how do we educate HR about what cert does what?

Discussion in 'MCSA' started by Scott D, Oct 27, 2003.

  1. Scott D

    Scott D Guest

    1st off I'd like to say kudos and "about time" that a
    certification was developed for the largest staffing
    compliment within most large IT organisations, the
    helpdesk/desktop teams.

    Having said that, I see massive problems with this.

    For at least a decade the HR world has beaten into the
    heads of its non-technically inclined recruiters and
    account managers that you can't present a candidate to a
    15 dollar an hour IT job unless he/she has a valid MCSE
    (Engineering) cert. While we all appreciate the
    absolutely grotesque absurdity of a support tech needing
    an engineering cert based on their job description and
    career path having absolutely nothing at all to do with
    engineering, the fact remains that your employed IT
    Support people likely all have been forced to take, pay
    for and pass the MCSE requirements just to get a job.

    The HR world, moves slower than most as its staffed almost
    exclusively with non-IT career folks who know only what
    they read about in the news regarding IT certifications,
    qualifications and trends. Enter the MCSA certification.

    Finally something about Administering a network rather
    than how to build one. But do any HR people know about
    this? How many contract companies do you think are
    willing to admit that they've turned away qualified
    administrators and instead hired engineers for server
    admin, network Admin, LAN admin jobs based solely on
    thinking an MCSE was the holy-grail catch-all one required
    before getting one's resume looked at or indeed rescued
    from the trash can?

    Now we add a "Desktop Support" certification and might I
    also point out that for some reason the
    terminology "Desktop" seems to no longer be used.
    Apparently HR folks have re-labeled things as Helpdesk II
    or Helpdesk Support, or Support Analyst II etc... and when
    you mention the term "Desktop Support" they say things
    like "what's that?", or "never heard of that before",
    or "oh you mean helpdesk!"

    My main issue with this wonderful Cert which I applaud
    whole heartedly and look forward to getting is this: how
    many MCSE's are entrenched in Desktop Support... I
    mean, "helpdesk" positions who have been trained how to
    buil,d a network but not to administer or support one, and
    how many contract, staffing, sourcing firms are going to
    look at anyone without the sacred talisman and admit these
    shortcomings, opting to hire staff with this new unknown
    certification despite it being the defining qualifications
    test of a productive support analyst?

    Do we fire the MCSE's who are whoolly unskilled and
    untrained in supporting a network or a desktop environment
    being as they should have never been hired into support
    and instead placed into the Infrastructure divisions where
    their certifications would be valid, and replace the mis-
    employed by those with the right qualifications?

    Do we sit all the HR staffing people in a room and once
    and for all try to teach them who is qualified to do what
    and why and hope it actually sinks in being as these non-
    IT people are in complete control over who gets the
    interviews and who gets shunned?

    How does one correct the indoctrination that MCSE is all
    one needs to do anything IT related and disseminate new
    policy that actually makes sense to people who can't think
    for themselves and only look at resumes that contain "what
    the end client specifically asks for"?

    How do we re-educate the end clients all over the world
    about why their own hiring practices are costing them
    money and lowering their TCO strategies and present them
    with a cost effective TCO solution with "the right cert
    for the right task"?

    Maybe I just think too much, but I've done work at
    Building 25, at Texaco Corporate in Houston, been a NOC
    manager for a Chevron company and done training for a MS
    Atec and I still come up with almost every huge
    multinational telling me I either need an MCSE for some 14
    dollar an hour help desk job which is personally insulting
    to say the least; or when I apply to Admin jobs with the
    MCSA material I have taken they say things like "what's
    that?", or "the client wants an MCSE not whatever you
    have"? I get way too frustrated with IT managers who know
    nothing about IT but have management jobs simply because
    the group they used to manage over in finance, or sales,
    or some other non-tech related division downsized and
    he/she just happened to land in IT where they've managed
    to screw up the entire inner workings of business flow,
    productivity and have staffed with capable, but grossly
    mis-placed employees.

    Perhaps someone from MS or Volt redmond reading this would
    like to shoot me an email and let me know what I can do to

    I live in Ontario Canada and was just offered a position
    with Volt in Toronto for 17 bucks an hour doing phone
    support work for MS SMS. Tell me that isn't insulting
    considering I'm a seasoned US Fortune 100 IT Manager.

    Is there anyone out there who can tell me how these new
    Certs will work for me or how I can drive the re-education
    of the HR people? I'll step up to the plate and run with
    it. Anyone want to help me to help us all?


    Scott D, Oct 27, 2003
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  2. Scott D

    Paul Guest

    Hi Scott

    Great post. I'm disheartend to hear that you guys in the
    states are suffering from the same problems as us IT guys
    in the UK are.

    I too, am completely phased why any employer would require
    a MCSE just to do some helpdesk or desktop support work.

    MCSE qualification is not necessary to do these type of
    jobs, and in fact, many of this type of jobs tend to
    require a mixture of knowledge of MS desktop OS + MS

    I have resisted obtaining my MCSE for a number of years
    now, but following my last company going bust, I am now
    having to get MCSE accredited just to avoid my CV going
    directly into the trash can of this or that Employment
    Agency - despite 10+ years of working in Networking/IT.

    I suppose some of the responsibility of this problem must
    lay with MS. They need to spend some dollars on marketing
    the various qualifications and how they apply to real
    world jobs.

    If the US is anything like the UK, most IT jobs are only
    available via agencies, so these guys should be at the top
    of MS marketing campaign.


    Paul, Nov 3, 2003
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  3. Scott D

    hootnholler Guest

    Hi Scott and Paul,

    First, a loud 'amen!' from the US heartland. I'm not a seasoned veteran as
    you two seem to be, but I am trying to break into the field, and if I may,
    would like to add my $.02 to the conversation. I'm sure everyone reading
    this group has been a 'victim' to these circumstances in one way or another.

    I feel that the gist of the problem is due to uneducation, which you two
    pointed out. Start with HR, and they are not kept up to speed with the
    latest trends for these departments. Plus, you add the process of trying to
    do more with less... How many times have you heard of an MCSE or MCSA having
    to setup security for a full network, after laying all the cabling? Then,
    when you're done with that, and everything seems to work great, you can be
    the desk support, and if you're really lucky, you get to go on trouble calls
    to other cities that your network is servicing. Forget managing the user
    accounts and the backups, we need you do this stuff, also... Oh, and that
    new server you wanted for redundancy, since the last one is dieing, it got
    denied by accounting... Where my wife works, they have a poor guy in this
    exact situation. I told him the next time HR asks him to do something
    outside his expertise, to ask them the latest rulings on employee rights in
    Iceland. When they can answer that question, he'll work on setting up that
    Novell server they wanted, since someone read it was easier to setup user
    accounts with one... 'Wait, if you really want that Novell server, how
    about coughing up some cash for some training?' "Sorry, that got denied,
    also, they are using the money for my trip to Iceland..."

    To further the uneducation, the schools that I have seen are having a hard
    time keeping up, and just generally, lack of enthusiasm. Of course, the
    market is flooded with MCSE's, and the sad part is, the good ones are being
    squeezed out. Too many 'windows babies' and 'cert kiddies' out there. As
    an example, I'm currently in an information security curriculum. We were
    setting up windows 2000 server on a hard drive with windows 2000 pro. One
    of the students didn't get the dual boot menu at startup, and they were told
    to reformat and install both again. I simply asked, 'what about editing the
    boot.ini file?' And got a blank look from the teacher, the one with a
    master's degree in networking. When I was explaining that it was 'kinda
    like a batch file', everyone got that thousand yard stare in their face,
    'what is a batch file?'. I just shut my mouth and shook my head... these
    are the people that will be administering your new network. Just one more
    term to go...

    As for the agencies, well, um, what can I say. They get paid to put you in
    a job. Once you are in that job, they get paid. Why do companies use them?
    They don't have to pay your taxes, unemployment or your insurance. As long
    as you are 'temp', that opens a whole new set of rules for the employer. I
    usually just call them unions for employers. Given the recent hot market in
    IT, a lot of them asked their staff, 'know what a computer is?' The first
    one to mutter 'yep', got the job as the IT recruiter. Because, of course,
    if they really knew anything about IT, they wouldn't be in a staffing

    What can be done? Hopefully, time will be the truest mark. Once companies
    start to see that just one person cannot do it all for that thousand
    computer network, they will start to get educated on what needs to be done.
    Once they start paying high prices for outsourcing, they may see the benefit
    in hiring that new person, and learning what they need to have for education
    and experience. If it helps, a local government in my area finally realized
    that outsourcing everything was too pricey. They decided to make up teams
    to handle certain IT functions. They decided to use their IT staff, in
    house, to help setup what is needed within these teams. It's not the gold
    standard, but I feel it's definitely a right step in the right direction.
    Keep your chins up!

    hootnholler, Nov 4, 2003
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