So whats really needed in your opinion?

finchx6finchx6 Member Posts: 24 ■□□□□□□□□□
Alright, I'm currently a graphics artist, and I've got my AS degree in digital imaging and design. However, before graduating high school, I obtained the A+ and the Network+ certifications. Well, I'm wanting to get back into the IT field, but I'm not exactly sure where I should start when it comes to my education and certifications.

I currently plan on getting my CCNP and MCSE. I'd also like to obtain at least one linux certification. I have been keeping up with technology and networking quite well so I don't feel any of those should pose much of a threat.

My question is basically this: I've heard from many that getting my bachelors in something such as Information Systems, or Information Technology would help infinitely, where as at the same time, I've heard from a significant amount of people that its overrated, and if I can prove myself through certifications, then it should be enough.

What are your thoughts, theories, and/or opinions??

thanks,
finch
"Suicide hotline... please hold..."

Comments

  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,314 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Before this turns into a crazy experience vs. degrees vs. certification thread, I'll tell you what I typically see.

    The combination of a degree, experience and certifications is your best bet.

    If you could have only one of the three, experience would be most beneficial.

    A degree and/or certifications will help you get your foot in the door if you lack experience.

    Every situation is different, and there's no right way to go about it. Since you have some education and some certifications, I would encourage you to start focusing on gaining some experience, even if it's menial help-desk work.

    Also, be sure to review JD's really good career opportunity equation.

    The CCNP and MCSE are great long-term goals, but you should consider setting short-term goals of the CCNA and MCSA and then go from there. It kind of sounds like you're putting things, such as finding a job, off until you get the CCNP and MCSE. There's no need to wait that long. As far as linux goes, LPIC and Linux+ are great vendor-neutral programs.
  • finchx6finchx6 Member Posts: 24 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks. The main reason I jumped straight to the CCNP is because I've already had cisco training, and it wouldn't take me but a couple of months of fine tuning my memory for me to get the CCNA. However, I'd have to agree about the MCSE, especially considering cost.

    I've got several years of experience, combining lab work and professional. I've done some typical help-desk/ tech support work as well.

    The Linux+ is probably the road I'll take on that one. I'm a pretty avid user, and I'm very comfortable using it, as long as its a distro I'm familiar with, which is why that one would definitely require some studying. I've got a really good record with the debian distros, as well as Suse, but fairly ignorant when it comes to the others.

    I realize the IT industry is going through a pretty bad slump at the moment, but its not exactly easy trying to get companies to even look at your portfolio as a graphics artist with only an associates and experience in the sign industry.
    "Suicide hotline... please hold..."
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,314 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Graphic artists/Web designers have difficult times getting their portfolio looked at in a booming economy. I don't know about down in Texas, but up here, the field is more than saturated. You have my sympathy :D

    As far as the Linux+ goes, brush up on your Redhat-based distros. CentOS and/or Fedora will do the trick.

    It sounds like you have things pretty well figured out. Good luck!
  • eMeSeMeS Member Posts: 1,875
    JD's career opportunity equation is right on, although I might put a coefficient of +2 in front of "Who You Know".

    Regarding the degree, it is my opinion that in an undergraduate setting the degree field is not as important as other factors. Unless you are pursuing a very specialized career (such as accountant, medical dr., engineer, architect) that requires a specialized undergraduate degree for things such as eventual state licensing to practice, I wouldn't worry alot about the major field.

    I once heard the following:

    In an undergraduate program, you learn a little about alot. In a graduate program, you learn alot about a little.

    The point being, undergraduate education is intended to expose you to a variety of topics so that you can develop an educational foundation, and figure out what interests you the most. Save your specialization for your graduate education.

    Two things that are useful to focus on (IMO), which fit right into JD's equation, are:

    1)The development of a broad base of contacts during your undergraduate years. Ideally, these contacts will be pursuing different goals and educational paths (from accounting and business, to zoology). The point being that as these people progress in their careers they will be useful to you, and vice-versa. Another way to look at this is if your only contacts are from a specialized educational program, won't you eventually compete for the same jobs outside of college? I'd prefer to have a broad mix of contacts from different backgrounds and industries vs. a small group that completed the same educational program that I did.

    2) What school you attend. Sometimes the name of the school alone determines what you have access to. I'm not saying I agree with this, I'm just saying that it is what it is. For example, an MBA school that is regularly in the top 10 nationwide will be looked upon more favorably than an MBA school that no one has heard of. Generally, the rule that I like to apply here is "Avoid having to explain to someone in an interview where you went to school."

    Your plan as you've outlined it sounds reasonable to me. I tend to agree that many degree programs are overrated, but the simple fact is that having an undegraduate degree is the "price of admission", so to speak. It's like graudating high school was 30 years ago...expected, but in and of itself guarantees you nothing. IMO, find something you enjoy and can tolerate studying for 4 years at a decent school that people have heard of and finish it as quickly as possible.

    Adding certifications into the mix as you have proposed is I think a good idea. In fact, any learning that you can do on your own is both good for your resume and good for you. Any experience that you can develop along the way will get you even closer to your goal.

    MS
  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,163 Mod
    I can offer a couple of pieces of advice, maybe point you in a decent direction to go. (Other than that, don't pay attention to any of my rambling.)

    Right now, the Windows world is changing. Microsoft is making an aggressive push to roll out a new generation of certs to go along with Server 2008, Exchange 2007, and the rest of the latest-generation technologies they offer. While the MCSA/MCSE path is a valuable one, you may want to hold off for now, since you're thinking about doing other things as well.

    One thing I can say about Linux+ is that it's been a great feather in my cap, in terms of augmenting my resume and being able to safely say that I've got some Linux/Unix experience under my belt. Also, the training on the command-line, along with some of the familiar networking topics covered during the studying, did actually help me get pretty comfortable working on the Cisco IOS. If you have a choice, I'd say get this one done first.

    If you're planning on going the Cisco-route, you'll find that having pretty much any Cisco cert will get you a fair amount of attention from recruiters and hiring managers. Don't take the CCNA lightly though, there's a lot to cover and many people fail their first time around. That's especially true now that security and IPv6 topics are included on the test. Although, with the two-test option, life is a little simpler. Compared to Network+, though, the CCNA topics are much broader and far more advanced, so don't let those CompTIA tests give you a false sense of over-confidence. It'll probably be at least a year, from start to finish, before you can put that CCNP cert under your belt.

    If you follow that path, you'll have plenty of time to decide which Microsoft-path to take. Chances are that the MCITP: Enterprise Administrator will begin to gain recognition in the next 12 to 18 months, and you can figure out if you want to start with Windows Server 2003 studying or focus on Windows Server 2008.

    Whatever you decide to do, just remember not to take any of the tests lightly. (Then again, the same can be said for going back to school and studying IT or computer science.) There'll be a lot of setbacks; you'll find yourself saying "why do I even need to know this?" more than once as you cover material you may not necessarily be fond of, but need to know as a prerequisite for more advanced things or as a requirement for your test(s). Figure out what interests you the most, because you'll have a lot of big hills to climb and keeping yourself motivated is one of the toughest challenges of all when pushing for these certs. I hope at least some of what I've said has helped, and I wish you the best of luck in your studies. I look forward to seeing you around on the various sections of this forum.

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  • eMeSeMeS Member Posts: 1,875
    Slowhand....priceless signature.

    MS
  • undomielundomiel Member Posts: 2,818
    Personally I don't think that the cost of college is worth what you can get with the piece of paper. You are best off self-studyng and getting a job through that along with certifications along the way. Most everyone I met in tech support was either someone who was there to stay, or they had just gotten their college degree or MCSE but had absolutely zero for experience. If you have to start at the bottom of the food chain there is no reason to build up a bunch of debt and run down a few years of your life.

    I know exactly what you're talking about dynamik, I have a friend that took several years to land her first full time graphic design job over there in the twin cities. Though ever since she's landed it it has just been up and up for her.
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  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,314 ■■■■■■■■□□
    eMeS wrote:
    Slowhand....priceless signature.

    I'm ashamed to admit that I had to google it, but I came across some an interesting site: http://boardreader.com/tp/Slowhand.html

    They're tracking us icon_eek.gif
  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,163 Mod
    eMeS wrote:
    Slowhand....priceless signature.
    Heh, I'm glad someone around here appreciates fine literature.
    dynamik wrote:
    I'm ashamed to admit that I had to google it, but I came across some an interesting site: http://boardreader.com/tp/Slowhand.html

    They're tracking us icon_eek.gif
    Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not blogging about you.

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