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Passing MCSE and actually doing the job

Discussion in 'General Microsoft Certifications' started by CaptainReboot, Jun 21, 2008.

  1. CaptainReboot

    CaptainReboot Bit Poster

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    Hi all,

    I have a general concern about my MCSE and wanted people's comments. I'm taking all the courses at my local college, then studying, then taking the exams. I haven't finished the MCSE but hopefully will by the end of the year.

    My concern is that I might not be prepared for a job in network administration / design after passing the exams, even though I might be classed as qualified. I'm worried that if I were to get a job in this field I wouldn't be fully prepared even though I have passed (hopfully!) the MCSE.

    Do you think that even after passing the MCSE you should set your sites a little lower to gain some OTJ experience before going for the more advanced jobs? In my experience, nothing beats actually doing the job, not even courses.

    I would be interested in hearing what other people have to say about this.

    Thanks,

    CR
     
    Certifications: MCSA, MCDST, NCSS, NCDS, NNCTS, N+
    WIP: MCSE
  2. rax

    rax Megabyte Poster

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    There are so many posts the same as this. Why not have a search, the answers you seek are already out there.
     
    Certifications: ITIL v3 Foundation, CompTIA Network+
  3. derkit

    derkit Gigabyte Poster

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    Firstly, well done on getting as far as you have - its a lot of work, and I've only scratched the surface of it!

    Secondly, yes - aim your sights a lot lower depending on your experience. You haven't said how much experience you have, but if none maybe a 1st line telelphone role, if some, desktop support maybe the way forward. I'd go as far and not even put your full qualifications down ie, miss out the MCSA/MCSE as employers may look on that negatively especially if you have it with none or little experience and then include it as your progress with experience.

    Thirdly, serious fair play for noticing your limitations. I don't think I've seen a post like this any where else.
     
    Certifications: MBCS, BSc(Hons), Cert(Maths), A+, Net+, MCDST, ITIL-F v3, MCSA
    WIP: 70-293
  4. CaptainReboot

    CaptainReboot Bit Poster

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    I think it's important to know your limitations, especially regarding job prospects. It's all very well landing a great job with your MCSE, but I can imagine you would get figured out pretty fast if you haven't got the experience to do the job well. I think there are probably many things that the courses cannot teach.

    I think that the best thing is to not aim too high to begin with, and I like your idea about not advertising the full certification to begin with.
     
    Certifications: MCSA, MCDST, NCSS, NCDS, NNCTS, N+
    WIP: MCSE
  5. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    Well i think you're starting to realise what we have been saying on this forum for many years now. The MCSE is a higher level certification that is aimed at people with a year or more *experience* administrating a Windows server based network across multiple sites using multiple technologies. This is what Microsoft state.

    Certifications in and of themselves are worthless pieces of paper. They are intended to go hand in hand with on the job experience, as a way of adding theoretical background to the job being performed. A cert without experience is only half the necessary equation and no IT manager worth their salt will hire you for a senior role.

    The term *Paper MCSE* was coined years ago for people that hold the cert but cannot do the job because of lack of experience and in fact the proliferation of Paper MCSEs has devalued the certification a lot.

    I am not putting you down for having done it, i am merely agreeing with your own assessment of your situation. At the end of the day it's not a waste of time, knowledge is always worth having and i'm sure you have learned a lot.

    What you have to do now is what everybody has to do in order to progress up the ladder in IT. Start at the bottom and start climbing. I'm sure the MCSE will help you progress faster, it just wont be a magic wand to make you skip steps.

    Good luck!
     
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  6. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    CaptainReboot, I give you full props for your honest assessment of your abilities, and in being wise in ascertaining whether or not the MCSE is an appropriate certification for you. If anything, I believe that your keen eye with this matter is a good sign that you'll have a keen eye when it comes to troubleshooting a PC or network in your future IT career.

    What the others have said is spot on - including the point about considering leaving the MCSA/MCSE off your CV until you've built some real-world experience. Don't misunderstand us - the knowledge you have gained in your studies is excellent, and will serve you quite well... but the certifications themselves won't be very helpful to you at this point in your career. In truth, an entry-level employer might not hire an MCSA (or MCSE) because they really don't need that caliber of tech to work an entry-level job... and an upper-level employer won't hire someone even with certifications if they don't have the experience.

    It sounds like you've got a shrewd head on your shoulders. Continue analyzing your career with a careful eye as you already have, and you'll likely do well. :)
     
    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!
  7. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Just to echo what the other guys have said it’s a refreshing change for someone to think about their own ability to do the job rather than just chasing the MCSE as that will make then a brilliant network engineer. <sigh> :rolleyes:

    Try not to stress about it, when you come across something on a live network you don’t fully understand you can always research it before you need to make any config changes.

    I’ve passed the MCSE and I have been involved a few domain restructuring projects lately. The last one had a parent domain and three child domains but there were major issues with the child domains communicating with the parent domain. When I looked in the DNS console the zones looked weird, certain records were not there and there was no mention of the child domain in the parent domains DNS zone. Anyways to cut a long story short I noted this down in the audit and installed a DC back in the office and promoted another server to be a child domain and then compared the DNS setup to the problem network, it was completely different and it was how I remembered it when I was studying for the MCSE, the 70-294 if I remember rightly!

    So studying for the MCSE (at the right time in your career!) will help out but it doesn’t mean that you need to know everything that’s thrown at you day to day. As long as you have the ability to troubleshoot and research problems correctly then you will be fine. :biggrin
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  8. fortch

    fortch Kilobyte Poster

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    Not to dispute what BM said, but I'd refrain from removing anything from your resume. First, although your experience is lacking, the certification does show that you are conversant with the technology. Secondly, any 'qualification' can separate you from the competition, which is filled with people low on experience yet certified. Third, it shows a measure of completion (somewhat similar to university, although not nearly as grand), and gives your prospective employer an idea of your desire for gaining knowledge. A resume is visually selling yourself, by words alone...and having a certain cert on it can save you from the circular file. Believe it or not, but I've seen junior roles that require MCSE -- so employers aren't necessarily stupid about the paper-MCSE, either.

    Of course, this all hinges on sincerity, which you've already exhibited. Honestly assessing your skill set to potential employers can often allow you to achieve the desired position. For example -- myself: I was a paper MCSE, and in my interviews I explained my particular situation, and that I was low on real world experience, yet I had a strong desire to learn as much as I could in IT. Additionally, during my learning, why not test my skills the only way I could? So I took the exams, even though the job I was in at the time was not in the wheelhouse for those exams. So what? That was the technology I was interested in, and that was what I wanted to get into. Why not get a head start? So, rather than b*llsh&# my way through the interviews, I put myself up for scrutiny, and let the cards fall where they may. I was convinced that the right employer would see my desire and interest, and take a chance on me. Know what? It worked for me, and it will work for you.

    Like others, I commend you for your integrity. In a world where most people can't admit they're wrong or that they don't know something, you realize the truth of your situation and seek advice from others more experienced. To me, that speaks volumes, and I have no doubt that you'll succeed in future endeavors. Good luck!
     
    Certifications: A+,Net+,Sec+,MCSA:Sec,MCSE:Sec,mASE
  9. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Require? For a junior position? There's no way. Do some employers think they require an MCSE? Yes, those employers who don't know certifications from their backside. In those cases, by all means, keep it on there. But you really ought to remove it if it's not requested due to the "overcertified" problem.
     
    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!
  10. Modey

    Modey Terabyte Poster

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    I disagree. We have had people here at our place applying for Junior roles before now and some were hugely overqualified. One candidate had an MCSE and a raft of others certs, and one had masters degree in IT + other certs (neither of them had an experience in IT). Both were applying for a Junior tech position with the only pre-requisit being that they be willing to learn and be enthusiastic etc.. Both of these guys CV's went straight in the bin. We couldn't even work out why on earth they applied to be honest, it was most strange.

    We would do the same again as we may be getting a third person in our department soon. They will be very junior and anyone who applies with a high end cert on their CV but with no experience to back it up will be binned instantly. Anyone with an appropriate entry level cert and a willingness to learn and be trained on the job would be ideal though.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCP, MCDST, MCSA 2K3, MCTS, MOS, MTA, MCT, MCITP:EDST7, MCSA W7, Citrix CCA, ITIL Foundation
    WIP: Nada
  11. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    This is why alot of people on here say don't go beyond the MCDST if your still looking for your first IT job, but people fall for the get the MCSE your first IT jon and 37k a year bull****.

    Now why is it that I knew before starting down my cert carreer, I even knew when NT 3.51 was around that the MCSE was for people who knew what they were doing not begginers?

    Answer because I researched my available opportunities and didn't fall for any BS, thats why I new when I came here I should be looking at the A+ and N+.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  12. fortch

    fortch Kilobyte Poster

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    ...thus, the reason why I was overlooked several times. However, my certs were the only reason I *had* interviews, so it goes both ways. More to the point, it was my *personal* experience, and not just opinion.
     
    Certifications: A+,Net+,Sec+,MCSA:Sec,MCSE:Sec,mASE
  13. fortch

    fortch Kilobyte Poster

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    Oh, and if you think the MCSE being a requirement is in the minority...think again. When was the last time you looked for a job, particularly on the lower end? Trust me, in government circles, certification is very important. Departments are budgeted by crazy benchmarks, and that includes standards like certs. So, regardless of the position, it behooves the employer in this case to pursue certified candidates, as it pays on the back end. Again, this is not the exception -- I was told, by a large *agency* (my previous job), that my certification was the only reason I got the nod. Did they necessarily know the intimate details of the cert, and whether or not they needed it? No, but that didn't matter, and that, also, is definitely *not* in the minority. I've met with plenty of hiring managers that only knew catch-phrases and acronyms, and left the techie stuff to other people.

    Let's get something straight here -- I'm not advocating the pursuance of a mid/high-level cert without gaining experience. All I'm saying is that a feather in your hat is just that. Besides, unless the pool is filled, employers shouldn't bin a resume because the candidate appears overqualified.
     
    Certifications: A+,Net+,Sec+,MCSA:Sec,MCSE:Sec,mASE
  14. GiddyG

    GiddyG Terabyte Poster Gold Member

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    We are? :blink

    Well, that's news to me. If we contract, we want the best we can get (at a good price obviously) for taxpayers money. Why would we want to take someone on who had a load of certs but who couldn't cut the mustard? Those guys will normally be top-end, with years of experience.

    Or are you talking about IT suppliers, that government departments tend to use for IT provision and support? That then is up to the supplier, as they employ or contract the person.

    EDIT: Just realised you're in the USA... maybe it's different there, but we want quality people who can do the job without hand holding.
     
  15. Modey

    Modey Terabyte Poster

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    No worries matey, I wasn't having a go at you, just recounting what happened here when we had hugly overqualified and under experienced people applying here. I think it's still worth people applying for jobs even if they do have certs without experience, but I agree that it's worth not mentioning high end ones as it could hinder more than help without the experience to go with it.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCP, MCDST, MCSA 2K3, MCTS, MOS, MTA, MCT, MCITP:EDST7, MCSA W7, Citrix CCA, ITIL Foundation
    WIP: Nada
  16. The_Geek

    The_Geek Megabyte Poster

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    You'll be doing the job long before you pass the exam. :D
     
    Certifications: CompTIA and Micro$oft
    WIP: PDI+
  17. onoski

    onoski Terabyte Poster

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    Go Sparky, Go Sparky, Go Sparky,:) Huh! me thinks I know where you got those talk from:). Joke aside as am all for knowing the craft as well and not just knowing a bit of theory.
     
    Certifications: MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003 Messaging, MCP, HNC BIT, ITIL Fdn V3, SDI Fdn, VCP 4 & VCP 5
    WIP: MCTS:70-236, PowerShell

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