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course & career advice

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by forumscert, May 8, 2008.

  1. forumscert

    forumscert New Member

    Just found this forum recently. Was wondering a few things that you lot might have some answers to ?

    I noticed that is quite convenient to do self study for some access level courses at home and eventually get certifications for these at local examination centres.

    As I am currently working in a branch of industry which might not be able to provide employment in future I am looking for a plan B, which I can start in the background of my current full-time job. If it turns out that I can eventually get a better job/salary in future (after gaining a few certificates) then I could consider switching to IT completely, but for now I am just looking for something to cover for a situation where redundancy might happen (we might go into recession after all…).

    I have basic computer knowledge (perhaps bit above the average) and I was thinking of starting to gain access to the IT job market by doing self study for MCDST level and then get certified for it.

    Now the questions that I have for now are:

    - Will having just this certification alone get you anywhere in terms of getting on the IT job market ?
    - Is this the right course to start with ?
    - What sort of salaries does this level have ? (rough range will do)
    - If I understand correctly the MCDST course at present mainly deals with windows XP,as that would be the software that most PCs are running on at the moment. Is this likely to change in the near future ? In other words: will it be wise to do this training now or are there changes on the horizon soon (for example: might Windows vista be the thing to know instead soon )?
    - Will this course expire and/or need refresher courses and new exams to be taken in order to keep it valid over a longer term ? If so, can you give me an idea of these terms (number of years ?)
    - Would you think that without working in the branch it is possible to self-study to gain a number of certificates that would eventually give me a salary around 30k a year ? (and if so: which courses to look out for?) Or would this only be achievable by at some stage switching to an IT job and studying on the side of that to get up to that sort of salary in time.

    I’d be interested in your opinions on any of this above please.
  2. sunn

    sunn Gigabyte Poster

    Working in IT is a demanding field. Usually you want to work in the technology world because it’s self-rewarding. The money is good, but it’s normally good with the people that succeed; and give a lot back (including crazy hours and at times harsh work environments).

    Maybe, but probably not by itself. The cert in question is considered an entry level cert so it may get your resume in, but other candidates will likely have the A+ and/or N+ as well thus giving them an edge. As well, experience counts more than anything else. So get the certs, and try to find a job to gain experience. If not a paying job, try a volunteer role.

    I’d suggest starting with the A+; then look at the N+; followed by the MCDST. You might want to change the order depending on your objectives, but I’d start with the A+ at the very least.

    Can’t answer that. Too many things come into question, like CoL where you are working; industry the job is in; what the role is; OT; Employee or contractor. It’s sufficient to say the salary will be on the low side to start off with, that’s what climbing that ladder (and getting more responsibilities is all about)

    I’m not an MS person, I have no idea. I’m guessing since they have plans to shelve XP, new content will be prepared for Vista. But I don’t think the cert says ‘MCDST in XP’ or something. It’s just MCDST. Of course I could be wrong about that.

    Official from MS
    “The MCDST credential will not retire with the release of Windows Vista certifications; it will continue to be supported by Microsoft and valued by employers and decision makers who use Microsoft Windows XP.”

    I don’t see anything about expiration dates or terms at the MS site

    I think self-study is possible whether you’re in a work situation or not. Depends on the individual and their drive and study habits…

    30K off the bat sounds very high (and that’s without knowing which currency). It’s easy to see why people are infatuated by IT. It looks cool and pays a lot, what fun and games. I hate to disappoint, but like most fields, the money is good for those who demonstrate success. Those that thrive under various pressures come out getting more responsibilities which entitles the individual to a higher salary.

    Hope the opinions useful.
  3. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

    Hi and welcome to CF!

    I can't add much to what Sunn said, except to say that I went past the 30k mark (in £) with no certs at all, just experience.

    It is experience and enthusiasm that are the main drivers for advancement. Certs just show an indication of what you know.

    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+
  4. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    Sunn's advice is right on target. You've got to *really* love IT to excel in IT. Otherwise, you'll be left behind while those who live, love, and breathe IT get promoted up the IT career ladder.

    Yes, and no. It's better than nothing. But experience always trumps certification. Certification will only give you an advantage when experience levels are equal.

    I'd also suggest the A+ first, followed by Network+ and the MCDST.

    Like Sunn said, it varies based on the area. Where do you live? If you're in the average sized US city, you'll be hard-pressed to find an entry-level IT job making $30K or more.

    Windows XP will be around for years to come. At the last place I worked, we still had several Windows 2000 Professional workstations we were phasing out, and a couple of Windows 2000 Servers that we weren't phasing out.

    The newer Microsoft certifications (MCTS, MCITP) expire after official support for the technology expires. However, the MCDST will never expire.

    Can you get 30K a year without experience? Unfortunately, no.

    Can you eventually get 30K a year after you build some experience? Yes, and more!

    It's by no means a get-rich-quick type of career like the IT training schools would lead you to believe. But it IS a good career where you can do well for yourself, over time. But that's what it takes: time. You can't get experience other than by *experiencing* it. You can't study to get experience. You can't train to get experience. You can only get experience by doing.
    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. Crito

    Crito Banned

    What they said, for the most part.

    Despite rumors to the contrary, XP will no longer be sold after June 30th. And I know it's a popular cert around here, but I've personally never heard of anyone asking for the MCDST. I'd recommend searching the job boards for the types of positions you aspire to and base your study plans on the actual requirements employers have for them.
    Certifications: A few
    WIP: none
  6. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    XP will no longer be sold... but computer manufacturers are getting around the deadline by claiming the downgrade rights Microsoft has offered with their Windows Vista OEM licenses, which allows them to legally install Windows XP. And I can guarantee you that many companies will take advantage of it. Thus... NEW Windows XP installations will continue.
    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. Lev Arris

    Lev Arris Byte Poster

    Up until a few weeks ago I worked for one of the worlds biggest banks (they also do insurance blah blah..), doing IT support. They rolled XP out to all sites around 1year ago and completed the rollout in the last few months.

    I can't see that Vista will suddenly magically sweep XP away in the very near future. Changing the O/S for big businesses is a massive task and they won't just switch because its cool to have Vista. There is also a Vista upgrade exam that you can take later on down the line if you wish to.

    When I was I.T. job hunting around 17k-23k a lot of the jobs did have MCDST listed as a skill they would like.

    Passing one of the exams for the MCDST also gets u an MCP which virtually all employers have heard of and respect.

    O/S = Operating system.
    MCDST = Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician
    MCP = Microsoft Certified Professional
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, MCSA (270,290,291)
    WIP: CCNA ..Global Domination

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