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MCSA Windows Server 2012

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by Elliot28, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. Elliot28

    Elliot28 Bit Poster

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    Hi All,

    I am new and i have come to this forum for advice.

    I am looking into gaining an MSCA certification in window server 2012.

    I am not sure who to train with, they all say they are the best and I should go with them. (obviously they will)

    I have been in contract with Firebrand training - bootcamp style course, RRP price £4800 + Vat have been offered it for 2940 + Vat

    QA training - the first exam - 410 - for a price of £840 +vat

    I am happy to start somewhere with the first exam and work for the others.

    I am not sure where to start if I am honest, I do not have much exposure with servers if I am honest.

    Can anyone recommend a company?

    Unfortunately I am not great at self study, I procrastinate to much!

    I am grateful for all your advice

    Many thanks
    Elliot
     
  2. RichyV

    RichyV Megabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    Hi Elliot and welcome to CF!

    For me, the above stands out like a large red beacon. If you have little or no exposure to servers (especially, in this case, Server 2012) then this MCSA is not for you...

    Experience first, certs later is the norm. Having said that, and not wishing to be too negative, maybe we can point you in the right direction...
    What do you have daily or, at least, regular exposure to in your current role?

    HTH.
     
    Certifications: B.Sc.(Hons), MBCS. MCP (271,272), MCDST, MCTS (680), MCITP:EDST7, MCSA:WIN7, MCPS, MCNPS
    WIP: 70-686, then onto MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure via MCSA: Server 2012...
  3. Elliot28

    Elliot28 Bit Poster

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    THanks for the reply, as a day job I work as a desktop support engineer.

    I am looking for a promotion into Servers but do not have any certifications or experience, with certifications i will be offered more time in the server team.

    Thats why i was thinking firebrand as offers full certification in 9 days?

    Does anyone have much experience in firebrand?

    alternatively i was thinking QA It and doing one exam for the full certification at a time. starting with 70-410.

    Many thanks
    Elliot
     
  4. ade1982

    ade1982 Megabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    Firebrand have a good reputation on here, but then they are probably up there with the most expensive.

    I realise it's chicken and egg, but you seriously shouldn't consider doing a certification on something you don't have experience in. You need to get exposure under your belt and then look at it. Certifications are there to confirm your ability, not to learn the skills. (or you should at least know the vast majority of it before you get there)

    You could look at doing the Windows 7 client certs, so at least you can get used to seeing how things like Group Policy and whatever else affects the client.
     
  5. Elliot28

    Elliot28 Bit Poster

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    Its a very tough situation, i do have a little experience, especially with AD for example as i use this to administrator accounts, create accounts etc.

    Who is a recommended training provider?

    Firebrand have the "guarantee" of passing the certification which is appealing...
     
  6. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

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    Are your company using Server 2012 yet? Or are they sticking with 2008 for a while?

    Personally, I would back up your desktop skills with certs directed towards what you do for a living, the desktop certs will introduce an element of server stuff. If you need more 'useful' knowledge for "servers" then opt for MCTS 70-640 as that will quite nicely introduce you to AD concepts/methods! Until you score a dedicated server support role (which will probably be more to do with soft skills and your past performance as a desktop tech etc) then I would not go any further than the AD MCTS.

    At the end of the day it's up to you! However, I would question 'full certification in 9 days'. With very little experience, I think you would struggle with that and end up p*ssing a lot of cash up the wall!

    However, it's been 8 years since I finished my course at NITLC but it's only now that I feel I can tackle Server/Infrastructure/Network/Comms certs! But that's just me! Don't get me wrong, I did my 2000 certs fine but I was still none the wiser on the experience side so all I scored was helpdesk roles, followed by desktop support roles, 3rd line support and then suddenly bounced into Systems Administration where I dealing with Lync Video Conferencing, Linux, Cisco gear, VMware, Exchange etc.

    Good luck

    d_d
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
    Certifications: MCSA , N+, A+ ,ITIL V2, MCTS
    WIP: MCITP 2008 Ent Admin, Server Admin, Exchange 2010, Lync 2010, CCNA & VCP5
  7. Elliot28

    Elliot28 Bit Poster

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    Where would be the best place to learn all of this?

    I suck at self study, I would need a respectable company to guide me through

    any advise would be grateful.
     
  8. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

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    Buy the training kits, unsuck at self study. Everything with regards to education relies upon a great deal of self study.

    Apart from that, I have no training provider recommendations.
     
    Certifications: MCSA , N+, A+ ,ITIL V2, MCTS
    WIP: MCITP 2008 Ent Admin, Server Admin, Exchange 2010, Lync 2010, CCNA & VCP5
  9. Elliot28

    Elliot28 Bit Poster

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    QA Accelerated – MCTS: Windows Server 2008, Active Directory, Configuring

    Is this any good?
     
  10. kevicho

    kevicho Gigabyte Poster

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    Do you have any support from your work for this? Maybe they could help you with some on the job shadowing or Mentoring.

    For the prices you are looking at, 5K is a LOT of money, for that price you could easily afford a machine to run virtual machines on, tonnes of books, and maybe some CBT videos (such as CBT nuggets or MS Learning).

    If moneys not an object then just make sure you can get a taster of the training, youll need some reliable references and you need to be very clear in regards what your rights are if the training isnt up to par, and also I would say be sure the company isnt on the verge of going bust!.

    Finally I would say doing this wont guarantee promotions, it certainly may help, but consider your outlay against the potential benefit in wage increase as well.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
    Certifications: A+, Net+, MCSA Server 2003, 2008, Windows XP & 7 , ITIL V3 Foundation
    WIP: CCNA Renewal
  11. Elliot28

    Elliot28 Bit Poster

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    Currently not, I am sure if i was certified I would get the experience.

    I am having to pay for this on my own but its getting certified.

    I am really stuck where to go from here.
     
  12. RichyV

    RichyV Megabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    Hi,

    Have to agree entirely with this. You don't want to spend £k's of money on a 'hunch' that you'll then be able to get experience. Aptitude and enthusiasm is usually what gains you access to different technologies than you are currently working with. Ask questions, be keen and interested in the server work (but not too pushy or irritating) and ask what certs the people have that are currently working in the environment you want to break into. Mention your interest in taking a cert (such as the 640) and see what reaction you receive.

    Personally, I'd still start with the 680 as there's plenty of server-side stuff included in that and the subsequent 685 or 686. (which, BTW, will now get you an MCSA: Windows 7 certification).

    HTH.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
    Certifications: B.Sc.(Hons), MBCS. MCP (271,272), MCDST, MCTS (680), MCITP:EDST7, MCSA:WIN7, MCPS, MCNPS
    WIP: 70-686, then onto MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure via MCSA: Server 2012...
    drum_dude likes this.
  13. Elliot28

    Elliot28 Bit Poster

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    There is two courses that I have found, I spoke to them and negicated 55% off the price.

    QA Accelerated – MCTS: Windows Server 2008, Active Directory, Configuring - Training course catalogue - QA

    and

    QA Accelerated – MCTS: Windows 7 Client, Installing and Configuring - Training course catalogue - QA

    Would you still all recommend 680 or the 640?

    The reason I ask, is there might be a restructure at work, I want to be in the best position to apply for a server job, i know others in my team will be interested but if i have for example the 640 then I am ahead of them in being chosen for the restructure, I see it as investing £1200 for a course with the possibility of having a £5k pay rise straight away...

    Of course i still might not get chosen but even if not the certification will help me.
     
  14. Ryan

    Ryan Byte Poster

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    Hi Elliot,

    After reading everyone's replies i agree with pretty much all of them. 7 years ago i was in the same boat as yourself, wanting to progess into server support from desktop support. I had a couple of sales reps pestering me from training companies offering to certify me in MCSE (2003 at the time) within 6 weeks for around £5,000. Seemed tempting at the time but im so glad i didnt go down that route. Here are my reasons why I'd advise not to:

    1 - £5,000 is a huge amount of money for someone to send you some study material and set up a few virtual machines.
    2 - Self study isnt that much different to being trained by a provider, at the end of the day YOU are the one who has to take in the info and learn it, either way.
    3 - As others have said, certs back up experience so get the experience first and the certs will be much more straight forward when you come to the exams.
    4 - I've never heard of an employer that wouldnt want to promote internally (assuming they have staff with an aptitude to learn) and would rather than go through expensive recruitment to employ senior engineers. Most companies promote the "Equal Opportunities Act" which usually means they advertise new job roles internally before searching externally (though im not sure if they are required by law).

    Consider the following - If you were an employer and two engineers (who would be new to the company) interviewed for a server support role, one has a piece of paper saying they can answer multiple choice questions in a classroom but has never actually worked in a live server environment. The other has proven track record to have been successfully managing servers in a similar job role for lets say a year but has no certs, which would you rather "let loose" on your 500 servers out in the real world? Theres a little more to it than that but i know which one I'd choose just based on the above facts, and its not the college graduate with his little piece of paper. A couple of times now i've had to significantly change aspects of a network because it was set up by someone who had theoretical knowledge but no real world experience and as a result had over-complicated a network or deployed the wrong solution.

    I didnt think i could self study either, but here i am a few years later with MCITP:EA under my belt, an exchange cert, project managing some of the biggest network migrations our company has rolled out and providing help / guidance to our engineers to help them learn & progress. All from on the job experience and self study. I probably could have progressed a little faster but my career took second place under other things hapening in life until recently so my timescales probably arent the best representation of any kind of benchmark.

    This forum has helped me out in the past and i hope i can give something back by helping as many people as i can by sharing my experiences. If its not too far away i would bring it up in your appraisal that you're interested in the server technology and see what the response is. The Microsoft press books are, if a little boring & long winded, quite a good insight into the ethos of server support.

    Best of luck with your career.

    Ryan
     
    Certifications: MCDST, MCITP:EA, Microsoft Certified Solutions Ascociate (2008), 70-662
    nXPLOSi likes this.
  15. Lugosi

    Lugosi Bit Poster

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    Hi Elliot - and any others following this thread.

    There are some nice balanced opinions on here, and if I logged on more often I would have given mine a little earlier too.

    Ryan has laid out a nice argument, but just to give a different perspective ...

    I trawled these forums and lots of others for advice and opinions about 6 or 7 years ago, in a relatively similar position to you. But probably with even less experience.
    And the equation you have to weigh up is essentially the cost of residential boot camp training like Firebrand against the cheaper and more convenient, but much, much slower option of self study.
    You also have to weigh up the relative impacts on your life. To work all day and then commit to 2 or 3 hours study most nights over an extended period.

    My, eventual, conclusion was to to go to a residential course over a couple of months and study intensively until I had what I needed. My choice at the time was Blue Screen IT in plymouth. Not sure if they are still going, but I got a better feeling from them than some of the other places I spoke to.

    I took out a loan and went there to study. I think it took me about 8-10 weeks to get to the MCSE, which obviously gives you the MCSA on the way.
    Again, to emphasise, this is only my experience.
    I worked ridiculously hard. Started studying a couple of hours before the class started each day, and then reviewed and studied ahead(in my shoebox hotel room!) until I felt I was reading the same paragraph over and over and fell asleep.

    I have to say I found I did get far more from the class room study( 6 people on most the weeks I was there) and having a tutor who was also a working systems admin to answer questions and to ensure I was getting each point than I ever have from self study.
    From a real perspective, the environment also allows you to network. To get real experiences from both students and teachers, to get advice on areas other than how to pass an exam. (Im very likable - who wouldnt want to share with me? :tune )

    I came out of it all with confidence, skills and qualifications in each area. And a host of CVs to get inspiration from (plagiarise ...!)

    I did alter my work experience to indicate small levels of experience I didnt have, but felt I could back up on interview admittedly.

    I found contract work within days of gaining the MCSE, gained genuine experience and found almost all the contracts offered full time positions.

    And the past 6 years I have been the system administrator for my company and have travelled around other branches troubleshooting, training and advising.

    Its just a different approach to some of the others here. And I didnt have the advantage at the time of actually having a proper IT job so the (very valid) view of certs backing up experience couldnt work for me.

    As a final note. People where I work have used firebrand, and it is a very intensive bootcamp. You work long hours and you study with a focus almost exclusively on the exams and course content.
    You do retain quite a lot, but my feeling is that its a bit quick especially if you are coming from a place of little or no experience or knowledge at all in the subject matter. So you might have to consider it as something to gain certifications rather than to gain skills.
    The slightly longer course I took gave me a lot of skills as well as the certifications.
    And I am off to Goa shortly to do a course with Koenig(paid for by my company), which gives me one on one tutor for a couple of weeks, an exam guarantee, and even after flights was half the price of anything I could find in the UK.

    To echo others, whichever way you choose to go, best of luck with your career
     
    Certifications: MCSE,MCSA messaging, MCITP Enterprise Admin, Security+, Net+, A+ etc
    WIP: Loads of stuff!
  16. Higgy

    Higgy New Member

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    Ive done self study before in other certifications, however for the position im in now I need Server 2012 n think id prefer classroom. Is there a conclusion of wheres best for classroom based study for this?
     

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