wanting to do MCSA (it's a bit long tho)

Discussion in 'MCSA' started by richard, Feb 6, 2004.

  1. richard

    richard Guest

    I'm new (ish) to this group, and I am in need of advice.

    I'm looking at expanding my computer horizons, and have selected Networking
    as both a challenge and a new area of computers. Allow me to explain :

    I started playing with computers in school, when a network of BBC B
    computers was the IT of more wealthy schools in the UK. I became reasonably
    affluent with BASIC until the first 386 PC's were introduced into our
    school. I immediately felt 'connected' (there's no other way of describing
    it) to DOS, finding my way around the system with little help. In college we
    were introduced to Windows For Workgroups, and after quitting college and
    getting a full time job, I bought my own PC. I ran Win95 till it was so
    quick, my Pentium 75 could play games,etc that were designed for P133's.
    Fast forward a few years, I got Windows 98, whilst my parents bought a PC
    and swore at Windows ME, which I have had to sort out on several occasions.
    Now I run Windows 2000 Pro on a home-built PC, I use XP Pro at work which
    accesses a UNIX server, and have sorted out lots of PC problems, from stuck
    mice to systems crashing at boot. My next project is to network my flat,
    allowing my flatmate access to the net, and also to link my laptop to my
    desktop for a separate net access point. All this without any formal
    training. I have helped set up a couple of small systems, one including XP
    vs. Mac OSX (easy) and I have learned by experience, and I beleive that
    experience counts these days, especially when it comes to employment.

    And here are the questions :

    Based on my history, what do I need to do to improve my skills at
    networking?

    I am thinking of taking the A+ exam firstly, to get a cert. for my skills.
    Then progressing to MCSA. Is this a wise route?

    As I am based in the UK, what prospects are there for me gaining 'field
    experince' in networked computer enviroments?

    Regards

    Rich
     
    richard, Feb 6, 2004
    #1
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  2. richard

    JaR Guest

    "richard" <> wrote in message
    news:4024226f$0$3935$...
    >>

    > Based on my history, what do I need to do to improve my skills at
    > networking?
    >
    > I am thinking of taking the A+ exam firstly, to get a cert. for my skills.
    > Then progressing to MCSA. Is this a wise route?
    >
    > As I am based in the UK, what prospects are there for me gaining 'field
    > experince' in networked computer enviroments?
    >

    The A+ and Net+ are a great way to get your feet wet. Especially as they
    count as electives for the MCSA. How far you care to take your certs from
    there depends largly on what your interests are.

    As far as practical experience goes, jobs are scarce in the IT field right
    now, and likely to stay that way for a while. You may want to check into
    volunteering for schools, churches, community groups, etc.

    Once you get your A+ and Net+, check out the courseware requirements listed
    at: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/default.asp
    to see where to go next. Either Windows 2000 Pro or Windows XP pro are
    logical first steps.

    Good luck and have fun, but don't go into this expecting the world to open
    it's golden gates because you are Microsoft certified.

    JaR
    A+ Net+ MCSA MCNGP#22
     
    JaR, Feb 6, 2004
    #2
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  3. richard

    Phil Maceri Guest

    A+ is no doubt good, but chances are you already know most of what would be covered on the exam and or the stuff you don't already know you probably don't want to or need to know because it is useless. And I don't think A+ is going to help you that much to get a job. I myself started out with the windows xp exam which is a requirement of the mcsa. I know you are thinking, well I already know windows xp, but really in essence when you study for the exam you are really learning beginning networking from the software perspective. Also you are learning desktop adminstration with the windows xp exam

    I think an mcp in windows xp is better than an A+ because A+ is essentially hardware installations and troubleshooting, and employers almost take it for granted that you know hardware anyway. When they the mcp for an operating system such as windows xp you are more likely to appear well balance and diverse.

    That is just my opinion. If you decide to take windows xp the next step for you would be to take windows server 2003 which really starts getting into more advanced networking concepts.
     
    Phil Maceri, Feb 7, 2004
    #3
  4. richard

    Guest Guest

    I would think with your background you would have no
    problem with the A+ certification. When I sat for that A+
    test the only thing that I brushed up on was the address
    for the com ports, the number of pins on the older
    memory, and different speeds for the different processors
    that came on way back when (you tend to forget that stuff
    when working with mostly software). Other then that I was
    in and out of each test in about 10 minutes. While
    personally I would look at the A+ cert as being a waste
    of time (I've not done the new one yet). There are
    employers that only know buzz words and A+ certification
    was / is one of those buzz words that they know. I even
    ran across a want ad where it said you had to have A+
    certification and that no amount of experience or any
    other cert could be substituted for the A+.
    So A+ is nice to have under your belt. Since your going
    to take one (over priced) Comptia test and you will have
    the electives for MCSA out of the way. You may as well go
    for the Network+ test. Then you can start on your MCSE.
    On the way to MCSE you will end up with your MCSA since 3
    of the cores for MCSE is needed for MCSA also.

    As for the experience... If you have a couple certs under
    your belt there may be a few companies willing to take
    you on (at a low pay scale). I'm not sure what type of
    free time you have. But there is bound to be smaller
    places that do networking that you could talk your way
    into. Explain your past experience to them and your need
    to have some networking experience and they may let you
    come on a few jobs and may even give you a few bucks for
    helping them out. Since your in the UK I don't know how
    the job market is doing there, for all I know companies
    are starving for people. Over here in the US we don't
    have that problem and the companies seem to know that. So
    getting a job is hard enough. Getting a good paying job
    is just that much harder.

    >-----Original Message-----
    >I'm new (ish) to this group, and I am in need of advice.
    >
    >I'm looking at expanding my computer horizons, and have

    selected Networking
    >as both a challenge and a new area of computers. Allow

    me to explain :
    >
    >I started playing with computers in school, when a

    network of BBC B
    >computers was the IT of more wealthy schools in the UK.

    I became reasonably
    >affluent with BASIC until the first 386 PC's were

    introduced into our
    >school. I immediately felt 'connected' (there's no

    other way of describing
    >it) to DOS, finding my way around the system with little

    help. In college we
    >were introduced to Windows For Workgroups, and after

    quitting college and
    >getting a full time job, I bought my own PC. I ran

    Win95 till it was so
    >quick, my Pentium 75 could play games,etc that were

    designed for P133's.
    >Fast forward a few years, I got Windows 98, whilst my

    parents bought a PC
    >and swore at Windows ME, which I have had to sort out on

    several occasions.
    >Now I run Windows 2000 Pro on a home-built PC, I use XP

    Pro at work which
    >accesses a UNIX server, and have sorted out lots of PC

    problems, from stuck
    >mice to systems crashing at boot. My next project is to

    network my flat,
    >allowing my flatmate access to the net, and also to link

    my laptop to my
    >desktop for a separate net access point. All this

    without any formal
    >training. I have helped set up a couple of small

    systems, one including XP
    >vs. Mac OSX (easy) and I have learned by experience, and

    I beleive that
    >experience counts these days, especially when it comes

    to employment.
    >
    >And here are the questions :
    >
    >Based on my history, what do I need to do to improve my

    skills at
    >networking?
    >
    >I am thinking of taking the A+ exam firstly, to get a

    cert. for my skills.
    >Then progressing to MCSA. Is this a wise route?
    >
    >As I am based in the UK, what prospects are there for me

    gaining 'field
    >experince' in networked computer enviroments?
    >
    >Regards
    >
    >Rich
    >
    >
    >.
    >
     
    Guest, Feb 7, 2004
    #4
  5. richard

    Marko Guest

    Richard: All the advice offered so far is good. Very good

    To Richard and others who see themselves at his level,
    I offer this: Realise that you have been willing to do a lot
    of IT work for no money. Setting up small networks for
    friends; trouble shooting problems at work, when IT was
    not in the job description; generally saving others money
    when they may have thought about thumbing through the
    local phone book for an IT person to pay to do that same
    work. This is one reason why IT is not seen by many as
    a profession employing professionals: it seems just about
    anybody can fix computers, software and network problems
    with just a little knowledge. If you have a little more
    knowledge, you may get paid for IT, but, generally, you nee
    a lot of extra knowledge for a reasonable job in IT

    In essence, I feel that, unless you are a standout person
    in personality as well as proficiency, a career in IT is difficul
    to develop, certainly requiring some very strong foundations

    I would suggest that those who try and land jobs with large
    solid companies, that would allow you to show off an
    develop IT skills secondary to your primary role with that firm
    have a very good chance to work IT as a career, although i
    may not start out that way

    I know of a fork lift driver for a freight company who solve
    IT issues until he was moved full time to this role

    I know of an accounts clerk who was fixing all sorts of IT issue
    for years until SHE was renamed the Chief Information Officer

    I know of the guy who dabbled at home for friends and famil
    and was a school teacher who now heads IT studies and is th
    main person to look after that schools network

    With all the Burger King and McDonalds jokes, I also know of
    guy who worked at his local McDonalds. We have three in my
    town, population 85,000. He would deal with their IT issues an
    was asked to go fix issues at the other two stores, frequently
    One of the stores was part of a pilot project for new software
    and he wrote up very detailed bug reports and quality suggestion
    that caused him to be invited to the development meetings. No
    his ideas, but he would accurately relay the suggestions of others
    He was then invited to help roll out new IT to other restaurant
    across the state; motels, expenses, travel all provided. His jo
    continues in the area of software development, procurement
    training and implementation. He makes truckloads of cash an
    has fanatastic entitlements and salaray packaged benefits. An
    this started when he was in his early twenties

    I could probably think of a lot more examples. I guess you only
    have to look at those you may know who are working good I
    jobs, examine how that came to be, and the answers may b
    just as surprising

    A lot of advice given in these forums is along the lines o
    "volunteer" for a school, lbrary, etc. I guess most who work in I
    realise that they came in via a side or back door, rather than th
    front door, early in their careers. Once you have the decade plus
    of experience, the extensive knowledge and certification history
    things will be a little easier than for a relative novice

    If the front door isn't open for you, look for an alternative entrance.
     
    Marko, Feb 8, 2004
    #5
  6. richard

    LnkWizard Guest

    "richard" <> wrote in message
    news:4024226f$0$3935$...
    > I'm new (ish) to this group, and I am in need of advice.
    >
    > I'm looking at expanding my computer horizons, and have selected

    Networking
    > as both a challenge and a new area of computers. Allow me to explain :
    >

    <edited for space>

    > And here are the questions :
    >
    > Based on my history, what do I need to do to improve my skills at
    > networking?
    >
    > I am thinking of taking the A+ exam firstly, to get a cert. for my skills.
    > Then progressing to MCSA. Is this a wise route?
    >
    > As I am based in the UK, what prospects are there for me gaining 'field
    > experince' in networked computer enviroments?
    >
    > Regards
    >
    > Rich
    >
    >

    Your route is similar to the one mine took in many ways, except I was given
    the opportunity to put my skills to use in a professional capacity early on.
    I agree that experience is a bigger factor rather than "paper" knowledge
    but the books and legitimate schools (NOT bootcamps) are very usefull.
    My suggestion is to start with the new COMPTIA A+ and Network+ exams
    and then move on to the MCSA tests. By having the experience and the
    COMPTIA certs you will stand a better chance of getting your foot in the
    door. Then study your butt off and volunteer to help the sysadmin at your
    current job with the network side (if he/she will let you), continue to
    develop
    your own networks, and also see if there are opportunities to help other
    small
    organizations with their network needs. This will help to build your
    practical
    networking skills and give you some good resume material to boot. Lastly
    study
    up and take the MCSA tests to get your M$ cert.
     
    LnkWizard, Feb 9, 2004
    #6
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