Entry level certifications [Archive] - Glock Talk

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silentpoet
09-02-2008, 15:37
I am looking to change careers and was interested in your opinions of A+, Network +, and Microsoft's offerings.

A local college is offering a series of courses (http://www.nwacc.edu/corporateLearning/ComputerHelpDeskITCertifications.php) that would lead to testing for some of the above. I know I could study and maybe pass the A+ certification, but I don't know about the others.

My background is that I have built a couple of systems and I have helped people out with their computer problems. My knowledge and skills in this area are a bit rusty, but I am sure I can get back up to speed fairly quickly.

I am not looking right now at MCSE or CCNA. I just want to get on a better career path than I am right now.

d3athp3nguin
09-02-2008, 21:50
I think A+ is the most well-known entry level IT certification, along with an MCP cert. I don't have any certifications, and I was a psychology major at college- but I've worked in IT at the entry-level since high school (Desktop Support summer internship, helpdesk at the college I went to, now NOC at a datacenter). I'm still trying to find a "niche" in IT, though its a neat field if you like to work in an evolving environment with an evolving set of tools.

Opinions on whether classes/certs are worthwhile or not definitely vary among IT departments. Some IT departments are willing to give someone an opportunity to prove themselves in lieu of experience, while some will expect you to have 5 years of DTS experience and 3 certifications coming into a helpdesk job (though I wouldn't want to work in a place like that). You never know what an IT director is looking for in a new employee; mine told all sorts of stories about hiring a guy who looked good on paper but was a dud on the job. So, a lot of them are willing to take a chance on new people at the entry level.

This is what an IT recruitment consultant told me, and I agree:
To me certs are what you go for once you get into a position, that you use to educate yourself and "grow" while on the job. Some companies will even help you pay for the classes! (they see it as an investment in you, their "asset.") I recently switched from helpdesk to the network/server side of things, so I'm learning lots of new stuff there as well. I plan to shoot for a CCNA eventually, but I have to work 6 months on the job before they agree to supplement my taking any courses.

One good article that discusses this issue: http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/career/article.php/3634771

Big list of certifications (I never even heard of most of these!)
http://www.mcmcse.com/othercerts.shtml

I guess bottom line is, you don't *need* them to get an entry-level IT job. But a few classes and a cert won' hurt, especially if you don't have formal business experience in the field. If anything, it shows that you are eager to improve yourself and "hit the ground running" when entering a new career path.

renman
09-04-2008, 08:24
While a cert or two may get you an interview (not a bad thing) as a manager I am more interested in your willingness to learn new things and solve problems. Of the two guys working for me, the one that had two years of 'technical training' in high school and goes to college is the dud while the other only had about a year of training - and that was in programming (something we don't do here). The difference is attitude and willingness to learn.

YMMV

Good Luck ! It's a great field if you find the right situation.

silentpoet
09-04-2008, 15:02
Thanks, I am going to check into it a little more tommorow. I just need to see what kind of financial aid is available. But I have always been pretty decent with computers. I have not done a whole lot of networking but I was able to get an old version of red hat connecting to dial up way back when. I am good at problem solving. Like I said my skills have just gotten a bit rusty and not cutting edge. I can fix most desktop issues, or at least I used to be able to. I think this could be a good direction for me.

d3athp3nguin
09-05-2008, 00:08
I actually had a friend of mine take my helpdesk spot after I left- he was in a similar spot; not bad with computers but not an IT-commando either. If you're willing to put in the time to keep improving yourself, you should do well.

Hope IT works out for you! IT...it.. haha bad nerdy joke... I'll stop typing now.

silentpoet
09-06-2008, 01:04
Any good message boards where I could hang out and learn? I used to to one of the overclocking boards years and years ago.

Gallium
09-11-2008, 05:32
Any good message boards where I could hang out and learn? I used to to one of the overclocking boards years and years ago.

You could join MSST's tech net forum, there really is a tsunami of info out there.

You're better off getting a book or two at B&N, and having two computers networked together, preferably thru a router or two.

'Drew

TacoPower
09-11-2008, 08:13
Get as many as you can, also get OEM certs for hardware a lot of them can be had for free if you look around. I never got around to doing net+ but I am going to take the test in October. I am currently working on MCSE stuff. I did things backwards though and worked my way into the industry before finishing a lot of the entry level stuff that I should have.

TacoPower
09-11-2008, 08:14
If you want to PM me I will give you my aim name and we can chat if you need any help

d3athp3nguin
09-11-2008, 08:17
You could join MSST's tech net forum, there really is a tsunami of info out there.

You're better off getting a book or two at B&N, and having two computers networked together, preferably thru a router or two.

'Drew

What he said!

With a router and two cheap PCs, you can learn how to:

-set up a web/ftp/whatever server
-log into another machine using ssh
-learn about port forwarding, NAT tables etc (on a router)
-learn a little bit about dns using a free site like www.dyndns.org

With a little practice, you can do the cool stuff like set up your own personal server (and be able to log into it from anywhere on the intarweb.) If any of the above sounds like greek to you; don't sweat it- you just have to google like a madman to learn it. :supergrin:

But yes, forums are your friend. Google around for different computer issues to find forums that may be relevant to your interests.

NetNinja
09-11-2008, 21:31
There was someone here who posted a similar question about doing a career change and what route he should take about a month or 2 ago.

Here is the title of the thread.
Looking at the IT field in NC- entry level ideas-

Why do you want to change career paths? Seriously ask yourself that question and give yourself an honest answer.
When the Prince song "Party likes it's 1999 stopped playing" guess where all the IT wannabe admins went? They went back to thier former careers being flower arrangers.
Out of the 12 Network Admins from my former company there are only 2 who stayed with the career. Nothing wrong with changing careers, everyone does it. If you like constant change then this is the career path for you.


Do you want to manage networks? CCNA

Do you want to manage servers with users? MCSE

You will eventualy do both so start down the MCSE path

A+ Comp TIA is a good start.

Google is your friend

www.experts-exchange.com Worth the subscription just sign up to get a temp account and look arround.

bakerzduzin
09-13-2008, 21:01
If you'd like to discuss any certs I have tons

CCNA
CCNP
CWNA
CWSP
RCE

BS Information Systems
MIS

betyourlife
09-20-2008, 15:01
Some books and time spent doing will go much farther than most certs.

filthy infidel
09-20-2008, 15:59
NetNinja I'm probably the guy you mentioned a while back.

I've finished my A+ class, still prepping for the test. Next week is my final week of Net+. I'm studying for several hours daily when not in class. It is not an option, I need to absorb a huge number of acronyms and protocol.

I go from feeling confident to discouraged, but I'm not afraid of the challenge. I went ATV riding with some friends yesterday, turns out one of them is a local heavy at Cisco. I'm putting irons in the fire and working hard to absorb a new field- this is exciting!

NetNinja
09-20-2008, 19:01
Grats! Keep at it. I have to recertify my CCNA in order to get my CCNP. So I am reading a couple of books to get me refreshed on some of the newer content.

silentpoet
09-25-2008, 18:00
I am going forward with the classes. I am going to register for them either tomorrow or monday. I am studying an A+ book by Mike Meyers.

bakerzduzin
09-25-2008, 19:30
I am going forward with the classes. I am going to register for them either tomorrow or monday. I am studying an A+ book by Mike Meyers.

I've got some really good beginners books from Cisco if you're interested. I'll just give um to you. I get stuff all the time from my SE. What are you looking to get into after you finish your certification?

KharToon
10-04-2008, 15:46
Using the GI Bill, went out and got my associates in IT and passed the 7 exams to become an MCSE all while working as a help desk person and learning as I went. Have worked my way up and am now administer an AD infrastructure that spans 4 continents with 13 Domain Controllers for an international company. My point is this.... get the certifications using any means available and learn as you go. Sometimes the title will get you through the door and sometimes experience will get you in. Eventually, you end up with both, picking up knowledge along the way.