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Recommend a certificate for me

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by gray19lfc, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. gray19lfc

    gray19lfc Bit Poster

    I'm 21 and currently employed in a water laboratory full time. I am looking to start a career in IT but having been employed in my current position since leaving school I have no formal qualifications other than a B in IT at GCSE level. I've been looking at becoming Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician to maybe get myself a position on the service desk team at my current workplace and then seeing where I can go from there. Is the MCDST course something people would recommend for me? Or is there something out there which would be better suited? I'm no computer expert obviously but I can usually sort basic problems that friends/family are having.

    Last edited: Jan 23, 2010
  2. Alex Wright

    Alex Wright Megabyte Poster

    If you're starting out I'd recommend doing the Comptia A+, N+ and MCDST... in that order.

    Certifications: 70-680 Configuring Windows 7
    WIP: 70-642
  3. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

    What he said....
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Office 365, Server 2016, CEH
  4. GiddyG

    GiddyG Terabyte Poster Gold Member

    If you go for the A+ and Network+ bear in mind that you now need to recertify. CompTIA have just brought this change in.

    Thus, you may wish to study the very useful material but not necessarily take the overly expensive exams.
  5. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

    Depending on your experience and knowledge, you may want to consider doing the Comptia Strata Exam in IT, which is below the A+ and doesn't need renewing or even doing to college to do the C&G's/BTEC in IT Support.

    Apart from that I still do recommend doing the A+, Network+ and the MCDST :)

    Certifications: CITP, PGDip, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: MSc in Tech Management
  6. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

    As I read it, doing both UK fundamentals exams give you an ITQ1 which may be more beneficial to you than a cert if your CV is a bit thin academically.
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  7. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

    Worth a look if you can get funded maybe


    If you are really keen longer term I'd still invest in a part time HNC or Foundation Degree, it will pay off over your career.

    I beleive the UK is probably different to the US in that the degree has pretty much become a baseline qualification for many jobs, add to this a less restrictive immigration policy than the US and the fact that well funded graduates from the whole of europe can come here.

    Otherwise I'd proabably read as much as you can, use CBT's, Professor Messer, ITIdiots etc. There are masses of resources available.

    Maybe take the A+ and MCDST exams, but don't depend only on certs, try looking for IT jobs anyway, maybe even volunteering for a charity, maybe there is specialist equipment at work you can help with, etc.

    The markets tough, many degree graduates are currently unemployed, many experienced IT staff also, so its not going to be easy. Ok so you should not be up against these people for entry level jobs, but you may find you are. At the very bottom end for helpdesk etc you will be competing in the unskilled market where you will likely be one amoung thousands. Try applying directly to smaller companies where possible.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2010
  8. gray19lfc

    gray19lfc Bit Poster

    What do you mean by recertify?

    Course Title: A+ 1 and 2 Certificate (CompTIA)
    Duration: 12 weeks
    Name: Pitman Training (Notting Hill)
    Website: http://www.holborntraining.co.uk

    Course Title: A+ and Network+ Foundation Certificate (CompTIA)
    Duration: 100 hours
    Name: Affordable Computer Training Limited
    Website: http://www.affordabletraining.co.uk

    Course Title: A+ 2003 Certificate (CompTIA)
    Duration: To suit the individual
    Name: We Teach You
    Website: http://www.weteachyou.co.uk

    Course Title: CompTIA A+ IT Technician 220-602 Series Exam Preparation
    Duration: Self paced
    Name: It-Training.Com
    Website: http://www.it-training.com

    Those are some of the options I was given by the careers advisor. If I was to go down the A+ >> N+ >> MCDST route, which one of those would be most beneficial?
  9. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

    The A+ certification used to be a 'lifetime cert' kind of like academic qualifications like GCSE's.

    It has now been changed to a 3 year expiration / recert lifecycle, you must meet extra requirements every 3 years to 'maintain' your certified status. This may bother you, it may not.

    Most certifications technically require no tuition at all, you can simply book a test and walk in off the street.

    As a newcomer you may benefit from some tuition, it really depends on the individual, another alternative is self study, where you buy a book and read it in your own home, you can also build a lab and generally experiment with kit.

    Some people with experience just read an examcram book and take the test, with no real study at all.

    I would think carefully before spending money on a certification / qualification that will expire as this affects the value proposition, this also often applies if it is sponsored by a government grant as these grants are generally only available once.

    Academic qualifications are government regulated, as are official teaching institutions, they also have student unions, this goes some way to protecting students.

    When you use a commercial training provider and a commerical qualification like a certification there are few if any protections. Impressive sounding things like 'approved by The Institute of IT Training' in actual fact mean very little.

    If you do pay for anything do not take credit, especially do not take credit from a training provider.

    Consider paying installments (ie pay as you go like university) and using a credit card as this will give you extra protection.

    If going with a commerical training provider (which I advise you do not !) make sure you evaluate every single aspect of what you will be getting, how many hours, who will be teaching, what qualifications and experience do they have, what labs will there be, what facilities are available in the labs, what will the ratio of equipment to students be, how much lab time will there be, what are options for re-schedule and resit, what is refund and complaints policy, can you speak to previous students, etc.

    Many of your links are basically online distance learning, like watching youtube ! Honestly there are many free resources for the A+ from professor messer etc. You can also pay for commerical offerings from CBTNuggets etc.

    In fact there are now many youtube style sites, like google videos, iTunesU, MIT OpenCourseWare, these have many free videos on computer hardware and software and related topics also.

    Have you tried visiting your local colleges and asking about CompTIA A+, MCDST, OCR iPro, NVQ, BTEC, HNC/HND, Foundation Degrees, through both part time and full time options ?

    Shop around ! Get as much advice as you can from local careers, colleges etc.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2010
  10. ITtech

    ITtech Bit Poster

    I would recommend that you spend more time learning and practicing then worry about which certificate to get. This is the wrong approach and most beginners are led to believe that certification means a high paying job. Your first goal should be to learn and get as much experience you can gain (through doing labs, self study and practice, and volunteering your time, internship at a repair shop, etc)

    Certification should be your end goal maybe in the future. Certifications are for qualified experienced techs to prove their skills. They are not meant for someone with no experience to memorise questions and pass the exams.

    Accroding to CompTIA A+ Certification is for someone who has 500 hours of in lab or real world hands on experience. This does not mean that you can not study and take the test but I believe that you should spend as much time as you can on learning the technology first!

    Practice, learn and then prove your skills by taking the certification :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 29, 2010
    Certifications: A+, Network+, CNA, MCSE, CCNA, MCT
  11. gray19lfc

    gray19lfc Bit Poster

    What do you mean by learning and practising? Are there books available? I'm employed full time so I can only devote a max of 5 hours a night.
  12. gray19lfc

    gray19lfc Bit Poster

    I understand this part but is that not what these training providers offer? You study and learn it all and at the end, you do the exam that actually gives you the certification?
  13. SimonD
    Honorary Member

    SimonD Terabyte Poster

    I have to ask why you want to go into IT? Is it something you do in your spare time or do you just want to do it to get out of your current position? The only reason I ask is that if you have no real experience (ie don't 'play' with computers at home or help others with their issues) then you may find it hard grasping with IT. It's not simply the case of sitting an exam and expecting to get a job off the back of it.

    Honestly sit down and explain why you want a job in IT, what interests you about it and why you think you would do well in it, also what you have done in the past that would help you be a decent first line technician.
    Certifications: CNA | CNE | CCNA | MCP | MCP+I | MCSE NT4 | MCSA 2003 | Security+ | MCSA:S 2003 | MCSE:S 2003 | MCTS:SCCM 2007 | MCTS:Win 7 | MCITP:EDA7 | MCITP:SA | MCITP:EA | MCTS:Hyper-V | VCP 4 | ITIL v3 Foundation | VCP 5 DCV | VCP 5 Cloud | VCP6 NV | VCP6 DCV | VCAP 5.5 DCA
    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).
  14. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

    he means you can get the books, study from them practice what you learn then book the exams and pass them.

    But as mentioned if your looking to get into IT just to get out of your current job or think that there is big money in IT then you have a suprise coming your way.

    With IT you really need to be passionate about and as technology changes all the time you must be able to adapt. It is also a constant learning experience.
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  15. gray19lfc

    gray19lfc Bit Poster

    It's not just a case of wanting a better salary. It is always something I've been good at but never put my skills to use and I've now realised I should be making a career from my best abilities.
  16. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

    Go for it then.

    Read the stickies in the training & development area and also the A+ area for tips on book and material to get.
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?

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