Certifications and Experience

CalRoDCalRoD ■□□□□□□□□□ Posts: 8Users Awaiting Email Confirmation ■□□□□□□□□□
I have been thinking lately of how not to be "paper certified". I want to have the current skills in order to do my job effectively and at the same time have the certifications for my proof of the knowledge. Would you say becoming a MCSE in 2003 server wouldnt make sense if I wasnt actually in an microsoft engineer position. I mean, what should be my main goal be when it comes to becoming certified? I have the mind-set that becoming certified will get me a better job/raise, but actually having the experience that pertains to these certifications is what matters the most. Could somone give advice to young tech eager to advance in the IT workplace?


  • DaPunnisherDaPunnisher Posts: 108Member
    On the Job training is by far the best way to learn IT, IMHO, that is if you work with people who are willing to share their knowledge. When you interview for a position it is easy to feel out weither or not the people who work there are willing to help you or be cocky, self rightgeous LAN Nazis'.

    As for certifications, it all really depends on a few things. There has always been the debate; which came first, the cert or the job? I can share with you my personal experiences and maybe then you can base your own opinions on that information.

    My first real IT job was as an intern. I had 1 year of college under my belt and 1/2 of my A+. I feel that if I didn't mention in my interview that I had my A+ that it would not have landed me the cool internship. I spoke with great enthusiasm and my interviewers could tell that I had a passion for IT. I think that they would have hired me for that reason by itself. I learned sooooo much in that internship that I will be forever grateful! I learned and retained more information than any book or classroom could have ever taught me. While there was downtime I studied, studied and studied. I earned Network+ and MCP while I was there, also.

    Near the end of my internship I applied at a bunch of different places and landed a PC tech position for a school district. The pay wasn't the greatest but supporting users in a medium sized network enviornment was very inspiring! There was so much more to learn and I worked with some nice Network Administrators that were willing to show me the ropes and let me dive into the network infrastructure and see how it ticked. After about a year the network was redesigned from the ground up so I got to see and experience that and it was invaluable to my career advancement. The network administrators eventually moved on and so I was promoted to be the Netowrk Administrator. It was my turn to be captain and sail the ship. Since my mentors were gone, i had to learn how to support the network they built on my own. There was so much to do that I really didn't have time to study for certs and my boss didn't care that I wasn't an MCSE anyways. When I did have time to study, I passed the 70-290. The school district didn't have any funds for training so I had to buy my own study materials and find free resources, like Techexams.net. icon_wink.gif Part of my duties was to support Cisco Callmanager which really caught my interst!

    I now realized what I wanted to specialize in, VoIP, so I sent out a bunch of resumes hoping to land an entry level support position. I guess the stars were alligned for me because I did get that position! I am now a Network Voice Engineer, making serious $$ and loving every minute of it!
    My new employer encourages cert study. I am surrounded by MCSEs, CCIEs, IBM Engineers, etc.

    There are two reasons that my employer encourages certification:

    1. It looks great on my resume when customers want recomendations for engineers for their projects.

    2. It helps my employer retain their Gold Partner status with Cisco, Microsoft and IBM.

    Most of my peers on my team don't have their certs, but have been in the industry for 5+ years and thats why they were hired; for their experience. I, personally, am currently persuing CCNA and CCVP.

    I hope this sheds some light on the answer to your question. In summary I guess it all depends on your situation.

    Best of luck to you!

    - Dapunnisher
  • sprkymrksprkymrk ■■■□□□□□□□ Posts: 4,884Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    DaPunnisher has offered some good advice. I'd like to chime in with a word or two as well.
    I agree with you that KNOWING the technology and being CERTIFIED are not always the same thing, even though the real purpose of being certified is to prove your knowledge and skill in that area. Unfortunately many jobs want the "paper" proof and not just your word that you know the technology. I guess that's because anyone can SAY they know it, but at least with a cert there's a better chance that they really do.
    That said, I still say do all you can to get the certs, and make sure you also know the technology. You'll stand out from the paper certs in the long run.
    I got my first real IT job because I obtained an MCP. I went to one of those MCSE programs (9 months) after having worked part time in the field for a couple of years and the combination really worked to my advantage. Real knowledge+professional training+certification. You'll find they all compliment each other and you'll be all the better for it. Good luck!
    All things are possible, only believe.
  • CalRoDCalRoD ■□□□□□□□□□ Posts: 8Users Awaiting Email Confirmation ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the replies. I currently got a job as a PC Tech Specialist for a University. I support two sites here in my hometown and I have to travel if needed. The other PC Tech I work along side of has been teaching me everything he knows. I just finished my third week and feel like I've done one weeks work because I have basically been this guy's shadow. I am greatful that he actualy cares for me to learn these on the job skills. In my last job I was basically the IT slave. The Guy that worked above me seemed to do nothing all day and really tought me nothing throughout my year there, so I am really greatful for my new job and all of the great people that I am surrounded with. I see now the great value of this job. I will not take this opportunity for granted and will make the best of it. I feel I am very lucky to be where I am.
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