Pls share the secret to knock down IT certifications

binarysoulbinarysoul Posts: 993Member
Certifications are important for getting jobs, I believe.

From time to time, I notice a lot of folks have a long list certifications they've achieved, it's good for them, but I want to know the secret to getting them. Come on and help your techy friends :)

-What study techniques do you apply?
-On average, how long it takes you to prepare for a single exam?
-Do you study for more than one certification at a time?
-Which certification has helped you the most to get and retain a job?
-Anything else you want to add? icon_lol.gif


My biggest problem is that I understand the material very well, but I cant' memorize them icon_sad.gif Any suggestions to help me memorize things I have to memorize when preparing for a certificaotin?

Cheeeers!!!

Comments

  • Danman32Danman32 Posts: 1,243Member
    One person's study techniques may not work for others.

    Some need formal classroom training, some can learn strictly from books.
    Even with classroom training, some can work with the fast pace of a tech class, some have to go at the slower pace of college courses.

    For me personally, for the MS reading books (Sybex and Syngress) worked for me, along with setting up a 2003 lab at home and at work. It took me anywhere from a week (for 294) to 2 weeks to study and pass an exam. It helped that work is really slow so much of my days were studying rather than providing support.

    For CCNA, I took a bootcamp class. It was scheduled for 5 days, but the actual class was 4 long days, with the 5th day as review and optionally taking the test. I didn't pass that Friday, which was actually expected. Studied 2 more weeks and passed. The official Cisco courseware books was enough to study from, along with sim labs I'd find here and there.

    Normally I worked on one test at a time, but sometimes I'd overlap some if I was getting bored with a test study.

    Getting certs is valued here where I work now, but my current position is going bye-bye, so I am getting the certs to better my position in getting a decent job somewhere else.
  • supertechCETmasupertechCETma Posts: 377Member
    I'll give it a stab...

    -What study techniques do you apply?
    immersion. I gather all the materials I can get my hands on. lots of internet searching. a couple of books. I end up reading the same material from a multiple of sources. That helps it to sink in.

    -On average, how long it takes you to prepare for a single exam?
    on average- 6 months.

    -Do you study for more than one certification at a time?
    definitely. acquisition of knowledge becomes obsessive.

    -Which certification has helped you the most to get and retain a job?
    This answer will certainly vary from person to person. For me I would probably say CompTIA Server+. I took the original beta and there was NO study material available. I gathered literally reams of data and took my skills to a new level because of it. also the Instrumentation, Systems & Automation Society - Certified Control Systems Technician Level 3 exam. I do automation and controls in a high-speed manufacturing facility.

    The real secret is Study. Dedication and determination. Self discipline.
    If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. icon_cool.gif
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  • binarysoulbinarysoul Posts: 993Member
    It took me anywhere from a week (for 294) to 2 weeks to study and pass an exam.

    Danman32, that is impressive :) I will try to schedule myself to three weeks to do an exam (except CCNA), just to be realistic and give it a try.

    The real secret is Study. Dedication and determination. Self discipline

    Right on supertechCETma, I believe this is the true secret, but more so self-discipline.
  • keatronkeatron Posts: 1,208Member ■■■■■■□□□□
    You can't leave out the time factor either. Some of us have been doing this for years (12 myself), so even just gaining one cert per year for 12 years puts you above the average.
  • seuss_ssuesseuss_ssues Posts: 629Member
    Not trying to be negative, but rather more realistic.

    It is not common without extensive prior experience to be able to cram for an exam in 1-3 week period of time. For example i passed 70-270 after studying for basically a weekend, but i was very very comfortable with the material and had a lot of experience. 70-290 and 291 took much longer with more material and so on.

    Additionally certs such as the CCNA do require hands on knowledge of products that in my opinion can never be acquired from just reading alone.

    Dont be discouraged. If they were all this easy to achieve then they probably wouldnt be worth having. Certifications are basically a means to show "extensive" knowledge in a given area. They require hard work and dedication.

    My suggestion is basically what has already been stated: study, read, read, read, read, and try to get hands on experience.

    ohh yeah and read this guides and forums on this site.

    When i look into a new cert i first find the objectives, read a ton of posts on techexams to find good study material, buy a book or 2 from amazon, and then just put in the time.

    dont skimp on subjects in the exam you find difficult, that is a sure fire way to fail. If its difficult it is likely to be tested over. Plus its good to know if you ever actually have to do it in the real world, which is the ultimate goal of certifications.

    good luck
  • binarysoulbinarysoul Posts: 993Member
    if its difficult it is likely to be tested over.

    Interesting observation, I'm guilty of this. For examaple, I don't like reading about what is in an Ethernet frame :)

    so even just gaining one cert per year for 12 years puts you above the average.

    ummmm, I have a lot of catch up to do, I have been in IT for almost seven years, have a degree and a diploma but no cert icon_sad.gif
  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAPosts: 4,171Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    So you've worked in IT for 7 years, have experience in lan and server support but haven't managed to get one cert, not even an MCP? Was it never a priority for your employers, or to you before? Do you not test well? With that much experience you shouldn't have to "memorize" to pass a test certifying you in technology which you have supported for 7 years.
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 11/2019 - RHCSA (RHEL 7); 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
    Working on: RHCE/Ansible
    Future: Probably continued Red Hat Immersion, Possibly VCAP Design, or maybe a completely different path. Depends on job demands...
  • binarysoulbinarysoul Posts: 993Member
    blargoe,

    I liked reading and exploring new technologies than certification. I've had two jobs so far and although I'm not the brightest lightbulb, I was good at what I did (mainly troubleshooting servers and desktops and a bit of network support).

    But now it seems my vacation is over :) so I have to get certs ASAP. Some poeple just don't do certs and I'm one of them, but at least I am open to change :) Just for the fun of it I wrote one test, well I have to write it again icon_sad.gif
  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAPosts: 4,171Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    I saw where you took the ccna, is that the only test you have ever attempted? Personally, I think you would be better served getting certified in what you have worked with and what you are familiar with(server/lan support, i.e. MCP, MCSA, Net+, A+).

    Are you currently out of a job or your current job going poorly?
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 11/2019 - RHCSA (RHEL 7); 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
    Working on: RHCE/Ansible
    Future: Probably continued Red Hat Immersion, Possibly VCAP Design, or maybe a completely different path. Depends on job demands...
  • EdTheLadEdTheLad Posts: 2,112Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    I also worked for 7 years without certification, 5 of that freelancing.Technical interviews are good enough for most employers, agencies generally require certs to weed out possible candidates.
    As i plan to start in a cisco role above entry level, i've decided to cert up,if i was currently working on cisco kit i wouldnt bother, same would go with the microsoft certs.Unfortunately all these exams require some memorizing, some more than others, this is the thing i hate most about getting certified, learning silly things off by heart just incase they appear in the exam.
    Networking, sometimes i love it, mostly i hate it.Its all about the $$$$
  • BubbaJBubbaJ Posts: 323Member
    ed_the_lad wrote:
    nfortunately all these exams require some memorizing, some more than others, this is the thing i hate most about getting certified, learning silly things off by heart just incase they appear in the exam.

    Ah, but if you do real work for any lengrh of time, those types of things do show up. Cisco bases a large part of their exams on what employers tell Cisco to inculde on the exams because they have a real world need for those things.
  • EdTheLadEdTheLad Posts: 2,112Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    BubbaJ wrote:
    Ah, but if you do real work for any lengrh of time.

    Real work? whats that please explain?
    Networking, sometimes i love it, mostly i hate it.Its all about the $$$$
  • Danman32Danman32 Posts: 1,243Member
    I don't agree that if you worked with something for so many years, that you can take exams related to the work without at least reading a study guide summary.

    I have worked with MS for several years, but I still needed to crack books. For one, to cover material that I don't work with as much, or with aspects of functions that I normally only need to configure one way. For example, I have to teach clients how to set up DNS, but usually only to set up a single zone for one domain. I never needed to configure stub zones or delegate any.
    The other reason for a study guide is so that you can think in the same lines as the exam.

    But having experience certainly can shorten the study time needed, which may be why I was able to knock off MS exams about once every 2 weeks, once I stopped being cheap and bought books.
  • BubbaJBubbaJ Posts: 323Member
    Danman32 wrote:
    I don't agree that if you worked with something for so many years, that you can take exams related to the work without at least reading a study guide summary.
    That's not what I was trying to say. Ed objected that he had to memorized silly things just for the test, but my point was that those silly things eventually show up in the real world. Even if they don't, knowing how to figure them out is a useful skill.
  • 12thlevelwarrior12thlevelwarrior Posts: 302Member
    3months to get a cert, stick with one book for study, utilize flash cards to memorize details.
    Every man dies, not every man really lives.
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