Which group of certificates are most recommended to take?

gilgamargilgamar Member Posts: 7 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello, I'm new to the world of IT certificates and don't know which certificates are highly regarded. The only one I know anything about is the A+ certificate. I have had tons of exposure to computer systems; networking, programming, hardware and operating systems, yet I don't have anything to show for it and want to get some certifications to make my skills more marketable without having to go to school to relearn everything I have already mostly taught myself.

Comments

  • Mrock4Mrock4 Banned Posts: 2,360
    It really depends which route you want to get, and which level you want to be at. For starters, you really can't go wrong with the A+ and/or Network+. If you want to go the route of networking (Cisco), the CCNA is very popular. The CCNP would be the next step up, and is considered a "professional level" certification from Cisco. If you go the route of Microsoft, look into the MCSA, or MCSE, based on your experience.

    It ultimately comes down to what you enjoy doing the most..there's probably a cert for it.

    Microsoft:
    http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/certifications.mspx

    Cisco:
    http://www.cisco.com/web/learning/le3/learning_career_certifications_and_learning_paths_home.html

    CompTIA:
    http://certification.comptia.org/
  • gilgamargilgamar Member Posts: 7 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the suggestions. Yeah I think I will take the A+ and Network+ certifications for sure and I was also looking at the MCSE. Is the Security+ certificate worth taking to? I'm looking to improve my resume so I can find a better part time job while I finish my physics degree.
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,314 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Are you planning on continuing an IT career after you complete your degree? It'll likely take you a few years to make any sort of significant progress in IT. I don't see any point in you going for something like an MCSE if you're not going to be in it for the long haul. The CompTIA exams provide solid foundation-level knowledge that is useful to know even if you are only an enthusiast.

    The Security+ is a fun and interesting exam and can be applied towards an MCSA/E: Security specialization.
  • gilgamargilgamar Member Posts: 7 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I have no idea what I'm going to do when I finish my physics degree. I might do a math degree instead as I'm a bit further ahead in my math courses in my degree right now but I haven't really decided. I bought an o'reilly quick reference guide for the A+ network+ and security+ exams all in one so I think that's where I am going to start. From what I can tell so far I already know a large amount of the material involved in those exams. What kind of part time computer jobs do you think I could get with those certificates? I'd like to do something a little more interesting than just fixing computers.
  • brad-brad- Member Posts: 1,218
    with A+/N+, pc desktop support is about all you're going to be able to get. Those two are really the jumping off point (or MCDST depending on your employer). For the next level up, server support and network management, you'd want a MCSA or CCNA. While the CCNA wont give you actual server material learn like MCSA will, the job you get with it will give you good experience.

    While good to know, imho Sec+ isnt going to land you a job per say, rather just set you apart from your peers, maybe make you look better than your competition on a resume.

    Be more specific though, for an entry level job, what do you think is more interesting than fixing computers and/or working with end users and their apps?
  • gilgamargilgamar Member Posts: 7 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I'd like to get into a job working with server systems somewhere. I haven't had much experience working with professional server systems and think it would be cool to get into that somewhere. I've already worked in tech support with pc's and networks before but only the home user variety.
  • seuss_ssuesseuss_ssues Member Posts: 629
    gilgamar wrote:
    I'd like to get into a job working with server systems somewhere. I haven't had much experience working with professional server systems and think it would be cool to get into that somewhere. I've already worked in tech support with pc's and networks before but only the home user variety.

    I feel (have felt) your pain. I know what its like to want to make the next step and unfortunately age, experience, know how, etc holds you back. You may be a very bright and gifted individual that picks up and learns very quickly. But unfortunately on paper you probably arent going to be able to stack up to the guys that have been out in the "trenches" the last 5 years. It is a somewhat difficult task moving from the pc repair/desktop support role on into managing servers and overseeing an actual business type network. I am not being negative or trying to discourage you in the slightest. However im just being honest and letting you know what to expect. IT is a field that demands experience to move up the ranks and get to those more sought after positions and unfortunately time/experience is not one thing that can be sped up.

    I can only recommend studying, looking everyday for jobs, and applying if your anywhere close to being qualified. Add a little luck and you should be on your way.
  • filkenjitsufilkenjitsu CCNA R&S, CCNA SP Member Posts: 561 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Ok man, so what jobs have you held?

    What paying jobs have you held, as in, have you worked for restaurants your whole life or have you worked as a PC tech (PC Repair), Technical Support (phone work), Field workd (Out in the field working with technology), Help Desk, etc.?

    If you have done paying jobs on the side for people you know, you could always list contractor on your resume. Ever done any volunteer work? List that too.

    I wanted to get into computers (had knowlege, just never professional work) and I landed myself a technical support job for DSL (not quite Help Desk, but that is what they called us) (Help Desk and Technical Support are 2 different things)

    I then found a posting for a volunteer position being a PC Tech, building and installing, no pay, did this for a year 2 days a week (usually a couple hours after work or one day on my off days)

    After that, I wanted more exposure, doing more, so I wrote up an email describing my self studies (Got certifications on the side), where I was going to school (Was working on IT Associates degree at ITT Tech), my current job (Technical Support) and my volunteer work. After describing myself I put in how I was interested in working as a volunteer to help Non Proffits with computer needs.

    I went to my city/county website and got a list of non proffit orgs in my area (your site should have this info also) and sent the email to every one of them! Every one! Even stuff for Native American orgs, etc. (I am not native american). I got two responses!! TWO out of 25 emails sent.

    THIS IS GOOD! I know, it sounds bad, but it worked out. The first one i responeded to never wrote me back (LOL), but the second one, which was a food bank, brought me in to install a wireless router that could cover most of the building (got a wireless router, centralized it on their network, got a 500mw booster for the antenna and presto!) Also I troubleshot computer problems and I actually added users and computers to the active directory server (first pro hands on windows server work for resume!!)

    So now, not only did I have tech support on my resume, but I also spent a year as a PC Technician (Volunteer) and spent about 3 or 4 months working as a network technician (Volunteer), I was finishing up my Associates in IT, AND I had gained some of the easier certifications to go through.

    Presto, I am now a NOC technician making 56K a year, when only 6 months ago I was making $12 dollars an hour.

    Now I have less than a year left on my bachelors and will be moving onto a masters in Telecommunications or IT for my next big job.

    Total time in the trenches to go from my first job in IT ($9 an hour) to $56K a year - 2004 - fall of 2007)
    CISSP, CCNA SP
    Bachelors of Science in Telecommunications - Mt. Sierra College
    Masters of Networking and Communications Management, Focus in Wireless - Keller
  • gilgamargilgamar Member Posts: 7 ■□□□□□□□□□
    So far the only IT related job I had was technical support over the phone for a cable company helping people get their internet working. I also have tons of linux experience. What's the best linux certificate to go for?
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,314 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Probably Linux+ then LPIC for vendor-neutral certs. Redhat, SUSE, and even Ubuntu offer certifications as well.
  • brad-brad- Member Posts: 1,218
    gilgamar wrote:
    So far the only IT related job I had was technical support over the phone for a cable company helping people get their internet working. I also have tons of linux experience. What's the best linux certificate to go for?
    Unless you know someone willing to babysit you, I cant imagine you'd get the server support work you're wanting to do...right away anyway. Its a ladder, and you have to climb it like most of us. With few exceptions, it starts at the bottom.

    Tech Suppt | PC Tech | Helpdesk --> Network Support |Server support ---> Design | Management

    To me, the ladder looks something like that. Responsibility increases as well as pay...given that your thisrt for knowledge increases. Its true that many people here have a great looking sig or cert resume, but IRL, you can do what you want to do with very few certs and a good dose of experience, IF you can get on somewhere. Unfortunately some places you need a CCNA or MCSA just to get interviewed. Unless you want to specialize in something, I would recommend to get a basic cert or two or three, and see where it takes you. You may be able to climb from your few cert foothold up with just experience. You may need something specific like CCXX. Everyone's different.

    Not trying to burst your bubble, but you have to be realistic with where you start. You're almost surely not going to start with server support. Continue to have goals, but realize there are stops on the way.
  • gilgamargilgamar Member Posts: 7 ■□□□□□□□□□
    sounds like i'll do my A+, network+, MCSA or MCSE and maybe CCNA. just studying for A+ right now. how do you go about taking the exam? can you take it anytime or do they have preset testing dates?
  • undomielundomiel Member Posts: 2,818
    If you're doing A+->Network+->MCSA->MCSE route then you might as well take the Security+ during the MCSA/MCSE since it will count as an elective for the MCSE. As for the exams you just schedule them with prometrics, times and dates depending upon what the centres near you have available.
    Jumping on the IT blogging band wagon -- http://www.jefferyland.com/
  • brad-brad- Member Posts: 1,218
    gilgamar wrote:
    sounds like i'll do my A+, network+, MCSA or MCSE and maybe CCNA. just studying for A+ right now. how do you go about taking the exam? can you take it anytime or do they have preset testing dates?
    first, decide which exam you want to do. Everyone has to do A+ essentials, and then you'll do (im assuming) the A+ IT TECHNICIAN.

    When you feel like you're about ready to take the exam, purchase a voucher...from either comptia's website, or someone else like getcertify4less. Once you've got a voucher, go to the pearson vue (or prometric) website, find a location near you, and schedule the test (you'll need the voucher number). Depending on your location, it will give you a schedule to pick from. Where I did mine, they had 1 or 2 saturdays available a month, so i didnt have to take off work.

    Depending on where you get the voucher, its gonna run you from $208-232 per test, x2 tests. N+ is 1 test if you do that. MS tests are 125 each if you do those later on. I havent done any CC tests, but I assume they are similar.
  • remerolleremerolle Member Posts: 72 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Cisco Associate and Professional level tests are about $150 each, some are less some are more. Vouchers can get you down to 100...try getcertify4less.com Right now some vouchers are as low as $89.
  • Daniel333Daniel333 Member Posts: 2,077 ■■■■■■□□□□
    gilgamar,

    A+ is very respected by HR departments, not so much Network+. Just make sure what you select builds to the next thing. You don't want to bounce around too much. Check things like Monster.com to make sure the cert you are working for is actually in demand in your area.

    good luck!
    -Daniel
  • gilgamargilgamar Member Posts: 7 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for all the advice everyone. I think I've got all the info I need for now.
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