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Why pay?

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by matt.ryles, Feb 8, 2005.

  1. matt.ryles

    matt.ryles Bit Poster

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    I've already said hello and that so lets get straight down to business. :)

    I've already skipped through the forums checking out posts here and there and I noticed that somebody (can't remember who) said that if they were going to study for a cert (think it was MCSE) they wouldn't bother using a learning provider and would just buy a few books and use this forum.

    Now this to me sound like a good idea as I am VERY low on funds and want to get in the IT industry ASAP. The first cert I would go for would proberly be the A+, it seemed a good start and after looking through the forum this was confirmed. As I said earlier (welcome forum) I feel quite confident with taking this course, just need to study a little on the networking side.

    I would then more than likely progress to the N+, then finally a Microsoft cert. Although I have always though Microsoft certs were good certs to have I have recently been hearing that they arn't and I should go for a CISCO cert.

    So here I was just hoping somebody could answer me a few questions.

    1) Any tips on getting certified cheaply? :)
    2) Any good books which would help with my A+ study?
    3) Are Microsoft certs good, if not, why not? :biggrin :biggrin

    Thanks for taking the time to read my essay.

    Matt
     
  2. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    To self-study or use a provider is often a decision based on the experience and native capacities of the student. In my case, I started trying to self-study for the A+ but I had no experience in maintaining and repairing PCs and had no frame of reference for this. In my case, I enrolled in a two-year course at a local school which turned out to be the best decision I ever could have made. I tend to learn better in a standard classroom environment, but that's not for everything.

    As I recall Matt, you have experience in IT and self-study for the A+ and beyond is more reasonable. Keep in mind that the various exams required to attain an MCSE are just as much a matter of experience as "book learning" and it would be very unlikely that you would ever be able to get through the entire MCSE program without getting at least some lab experience with MS client and server softare and more likely real world experience in a production environment.

    MS vs Cisco is the difference between being (IMHO) a server guru versus a network guru. Naturally, there is overlap and you need to understand a fair amount about networks to be a successful MCSE and sys admin, but the Cisco cert path is more focused on the overall LAN and WAN (and WLAN, VoIP, etc...).

    1. If you are self studying, your costs for getting an A+ certification are the lab equipment, the book(s) and the cost of taking the exam. In terms of the A+, all the equipment you really need are a couple of older PCs to practice breaking and fixing plus access to various MS OSes such as 9x, 2000, and XP.

    2. My favorite book for the A+ is the Mike Meyers text (and I wish I would remember to pin this link in the A+ forum). In my opinion, if you are fairly comfortable and expereinced with the content, this book is all you need for a study guide. It's written specifically for the exam and maps to it beautifully. You can consider buying the A+ Exam Cram2 book or the A+ Passport series book to help you hit the highlights when you are finished with your main study review and just want to keep the info fresh in your mind right before taking the exams. Keep in mind that you have to be comfortable not only with the hardware portion but the OS portion as well.

    3. Are MS certs any good? Do you mean will they get you a job? Not all by themselves...no certification will do that. You will need the experience to back it up. Gone are the days when just having an MCSE guarenteed you a job. In theory, you might be able to pass all the exams and get the cert, but that's a far cry from actually knowing how to work with Active Directory, configure Group Policies and develop a plan for Sites, Domains, and Organizational Units in the Enterprise. If you learn how to do those things in the course of earning your MCSE and gain real hands on experience doing the same, you have a better chance of proceeding in your career. By the way, the MS and Cisco cert and career paths are not mutually exclusive...you can do both. You can attain your CCNA with a single exam (assuming your pass, of course) so don't think this is an either/or situation.

    I could go on and on (I should have been a career counselor) :P but I'll stop here. Hope some of the above was useful. I'm sure others will come along with their take on things. :)
     
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  3. punkboy101
    Honorary Member

    punkboy101 Back from the wilderness

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    Hi there, I'll do my best to try and answer some of your questions.:D

    1) Although betting certified is never "cheap", the least expensive way to do it is self study IMHO.

    2) The book that is most recomeneded for the A+ on this site is the one by Mike Myers. Most of us here use/have used it, and it come's highly recomended.

    3) Although the MCSE isn't as valuable as it once was, MCSE's are still sought after, and it is very usefull for getting into a company. Most companies run MS servers (although that is changing) and someone has to know what to do with them. :D Also, the cert is a HUGE undertaking (7 exams), and it shows a poterntial employer that you are willing to put the time, effort and money into something longterm.

    At the end of the day, wether you choose the MCSE or the CCNA, both are completly different cert's, and each one is valuable (as any cert is).

    HTH :D

    ANdy
     
    Certifications: CCNA
    WIP: Nada
  4. Phoenix
    Honorary Member

    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    Ok then :)


    Well the road isnt always as quick as some would like, depending on your time commitments, the A+ can take a while, and the MCSE can take years (really, ask around, lol), again this is really down to yourself, and your motivation

    Well, based on thate line, I'd recommend progressing onto the CCNA and not the N+, as you mention, people are pointing out that Cisco certs are 'better' ofcourse this is in actuality a falicy, whilst a CCNA may well have a higher earning potential than an MCP, for every 100 MCPs required in the world, there may be one CCNA required, however most positions will want both (primarily a windows administrator with some cisco skills to manage a few switches for instance, try and think 'real world' how many desktops are there compared to routers/switches? exactly! switches have 48 ports for a reason ;), the CCNA will cover most if not ALL the network theory that the N+ covers, as well as the cisco specific stuff, configuring routers etc, and its alot more recognised/saught after, you will fidn theres alot more options for work with a strong windows background than a strong cisco one, although the opertunities with a strong cisco background are often more lucrative, especially if you go all the way to the top


    Sure thing
    1) Self study is by far the cheapest way if your looking at it purely from a monetary perspective, however think about the time it takes you to actually get all that done, the will power you will likely put into it, etc take the CCNA for example, its been known to take people a good few months to pass it, off thier own back, and these are dedicated people, however a 4 day course costing under 1K will have you upto speed (provided your technically proficient and hace a nack for learning) cost is a variable factor here you see

    2) Well I recommend the ExamCram2 series as well as the Sybex books, others have vouched highly for the Mike Meyers book, cant say I have read much A+ material for a good few years, so not sure if my opinion counts for much on this subject, I will definatly vouch for them for Cisco/Microsoft certs, as well ofcourse as ExamCram2 last minute reads :)

    3) Yes, I wouldnt listen to the people who slate them, to get a foot hold in this industry, a micrsoft cert/background is generally a must, unless you are really talented in a niche field such as AIX :), the majority of entry positions will be supporting microsoft users, or microsoft systems, end of, and thats a fact, whilst the MCP/MCSE cert is generally oversubscribed, it is pretty much a de facto requirement for any job involving MS products these days, atleast here in London it is (cant really speak for many other places sorry)


    Your welcome
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCITP, VCP
    WIP: > 0
  5. matt.ryles

    matt.ryles Bit Poster

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    Thanks people, thats a big help. I've printed it off so I can read it on the way home (at work now, hehe).

    There was one other question. I understand certs like the MCSE change (i.e. NT4, 2000, 2003). So I was hoping someone knows when the MCSE is due to change next and the comptia A+. This would be very useful because it might take me a year or two to complete my MCSE and I donyt wanna finish it just as the 'longhorn' track comes out.

    Thanks .
     
  6. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    Opinions vary on this. There are still folks in the middle of their 2000 MCSE who have very valid skills in the enterprise. At your level, I'd recommend the 2003 track (I mean, Longhorn won't even be released in its final form for about 3 years so you can't get more "modern" than 2003).

    I haven't heard anything out of CompTIA about a revision to the A+ exam. New versions of the Network+, Server+ and Linux+ are likely to be released in the first or second quarter of 2005. As Phoenix mentioned, The MCSE track can (and should) take years to complete. There is a tremendous amount of work, knowledge and experience that goes into being an MCSE so don't set goals for yourself that will be unrealistic.

    Even if you finish it just as the next certification track is released, MS will set up an upgrade exam so you don't have to take all 7 exams all over again for the next OS version.
     
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  7. matt.ryles

    matt.ryles Bit Poster

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    well, thats good news.

    A friend of mine as a A+ book that he brought late last year that he said I could borrow, which is great (for me). :)

    I've just been offered a job with a better salary (general administrator) in a college so hopefully I could get some kinda of staff development funding.

    Thanks for all your help people, and when im qualified hopefully I will be helping people like me out on these forums.

    Matt
     
  8. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    Just a couple of things. Even if you don't get funds from your employer for professional development, you can still set aside a certain amount of money each paycheck towards your personal training fund. If you budget for it, you are more likely to have money on hand when you need it.

    Also, you don't have to wait to help out here. Just describing your experiences helps folks out who are either going through the same thing or who haven't gotten as far as you have yet. Even the questions you ask can help others since they are bound to be similar to other people's unspoken questions. :)
     
    Certifications: A+ and Network+

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