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which cert route?

Discussion in 'General Microsoft Certifications' started by tumbler, Nov 30, 2007.

  1. tumbler

    tumbler New Member

    Hi Guys,

    I wonder if I could pick your brains. I have a peculiar question that may shock a few techies here, but it's a serious question borne out of pragmatism. I have a few further questions, too.

    My situation. I am a unix sysadmin of 6 years. My problem. I am always working away from home (ie. London) and have grown tired of this, particularly as I have a young family. Now, I've just been made redundant (was a contractor).
    My problem #2. There are very few unix roles in my home area, or surrounding (and I'm not prepared to commute more than an hour each way).

    My prospective solution? (This is where the potential for blasphemy might come in from certain groups). There are many windows jobs around my home disrict, so I am thinking of - wait for it - retraining as a windows sysAdmin. There, I said it, wasn't so bad.

    Basically, if it means getting home each evening and watching the children grow up then it has to be done. Plus Idon't mind windows as an OS, either, having used it on my home PC for years.

    So, my questions. What route do you guys recommend I take? Now, I'm 40 yrs old, by the way and I'm more than willing to spend time paying my dues in first line support and work my way up gathering tech accreditation en route. Is this recommended?

    Or should I spend the winter gaining certs and then hit the job market in the spring - albeit with no industry experience?

    Which certs do you recommend, by the way? I have an MSc in computer science so my basic computing knowledge is sound. Should I plump for MCSE 2000, or MCSE 2003 or both, or neither?

    Any comments gratefully received.

  2. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    With 6 years of UNIX admin experience, I don't think you'd have to go all the way back to first-line support. You might have some luck getting a junior systems admin job where you'd have responsibility learning how to maintain Windows servers. And with your real-world experience under your belt, you'd likely advance quickly.

    Although I create certification training products for a living, I'll always recommend experience + certification over getting a pile of certifications. So I'd recommend that you get a position as soon as possible, and study along the way. Again, with your past experience level, you should be able to advance AND certify relatively quickly.

    The MCSE on 2000 is fine, but the exams will be retired in March of 2008... not a lot of time to get them, with only four months left! Therefore, I'd recommend pursuing the MCSA (then MCSE) on 2003 certifications.

    Hope this helps!
    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. r.h.lee

    r.h.lee Gigabyte Poster


    What are the job requirements for those "many windows jobs around my home district?"

    It depends on the answer to the above question.

    Conventional wisdom is that prior to any Microsoft certifications, you should pursue and achieve CompTIA A+ certification. That is because supposedly employers and interviewers for job candidates were shocked to find out that although someone may actually have the Microsoft knowledge and skills but couldn't identify the difference between a video card and a library card, between a power cable and a printer cable, between a CPU and a CUP, and between RAM and a EWE, it's now expected to have physical computer machine knowledge and understanding.

    For some people, the transition from "Microsoft uncertified end user" to "Microsoft Certified Professional" may seem like a quantum leap. Assuming the above advice, which path to choose between MCSE 2000 and MCSE 2003 would depend if you currently have a Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional computer or a Microsoft Windows XP Professional computer at home?
    Certifications: MCSE, MCP+I, MCP, CCNA, A+
  4. zapski

    zapski Bit Poster

    Hey Tumbler,

    tough decision retraining but I know a lot of 'nix guys in your situation, away for the week and home to the family for the weekend. It's a tough one. And no I don't think you're commiting any cardinal sin in going over to the 'Dark $ide' (oops, joke!).

    One thing's certain, once you're up to speed with windows, a win SA with your unix experience could prove invaluable to many employers, particularly those wanting help setting up a few experimental linux boxes etc.

    Good luck with it!
  5. Finkenstein

    Finkenstein Kilobyte Poster

    I agreen with BosonMichael... I don't know the situation in the UK, but here in the states, someone with that level Unix knowledge and a decent understanding of the Microsoft side of things is a nice bonus to many companies.

    Also if you are opting for an MCP/MCSA/MCSE, I'd go the 2003 route... that way you don't have to worry about cramming for a bunch of tests in order to get them under your belt before they expire.

    Good luck!
    Certifications: MCP, Network+, CCENT, ITIL v3
    WIP: 640-822
  6. tumbler

    tumbler New Member

    Thanks for the replies guys - BosonMichael, r.h.lee, zapski and Finkenstein - very helpful.

    > r.h.lee
    Varied and numerous, complete spectrum really, though many specifying certifications that I lack, the remainder being 1st line support.

    I've replaced/upgraded the hardware on a good many x86 systems. I have two laptops - one with win 2k pro, one with 2003 server. I have XP Pro on CD, so I could dual boot a system.

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