Looking for certifications to take for a lowbie

Bob KiwiBob Kiwi Member Posts: 23 ■□□□□□□□□□
So, I've been out of college for about a year now, with a BS in Computer Science (the Information Systems track).

I work for a relatively big (to me at least, being my first job) computer company in MD. We're small (only about 10 techs to do the non sales/management wok), and I've been given the responsibilities of making sure that projects go as planned in the field as more of a tech-turned-manager (which I am enjoying muchly).

My company has been pushing the techs to get certs, and so I've been picking them up as quickly as I can. I've gotten A+, Net+, and Security+. I'm studying for Server+. It's important to note that my company foots the bill for each test the first time around.

I really would love to stay away from Microsoft certs. And I don't have the years of experience it seems required to get lots of other certs. So I've just been getting CompTIA ones. After Server+, all that seems worthwhile would be i-Net+, Linux+, and Project+.

I'm looking for a little help for the future. What's best? Are there more vendor neutral ones that people look good upon? Should I move towards Cisco, and grudge through MS tests? I'm a big Apple fan, but I've resolved to wait until the 10.5 tests (as I also love tests with no expiration date, and Apple's seem to be yearlong).

Oh, and any certs that a lowbie tech could get that would really underline the pay me more angle would be sweet too!

P.S. Love the site, felt like after all the silently watching I'd ask for some direction!

Comments

  • iDShaDoWiDShaDoW Member Posts: 67 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I'm studying for the CCNA myself at the moment. Just waiting on the stupid hardcover Sybex 5th edition to arrive in the mail to help me understand the subnetting and wildcard masks concepts a bit better.

    Planning to get the MCSA afterwards (it's good to show that you have knowledge of the Microsoft environment since they're everywhere).

    Then from there further up the Cisco track for me.

    How long did the Security+ take you to prepare for? I'd be interested in getting that but probably won't bother since I'm not going for the MCSE myself.

    Good luck with your certs. :)
  • markzabmarkzab Member Posts: 619
    Bob, with the certs you already have it looks like you've got a solid base down. I would personally suggest checking out the CCNA cert. Go to your local Barnes and Noble and flip through some of the pages. If it seems like something that you'll be interested in go for it.
    "You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't how hard you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!" - Rocky
  • sthomassthomas Member Posts: 1,240 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Bob Kiwi wrote:
    I really would love to stay away from Microsoft certs.

    Even though you want to stay away from MS certs I would recommend doing MCSA and then MCSE. Microsoft certs hold a good amount of weight in the industry and everyone uses Microsoft products.
    Bob Kiwi wrote:
    After Server+, all that seems worthwhile would be i-Net+, Linux+, and Project+.

    If you are only wanting to get certifications for personal satisfaction then do i-Net+, Linux+, Project+, and Server+. Otherwise IMHO I would only do Linux+ and Server+ then move on to CCNA and/or MCSA.
    Working on: MCSA 2012 R2
  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,161 Mod
    You sound like you're wanting to stay away from the MS world, and I'd probably say the same thing as the others here, don't shy away completely. As for the Apple certs, I'd say that, unless you're using a lot of Apple machines on your network, then there's really no reason for spending the time and effort to get Apple Tech or Apple Admin certified. Here's what I'd recommend, in your situation:

    Check out the Cisco paths, see if anything interests you there. Then take a look and see if there is anything in the Microsoft line that interests you. For you, though, you may want to look at LPI's LPIC certifications. You mentioned you were looking for something vendor-neutral, and I think this would be right up your alley, if you're interested in Unix/Linux. LPI is pretty well-recognized, but not as well-recognized as RHCE, Novell's CNE, or SCSA. The main difference is usually that, while the certs from Red Hat, Sun, and SuSE/Novell are generally pretty recognized by HR departments or large companies that "just use" Linux or Unix, the LPI cert is highly respected within the Linux community. A lot of the high-end speakers at LinuxWorld tend to be LPIC-2 (and lately, LPIC-3) certified, and you'll find that it carries a lot of weight with companies that work closely with open-source in general.

    One other thing about it, if you're going to look at it, is that LPI is supported by a lot of different companies, even Red Hat and SuSE/Novell, as part of the process to make Linux a more standardized and readily-available technology for companies to implement. The hope is that, in the future, organizations like LPI will help overcome the biggest hurdle that Linux and Unix face in the working world: cost of ownership due to lack of qualified systems engineers.

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  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,312 ■■■■■■■■■□
    It would help if you clarified what your primary responsibilities are and what products you currently work with/want to work with.

    If you aren't familiar with the MS certs, go to a book store and skim a Server 2003 administrators guide. I remember being surprised at the complexity and features that were present in the server version of Windows. You might find it more interesting than you expected.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that while the MS exams certainly aren't vendor neutral, you will still receive a great deal of knowledge that will be useful anywhere. DHCP, DNS, VPN, IPSec, LDAP, password policies, security practices, etc. will all be useful no matter what system you're using.

    I also wouldn't worry too much about the years of experience that the certifications suggest you have. I had a little experience prior to earning my certifications, but I didn't have the years they recommended. You might need an extra month or two of studying to make up for a lack of experience, but it's definitely doable. Please note: I'm mainly referring to MCSE/CCNA certifications. I'm fully aware that it'll take more than a little extra effort to earn that CCIE. Just setup a lab with VMWare or Virtual PC and dig in.
  • Bob KiwiBob Kiwi Member Posts: 23 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Wow, thanks for the pointers. I'm definitely going to take note of them.

    From what I keep being told, it looks like the CCNA looks like a good choice. I was also very pleased to see that the CCNA is just 125$, CompTIA's 244$ tests seemed ridiculous for the subject matter.

    The MCSA/MCSE, even though MS based, I may need to look into if I want to get serious, it seems. My only issue with this track is the number of tests it takes! I liked the straight-forward CompTIA tests where you go, take a test, and you're good. But I guess it's time to move on to the bigger boys. I just don't want to make myself look like what I've seen referred to as a "paper MCSE" that are actually hindering the value of the cert.

    The LPI cert certainly sounds interesting- I'll give that a look. It'll give me a nice reprieve from MS products, for certain.

    iDShaDoW, my Security+ was pretty scary (being my first test that had a high required passing score). I bought the Mike Meyers Passport Security+ book, read it for two weeks, and took the test and got a 93%. My thought is that, if you know the topic slightly, it wouldn't be too bad.

    Oh, and as for what I do. I do what my company feels like telling me to do. Virus removal @ DHR, Installing computers in schools, service support and projects for the MVA, etc. My motive for taking these tests, aside from the learning process and an odd enjoyment in it all, is to prove to my employer that I can be trusted to handle more types of tasks. And, hopefully, the pay raises attached to that as well icon_twisted.gif I get the impression that the non-CompTIA tests would get that process across easier...

    Again, I really appreciate your help! There aren't a lot of techs with my company (actually, only about 5 that handle an immense amount of accounts...) that can give me direction!
  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,161 Mod
    Bob Kiwi wrote:
    Wow, thanks for the pointers. I'm definitely going to take note of them.

    From what I keep being told, it looks like the CCNA looks like a good choice. I was also very pleased to see that the CCNA is just 125$, CompTIA's 244$ tests seemed ridiculous for the subject matter.

    The MCSA/MCSE, even though MS based, I may need to look into if I want to get serious, it seems. My only issue with this track is the number of tests it takes! I liked the straight-forward CompTIA tests where you go, take a test, and you're good. But I guess it's time to move on to the bigger boys. I just don't want to make myself look like what I've seen referred to as a "paper MCSE" that are actually hindering the value of the cert.

    The LPI cert certainly sounds interesting- I'll give that a look. It'll give me a nice reprieve from MS products, for certain.

    Good luck on whatever path you choose to do first. Keep one thing in mind, though, regarding the various paths, costs, and number of exams. CompTIA exams are lifetime certs, so that's what you're paying for, really. No need to ever re-certify, in order to be an A+, Network+, Security+, whatever. Microsoft's current admin/networking certs don't expire either (but the future ones will), and for the amount of material you cover, it's not too bad to have to take a large number of exams. All in all, having looked at the tests for MCSA (seeing as how I passed them), and the material for the CCNA, I'd have to say that CCNP would be more comperable, in sheer scope, to the MCSE. If you look at it in number of tests, the CCNP is four to six tests, including the CCNA exam(s), and the MCSE is six exams and an elective. It's just a matter of what you're willing to commit to, and how far you go down each road.

    (And, don't forget, the LPIC-3 would put you at six exams, too. icon_wink.gif )

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