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Studying for Certs and not doing the exams

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by zimbo, Nov 14, 2006.

  1. zimbo
    Honorary Member

    zimbo Petabyte Poster

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    We all know Comptia's exam prices are out of this world and their value for money isnt that great (ok no re-certification but still -173 for s+?). I wanted to know what you guys think of about studying for exams and not going through with the exam? Thats the only reason i havent ever looked at another comptia exam because their prices are just too high! Yet i would really like to do n+, l+ and s+! I know in the end all i get is a piece of paper saying "Well done chap you now certified - and thanks for the dosh!"
    Someone might want the N+ knowledge to move onto Cisco or L+ to move onto LPIC or Red hat certs so what is your guys take on this?
     
    Certifications: B.Sc, MCDST & MCSA
    WIP: M.Sc - Computer Forensics
  2. Theprof

    Theprof Petabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    I say go right ahead, because certs are not as valued anymore, do to too may paper cert techs. The main reason we get a cert is to prove that we have that knowledge and zimbo I am pretty sure you have that knowledge, just study the material and when the price goes down and when you get like a voucher or coupon take it. You have nothing to lose but you will only gain.
     
    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
  3. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Knowledge is great, and will be what helps you to do your job... but certifications can set your resume apart, regardless of how many paper-certified folks are out there. Every little edge that you can get to help put you ahead of the competition will be beneficial to getting you an interview... where you CAN show your knowledge and personality.

    Consider certifications an investment in your career. You can choose to certify, or you can choose to not certify - the choice is yours. It's made a difference in my career (even prior to working in training), so I advocate them.
     
    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!
  4. fortch

    fortch Kilobyte Poster

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    I couldn't have said it better, Michael. I can understand the trepidation -- those exams are pricey. We all know that someone good at taking tests can pass these things (not as much with the newer exam types) and not have a clue about real world IT (I'd almost consider myself an example), so it doesn't really show your knowledge accurately. Fact is, it shows an investment in yourself and your career, and improves the image of professionality. Just another feather in the career hat -- along with experience, adaptability and tenure. Employers look at you through different lenses, especially considering how many departments you are seen by.

    Admittedly, when I saw this thread, I thought "why would someone go through all the trouble and *not* take the exams?" Then, I remembered my expenses during my 10 exams, and I can certainly understand. Let's face it, certifications are here to stay, and they're becoming more widespread. The more they mature, the more the testing style adapts, and eventually weeds out the paper-IT peeps.

    In relation, the automotive world has certifications as well. Each manufacturer has a proprietary training schedule (think Cisco, Citrix, and M$). ASE, the governing product-neutered certification body (think CompTIA) has a bank of 8 base (generic) tests and 1 advanced test -- just for car technicians (other disciplines have different test banks - truck, body, etc). They are adding new tests, but its been this way for decades. Some people are Master ASE (mASE) that have no clue what a plastigauge is, what to do with it, or where it goes. But, they can read about it and pass a test -- boom! paper-ASE! IT is not the first casualty of this war.

    Early on, I hired guys based on whether or not they were Master ASEs (boss' rules), but I had turn-over like there was no tomorrow. Guys rolling in, big several-thousand-dollar toolboxes, and they couldn't fix a flat. Then, I started my own 'filtering' method, and began holding impromptu demonstrations (bugged cars) for them to prove their worth. That helped me; today's IT managers (if they're smart) are doing likewise. Eventually, some manufacturers caught on, and started denying claims on warranty repairs if the technician wasn't certified (ASE and proprietary). What did that do? Force the system to train and stay current. Can IT do that? Well, the systems aren't parallel because of the business heirarchy, but I'd see something like this in the future, that's for sure.

    Anyways, I say take the exams. Yes, plenty of people --particularly older people -- don't need it, since their experience is more than enough. Overall, though, it's well worth the investment, considering the possible scenarios down the road. In any opportunity, you always want to be the one with the least amount of reasons *not* to be promoted or offered another position or payraise.
     
    Certifications: A+,Net+,Sec+,MCSA:Sec,MCSE:Sec,mASE
  5. mattwest

    mattwest Megabyte Poster

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    I have to agree. For me certification is about learning the material but also for career development. It shows a propective employer that you have drive, ambition, determination to suceed (after all studying, reading the material and practicing for hours is hard! Not to mention taking and passing exams!)

    I have colleagues who dont do any training and certifications and almost moan at me for doing them saying that whats the point unless you really "know" the material.

    So here's my example.... A colleague and i both have 7 years in the IT field... then a propective employer looks at my CV:

    Certifications:

    MCSE, CCNA, CCDA, ITIL, A+, CCA (Etc all passed successfully).

    Business Skills:

    GNVQ's in Business, Team Leading Certificaiton, Conflict Management, (Etc etc).
    ----
    One of my collleagues CVs:

    Certifications:

    None... but i've read loads of books on Windows, Cisco and Citrix

    Business Skills:

    Nothing official but i've read loads of management books
    ----

    Now i know this a bit of a stupid example but i'm just trying to highlight that any skill you have that can set you apart is useful.

    Ok exams are expensive but i've had a couple of employers who have been impressed that i've been willing to develop myself.

    Earlier in the year i took a days holiday and paid to do a conflict management course at college. My boss has recognised this drive and gives me far more scope with the training the company provides. There are many advantages to developing yourself!! :)
     
    Certifications: See my signature...
    WIP: Maybe re-certify my CCNA
  6. zimbo
    Honorary Member

    zimbo Petabyte Poster

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    i think people are missing my point here! :D I was talking about Comptia exams in particular here! I want to look into CCNA for example as my next cert. I dont have N+ and i had to go back to N+ material for 291. So now is it worth me just studying and preparing for N+ and never doing the exam or studying, paying 170 odd quid then saying im N+! To me personally i dont see the advantage ill have with Comptia certs - i would rather get the entry-level knowledge i need from N+ then head work to CCNA and possibly CCNP - so i still want certs to show i know my stuff!:biggrin
     
    Certifications: B.Sc, MCDST & MCSA
    WIP: M.Sc - Computer Forensics
  7. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    I think you're missing our point. EVERY certification gives you the ability to differentiate yourself from your competition. Doesn't matter what certifications they are as long as they are industry-respected certifications. Here in the States, CompTIA certifications are desirable for a candidate to have on a resume.

    Further, the CCNA cannot be placed in the same class as the Network+ and A+ certifications. The CCNA is for individuals who are already doing some router administration work. The A+ and Net+ are both for people with less than a year of real-world experience. How do you GET real-world experience with router administration before you get a network admin job? Gotta walk before you run. Anyone with a CCNA and NO experience IMMEDIATELY causes me to raise the red flag of warning in my brain. Even worse with the CCNP and no experience... I'll throw the resume in the shredder without so much as an interview.

    So... go ahead and take that risk - get the CCNA without any other certifications. It's your career. But you'll find that an equivalently experienced candidate with the CCNA and CompTIA certifications will be more likely to be hired than someone with just the CCNA.
     
    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. simongrahamuk
    Honorary Member

    simongrahamuk Hmmmmmmm?

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    Studying for an exam is a different thing to learning the subject matter.

    If you are studying for an exam you are actively studying the requirements for the exam until such a time as you sit and pass that exam.

    If you simply want to learn the material then you are not studying for an exam.

    I bought a book on Windows server 2003, why? because I wanted to learn about it. If I had wanted to specifically pass an exam then I would have bought a book on the topics covered in that exam, not simply a book about that product.

    There is a difference between learning and studying. At the minute I like to learn.
     
  9. mattwest

    mattwest Megabyte Poster

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    But at the same time you could buy a book on Windows 2003 to learn about it.... you might read it once, flick through the review questions and use it for reference as i do with dozens of books on my desk.

    However if its certification book, which will probably cover largely the same content as the previous book and if you were preparing for an exam you would probably go over it cover to cover.... thouroughly go through all practice questions.... make notes.... re-read subjects areas you didn't quite grasp.... check the information in different texts.... do more practice questions and then revise hard and take an exam on the topic.

    For me the later will help me "learn" far better than just reading a book without any goals.

    Just my thoughts! :blink
     
    Certifications: See my signature...
    WIP: Maybe re-certify my CCNA
  10. fortch

    fortch Kilobyte Poster

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    LOL, the cover of my 2000 Server book fell off, it was used so much -- in conjunction with the different exam books.

    I don't think it's an either/or situation. When I study for an exam, I'll get sidetracked learning about something in particular that's not on the exam. I don't believe the two are mutually exclusive -- every time I study for the test, it's 1) learn the material, and 2) pass the test. If you can pass the test, yet not learn, then perhaps the exam is not very thorough. Case in point: 70-218. For an admin, this exam goes nowhere near what it should, but if you're immersed in the subject (through various souces), then you come to realize the shortcomings.

    I can see some people just doing enough to pass. People with admin skills would have no trouble with this, and as such, would only need to know the topic outline of the exam. For me, I wasn't an admin in a Windows network, so I had to go above and beyond, and really flesh out the skillset myself.

    Well, it seems that I've contradicted myself somewhat, so let me add that I might agree in some aspects, depending on the individual and his current employment duties. Man, I love talking myself into a circle, it really let's my intelligence shine :rolleyes:
     
    Certifications: A+,Net+,Sec+,MCSA:Sec,MCSE:Sec,mASE

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