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MCSA or CCNA? Your opinions please.

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by mattstevenson, Dec 12, 2008.

  1. mattstevenson

    mattstevenson Byte Poster

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    Hi there,

    Around 10 months ago, I went away to Firebrand training for a week's worth of intensive training on A+ and N+. I found the course hugely informative, and found that it suited my learning style down to the letter. I came away with all of the A+ certs, and an N+. Now I'm starting to feel like my career development is slowing down, and I'm wanting to take another qualification in order to jump up to a higher level of employment, and make another step toward my ideal job.

    What I want to know from you wise folks is whether I should be aiming to get a CCNA or an MCSA (Or other?) in order to get myself a job as a network admin. I'd be investing a few thousand pounds to go back to Firebrand, and that's pretty much a certainty, but would I realistically be seeing that money coming back to me anytime soon having gained either of these certs?

    Cheers,
    Matt.
     
    Certifications: Triple A+. Network+, CCENT
    WIP: MCP, ICND2, Sec+
  2. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    I will answer your question with another question, what technology are you working with? What do you want to work with?

    If you're not working yet in IT (or making the move from one type of job to another)... then I would recommend the MCDST first of all, if you're going down the MS route or the CCENT if you're going down the CISCO route. As I very much doubt that a company is going to hire anyone as a network admin without experience. Certifications aren't there to replace experience.

    If you're already working in IT... if you're working in a MS environment (with servers), then the MCSA. If you're working in the Cisco environment then the CCNA. Also remember that the any Cisco cert has to be renewed every 3 years.

    No cert/qual can guarantee you a job or promotion, let alone x amount of thousands of pounds back.

    -Ken
     
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: PGDip
  3. mattstevenson

    mattstevenson Byte Poster

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    At the moment I'm a computer repair guy in a computer shop, though this often means designing and setting up networks for small businesses. I've not worked with any Cisco equipment thus far, though I have a good knowledge of 2k/XP/Vista and have worked with Server 2000 and 2003. I've got about 14 months of full time experience in this job, and 12 months previous to that which was voluntary part time work.

    Ideally, I'd like to work with Microsoft, though Cisco holds a decent amount of interest for me. What I don't want to be doing, is crawling around in loft spaces with great big reels of cable. I'd sooner stick with my current job if that's my only development route available.:tongue
     
    Certifications: Triple A+. Network+, CCENT
    WIP: MCP, ICND2, Sec+
  4. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    Then I would say look at the MCDST as well as the MCSA. I was already a MCSA when I did the MCDST and I still learnt abit about the client OS by doing that.

    While I haven't looked a the CCNA (I dont really want to), I have looked at their rivals Juniper and their certification track (I tired their version of the CCNA CBT) and I have to say I didn't like it - that's not to say that you may or may not like it. If you do want to go down the route of the CCENT (I would still say don't do the full CCNA until you have the kit and work on it), get yourself a CCENT book and see how you like it.

    -ken
     
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: PGDip
  5. kevicho

    kevicho Gigabyte Poster

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    Well if Ken hadnt give you such a spot on post I would have replied saying pretty much the same thing.

    Another thing I would say is you need to find out where you are in your career, and where you are within your current organisation, and what you need to learn to progress, or improve within your role, as I would say the best chance you have of progressing is usually by showing initiative and ability in your current role, maybe you and your company should be having developement meetings so you can improve your skills and your employer keep (ie you dont disapear) a more skilled employee.

    One thing you could look into is something such as a skills framework, such as SFIA, which you personally can take a more planned approach to your own training, or get your company to look into such a framework for you and other IT staff.

    As for the certs, If you have a years experience in support, for client and server I would look at MCSA if you have some desktop support experience then look at the MCDST and maybe the 70-290 or 70-620 exams depending on whether you use and want to look deeper into XP and Vista.

    With the CISCO I personally would go for the CCENT first, especially if you have no to little experience, and the network+, the CCNA on the other hand, you really should have had some experience in a commercial environment to have this on your CV effectively, what im saying here is that if you feel comfortable with the material and want to learn, it is a great way, although it is proprietary to CISCO.

    To summarise, check out the certification pages and the prerequisites, if you fulfil them, do the reading and the definitely the cert, if not, just do the learning and look to implement the skills wherever possible in work to hopefully get more responsibilities and get you up the food chain quicker.
     
    Certifications: A+, Net+, MCSA Server 2003, 2008, Windows XP & 7 , ITIL V3 Foundation
    WIP: CCNA Renewal
  6. kevicho

    kevicho Gigabyte Poster

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    Did you do this through the CCNA offer they did on the website?

    For those not in the know, Juniper offered free training and exams (I think its still discounted currently) to people accredited with Cisco certification, probably in an attempt to get Junipers brand out there with the techies, nice idea in fairness, unfortunately for me ive been busy with other exams otherwise I would have put the time into doing this.
     
    Certifications: A+, Net+, MCSA Server 2003, 2008, Windows XP & 7 , ITIL V3 Foundation
    WIP: CCNA Renewal
  7. mattstevenson

    mattstevenson Byte Poster

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    One more question (at the moment) - Given my experience thus far, and current certs, would an MCSA be likely to get me a job as a network admin? If not, what sort of experience would they ideally be looking for? Time and type of job?
     
    Certifications: Triple A+. Network+, CCENT
    WIP: MCP, ICND2, Sec+
  8. kevicho

    kevicho Gigabyte Poster

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    I think from what weve read it would be hard to say as you have some experience, but in what exactly you havent really said.

    A net admin will have 2 sides to him, experience and knowledge in server software, some companies will look for exchange, SQL skills while other companies may want Linux/Unix experience for example, so really you need to be experienced, certified, and have good references.

    Also there is the business side, and that is anything from managing rollouts, dealing with training, some companies will have IT managers dealing with some of these, so again it depends on the company.

    I would say you should tailor your CV to show IT management skills, and experience of installing, configuration and maintenance of server software, IT projects, and managing a network.

    At 19, no offence it is highly unlikely you will jump into a Net Admin role, if you can find a small company there probably is more chance, but the scope of software and actual progression there may not be as good, it may be better if you go to work for a company at a lower level, but you are given the assurances and scope to progress, obviously depending on how you perform.

    IT is definiately about patience, and it has changed since I was 19, so I think you should concentrate on building up your certs and look for a more career progression type role, such as Net admin assistant or desktop support of a SMB
     
    Certifications: A+, Net+, MCSA Server 2003, 2008, Windows XP & 7 , ITIL V3 Foundation
    WIP: CCNA Renewal
  9. mattstevenson

    mattstevenson Byte Poster

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    My experience is in dealing with both business and residential customers, on site and in the shop. My job title is IT Technician. The business is a computer repair shop, which also deals with sales of new and second hand equipment. I'm one of two people working here, the other being the boss.

    Experience with Servers is limited; I've set up a machine for us as a file, DHCP and Exchange server, and have operated and troubleshooted problems on clients' pre-configured servers. I've worked a reasonable amount with networking equipment such as switches and routers, though not at a 'down and dirty' level. Most of my experience has been with Windows in a standalone desktop environment. I have experience with Apple OS 9 and beyond, and some experience with Linux as a desktop OS, though nothing that I could put on a CV.
     
    Certifications: Triple A+. Network+, CCENT
    WIP: MCP, ICND2, Sec+
  10. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    Yes, downloaded the CBT and whatever else they had up there, there was one offer you could do even if you weren't a CCNA. But like you I had other exams on my plate at the time :)

    -Ken
     
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: PGDip

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