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MCSE and Computeach - please help!

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by Edgar Davids, Aug 26, 2005.

  1. Edgar Davids

    Edgar Davids New Member

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    Hi all,

    I am new to this board and, as you will soon see new to IT altogether. I have just spent some time reading other messages in these forums and have gained some excellent information. Most responses seem well thought out and sensible.

    I am 25 years old and live in the South-East of England within commutable distance of London. I currently work as an Administrator for 20k p.a. and have no technical experience of IT.

    Having deceided that I needed to give my career some direction, I contacted Computeach and received a visit from one of their 'advisors' regarding the MCSE course.

    Having had the chat and all that goes with it, it has raised as many questions as it has answered. Therefore I would be immensely grateful for some feedback on the following:

    1) I have been quoted £5000 for the MCSE with Computeach. This figure is not beyond my means but for this I would like to know that I had made a sound investment in my future. Is this roughly what I can expect with all providers?

    2) The 'self-study' route. What exactly does this entail? How much cheaper is it? Would I realistically be able to attempt this with no prior knowledge?

    3) Part of the Computeach programme is to try and find you work in the industry whilst you study to gain invaluable experience. Have they delivered in this for others? Can I realistically expect a salary comparable to or in excess of my existing 20k during this period?

    4) The MCSE itself. I am led to believe it is very hard but can be achieved with hard work and commitment. Is this the case? Or does a beginner like me have no chance?

    5) Assuming I get the MCSE through Computeach. What sort of salary could I realistically command? Most importantly, am I employable? Are there jobs out there for people such as myself?

    I would like to thank anyone who responds to this post in advance as any feedback and advice from those 'in the know' is most welcome!
     
  2. moominboy

    moominboy Gigabyte Poster

    im pretty new to these forums too and was actually due to sign up for computech on the same course soon, with added security plus, and n+, but after some advice looked into other companies. learnitonline are based in london and offer the mcse for around £500. after reading a few posts in here i've decided to self study because you can buy all the study kit computeach and others offer for a lot cheaper and i think the internet can offer some of the best help if you get stuck, as just this forum is full of pros. also i believe there are recruitment agencies who hawk your cv around for you so my advice would be self study all the way! good luck m8!
     
    Certifications: ECDL
    WIP: A+
  3. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    Hi Edgar.

    I can't answer all your questions as I'm not an MCSE as such (although I have some experience in admin) and I'm not with the training provider you mention.
    5000 does sound a bit steep for MCSE to me.
    Self study means exactly what it says on the tin, you study everything yourself.
    Your training provider will provide you with some books or CDs and hopefully have some tutor support in place to put you on the right track and pick you up if you fall over.
    Exactly how much support you get and how good the material is will vary between the different companies.

    I'm sure someone will be along soon who can give you something a bit more helpful.

    If you're working as an administrator already, whouldn't it be in your employer's interest to stump up the cash to get you qualified?
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  4. Edgar Davids

    Edgar Davids New Member

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    Thanks both.

    Unfortunately I am not an IT administrator with my current company and also their idea of 'investment in people' is changing the coffee machine once every 5 years!

    My main worry about the self-study route is how do I know when I have covered everything I should have covered and am ready for the exam?

    Is this not the advantage of training providers? The structure and guidance?

    Many thanks
     
  5. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    Your training provider will (should) provide you with a tutor who will be able to assess if you're ready for an exam. They'll probably give you some practice test papers or some kind of dummy exam to see if you're ready or not.

    If your training provider pays your exam fees for you, they won't want you going to do one you're not ready for. Check out their re-sit policy. What happens if you fail, do they pay for your re-sits, and if so how many?
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  6. zimbo
    Honorary Member

    zimbo Petabyte Poster

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    hi and nice of you to join us! im working as a network admin but unfortunatly not in the UK :( so i cant help you with the company in mention. What i can tell you is what i have read around here and maybe give you some idea. Self study for the MCSE is very much possible infact it is possible! BUT since you have no technical experience in IT this could be a problem. What i think you should do is A+ and Network+ first: see www.comptia.org, these are entry-level certs that about 90% of all techies start with, plus using the right combinations of certs from comptia can count towards the elective for MCSE.

    i hope this helps and good luck :thumbleft
     
    Certifications: B.Sc, MCDST & MCSA
    WIP: M.Sc - Computer Forensics
  7. Edgar Davids

    Edgar Davids New Member

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    According to the salesman they pay for as many re-sits as required. However as Computeach are in Dudley, multiple re-sits may not be viable for me anyway!
     
  8. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    Do they make you go to Dudley for your exams?

    You can sit Microsoft exams in any authorised training centre around the country (there's stuff on other threads about this).
    There's no reason you should have to travel to sit them and it would be quite unreasonable if they tried to make you.
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  9. Edgar Davids

    Edgar Davids New Member

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    My understanding is that all exams are in Dudley but maybe a current Computeach student could offer more info?

    Thanks for all of the info so far but my main question is the last one on the original post.....

    5) Assuming I get the MCSE through Computeach. What sort of salary could I realistically command? Most importantly, am I employable? Are there jobs out there for people such as myself?

    Does anyone have any opinions? Once again all help much appreciated.

    Cheers
     
  10. Dream_In_Infrared

    Dream_In_Infrared Nibble Poster

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    Edgar: I studied with CT and did not have a good experience. However I can tell you you do not have to go to Dudley for the exam. It would be useful for you to go there for the workshop training, it would certainly be in your interests to attend Dudley for that, but as for the exams [I was informed] you can sit them at any certified ProMetric testing centre. There is a ProMetric centre webby somewhere and from that you can find a location near to you where you can sit your exams.
     
    Certifications: None :(
    WIP: A+
  11. Edgar Davids

    Edgar Davids New Member

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    What about your experience was bad, if you don't mind me asking?
     
  12. Peter

    Peter Byte Poster

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    I am with computeach and there is not a problem with resits

    (I know) They do pay for them just make sure you read the documentation on resits. also you can sit them at any priometric test center.
     
    Certifications: Elec & Eelc Eng A+
    WIP: CCNA-CCNP
  13. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    I'm prejudiced against training providers. Here's why.

    Now I'm pretty unfamiliar with the exchange rate you have so I'll give you the costs incurred in US dollars in my self study program. I have an A+, CCNA, MCSE, MCDBA, and am about 1/2 the way to a level 1 LPIC Linux cert.

    I have 90+ books for a cost of approximately $3500.
    I have a computer lab consisting of a couple of workstations, a router, and two servers. I have fully licensed copies of Win 2K server, Server 2003, SQL Server 2000 , and Win 2K Pro installed along with Linux. Cost of lab about $3000. It could be done much cheaper but I wasn't the one in charge of how the money was spent.
    I also have a nice U-shaped desk/workstation and a bookcase to hold my books. Cost about $900.
    Cost of all exams taken is about $1500.
    One "self-paced" training school program for A+ and MCSE. $3500

    Now, take a look at what I have, and will continue to have at my disposal from what has been spent on my training program and look at how much was spent on a training provider.

    The training provider was the only money wasted. And I mean truly wasted. Self-paced means you study on your own. You aren't given lectures. You aren't given materials that you can't find in a bookstore or by Googling. In many cases the so-called Student Advisors and "instructors" have no real world background. Mine had passed the A+, Network+, and MCSE but had all braindumped their way through it. They pushed braindumps at the students. So, when I was working to really be able to understand what I was doing and understand all the base concepts of everything I was studying they were of no help. They had just studied to pass tests. They also pushed time constraints on you. A month per MCP exam. And the worst part is they provided very little in the way of labs.

    So, the costs associated with my certs could have been reduced by 25% by eliminating the training provider. There was no real value associated with the money spent other than they covered the costs of the exams. It was a very expensive way to pay for exams. I broke the costs of the exams out so it would be possible to see what the real costs of the training provider were. For what they charged I can see no real value looking back. I had to study 14 to 16 hours a day to get through things like 70-216, and most of that time was spent in my lab working through the exercises and reading outside material--books and researched material from Google that is over and above what you find in exam books.

    So, take a look at what training providers are offering you for the amount of money you will be spending. Get a hard list from them. See just what books you will be taking home and assume that any handouts will simply be what you can find in the Knowledge Base or on Google searches. Know exactly what you are getting for the money. You'll find at the end of the day that there will be very little that you will own when you're done.

    If you go the self study route what you spend on books, labs, etc... will all be yours when you finish. These resources will stay with you as you continue to learn. You'll need them as throughout the course of study you'll be forgetting a lot of what you once had in your head because retention rates, while much higher in a hands on program, are still not that great. You'll forget at least 65% of what you learned if you do things hands on. If you don't do hands on you'll probably forget 80% of what you learned, and you will have learned much less to begin with than if you had done hands on learning.

    If you go the training provider route you will have very little to show for your money when you're done. And, you'll still have to buy the lab equipment and OS's to do the hands on work. No training provider is going to get them for you. And if you get one of the training providers I see being talked about on this forum you'll only have email contact with them so they will be providing nothing that you can't find right here on CF.

    Count the costs and see if you really think these training providers give you much value for your money. I don't think they do. I think they are a rip off, but that's my opinion based on the facts of my experience.
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCDBA, CCNA, A+
    WIP: LPIC 1
  14. zimbo
    Honorary Member

    zimbo Petabyte Poster

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    NICELY PUT FREE!!! i even got some pointers from it! :biggrin
     
    Certifications: B.Sc, MCDST & MCSA
    WIP: M.Sc - Computer Forensics
  15. d-Faktor
    Honorary Member

    d-Faktor R.I.P - gone but never forgotten.

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    :thumbleft
     
  16. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    Thanks. I put it out here to help people see what training providers are charging, what they are delivering, and what you really get from them. I hope it helps people spend their money wisely.
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCDBA, CCNA, A+
    WIP: LPIC 1
  17. Uruloke

    Uruloke Nibble Poster

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    I've just started with Computeach, and I'm doing the MCSE: Security, Security+ and A+ certs (in reverse order though!) I'm quite happy so far, I wasn't aware I could sit the exams elsewhere, that's great for me as I'm in Swansea. But I am looking forward to the Workshops in Dudley and meeting other students.

    Self study is not an option for me as I lack a little self discipline and need someone 'cracking the whip' so to speak, so the structured course of a training provider is perfect for me. Are there cheaper options than Computeach? Yes; NITLC is one, and they looked a pretty decent one (apart from the 'dodgy' salesmen I saw) but I wasn't that impressed with the look of their learning materials.

    Do I feel I've been ripped off? Not so far, too early to tell though. With regards to finding a job while studying, the advisor who has been dealing with me was very open and honest, he told me not to expect to walk into a £25K/year job once I've passed all the exams and that I probably won't get a job while studying but that there is a chance it can happen.

    You say you're already on £20k per year? Be prepared to take a pay cut for your first job, maybe not a really huge one, but you'll probably have to so that you can gain that all important experience to go into the dream job you are after.

    Good luck with whatever you persue, this forum is superb for all questions you have, it's the most intelligent community I have ever come across on the net.
     
    Certifications: GNVQ (Going Nowhere Very Quickly!)
  18. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    What do they do for hands on learning?
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCDBA, CCNA, A+
    WIP: LPIC 1
  19. zimbo
    Honorary Member

    zimbo Petabyte Poster

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    Till i found this site i was really 'afraid' if you want tot put it that way to get into self-studying for the MCSE cause of the magnitude of study it requires even thou i have no problem doing this for my HND! over the last 2 month its guys like you and trip who have made me gain some confidence in self-studying for certs! Thanks man! :afro
     
    Certifications: B.Sc, MCDST & MCSA
    WIP: M.Sc - Computer Forensics
  20. Uruloke

    Uruloke Nibble Poster

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    Workshops at their centre in Dudley, that was another factor in my choice of Computeach instead of NITLC. While NITLC also do workshops, they don't do as many, they're further away from me and don't pay anything towards accommodation, plus all their course materials appear to be on sheets and sheets of printed paper; Computeach's materials later in the course are online, where you can log in to a Win2k3 server remotely from your PC at home to configure it (apparantly, not sure if that is exactly true, but it's why they said I really need broadband, which I have).
     
    Certifications: GNVQ (Going Nowhere Very Quickly!)

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