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What is the difference between MCSA and MCSE?

Discussion in 'General Microsoft Certifications' started by Devilfish, Feb 13, 2009.

  1. Devilfish

    Devilfish Bit Poster

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    Hi folks,

    I am studying for the CompTIA A+ exam and I also noticed books for the MCSE exams.

    What is the difference between a MCSE and a MCSA?

    How big a step is it from A+ to MCSE/MCSA?

    I'm sure this is a simple questions for many of you but for a newbie there seems to be many, many exams that you can take and it's a bit overwhelming!

    Thanks! :)
     
    WIP: A+, Network+, MCDST
  2. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    According to Microsoft:

    MCSA: designed for people with 6-12 months of real-world experience administering servers in a 250+ user, multi-site, multi-server domain environment.

    MCSE: designed for people with more than 12 months of real-world experience administering servers in a 250+ user, multi-site, multi-server domain environment.

    Considering the A+ is for people just starting out in IT, it's a *huge* step. After the A+, I'd recommend pursuing the Network+ and the MCDST.
     
    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!
  3. Devilfish

    Devilfish Bit Poster

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    Thanks for the confirmation BosonMichael.

    So MCSE/MCSA roles require experience in the current role before you are really certified. So what are employers looking for? I mean, you need to get a job to get the experience, so what do you need to get the job? Is the A+, N+ and MCDST enough?

    I appreciate your help. :)
     
    WIP: A+, Network+, MCDST
  4. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Do they *require* experience? No. Does having the certification do you much good without experience? Not really, no.

    Experience. Certifications merely give you an advantage over others when experience levels are relatively equal.

    To get an entry-level job, you don't need any certifications. But the A+, Network+, and MCDST will make you look more attractive to entry-level employers.

    Server administration jobs, which relate to the MCSA and MCSE, are not entry-level jobs. In truth, server administration is a couple of steps up the IT career ladder. Entry-level jobs include, but are not limited to, help desk tech, field service tech, PC repair tech, level 1 tech, and occasionally, desktop support tech. After building some experience, you work your way up to the next step, typically progressing from entry-level to desktop support to server admin to network admin.

    So how do you work your way up to server administration? Well, when you get a desktop support job (which may or may not be your first IT job), hopefully you will be allowed to assist the server admins to administer the servers, which will start giving you some real-world experience... which is what employers are looking for.

    Hope this helps!
     
    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. Devilfish

    Devilfish Bit Poster

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    Thank you for the detailed explaination.

    I've been in an engineering role for almost 13 years. It will be difficult to drop down to the wages that entry-level jobs are offering but I guess that's the steps you need to take.
     
    WIP: A+, Network+, MCDST
  6. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Yeah... that keeps a lot of people who have already established their career out of IT. After 11 years in IT, I doubt I could switch careers and start all over.
     
    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. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    I've worked alongside engineers in IT, depends if you can get an engineering job with some IT element, then you can move sideways rather than backwards then forwards.

    Theres a lot of Electrical Engineers that go into IT, although probably not the definition of IT that most people have on this forum. I even know a few Mechanical Engineers that went into IT.

    Sat Comms, Signal Processing, Instrumentation, Control, Battlefield simulation, Engine Management, CAD/CAM, Microelectronics/Chip Design etc...

    Is this IT or Engineering ? Theres a lot of overlap, they are all information systems..
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH

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