Studying for Multiple Certs

ServerProvidesServerProvides Posts: 20Member ■□□□□□□□□□
Hey everybody, I have a quick question on certs. How many certs would it be feasible to study for at one time? I currently have no certs but several years of experience in PC repair, basic networking, and security. I am a full time college student in Computer Science and I will be investing ~10-20hrs a week studying.

Do you think I'll be able to go after CCNA, MCITP, and Security+ at the same time? How long do each of these certifications take general in hours of study time? Any advice would be appreciated! I'm not looking to cram, I just want to have a broad knowledge base.
Currently Pursuing...

BS in Computer Science

Comments

  • Forsaken_GAForsaken_GA Posts: 4,024Member
    I think you'll have your work cut out for you being a full time student and trying to study for multiple certs at once. Since your attention is already going to be split among your college courses, I'd recommend picking an order to doing your certs and apply focus to each one in turn. That will at least also give you a sense of progress.
  • dshay25dshay25 Posts: 27Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    The answer to all of your questions is the following: It depends on the person doing the studying.

    I don't mean this to be a rude response but seriously everyone is different. I personally study for 1 certification at a time (this is how I best retain knowledge of the subjects that I study). On the other hand, I'm sure there are plenty of people who study multiple subjects at once and are able consume knowledge more efficiently than I am.

    Studying is also largely affected by experience. Someone with little/no experience of the subject that they are studying will usually take longer to study/understand material than someone with 5+ years hands on experience.

    If you are not looking to cram then study at a comfortable pace at which you are able to retain the information.
    WIP:
    -A.S. in Networking and Communications
    -CCENT
  • msteinhilbermsteinhilber Posts: 1,480Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    I personally study for one cert while I'm attending classes. Even when I'm not taking classes over a break I usually only really focus on one cert, but I just prefer to work on one at a time so I can focus on that one anyways. I'm also a full-time student but I also work full-time and have a wife and 2 year old, if my situation were a bit different I might study for a couple certs at a time or at least go through them individually faster.

    Overall though, even without the responsibilities of my job and wife and kid, I would find it difficult to really focus on getting certs knocked out very fast. My class workload is relatively high and I tend to hyperfocus so getting a lot of things going at once is counter productive for me.
  • ServerProvidesServerProvides Posts: 20Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I'm going to be carrying about an 18hr course load for the next 6 months and be working 20hrs a week so I know I'll have to study slowly. I just didn't know if it would be best to try to go over multiple areas and familiarize myself with it. That way I could focus after I got my Bachelors on really knocking down certs one after the other...

    The other side of this I suppose is it will look better for me to have a cert. under my belt when I get out of school and I'm looking for jobs.
    Currently Pursuing...

    BS in Computer Science
  • apd123apd123 Posts: 171Member
    I personally study for one cert while I'm attending classes. Even when I'm not taking classes over a break I usually only really focus on one cert, but I just prefer to work on one at a time so I can focus on that one anyways. I'm also a full-time student but I also work full-time and have a wife and 2 year old, if my situation were a bit different I might study for a couple certs at a time or at least go through them individually faster.

    Overall though, even without the responsibilities of my job and wife and kid, I would find it difficult to really focus on getting certs knocked out very fast. My class workload is relatively high and I tend to hyperfocus so getting a lot of things going at once is counter productive for me.

    Love the dedication I have become so lazy recently. I have a new job which requires a lot of learning for that but other than the two days of hard study for the CCNA Sec I haven't done jack on the cert front.

    OP - I would say study for one cert at a time as its not like a class where you get credit along the way in this you have to build your knowledge up to a peak so you can pass. I don't think any of us claim to maintain the levels needed to pass our certs at any given time. I like that you want to get a knowledge base I would also recommend getting some kind of experience as this really is the key.
  • PlantwizPlantwiz Posts: 5,057Mod Mod
    ....
    The other side of this I suppose is it will look better for me to have a cert. under my belt when I get out of school and I'm looking for jobs.


    ah...

    You'll have a diploma, right?

    That will carry far more weight then certificates will, and you can get them as you need. Like you stated, with the knowledge you'll be gaining (and you can work through labs etc...) you should not need too much time after Graduation to knock out some exams and get the certs you want.

    If it were me, I'd concentrate on the degree and work more hours. FWIW
    Plantwiz
    _____
    "Grammar and spelling aren't everything, but this is a forum, not a chat room. You have plenty of time to spell out the word "you", and look just a little bit smarter." by Phaideaux

    ***I'll add you can Capitalize the word 'I' to show a little respect for yourself too.

    'i' before 'e' except after 'c'.... weird?
  • Forsaken_GAForsaken_GA Posts: 4,024Member
    I'm going to be carrying about an 18hr course load for the next 6 months and be working 20hrs a week so I know I'll have to study slowly. I just didn't know if it would be best to try to go over multiple areas and familiarize myself with it. That way I could focus after I got my Bachelors on really knocking down certs one after the other...

    The other side of this I suppose is it will look better for me to have a cert. under my belt when I get out of school and I'm looking for jobs.

    Depending on what cert tracks you're going for, it can be beneficial to have the material from another cert available, as there may be some overlap. Cisco is a good example of this, material from one track can help prepare and qualify for another and vice versa. But your overall focus should be one test at a time. Otherwise you risk getting caught up in a situation where you may feel you're not making any real progress and eventually it tapers off and you spent the time for zero gain. Better off just picking a track, stick to it, and then once completed, move on to something else that interests you.
  • dynamikdynamik Posts: 12,314Banned ■■■■■■■■□□
    I'd study for multiple certs (different topics) if that's all I was doing. It's nice to break up your studies once in awhile. However, if you're doing coursework on top of a cert, I think that would be enough variety. It's up to you though. Do whatever works for you. Try it out; don't just take our word for it. Just be careful about spreading yourself too thin and burning out.
  • ServerProvidesServerProvides Posts: 20Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Plantwiz wrote: »
    ah...

    You'll have a diploma, right?

    That will carry far more weight then certificates will, and you can get them as you need. Like you stated, with the knowledge you'll be gaining (and you can work through labs etc...) you should not need too much time after Graduation to knock out some exams and get the certs you want.

    If it were me, I'd concentrate on the degree and work more hours. FWIW


    Yes, I'm going to have a Bachelor's degree in Comp Sci. I'm specializing in IT Security and embedded system programming. (Don't ask. Those were the two that worked...) Unfortunately my hours are capped at 20hrs a week because it's through the university. I could get an additional job or try to find PC tech work on the side somehow I suppose, I just thought any additional hours might be better spent rounding out my knowledge base.
    Currently Pursuing...

    BS in Computer Science
  • TravR1TravR1 Posts: 332Member
    If I get burned out of studying one topic I jump to another and do that for awhile.

    Like others stated though it's good to focus mostly on one at a time so you can pass tests and renew your motivation a long the way.
    Austin Community College, certificate of completion: C++ Programming.
    Sophomore - Computer Science, Mathematics
  • ServerProvidesServerProvides Posts: 20Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    TravR1 wrote: »
    If I get burned out of studying one topic I jump to another and do that for awhile.

    Like others stated though it's good to focus mostly on one at a time so you can pass tests and renew your motivation a long the way.

    That's probably true. I have knowledge in networking and security. I'm almost tempted to start with Linux and MCITP certs to try to fill in my knowledge base. This would probably allow me to still get small Net+ and Security+ certifications as well as a larger cert as well perhaps? Not to mention it would break one of the "big two" entry level certs down into three phases to keep me motivated as I pass them one at a time?
    Currently Pursuing...

    BS in Computer Science
  • JoJoCal19JoJoCal19 California Kid Posts: 2,801Mod Mod
    I personally study for one cert while I'm attending classes. Even when I'm not taking classes over a break I usually only really focus on one cert, but I just prefer to work on one at a time so I can focus on that one anyways. I'm also a full-time student but I also work full-time and have a wife and 2 year old, if my situation were a bit different I might study for a couple certs at a time or at least go through them individually faster.

    Overall though, even without the responsibilities of my job and wife and kid, I would find it difficult to really focus on getting certs knocked out very fast. My class workload is relatively high and I tend to hyperfocus so getting a lot of things going at once is counter productive for me.


    Pretty much my situation. I work full time, go to school full time and have been studying and just passed my Network+ all while having a wife and house on the side icon_wink.gif I find it very hard to do much more than that and I couldnt imagine having that much on my plate and a kid. Props to you.

    Serverprovides, I would recommend focusing on one cert at a time to make sure you really retain all the info you study. Another reason its better to do one at a time is because the more youre doing at once the longer it will take to finish all and to test and the longer you draw out your study the harder the test will be. I started out on my Net+ back in December and have been studying since at a slow pace and then only picked up within the past 3 weeks to take the Net+ before it expired. Well I kinda forgot so many details that I learned back in December that it made the test much harder.
    Have: CISSP, CISM, CISA, CRISC, eJPT, GCIA, GSEC, CCSP, CCSK, AWS CSAA, AWS CCP, CEHv8, CHFIv8, ITIL-F, MS Cyber Security - USF, BSBA - UF, MSISA - WGU
    Currently Working On: Python, OSCP Prep
    Next Up:​ OSCP
    Studying:​ Code Academy (Python), Bash Scripting, Virtual Hacking Lab Coursework
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