What is your certification path and why?

Thought this would be an interesting topic to see how people are mapping their goals with the steps to get there.

Here is mine:

A+ and Network+ because these were the standard IT entry level certs and I felt they would be a good starting foundation for me.

Security+ - I came into IT with an interest in information security and as with A+/Net+ thought this would be a good starting point as well as to have a security credential on the resume. Plus it can be counted as an elective for MCSA/MCSE

MCSA/MCSE - Love them or hate them, Microsoft is the king of the hill for enterprise operating systems and isn't going anywhere any time soon. Systems/Network administration seemed like the next logical step up from entry level work and the microsoft knowledge makes one very marketable given its dominance in the marketplace. Plus these provide a launching off point into a variety of specializations.

With my MCSE completion coming within the next few months I'm looking forward to what will be next and trying to match it up with a good career plan. I have already had the ICND2 class and have a CCNA test voucher plus a decent cisco lab to work with at work so CCNA will probably be next after MCSE just to strengthen my switching/routing knowledge and a foundation in Cisco.

After that I'm not entirely sure what to do next. I have an interest in linux and run Ubuntu on all of my personal machines so have considered the linux certs. Same thing with VMWare. Not to mention virtualization is a very hot thing right now and I think the demand for people with virtualization skills is going to continue to climb. I've been interested in infosec from the beginning and there are all kinds of security certs out there. But as hot as everyone says security is and will remain I don't see many entry level security jobs. It seems like everyone wants a CISSP with 10 years experience.

My long term career goal is getting to the CIO or CTO level. This is going to require I finish my degree and at some point start making a transition into management. I've been working as a level 2/3 network admin for a small bank for a little over a year now which isn't bad considering I've only been in IT for around 18 months. I enjoy the work but it does get a bit monotonous sometimes. I think I would rather be on the design and implementation end of things than the maintenance end.

Following a little more training and experience, future positions I might be looking into would be senior sysadmin of course or network engineer, presales engineer, or some kind of consulting that will boost my experience and technical abilities.


  • Megadeth4168Megadeth4168 Member Posts: 2,157
    A+ because it was required to get in a full time job a few years back.

    Network+ and Security+ because at the time it had been years since I had taken the A+ and wanted to take some entry level certs to get me started.

    MCP, MCSA, MCSE because the main part of my job is Administrating a Windows server environment.

    So, I got those out of the way. Now I will be going for CCENT and CCNA. A few reasons for this is because, I have a ton of resources available to me for Cisco. My father in-law teaches a Cisco class, has a great lab in his basement, and tons of books for me. I also went through the Network y back in high school, so I have some Cisco Training already.The last reason is because of Cisco offering their Comeback program now.

    After Cisco I might do one of the Juniper Certs, because we have switched to Juniper equipment here in the last year.

    I'm going back to college here soon, so I really want to take a Linux course then a Linux exam, more for my own curiosity than anything.
  • IT ManIT Man Member Posts: 159
    A+ & Network+ -- I was fresh out of college and decided I wanted to get into IT. My degree was in physics so I wanted to get some entry level certs and get a helpdesk job.

    CCNA -- While working helpdesk I developed a passion for networking and decided I wanted to go into that direction.

    MCSA (one more test to go) -- I just wanted a Microsoft Server certification since most networking jobs require it plus I figure it would be good to know Microsoft since they are everywhere and not going anywhere any time soon.

    Security+ -- Because my current job is requiring it within 6 months of employment. I also figure security isn't bad to know either.

    CCNP/CCSP -- not sure which one to go for but eventually I want to get both.

    C-EH -- because I just think that would be so cool to learn how to hack. Of course not for anything illegal.

    That about sums up my cert goals for the next 5 yrs. I am currently in grad school working on a Masters in IT but that is a slow process for now. Down the line, maybe the CCIE but that cert scares me. I would also like to get some sort of Linux cert since that is a big OS and I think it will get bigger over the years.

    Long term, I would like to eventually start my own business as an IT Consultant and help out businesses with there network/security needs. I do that now for small businesses basically setting up small office networks so I would like to take that to a larger scale.

    I think that about sums it up for the most part. I am sure there will be some diversions as my job may require and/or pay for different training.
    Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll still land among the stars. - Les Brown
  • undomielundomiel Member Posts: 2,818
    Well I started out in the IT world out of necessity. I needed to eat and I knew computers and windows like the back of my hand, or so I thought at the time. The 270 has proven different since then. :) After struggling through a number of contract jobs and barely keeping my head above water I got a job doing level 2 tech support for Dell's XPS systems. That's where I got my first cert:

    A+ -- because Dell required all techs to have an A+ or MCSE and they would pay for the A+

    next up came the:

    DCSE -- because it was free for me so I saw no reason not to get it though it hasn't really done much for me. Except provide some humour. A friend had a dead motherboard in his HP laptop so he told the tech to send the replacement motherboard out because he had me who is Dell certified. A very funny moment that was.

    I moved on from tech support to my current network admin job at a small business. They aren't interested whatsoever in training and certification so I've been having to go behind their back and pay for these out of pocket:

    Security+ -- I set my sights on the MCSE: Security and so the route I planned out involved using the Security+ as my elective plus it would give me an additional cert for my resume.

    MCP -- just par for the course for the route to the MCSE.

    And that's where I'm currently at with my certification progress. I've only got the 291 to complete to get my MCSA which if all goes well will be happening soon. Then it is trudging the rest of the course to the MCSE. Then the 70-299 to complete my MCSA: Security and MCSE: Security. After that against HeroPsycho's good advice (sorry!) I'll be pursuing my RHCE. I enjoy linux and want to put a cert on my resume and the challenge of self learning for the RHCE appeals to me greatly. It will probably end up as another expensive out of pocket but it'll be worth it if I can achieve it what with all of these jobs asking for linux experience these days. After that we'll see. I'll be finishing off my BFA in Fine Art after I can afford to pay cash for it and then get my MFA. I have some interest in the security sector but not enough to really pursue a CISSP. So I'm not sure what will come after the RHCE. But I think I have more than enough planned out currently.
    Jumping on the IT blogging band wagon -- http://www.jefferyland.com/
  • snadamsnadam Member Posts: 2,234 ■■■■□□□□□□
    My cousin is the one who got me pointed in the right direction. My goal at first was MCSE, like him among other credentials. I had no idea how to get it at the time. All I remember is my cousin explaining me how to get your feet wet. He basically told me to get 270 first and go from there. As I started doing some research, I became more familiar with the MCSA/E tracks and set the course accordingly. while taking courses at the Jr College, I got further advice.

    270: As suggested by my cousin. Actually helped out ALOT at my job. XP was primarily what I did for the first few years and got me a nice bonus.
    Net+: I took this basically to force myself to understand basic networking. I found it very helpful at the time
    Sec+: My cousin is in infosec and quite successful too. He recommended this course to me, and I realized it covers my MCSA and MCSE elective. Ive always had interest in infosec
    290: I was getting tired of desktop stuff, and for years I wanted out of it. This seemed like my ticket. I didnt take this until 3 years later; and im still doing desktop support on top of admin duties
    291: To complete my MCSA and continue with the MCSE.
    **** ARE FOR CHUMPS! Don't be a chump! Validate your material with certguard.com search engine

    :study: Current 2015 Goals: JNCIP-SEC JNCIS-ENT CCNA-Security
  • ajs1976ajs1976 Member Posts: 1,945 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I was getting ready to drop out of college and one of the schools vendors said that I could have a job with them if I had the A+.

    Started studying, but was side tracked when my grandmother had some health issues. Before I got back to studying, I found a job that would offer me better experience and wanted me to get the CNE.

    After a few months, I switched with another tech. He wanted the CNE, while I wanted the MCSE. The Windows 2000 exams were not out yet, so I started on the NT 4.0 track.

    Completed the MCSE NT 4.0 in 9 months, and then did the Windows 2000 Pro exam to prep for 70-240. Never did take the upgrade exam because I was to burned out on tests.

    Got a new job that required me to get the CCA on XP.

    Over the next two years, I took three more Windows 2000 exams. Work paid for some of the exams. I paid for the others and training material. I work mostly with Windows and Exchange, so I wanted to maintain the certs.

    Was supposed to help a co-worker with basic networking, but after doing prep work it feel through. Didn't want to completely waste my time, so I did the Network+ exam.

    Had a Linux admin class as part of my associates degree, so I did the Linux+.

    Citrix required my company to have a CCEA on staff, so I completed that and then took two years off from exams. Had to start again when Citrix required me to update to the CCA on PS 4.

    When MS announced the retirement of the Windows 2000 and the upgrade exams, I decided to try to finish my 2000 and 2003 MCSEs.

    I am interested in moving more into security, so I did the security+.

    The MCITP:EA, CCA on Access Gateway, SSCP, and CCENT are all on my short list.

    2020 Goals: 0 of 2 courses complete, 0 of 2 exams complete
  • hypnotoadhypnotoad Banned Posts: 915
    CCENT/CCNA (test 2 a week from today) -- we don't even have that much cisco stuff but it forces me to formally learn IP networks in depth.

    CWNA (next year) -- we have lots of wireless.

    CCSP (next year) -- this kind of depends on if my work buys a CleanAccess box or not.

    MCTS: Exchange 70-236 (fall/winter) -- Good stuff to know :)
  • AldurAldur Member Posts: 1,460
    JNCIA-SSL - my first job in the IT field was supporting Juniper's SSL appliance
    JNCIA-M - Moved from the SSL team to the router team and got the IA router cert
    JNCIS-M - scheduled for Tuesday May 27
    JNCIP-M - scheduled for December

    After that I am planning on getting my CCNA, would be nice to be multi-vendor certified and then plan on studying for the JNCIE-M&T and hope to have that within a year to two from now.

    I also should be graduating with my computer science bachelors around December.

    And yes I do feel like I have no life outside of work/school/cert studies.
    "Bribe is such an ugly word. I prefer extortion. The X makes it sound cool."

  • peanutnogginpeanutnoggin Member Posts: 1,096 ■■■□□□□□□□
    My certification path is really non-existent. I focus on the areas of my job that I feel I need to improve. I work in a hybrid style environment, where, I'm not expected to know everything, but I'm expected to know everything! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif So currently, I'm headed down the path of CCNA, just because I'm currently working on a lot of networking equipment we have in the office. I figure, if I'm going to use it, I might as well learn it thoroughly from the bottom up. At the same time of me doing my CCNA studies, I'm also studying Exchange 2003 (we're not going to 2k7 for a while). Once these two certs are out of the way (hopefully by august), I'll probably go into Project Management.

    ~Peanut Head
    We cannot have a superior democracy with an inferior education system!

    -Mayor Cory Booker
  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    My plan was CCNA-CCNP-CCIE R&S as I worked primarily (about 80%) with routing and switching in my last job.

    Now I am doing VoIP work with different vendors equipment so I'm not sure what direction I will head after my CCNP. I may head for the CCVP but I just don't do enough Cisco work right now to head onto the CCIE R&S like I once had planned.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • srcurriesrcurrie Member Posts: 55 ■■□□□□□□□□
    A+ in 1998 - I was already doing tech work and decided that it was more professional to be certified. I owned my own store and did consulting. Then I went to work for a local school district and I was the only applicat who was certified.

    CNA (Certified Netware Administrator 5.1) in 2000 - I administrated Netware Servers starting with 3.12 and every version after that. I figured that I am a Netware guy so I should be a CNA which was far more prestigous than an NT4 certified admin.

    After a long pause I took:
    Linux+ in 2006 - I have used Linux since 1996 and have Linux servers from before Linux was cool. Now I am converting Windows Servers and Netware Servers to Linux.

    MCP in XP in 2007 - Decided that I should finally get an Engineer Cert. So I began to do MCSE 2003. I was stupid back in NT4 days because I could have done MCSE then but did not.

    DCSE (Dell Certified Systems Expert), MCTS:SQL Server 2005, MCP Server 2003 - I di the Dell cert because it allows me to gets parts and skip India. I did SQL Server 3005 as my elctive for bith MCSA and MCSE.

    Soon (this week) I take the 70-291 and finsh MCSA then onto MCSE.

    My long term goal is to become a Trainer and get CTT+ etc.
  • Daniel333Daniel333 Member Posts: 2,077 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Started this path back in 2005 with a lot less knowledge than I have now. I only have a few hours a week to study, and I like to run every lab at least twice, once correctly, and another time to break it, so I realize I move slower than most. I wouldn't use me as a model.

    Net+ (should have skipped this and went straight to CCNA)
    70-270 (should have done Vista 70-620)

    Working on
    70-290 (eta June!)
    70-431 (job requirement, eta July)

    70-291 (November, earns MCSA)
    70-293 (Feb '09)
    70-294 (May '09)
    70-297 (Aug '09, earns MCSE )

    And dreaming way ahead
    70-443 (Dec '09)
    70-444 (March '10, earns MCITP - Database Administrator)[/b]
  • remerolleremerolle Member Posts: 72 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I started my quest for Cisco Certs a little less than a year ago.

    I passed my CCNA last Fall.

    I completed my CCNP in February.

    I passed my CCIE written for R&S in February.

    I just graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Information Technology. I am starting my job in July as a network admin. Why Cisco path? Well a professor got me interested, and I found I was good at it.

    My next plans include CCDA, CCSP, CCDP, and CCIE R&S in no particular order. It all depends on how I feel in July.

    Later on I will be diversifying my skill set with other certifications not Cisco.
  • TechnowizTechnowiz Member Posts: 211
    That's very impressive remerolle! How much time do you spend studying?
  • borumasborumas Member Posts: 244 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I got my associates degree in computer maintenance and electronics, then got a job where I had to pass my A+ in the first 3 months and I was able to do so, this was in 2000.

    After that I got fired for some other guys mistakes, then got a job as a contractor for IBM after several months of unemployment, I was doing deskside support, data backup/restoration, and new system setups in a factory that had over 6000 end users. Then I got laid off from this job during the tech bust.

    I was unemployed for about 9 months and eventually got a job at my local school district as a pc technician and after my first year got the prestigious job of taking care of our administration building- helping out all the bigwigs and whiners. Then a networking job opened up but I was required to pass the CNA in Netware 6 before I could get it, so I did. After working as a network technician dealing with Cisco products for 3 years I passed the CCNA (I had a tough time with it, and learned to respect that cert much more than I had previously).

    The night I passed my CCNA I updated my resume and applied for 2 jobs online at a webhosting company in my town that has been very successful and I got called the next day for both jobs. I got interviewed over the phone and in person for both jobs and then was hired to work in the NOC.

    I'm currently studying for the BCMSN, then will hit the BSCI on to complete the CCNP. After that I'll probably take Security+ as they offer a class on it at work, then I'll knock out the CCDA and CCDP.

    Once that is complete I would like to get my Linux+, RHCT, and RHCE. They also offer RHCE classes at my job so I'm pretty stoked about that once I complete the Cisco paths.
  • NetAdmin2436NetAdmin2436 Member Posts: 1,076
    I went to a technical college from 2001-2003 and got my AAS in computer networking. It was tough trying to find a job. My friend got me a job at his job. I was suppose to be hired part time capturing and editing videos, duplicating CD's, general office work for $10/hr. The first week I ended up flying down to Chicago for a tradeshow and worked 55 hours and have been full time ever since. Doing videos and whatnot was not really what I wanted to do, but I wanted a better job and needed to get out of my retail job at Home Depot.

    A year ago I decided to start keeping my eye open elsewhere as my current job is boring me. 99 percent of the ads want certifications.....So I began getting my certs about a year ago and after finding this site back in early March, I've been really motivated.

    Network+ - Because of my degree, I figured why not start with this one. (June 07')
    Security+ - eh, why not. I wanted to get most of the CompTIA stuff out of the way (February 08')
    A+ - Couldn't hurt to have this (March 08')

    70-290 - (April 08')
    70-270 - (May 08')
    70-291 - (Hopefully June 08')

    MCSE (Hopefully Septemberish 08')

    Looking to next year and beyond.....

    MCITP: Database Administrator
    Possibly CCNA and or CCISP...CEH also sounds interesting
    WIP: CCENT/CCNA (.....probably)
  • UnixGuyUnixGuy Mod Posts: 4,504 Mod
    Well, I want to be a Unix guru :P

    I would like to learn Veritas netbackup, veritas volume manager, and Veritas Cluster. And get the associated certs.

    Certification wise, I'd like to get SNIA storages certs, then I would like to sharpen my knowledge and obtain RHCE.

    I would like to take some security certs, most probably CEH and sec+.

    At the end, I would like to have knowledge and hands-on on Sun Cluster, and probably be certified on that also.

    Check out my YouTube Channel!

  • CGN_SpecCGN_Spec Member Posts: 96 ■■□□□□□□□□
    My certification path is Cisco, I am fascinated by anything Cisco related. I like to figure out how things work and I love accepting the challenge when they don’t.
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