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Why NOT to go straight for MCSE

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by kevicho, Nov 21, 2008.

  1. kevicho

    kevicho Gigabyte Poster

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    A lot of people come on these boards looking for a career in IT and think the only way to accomplish this is to do the MCSE (and also pay a training provider a lot of money to do this).

    Well there are many problems with this approach, but the main reason is that it will probably kill your career to get this certification before you get started.

    Most people will use the term paper MCSE's as the term for someone who has worked/done an "intensive course" with little to no experience of these systems, it is highly unlikely someone who fits into this category will get a role working at the level a true MCSE will be working at for one basic reason.
    Experience is king.

    Any IT manager worth there salt will appreciate the time, effort and cost someone has gone too to become an MCSE, this page http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/mcse/windows2003/default.mspx lists how to become an MCSE and this means seven exams (Four core networking, one core client, one core design and one elective), but at the same time they will also appreciate that there is A LOT of knowledge to be taken in.

    Courses such as a week long bootcamp do not allow for this, some might also say a year long course isnt enough, so really the problem here is the person who decides who to hire WILL KNOW THIS AS WELL.

    An IT manager will have worked hard for many years, and done a lot of study and courses, because to keep up in IT this is the only way to ensure your skills do not become obsolete (and by extension you dont as well), so it makes sense to think they will know the effort and depth of knowledge you have to show in the MCSE exams takes time to accumulate and hard work.
    They will also be aware that the positions an MCSE will be employed to do will have huge effect on the operation of the business, thus someone who is untried and has no track record is a huge risk for the IT managers career and the business itself.

    Now I have heard people say things such as you need an MCSE to get a job in IT and you will earn 30k a year plus, and sometimes this can be true for the wages side (with a BIG caveat - experience drives up the wage immensely, and also an MCSE is unlikely to just be an MCSE so its not the MCSE on its own that earns the wage), however the getting a job part is false, to get work in IT you need to be willing to learn, show good attitude and have much patience (and display these in an interview).
    The one thing you need to be appreciative of is that you will have to work your way up, the easiest way to progress is to learn and show your skills in a role.

    The MCSE tests on many skills, each exam has a different focus, a fair amount of the tests do not deal just with the "point and click aspect" of say how to install software or a service, it also tests on the why things are done in certain ways, and more importantly how this affects the system overall.

    This is the key, understanding the overall effect is what comes with lots of experience and learning, it has to be said that in fairness you can get the how to do things from just reading the books, and a lot of the theory as well, but Microsoft themselves state you should have experience as they appreciate this fact as well.

    In fact it makes more sense for Microsoft to state this and try to discourage people with no experience from taking the MCSE.
    They know an inexperienced administrator will likely be more prone to mistakes, however the business owner doesnt know this, and thus will develop a negative view on Microsoft products, which is unfair as it was down to the human aspect as opposed to the system.

    Of course anyone can study for and take exams to obtain MCSE status, however consider the fact that experience makes a great IT professional, and with any profession it takes time to get to this level, and the aim should not just be MCSE status, but to become a great IT professional, and a valuable employee, as these are the people who get promoted, not people who rush to MCSE status.

    The MCSE's reputation has suffered in part due to an immense take up and a flood of training companies taking people without experience and putting them on courses, thus they obtained the credential, but couldnt back it up in real life due to the fact they had been trained to pass an exam, not adminster a system.

    In closing the MCSE looks great on a C.V with experience in server work, this is what its designed for, however it looks out of place on someones C.V with no experience, as it makes you look like someone whos just basically rushed to do some exams.
     
    Certifications: A+, Net+, MCSA Server 2003, 2008, Windows XP & 7 , ITIL V3 Foundation
    WIP: CCNA Renewal
  2. neutralhills

    neutralhills Kilobyte Poster

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    Repped. :)
     
    Certifications: Lots.
    WIP: Upgrading MS certs
  3. delorean

    delorean Megabyte Poster

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    Seconded.

    Additionally, how the heck a company, or for that matter a prospective candidate sincerely believes they can attain MCSE status in a matter of weeks is utterly astonishing.

    Personally I am quite happy waddling along at my own pace gaining experience along the way to compliment the certifications I will attain until I reach the finishing line and earn my MCSA. For me the MCSE is quite a way off for now, but I will get there eventually.

    :deal
     
    Certifications: A+, MCP 70-270, 70-290, 70-291
    WIP: 70-680, S+, MCSA, MCSE, CCNA
  4. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Thirded.
     
    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. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    So true, rep'd mate :)

    IMO, it's disgusting when people "gain" the MCSE (or other high level certs) and then when put to the test either quote other people without the understanding or come up with such answers that are so full of errors, or don't even relate to the problem.

    Whenever that happens my eyes bleed... :lol:

    -Ken
     
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: PGDip
  6. skulkerboyo

    skulkerboyo Megabyte Poster

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    This should be pinned to the top of the microsoft forums . . . . oh and the jobs and employment forums.

    Ah to hell with it. Make it the Front page disclaimer before you enter the site and the material:biggrin on which you will be tested at random to keep your membership
     
    Certifications: MCITP:SA, MCSA 03, MCSA 08, MCTS(680+648),A+,N+,ITILV3 Foundation, ITIL Intermediate: Operational Support and Analysis
    WIP: 70-417
  7. Stuzzle

    Stuzzle Byte Poster

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    Excellent post Kevicho, answering something I've oft wondered about since joining these forums

    Given the information there, can I also go on to strongly believe it is unrealistic when I see 1st line positions advertised with "MCSE essential" somewhere in there?
     
    Certifications: A+, MCSA: Windows 7, 70-640, 70-642
    WIP: 70-646
  8. nugget
    Honorary Member

    nugget Junior toady

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    Great post mate. Pinned. :thumbleft
     
    Certifications: A+ | Network+ | Security+ | MCP (270,271,272,290,620) | MCDST | MCTS:Vista
    WIP: MCSA, 70-622,680,685
  9. dales

    dales Gigabyte Poster

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    You certainly can, if they are asking for an mcse for a first line job then they dont know what an mcse is. a first line job should require NO PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE at all generally.

    Those jobs in my mind should be avoided at all costs because they are obviously not bothering to research what they need, which imediately does not bode well for that company!
     
    Certifications: vExpert 2014+2015+2016,VCP-DT,CCE-V, CCE-AD, CCP-AD, CCEE, CCAA XenApp, CCA Netscaler, XenApp 6.5, XenDesktop 5 & Xenserver 6,VCP3+5,VTSP,MCSA MCDST MCP A+ ITIL F
    WIP: Nothing
  10. Modey

    Modey Terabyte Poster

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    What, you mean like someone who did an MCSE in 6 weeks and used braindumps to pass. Luckily, there isn't anyone on here like that ... oh hang on ...:eek:
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCP, MCDST, MCSA 2K3, MCTS, MOS, MTA, MCT, MCITP:EDST7, MCSA W7, Citrix CCA, ITIL Foundation
    WIP: Nada
  11. UKDarkstar
    Honorary Member

    UKDarkstar Terabyte Poster

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    You might say that. I couldn't possibly comment ! :twisted:
     
    Certifications: BA (Hons), MBCS, CITP, MInstLM, ITIL v3 Fdn, PTLLS, CELTA
    WIP: CMALT (about to submit), DTLLS (on hold until 2012)
  12. skulkerboyo

    skulkerboyo Megabyte Poster

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    Indeed

    If people want to take shortcuts then this is not the place for them

    But who would want to do such a thing:hhhmmm
     
    Certifications: MCITP:SA, MCSA 03, MCSA 08, MCTS(680+648),A+,N+,ITILV3 Foundation, ITIL Intermediate: Operational Support and Analysis
    WIP: 70-417
  13. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    Great initial post, i concur completely.

    As for the other insinuations, please let it drop. Any member that doesn't conform to the general culture, meaning anti-braindump stance of this forum, will be or has been, contacted directly by the staff.
     
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  14. Modey

    Modey Terabyte Poster

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    I'm finding it diffcult mate. Every time I seem him post and see his proud assertion of being an MCSE in his sig, it literally makes my blood boil. I think I might have to take a step back from this place until he stops posting, or I'll probably end up getting banned!
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCP, MCDST, MCSA 2K3, MCTS, MOS, MTA, MCT, MCITP:EDST7, MCSA W7, Citrix CCA, ITIL Foundation
    WIP: Nada
  15. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    I agree :thumbleft And what does not bode well for the company, in turn affects the employees...

    -Ken
     
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: PGDip
  16. fatp

    fatp Byte Poster

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    AN EXCELLENT POST!

    Just thought I'd drop my opinions on this thread.

    Certification is there to validate a person's relevant experience in the job / position that they hold in a working environment.

    However, studying for a certification can be used to acquire better knowledge for the next step up in their career. e.g A 2nd Line Support Analyst with some server experience studying the MS 70-290 exam. How else can you progress, unless your joined to the hip with a network admin. No one says you have to take the exam but show the willingness to learn new skills and want to progress...

    A lot of new people want to break in to the I.T industry. They go straight for the MCSA /MSCE / CCNA with high expectations of gettin rich quick. This may have been the case in the www. boom but TP's certainly dont help with their quotations of 37k average salary in I.T. These people tend to have a vast array of 5+ years working experience, academic qualifications and certifications.

    Getting these 'top end' certifications too quickly can only prohibit your career development in I.T. If you are new to I.T with an MCSE: You will struggle to get interviews for 1st / 2nd line jobs as you will be overcertified, the company may think you will leave soon / get bored quickly or will simply just bin your CV as you have no real world experience.

    Its tough out there... BUT you have to pay your dues to become a reputable IT Support Professional. Work your way up the ranks like everyone else in and you will be respected in your chosen field. You wont become a Network Administrator / Engineer / Manager straight away. Most folks start on the helpdesk or do desktop support for their first I.T job. You must crawl before you can walk. Good technicians always progress, Lazy techs simply dont!

    For all the folks new to I.T start with the following certifications and start looking for your first I.T job right away:

    Comptia : A+ / Network+
    Cisco: Essentials 1 & 2
    Microsoft: MCDST
    ITIL v3: Foundation
    CWNP: Wireless#
    HDI: - Also have some entry level certification.

    :)
     
    Certifications: Comp Sci BSc, NVQ 2 & 3 IT Professional
    WIP: Comptia A+, Network+
  17. fatp

    fatp Byte Poster

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    hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Sorry about the long rant.
     
    Certifications: Comp Sci BSc, NVQ 2 & 3 IT Professional
    WIP: Comptia A+, Network+
  18. Luckychip

    Luckychip New Member

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    I found this post an excellent overview for all sorts of reasons. And I don't imagine for a moment many wanting to pursue a career, new direction or get on the employed list, will necessarily be expecting more than they ought to.

    General advice and perspective is tough to translate to another often times. Not least in ways which give a person a good foundation in making informed decisions about whether or not to proceed in networking their life in a particular direction. And this is why I think this post is good - because it helps inform an established perspective for all ages coming into the training for an I.T. future.

    An older individual may consider it and wonder about its viability given the fewer years for progress. And realising the extent of experience necessary to adequately apply themselves when in the industry, this sort of advice may just help them not waste time being mis-sold a pass to a rosier future than exists in reality.

    Does anyone recall careers advice when still in school and how it often had a close to zero relation to the actual workplace? Well this post seemed to me far more based in reality and generally sound advice for the kind of mindset one needs to adopt if indeed they wish to proceed. And sometimes that very thing is the X factor - helping another to know how to develop a think-foundation (attitude) before they even start the training.
     
  19. kevicho

    kevicho Gigabyte Poster

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    If I could add something to this, one thing I would say is dont forget soft skills, dealing with people, handling workloads, project management are all skills that will make you stand out from the crowd.

    Also as well dont let the certification process be your only learning tool, whilst id be the first to say the books and vids have improved me, my experience is you will be troubleshooting problems that are a million miles away from certification so get on forums and get magazines and anything else you can get your hand on, you will learn just as much there as well.
     
    Certifications: A+, Net+, MCSA Server 2003, 2008, Windows XP & 7 , ITIL V3 Foundation
    WIP: CCNA Renewal
  20. Alex Wright

    Alex Wright Megabyte Poster

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    A fantastic post, reputation has been given. :)
     
    Certifications: 70-680 Configuring Windows 7
    WIP: 70-642

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