Which cert?

techfiendtechfiend Posts: 1,481Member ■■■■□□□□□□
Today graduated from WGU with a BS: IT Security, I also was the runner-up for what would have been my first cisco position. I had it all set to pursue the CCNP if I was hired but that plan is off the table. Now I need to figure out what certificate to pursue next and seeking opinions that may help me decide.

I currently hold: MCSA 2012, CCNA, CCNA Security, Linux+, Security+, Project+, Network+, A+

My experience: 1 year as a system admin, some of the highest level things I've done are; performed migrations from 2003 to 2012, implemented WSUS, symantec endpoint protection, patch deployment with group policy, administer office 365, setup DHCP failover, administer esxi5, implemented dhcp failover. Currently labbing a new infrastructure that has redundancy throughout without clustering.

Job market: There's probably 10 server openings to 1 network opening. Most of the network positions require experience.

Aspirations: Short-term gain network experience. Mid-term server+network engineer. Long-term server+network architect

Next step:
- MCSE 2012, save $150 with edu email
- VCP-DCV, thinking v6, have a 12 month voucher discount from WGU
- CCNP, without experience?
- RHCSA, I like linux but don't have much recent experience, recent Linux+ wasn't very enjoyable
- CISSP, I'd be an associate I like general security but not going deep into it.
- Masters at WGU, CCNA Security was boring as was AD security in 70-412, and not a fan of writing
or something else...

What would you do or makes the most sense to you?
2018 AWS Solutions Architect - Associate (Apr) 2017 VCAP6-DCV Deploy (Oct) 2016 Storage+ (Jan)
2015 Start WGU (Feb) Net+ (Feb) Sec+ (Mar) Project+ (Apr) Other WGU (Jun) CCENT (Jul) CCNA (Aug) CCNA Security (Aug) MCP 2012 (Sep) MCSA 2012 (Oct) Linux+ (Nov) Capstone/BS (Nov) VCP6-DCV (Dec) ITILF (Dec)


  • TechGuru80TechGuru80 Posts: 1,539Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    I find it interesting you said CCNA:Security was boring and you have a degree now in IT Security. Do not go for the CISSP. For one you don't seem to really enjoy security and if you thought CCNA Security was boring...you would not make it through the CISSP and you do not have any significantly related experience for it to make a difference yet. How long ago did you get your MCSA? That would probably be the easiest to knockout since you would only have two exams...CCNP is three.

    I would probably lean towards:

    1. MCSE
    2. CCNP
    3. CCNA for another track (wireless.... maybe collaboration)
    4. VCP
    5. You could also go for something like Netapp.

    It is not uncommon for more senior system admins to go to networking from what I have seen. Having the MCSE would help you get a job immediately and then you could work towards the networking side.
  • thatguy67thatguy67 Posts: 344Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    If you have experience administering ESXi, I would go for a VMware cert. I wouldn't let the training/voucher go to waste, considering what you would pay if you considered pursuing the VCP later on.

    I am going for the VCP5-DCV currently.
    2017 Goals: []PCNSE7 []CCNP:Security []CCNP:R&S []LCDE []WCNA
  • OctalDumpOctalDump Posts: 1,722Member
    First, don't take my advice. But here's my advice. :)

    If you want to go networking first, then there is nothing wrong with pursuing CCNP without experience. These things can be easier with the information still fresh in your head from your CCNA studies. Also, if you do find a network job soon, the transition will be easy.

    RHCSA is much nicer than Linux+ if you are a "hands on" kind of person. You will actually use Linux and configure services etc. RHCSA is very much just a temporary stop on the path the RHCE, and probably does add a lot to your Linux+ for getting jobs. Similar to what I said about CCNP, I'd aim to do RHCE close to finishing RHCSA.

    VCP-DCV fits in nicely with the basic network and server stuff to round out your infrastructure skills. It's a good choice if you are looking to move into a broader infrastructure role in the near future. It also gets your toes in with the whole "software defined datacenter" malarky, which can't be a bad thing longer term.

    MCSE is a much harder than MCSA. It is broader and more design/architect oriented so assumes more experience in larger environments. You will have an idea yourself how difficult based on how easy/hard you found the MCSA. One of the other MCSE streams might be worthwhile, messaging, private cloud or desktop.

    CISSP is very broad. Not for the faint hearted.

    The thing about all these, is you don't want to spend too much time studying something that you won't touch again for years. You will forget it if you aren't using it.

    I can't comment about the Masters at WGU, but Masters programs do take a lot of effort. If you aren't really committed and just doing it to fill time, it might not work out well. But if you enjoyed your BS and want to continue more of the same, then might be worth considering.

    Also, don't give up on finding work! You've got a good skillset there and completed pretty quickly. That has to be attractive to some employer.
    2017 Goals - Something Cisco, Something Linux, Agile PM
  • techfiendtechfiend Posts: 1,481Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    I'll go into a bit more detail about the choices I mentioned and hopefully answer some of the questions.

    I earned the MCSA in October, 70-410 was intermediate, 70-411 was the toughest exam I've ever taken, 70-412 was boring, I was really worried about passing it and I just couldn't grasp the AD security topics. 74-409 was my favorite test and I can't believe how easy it was. I thought about going after the MCSE immediately after the MCSA but the 70-412 made me reconsider. There's no training guides for 413 or 414 which I really liked for 411 and 412. I should be able to lab all at home but if I need multiple Hyper-V servers I can setup a lab at work and remote in.

    CCNA I passed in August, second most difficult test. Only test I've failed, it was 68x so close. I was overconfident after the ease of CCENT. I've forgotten a lot of the stuff now. 3 weeks ago I was notified there would be a lab in a week... After a week of labbing in the pearson cisco simulator most of it came back to me but not enough. I used ? regularly in the lab. CCNP interests me but if I'm not working with it, I'll likely forget it. Need to buy L3 switches, most expensive cert by far.

    VCP, don't know much about this one really, I skimmed the free study guide from veeam and it looked pretty simple. WGU will save me thousands because I live in a state that's ineligble to Stanly. Considering how fun 74-409 Hyper-V with System Center was, I think this might be a lot of fun and likely take to the shortest time. I just installed the free for 12 months VMware workstation from WGU and heard esxi can be nested in that. I don't see it mentioned on many job listings but a lot are looking for esxi experience, this would cement it.

    RHCSA, this kind of interests me and I do generally like linux but it's been years since I really worked with linux. Linux+ brought back some of the knowledge. This is another issue where I don't use it enough to retain the information. While I often have a linux VM at home I can't think of anything at home to use it for anymore. Linux may as well be banned in my current position. Nagios would help out so much there, instead I had to settle for Spiceworks, their server monitoring is surprisingly decent but it's a bit too simple. There are a few other instances where linux would come in handy but no one else there knows it and once I leave it would be abandoned.

    CISSP, the only reason I listed this is because Security+ was my third favorite behind 74-409 and CCENT. It'd be a strange path to take just like the IT security degree was. I was originally in the Net Admin track but switched early on because, WGU only had cbt nuggets and the weak sybex book for MS certs, CCNA had Lammle and OCG books. I really didn't want to take Windows 8 cert tests, beyond entertainment, office work, tweaking and a remoting into servers I'm not big on workstations. Workstation issues got old really fast. I shouldn't say the CCNA security was all boring, it wasn't the general security things like how (a)sync encryption works was interesting, the firewall, asa and cdp stuff isn't. Firewalls in general bore me, I thought at one point I'd like it but iptables and sonicwall changed that quickly.

    Masters, it's something I'd like to have someday but I'm not really in a hurry, in that respect it might be something to spend the time doing. I'm not a fan of writing and I don't see that changing, ever. CEH and CHFI I don't really get enthusiastic about hacking or forensics. Two more certs that I'd probably lose because I'm not using the knowledge.

    Getting deeper into servers is really a close second prority for me in the short-term. I don't dislike them, just not feeling all that challenged by them anymore. I'm sure there's positions that would challenge me greatly, enterprise admin and engineering to think of a few. The things I don't really like about servers is IIS, SQL and AD security services (ADRMS, ADFS, etc.). I realize the first two are a big part of servers and while I'm learning how to deal with IIS and SQL, it's not coming easy because I'm just not that interested. Also not a fan of powershell but that's changing a bit, there are some things that are much easier to do with powershell and I've always kind of liked batch scripting.

    A year from now my goal is to either have two Professional level certs or nearing completion of a masters degree. After reading the comments so far and writing this out VCP and MCSE seem the most logical.

    My top priority is finding a job but unlike entry-level where it was almost a full time job, mid-level openings are much less common, even less so are ones that I get interested in. I've mostly given up on local recruiters, which eliminated most of the 'work' and stress. Still communicate with out of state recruiters as they are mostly good. Much easier to be picky when you have a comfortable job, it's just not very lucrative.
    2018 AWS Solutions Architect - Associate (Apr) 2017 VCAP6-DCV Deploy (Oct) 2016 Storage+ (Jan)
    2015 Start WGU (Feb) Net+ (Feb) Sec+ (Mar) Project+ (Apr) Other WGU (Jun) CCENT (Jul) CCNA (Aug) CCNA Security (Aug) MCP 2012 (Sep) MCSA 2012 (Oct) Linux+ (Nov) Capstone/BS (Nov) VCP6-DCV (Dec) ITILF (Dec)
  • renacidorenacido Posts: 387Member
    Instead of looking for the next cert you should be looking for the next job or more advanced projects in the job you have.

    Certs are good but they are not what get you hired for mid-level jobs. Accomplishments and experience get you mid-level jobs. If your current job is not challenging you, take on more challenging work or find a job that will challenge you.

    I'm not saying don't take courses, don't earn new certs, don't lab at home - DO ALL THAT TOO. Just don't think that a million acronyms on a resume are the path to getting a high-level job. Build your portfolio of experiences and accomplishments. It's one thing to pass exams, it is quite another to be able to describe to an interviewer how you applied deep technical knowledge, professional judgement, and critical thinking to complete complex projects and solve difficult problems that demonstrate how you made a positive impact where you worked previously.
  • techfiendtechfiend Posts: 1,481Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Next job is top priority but it's a few hours of work a week, still plenty of spare time. I do go out and live and will probably do it more often now. I also want to start a family but that's not something I'm in complete control of.

    At work I've planned and designed a much more fault tolerant system using mainly what they already have. I'm finishing up labbing said new system before I present it to the decision makers. There's a good chance I'll get in trouble for it from someone that's been out to limit me for months, my manager. The other infrastructure guy, a consultant, fully supports it but he's his own boss. The owner is the decision maker. Don't know what more I can do, I've suggested just about all I can with the current system and my manager always shuts it down. It's not fun having a manager that doesn't like their job. Shocked I've lasted this long.

    Been applying for jobs for 6 months, many like my experience, none like my now about a year of experience. I've asked some why years matter if I'm already performing at or above what the company is asking for, nothing more than it's required. I've interviewed three times for positions looking for many years of experience the feedback I received every time was 'we think you are talented and your personality would be a good fit but we are looking for more experience.' I haven't defeated that elephant yet. Don't even know where to start. When 2016 hits maybe I'll start using about 2 years.
    2018 AWS Solutions Architect - Associate (Apr) 2017 VCAP6-DCV Deploy (Oct) 2016 Storage+ (Jan)
    2015 Start WGU (Feb) Net+ (Feb) Sec+ (Mar) Project+ (Apr) Other WGU (Jun) CCENT (Jul) CCNA (Aug) CCNA Security (Aug) MCP 2012 (Sep) MCSA 2012 (Oct) Linux+ (Nov) Capstone/BS (Nov) VCP6-DCV (Dec) ITILF (Dec)
  • OctalDumpOctalDump Posts: 1,722Member
    MCSE Private Cloud might be a good option, since you've already done 74-409. It probably would also work well with VCP, since many of the virtualisation ideas are similar across platforms. And could be less intense than MCSE Server Infrastructure.

    There's also that whole interesting area in virtualisation about who controls/manages the virtual network, storage etc. Being able to straddle those areas might be useful.

    Having thought about it a bit more, VCP could be a reasonable option since you could run a home lab on either trial VSphere - I think has a 60 day life, after which you just reinstall - but if you back up the VMs, you could restore those in, and all that work isn't bad thing to practice - or using the free ESXi and command line management which also isn't a bad thing to practice.
    2017 Goals - Something Cisco, Something Linux, Agile PM
  • techfiendtechfiend Posts: 1,481Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    WGU provides a year trial of vSphere enterprise. I installed it on a 12 month trial of workstation and read the first chapter of http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-VMware-vSphere-Nick-Marshall-ebook/dp/B00VOZC4EU/ref=mt_kindle?_encoding=UTF8&me= while watching boring nfl game, texting friends and family and posting on TE. It's pretty interesting and I'm leaning towards it being my next cert and may test before christmas, otherwise in January. I want to diversify my knowledge and I don't know much about esxi beyond install, provision, edit vm, etc. definitely a weak point.

    MCSE will likely be after VCP, unless I'm getting cisco experience by then, but I have a feeling that's going to take at least a few months and a few retakes. I'll definitely look at private cloud, it sounds interesting. The 70-413 looks really interesting and I've already performed about half the objectives but AD security returns in 70-414.
    2018 AWS Solutions Architect - Associate (Apr) 2017 VCAP6-DCV Deploy (Oct) 2016 Storage+ (Jan)
    2015 Start WGU (Feb) Net+ (Feb) Sec+ (Mar) Project+ (Apr) Other WGU (Jun) CCENT (Jul) CCNA (Aug) CCNA Security (Aug) MCP 2012 (Sep) MCSA 2012 (Oct) Linux+ (Nov) Capstone/BS (Nov) VCP6-DCV (Dec) ITILF (Dec)
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