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Server/Sys admin/networking skills needed!

Discussion in 'Windows Server 2003 / 2008 / 2012 Exams' started by idkfa, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. idkfa

    idkfa New Member

    Hi all, hopefully someone can help. Ive been working as a DST for about 3 years and have my MCDST passed. I have changed jobs recently and now have a more network/sys admin role as well. I want to improve my network and sys admin skills but want to make sure what I study is 100% relevant to progress me further. I get frustrated at the moment with my lack of knowledge of even basic server stuff (DNS, DHCP, Exchange, AD etc) which is why I want to start studying.

    The MCSA looked ideal, relevant, achievable, not too long, but it looks like that has changed to a new structure with server 2008. What do you think are the best options for me? Is MS the right way to go and if so what do I study? Is Cisco or A+ worth doing as well/instead of?

    I don't understand the MCITP cert which seems like the replacement for MCSA, can I just take this in Windows Server (11 exams!) and get the certification? The problem with this though is that it looks a lot less relevant than the old MCSA and I'm fed up with learning things just for the sake of learning. Any input on this would be great.

    No decisions made yet so am open to suggestions on what would be the best course(s) to take.

    Sorry for the rant!
  2. onoski

    onoski Terabyte Poster


    Hello and welcome to CF:), well you have answered your own question as the MCITP cert is what replaced the MCSA and the higher level being MCITP EA. The MCITP EA - enterprise administrator or architect.

    Judging from your post then you would be better of starting with the MCITP cert as it covers all the active directory and server stuff you want to learn about. Another way of learning would be to setup a lab at home using virtualisation technology such as VMware workstation or Microsoft vitual PC. There is the free Oracle virtualisation product called virtualbox, but I personally didn't like it. Just preference as this is not to say it doesn't get the job done.

    Bear in mind that the VMware workstation product is a paid for software but would be useful in your case or better still download the Microsoft virtual PC which is free or the free VMware server software.

    Finally get to work by installing and configuring AD, DNS, DHCP and possibly Exchange server 2007/2010.

    All the best and keep us informed of your progress.
    Certifications: MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003 Messaging, MCP, HNC BIT, ITIL Fdn V3, SDI Fdn, VCP 4 & VCP 5
    WIP: MCTS:70-236, PowerShell
  3. idkfa

    idkfa New Member

    Thanks for the reply. The problem I see is that the MCITP in Windows Server doesn't look as relevant as the old MCSA content. The MS site says its in 3 parts:

    1. Enterprise Administrator on Windows Server 2008
    2. Server Administrator on Windows Server 2008
    3. Virtualization Administrator on Windows Server 2008 R2

    How does this compare to the old MCSA, is it just updated content or is it significantly different? If its pretty similar then I am happy to go for this. Any input on this would be great.

  4. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

    You don't need to study for a cert in order to improve your skills.
    So often we see the requirements of a certification lead people astray from what they actually want/need to do.

    If you want to bone up on DNS then bone up on DNS. Don't obsess about which certification niche that falls under.
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
    wagnerk and derkit like this.
  5. idkfa

    idkfa New Member

    I really want to study a course but you are right it has to be the right one. It will look good on my CV and shows commitment. Also, I'm no good at self study I need some structure, how about the compTIA courses? A+ Network+ Server+ these look more manageable, a better option rather than the MCITP?
  6. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

    Yes, CompTIA is always more manageable the MS certs, and for those just looking to brush up on 'general' skills a lot more relevant - as they don't focus on a particular technology.

    As I've mentioned in another thread, unfortunately many training providers focus on providing certifications because that's what people want or can measure. This doesn't necessarily represent a good knowledge transfer or any particular improvement in skills.

    Have a look for companies that provide courses in what you actually want to learn rather than a certification. Cert courses are often littered with braindumps and inflated by the cost of the exams. If you want to learn about DNS, look for a DNS course, not an MCITP course. You'll learn more and save money.
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  7. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

    You really shouldn't equate the MCSA with the new MCITP because they aren't a like for like exam migration.

    The nearest MCITP to the MCSA would definitely be the Server Administrator with only three exams, then it's really the EA followed by the VA. Of course the SA and EA certifications are also aimed at different jobs, the SA is essentially the Sys Admin type work where you're only working on Windows 2008 servers whereas the EA expects you to actually have some enterprise knowledge (know about other MS technologies like SCCM, Exchange, SCOM etc) and be able to build up enterprise solutions. The VA certification is really Microsofts version of the VMware VCP exam, it's aimed at virtualisation administrators working on Hyper-V, Clusters etc, you're expected to have an understanding of other technologies like MSVMM (Microsoft Virtual Machine Manager) and working with CSV's (Cluster Shared Volumes).

    The progression between exams should really be 12 - 18 months of exposure to the technology.

    In your situation you may well be better of looking at things like the Comptia N+ or the MS MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate). Either of which will give you a broader understanding of Networking (and in the case of the MTA Windows infrastructure as well).

    As far as the Server+ is concerned, unless you're playing with the physical hardware and have an understanding of other non MS OS's as well you are probably better off steering clear of this but it would be good to study for eventually.

    Finally an ideal way to get a better understanding of these environments is to actually get hands on experience with them and that doesn't need to cost too much, using products like VMwares Player and the trial versions of Windows you can have a home based test lab up and running in no time, you can install DNS, AD, DHCP etc and learn what happens in those environments if something is misconfigured. A lot of people here will actually have home based labs that they play with regularly (I certainly do) and the more time you play with the products the more you will begin to understand the concepts.
    Certifications: CNA | CNE | CCNA | MCP | MCP+I | MCSE NT4 | MCSA 2003 | Security+ | MCSA:S 2003 | MCSE:S 2003 | MCTS:SCCM 2007 | MCTS:Win 7 | MCITP:EDA7 | MCITP:SA | MCITP:EA | MCTS:Hyper-V | VCP 4 | ITIL v3 Foundation | VCP 5 DCV | VCP 5 Cloud | VCP6 NV | VCP6 DCV | VCAP 5.5 DCA
    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).
    derkit likes this.

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