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Is it worth getting certificates?

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by thedoc, Sep 3, 2009.

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  1. thedoc

    thedoc New Member

    Hey all, please excuse my long first post. I'm 25 and I've had a rather unorthodox career path so far. Ill try to make this brief.

    I've always had an interest in IT and computers. I developed my first application for the family business when I was 16 that is still regularly used to this day, although much improved. I studied IT GCSE and Computing A-Level

    Essentially I started a university degree, dropped out and then got a job working at the family business working as an admin assistant and it support, but ended up with the role of IT Manager as the company has expanded. The company has expanded significantly since I started onto several sites, which i both travel to and manage remotely.

    My role throughout the years has developed but has included application development in a number of programming languages (mainly VB and C#), Linux and Windows 2000 and 2003 server management, desktop support. I've also dealt with a number of different routers including a Cisco PIX (until a power cut killed it and we replaced it with something better and cheaper) I've also been heavily involved in purchasing of new IT Equipment and find stuff that will do what we want. I've setup IPSEC VPNs between the offices and setup an email system which routes email from a server in London which hosts our websites to the correct offices.

    What brings me here is I'm looking for new challenges, bigger projects to work on and (importantly) more money and income independence :)

    I'm wondering if its worth me studying some certificates or other qualifications to add some paper backing to my experience, and which ones would be most worthwhile.

    I'm looking to go into the area of networking and/or server administration. I've been looking at the CCNA but is there anything else worth studying, or should i consider simply applying for jobs based on my experience, despite many asking for certain paper qualifications I don't have.

    Any advice, much appreciated :)
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2009
  2. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    Certify on whatever you've got experience working with. :)

    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. Shinigami

    Shinigami Megabyte Poster

    Sounds like you're a jack of all trades, so any certification out there should complement you just fine.

    Depending on how you word your CV, potential employers may wish to place you directly in a managing position, which if you get one in a large company, may result in you having less access to the actual hardware and software... Are you sure the current family owned company won't be growing rapidly in the near future? I guess it might be a compelling reason for some to just stay where you are (job security and all that during this time of crisis).

    Anyway, if you're looking for server related certs, and more specifically Microsoft OS certs (not *nix, in which case you might want to look at an LPIC-1 or something), then you might like to look into an MCSE, and later upgrade this to an MCITP.

    To achieve an MCSE, you first need to pass 4 exams to get an MCSA, and then an additional 3 for the MCSE, with a few more if you want to get a +Security or +Messaging specialization. This forum tends to favor the idea that one should attempt this certification only if they have a few years of hands-on experience managing servers (which seems to be your case).

    Once you've got an MCSE, you can attempt a few upgrade exams and move this to an MCTS and then an MCITP. Upgrade exams are the quick way to get the latest certification because it means that rather than doing another 6-8 exams to get the latest "title", you just need to do 2-4 of them.

    As far as studying goes, there are courses one can attend (most of which are no good... i.e. some just try to cram your brain full of the "right answers" over a period of 2 weeks) that typically cost a fair bit, and there's the self-study (favored by this forum) since it's often considerably cheaper and gives you a chance to work at your own pace.

    And working at your own pace is important, it may take someone 6 months to get one of the above mentioned titles, and 2 years for someone else.

    Good luck with whatever you choose. But if you do go the Microsoft way, I think most would urge you to give the MCSE a go before it gets retired. Many businesses still use Windows 2000/2003 rather than 2008 (the MCTS/MCITP exams are geared for the 2008 servers).
    Certifications: MCSE, MCITP, MCDST, MOS, CIW, Comptia
    WIP: Win7/Lync2010/MCM
  4. Obinna Osobalu

    Obinna Osobalu Banned

    Hello and welcome! :D

    You can always refer here for CCNA details and more. But you need to know that Cisco certs expires every 3 years.

    Refer to here for MCSE details and more. Also refer to here if you want to go for the MCSA first before you move up to the MCSE cert. With M$ certs you update or rather certify as new products relevant to your path/field emerges.

    Certifications: MCITP:SA,MCTS(x5),MCSE2K3;MCSA2K3:M;MCP
    WIP: EDA7,70-652,Project+,MSP(70-632)

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