How do you guys find time...

dadajidadaji Member Posts: 96 ■■□□□□□□□□
... to study for certifications.

I am kind of frustrated right now. I have been trying to knock out 70-290 for a while now (6-8 months). I took up studying for it for a while and then kept it off. I work full-time(don't do much at work anyways) but I am not getting any kind of experience needed for this cert. So I have to read each and every page of the book to understand things. Also, after coming home from work, I am not motivated at all to get on the computer to study for an hour or 2.

I have set up another computer with server2003 but I have to study first and then take time to practice becomes very difficult. Most of the times, I study on the weekends but that is not enough and that is why it is taking me so long to prepare and still I think I am not ready.

Tell me about how you guys do it and maybe I will get motivated or somethin...
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Comments

  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    You just have to suck it up and do it man. I don't feel like studying a lot of nights when I get off of work, but I know I'll never reach my goals if I don't.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • NinjaBoyNinjaBoy Member Posts: 968
    dadaji wrote: »
    ...Tell me about how you guys do it and maybe I will get motivated or somethin...

    When I study, I user a combination of audio (so to and from work), on the job (to implement what I've learnt on a test bed, then on the live system if it meet our requirements), in the evenings (when my son is asleep & wife is either watching tv, etc...), read whenever I get a chance (evening if it's 5-10 mins bursts), set myself a goal of finishing, reduce my going out with mates time, etc, etc, etc...

    -Ken
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas CISSP, GIAC x5, CompTIA x5 Greenville, SC USAMember Posts: 5,746 ■■■■■■■■■■
    dadaji wrote: »
    ...I work full-time(don't do much at work anyways) but I am not getting any kind of experience needed for this cert.

    My motivation is being stuck doing something I don't desire to be doing...
    Tell me about how you guys do it and maybe I will get motivated or somethin...

    Coffee and a motivation to do something that will long term benefit my family first off, and myself.
  • impelseimpelse Member Posts: 1,237 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I always tried to study something EVERY SINGLE DAY, I normally set in my mind 1 hour, sometimes I studied only 30 minutes or sometimes 2 hours.

    Just set one small time like 1 hour but try it ot do it dayly, I say again DAYLY, eventually you will complete the material and the excercises.

    Probably you will sacrifice your TV time.
    Stop RDP Brute Force Attack with our RDP Firewall : http://www.thehost1.com
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  • skrpuneskrpune Member Posts: 1,409
    You just have to suck it up and do it man. I don't feel like studying a lot of nights when I get off of work, but I know I'll never reach my goals if I don't.
    +1. This pretty much sums it up. If it's something you want to do, then you just need to get moving on it. Set some goals and (realistic) deadlines for yourself and make a study plan and set aside specific times for studying. Also, setting a date and scheduling the exam works wonders for generating inspiration!

    By the way, if you don't do much at work, can you do a virtual install of Server 2003 on your work computer? It would give you some extra time to play around with it during downtime at work.

    It's not easy to find the spare time and the motivation, but if you put your mind to it, it's possible. However, if you find yourself lacking any motivation whatsoever, maybe it's because you're not doing something that actually interests you or something that you, at this point of your career path, don't find worth enough of your efforts?
    Currently Studying For: Nothing (cert-wise, anyway)
    Next Up: Security+, 291?

    Enrolled in Masters program: CS 2011 expected completion
  • msteinhilbermsteinhilber Member Posts: 1,480 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Either as some others have suggested you just have to tough it out and start to study. I run into similar issues at times, but half the time at least in my case the only problem is just getting started - once I begin I get my head in the game fairly quick.

    The other option is to try waking up earlier and getting some study time in before work, I know people who apt to go that route and it works well for them also.
  • CompuTron99CompuTron99 Member Posts: 542
    I found a slight work-around...

    I set up 2003 Server as a Virtual Machine on my Win 7 box using M$ Virtual PC. I gave the server a static IP and setup my home router to port forward Remote Desktop to the Server VM (win7 runs during the day / off at night). This way I can play around with server and not effect the work server. It also makes it look like I'm working.

    ** just make sure you are on the correct RDP session if you are making serious changes. You don't want to mess up a work server. **
  • GAngelGAngel Member Posts: 708
    dadaji wrote: »
    ... to study for certifications.

    I am kind of frustrated right now. I have been trying to knock out 70-290 for a while now (6-8 months). I took up studying for it for a while and then kept it off. I work full-time(don't do much at work anyways) but I am not getting any kind of experience needed for this cert. So I have to read each and every page of the book to understand things. Also, after coming home from work, I am not motivated at all to get on the computer to study for an hour or 2.

    I have set up another computer with server2003 but I have to study first and then take time to practice becomes very difficult. Most of the times, I study on the weekends but that is not enough and that is why it is taking me so long to prepare and still I think I am not ready.

    Tell me about how you guys do it and maybe I will get motivated or somethin...

    An hr a day most days will do the trick. Practise while you're reading alot of it is intuitive and you'll start moving onto the next step before the book even gets there. that way you can skip pages except for definitions or key points. You don't need to memorize the whole book just where to find things and what they do. As for motivation use a stop watch the sooner you start the sooner you can stop. I can pretty much guarantee that you'll go over time quite a bit once you're in the mindset.

    As mentioned before virtual machines rock. They save so much time in terms of configuring systems.
  • Mrock4Mrock4 Banned Posts: 2,359 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I just got done having this conversation with a co-worker. The way that I like to think of it is by envisioning my goals..and work backwards from there..what do I need to get there? And then start doing it. I have no problem staying motivated, because I know the only way to be where I want to be is hard work.

    On a side note, I study on lunch breaks at work, here and there I read a page or two at work, study late nights while the family is asleep, wake up 30 minutes early to lab a few minutes before work, etc. It's rough but it will pay off in the end.
  • chrisonechrisone Senior Member Member Posts: 2,232 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Well it all depends. If your a family man and have kids and a wife to attend to i understand its difficult. Many people find time to study in their down time at work, aside from spending time at home. I believe all you need is just to organize yourself time. If you can organize your self to say "ok, from this hour i will dedicate some time on this day to read. On this hour of this day i will practice a lab." 1 hour is good enough, each day or other day, to get the ball rolling and have progress. Say you organize yourself to for 3 days a week, Monday/Tuesday/Thursday, one hour a piece. Monday and Tuesday you read the chapter, thursday you lab and practice. You do each for an hour a piece, thats three hours minimum for your studies.

    The above method is a slow pace than what you should normally do for cert studies but at least it keeps you moving and in a pace where you can understand things better. All big tasks are easier when you break it down to smaller pieces. I am sure you can fit in 3 hours within 7 days to do reading and labing. It is only hard if your not interested in the material. If you have no motivation and you believe its because your not motivated enough, ask youself, "Do I enjoy this?, is this what i want to be doing as a career?"

    Think about...
    Certs: CISSP, OSCP, CRTP, eCTHPv2, eCPPT, eCIR, LFCS, CEH, SPLK-1002, SC-200, AZ-900, VHL:Advanced+, Retired Cisco CCNP/SP/DP
    2022 Goals:
    Certs: EnCE (in progress), eCPTXv2, eCMAP, eCRE
    Course: BC Security - Empire Operations 1 (Jan 28th), Zero Point Security - CRTO (course only completed), Zero Point Security - C2 Development in C#
  • IT_FANIT_FAN Member Posts: 88 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Most of my studying has been done during my transitional time between jobs. I am reminded time after time to make sure to keep my certifications up to date by somehow losing my job. The bad luck that I have been experiencing with my occupation has motivated me beyond lack of sleep, eating, or enjoying my life. At times, I was a full-time student(40 hours +) but I did enjoyed the CBTnugget videos, books, simulators, labs and Kaplan selftest software.

    There must be a passion to learn to truly live in the IT world because it always changes!!!
    CompTIA A+ (2009 Edition) | CompTIA Network + (2009 Edition) | CompTIA Security + (2008 Edition) | CASP | CCDA | CCNA | CCNAS | CCNAV | CCDP | CCNP | CCNP:Security | MCTS | MCP | MCSA | MCSE | MCITP:EA | ITIL v3 Foundation 8)
  • dadajidadaji Member Posts: 96 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thank you guys for the reply. I read all the replies and in fact, I am inspired just by reading your replies that all of you take time out of your daily schedule to study.

    It is not that I am not motivated because I don't like doing this kind of stuff. I like it and thats why I got A+ and Network+ certs. The thing is I don't do this stuff at work and that's why it is hard. At work if something comes up, I jump in to find out what is wrong and try to troubleshoot but most of the times it is PC troubleshooting.
    I am also job hunting but as u all know in this economy, it is pretty difficult to get anything.I do study 3-4 hrs a week but I know it is not enough.

    I think I am going to change my way of studying and maybe push myself to get the ball rolling.

    Again, thank you guys for the replies.
  • pennystraderpennystrader Member Posts: 155
    if you study 1 hour a day that is

    7hrs per week x 52 weeks = 364 hours a year :)

    You do that and you will get ahead. It just has to be a commitment of 1 hour a day for the entire year. I do this and get alot of reading and studying done and just eliminated tv time and I work full time and have a family as well and study an hour a day towards certs and reading technical books etc.

    The more knowledge one obtains the more there is too accumulate.....

  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,308 ■■■■■■■■■□
    dadaji wrote: »
    Thank you guys for the reply. I read all the replies and in fact, I am inspired just by reading your replies that all of you take time out of your daily schedule to study.

    It is not that I am not motivated because I don't like doing this kind of stuff. I like it and thats why I got A+ and Network+ certs. The thing is I don't do this stuff at work and that's why it is hard. At work if something comes up, I jump in to find out what is wrong and try to troubleshoot but most of the times it is PC troubleshooting.
    I am also job hunting but as u all know in this economy, it is pretty difficult to get anything.I do study 3-4 hrs a week but I know it is not enough.

    I think I am going to change my way of studying and maybe push myself to get the ball rolling.

    Again, thank you guys for the replies.

    Making the most of your time is a challenge. I think the important point is that it's a very personal thing and so you shouldn't make too many comparisons. Cribbing a bit of time on works time is always useful, just dont overdo it so that it's seen as holding you up on your work duties. Clogging the company printer with another 400 page tome on QoS to take home and read may not sit so well if your job doesn't involve QoS.

    Always factor in things other people need from you at home and at work, mainly your time but also your energy levels and attention span. If you overcook studies you can affect both and start to have problems with people. Little and often studying goes a long way. Combine that with some longer study sessions when it's agreeable to all parties.
  • neathneathneathneathneathneath Member Posts: 438
    I set aside an hour or two maybe for 3 or 4 evenings a week but its hard.

    When I'm close to doing an exam I go to work an hour earlier each day for up to five or six weeks before the exam to study / do practice tests at work but its hard also. I do that because I'm more of a morning person.

    When you get the certs it certainly proves that the hard work is worthwhile.

    I had two goes at the 70-291 to get my MCSA but it paid off in the end.

    As others suggested, it is regular study that counts not so much how many hours you put in. Best of luck :)
  • mikej412mikej412 Member Posts: 10,086 ■■■■■■■■■■
    It's more of a matter of making the time to study, rather than finding the time to study.

    If you have a job that sucks the life out of you, use that as your motivation to study so you don't spend the rest of your life dragging home after work too tired to do anything.

    What advances your career goals more -- plopping down on the couch and watching TV because you're too tired to study? Or grabbing a cup of coffee and a book -- or your iPod/Archos/Netbook with your CBT/Audio training materials and hitting the gym?

    And study can become a habit -- and like a lot of habits, it takes about 30 days of effort to create a habit and only about 3 days to break the habit. So start studying, and then don't ever take more than 2 days off in a row from studying (except for maybe vacations).
    :mike: Cisco Certifications -- Collect the Entire Set!
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,308 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Mike's right there. Even an hour each day helps you along. Main thing is to be consistent and work a way to get something done everyday.
  • ilcram19-2ilcram19-2 Banned Posts: 436
    it is not to hard once you done this for a while alot of the materials overlaps but you also get to learn new things and thants when it gets exciting, they way i see it you should do things now instead of doing things later instead of wasting 1,2 4 months you should plan for 1 month or mont 1 1/2 and you'll see that you will have month that you can dedicate to something else, or intead of watching the 2 hours family guy or office show get the book and read for 2 hours or do labs they always repeat them anyways you need to manage your time and stop wasting it cuz that one thing we dont have.
  • MentholMooseMentholMoose Senior Member Member Posts: 1,524 ■■■■■■■■□□
    mikej412 wrote: »
    It's more of a matter of making the time to study, rather than finding the time to study.
    Definitely. It's unlikely that anyone has no time available that could be used for studying There are so many ways to get time, some I've used myself. Pack a lunch instead of going out and a lunchbreak is now study time. Take public transportation to work instead of driving and a commute is now study time. Downtime at work? Stop browsing fantasy football sites and make it study time (God invented alt-tab for a reason). Considering "that the average American television viewer is watching more than 151 hours of television per month" (source: TV viewing at 'all-time high,' Nielsen says - CNN.com ), cut out a few hours per week and convert it to study time... heck, put the TV in the trash and reclaim 151 hours every month!!!
    mikej412 wrote: »
    If you have a job that sucks the life out of you, use that as your motivation to study so you don't spend the rest of your life dragging home after work too tired to do anything.
    If that's not enough motivation, I don't know what is.
    MentholMoose
    LFCE - MCITP: EDA7, VA, SA, EA - MCSA:S 2003 - CCA (PVS 5, XD 3 / 4 / 5, XS 5 / 6) - VCP 4 / 5
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,308 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Definitely. It's unlikely that anyone has no time available that could be used for studying There are so many ways to get time, some I've used myself. Pack a lunch instead of going out and a lunchbreak is now study time. Take public transportation to work instead of driving and a commute is now study time. Downtime at work? Stop browsing fantasy football sites and make it study time (God invented alt-tab for a reason). Considering "that the average American television viewer is watching more than 151 hours of television per month" (source: TV viewing at 'all-time high,' Nielsen says - CNN.com ), cut out a few hours per week and convert it to study time... heck, put the TV in the trash and reclaim 151 hours every month!!!

    If that's not enough motivation, I don't know what is.

    Public transport works. I used to take a rucksack with my lunch and my books. A two hour commute over the course of a day. Lots of time to crack a book open or study practice labs.
  • Met44Met44 Member Posts: 194
    Like mikej said, it's more about finding motivation than finding time. When you want to take one action over some other action, you'll find that you "make" the time -- by choosing one over the other. That's the only way anything happens!
  • mikedisd2mikedisd2 Member Posts: 1,096 ■■■■■□□□□□
    mikej412 wrote: »
    If you have a job that sucks the life out of you, use that as your motivation to study so you don't spend the rest of your life dragging home after work too tired to do anything.

    Wow, I never knew we even met icon_razz.gif What else do you know about me? icon_smile.gif

    I threw away my TV a year ago. Best decision ever, don't miss it one bit and my mind isn't filling up with all the crap that comes from it.

    If you're having trouble reading books, switch to CBTs. Testout was a real turning point for me in getting my MSCE and actually gaining knowledge.
  • Forsaken_GAForsaken_GA Member Posts: 4,024
    This is going to sound kind of cheesy, but I guess I'll tell it anyway.

    The catalyst for getting my ass back in gear after a few years of slacking off was accidental. I was rummaging through my storage unit one day looking for something (can't remember what it was, not important) and I ran across a little pendant that I had bought at a Renaissance Festival when I was a teenager that I used to wear religiously. At some point it got tossed into storage.

    The front of the pendant is the rune for capricorn, and the flip side is engraved "Capricorn - I achieve"

    I had a moment of pause, and then a moment of shame as I realized - "I'd forgotten".

    Now, I'm not a firm believer in astrology or anything, I check my horroscope like twice a year for laughs, but my traits are those of a very typical Capricorn, which was something I took pride in. And somewhere I lost my way.

    Now, that pendant is tacked up on the bathroom mirror, so it's one of the first things I see in the morning. I won't be forgetting again.

    To answer the initial question - how do I find the time? Well, I've always had the time, I just didn't make use of it. If you're motivated enough, you *will* find the time. The trick is to find your motivation. For me, the problem has always been accountability, so I've had to find ways to make me accountable to myself. If there's not someone constantly encouraging (I'd even go so far as to say nagging!) you to try and better yourself just a little each day, then you have to find a way to do it to yourself. All it took for me was finding a relic of years past to remind me not only of who I was, but also who I should be. You'll find your own truth, whether you can accept it is another thing entirely.
  • HeroPsychoHeroPsycho Inactive Imported Users Posts: 1,940
    Everyday I set a few minutes aside, so at the end of the year I have like a week to myself...
    Good luck to all!
  • VAHokie56VAHokie56 Member Posts: 783
    Tell me about how you guys do it and maybe I will get motivated or somethin...

    Everyday I see my dream...get out of this god forsaken call center
    .ιlι..ιlι.
    CISCO
    "A flute without holes, is not a flute. A donut without a hole, is a Danish" - Ty Webb
    Reading:NX-OS and Cisco Nexus Switching: Next-Generation Data Center Architectures
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,308 ■■■■■■■■■□
    dadaji wrote: »
    Thank you guys for the reply. I read all the replies and in fact, I am inspired just by reading your replies that all of you take time out of your daily schedule to study.

    It is not that I am not motivated because I don't like doing this kind of stuff. I like it and thats why I got A+ and Network+ certs. The thing is I don't do this stuff at work and that's why it is hard. At work if something comes up, I jump in to find out what is wrong and try to troubleshoot but most of the times it is PC troubleshooting.
    I am also job hunting but as u all know in this economy, it is pretty difficult to get anything.I do study 3-4 hrs a week but I know it is not enough.

    I think I am going to change my way of studying and maybe push myself to get the ball rolling.

    Again, thank you guys for the replies.

    PC troubleshooting is where most of us started. Studying things you dont get access to *yet* isn't a hanging offence. It's actually important to get you on. Often this isn't within the company you presently work for although you should self promote yourself a bit and see if there are opportunities there. Most likely though it will be somewhere else. I recall years ago digitising maps for the Gas company. It was interesting for about a week and then all downhill from there. When the IT types came by I offered my CV, my academic background was solid, just needed a break. No break came my way and my supervisor told me tersely 'You are here to digitise'. Fair comment that was what I was hired to do and no doubt she felt bound to come down hard on that. That was in 1996! Role are even more defined today. 1997 I left digitising for good and embarked on a proper IT career elsewhere. Now Im consulting in Europe.

    You have a job and a paycheck. Keep it. Learn what you can from that job for what it is worth but learn other things to get you on. Companies want eager self starters with energy who can help them get to where they want to be. Probably that means putting a call centre in Bolivia but it's work!

    Go for a 1 year plan to get your studies working properly and your lifestyle management because when the IT opportunity opens up you will need lots of focus and energy for it. Getting physically fit is a good idea while you are in the call centre. Lose the bad habits that take a toll on your time. energy and general health like too much TV, WoW, smoking, drinking so you dont burn out. You are looking at a window of 5 years unremitting hardwork in IT to build a decent career and you need to be firing on all cylinders to do that. After that you need to be in good shape for some years to get the rewards. I met a company director the other day. We basically work everything out for him and his email replies are succinct i.e 'Yes lets do that'. He runs regularly and was talking about heart rates with a peer the other day. Looks well and is trim and he's older than me. My line manager told me he has worked with him for about 10 years.
  • PashPash Member Posts: 1,600 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Well the responses above are already good but I guess the mindset I have learnt from the regulars on these boards is:-

    1. Break your goals down into manageable chunks (making them too large will cause you to miss your targets and leave you with half done objectives, this applies to study as well).

    2. Don't be hard on yourself if you lose motivation and wonder off the rails a bit. Happens to us all at some point.

    It's hard, nobody denys this on these boards, IT above all else is a constant minefield of learning, and you have to be prepared to do lots of it if you want to advance your career. Just assess your career values and make sense of where you wan't to be in 5-10 years (how you get there should be the small precise goals mentioned above).

    best of luck,

    Pash
    DevOps Engineer and Security Champion. https://blog.pash.by - I am trying to find my writing style, so please bear with me.
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,308 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Pash wrote: »
    Well the responses above are already good but I guess the mindset I have learnt from the regulars on these boards is:-

    1. Break your goals down into manageable chunks (making them too large will cause you to miss your targets and leave you with half done objectives, this applies to study as well).

    2. Don't be hard on yourself if you lose motivation and wonder off the rails a bit. Happens to us all at some point.

    It's hard, nobody denys this on these boards, IT above all else is a constant minefield of learning, and you have to be prepared to do lots of it if you want to advance your career. Just assess your career values and make sense of where you wan't to be in 5-10 years (how you get there should be the small precise goals mentioned above).

    best of luck,

    Pash

    Thats very true. Work with what you have to work with and do your best. Go for something achievable.

    One of the problems here sometimes is comparisons and I sometimes see people beating themselves up for it which is a shame. Always remember, regardless of what you have going for you, if you are giving your best thats all you can do and you should be very proud of that. In a sporting analogy, some people are gifted or have a natural advantage, so somethings come quite easily to them but often they might not necessarily excel as much as they could because they push themselves less and there is a human inclination to do *enough*. Now take someone that perhaps hasn't got the same *goods* in terms of raw ability, but they bust their ass to get along. Those folks endure situations and spaces the more capable dont because they wouldn't have the same hurdles to overcome. In fact they dont endure that experience at all, and who knows if they had to work with the same hand dealt to you would they do as well as you? It's not so easy anymore is it? In lots of cases I know who I would rather work with.

    Only you know what you have at your disposal in terms of time, energy, ability and attention span. Only you know what requirements other people have of you in terms of your time and what that leaves you left over to do other things. So only you can make the most of what you have. If you do that you have no reason to feel bad about things or doubt yourself. Take advice and see what works for you personally. Avoid comparisons because you have to get through your day and keep everyone happy, including yourself.
  • sagewalkintheresagewalkinthere Member Posts: 99 ■■□□□□□□□□
    OP: Here's how I do it.

    My motivation is the $$$, and the fact that once I build up my sysadmin skills enough then I will be able to start my own company (my dream!).

    For this year I've scheduled 1 hour a day for studying and practicing. I read the book (MS Press kit in this case), do the practice on a virtual machine, and then take a quiz if there is one.

    So far this tactic has worked out very well and I expect my next exam (Exchange 2007) to be ready to take in two months.
    A.A.S. Multimedia Web Design, MCTS 70-623, MCTS 83-640, MCP 70-270, A+
    http://jasonereid.blogspot.com/
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,308 ■■■■■■■■■□
    OP: Here's how I do it.

    My motivation is the $$$, and the fact that once I build up my sysadmin skills enough then I will be able to start my own company (my dream!).

    For this year I've scheduled 1 hour a day for studying and practicing. I read the book (MS Press kit in this case), do the practice on a virtual machine, and then take a quiz if there is one.

    So far this tactic has worked out very well and I expect my next exam (Exchange 2007) to be ready to take in two months.

    Good luck with that. Honestly an hour a day is enough. The important thing is to be doing it in 3 years time!
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