Classroom vs Self Study

Discussion in 'MCSE' started by Mike, Jan 23, 2005.

  1. Mike

    Mike Guest

    I have decided to pursue an MCSE certification, and am trying to decide
    which path to follow. One important criteria for me is to get back in
    the job market as soon as possible.

    I have been working in the IT industry for 36 years supporting IBM
    mainframe systems. I was layed-off last May and have not yet been able
    to land a job. Probably because of my age (58), but also because all of
    the IBM Mainframe shops have migrated to larger cities, which I am
    unwilling to do. Most of the jobs available locally are now Microsoft

    The two options I am currently considering are:

    1) Sign up for classes at a local learning center. They offer 37 days
    of training spread over 8 months (approximately 1 week of classroom per
    month). Cost is $9500 which includes classroom, books, tests, etc.

    2) Purchase, and study, self-paced training kits available from Amazon;
    and set up lab here at home.

    The first issue is that the $9500 seems like an awful lot of money.
    However, I spoke with the unemployment office here and they are actually
    considering paying for it since I am a "displaced worker". I should
    know more about that later in the week. Even if they are willing to do
    that for me, I am still not sure it is the best path, for a variety of

    Concerning my own learning style, I don't think there is a big
    difference which way I go. However, I do recognize that the independent
    study approach takes more personal initiative.

    One last thought. I have been lurking in this group for awhile, and
    agree with the general sentiment on "brain dumps". I am not interested
    in this approach, and I expect to earn my certification.

    And and all feedback is welcome.

    Mike, Jan 23, 2005
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  2. Sorry to hear about your situation Mike. If unemployment is willing to pay
    for it by all means go for it, after all you have paid enough into the
    system over the years. With your background I would however recommend that
    you also set up a lab at home as it will accelerate the learning process
    immensely if you really want to learn and are disciplined to do such. Try to
    be ahead of the curve for the lessons in the class so you can focus on
    increasing knowledge on what you are unsure of. Below is a copy of a
    previous post I made on the subject of self study. Good luck. --- Steve

    It is very possible if you actually take the time to learn everything from
    your home lab. I suggest your lab be at least three computers [old PII
    Dell's on Ebay are fine], a couple of monitors, a KVM switch, and some of
    those removable drive trays that you can buy at for around
    $10. Then get the evaluation editions of W2K and W2003 and with multiple
    hard drives in dual/triple boot mode you can have a small network that can
    do about everything - forests, child domains, additional domain controllers,
    etc. Most of the exam books have work along labs. The exam books and online
    sources will have end of chapter questions and/or practice exam questions.
    Do not dwell on questions that rely on rote memorization questions. The real
    exam questions are mostly problem and solution format of some kind. Know all
    the main server utilities but don't worry about all the syntax [ no on could
    possibly know all the syntax for netsh] , with the exception of ipconfig.
    For the rest know what the utilities are used for, the major syntax uses,
    and how to interpret results. Go to cramsession to read exam reviews and

    There are many books available for the individual exams. I suggest you read
    the reviews at Amazon to help choose those. However I highly recommend that
    you buy Mark Minasi's Mastering Windows 2003 Server for you base learning
    book to read first. However it is not an Exam guide but it will do an
    excellent job of teaching you Windows 2003. Then buy the Windows 2003 Pocket
    Consultant to carry with you everywhere for learning Windows 2003. It is a
    compact cut to the bones admin book. Also buy the Microsoft Press book for
    70-299 on implementing security as the other non security exam books do a
    poor job on covering security and the W2003 exams are much more geared to
    security than W2000 [at least the upgrade exams were]. The Labmice is an
    excellent resource to Windows 2003 resources as is the Windows 2003 Server
    Deployment Kit which is a free download. You can download individual
    chapters also. Good luck. --- Steve

    Steven L Umbach, Jan 23, 2005
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  3. I would recommend the classroom based courses, however if you feel you have
    that personal drive to do it yourself and can commit to learning then self
    study should suffice. As for the offset with the unemployment office, I've
    had the opportunity to teach several "displaced workers" which have had
    state and federal funded training. It's a great idea because if it gets
    people back in the job market it removes one more person from the system.

    In any case good luck with both your training and your job searching!

    "The Rev"
    Microsoft Certified Trainer

    Fig Newton: The force required to accelerate a fig 39.37 inches/second
    Stephen Charles Rea \(MCT\), Jan 23, 2005
  4. In
    I went the self-taught route and haven't regretted it. It's a lot cheaper,
    there's more learnt imho, and you get a lot more hands-on experience than in
    a classroom. You may not have a tutor but there are groups such as this one
    and many resources to use on the web

    I have a 4pc setup with 2 servers and 2 clients, but my work also pay for
    courses though they don't have exams at the end of them. They're the MOCs at
    New Horizon in London.

    If you can get the course paid for you, why not do both?

    Good Luck
    Who Goes There, Jan 23, 2005
  5. Mike

    Neil Guest

    did you hear "Stephen Charles Rea \(MCT\)" <Stephen Charles Rea (MCT)> say in @TK2MSFTNGP12.phx.gbl:
    any particular bias there? <grin>

    I would agree that classrooms can be a benefit (learn from the experinece
    of the trainer, forces you do hit the books and do labs) but I have seen
    great success from self study too. Frankly, self study should occur even
    after the class is over.
    Neil, Jan 23, 2005
  6. Mike

    catwalker63 Guest

    And forever after. Set yourself up to continue your education for as
    long as you intend to work in this field, regardless of whether you take
    any exams.

    aka Pu$$y Feet
    BS, MCP
    MCNGP #43

    "I'm not bossy! I just know what nerdbunchanumbers should be doing!"
    catwalker63, Jan 23, 2005
  7. Mike

    Neil Guest

    here, here...
    Neil, Jan 23, 2005
  8. Mike

    Mike Guest

    Thanks to everyone for all the feedback. It has been very helpful.

    Mike, Jan 24, 2005
  9. Mike

    Guest Guest

    I agree, do both. If they are willing to pay for the classroom stuff and you
    are willing to commit to a home network for self study, you have the best of
    both worlds. Good Luck!
    Guest, Jan 24, 2005
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