none
IT certification study tips... RRS feed

  • Question

  • ...or just study tips in general.

    Back in High School I never really mastered the art/science of studying too well. Back then my plan for the future was to "just get a job and 'be'". Well after working in various factories as a temp for about year I decided that was for the birds. So about 10 years ago I started my IT career. I've done decent I guess but every job I've gotten in the past has been because of connections to the company. Either people knew me or my family or had been past co-workers who moved up to a hiring position at a different company and subsequently offered me a job. Now I'm at a point where I need to rely on my own skills, and thus training and certifications to gain said skills. (I know what some are thinking, certs don't mean everything and that skills/experience carry more weight but in my situation I'm not able to gain any more skills until I get another job which I think the certs will assist in doing so). So, I'm back to studying again and I'm running into the same issues I did back in the day. Losing focus, not comprehending what I'm reading, finding time to do meaningful studies. I should mention here I have a full time job, home duties and a 14 month old son who goes NON STOP. I'm wondering if any of you who have an impressive alphabet soup after their names have any suggestions for studying for and successfully passing IT certifications? I do have A+, Network+, Server+ and MCP but I acquired those back when life was a little simpler. Currently I'm working on CCNA and then will move back to the Microsoft Certs and go for either MCSA/MCSE or the newer ones that cover Server 2008. One of the biggest issues I'm facing is that I work in a fairly small shop so I don't get hands on experience with much. We do have a 2003 AD network and an Exchange 2003 server as well as a few single database SQL 2005/2008 servers.

    Any help would be more than appreciated.

    -Matt
    Monday, May 31, 2010 5:11 PM

Answers

  • Hi,

    Well quite a handful there for you. There is no one way to achieve success but i can offer my personal experience and method!

    With regards to your ccna study, i do no there are loads of router simulators (software) out there that are very easy to install and use on your client pc/laptop. So my suggestion is in addition to your study materials get a simulator that can help you simulate networks, create vpns, access lists and a coupls of network stuffs and that way learning will be easy. plus you can play around the simulators and not be scared of destroying and rebuilding your network as everything is a test environment, also you can find time for that while at work, probably sacrifice some of your tea time and lunch time to do that.

    e.g. http://www.certification-crazy.net/router_simulators.htm (a couple of free sims for download!)

    With regards to the microsoft exams i'll suggest you visit the microsoft learning site when you are ready to get up-to-date information as to the best path to take when you aim for a certification, also some exams have been retired and some will be retired so its best you are well informed! http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/certification/cert-overview.aspx

    With regards to studying for it you can learn a lot since you already work in the environment. So lets say for example you are reading about AD you can easily visit your console not for practice but to view (sample views and where to find objects) the way things are!

    Hope this helps.

    Wednesday, June 2, 2010 1:33 PM
  • Hi Matt,

    I would suggest that you check out the MS certification web site for information and learning plans (as suggested by Damilola).  This will give you quite a bit of information and a path that you can follow to help prepare you for taking the exams.  Since you have already taken a few exams you have a pretty good idea of the level of knowledge that is required and the environment in which the exams are taken.

    Other than that I have to agree that it is difficult to find the time to prepare.  For me what I have found is that I need to commit to chuncks of time where, just like work, I am focused on studying and exam preparation.  If you find it difficult to stay focused you may find it easier to allocate shorter times to do this.  Possibly you could spend some time early in the morning, at lunch or before bed to read and practice.  Luckily much of Microsofts software is available as trials that you can get for free.  You will need to have some hardware on which you can install and work with the products.  I have found it useful to use 'boot to VHD', virtual machines and or swap out physical hard drives to do this.  I have found that my family is understanding of my taking the time to study as it utilmately benefits everyone as employment opportunities improve.

    Best of luck!

    Sunday, June 6, 2010 4:31 AM

All replies

  • Hi,

    Well quite a handful there for you. There is no one way to achieve success but i can offer my personal experience and method!

    With regards to your ccna study, i do no there are loads of router simulators (software) out there that are very easy to install and use on your client pc/laptop. So my suggestion is in addition to your study materials get a simulator that can help you simulate networks, create vpns, access lists and a coupls of network stuffs and that way learning will be easy. plus you can play around the simulators and not be scared of destroying and rebuilding your network as everything is a test environment, also you can find time for that while at work, probably sacrifice some of your tea time and lunch time to do that.

    e.g. http://www.certification-crazy.net/router_simulators.htm (a couple of free sims for download!)

    With regards to the microsoft exams i'll suggest you visit the microsoft learning site when you are ready to get up-to-date information as to the best path to take when you aim for a certification, also some exams have been retired and some will be retired so its best you are well informed! http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/certification/cert-overview.aspx

    With regards to studying for it you can learn a lot since you already work in the environment. So lets say for example you are reading about AD you can easily visit your console not for practice but to view (sample views and where to find objects) the way things are!

    Hope this helps.

    Wednesday, June 2, 2010 1:33 PM
  • Hi Matt,

    I would suggest that you check out the MS certification web site for information and learning plans (as suggested by Damilola).  This will give you quite a bit of information and a path that you can follow to help prepare you for taking the exams.  Since you have already taken a few exams you have a pretty good idea of the level of knowledge that is required and the environment in which the exams are taken.

    Other than that I have to agree that it is difficult to find the time to prepare.  For me what I have found is that I need to commit to chuncks of time where, just like work, I am focused on studying and exam preparation.  If you find it difficult to stay focused you may find it easier to allocate shorter times to do this.  Possibly you could spend some time early in the morning, at lunch or before bed to read and practice.  Luckily much of Microsofts software is available as trials that you can get for free.  You will need to have some hardware on which you can install and work with the products.  I have found it useful to use 'boot to VHD', virtual machines and or swap out physical hard drives to do this.  I have found that my family is understanding of my taking the time to study as it utilmately benefits everyone as employment opportunities improve.

    Best of luck!

    Sunday, June 6, 2010 4:31 AM