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Hey everyone

Discussion in 'New Members Introduction' started by mg123, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. mg123

    mg123 New Member

    This is my introduction and as you can probably already see in your periphery, it's a long one. But who knows, you might get something from it. Here goes...

    I want to talk about how I ended up here on this site. I was a high achiever at school from an early age because I had the ability and the right attitude. Up till around GCSE that is, when my attitude changed. I became more concerned with being popular than being successful. And though I was capable of straight A's, I left school with 3 B's at A-level. Throughout school, I had always considered IT as a possible career path. I've always been good with computers and can troubleshoot mine most of the time. But when it came to choosing colleges, I chose Queen's like most of my friends. The idea of moving across the water to Britain or further afield seemed unthinkable to my immature 18-year-old self and because Queen's only offered one IT course, Computer Science, which looked horrible (programming was not something I liked the look of) I looked to other things. Like Chemistry.

    I enrolled in Chemistry in 2005/06, and realised I didn't like it much. I passed the 1st semester too easily, it was just A-level revision. So I became complacent and went from doing a little bit of studying to none. I failed the 2nd semester of that 1st year, repeated it in 2007 and just scraped through. I knew I was unhappy and other things interested me more but I decided to hold on and maybe I'd get a decent job out of it. Besides, the thought of changing course or dropping out was unbearable, what would people think? So I clung on and scraped through practicals, tutorials and tests, pissing away my time and cramming a week before exams, strategically memorizing the essentials without understanding the chemistry, a mere shadow of my formerly conscientious, academic self.

    The iceberg was slowly tearing the arse out of the ship, but I was afraid to jump. So I started 2nd year last September and was revising for my January exams two weeks ago when I came to a realisation: I was continuing with Chemistry out of fear of being judged by other people. That was the only reason. I was putting myself through all this shite, which would only get harder, to please others. I would have been disgusted with myself if I wasn't so happy to have realised that not only had I identified the source of a lot of unhappiness in my life, I could do something about it. Two weeks ago, on the day of my first exam, I met with my Advisor of Studies to inform her I was withdrawing. I felt empowered and excited about the future, and although I knew dropping out would mean having no qualifications to show for the last three years of my life, I have not dwelt on it or felt bad ever since.

    On the contrary, I'm more motivated and happier than I've been in a long time. I've been researching IT jobs ever since and I'm extremely glad I found this website. I had a call from Advent Training yesterday, who I had inquired about, and the lovely Heidi outlined their courses. She took a short questionnaire with me over the phone to see if I would be motivated enough. I told her about college and about taking control of my life. I told her about starting a job in sales about two years ago and being too nervous to approach customers, but I stuck with it and worked on myself and was eventually promoted to supervisor. (I still work there.) She was very impressed with me and amazed that I had 'such a wise head on young shoulders'. Whether this was genuine or just good salesmanship, I don't know. She advised me, based on my answers, to go for the MCSA. She told me it would cost £4450 and that I'd have the relevant certificates in 12-18 months, depending on my own pace. Then I'd be earning £20-25k.

    She told me she'd pass my application onto Advent's selection team or something like that, who would decide if I was suitable and get back to me. I suspect this was to create the illusion of scarcity, and if so it was done well. This morning I received an email from Advent accepting me on their course, along with a note that I had only 14 days to reply. People value their time far more than their money.

    I was about to accept but I decided to do more research and the fact that I couldn't find any independent recommendations for their training bothered me. I've spent all day searching the web and reading threads on this site and now I am much wiser. Thank you all. There are conflicting reports of Advent's value: some have criticised the materials and support yet others have reported a satisfactory service. Others were skeptical about the claims that A+, MCP, MCDST and MCSA could be done in 12-18 months. I decided if I was going to do this, I wasn't going to just read books and regurgitate them in exams. I was going to do it right. Finally, there was consensus on one important point: £4450 was too expensive.

    I decided that it was too much, especially if the course was of apparently questionable quality. I read some more threads and did some more searching. There seems to be nowhere in Fermanagh (where I'm from) that teaches CompTIA A+ or any of the Microsoft certificates, so classroom tutoring seems unlikely for me. Besides, the challenge of self-studying appeals to me and I'm eager to immerse myself in a new area of study. And it'll be cheaper.

    I feel in control of my life for the first time. It's a great feeling. Tonight I ordered "A+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide, Sixth Edition (All-In-One)" and "A+ Certification Exam Cram (Exams 220-401, 220-402) (Exam Cram)" from Amazon. I'll browse through them and if I really enjoy it, which I hope I will, I'll make a commitment to the A+ exam, find a job in IT and commit to climbing that IT ladder. In the meantime, I'll continue with my part-time job and if the opportunity to progress on the sales path presents itself, I'll take it. I look forward to contributing to this superb forum and if you really read all the way through this verbose, self-examining drivel, I thank you kindly : )
    Certifications: None
    WIP: CompTIA A+
  2. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    Read every word, mate. :)

    You couldn't be more right. I graduated with a BS in Chemistry. Going into Organic, they said, "Remember all that stuff we taught you in Gen Chem? Well, we lied... it REALLY works like this..." Then, in Physical Chem a couple of years later, they said, "Remember all that stuff we taught you in Organic? Well, disregard a good bit of that, HERE is how it really, REALLY works!" :D

    You're on the right path. As you've likely already gathered on this fine forum, according to Microsoft, the MCSA should be attempted by those who have 6-12 months of real-world experience in a 250+ user, multi-site, multi-server environment... not just 6-12 months in IT, but 6-12 months doing that job. But Advent wasn't going to tell you that. Either they don't know any better, or they don't want to tell you the truth. Either way, it's a shame.

    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+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  3. GiddyG

    GiddyG Terabyte Poster Gold Member

    Way to go! You have definitely made the right move. Welcome to CF... 8)
  4. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

    Hi Welcome

    Good choice but you could self study for those certs and with the MCSA as BM said you should have real world experience in a job administering a multi-user environment before doing the MCSA.

    But advent wasn't gonna tell you that.
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  5. wizard

    wizard Petabyte Poster

    Hi there and welcome to CF 8)
    Certifications: SIA DS Licence
    WIP: A+ 2009

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