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Not sure which way to turn, brain about to pop!

Discussion in 'General Microsoft Certifications' started by eskabar, Oct 21, 2007.

  1. eskabar

    eskabar New Member

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    Hi all,

    Ok, to start at the beginning. I finished uni doing business + HR (with a bit of IT) about 6 months back and luckily managed to land myself a job providing over the phone desktop support / training on a straighforward piece of bespoke database software. Having now been in the job a while and actually quite enjoying helping out customers etc, I started looking towards some possible certs to aid my progression down this current path.

    I was looking at starting the MCSE, and actually bought the MS press core exams self paced training kit for server 2003. I got myself a test network setup as exaplained in the book and started the early lessons (Users and groups / AD) and was really enjoying them and felt ok with them. However after conducting some further research, two things led me to question that this was the right thing to be doing:

    • Microsoft are releasing server 2008 next year, hence is tucking into server 2003 certs the right thing to be doing at this moment in time?
    • 2) A lot of other posts on the forum suggest doing the a+ and networking+ exams first as mcse is way down the line and employers won't take a paper mcse seriously

    Thing is i've looked at the a+ exam and it seems really technical and hardware focused which is something I tend to shy away from wherever possible. I have a fair amount of general home experience on Microsoft OS, basic home networking / firewalls, understand database principles from some course I did back at uni etc etc and hav a real interest in moving toward learning to configure servers and networks (don't know why but i like to read about dns and stuff! perhaps its subconciously linked to me being a obsessive online gamer :D)

    Aside from being very interested in this area, other things which attracted me to the mcse was the possibility of one day being able to teach the skills, taking advantage of my good interpersonal skills or alternaively moving into project management roles / starting up my own business of some sorts.

    My ultimate question after all that then (sorry for the excessive detail) is what certs if any should i be looking at? if not the MCSE currently, then perhaps the mcdst is the right course for me as i believe these exams count as electives toward the mcse programme lateron which would surely be a good thing. Perhaps doing the network+ exam, and based on what i've said perhaps giving the a+ exam a miss for the time being?
    And one last thing, even for the mcdst, what about the implications of MS just releasing vista? Should i be waiting until the actual exams for vista come out or is there likely to be an easy way to upgrade to vista??

    n.b. Whatever happens I am ommitted to the self-study option, advent won't be getting 5k off of me anytime soon! :)

    Any help and advice is much appreciated! :)
     
    Certifications: BA Business + HRM
  2. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    Hi Welcome

    Firstly you shouldn't go for the MCSE as you should have around 12 month on the job experience before4 doing it, thats what Microsoft recommends.

    The A+ will give you a good all round knowledge and will help you in the future.

    Really you should be looking at A+, N+, MCDST then MCSE or MCSA after you have been working a while in the industry.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  3. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    PS there is going to be an upgrade exam to MCDST for Vista.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  4. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    Greetings, eskabar (cool forum name, by the way). At this point, I'd say that there's still plenty of life left in the 2003 certification track, so don't throw away your books yet. It will be awhile before the corporate world adopts Vista/2008 technologies so the most marketable skill sets at this point and for the foreseeable future are still in the realm of XP/2003.

    You ignore the "technical and hardware focused" material at your own peril. If you don't think that server administrators don't know or need to know basic hardware, think again. That information is used by just about every IT career track I can think of including programmers and DBAs.

    The other thing to consider is the likelihood of your first IT job being in server infrastructure administration is zero to none. Chances are, you'll get hired in an entry-level position such as help desk or desktop support which means you'll need a basic grounding in hardware, basic OS, and basic network support, which the A+ and Network+ materials give you.

    Keep in mind, this is less about certifications and more about skill sets. Since you seem to have a bit of experience already, review the content of each of those exams and gauge how well you already know that information. If you are currently a skilled PC and network technician, go ahead with more advanced studies. If not, you won't progress through your current plan without first laying the foundation.
     
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  5. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    The 2000 certifications are just NOW retiring (March '08 )... so the 2003 certifications will be around for several years to come. Plus, companies are still using Windows 2000 Server... demand for Windows Server 2003 professionals will be high for many years.

    As others have already stated, you don't walk into a server admin job... you work up to it. Get your A+, get an entry-level job, and start building experience. If you're intelligent, dedicated, driven, and you love IT, you'll likely advance quickly after that.

    Welcome!
     
    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!
  6. eskabar

    eskabar New Member

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    Hi guys,

    Firstly thanks for all your help and advice. I do see what you are saying about the a+ n+ stuff. One of our servers was playing up just the other week and it turned out to be a faulty psu on a firewall, so clearly the hardware stuff is important like you say. Another quick question if I may... what are the prospects like for becoming a trainer in for example a+ n+ / mcse skill sets? I always half aspired to being a teacher but was put off by the prospect of having to look after screaming children all day long, hence if there was some scope for teaching nice adults I.T related material, that would be fantastic.

    Also what sort of time scales would i be looking at to become a+ n+ certified? I've read on here that some people can do a+ in 3 months. After having looked at the a+ meyers book it looks huge!! so i was thinking with a hour or two a day perhaps it might take me 6 - 12 months just for the A+ part.

    Any thoughts on this are much appreciated.
     
    Certifications: BA Business + HRM
  7. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    If you want to become a teacher, you need to become knowledgeable in the field... not just with book knowledge, but with real-world experience, and that will take time. In my case, it's worked out to my advantage - I currently teach through my writing. If I had a desire to do so, I could go get a job teaching classes for a training center. If I got my Masters in Information Systems, I could teach full-time at a university - and I can currently teach adjunct classes there, even without a Masters. So if you want to teach... opportunities are certainly out there.
     
    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!
  8. onoski

    onoski Terabyte Poster

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    Welcome to CF:biggrin. Remember with hard work, dedication and enthusiasm you can make it in any career field.

    Well you might not become a milionaire but with hard work it always pays off on the long run:biggrin
     
    Certifications: MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003 Messaging, MCP, HNC BIT, ITIL Fdn V3, SDI Fdn, VCP 4 & VCP 5
    WIP: MCTS:70-236, PowerShell
  9. eskabar

    eskabar New Member

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    Hey guys, thanks for all your advice over the past few days. I've just ordered the a+ AIO off of amazon and am going to start with that while also carrying on with 70-290 mcp for some light relief along the way. Wish me luck and i'll keep you posted on how i'm getting along with it.

    p.s do you guys think that going through the whole book fairly quickly the first time through and then going back and recapping on certain areas as needed is the best way to study? Any thoughts on this much appreciated as always.
     
    Certifications: BA Business + HRM
  10. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Everyone has their own method for studying. If it helps I made some notes at the end of each chapter when studying for the A+. This would be things like what type of mobo would be needed for a certain type of CPU etc.
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  11. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    I went through it once, then went through it again highlighting points I felt important.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?

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