developer
    WIP: MCAD, MCSD
  2. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    I just finished my MCAD en-route to MCSD with IT Skills. I got pretty much all that I needed. I bought a book myself, but that was because, like you, I had Visual Studio and wanted to get deeper into it than the course required. My tutor was great and it was all pretty flexible in terms of shich module I wanted to study next etc. My only complaint, if I had to have one, is that the textbooks provided to supplement the main course CD-ROM were e-books (Microsoft Press). Not a problem when sat at the PC, but not much use for reading in the bath.
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  3. MuddyFox

    MuddyFox Bit Poster

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    How long did it take you to finish the course, and how much did it cost through IT Skills?

    Looking back, do you think it was worth spending the money to study with IT Skills, or could you have achieved the same result by simply buying the MS Press books and studying on your own?

    Also, although I have Visual Studio, I have never used it (I also have Visual InterDev - which I've also never used) I currently program in ASP using Homesite... How difficult is it to get to grips with using Visual Studio, and what's the best way to learn the prog?

    Muddy
     
    Certifications: Certified Web Developer
    WIP: MCAD, MCSD
  4. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    I don't know how much they charge for MCAD as I signed up for the MCSD. With hindsite, I had similar thoughts about 'why not just buy a book and pay for the exam?' However, I would say that I have had a lot of help from my tutor in actually preparing for the exam, so I'm not sure how well I would have done on my own.
    There's only one way to find out. You could buy a book and sit the exam yourself. If you fail, you'll be about £150 out of pocket.
    The first two modules took me a few months each. The third took around 6 months because I started working and lost the plot a bit.
    I'm a bit of a network novice. The hardest bit was getting Visual Studio to talk to SQL (I was using MSDE). You need to give the ASP.NET account rights to use the database, which has to be done through the command prompt. That took some figuring out. Getting a basic user knowledge of VS wasn't too bad, but there is still loads of it that I haven't looked at yet.
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  5. MuddyFox

    MuddyFox Bit Poster

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    Thanks for all the advice...

    I've researched a number of distance learning options, and keep coming up against the same logic barrier...

    All the providers seem to offer a decent service and good tutor support, etc.

    BUT... at a price!

    It's all so damn expensive! £2500 - close to £6000... (The more expensive options do include some classroom time and software in most cases though...)

    The MS Press books required to cover the neccessary modules to prepare for MCAD examinations (which as far as I can see is what you get from the providers anyway) can be found on ebay or Amazon for between £60 and £200ish...

    Exams are about £150 each... so I could do it all by myself for about £600ish...

    I just cant justify forking out thousands of pounds for the tutor services...

    Am I missing something?

    Is there anyone out there that has completed their MCAD or similar by simply following the MS Press books?
     
    Certifications: Certified Web Developer
    WIP: MCAD, MCSD
  6. nugget
    Honorary Member

    nugget Junior toady

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    It all boils down to how disciplined you are. Can you sit down and study every night without distractions, kids, loved ones, tv, radio, internet etc and do this night after night and on weekends, all by yourself? If so then maybe you are better off by getting the books and doing self study. If however you are like most of us, with a day job, kids, family etc then studying at home with no deadline pressure is very hard, then you are better off going with a training provider. Then you have pressure to finish an assignment, module, topic etc by a certain date and you suddenly 'find' the time to do the study. If you need to go to classes then it's a regular thing and you need to be prepared so you need to study, read and so on and then it's easier to say to the distractions (family for the most part) that you need to get this done.
     
    Certifications: A+ | Network+ | Security+ | MCP (270,271,272,290,620) | MCDST | MCTS:Vista
    WIP: MCSA, 70-622,680,685
  7. MuddyFox

    MuddyFox Bit Poster

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    I currently work from home as a web developer. I would probably be able to reshuffle my work day to fit in an hour or three of study a day.

    I'm pretty disciplined. So I'm not worried about that - I'll set myself targets and stick to them...

    My only concern is if I need help with something, I'll have no-one to turn to for help...
     
    Certifications: Certified Web Developer
    WIP: MCAD, MCSD
  8. Boycie
    Honorary Member

    Boycie Senior Beer Tester

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    Hi Muddy,

    You have the best resource for help on this great forum. :biggrin
    Good luck with your certification.

    Regards

    Boyce
     
    Certifications: MCSA 2003, MCDST, A+, N+, CTT+, MCT
  9. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    The thing to remember is that training providers have a lot of experience with the exams, and know exactly what you need to study to get through them. They also have additional training material that you won't get in a bookshop.
    You may well be OK going at it alone, but my main concern would be what would happen if it all went wrong.
    You could spend a few months going through a text book then go into the exam and find that it was all greek to you. Then if you failed, you'd be very much on your own with no real idea of what to do next.
    I think it depends on what you want. As a student I pretty much get my head down and get on with it. So I'm really paying for the course materials and the exams. My tutor has said I'm an ideal student as there are some who phone him three times a day for help or advice. I guess those are the ones who are getting value for money...
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  10. MuddyFox

    MuddyFox Bit Poster

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    [​IMG] Nice one Boyce ;)

    Well I think I'll give it a go on my own and see how I do...

    I'll post my progress as I go...
     
    Certifications: Certified Web Developer
    WIP: MCAD, MCSD

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