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Study & career progression

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by zillmere, May 12, 2008.

  1. zillmere

    zillmere Bit Poster

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    In my short time on this board, I have noticed a lot of people talk about the MCDST and A+ certs as a way of getting into IT.

    In the old days the career progression seemed to be Help Desk Level 1 > Help Desk Level 2/3 > Server Admin / Network Admin > Project Management / Design / Consultancy.

    If you look at the trend of support staff to user ratio over the OS releases, NT Win2000, XP, Vista, it has steadily dropped. These days some companies have 2 or 3 support staff for 1000+ users. That would have never happened with NT on the desktop. Most large companies these days use Ghost or imaging software and have a standard image so if the pc has a windows problem you just re-image it and it is fixed. This reduces the market value of PC troubleshooting skills a bit.

    The point is that there is an absolutely massive pool of Level 2 engineers out there and if you want to have a successful career, you have to make yourself a little unique.

    I think the MCDST is a good idea but I think spending too much time on learning about low level pc hardware is a poor investment of time. Cisco hardware, security hardware and storage hardware are well worth the effort though. I think along with getting a good understanding of XP / Vista, you are better off learning key skills like DNS, Active Directory, Exchange, SharePoint, SMS, and also understanding how a network works and a bit of security also.

    I know you have to walk before you can run and no-one is going to be allowed to configure servers in their first job but there is a direct correlation between skill set and career progression and by being a bit unique & striving for enterprise level knowledge you will be a lot better off.

    Andy
     
    Certifications: MCSE x3 MCTS MCITPRO
    WIP: CCNA
  2. Suttar

    Suttar Byte Poster

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    Hey Andy, I do agree with most of what you have said. Although I think the entry qualifications are still required to at the very least give a foundation for later learning.

    One other thing I might mention is that there is a high turnover in front line roles so they are still often lots of opertunitys to get in that way. Depending on your area of course.
     
    Certifications: Hnc Comp & Bsc Networking, ITIL v3
    WIP: CCNA
  3. zillmere

    zillmere Bit Poster

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    Suttar, you are right. Understanding motherboards and RAM etc on pc's is a good grounding for further learning in terms of server hardware.

    I was thinking of bang for buck if you have limited time to study in the evenings or if you are going to get into debt for a course.
     
    Certifications: MCSE x3 MCTS MCITPRO
    WIP: CCNA
  4. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    But someone without any experience isn't competing for the same jobs as a level 2 tech is. Someone without experience will not be entrusted to work on Cisco kit. With rare exceptions, *everyone* starts at the bottom... and that doesn't include working with Cisco, security, SANs, AD, or Exchange.

    By all means, techs should work towards those fields... but to suggest that they should START with those fields is irresponsible. You must first build a solid foundation, and that includes getting entry-level experience as a level 1 tech... which typically includes hardware and desktop support.
     
    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!
  5. Theprof

    Theprof Petabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    I would have to agree with BosonMichael on this. From experience I can tell you that no matter what certifications you have or how much you know, the employer will not trust you with server level jobs. It takes experience over anything before you can be considered for jobs with exchange, cisco, AD, DNS, DHCP, etc.

    Some people learn at a faster pace then others, some people have better troubleshooting skills, etc. It all comes down to experience. You're right about the fact that over the years the support staff to user ratio over the OS has changed, however that still does not justify the employer trusting you with a complicated environment to work in. There's just things you have to know that books wont teach you.
     
    Certifications: A+ | CCA | CCAA | Network+ | MCDST | MCSA | MCP (270, 271, 272, 290, 291) | MCTS (70-662, 70-663) | MCITP:EMA | VCA-DCV/Cloud/WM | VTSP | VCP5-DT | VCP5-DCV
    WIP: VCAP5-DCA/DCD | EMCCA
  6. Crito

    Crito Banned

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    Experience is key, but all IT career paths don't necessarily go through the help desk. You might start out as an entry level developer writing network applications, for example. Or as a NOC technician pulling cables. And I can tell you as fact that most projects managers don't know diddly squat about networking; they typically come from the business analyst side of things.

    Anyways, moral of story: there's more than one route you can take and answering phones in a call center isn't some kind of IT rite of passage.
     
    Certifications: A few
    WIP: none
  7. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Never said help desk was a requirement. However, an entry-level job IS an IT rite of passage... whether it be help desk, level 1 tech, PC repair tech, field service tech, or desktop support tech. At least, it is if you want to move up on the networking side.
     
    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. zillmere

    zillmere Bit Poster

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    I never suggested anyone starts in the fields mentioned so your comment is way off base. What I did say if you read it correctly, was that you have to walk before you can run. Meaning that yes, you do have to start at the bottom and work your way up etc, etc. In fact I seem to remember saying something like no-one will give you a job working on servers with no experience.

    The whole point I was making was that once you have started at the bottom and gotten a grounding in Level1 support, there is no reason why you can't spend your time learning server & network related skills and knowledge.

    There is nothing to say that lvl2 desktop / deskside support should be the aim for people with limited experience that are currently lvl1.
     
    Certifications: MCSE x3 MCTS MCITPRO
    WIP: CCNA
  9. kevicho

    kevicho Gigabyte Poster

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    All this is true, thats why the title of this thread is apt, career progression.

    I see the learning process as a inverse pyramind, you start off with little knowledge, and then with each course, or piece of work experience builds upon this, eventually as your knowlege and experience grow, you can look at moving up a level, and then moving from the more entry level certs to MCSA/E, CCNA, the citrix and other ones, then as you continue you can decide to specialise in a higher technical area (such as SANS) becuase the background knowledge of how everything else works is there, or you can maintain and improve on being an all rounder with the occasional additions (such as crystal reports, ITIL).

    Some people do learn quickly and they can work systems to a degree, but the job market is pretty competitive now, and employers are after certs but they are also more keen on experience in the real world.
    The main reason for this, is that the trend for IT, is becoming more information management systems, and becoming more tightly integrated to businesses and their processes.

    So experience in a working environment is very important (as well as all the other skills such as customer service, following instructions and so on)
     
    Certifications: A+, Net+, MCSA Server 2003, 2008, Windows XP & 7 , ITIL V3 Foundation
    WIP: CCNA Renewal
  10. kevicho

    kevicho Gigabyte Poster

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    Sorry i missed this section before, i think the one thing you are missing is most of the courses you listed, expect the trainees to have the pre requisite knowledge (Some microsoft exams demand you do ones leading up to it for example, also there is a reason A+ and Network+ are considered an elective for MCSA) from the more entry level courses.

    Look at it this way, if someone cannot get the basics right (as a net admin for instance you could be called to do everything from help a user with password, configure servers and switches, to analyse a faulty pc) then they will have more difficulty with the higher level stuff.
     
    Certifications: A+, Net+, MCSA Server 2003, 2008, Windows XP & 7 , ITIL V3 Foundation
    WIP: CCNA Renewal
  11. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    Experience is key imo when it comes to progression but learning by book is usefull too. The two combined is the way imo. But everyone needs to start at the bottom starting with A+ and progress upwards with certs as experience is gained.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  12. Fastracksteve

    Fastracksteve Bit Poster

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    As has been "done-to-death" on here already. Certs are nothing without the experience to back them up.

    A cert just proves you can pass a test :p
     
    Certifications: CCDA ACSE CCWA Mitel SX2000 & 3300

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