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Discussion in 'New Members Introduction' started by pjrbakery, Jul 31, 2008.

  1. pjrbakery

    pjrbakery Bit Poster

    Hi guys.

    This is my first ever forum posting. I first discovered CertForums yesterday and I must say that I am very impressed by the quantity and quality of the advice given. I have managed to read quite a lot of messages and have learnt a great deal but I know that there is so much more to discover.

    I thought that I would introduce myself and ask a few questions (although I suspect that the answers already lie on this site somewhere).

    I am currently researching about IT roles having previously been a teacher (of science) for 7 years, then worked for a Bank in the back office for 2 years and for the last 3 years I have run my own property rental business. I am married with 3 young children. I mention all this background because it has been really heartening to read the stories and ambitions of other more mature entrants into the IT profession.

    The main reason for me looking into IT is that I want a job that I enjoy doing and that I would get a sense of achievement from. At this stage I am inclined towards working with databases or other software based roles (possibly programming) but I have a lot more research to complete to work out what would suite me best.

    I had a training provider come to my house yesterday. Afterwards I didn't have a good feeling about the whole process. I then discovered this forum and it became obvious why. Thanks to everyone who has contributed their views about trainers. At the moment I am inclined to self study. It seems that the A+ certification is the most widely suggested entry level qualification.

    Question 1 : Assuming that I start with A+ has anybody got a view about the degree to which this course increases in complexity. Is there a steady increase or does it start with an easy introduction and then get rapidly complex ?

    Question 2: I have over the years moved away from Desktop to Notebook computers, as I find these more flexible. Can you use a notebook computer for the A+ course (to dismantle) or is it based around a desktop machine only?

    Question 3: It seems that getting experience is very difficult and that any 1st line support role is the way forward. This and the A+ course seem to be much more about the knowledge of connecting and correcting hardware problems. As my ultimate aim is to focus on the software side of IT is this still the best route?

    Question 4: Would the Microsft Office Specialist qualification be a more suitable entry point for a career focussed on dealing with software?

    I will stop there and carry on exploring the other threads.
    Certifications: None
    WIP: CompTIA A+, C
  2. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

    Hi & welcome to CF :)

    This is my opinion, the office certs (MOUS/MOS) or the new business certs (MCAP/MCAS) from MS are poweruser certs and while they are good certs to obtain and build on, they are not not technical certs. But like I said you can build on them.

    Majority of people do start off with the A+, heck I recommend it, if you want to go down the route of technical support. Then go for the Network+ and MCDST, which will give you a good base.

    You have stated that you may want to go into development, whether it be databases (DBA) or programming/software development

    If you do choose this route, then the A+, Network+, MCDST, etc, while give you a good base, would not suit the above roles. You may want to consider doing your degree and or vendor specific certs from these vendors: Microsoft, IBM, MySQL, Oracle, etc. See here for more info :)

    Hope this helps

    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
  3. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

    Hi and welcome to CF!

    Wagnerk has made some excellent points. To add to those - I'd suggest not trying to open a laptop - some can be quite difficult to open, and the insides can sometimes be very non-typical.

    You can get an old PC second-hand for very little - and that would be a better bet for messing around with.

    You mention both 'self-study' and 'course'. The two aren't quite the same thing - self-study usually involves getting some books and reading/practising whereas a course usually sounds more formal (well - to me at least).

    If you want to do A+ then why not get the Mike Meyers book that is repeatedly suggested here (it is an excellent book) and browse through it. If you decide to go a different route it will still be worth having on the bookshelf.

    My view is that A+ is still useful even if you go into programming or databases, as it will give you a feel for how the machines work. Don't expect employers in those fields to be interested in the A+ cert though!

    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+
  4. pjrbakery

    pjrbakery Bit Poster

    Thanks to wagnerk & hbroomhall for their replies and links.

    (I was in the middle of a reply to wagnerk and lost it. This forum stuff is going to take a bit of getting used to)

    I have had a couple of telephone conversations with a company call "IT Futures Online" this morning. They said that I could study with them for 10 hours a week and pass the MCDBA qualification in 6-8 months. They also suggested that even without experience that potential employers would find this qualification appealing. I am reluctant to take this at face value as a training provider is going to tell you what you want to hear.

    On this forum I have seen many opinions which state that experience at 1st line support etc. gives people the first step into the IT profession. It also makes sense to me that if you want to progress in any career you should have a solid grounding in the basics.

    These seem to conflict. I am not particularly interested in a Technical Support role in itself, but would be prepared to go through this route if it helped me achieve a software based job.

    Does anybody have any views about "IT Futures Online"? (They did seem to be more sincere than the first firm I spoke to)
    What are you views on what they have said to me about my marketability having got MCDBA?

    I used the term "course" to refer to a generic package of study whether that be by books etc. on your own or with support from a third party. Maybe "syllabus" would have been a better word.

    Finally, when I first saw wagnerk's username I kept thinking that it was a deliberate mispelling of a rude word, but I see now that it isn't that kind of forum (thank goodness) :D

    Certifications: None
    WIP: CompTIA A+, C
  5. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

    Exactly, if you have the money to pay a training provider then you pass the requirements. Getting the basics would be an advantage as someone who can do multiple IT paths will be very appealing to employers.

    Start looking for trainee/junior/entry level jobs in whatever disciplin you are interested in, you do not need qualifications for those types of jobs although having a qualification would help.

    You do not have to go into technical support but getting your foot in the door and migrating to your preferred area in IT should be considered. Someone is more likely to employ you if you have done IT work but are wishing to change direction.

    I don't know anything about IT futures but if they are like any other training provider then I would stay away. Also you need to be quite experience to have MCDBA most certs are designed to show that you have experience in a job not that you can pass an exam. So as I said above look for a job that is like a trainee position and work your way up whilst studying.

    Self study and distance learning on line are basically the same thing. You get some books and have to read them the only difference with a training provider you have to pay them loads of cash.

    Wagnerk user name is basically his name, he is called Ken Wagner.
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  6. Davidus

    Davidus Nibble Poster

    Hi pjrbakery

    I've recently joined this forum and found it to be really helpful.

    I'm also consiDering joining the world of IT along the programming route. I have been leaning towards C# (even went ahead and got the Head First C# book), but finally found a friend (stop laughing all of you :oops:) of a friend and he works in a firm where they are behind in their web development (and design) and has offered to show me around to the local firms to get my foot in the door, were I go down the web-programming route (which I'm seriously considering).

    The first book I got is the Mike Myers Comptia A+ one that is mentioned often here in this forum, and whilst you wont need it for the programming side of IT, I have found it (the parts that I've read so far) to be extremely useful and would advise that you get ahold of one at some stage in your IT career.

    That said, if you go down the programming route (and bearing in mind this is from my own limited personal experience) I've decided to start learning C# with the aim to get a Microsoft Cert (70-536) so I can validate my knowledge in the subject to potential employers. From thereon in....well, I've still to decide on that future (and I might break off and go the web programming route).

    It all boils down to what you wish to do, and what languages to want to learn. Research is king here, and it may be an idea to speak to a local job recruitment agency (preferably an IT specialist) to see what kind of vacancies come up, and they might even suggest what areas of study to aim for.

    I wish I could be more helpful, but without knowing whee your ultimate aim is, it is difficult to advise. I have to admit that even I'm not 100% sure of where I'm going and having this friend of a friend coming up with the web development has changed my mindset.

    Oh, and as regards getting into IT via desktop support - I too thought that, and whilst I wouldn't knock it, if you're aiming to be a programmer, I would recommend concentrating on this and getting stuck into the study books, but this is again, only my personal opinion.

    There are others more qualified than me who can advise you, but at the moment, you gotta find out what your aiming for.

    Hope this helps (and apologies if I've waffled)

    Certifications: EDCL (don't laugh)
    WIP: 70-536, Comptia A+
  7. pjrbakery

    pjrbakery Bit Poster

    Thanks to greenbrucelee and davidus.

    I enjoyed my bank back office job because:
    It was 9-5, Monday to Friday.
    I was given resonsibility and then trusted to get on with the job.
    I spent most of the time working on an inhouse database and I enjoyed the logic and accuracy required.

    As I used the database more I came to realise the deficiences in the programme and also the power that a well designed database can wield for a company.
    This is where my interest in Database administration derives from.

    Having taken on board the previous posts I am beginning to think that I should start off with the basics (ie. A+ and ECDL) to get back into the habit of self study and to expose myself to the widest range of experiences. As Davidus and others have said in other threads it is extremely difficult to know what will suit your character until you start doing a role. So it seems best to start with an open mind and give studying a go, while looking out for any trainee IT positions.

    Certifications: None
    WIP: CompTIA A+, C
  8. Notes_Bloke

    Notes_Bloke Terabyte Poster

    Hi & welcome to CF:D

    Certifications: 70-210, 70-215, A+,N+, Security+
  9. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    Welcome to the forums!

    As the others have advised, you don't need to take an expensive training course... just grab a couple of books and sit down with the hardware or software (depending on the exam you're taking). See all those certifications in my signature line? Haven't taken a training course for any of them. You can do the same! Plus, at some point, you're going to have to learn how to do the self-study thing... when you're hired, companies aren't going to want to spend the money (or time!) to send you to a training course.

    If you want to program, learn to program. Simple as that! Build a portfolio of code so you can show an employer what you can do.

    If you want to be a traditional support tech, pursue the A+, Network+, and MCDST. But don't wait until you're certified to start looking... start looking for your first IT job NOW. Certifications simply make you more attractive to employers.

    Again, welcome!
    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!
  10. nellyp123

    nellyp123 Byte Poster

    Hi pjrbakery

    I have decided to take the programming route after learning Actionscript 3.0 (flash CS3) and while i have been studying web design for over the last two years and have just started freelancing.....i feel it was time to get into the development side of the industry and try for a permanent position.

    So, i have took it upon myself to study ASP.NET and C# and purchased a couple of books and downloaded the free web developer express edition from microsofts web site. So, if that's the route you are going to take? (which makes sense seeing that you have used databases) i recommend doing what i have done? Also there is plenty of sites such as www.asp.net/learn/ that offer good tutorials to supplement your studies.

    Self study though is tough going! You really need to sit down and work out a good study method. Otherwise you will end up back tracking all the time and end up getting nowhere fast.

    All the best

    Certifications: CIW Professional

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