Cert Question

jheckjheck Member Posts: 12 ■□□□□□□□□□
I appreciate all those that posted comments on my “Breaking into IT” thread. I am hoping I can get the same response with this question.

I was recently laid-off from work where I was responsible for the warranty service requests for a custom home builder. New home sales are struggling here as well as the rest of the nation. I am receiving unemployment at the moment after being laid-off and the state also has a program to help with job training with funding up to $2500.

I currently do not have any certifications. My counselor suggested going to Tech Skills to obtain a A+, N+ to increase my marketability. I agree with her assessment; however I wanted to get some input if other entry level certifications would suit me better in my job hunt MCP or Security+. And I wanted to know if anyone has had experience with Tech Skills.

Thanks again guys, I appreciate your time and willingness to help!



  • brad-brad- Member Posts: 1,218
    For entry level certs, in my mind, you have 3. A+/N+/MCDST. I think CCNA is a little more than entry level, and more difficult and time consuming to learn.

    I have to say I think that, while industry respected, A+ and N+ are not worth the time or money. MCDST, IMHO, is a little more relevent, cheaper, i dare say easier to get, and more ROI.

    You're going to spend $700 on testing alone for A+ and N+ compared to $250 for the DST.

    In addition to being cheaper, MCP is a big keyword that resume hunters look for.

    The knowledge gained in all are useful, but testwise and for the ROI, I'd go with MCDST.
  • c0d3_w0lfc0d3_w0lf Member Posts: 117
    I am currently enrolled at TechSkills.

    My honest opinion? It can be a great opportunity, but use it wisely. TechSkills is a school centered around getting people certified...in my opinion, they've probably created some paper certs over time. HOWEVER...they do provide you with some decent materials, and if you're lucky the instructor they'll have available for whatever course you're taking will be very knowledgeable and will be able to answer questions.

    If you use their resources correctly, you can get a lot out of it. I already got my CCNA through there, and have passed one CCNP exam so far and am working on the others. For Cisco and A+ stuff, they have labs written with equipment you can sign up to use to work through scenarios. I know being able to do those labs was a lot of help for the BSCI, especially for someone like me who doesn't have a lot of money to work with when it comes to setting up a lab or renting rack time.

    Be warned though; while they have instructors, there aren't any actual classes. It's closer to what I'd call a "guided self-study" school than say a technical college. You really have to be self-motivated in order for it to be worthwhile.

    Anyways, that's my two cents. :)
    There is nothing that cannot be acheived.
  • eMeSeMeS Member Posts: 1,875
    jheck wrote:
    I am receiving unemployment at the moment after being laid-off and the state also has a program to help with job training with funding up to $2500.

    Not sure what the requirements are to access the $2500, but if certification training materials and exam fees are covered, I would work on a path that would consume as much of that $2500 as possible. That is, if building certs is the path you've chosen to help you move into IT.

    Before I get blasted for encouraging someone to consume as much money from a state program as possible, please consider that Jon, as a resident of whatever state he lives in, has most likely paid taxes in some way shape or form that has supported and funded this program. In my opinion, it is his money, the state has simply been holding it for him until he needs it.

    I think the MCDST is a good idea here. I do not know of a single large organization that I am aware of that has migrated their desktop environment to Vista. I also believe XP will be around for a while.

    In this situation, I would consider MCDST + MCITP: EST, which would give you coverage of both XP and Vista for $500 in exam fees. I have to think that at some point (SP2?), large corporations will start moving to Vista...Additionally, it's probably easier to practice for these exams with home equipment that it is to setup a full-on lab for other certs.

    A+ and N+ are probably useful, I honestly don't know, but if you can do these under your state program for around $700-$900, then you're up to around $1400, and you've build up a good list of certifications for your resume. Worth it IMO, especially if you don't have to dig into funds that you need to use to pay rent, etc.. until you land your next job.

    Following that, if you still have another $1100 to spend of the $2500, I would work toward MCSA, as you will only have two exams to go to complete it.

    At the same time, and while you are looking for work, I would recommend doing some volunteer work. You'd be amazed who you can meet through volunteer work that can help your career, and the experience you get can be invaluable as well.

    Best of luck to you,

  • nelnel Member Posts: 2,859 ■□□□□□□□□□
    i think it depends on what you want to do. In the UK i havent seen many job posts which specify the a+ and N+ (both which i have) as a requirement. In the US i have heard they are more popular but i would choose which path you want to take i.e. sys admin or network admin etc. then choose to do a mcse or rhce or a cisco cert or whatever path you choose.

    remember there is no right or wrong. just choose what you enjoy and make sure it is marketable so you can get a job.
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  • Daniel333Daniel333 Member Posts: 2,077 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Just a quick search at monster.com

    MCDST - 110 hits
    A+ - 1992 hits

    That says nothing for other qualification or quality of the job. But interesting nonetheless. I think Comptia still owns the entry level cert.
  • sprkymrksprkymrk Member Posts: 4,884 ■■■□□□□□□□
    If $2500 will enroll you in a community college that offers an A+ program and the Cisco Academy program, that's what I would do. Having the A+ will open doors for entry level work and the Cisco Academy is a GREAT learning experience, will help you achieve your CCNA, and then you'll also be along your way to an AAS degree. You'll get a lot more bang for your buck at a Community College than a tech school.
    All things are possible, only believe.
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