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Getting Hands-On Experience for Cert Exams

 
 
jpersona
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Posts: n/a
 
      04-08-2005
Some brief information before my actual question. I've
been working in different industry for some time now. And
I'm thinking about making a change in career--thinking
about going into the IT industry.

Everywhere and everything I read about getting certified
says the similar thing about prepping for exams. Their
step for certification go like this:

1. read exam info (certification tracks, skills
objectives, etc.)

2. study and/or train (books/guides, self-paced, online,
instructor-led)

3. apply skills to real work/get hands-on training

4. take practice tests

and they all say, #4 and #2 should not be substitutes for
#3.

Isn't #3 sort of a catch-22, at least for people
relatively new to IT (I have some knowledge of networking
but not enough)? How is someone to get experience without
an IT job? Some people might have the equipment
themselves. I have a few pcs lying around, but either
they're not good enough, too old, just not the amount of
pcs to build a network, or don't have the needed software.

So my ultimate question is, how did some of you get your
first IT jobs (and what did you do in those jobs) to have
exposure to networks and equipment such that you received
hands-on experience?
 
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JenH
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Posts: n/a
 
      04-08-2005
"jpersona" wrote:

> Some brief information before my actual question. I've
> been working in different industry for some time now. And
> I'm thinking about making a change in career--thinking
> about going into the IT industry.
>

You are correct - it is a catch 22.

Start at the bottom. I started with a simple DBA job in 93. Worked up to
workstation support (win98/nt3.0) and in 97 was supporting a small NT domain.
99 got my MCSE and since 2000 I've been in a windows engineering position at
a large financial institution. Takes time and hard work. Also, depending on
where you live, you might have to move to where the jobs are.

Some folks have gained experience by working for free at their church or
school.

Take a peak at the current help wanted adds and go towards the hot
technologies. Network and web development are still pretty hot in some areas.

Good luck!

 
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Keyboard Cowboy
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Posts: n/a
 
      04-08-2005

>-----Original Message-----
>Some brief information before my actual question. I've
>been working in different industry for some time now.

And
>I'm thinking about making a change in career--thinking
>about going into the IT industry.
>
>Everywhere and everything I read about getting certified
>says the similar thing about prepping for exams. Their
>step for certification go like this:
>
>1. read exam info (certification tracks, skills
>objectives, etc.)
>
>2. study and/or train (books/guides, self-paced, online,
>instructor-led)
>
>3. apply skills to real work/get hands-on training
>
>4. take practice tests
>
>and they all say, #4 and #2 should not be substitutes for
>#3.
>
>Isn't #3 sort of a catch-22, at least for people
>relatively new to IT (I have some knowledge of networking
>but not enough)? How is someone to get experience

without
>an IT job? Some people might have the equipment
>themselves. I have a few pcs lying around, but either
>they're not good enough, too old, just not the amount of
>pcs to build a network, or don't have the needed software.
>
>So my ultimate question is, how did some of you get your
>first IT jobs (and what did you do in those jobs) to have
>exposure to networks and equipment such that you received
>hands-on experience?
>.


Number 3 can be mulitple things. 1st, you only need 1
working system. get yourself virtualab... it is software
that you can use to make/break/fix/breakagain a virtual
network. or, after plenty of studying, volunteer your
services to a non-profit organization in need of
networking support. not only will you gain invaluable
expereince... but volunteering looks great on a resume.
 
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Darrick West
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      04-08-2005
If you can make time for it, volunteer your time to help local
organizations. Also attend the free seminars sponsored by Microsoft, and
network with others. Build a lab at home. Ebay has proven to be a money
saver.

I've been fortunate to transition from a electronic tech position to IT
helpdesk. I've installed, and configured Windows 9x/NT/2000/2003/XP
clients and servers(manually and unattended), implemented AD,
installed/configured DNS and DHCP, learned how to use Group Policy to create
GPOs for software deployment, resource/user/desktop management, and
enforcing security policies; all in 1.5 years time. I also have a lab at
home based on 2 computers, and several virtual machines for exam prep, and
experimentation. I'm still learning. There's lots for me to learn.

Paper certification just doesn't cut it anymore. Hands-on experience is
very important even if you don't get paid for it.

"jpersona" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:12ef01c53c5f$19ae9a40$(E-Mail Removed)...
> Some brief information before my actual question. I've
> been working in different industry for some time now. And
> I'm thinking about making a change in career--thinking
> about going into the IT industry.
>
> Everywhere and everything I read about getting certified
> says the similar thing about prepping for exams. Their
> step for certification go like this:
>
> 1. read exam info (certification tracks, skills
> objectives, etc.)
>
> 2. study and/or train (books/guides, self-paced, online,
> instructor-led)
>
> 3. apply skills to real work/get hands-on training
>
> 4. take practice tests
>
> and they all say, #4 and #2 should not be substitutes for
> #3.
>
> Isn't #3 sort of a catch-22, at least for people
> relatively new to IT (I have some knowledge of networking
> but not enough)? How is someone to get experience without
> an IT job? Some people might have the equipment
> themselves. I have a few pcs lying around, but either
> they're not good enough, too old, just not the amount of
> pcs to build a network, or don't have the needed software.
>
> So my ultimate question is, how did some of you get your
> first IT jobs (and what did you do in those jobs) to have
> exposure to networks and equipment such that you received
> hands-on experience?



 
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blastingfonda
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      04-09-2005
I do see a lot of job ads for entry level IT positions. But be prepared
for low pay - I wanna say as low as $30,000 annually or less.

If you do get some certs and there are skills in your previous job
(i.e. customer service), play them up in your resume. Oftentimes having
someone who gels well with everyone else on a team is as valuable as
any IT skill.

In any event, you can learn just as much in a lab as you can in a real
job. In fact, sometimes in real jobs, when the issues tend to be
mundane and repetitive (ID10T issues), you can get very stagnant and
not learn much for months, even years. Learning requires a hell of a
lot of commitment, a lot of free time (say goodbye to your social life
for a while), a decent computer that can run VM software and an eval
copy of Windows Server 2003 and some decent books and guides. That's
pretty much all you need.

 
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jpersona
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      04-09-2005
Thanks, guys, for all the responses. Many of you have
mentioned virtual labs/machines, simulations. Could you
recommend some good ones to me? Do they all come packaged
with certification study books one sees at bookstores,
etc.?




>-----Original Message-----
>Some brief information before my actual question. I've
>been working in different industry for some time now.

And
>I'm thinking about making a change in career--thinking
>about going into the IT industry.
>
>Everywhere and everything I read about getting certified
>says the similar thing about prepping for exams. Their
>step for certification go like this:
>
>1. read exam info (certification tracks, skills
>objectives, etc.)
>
>2. study and/or train (books/guides, self-paced, online,
>instructor-led)
>
>3. apply skills to real work/get hands-on training
>
>4. take practice tests
>
>and they all say, #4 and #2 should not be substitutes for
>#3.
>
>Isn't #3 sort of a catch-22, at least for people
>relatively new to IT (I have some knowledge of networking
>but not enough)? How is someone to get experience

without
>an IT job? Some people might have the equipment
>themselves. I have a few pcs lying around, but either
>they're not good enough, too old, just not the amount of
>pcs to build a network, or don't have the needed software.
>
>So my ultimate question is, how did some of you get your
>first IT jobs (and what did you do in those jobs) to have
>exposure to networks and equipment such that you received
>hands-on experience?
>.
>

 
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blastingfonda
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      04-10-2005
jpersona wrote:
> Thanks, guys, for all the responses. Many of you have
> mentioned virtual labs/machines, simulations. Could you
> recommend some good ones to me? Do they all come packaged
> with certification study books one sees at bookstores,
> etc.?


Here's a breakdown of virtual machine software. Anyone can add
corrections or additions:

Microsoft Virtual Server 2005
Free Evaluation Trial Time: 180 days
OSes it can run on: 2003, XP.
OSes it can host: only 2003 and 2000 Server.
Ease of use: Medium - requires a little configuration of IIS

Microsoft Virtual PC
Free Evaluation Trial Time: 45 days
OSes it can run on: XP, 2003, 2000 Pro, Mac OS X.
OSes it can host: All Win OSes as far back as Win 95 and DOS 6.22 all
the way up to XP and 2003. I've heard it can run flavors of Linux as
well.
Ease of use: Easy

VMWare
Free Evaluation Trial Time: 30 days
OSes it can run on: XP, 2003, 2000, NT, Linux
OSes it can host: All flavors of Windows and Linux
Ease of use: Easy from what I hear.

All evaluation copies are freely downloadable off Microsoft and
VMWare's site. Also can download a free 180-day trial version of
Windows Server 2003 as well.

 
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catwalker63
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      04-10-2005

And don't forget, LOTS of RAM!

--
Catwalker
aka Pu$$y Feet
BS, MCP, MCSA
MCNGP #43
www.mcngp.com
faq.mcngp.com
"If man could be crossed with the cat, it would improve man, but it would
deteriorate the cat." Mark Twain
 
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jpersona
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      04-10-2005

1. when running virtual machine and OS/software like
Windows Server (see blastingfonda's replies), i'll need to
build a small network, correct? is there any benefit to
running VM and only learning from one computer (no
network)?

2. what's the minimum # comps i'll need in my network?
three? two?

3. concerning books/guides and the software that come with
them (their usually simulation lab software), are there
any that come separately by themselves? suggestions of
good ones?

4. what if i want to learn networking for non-Microsoft
equipment? e.g. Cisco's CCNA is for their routers and
switches. is the only way to go using simulation progs
mentioned in #3 that come in books/guides (such as Boson's
NetSim prog for Cisco switches/routers)? Or can learning
by done through VM?

sorry if a post containing Cisco may bother anyone. i
thinking about doing both Microsoft and Cisco certs.


>-----Original Message-----
>Some brief information before my actual question. I've
>been working in different industry for some time now.

And
>I'm thinking about making a change in career--thinking
>about going into the IT industry.
>
>Everywhere and everything I read about getting certified
>says the similar thing about prepping for exams. Their
>step for certification go like this:
>
>1. read exam info (certification tracks, skills
>objectives, etc.)
>
>2. study and/or train (books/guides, self-paced, online,
>instructor-led)
>
>3. apply skills to real work/get hands-on training
>
>4. take practice tests
>
>and they all say, #4 and #2 should not be substitutes for
>#3.
>
>Isn't #3 sort of a catch-22, at least for people
>relatively new to IT (I have some knowledge of networking
>but not enough)? How is someone to get experience

without
>an IT job? Some people might have the equipment
>themselves. I have a few pcs lying around, but either
>they're not good enough, too old, just not the amount of
>pcs to build a network, or don't have the needed software.
>
>So my ultimate question is, how did some of you get your
>first IT jobs (and what did you do in those jobs) to have
>exposure to networks and equipment such that you received
>hands-on experience?
>.
>

 
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jpersona
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      04-10-2005
what company makes virtualab? is it this following link:

http://www.techonline.com/community/...urce/virtualab

i think that's probably the wrong application. the site
says that it's an online development tool.

please provide some more information about this virtualab
that you have. i haven't been able to find anything on it
or where to buy it.



>-----Original Message-----
>
>>-----Original Message-----
>>Some brief information before my actual question. I've
>>been working in different industry for some time now.

>And
>>I'm thinking about making a change in career--thinking
>>about going into the IT industry.
>>
>>Everywhere and everything I read about getting certified
>>says the similar thing about prepping for exams. Their
>>step for certification go like this:
>>
>>1. read exam info (certification tracks, skills
>>objectives, etc.)
>>
>>2. study and/or train (books/guides, self-paced, online,
>>instructor-led)
>>
>>3. apply skills to real work/get hands-on training
>>
>>4. take practice tests
>>
>>and they all say, #4 and #2 should not be substitutes

for
>>#3.
>>
>>Isn't #3 sort of a catch-22, at least for people
>>relatively new to IT (I have some knowledge of

networking
>>but not enough)? How is someone to get experience

>without
>>an IT job? Some people might have the equipment
>>themselves. I have a few pcs lying around, but either
>>they're not good enough, too old, just not the amount of
>>pcs to build a network, or don't have the needed

software.
>>
>>So my ultimate question is, how did some of you get your
>>first IT jobs (and what did you do in those jobs) to

have
>>exposure to networks and equipment such that you

received
>>hands-on experience?
>>.

>
>Number 3 can be mulitple things. 1st, you only need 1
>working system. get yourself virtualab... it is

software
>that you can use to make/break/fix/breakagain a virtual
>network. or, after plenty of studying, volunteer your
>services to a non-profit organization in need of
>networking support. not only will you gain invaluable
>expereince... but volunteering looks great on a resume.
>.
>

 
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