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  • Question

  • Im new to the forum, at the moment i dont have any MS qualifications and i've been posting a bit on a few forums about the best method to start with based on where i work and what i work with, luckily i bumped into a MS trainer on a forum and he explained and suggested a few exams that could get me started, the "jist" of it is -

    Im 20, IT Technician at a Secondary School, only formal qualifications are 2 BTEC Diploma's, im looking at excelling my IT career but to start i need to get some experience behind me, i've just passed my first year of working experience and so far its enjoyable apart from the kids *joke*.

    The courses im looking at doing are the -

    Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician (MCDST)

    1) Exam 70-271

    2) Exam 70-272

    And finaly Microsoft Certidied IT Professional (MCTIP) upgrade exam

    1) Exam 70-682

    With regards to funding it looks like ill be paying from my own back, there may be possible funding from where i work but ill cross that bridge later, unless there's offers out there for educational support staff?....

    Im hoping to just buy the relevant exam books and use the software/hardware at work to practise instead of having classroom time, i doubt ill be able to afford much of it.

    If i remember correctly i have one of the XP exam books but ill have to purchase the others, any suggestion of suppliers?, if not ill use amazon or something.

    So would any of you give any more suggestions or would you say that doing it this way is a good/adaquate way of a starting point?.

     

    Techie_89

     

    Monday, April 19, 2010 10:34 AM

Answers

  • Desktop support is probably a good place to start out. As a field tech you get to see the network side of things, understand how the end users use the technology that you are supporting, and gain general experience in the field. As an IT manager I can say that, at least in my book, a person with field tech experience is going to be a more valuable person on my team than a person with Admin certifications and no field experience. If you can find a good working environment, do a good job, and build your certifications, you should have no problem moving up in the direction you want to go.

    As far as sources for books I would suggest looking for used copies if they are available, to keep costs down. Save the books that you find useful so that you can go back to them for reference later on and consider selling the ones that are just OK. Keep in mind that there may not be one single book that covers all your needs for any given cert exam, so if you don't feel that the one you are using covered the material well enough try a second book. Also keep in mind when picking books to buy that online reviews of books often make claims about the ability of a book to prepare you for certification - these assesments may be close, completely off base, or anything in between your own assesment of that same book. I just recently found one book that was highly recommended on Amazon to be quite inadequate preparation for the exam I was taking. I very mucgh prefer to look at the book in person, read over the table of contents, read a little from various parts of the middle, and check the index so that I can make my own judgements whenever possible. Everyone has different levels of experience and the exams change with time and most often those things are not represented in the reviews in enough detail to be very useful.

    Setup a decent computer at home and install a virtual copy of the OS/software package that you are working on - this will allow you to roll back as regularly as needed without impacting your ability to have a reliable computer for your other needs. Having a classroom lab can be nice, but if you have access to the software that you are training on (many books come with trial versions) there is no reason that your home learning setup cannot be just as, if not more useful than, the training lab.

    One last suggestion. As you work on these certificiations, keep in mind that your goal is to be able to apply this knowledge in the field, not just to get some piece of paper. Try to think of what you are working learning on in terms of how you have seen this in the field, or how you might see it in the field. The understanding that you may already have from your experience will put you one step ahead of those who have no experience in terms of being able to understand how to apply the concepts you run into in the process of certifying, so take advantage of that. You will always do well on the exams if you take the time to understand the material, but you are unlikely to do well in real life if all you do is memorize the book...

    - Randy

    • Marked as answer by Techie_89 Tuesday, April 20, 2010 10:06 AM
    Monday, April 19, 2010 9:30 PM
  • Hi Andy,

    I'd have to disagree with going for the MCSE path. Server 2003, whilst still in use in many companies (including my workplace) is quickly trundling along to its end of support life, at which point the qualification becomes technically defunct.

    I would suggest looking at the server 2008 MCTS qualifications. The stuff you learn is backwards compatible, and you only require one exam for each qualification. You can run server 2008 in virtual labs to learn from as well. From there you can move up to the MCITP - Server Administrator and MCITP - Enterprise Administrator exams

    Oh, and its possible to mark as many posts as necessary as answers if more than one combine to provide the answer


    MCP, MCDST, MCTS x 5, MCITP x 2

    Please don't forget to mark this post as an answer if it is the solution to your problem!

    If you like trance music, please listen to my radio show, by subscribing to the Trancendance Podcast, or by listening to the show as it airs on the third Wednesday of every month at 4pm (London Time)on www.slinky.fm

    View my MCP Certifications
    • Proposed as answer by Brian_Jones Tuesday, April 20, 2010 10:43 PM
    • Marked as answer by Techie_89 Wednesday, April 21, 2010 10:42 AM
    Tuesday, April 20, 2010 10:42 PM
  • Andy,

    A pint will never go amiss here ;)  You can download VirtualPC from Microsoft for free, just keep in mind that you can only use the x86 versions of the Windows OS using that software. You can download a limited version of VMWare if you need to install the x64 versions, but either will work fine with any of the MS Office software. Check the Microsoft websites for trial versions of software as well, as they regularly have trial versions of new stuff that you can use to learn on.

    - Randy

    • Marked as answer by Techie_89 Tuesday, April 27, 2010 6:40 PM
    Wednesday, April 21, 2010 1:36 PM
  • Hi Techie -

      Great to hear your story and all that is going on in your path to getting some certifications under your belt. Regarding your study preparations, I have used PrepLogic in the past and they have been good. They have a lot of like free guides and stuff if you are worried about money. Going for your MCITP is a huge thing, but you can do it if you study hard and really hunker down.

    • Marked as answer by Techie_89 Tuesday, April 27, 2010 6:40 PM
    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 6:26 PM

All replies

  • Hello Techie_89,

    How are you?

    I truly respect your thoughts on getting the Microsoft Certifications and increasing your knowledge.

    Truly speaking,Its a good step you have taken.

    Going through your question you are an IT Technician;the courses what you are looking for is a good start.Do you handle servers for your school?

    Could you please elaborate more on your job profile,so that I would be able to clearly understand your work and then proceed.

    Yes,buying books and practicing questions from them , its a good start and book knowledge will increase your understanding .

    You are on the right path.

    All the very best & contact me if any help required.

    Thank you,

    With Best Regards,

    Nilay K Sangani

     

    Monday, April 19, 2010 1:58 PM
  • Hi Nilay

    Im fine thanks, and you?.

    Thanks, i've had a year out not learning anything so i thought its about right time to start again.

    Answear to your questions is yes we handle servers, i do simple administration tasks, computer image ghosting this is regarding all aspects of ghosting as well image taking, inserting extra software ect ect, we have virtual servers, email 2003, domain controllers server 2003, data server and so on.

    My day to day duties can be varied but it can be anything from delivering laptops to installing a full computer suite.

     

    Andy

    Monday, April 19, 2010 3:07 PM
  • Desktop support is probably a good place to start out. As a field tech you get to see the network side of things, understand how the end users use the technology that you are supporting, and gain general experience in the field. As an IT manager I can say that, at least in my book, a person with field tech experience is going to be a more valuable person on my team than a person with Admin certifications and no field experience. If you can find a good working environment, do a good job, and build your certifications, you should have no problem moving up in the direction you want to go.

    As far as sources for books I would suggest looking for used copies if they are available, to keep costs down. Save the books that you find useful so that you can go back to them for reference later on and consider selling the ones that are just OK. Keep in mind that there may not be one single book that covers all your needs for any given cert exam, so if you don't feel that the one you are using covered the material well enough try a second book. Also keep in mind when picking books to buy that online reviews of books often make claims about the ability of a book to prepare you for certification - these assesments may be close, completely off base, or anything in between your own assesment of that same book. I just recently found one book that was highly recommended on Amazon to be quite inadequate preparation for the exam I was taking. I very mucgh prefer to look at the book in person, read over the table of contents, read a little from various parts of the middle, and check the index so that I can make my own judgements whenever possible. Everyone has different levels of experience and the exams change with time and most often those things are not represented in the reviews in enough detail to be very useful.

    Setup a decent computer at home and install a virtual copy of the OS/software package that you are working on - this will allow you to roll back as regularly as needed without impacting your ability to have a reliable computer for your other needs. Having a classroom lab can be nice, but if you have access to the software that you are training on (many books come with trial versions) there is no reason that your home learning setup cannot be just as, if not more useful than, the training lab.

    One last suggestion. As you work on these certificiations, keep in mind that your goal is to be able to apply this knowledge in the field, not just to get some piece of paper. Try to think of what you are working learning on in terms of how you have seen this in the field, or how you might see it in the field. The understanding that you may already have from your experience will put you one step ahead of those who have no experience in terms of being able to understand how to apply the concepts you run into in the process of certifying, so take advantage of that. You will always do well on the exams if you take the time to understand the material, but you are unlikely to do well in real life if all you do is memorize the book...

    - Randy

    • Marked as answer by Techie_89 Tuesday, April 20, 2010 10:06 AM
    Monday, April 19, 2010 9:30 PM
  • Hi Techie,

    You can pick the books up second hand on ebay for pennies. The practice tests at the back are an extremely good resource and I have not yet managed to fail an exam which I had passed these tests. Including the three exams you are looking to take.

    Microsoft Certfication is a must in this day and age (especially in the UK).

    In addition to Randall's comments, I would say to let it be known to your friends and contacts that you don't mind helping them with their problems. This is a free and easy way to come across problems and learn how to solve them.

    Once you have your Microsoft certifications, you should hopefully be able to find a nice helpdesk type job with a small firm (they are more likely to give you a break in my experience) to get you into things gently.

    Hit me up tomorrow and if things have gone well for me, i'll sort you out some exam vouchers.


    MCP, MCDST, MCTS x 5, MCITP x 2

    Please don't forget to mark this post as an answer if it is the solution to your problem!

    If you like trance music, please listen to my radio show, by subscribing to the Trancendance Podcast, or by listening to the show as it airs on the third Wednesday of every month at 4pm (London Time)on www.slinky.fm

    View my MCP Certifications
    • Proposed as answer by Brian_Jones Tuesday, April 20, 2010 9:15 AM
    Tuesday, April 20, 2010 9:14 AM
  • Desktop support is probably a good place to start out. As a field tech you get to see the network side of things, understand how the end users use the technology that you are supporting, and gain general experience in the field. As an IT manager I can say that, at least in my book, a person with field tech experience is going to be a more valuable person on my team than a person with Admin certifications and no field experience. If you can find a good working environment, do a good job, and build your certifications, you should have no problem moving up in the direction you want to go.

    As far as sources for books I would suggest looking for used copies if they are available, to keep costs down. Save the books that you find useful so that you can go back to them for reference later on and consider selling the ones that are just OK. Keep in mind that there may not be one single book that covers all your needs for any given cert exam, so if you don't feel that the one you are using covered the material well enough try a second book. Also keep in mind when picking books to buy that online reviews of books often make claims about the ability of a book to prepare you for certification - these assesments may be close, completely off base, or anything in between your own assesment of that same book. I just recently found one book that was highly recommended on Amazon to be quite inadequate preparation for the exam I was taking. I very mucgh prefer to look at the book in person, read over the table of contents, read a little from various parts of the middle, and check the index so that I can make my own judgements whenever possible. Everyone has different levels of experience and the exams change with time and most often those things are not represented in the reviews in enough detail to be very useful.

    Setup a decent computer at home and install a virtual copy of the OS/software package that you are working on - this will allow you to roll back as regularly as needed without impacting your ability to have a reliable computer for your other needs. Having a classroom lab can be nice, but if you have access to the software that you are training on (many books come with trial versions) there is no reason that your home learning setup cannot be just as, if not more useful than, the training lab.

    One last suggestion. As you work on these certificiations, keep in mind that your goal is to be able to apply this knowledge in the field, not just to get some piece of paper. Try to think of what you are working learning on in terms of how you have seen this in the field, or how you might see it in the field. The understanding that you may already have from your experience will put you one step ahead of those who have no experience in terms of being able to understand how to apply the concepts you run into in the process of certifying, so take advantage of that. You will always do well on the exams if you take the time to understand the material, but you are unlikely to do well in real life if all you do is memorize the book...

    - Randy

    I looked at the best exams to start with that hit two criteria, 1) would be practical to use within my job and 2) would be suitable for a beginner.

    I think doing these 3 hit the nail on the head really, with all your views also just confirmed the choice, i wouldnt be me if i didnt double check on things :).

    Im hoping that it will help me within my job, as far as i can make out if i do the exams ill be the only one with MS qualifications under my belt, starting on these 3 and then moving on to bigger and better things.

    With regards to books, i've been googling the best research methods for each, as far as i can make out from reviews and opinions there are adaquate books available for all 3 exams although as you stated i need to put my personal stamp on each. Surprisingly i have 2 2000 MS books and 2 server 2003 training books which arre ideal for future exams as our workplace still usues server 2003 and im getting quite "nifty" with the OS.

    I didnt think about using a virtual machine to help me out with testing at home, Sir i owe you a pint or 3 for that one, what software would you suggest using?, i've heard of virtual box and ?VNC? (correct?), iirc virtual box could be useful for that, i will have to upgrade my RAM at home apart from that the PC will work fine with everyting else, (PC has been systamtically upgraded to 3ghz dual core soon to be quad core).

    I beleive you have answeared and provided me with what i need and more and have such marked your post as the answear, thankyou muchly and look forward to posting here again in the future.

    Andy

     

    Tuesday, April 20, 2010 10:17 AM
  • Hi Brian

    Thanks for the suggestion i have also been looking on ebay, currently have a few on watch that im going to bid on.

    Luckily for me i havent really had to say that im willing to help anyone family and friends, they know me and always ask a favour if they need anything and so far i've fixed quite a few problems, especially laptops (strange they go wrong so much, kids eh?).

     

    Thanks again for the help.

     

    Andy

    Tuesday, April 20, 2010 10:19 AM
  • Hello Andy,

    I see , the i also suggest you to go for MCSE Certification as you are involved with the OS,Server's etc.

    It will boost up your profile.

    As suggested by other people too,you can carry on .

    But make sure  you get the working knowledge.

    Thanks,

    Nilay K Sangani

    Tuesday, April 20, 2010 12:38 PM
  • Hello Andy,

    I see , the i also suggest you to go for MCSE Certification as you are involved with the OS,Server's etc.

    It will boost up your profile.

    As suggested by other people too,you can carry on .

    But make sure  you get the working knowledge.

    Thanks,

    Nilay K Sangani

    Hi Nilay

     

    I shall investigate them further, but im sure it'll be the next one for me after these, i can pretty much get started now i have everything.

    Thankyou to all for the suggestions and help given.

    Tuesday, April 20, 2010 12:52 PM
  • Hi Andy,

    I'd have to disagree with going for the MCSE path. Server 2003, whilst still in use in many companies (including my workplace) is quickly trundling along to its end of support life, at which point the qualification becomes technically defunct.

    I would suggest looking at the server 2008 MCTS qualifications. The stuff you learn is backwards compatible, and you only require one exam for each qualification. You can run server 2008 in virtual labs to learn from as well. From there you can move up to the MCITP - Server Administrator and MCITP - Enterprise Administrator exams

    Oh, and its possible to mark as many posts as necessary as answers if more than one combine to provide the answer


    MCP, MCDST, MCTS x 5, MCITP x 2

    Please don't forget to mark this post as an answer if it is the solution to your problem!

    If you like trance music, please listen to my radio show, by subscribing to the Trancendance Podcast, or by listening to the show as it airs on the third Wednesday of every month at 4pm (London Time)on www.slinky.fm

    View my MCP Certifications
    • Proposed as answer by Brian_Jones Tuesday, April 20, 2010 10:43 PM
    • Marked as answer by Techie_89 Wednesday, April 21, 2010 10:42 AM
    Tuesday, April 20, 2010 10:42 PM
  • I see your point with that, i will be looking into the server based exams later, we do currently have a small virtual test network set up already using WIN 7 and server 2008 and what i've seen so far it looks like a vast improvement compared to 2003, just this week we've had to consider upgrading due to password policy problems or should i say lack of password policies.

    Thanks again i've marked yours as an answer for pointing me in the right direction with server 2008.

    Wednesday, April 21, 2010 10:45 AM
  • Andy,

    A pint will never go amiss here ;)  You can download VirtualPC from Microsoft for free, just keep in mind that you can only use the x86 versions of the Windows OS using that software. You can download a limited version of VMWare if you need to install the x64 versions, but either will work fine with any of the MS Office software. Check the Microsoft websites for trial versions of software as well, as they regularly have trial versions of new stuff that you can use to learn on.

    - Randy

    • Marked as answer by Techie_89 Tuesday, April 27, 2010 6:40 PM
    Wednesday, April 21, 2010 1:36 PM
  • Hi Techie -

      Great to hear your story and all that is going on in your path to getting some certifications under your belt. Regarding your study preparations, I have used PrepLogic in the past and they have been good. They have a lot of like free guides and stuff if you are worried about money. Going for your MCITP is a huge thing, but you can do it if you study hard and really hunker down.

    • Marked as answer by Techie_89 Tuesday, April 27, 2010 6:40 PM
    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 6:26 PM
  • Andy,

    A pint will never go amiss here ;)  You can download VirtualPC from Microsoft for free, just keep in mind that you can only use the x86 versions of the Windows OS using that software. You can download a limited version of VMWare if you need to install the x64 versions, but either will work fine with any of the MS Office software. Check the Microsoft websites for trial versions of software as well, as they regularly have trial versions of new stuff that you can use to learn on.

    - Randy

    I already have virtual XP installed on my current software, i got the name wrong its called virtual box, a better freeware application imho for what im going to do, thanks for all the help gents it is appreciated, i've just purchased the first two exam books and just require the upgrade information pack and im set, the first two should be with me by friday so happy days, also possible good news, work said they'd part fund the courses with me which is a really bonus.
    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 6:39 PM
  • Thanks mdots89, everyone's really helped me out and im sure if my knowledge is sound ill be taking my exams in a few months time if not then ill nuckle down and get on my way.

    Thanks for the link seems quite a good informative site, shall have a looky through (Y)

    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 6:40 PM
  • No problem at all!
    Tuesday, May 4, 2010 8:23 PM