Must be a mid-life crisis

Discussion in 'New Members Introduction' started by ingenue, Aug 5, 2005.

  1. ingenue

    ingenue New Member

    Well I fit the profile - 50, married, no kids, sports car, and without a permanent job.
    I've been working longer than I care to remember as an accountant and I'm tired of counting beans. I'm madly keen on computers - drives my wife crazy "but it's just a tool!". She may have a point, but it's fun isn't it?
    I set my heart on getting genned up and qualified in IT so that I could earn £££ and find that I may be facing a very high brick wall. I'd love to hear from anyone with encouraging tales of derring-do that prove the gloom-mongers wrong.
    The story so far - I did some hunting around and got information from Skills Train. Imagine my horror when I found the threads shown elsewhere in here returned in Google. Naturally, like a good little soldier, I joined up at certforums immediately and without delay etc etc.
    Not only that, but I found that my first understanding of the cost of A+ and N+ was wildly mistaken - or was it? Anyway, I accept that's now history - so, I thought, well go for the bigger qualification and roll the others in on the way. Splendid idea - economy etc. Well, my trusted IT pal in the USA on the net tells me that undertaking MCSE as a total newbie would be far too big a chunk to bite off.
    Can anyone confirm or gainsay this please? Does anyone have any constructive advice based on experience rather than hearsay? All replies most welcome - on a postcard, in here or whatever. TTFN
    Certifications: None
    WIP: A life
  2. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

    Greetings, ingenue. Welcome to CertForums. Yes, there is life after 50. I just turned 51 and am also a career changer. I started down this road almost six years ago now after being made redundant. Couldn't find reasonable work in my original field (counseling and social work) so I took a "temporary" job with the US Postal Service and put myself through school. Graduated with my degree in Computer Network Support two years ago.

    I had to wean myself off of my slave job rather gradually because the only IT work I was getting was temp contract work which lasted just a day or two per job. I finally took the leap and quit the slave job for a three month temp job doing desktop (and everything else) support for a city IT department. After that, I was unemployed again except for the occasional writing job and some contract work. Got a permanent half-time job as a contractor with HP but it didn't pay.

    Finally, got my current job last year as a full-time tech writer for a software company. My first book was published last February and I've contributed to a number of other text and web publications. I'm not rich but I'm eating regularly so I guess it's all ok. Working on a couple of other deals that I can't talk about yet so we'll see.

    Hope this helps.
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  3. Jakamoko
    Honorary Member

    Jakamoko On the move again ...

    Hi and welcome, ingenue.

    Trip is indeed living proof of success for the "later starter" to this field. In fact, the Guy is nothing short if inspirational (as you'll see if you read more than a few of his posts around here - just avoid his jokes !)

    It can be done, my friend - and we will help you on your way :)
    Certifications: MCP, A+, Network+
    WIP: Clarity
  4. AJ

    AJ 01000001 01100100 01101101 01101001 01101110 Administrator

    Welcome to the forum :biggrin
    Certifications: MCSE, MCSA (messaging), ITIL Foundation v3
    WIP: Breathing in and out, but not out and in, that's just wrong
  5. Veteran's son

    Veteran's son Megabyte Poster

    Welcome! :)
    Certifications: A+
    WIP: N+
  6. Chris Winter

    Chris Winter New Member

    Hello Ingenue,

    I've got a kind of similar but also slightly different story. I started in IT nearly 20 years ago but quickly moved away from technical work into the rather more vague area of business analysis, project management and consultancy. This resulted in good pay, but poor job satisfaction and ultimately corporate politics challenged me in a way that I just didn't want to be challenged. Last year, aged 43 I engineered redundancy and am now aiming to become a programmer again and am working towards an MCSD.

    I would agree with your friend that MCSE is a huge undertaking -but you could consider working towards an MCSA. The MCSA is like a cut down MCSE - the exams are exactly the same and can be counted towards both qualifications but you only need to get 4 for an MCSA (he says as if that isn't a shed load of work). Of course, once you become an MCSA you can then do the extra exams to become an MCSE if you wish.

    Bear in mind too that even after one exam pass you become a MCP (that's "Microsoft Professional" not "Male Chauvanist Pig"). I actually started preparing for MCSA exams earlier this year, but ultimately decided to discontinue because I was personally more interested in MCSD and realised that trying to do both was going to take too long. The core exams for MCSA are certainly not trivial and each involves a considerable amount of work, but they are certainly do-able, given commitment and enthusiasm. Why not start with the XP exam - I can recommend the Mike Myers Passport Series book as being both readable and fairly comprehensible. As someone who has previously got to grips with accountancy, you surely have the necessary brainpower to succeed - why not give it a go!!

    A TIP - Before being tempted to sign up for one of those "accelerated" MCSE in 14 days courses take a look at the volume of text you need to study for an MCSE (about 4000 pages) and ask yourself how anyone (except Joe 90 ) could possibly absorb that much information in a fortnight, let alone do all the very important practical work. It can't be done!! Don't believe a word! (Yes I know victims).

    All the best
  7. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

    Whether or not a newbie can complete an MCSE or not is dependant on a lot of factors.

    Have you been doing your own computer repair work for a few years?
    Do you have the basic understanding of network protocols such as tcp/ip?
    Do you have a very good technical mind?
    Do you already know how to troubleshoot technical matters and can you do so with at least some level of aplomb?
    Do you really enjoy learning and are you very self-motivated?

    If the answers to all of the above aren't yes then I'd start at a lower level of learning than MCSE/MCSA. I would start with A+ and Network+. These two certs, if really studied and the concepts taught understood very well so that you can do the work, lay a very good foundation for an MCSE.

    I answered yes to all the above questions and I still took the A+ first, and then moved on to the MCSE. But, I had worked for a year+ in a position where I had to learn the fundamentals of networking, server administration, and database administration too. After I finished my MCSE I did the CCNA and MCDBA.

    If I had gone into the MCSE cold I would have really struggled, and as it was, it wasn't a cake walk. I spent a lot of hours studying and working through the hands on stuff. All 4 certs took me more than a year to complete, and I did it full time, not part time. I worked at it, on an average, 10 hours a day, 6 days a week. I went through periods where I studied 12 - 14 hours a day when I was in a program in which I had to complete an MCP in a limited amount of time.

    I never came close to having to retake any of my exams either. If had it to do over again knowing what I know now, I'd do it the same way. There's just too much to know and learn. I'd say I probably read close to 40,000 pages of material with approximately 10,000 of that being exam specific books. And this doesn't count anything I read online while researching what wasn't found in my books.
    Certifications: MCSE, MCDBA, CCNA, A+
    WIP: LPIC 1

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