Vendor neutral certs

hegemon4everhegemon4ever Member Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
Let me start off with, I find this site and everyone on it extremely helpful and useful. A little background on myself, I have my Bachelor's in Computer Science and Engineering, have taken and passed Net+, I'm studying for the Security+ and plan to take that within the next 2 months.

Now with my question. I'm thinking about taking Project+ soon after that (I manage about 30 people and I will help my resume) but I'm wondering what other vendor neutral certifications are out there that are widely accepted.

At the moment, I refuse to go vendor specific because I don't want to be pigeon-holed into a specific brand and limit my knowledge. I'd like to explore CISSP but I don't have enough experience yet to qualify to take it. The CompTIA exams, while useful, seem too easy and I'm afraid people won't take them seriously. Any suggestions?

Comments

  • sprkymrksprkymrk Member Posts: 4,884 ■■■□□□□□□□
    <SOAPBOX>
    Being knowledgable in a specific vendor's technology only "pigeon-holes" you if you let it. That's like saying that passing vendor neutral exams means you only know theory and not implementation. If a guy is smart enough to have an MCP, CCNA and RHCE, does that pigeon hole him or does it indicate he has a great cross-platform of skills? Does the fact that you have a BS in Computer Science mean you are not capable of being a manager since you don't have an MBA? If you have a Security+ and CISSP does that pigeon-hole you as a security only guy? I have knowledge and skills in many areas that my certifications do not indicate. Do you see what I mean? I'm sorry to jump on a seemingly innocent statement like that, but I just wanted to make the point that just obtaining a vendor specific cert won't limit you, it actually makes you more valuable.
    </SOAPBOX>

    With regard to your question, my answer would simply be that most (though not all) certifications that are mentioned as requirements for tech-related jobs lean toward a specific vendor, such as MS, Cisco, Oracle, or Checkpoint for instance. That's not counting entry-level jobs that list A+, Net+, etc., of which there are many.

    BTW - Congrats on the degree and Net+. Good luck on your Sec+.
    Take care.
    All things are possible, only believe.
  • hegemon4everhegemon4ever Member Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I entirely agree with your statements and I appreciate them, I just want to maximize the effectiveness of a certification and the time spent acquiring it. If I'm spending my time studying for MCSE exams, its less time I'm studying for RHCE exams and an MSCE Certification will only help in a position that works on Microsoft systems, thus limiting my knowledge base on Novell systems until I can get around to studying for them. I'm seeking to maximize my initial potential and the time spent studying to get as far ahead as I can before I hit the vendor specific knowledge stopping point.

    Its like building a pyramid: you wouldn't build a pyramid starting from the point and expanding into the 'base'. You establish your broad foundation and build to the point.

    I didn't mean to sound like I was demeaning the abilities of MSCE's or the like. I hold them in high regard because they've proven their abilities and formidable knowledge. However it doesn't take away from the fact that a MSCE probably won't be any better off on a Linux system than your average help desk tech.
  • strauchrstrauchr Member Posts: 528
    If you manage 30 people then why bother with tech certs or project certs. Go for your MBA or something unless you want to get away from business and go technical.
  • sprkymrksprkymrk Member Posts: 4,884 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I entirely agree with your statements and I appreciate them, I just want to maximize the effectiveness of a certification and the time spent acquiring it. If I'm spending my time studying for MCSE exams, its less time I'm studying for RHCE exams and an MSCE Certification will only help in a position that works on Microsoft systems, thus limiting my knowledge base on Novell systems until I can get around to studying for them. I'm seeking to maximize my initial potential and the time spent studying to get as far ahead as I can before I hit the vendor specific knowledge stopping point.

    I see what you're saying, but I think it will soon be (or is already) impossible to avoid studying a more narrow area of expertise. When you were obtaining your Bachelor degree, you had to spend a LOT of time on Gen Ed crap like math, English, and biology. This limited the time available to focus on the computing classes, part/full time work, etc. Certs are no different in that regard.
    Its like building a pyramid: you wouldn't build a pyramid starting from the point and expanding into the 'base'. You establish your broad foundation and build to the point.
    I think you've already built a nice foundation with your bach degree and your current management position and Net+. Are you building a base for a pyramid or for a city? :P icon_confused.gif:
    I didn't mean to sound like I was demeaning the abilities of MSCE's or the like. I hold them in high regard because they've proven their abilities and formidable knowledge. However it doesn't take away from the fact that a MSCE probably won't be any better off on a Linux system than your average help desk tech.
    I know, and I hope I didn't sound too defensive.
    Once you get your Sec+ and PM+ my advice is to start focusing your efforts toward a particular goal. Do you have a destination in mind?
    All things are possible, only believe.
  • 12thlevelwarrior12thlevelwarrior Member Posts: 302
    if you want to continue down the management track, i recommend going for project management certs or for your mba. my manager is going for his cissp, but i don't know how far along he is. how many years of experience do you need for the cissp? how many years do you have? could you study for it, and by the time your are ready have enough experience?

    i see your point, but off the top of my head i can't think of any vendor-less certs.

    i am currently going for my mcsa, then ccna, then some red-hat or scripting cert. i don't think certs pigeon-hole you, if you feel that way, just leave them out of the convo until you need the one that may make you stand out. lol. :D
    Every man dies, not every man really lives.
  • MunckMunck Member Posts: 150
    Security wise, check out certs from SANS. IMO they are some of the best technical vendor neutral on the market today.

    Forget certs from ISECOM (OPSA, OPST). They are not worth the paper they are written on.

    I have heard alot of mixed opinions about certs from EC-Council (CEH), but as I haven't done any myself, I can't comment on them.

    If you manage 30 people, I think you should forget about comptia certs, as they are only entry level. Get a MBA, or a project managerial cert from one of the recognized organisations in the industry. (PMP, PRINCE2 etc.)

    Linux wise, you could do certs from LPI (LPIC-1, LPIC-2). Unless you do specific Linux work, I can't recommend it though.
  • hegemon4everhegemon4ever Member Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I want to pursue my MBA part-time but most MBA programs want at least 3 years of full-time work experience and at the moment I only have a little over 2 years. I looked at the CISSP and that requires at least 3 years of experience as well and obviously my aspirations for my MBA will outweigh my aspirations for CISSP.

    As you can tell, I've hit the gates running, so to speak, and I want to keep that momentum. The certifications are a layover until I have the work experience to enter a good MBA program.

    Thanks for all your responses, don't be afraid to keep it going!
  • sprkymrksprkymrk Member Posts: 4,884 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I think you have probably answered your own question then. You seem to have a good game plan. Get your Sec+ and Project+, that will take you a few months (you mentioned 2 for Sec+, not sure how hard P+ is). You should be close to your 3 years at that point to go straight into your MBA. If you finish early I recommend a couple of months off before beginning the MBA to avoid burn out part way through your MBA.
    Good luck!
    All things are possible, only believe.
  • ESOKESOK Member Posts: 19 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I find the comments in this post strange and interesting...

    Here are my thoughts:

    1. If you have you degree in CS than you don't need a MBA, unless you are planning to get OUT of I.T. and enter another area at some point.

    It is possible that once you become an IT manager, for example, that you may want to go for VP or CEO and want to use the MBA to help you. If you just want to be an IT manager or CIO than what is the point of getting the MBA? Furthermore, it often takes quite a while to work your way up to being the top IT person. So after becoming IT manager or CIO, you may be thinking about retiring or becoming an IT consultant.

    2. I think getting Project+, PMP, etc... is a good idea.

    If you want to become an manager or CIO than having your degree and project management certs are a very, very good idea. Project Manager, is one of the jobs of an IT manager/CIO.

    3. You can NOT escape Microsoft and Cisco.

    Reality check. Most people are using Microsoft Windows/Microsoft products and Cisco router/switches. Don't think that you can AVOID not having to deal with this. If you want to be an IT manager or CIO, you damn sure should now about Microsoft products and Cisco products. Anybody hiring an IT manager that does not know about common products from Microsoft, Linux, and or Cisco is INSANE or very isolated.

    Its very understandable to have vendor neutral certs, but you are going to have to "dip your toe" in "it" and get some vendor specific certs too. The smart money is on MCSE/MCSA/MCAD/etc.., CCNA/CCDA/CCNP/CCIE (at least one), at least Linux+ or LPIC, and possibly some Solaris certs (since it is free now and still used by many businesses as oppose to Linux).

    4. Security is major, so security certs are "golden" in IT.

    Security+, CEH, CISSP, CISM, etc... are little gems.
  • hegemon4everhegemon4ever Member Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I currently work with Microsoft products and at this early stage in my career, it doesn't seem worthwhile to study for MCSE because by the time I've completed my exams and studying for it, they will probably be rolling out a new NOS, in which case I'll have to study for the upgrade to keep myself up to date. Microsoft's certifications are a huge money maker for them and I don't want to buy into it yet icon_wink.gif

    Also, I don't plan on being in IT indefinitely. Several years, perhaps a decade or so, and then I would like to move up the ladder a little more into management roles. IT is a fast paced field that one has to work to maintain an edge in but I don't foresee myself wanting to remain at that pace once I've become 'comfortable' with the environment. I could see myself becoming bored with it and I want options to step beyond the IT field, to use my time in IT as an excellent experience to springboard me into my next career, whatever that may be.

    While vendor specific certifications will help me initially, due to the requirement of being renewed and technologies sunsetting, they won't be beneficial for the long run without additional support. Whereas the majority of vendor neutral certifications do not test on implementation and more on theory or general practice, thus generally not requiring upgrade or recertification. A cost benefit analysis, in my situation (this doesn't necessarily apply to everyone), shows that over a long period of time, the vendor neutral certifications are more beneficial.
  • sprkymrksprkymrk Member Posts: 4,884 ■■■□□□□□□□
    ESOK wrote:
    1. If you have you degree in CS than you don't need a MBA, unless you are planning to get OUT of I.T. and enter another area at some point.
    Talk about strange and interesting...
    I don't follow your logic on this one ESOK. An MBA is helpful in almost every field or discipline, especially when trying to climb a corporate ladder. I know engineers, scientists and teachers that have obtained an MBA in order to advance their careers. If you mean an MBA won't increase your IT skills, that's true.
    All things are possible, only believe.
  • ESOKESOK Member Posts: 19 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I currently work with Microsoft products and at this early stage in my career, it doesn't seem worthwhile to study for MCSE because by the time I've completed my exams and studying for it, they will probably be rolling out a new NOS, in which case I'll have to study for the upgrade to keep myself up to date. Microsoft's certifications are a huge money maker for them and I don't want to buy into it yet icon_wink.gif

    Also, I don't plan on being in IT indefinitely. Several years, perhaps a decade or so, and then I would like to move up the ladder a little more into management roles. IT is a fast paced field that one has to work to maintain an edge in but I don't foresee myself wanting to remain at that pace once I've become 'comfortable' with the environment. I could see myself becoming bored with it and I want options to step beyond the IT field, to use my time in IT as an excellent experience to springboard me into my next career, whatever that may be.

    While vendor specific certifications will help me initially, due to the requirement of being renewed and technologies sunsetting, they won't be beneficial for the long run without additional support. Whereas the majority of vendor neutral certifications do not test on implementation and more on theory or general practice, thus generally not requiring upgrade or recertification. A cost benefit analysis, in my situation (this doesn't necessarily apply to everyone), shows that over a long period of time, the vendor neutral certifications are more beneficial.

    You could just get your MCSA, as oppose to the MCSE. The MCSA is just four exams and to convert from MCSA 2000 to MCSA 2003 can be just 1 upgrade exam.

    I do agree that vendor neutral certs usually offer better ROI, but Windows is everywhere and used by 80% to 90% of the companies out there. You can't escape Microsoft or Cisco, yet...
    sprkymrk wrote:
    ESOK wrote:
    1. If you have you degree in CS than you don't need a MBA, unless you are planning to get OUT of I.T. and enter another area at some point.
    Talk about strange and interesting...
    I don't follow your logic on this one ESOK. An MBA is helpful in almost every field or discipline, especially when trying to climb a corporate ladder. I know engineers, scientists and teachers that have obtained an MBA in order to advance their careers. If you mean an MBA won't increase your IT skills, that's true.

    More or less, I mean the MBA will only have a limited impact on your IT skills and helping you get into IT. But if you are planning to go outside of IT, than the MBA will have a huge positive impact for you.
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