Stop with MCSA or keep going to MCSE?

smg1138smg1138 Member Posts: 94 ■■□□□□□□□□
I passed 70-291 this week and I just need an elective now to get my MCSA. I had originally planned on going all the way to the MCSE, but now I'm having second thoughts. I'm really more interested in networking and would like to pursue the CCNA next. I know the MCSE is the most recognized certification in IT, but at the same time, the MCITP:EA is replacing the MCSE for the current server OS. Where I'm working now, Server 2008 has pretty much replaced 2003 on most servers. I'm just not sure what to do next. What do you guys think about it?

Comments

  • gatewaygateway Member Posts: 232
    There have been a few posts similar to this recently.
    My opinion would be to continue to get the MCSE - it is still the most prestigious MS cert and probably will be for another year or so. It is also still highly searched for by job agencies hunting for keywords etc.

    It is also my opinion that the MCSE would help give you a more rounded knowledge which in the long run will help you become a more seasoned sysadmin/network engineer.

    By all means - take the upgrade from MCSA to MCITP but personally I'm going all out to get MCSE whilst I still can.

    I think MCSE and CCNA together would compliment each other nicely.
    Blogging my AWS studies here! http://www.itstudynotes.uk/aws-csa
  • smg1138smg1138 Member Posts: 94 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I guess my main concern is matching my certification level to my job experience. I've worked in IT for over 4 years now and have worked my way up from phone tech to basically being in a Jr. SysAdmin position. I'm confident that the MCSA matches my experience, but the MCSE is beyond what I've really done in a work environment. On the other hand, it seems like most people with an MCSE don't truly do systems engineering either. But maybe the reality is different than the theory. It always seems like you have to go at least one level above what you're actually doing when it comes to certs.
  • gatewaygateway Member Posts: 232
    That's kind of true. I haven't done a cert before and thought "yes - everything I am studying now I have experience in or used before"

    The Vista exam was a case in point - who uses Windows Mail? Whilst the parental controls are great I haven't used them.

    A lot of it is about making you aware of the technologies so that if a situation arises whereby you need to implement something, you might have studied that topic that will give you this knowledge.

    I have also had many phone calls about technologies I have not had any exposure to, but other IT staff in the company have and it enables me to understand what they are talking about and communicate effectively.

    Knowledge is power - the more you know and understand the better (generally speaking).
    Blogging my AWS studies here! http://www.itstudynotes.uk/aws-csa
  • DevilsbaneDevilsbane Member Posts: 4,212 ■■■■■■■■□□
    My plan was to stop at MCSA. Spice it up with MCSA:S, but MCSE seems like a lot of work for stuff I'll never use.
    Decide what to be and go be it.
  • smg1138smg1138 Member Posts: 94 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Devilsbane wrote: »
    My plan was to stop at MCSA. Spice it up with MCSA:S, but MCSE seems like a lot of work for stuff I'll never use.

    I know right. I've always thought MCSE was overkill, but it seems to be the gold standard for being a SysAdmin. I'm really anxious to start on the Cisco stuff pretty soon. Studying for the 291, I constantly found myself having to re-read things because it just didn't hold my interest. Studying DNS is like watching paint dry. I think I just need to pick a good elective to get my MCSA and then see where I want to go from there.
  • phoeneousphoeneous Go ping yourself... Member Posts: 2,333 ■■■■■■■□□□
    smg1138 wrote: »
    it seems like most people with an MCSE don't truly do systems engineering either.


    What exactly do you consider "systems engineering"?
  • smg1138smg1138 Member Posts: 94 ■■□□□□□□□□
    phoeneous wrote: »
    What exactly do you consider "systems engineering"?

    Well, people who do systems engineering. Like planning and developing new networks and infrastructure. Not just administering existing systems that somebody else built. I guess there's some disagreement about what constitutes a "systems engineer", but I'm not interested in arguing semantics.
  • gatewaygateway Member Posts: 232
    smg1138 wrote: »
    Well, people who do systems engineering. Like planning and developing new networks and infrastructure. Not just administering existing systems that somebody else built. I guess there's some disagreement about what constitutes a "systems engineer", but I'm not interested in arguing semantics.

    Planning and developing new networks and infrastructure is more of an architect role, not so much a systems engineer.
    Blogging my AWS studies here! http://www.itstudynotes.uk/aws-csa
  • fly2dwfly2dw Member Posts: 122 ■■■□□□□□□□
    gateway wrote: »
    That's kind of true. I haven't done a cert before and thought "yes - everything I am studying now I have experience in or used before"

    The Vista exam was a case in point - who uses Windows Mail? Whilst the parental controls are great I haven't used them.

    A lot of it is about making you aware of the technologies so that if a situation arises whereby you need to implement something, you might have studied that topic that will give you this knowledge.

    I have also had many phone calls about technologies I have not had any exposure to, but other IT staff in the company have and it enables me to understand what they are talking about and communicate effectively.

    Knowledge is power - the more you know and understand the better (generally speaking).

    I agree.

    Remember the beauty of certifications is that it teaches you the majority of features available (If not all; sometimes). If you do a Windows Vista course; like you say who uses Windows Mail etc? However it may come in handy and give you more options when trying to fix another problem. Okay I am not talking about Windows Mail specifically, I am just giving an example of knowing features you don't use everyday, which can be utilised at a later date. Otherwise you may not know they exist. You don't want the customer being the first person to introduce you to a new feature/app in an OS (Although it happens sometimes).

    To the original post I would pursue your MCSE if you have the time. However if you feel in your place of work, you are really pressed to know Windows Server 2008, then do an upgrade to MCITP from the MCSA. I work in a mixed environment 2003 and 2008, but there isn't a lot of pressure to learn the MCITP server 2008 material yet, as we are not entirely committed to it. We have it in a preliminary stage (But as no doubt a lot of you know, a lot of these trials seem to creep into full production over night, due to a late senior management meeting, and the technicians/admins are the last to know about it!).
  • NetAdmin2436NetAdmin2436 Member Posts: 1,076
    Normally I'd say always go for your MCSE. There's a number of reasons, especially If you are looking for another job or plan to do so in the near future. Do a search on the job boards for how many times MCSA vs MCSE come up. You might not even find a single job posting asking for MCSA. They almost always ask for a MCSE. Hence, an MCSE will look much better on your resume.

    Having an MCSE should make the upgrading to the MCITP much much easier as well, as you already know the foundation and can just concentrate on the new features. Yeah, there are some 2003 technologies that you may never use (RRAS comes to mind), but what do you do. It's Microsoft.

    With the above said, if your not really looking for a new job and basically are just working on 2008 servers everyday, then stopping at MCSA and going for the new MCITP or even Cisco (if that peaks your interest) might prove to be a better choice. Ultimately it's up to you and what would help your career and/or your performance at your current job.

    Either way, good luck!
    WIP: CCENT/CCNA (.....probably)
  • phoeneousphoeneous Go ping yourself... Member Posts: 2,333 ■■■■■■■□□□
    smg1138 wrote: »
    Well, people who do systems engineering. Like planning and developing new networks and infrastructure. Not just administering existing systems that somebody else built. I guess there's some disagreement about what constitutes a "systems engineer", but I'm not interested in arguing semantics.


    I think it's more up to the employer and the job title that they use. At my last job I was a Systems Engineer I but I didn't develope or plan any part of the infrastructure, just supported it. At my current job my title is Network Administrator and I'm rebuilding the entire infrastructure from the ground up i.e. servers, workstations, network equipment, everything.
  • smg1138smg1138 Member Posts: 94 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Alright, I think I've got my plan figured out. Since I just passed 291, I'm going to take 293 next since it's still fresh and the material overlaps so much. After that, I'll take Security+ for my elective exam and to get the MCSA completed. Lastly, I'll do the 294 and 297 consecutively to get the MCSE completely finished.
  • nicklauscombsnicklauscombs Member Posts: 885
    smg1138 wrote: »
    Alright, I think I've got my plan figured out. Since I just passed 291, I'm going to take 293 next since it's still fresh and the material overlaps so much. After that, I'll take Security+ for my elective exam and to get the MCSA completed. Lastly, I'll do the 294 and 297 consecutively to get the MCSE completely finished.

    make sure to finish that security+ up before the year is over so it'll be good for life.
    WIP: IPS exam
  • motogpmanmotogpman Member Posts: 412
    Lots of good responses to your initial post, so I'm glad that you made a good choice. You also need to keep in mind that what you are doing "now" may not be what is in your future employers list of duties. With the way things are going right now with the economy, finishing up your MCSE is very wise. You can then go over to the MCITP path and it will take less tests.
    -WIP- (70-294 and 297)

    Once MCSE 2k3 completed:

    WGU: BS in IT, Design/Management

    Finish MCITP:EA, CCNA, PMP by end of 2012

    After that, take a much needed vacation!!!!!
  • gatewaygateway Member Posts: 232
    motogpman wrote: »
    Lots of good responses to your initial post, so I'm glad that you made a good choice. You also need to keep in mind that what you are doing "now" may not be what is in your future employers list of duties. With the way things are going right now with the economy, finishing up your MCSE is very wise. You can then go over to the MCITP path and it will take less tests.

    +1, you have made a good choice. All the best with it.
    Blogging my AWS studies here! http://www.itstudynotes.uk/aws-csa
  • DevilsbaneDevilsbane Member Posts: 4,212 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I'm actually considering going for MCSE. My biggest concern is time. Blasting through the 290 in a month wasn't so bad. But can that be done with the 293 and 294 as well?

    Plus I want to get Security+ done this year. Either way I have quite the bit of work to do.
    Decide what to be and go be it.
  • phoeneousphoeneous Go ping yourself... Member Posts: 2,333 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Devilsbane wrote: »
    I'm actually considering going for MCSE. My biggest concern is time. Blasting through the 290 in a month wasn't so bad. But can that be done with the 293 and 294 as well?

    Plus I want to get Security+ done this year. Either way I have quite the bit of work to do.

    You stole the plans right out of my head. I'm doing 291 at the end of June. I want to get Security+ between mid to end of July. I'm confident I will pass given my degree in infosec and familiarity with the material. Then 293 by mid Sept., 294 by mid Nov., and 297 by the end of the year.

    2011 is going to be an all Cisco year so I wanted to get MCSE and Sec+ done this year.
  • DevilsbaneDevilsbane Member Posts: 4,212 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Not exactly the same plan. I want to get MCSE:S (or at least MCSA:S) there is still the potential that I bump off the E.

    I'm also planning the MCDST this year. 2 tests and I think I can get them both done in a about a month. Thats where I'm going after sec+.

    EDIT: I'm also not planning an all cisco year next year either. I have cisco tentatively planned for 2012. And even then, CCNA would be more than enough for me.
    Decide what to be and go be it.
  • phoeneousphoeneous Go ping yourself... Member Posts: 2,333 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Devilsbane wrote: »
    I'm also planning the MCDST this year.

    Why? Just curious.
  • DevilsbaneDevilsbane Member Posts: 4,212 ■■■■■■■■□□
    phoeneous wrote: »
    Why? Just curious.

    Because it seems rather easy and is another credential that I can stick on my resume. Plus, being that I'm working service desk right now, a desktop support position is likely my next move. I think I can take down both tests in about a month, maybe less.
    Decide what to be and go be it.
  • earweedearweed Member Posts: 5,192 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Plus if you get the MCDST you can upgrade to the MCITP:EDST for Windows 7 with just 1 exam, the 70-682. The 70-682 is like a combination of the 680 and 685 exams.
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • DevilsbaneDevilsbane Member Posts: 4,212 ■■■■■■■■□□
    earweed wrote: »
    Plus if you get the MCDST you can upgrade to the MCITP:EDST for Windows 7 with just 1 exam, the 70-682. The 70-682 is like a combination of the 680 and 685 exams.

    Also true.
    Decide what to be and go be it.
  • Geek1969Geek1969 Member Posts: 100 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I had the same question after I finished my SA. I went back to my Cisco studies and completed my CCNA because I wanted to after taking the Cisco Networking Academy. Now..... I am going back to MS. I would love to continue Cisco certs but in my area, there are 9 MS jobs or each Cisco job. In what I am doing currently, (Network/Systems Admin --3 yrs.) The material covered in 293,294,298,299 would be of great help in my work. I am starting with 294 and will finish my MCSE before I go back to Cisco. I thought about just going to server 2008, but we are still 2003 as are many networks out there, with no plans to upgrade the domain any time soon. --My 2 cents.
    WIP:
    ROUTE
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,314 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I skipped the other responses because I'm short on time, but I would definitely finish the MCSE. Anyone who has done the MCSE knows how weak the MCSA is in comparison. You don't even seriously get into AD until another two exams (assuming you go in numerical order).

    When considering the upgrades, many people look at the number of exams as opposed to the new content. The new track is relatively easy to obtain with a solid MCSE-level of understanding. The majority of the material is going to be familiar.
  • sterlingbluesterlingblue Member Posts: 19 ■□□□□□□□□□
    + 1 to Dynamik's response.

    I just passed 298 today and I was able to take an exam a month to upgrade from MCSA to MCSE.

    The material has already come in handy at work discussing the environment with the Architects as well as having a better overall understanding of how everything fits together.

    294 is ESPECIALLY helpful in that regard :)

    I wish you the best of luck!
  • rob7278rob7278 Member Posts: 57 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I have been debating the same question- MCSE or upgrade. I opted to continue on to MCSE however was stopped dead in my tracks. Exams 70-293 and 70-294 are way harder than any of the exams I took to earn my MCSA. I sailed through all the MCSA exams, taking about 3-4 weeks of studying between each exam and did not fail any of the exams (without brain ****). So far I have failed the 70-293 twice and the 70-294 twice. I know there have been posts stating that 70-293 or 70-294 were just add-ons to the 70-290 and 70-291; that has not been my experience. You could get lucky and draw an easy test from the pool of questions- but after failing these tests twice each, I feel like I need to know all the exam objectives like the back of my hand. On one hand it is extremely frustrating, but on the other hand it makes me understand why the MCSE is so much more respected by employers. FYI I have decided to sidestep to the 70-648, I am not conceding defeat on MCSE- I am hoping that through studying 70-648 will fill in some of the gaps or reinforce some of the areas I have been missing. Also I am hoping 70-648 will restore some of my confidence after getting my butt handed to me on 70-293/294.
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