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Which IT course for newbie? So confused!

Discussion in 'New Members Introduction' started by IT newbie, Mar 2, 2011.

  1. IT newbie

    IT newbie Bit Poster

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    Hi everyone. I'm so glad I found this forum. I'm a career changer and definitely want to pursue an IT career. I have some experience as a primary ICT teacher and familiarity with some aspects (managing technicians to install computer suites). ICT is a passion for me and always has been.

    I have little experience in the IT field but interest in databases, I have been advised to study the MCITP and Oracle rather than go down the programming route. In fact I have paid up to start next week. However, I am very concerned about the lack of experience and perhaps the content. So I'm wondering if I should start with the A+, Network etc. But the guys at the course say these courses won't help me get where I want and also admit its hard to get into the database industry without experience. I think they say this because I already have degree but I'm ready to start at the beginning and don't want to waste my money.

    Shall I start with the A+ into order to gain entry, as a technician etc, and then work up to MCITP/Oracle or start with MCITP?
     
  2. Consultant

    Consultant Bit Poster

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    Firstly a disclaimer: I work for Oracle/MySQL, but these are my personal views and not those of my employer.

    If you're looking to go down the route of databases there's no doubt that Oracle are a large part of this discipline. If you want to pursue it as a career, the major players out there right now are Oracle (High End), MS-SQL (Workgroup and Mid-Level Databases), and MySQL (sheer ubiquity across all levels and lots of Internet back-ends)

    I don't know what level of knowledge you have, or if you're good or bad with self-study discipline, but I can tell you that both MySQL and Oracle have beginner courses (including self-study) and certs (OCA) that assume a little knowledge or experience of databases.

    Having something like the A+ under your belt will serve you well when it comes to having to understand performance issues, bottlenecks and optimal hardware configs, later in your database studies.

    One of the other guys will have to talk about the MS-SQL exams as I've not traversed that route (yet)

    You can download a copy of MySQL, install it on a laptop or any desktop machine you use and practice/learn with it for free and very easily, there are a squillion tutorials online from all kinds of people and due to it's ubiquity there's no shortage of people out there with advice and information.

    Just my 2 cents... hope it's helpful

    Cheers

    Tony.
     
    Certifications: ITIL v3 Foundation, MySQL OCA
    WIP: OCP MySQL DBA
  3. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    what he said ^

    First you need to decide what route you want to go down.

    If for example you decide you want to be an IT technician, 1st line support etc etc then you should be going for the A+,N+ and MCDST then the MCITP. However the MCDST is retiring June 30th so if you can I would reccomend knocking it out first.

    I am not the brightest spark in the fire and I managed the two exams for the MCDST in 2 months and that was with no experience apart from using a pc at home. So coming from the background you do you should be able to get it done.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
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  4. IT newbie

    IT newbie Bit Poster

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    Thanks so much for the advice. I will do as suggested. Very helpful as I have to make a decision within the next couple of days. I am very disciplined for self study but have little knowledge so I'm considering starting with the A+.

    The guys at the course recommend I also take the MCITP Certification SQL 2008 first before Oracle but I read
    somewhere that this certification has a time limit. Is this so and therefore no point in taking? Also that 2005 would be better as most companies have this.

    Also I read that its best taking this certification for experienced people. But the guys say I can take this course. I have no experience so would it be worth taking and/or is it OK for non experienced people like myself?
    As the courses are expensive I would definitely like to be sure that my lack of experience and/or not currently working in the industry at the present is not a hindrance to completing the MCITP Certification SQL 2008.

    Similarly, my question is would going down the network route be better to gain entry into the industry than databases for someone with little commercial experience. Sorry for the load of questions!

    Regards.
     
  5. kevicho

    kevicho Gigabyte Poster

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    Have you considered a generic database course, that teaches all the fundamentals before tying yourself in with a product?

    Universities and colleges tend to offer these, I think the OU might have a course, certainly worth a look into.
     
    Certifications: A+, Net+, MCSA Server 2003, 2008, Windows XP & 7 , ITIL V3 Foundation
    WIP: CCNA Renewal
  6. michael78

    michael78 Terabyte Poster

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    I was always told that the real money is in Oracle for database's. I think you are required to attend an official classroom based training to get the cert (I'm sure Consultant will clear that up if I'm wrong) and it's pretty pricey if memory serves me right. Personally you can etch out a very good living from knowing Oracle and to that end I wouldn't worry about the cert having to be renewed if you where to invest all your time in going down that route. A lot of specialist certs will require you to recertify anyway.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2011
    Certifications: A+ | Network+ | Security+ | MCP | MCDST | MCTS: Hyper-V | MCTS: AD | MCTS: Exchange 2007 | MCTS: Windows 7 | MCSA: 2003 | ITIL Foundation v3 | CCA: Xenapp 5.0 | MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator on Windows 7 | MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician on Windows 7
    WIP: Online SAN Overview, VCP in December 2011
  7. Consultant

    Consultant Bit Poster

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    Networking is no more, or no less complicated than databases; and enthusiasm counts for a great deal in this game, there is no easy route into the IT business, but you don't necessarily have to choose to specialise at this point.

    Kevicho has a good point though, try a range of stuff, learn some of the basics first.

    However, I disagree about doing an OU course (sorry Kevicho) but then it's just my opinon, you can pick up the same theoretical knowledge online without the financial outlay and red tape of an OU course simply by "trying it for yourself", get an old machine, install Linux, mess with the networking, install a DB, learn how to create a dual-boot OS on the same machine, then install Windows on another partition, install MS-SQL on Windows, install MySQL on Windows and Linux. You can spend 10 hours writing an essay, or you can reinstall a server, break it, try stuff out, reinstall it and set up the network again.

    There's no substitute for real-world experience, especially in the safe sandbox of a cheap test PC... need to reformat the drive because you screwed up?? No problem and the 3 hours you lost everytime you repeat it are a great reminder further down the road.

    The guys at the course will always say that you can take a course. A buddy of mine with no network (or real IT) experience walked in to a training center and asked about a CCNA, he was booked on the course within minutes, and it's not a beginners course. It's like asking a used car salesman "Should I buy this car from you?"

    Incidentally all of the messing around trying it out that I mentioned can be done at the same time as a A+ Network, A+ and A+ Security, which will give you plenty of time to decide what you want to do.

    I've said it in a previous post, the best way to gain commercial experience if your new to the industry is by working on an IT help desk... it's worth considering.

    Hope this helps..

    T.
     
    Certifications: ITIL v3 Foundation, MySQL OCA
    WIP: OCP MySQL DBA
  8. Consultant

    Consultant Bit Poster

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    Michael is right, there is good money and plenty of work in Oracle's products, most usually because it's used extensively for Large Enterprise, Banking, and Business Intelligence, etc, but again it's important to point out that it's not easy money, there are a lot of very talented people working at that level; not intended to discourage you, just wanted to make you aware that in any discipline, competition in the upper echelons is tough.

    Certainly for the OCA (which would keep you busy for a while) have self-study materials available for it, as well as classroom courses and the exams are delivered by Pearson Vue, so it's pretty similar to the other vendor specific exams.

    OCP requires one instructor lead course and the OCE (Expert) requires two classroom courses.

    For example. This url for Oracle Press, lists a bunch of self-study books for OCA, and a similar search for OCP yields the same thing, I'd be astonished if people like Sybex didn't have something similar.

    http://community.oraclepressbooks.com/searchresults.php?keyword=OCA&x=0&y=0

    If you want in classroom training or want an "official" study CD/DVD. Then all the details, including prices and exams can be found on Oracle's site: http://education.oracle.com/

    I would imagine that if you want to go this route, an OCA in MySQL gives you an introduction to some basic SQL and other basic Database knowledge, and is easy to self-study for, from there either move onto the OCA in Oracle, or move to the OCP in in MySQL DBA.

    Again, Michael is correct, if you're working with your chosen product all day every day, expiring qualifications won't be an issue (same goes for networking, Windows, or any of the others) it's simply something you'll have to go through every few years or when there's a major update to the qualifications due to product updates.

    Get a feel for what you want to follow and decide from there.

    Cheers

    Tony.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2011
    Certifications: ITIL v3 Foundation, MySQL OCA
    WIP: OCP MySQL DBA
  9. Consultant

    Consultant Bit Poster

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    Apologies, I only just saw this, did they say why they'd recommend this? It seems a little strange and I (personally) don't think it's good advice, simply because if you're going to make an investment in training like SQL 2008 for instance, it makes sense to capitalise and build on that by developing those skills further and specialising. Opinions vary, and whilst a broad base is important, so is some specialisation.

    T.
     
    Certifications: ITIL v3 Foundation, MySQL OCA
    WIP: OCP MySQL DBA
  10. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    The only thing I can add is that you shouldn't expect to walk into a database admin position from square one, even after getting certified. Employers typically hire people with a bit of IT experience for those kind of positions. So I would recommend that you get in on the ground floor in an entry-level IT position - the A+, Network+, and MCDST/MCTS certifications will be helpful for this. While in your IT job, start getting some server admin experience if you can, hopefully with servers that host databases so you can get your feet wet. Then you can start steering your career in that direction. :)

    Welcome to the forums!
     
    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+
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  11. IT newbie

    IT newbie Bit Poster

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    Hi Kevicho, Generic database - excuse the ignorance - like what??
    Yep, have checked them out. Universities and colleges have long courses starting only at certain times of the year. I've only a certain amount of time before savings run out to train up and then I must get a job. Regards.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2011
  12. IT newbie

    IT newbie Bit Poster

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    Thanks for the welcome, BosonMichael. I totally agree with you. Makes a lot of sense. Great advice. That's why I'm sceptical about taking such courses without any experience. Hope they will swap my courses! I'm excited to start and tempted to blog about my career change if I weren't so embarrassed about my lack of knowledge!! Cheers
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2011
  13. IT newbie

    IT newbie Bit Poster

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    Definitely does help, Consultant! I'm getting brilliant advice from you and everybody else. I wish I found this forum earlier and before I paid my money!!! Thanks everyone. Now I have made my decision and will "mess around" as much as possible while undertaking the A+ etc then try to get a job and go on from there. Hopefully, the guys will change my course.

    Cheers everyone.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2011
  14. IT newbie

    IT newbie Bit Poster

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    Very interesting. I went to the sites and nearly dropped my laptop when I saw the prices!!! The guys at the course I paid down on charged £500 more for both the MCITP and Oracle courses (discounted). Anyway, for now, thanks to all the advice, I've decided to start off entry level to get a feel, get some experience, not worry about expiring certificates and then specialise. Hopefully, I can change courses - starting week after next.

    By the way, I've rarely seen female techs - are they out there?

    Cheers and thanks.
    No longer confused!!!
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2011
  15. michael78

    michael78 Terabyte Poster

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    Depending on when you paid for the course you may be able to get your money back as I think they have to give you a cooling off period. Don't pay for entry level courses like the A+ as they can be easily self studied. Also don't dive in too deep too early with advanced courses that are taught over a short time period. In my opinion they don't offer long term knowledge.
     
    Certifications: A+ | Network+ | Security+ | MCP | MCDST | MCTS: Hyper-V | MCTS: AD | MCTS: Exchange 2007 | MCTS: Windows 7 | MCSA: 2003 | ITIL Foundation v3 | CCA: Xenapp 5.0 | MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator on Windows 7 | MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician on Windows 7
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  16. Consultant

    Consultant Bit Poster

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    Yup there are lots, certainly plenty in the database world, several are minor geek celebrities in their field of expertise, Sarah Novotny & Sheeri Cabral for example.
     
    Certifications: ITIL v3 Foundation, MySQL OCA
    WIP: OCP MySQL DBA
  17. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Yep... I've worked with several. :)
     
    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+
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  18. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    I agree with most of the comments.

    Buy a good book and download MySQL or SQLExpress, play with the stuff as much as you can.

    A+ knowledge good to have but don't have to get the cert, again nothing to stop you break fixing your own PC, upgrading, monitoring, tuning, backup, partition etc.

    I would look at an OU course, sure you can totally self study all this stuff, but it might give you a useful start as a beginner, you could self study and take the course, self study you can start now.

    SQL is an open standard so most of it is generic across products but you will have to also learn the specifics of a product eventually.

    Training Providers salespeople rarely give good advice to beginners, they want the sale, the DBA certififcations are really for people with some experience in IT. With some effort its not impossible for a bright IT literate person to pass, but a short expensive course is probably not the best option in your position.

    Look into the contract and the cooling off period for distance selling.

    The MS certs are easier than Oracle certs, thats why they would try to push you in that direction.

    While its true that Oracle are the main player you could still make a good living being an expert on any major DB vendors product.

    I've met one female DBA in my 16 year career, good female programmers are probably rarer, but there seem a fair few female techs around and many business analysts and project managers etc.

    IT is very competitive, most women seem to avoid it for some reason...

    OCA requires no class based training as mentioned, but I'd hold off on certification for now.

    As mentioned you will probably need to get any tech position you can to start off in IT, there are occasional clerical admin/data entry jobs that give some DB exposure. Getting some DB skills and putting them on your CV is a good start.

    M359 - Relational databases: theory and practice - Open University Course

    TT380 - Databases within website design - Open University Course
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2011
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  19. IT newbie

    IT newbie Bit Poster

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    Cheers for the advice dmarsh and everyone. Lots to think about. I've checked the OU courses and they look really interesting - might give it go next year.
    Hopefully, I won't let the lack of women or competitiveness put me off as IT is always something I've had a passion for (prior teaching role).

    Already got a telephone interview tomorrow for a part time admin database job whilst studying. Praying that I say the right things and get it ~might lead on to other things.

    I will hold off on the major certifications for now - so glad I found this forum - I had a sneaking feeling that something wasn't quite right with my lack of experience! Nothing is that easy!!

    Too late to get refund, will swap to A+ and Network+ even though advised it can be done via self study, I've already paid.

    Cheers.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2011
  20. Modey

    Modey Terabyte Poster

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    I agree with many of your other points, but not this one. You imply there is 'red tape' by taking on an OU course in databases and also infer with your comment about 'spend 10 hours writing an essay' that it's just theory and you won't learn any hands on skills. Sounds quite negative I think and the reality is nothing like that. Yes there is a financial cost with these courses usually but if a person is un-employed or not earning very much then the course can be free or heavily discounted. The tutor support system at the OU is excellent and they rightfully have an excellent reputation because of this.

    Have you ever done one of their courses yourself? It's not just theory and certainly with IT courses there is a heavy emphasis on practicing the skills they are teaching by actually doing it. I can't vouch for their actual DB modules, but I certainly can for their programming modules as I'm doing one with them right now.

    I'm not suggesting that this is necessarily the right course of action for the OP, but I couldn't let the comment pass without challenging it either. :)
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCP, MCDST, MCSA 2K3, MCTS, MOS, MTA, MCT, MCITP:EDST7, MCSA W7, Citrix CCA, ITIL Foundation
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