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  • Question

  • I'm interested in pursuing an IT career, I have no prior experience or schooling and I'm wondering if starting out by trying to obtain a MCTS certification is the right way to go (on the site it recommends 1-2 years work experience).  It looks like exam 70-640 would be what I would take.  Is this something that is achievable?

    Also, are you at a great disadvantage being certified through Microsoft, Cisco, etc. rather than having an IT degree when searching for a job?

    Any feedback is appreciated!

    Thanks in advance.

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012 6:54 PM

Answers

  • If your totally new, start with the basics.  CompTIA's A+/Net+/Server+ (and maybe Security+). 

    IT degrees nowadays are more geared towards those going into programming.  If you're looking to work on the hardware/OS side, then having certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and even Apple can be an advantage.

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012 7:33 PM
    Answerer
  •  

    I agree with what Charles Putman says start with the Comptia exams they provide a foundation of knowledge over different vendors and are recognised by many companies as showing you have the groundwork. I have completed A+ and server + as I deal with domestic customers and business customers but I have to deal with customer service, desktop and server hardware. Microsoft exams only touch on hardware a little bit but I had to show I was certified in these areas even though I could do the job no problem.

    Even though Comptia exams are easier the formatting of the questions is much easier on the eyes than the Microsoft exams however don't underestimate they not so easy that anybody can just do them you are expected to know best practices and ISO procedures passing score is higher than Microsoft exams and you have less time and more questions normally around 100 questions and you have 90 mins.

    Don't expect to get a job with just Comptia though because they are vendor neutral they don’t show you know specific technologies or products just a good foundation as mentioned above.

    Note A+, Network + and Security plus have updated there certification under ISO certification Yes even certifications need certifying. They longer have no expiration date to ensure you keep your knowledge up to date you have to follow the continuing education programme. The certifications are only valid from passing the exams for 3 years however if you pass qualifying exams from Comptia, Microsoft and other vendors you earn credits towards your Comptia qualifications you have gained automatically extending your Comptia credentials. At the present time not all Comptia exams and certifications fall under this CE program

    For example I passed my A+ CE last summer the expiration is 2014 however I passed Server+ last weekend this is not under the CE program but because it relates to A+ CE it extended my A+ by 3 years but its not from today its starts 3 years after 2014 so now my A+ CE expires 2017

    See the Comptia website for more information


    Daniel Meggitt MCP, MCTS: ISA Server 2006 configuration, MCSA, MCSA: Security, MCSE, MCSE: Security, MBCS

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012 12:43 AM
  • Hi,

    I have no experience with the CompTIA exams, but I don't think that you can pass a MCTS exam if you're new to the whole IT stuff.

    You should get some hands-on experience and after a while you should go for a certification (like Charles recommended). But remember that you don't get a job only if you have a certificate. It enhances the chances that you get a job interview, but at that interview you have to show your skills.


    Best Regards. When you see answers and helpful posts, please click Vote As Helpful, Propose As Answer, and/or Mark As Answer. This helps us build a healthy and positive community.

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012 9:23 PM
    Answerer
  • Try looking for volunteer work or sponsorship you wont get paid but there are companies out there that will take you on and help with training too you may need to travel though some jobs like this can be in different parts of the world so don’t expect a job offering on your doorstep.

    The other things you can do is virtualization setup VM machines and configure them ok you won’t have users using them and it’s not 100% realistic but is close and it helps a lot. If you need training material that’s cheap look on eBay but you can get big discounts. try and mix training materials don’t just rely on one source you will be surprised how much one source covers the same topics differently but that way you get knowledge on both parts and can help fill gaps that books sometimes leave behind

    The best CBT material is Trainsignal it shows you in front of a server how to actually do the tasks and not just the theory, such as Learnkey don’t get me wrong Learnkey is great for all the small detailed information that’s why I used both.

    Learnkey for the theory and core understandings and Trainsignal for the hands on it made such a difference in the exams and real world because it gave me so much confidence with applying the knowledge.

    If you prefer classroom training then go with a company that uses MCT's Microsoft Certified Trainers they are the only people allowed to train using official curriculum material. These courses are about 1 week per module but they don’t prepare you for the exams 100% the rest comes from experience but you do learn a lot.

    If you lack experience avoid boot camps they teach you how to pass the exams but not how to do the job. Think about it with MCSE 7 exams the official guide books are about 1000 pages each that takes time to read, absorb, apply and prepare for the exams took me at least 6 months for each exam. 

    Bootcamps just show you what the exams cover and concentrate on that and they do it in less than 2 days that’s working 18 hours a day as well and your doing the course for 14 days on average for MCSE. I did bootcamp for the last 3 exams I only did it to accelerate finishing the MCSE as I had the technical background and experience at that point to do that I only passed one exam in the 7 days but I wasn’t expecting the remaining 3.

    7 months later I finished the last 2 exams and obtained my MCSE I didn’t go back to the bootcamp for those I just finished them at home and filled the gaps with the knowledge I gained from the bootcamp as well as my experience.


    Daniel Meggitt MCP, MCTS: ISA Server 2006 configuration, MCSA, MCSA: Security, MCSE, MCSE: Security, MBCS

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012 1:14 AM
  • Hi hampton,

    you can find various certification information on below link

    http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/certification/cert-overview.aspx

    Professional Certification and Degree both are important to Find Job.

    Regards

    Kayden

    • Proposed as answer by Dimitri C Wednesday, March 14, 2012 7:37 AM
    • Marked as answer by Horizon_NetEditor Monday, March 26, 2012 9:30 AM
    Tuesday, March 13, 2012 8:28 PM
  • Thanks for your input Horizon.

    How can someone go about getting hands-on experience with no credentials?


    You don't need credentials to get hands-on experience.  You could apply for junior positions that provide training as a salary package

    When you see answers and helpful posts, please click Vote As Helpful, Propose As Answer, and/or Mark As Answer

    Jeff Wharton
    MSysDev (C.Sturt), MDbDsgnMgt (C.Sturt), MCT, MCPD, MCSD, MCITP, MCDBA
    Blog: Mr. Wharty's Ramblings
    Twitter: @Mr_Wharty
    MC ID: Microsoft Transcript

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012 11:59 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • If your totally new, start with the basics.  CompTIA's A+/Net+/Server+ (and maybe Security+). 

    IT degrees nowadays are more geared towards those going into programming.  If you're looking to work on the hardware/OS side, then having certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and even Apple can be an advantage.

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012 7:33 PM
    Answerer
  • Hi hampton,

    you can find various certification information on below link

    http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/certification/cert-overview.aspx

    Professional Certification and Degree both are important to Find Job.

    Regards

    Kayden

    • Proposed as answer by Dimitri C Wednesday, March 14, 2012 7:37 AM
    • Marked as answer by Horizon_NetEditor Monday, March 26, 2012 9:30 AM
    Tuesday, March 13, 2012 8:28 PM
  • Thanks for your response.  I looked into the CompTIA certifications, it looks like they have an even more basic certification than A+ called Strata.

    So I would probably be better off taking one of those certifications and then working toward a MCTS?

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012 8:45 PM
  • Hi,

    I have no experience with the CompTIA exams, but I don't think that you can pass a MCTS exam if you're new to the whole IT stuff.

    You should get some hands-on experience and after a while you should go for a certification (like Charles recommended). But remember that you don't get a job only if you have a certificate. It enhances the chances that you get a job interview, but at that interview you have to show your skills.


    Best Regards. When you see answers and helpful posts, please click Vote As Helpful, Propose As Answer, and/or Mark As Answer. This helps us build a healthy and positive community.

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012 9:23 PM
    Answerer
  • Thanks for your input Horizon.

    How can someone go about getting hands-on experience with no credentials?

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012 11:51 PM
  • Thanks for your input Horizon.

    How can someone go about getting hands-on experience with no credentials?


    You don't need credentials to get hands-on experience.  You could apply for junior positions that provide training as a salary package

    When you see answers and helpful posts, please click Vote As Helpful, Propose As Answer, and/or Mark As Answer

    Jeff Wharton
    MSysDev (C.Sturt), MDbDsgnMgt (C.Sturt), MCT, MCPD, MCSD, MCITP, MCDBA
    Blog: Mr. Wharty's Ramblings
    Twitter: @Mr_Wharty
    MC ID: Microsoft Transcript

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012 11:59 PM
    Moderator
  •  

    I agree with what Charles Putman says start with the Comptia exams they provide a foundation of knowledge over different vendors and are recognised by many companies as showing you have the groundwork. I have completed A+ and server + as I deal with domestic customers and business customers but I have to deal with customer service, desktop and server hardware. Microsoft exams only touch on hardware a little bit but I had to show I was certified in these areas even though I could do the job no problem.

    Even though Comptia exams are easier the formatting of the questions is much easier on the eyes than the Microsoft exams however don't underestimate they not so easy that anybody can just do them you are expected to know best practices and ISO procedures passing score is higher than Microsoft exams and you have less time and more questions normally around 100 questions and you have 90 mins.

    Don't expect to get a job with just Comptia though because they are vendor neutral they don’t show you know specific technologies or products just a good foundation as mentioned above.

    Note A+, Network + and Security plus have updated there certification under ISO certification Yes even certifications need certifying. They longer have no expiration date to ensure you keep your knowledge up to date you have to follow the continuing education programme. The certifications are only valid from passing the exams for 3 years however if you pass qualifying exams from Comptia, Microsoft and other vendors you earn credits towards your Comptia qualifications you have gained automatically extending your Comptia credentials. At the present time not all Comptia exams and certifications fall under this CE program

    For example I passed my A+ CE last summer the expiration is 2014 however I passed Server+ last weekend this is not under the CE program but because it relates to A+ CE it extended my A+ by 3 years but its not from today its starts 3 years after 2014 so now my A+ CE expires 2017

    See the Comptia website for more information


    Daniel Meggitt MCP, MCTS: ISA Server 2006 configuration, MCSA, MCSA: Security, MCSE, MCSE: Security, MBCS

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012 12:43 AM
  • Try looking for volunteer work or sponsorship you wont get paid but there are companies out there that will take you on and help with training too you may need to travel though some jobs like this can be in different parts of the world so don’t expect a job offering on your doorstep.

    The other things you can do is virtualization setup VM machines and configure them ok you won’t have users using them and it’s not 100% realistic but is close and it helps a lot. If you need training material that’s cheap look on eBay but you can get big discounts. try and mix training materials don’t just rely on one source you will be surprised how much one source covers the same topics differently but that way you get knowledge on both parts and can help fill gaps that books sometimes leave behind

    The best CBT material is Trainsignal it shows you in front of a server how to actually do the tasks and not just the theory, such as Learnkey don’t get me wrong Learnkey is great for all the small detailed information that’s why I used both.

    Learnkey for the theory and core understandings and Trainsignal for the hands on it made such a difference in the exams and real world because it gave me so much confidence with applying the knowledge.

    If you prefer classroom training then go with a company that uses MCT's Microsoft Certified Trainers they are the only people allowed to train using official curriculum material. These courses are about 1 week per module but they don’t prepare you for the exams 100% the rest comes from experience but you do learn a lot.

    If you lack experience avoid boot camps they teach you how to pass the exams but not how to do the job. Think about it with MCSE 7 exams the official guide books are about 1000 pages each that takes time to read, absorb, apply and prepare for the exams took me at least 6 months for each exam. 

    Bootcamps just show you what the exams cover and concentrate on that and they do it in less than 2 days that’s working 18 hours a day as well and your doing the course for 14 days on average for MCSE. I did bootcamp for the last 3 exams I only did it to accelerate finishing the MCSE as I had the technical background and experience at that point to do that I only passed one exam in the 7 days but I wasn’t expecting the remaining 3.

    7 months later I finished the last 2 exams and obtained my MCSE I didn’t go back to the bootcamp for those I just finished them at home and filled the gaps with the knowledge I gained from the bootcamp as well as my experience.


    Daniel Meggitt MCP, MCTS: ISA Server 2006 configuration, MCSA, MCSA: Security, MCSE, MCSE: Security, MBCS

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012 1:14 AM
  • Thanks for your repsonse.

    It looks like CompTIA is the way to go, I will start with Strata fundamentals and then A+.

    At what point can you expect to land an entry level IT position?

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012 3:38 PM
  • Thanks for your repsonse.

    It looks like CompTIA is the way to go, I will start with Strata fundamentals and then A+.

    At what point can you expect to land an entry level IT position?


    This is a difficult question to answer at it depends on many factors (country, job market, economy etc).

    When you see answers and helpful posts, please click Vote As Helpful, Propose As Answer, and/or Mark As Answer

    Jeff Wharton
    MSysDev (C.Sturt), MDbDsgnMgt (C.Sturt), MCT, MCPD, MCSD, MCITP, MCDBA
    Blog: Mr. Wharty's Ramblings
    Twitter: @Mr_Wharty
    MC ID: Microsoft Transcript

    Saturday, March 17, 2012 10:51 PM
    Moderator
  • Hello,

    It depends in which field are you going if you are going for hardware o.s or networking the certifications are added advantage. But to pursue career in software I would recommend you to have an IT degree by my experience

    Monday, March 19, 2012 11:17 AM
  • Hello,

    It depends in which field are you going if you are going for hardware o.s or networking the certifications are added advantage. But to pursue career in software I would recommend you to have an IT degree by my experience

    A degree is not always necessary. I worked as a developer for 10yrs (7 of which were at a senior level) before I got my first degree.

    When you see answers and helpful posts, please click Vote As Helpful, Propose As Answer, and/or Mark As Answer

    Jeff Wharton
    MSysDev (C.Sturt), MDbDsgnMgt (C.Sturt), MCT, MCPD, MCSD, MCITP, MCDBA
    Blog: Mr. Wharty's Ramblings
    Twitter: @Mr_Wharty
    MC ID: Microsoft Transcript

    Monday, March 19, 2012 11:21 AM
    Moderator
  • I would start with the Security + (CompTIA) certification. It is a little less technical and should be easiest to pass. Most employers are looking for technicians to have a Security + certification now.

    This would give a good chance of obtaining a position that would allow you to get some hands on experience with Windows before taking the the Microsoft test. If you land a position with certain employers, they may be willing to pay for, or reimburse the training cost.

    Back in 200, I tried to pass a Microsoft test without having any hands on experience and failed. Shortly after I had time in the workforce, I found it was much easier to take the exam.

    I hope this helps.

    Monday, March 19, 2012 1:02 PM