Is less more?

N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
I noticed on this forum that there are some members who really go all out and collect a mass amount of certifications in a relatively short period of time. Can/Is this counter productive? I guess there are some people with a redonkulous memory, but most people are the mean. Would it benefit someone to focus on one or two certifications, (technologies or processes)?

It seems to me that focusing on one or two technologies per year can really give you a lot of time to intimately understand and learn the technologies and/or processes. Also gives you time to put it into practice to reinforce the theory and technology.

I understand that some certifications are easy for people because of their experience. Example A+. I studied maybe 2 weeks and watched Messer. But most certifications in my opinion require quite a bit of thought and energy. Is it realistic to get 10 certs in one year and be very effective with that technlology?

In closing I would like to say that each situation has it's own identity so I am not directing this at one person. This is more of a theory that I was thinking about just now. Thoughts?

Comments

  • rwmidlrwmidl CISSP, CISM, MCSE, MCSA, MCPxAlot Worldwide AvailabilityMember Posts: 807 ■■■■■■□□□□
    For me it's easier to knock out a few in a row because I get some momentum going. Example the MCITP track. For the EA that is 5 tests. I think it would be easier to knock them all out in a row within a short period of time if possible - if for anything because of the number of tests needed. But I see what you are saying.
    CISSP | CISM | ACSS | ACIS | MCSA:2008 | MCITP:SA | MCSE:Security | MCSA:Security | Security + | MCTS
  • ibcritnibcritn Member Posts: 340
    I think that picking a specialization is a great idea. I think if you were to certify in many different that your logic would make sense. If you say get 3-4 certifications all in one area well you might just be getting deeper knowledge on the same topic.

    There are many that think a jack of all trades / master of none is good, but from what I can see.....what makes the money is when you master one.

    So I agree with you about certifying in many areas and id rather focus in 1/2 areas and become a master.
    CISSP | GCIH | CEH | CNDA | LPT | ECSA | CCENT | MCTS | A+ | Net+ | Sec+

    Next Up: Linux+/RHCSA, GCIA
  • rwmidlrwmidl CISSP, CISM, MCSE, MCSA, MCPxAlot Worldwide AvailabilityMember Posts: 807 ■■■■■■□□□□
    ibcritn wrote: »
    I think that picking a specialization is a great idea. I think if you were to certify in many different that your logic would make sense. If you say get 3-4 certifications all in one area well you might just be getting deeper knowledge on the same topic.

    There are many that think a jack of all trades / master of none is good, but from what I can see.....what makes the money is when you master one.

    So I agree with you about certifying in many areas and id rather focus in 1/2 areas and become a master.

    I think when people are just starting out in the field you can get overloaded with "what do I want to do" and start trying to do and learn everything. I know I did. Once you get in to the field you eventually start focusing and specializing in one area.
    CISSP | CISM | ACSS | ACIS | MCSA:2008 | MCITP:SA | MCSE:Security | MCSA:Security | Security + | MCTS
  • ibcritnibcritn Member Posts: 340
    rwmidl wrote: »
    I think when people are just starting out in the field you can get overloaded with "what do I want to do" and start trying to do and learn everything. I know I did. Once you get in to the field you eventually start focusing and specializing in one area.

    Makes sense I did the exact same thing. It took a bit for me to find my passion.
    CISSP | GCIH | CEH | CNDA | LPT | ECSA | CCENT | MCTS | A+ | Net+ | Sec+

    Next Up: Linux+/RHCSA, GCIA
  • rwmidlrwmidl CISSP, CISM, MCSE, MCSA, MCPxAlot Worldwide AvailabilityMember Posts: 807 ■■■■■■□□□□
    ibcritn wrote: »
    Makes sense I did the exact same thing. It took a bit for me to find my passion.

    Ditto!

    When you start out working help desk (as most do) you tend to see a lot and get interested in a lot. "Ohh..Network Admins are cool. I want to do Cisco". "Oh..Exchange is cool. I want to get my MCITP!" and on and on...
    CISSP | CISM | ACSS | ACIS | MCSA:2008 | MCITP:SA | MCSE:Security | MCSA:Security | Security + | MCTS
  • Repo ManRepo Man Member Posts: 300
    With the job listings out right now you can't afford to have a specialization until you are well experienced. Most jobs have a laundry list of wishes and people who can't wait to catch their big break or get a better opportunity.
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    rwmidl wrote: »
    Ditto!

    When you start out working help desk (as most do) you tend to see a lot and get interested in a lot. "Ohh..Network Admins are cool. I want to do Cisco". "Oh..Exchange is cool. I want to get my MCITP!" and on and on...

    LOL

    Hiliarous I am in a hybrid help desk role also network analyst, but I've gone through those thoughts lol
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Repo Man wrote: »
    With the job listings out right now you can't afford to have a specialization until you are well experienced. Most jobs have a laundry list of wishes and people who can't wait to catch their big break or get a better opportunity.

    But are you really retaining the information?

    Example Lets say you get MCITP whatever and then CCNA and then another higher level technology in another facet of IT? How can you possibly be any good at all those technologies? If you just did one and focused on it you might be better off.
  • rwmidlrwmidl CISSP, CISM, MCSE, MCSA, MCPxAlot Worldwide AvailabilityMember Posts: 807 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Repo Man wrote: »
    With the job listings out right now you can't afford to have a specialization until you are well experienced. Most jobs have a laundry list of wishes and people who can't wait to catch their big break or get a better opportunity.


    Sometimes those listings can end of being a wish list or someone in HR just throwing in words/phrases they know.
    CISSP | CISM | ACSS | ACIS | MCSA:2008 | MCITP:SA | MCSE:Security | MCSA:Security | Security + | MCTS
  • ehndeehnde Member Posts: 1,103
    Alot real quick like 5 certs in one month? ****. But if a person legitimately passes several exams I don't see how it's really an issue.
    Climb a mountain, tell no one.
  • Repo ManRepo Man Member Posts: 300
    N2IT wrote: »
    But are you really retaining the information?

    Example Lets say you get MCITP whatever and then CCNA and then another higher level technology in another facet of IT? How can you possibly be any good at all those technologies? If you just did one and focused on it you might be better off.

    I think your studies should have a focus but it doesn't hurt if your certs show a range of skills. I totally agree with not getting a cert just to have it and not keeping the skills sharp though.

    My main point is that a lot of people have/will have jobs where they need knowledge in multiple technologies. That will not be what's best for them but it may be required to perform their job. I think most people would love to specialize but don't have the opportunity IMO.
  • Repo ManRepo Man Member Posts: 300
    rwmidl wrote: »
    Sometimes those listings can end of being a wish list or someone in HR just throwing in words/phrases they know.

    Agreed, but they do the hiring. icon_wink.gif
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Repo Man wrote: »
    I think your studies should have a focus but it doesn't hurt if your certs show a range of skills. I totally agree with not getting a cert just to have it and not keeping the skills sharp though.

    My main point is that a lot of people have/will have jobs where they need knowledge in multiple technologies. That will not be what's best for them but it may be required to perform their job. I think most people would love to specialize but don't have the opportunity IMO.

    I totally agree that certain IT professionals need multiple skills EG CCNA and Windows for an example.

    I was just eluding to people that get tons and tons of certifications and aren't even in those positions. Or are in helpdesk and have 40 certs in all sorts of high level technologies.

    That's where I was going with my comment.
  • genXrcistgenXrcist Member Posts: 531
    Certifications are only as good as what you put into them regardless of the amount of time it takes. That being said, an MCSE takes let say....an average of 200 hours of hard study/lab time. If someone can do that in a short but realistic amount of time then I'd say they're just as good as someone who dragged that time out over the course of many months. Again it's not a raw 200 hours thing, it's a quality 200 hours thing and it just depends on the person after that. Some can get the same quality in 100 hours and others need 400 hours.

    One thing that really helps is parallel, real-world experience while you're studying. This not only helps you retain the information but also helps shorten the amount of hours required as you're getting a lot of quality time working in the field...particularly if you have a mentor.
    1) CCNP Goal: by August 2012
  • erpadminerpadmin Member Posts: 4,165
    My first job in IT was exactly like that. I wanted to do server administration. I wanted to do Cisco. I wanted to do SQL. I wanted to program. I wanted to rule the world and be a billionaire and date celebrities and models. icon_rolleyes.gif

    Eventually, I had to spend YEARS finding my niche. I ended up choosing SQL/server administration with a PeopleSoft focus. All one has to do is just type that in a job board, and you will see a multitude of jobs for it AND in almost every vertical (e.g. healthcare, education, government, financial sector, etc., etc.). I spent a good amount of time doing Cisco, but it wasn't for me.

    And no, I didn't need certs to get to where I'm at either. Yup...that ten-letter "e" word that took years to get. I only got certs later just to prove I could get them and the last two was courtesy of my desire to finish my degree.

    What I would recommend for anyone in this field is to find something they like and not be a paper-chaser. (Whether it's cash or certs.) Do it because you'll like doing it--the money will come later, as was my case. When you don't think about the money (or those who make more than you), you will find that you will not only be much less stressful but you will find that you will get really good at what you do...so that you CAN make that money. When you are that guy (or girl) worrying about how you can earn that cert so you can be that million dollar IT guy, you will find that you have no skills to speak of at all.

    When you get the skills...the money will follow. Trust and believe that.
  • PristonPriston Member Posts: 999 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I could see someone who just graduated college with course work in Cisco and Microsoft obtain a+ net+ sec+ CCNA and MCITP server admin all in one year. Same thing with people who have been in the field for a long time.

    If I actually read my textbooks when I was in school I'm sure I'd have all those certs.
    A.A.S. in Networking Technologies
    A+, Network+, CCNA
  • ibcritnibcritn Member Posts: 340
    erpadmin wrote: »
    When you get the skills...the money will follow. Trust and believe that.

    Couldn't have said it better myself!
    CISSP | GCIH | CEH | CNDA | LPT | ECSA | CCENT | MCTS | A+ | Net+ | Sec+

    Next Up: Linux+/RHCSA, GCIA
  • docricedocrice Member Posts: 1,706 ■■■■■■■■■■
    All nine certs that I've gained so far I've accomplished in the last year. That said, I've cherry-picked the easy ones for the moment. I say "easy" because I've been in the industry for over a decade so it better be relatively easy, otherwise I've been asleep at the helm. The reason I didn't really give much attention to certifications until last year was because the idea of "being certified" had a somewhat sour taste in my mouth due to the number of "certified" individuals I've worked with who really didn't meet up to expectations.

    I've since re-considered that stance and decided that as my responsibilities widened over time, I've noticed my numerous knowledge gaps. Working for the various certifications have helped immensely to fill some of the voids. Whether I can retain it all clearly is another matter, realistically speaking, but at least I have some kind of passing familiarity with the subjects.

    I know some people (my friends included) chase the paper because in their line of work the title-ownership is more emphasized. I'm on the other side of the fence where being able to apply the knowledge efficiently is clearly more important. My perspective is more idealistic in that if you hold the certification / claim it, you should be able to do the work. If you talk the talk, then show me that you can walk the walk. Time is money and you can't spend production implementation time Googling everything.

    For someone starting out in their career, having a few of the basic certs in different areas (Network+, Security+, CCNA, MCTS, etc.) provides a good foundation to see the larger picture. Most IT work is very dependent on understanding common fundamentals. I've worked with plenty of people who are relatively specialized from the start and they know their area very well, but can't foresee how the goals of their work fit into overall scope of the business. When I was starting out in my career, I wanted to cover everything as well, but I also didn't realize the magnitude / breadth of information technology in general. There's a point though where trying to absorb too much in a short period of time diminishes the value of being certified. That balance is different for everyone, obviously.

    Now that I'm at a point in my career where I better understand the enormity of the industry, I have a much better idea of what specific areas would be a good fit for my interests and I can sharpen my focus to the specific concentrations which I find personally rewarding.
    Hopefully-useful stuff I've written: http://kimiushida.com/bitsandpieces/articles/
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    erpadmin wrote: »
    My first job in IT was exactly like that. I wanted to do server administration. I wanted to do Cisco. I wanted to do SQL. I wanted to program. I wanted to rule the world and be a billionaire and date celebrities and models. icon_rolleyes.gif

    Eventually, I had to spend YEARS finding my niche. I ended up choosing SQL/server administration with a PeopleSoft focus. All one has to do is just type that in a job board, and you will see a multitude of jobs for it AND in almost every vertical (e.g. healthcare, education, government, financial sector, etc., etc.). I spent a good amount of time doing Cisco, but it wasn't for me.

    And no, I didn't need certs to get to where I'm at either. Yup...that ten-letter "e" word that took years to get. I only got certs later just to prove I could get them and the last two was courtesy of my desire to finish my degree.

    What I would recommend for anyone in this field is to find something they like and not be a paper-chaser. (Whether it's cash or certs.) Do it because you'll like doing it--the money will come later, as was my case. When you don't think about the money (or those who make more than you), you will find that you will not only be much less stressful but you will find that you will get really good at what you do...so that you CAN make that money. When you are that guy (or girl) worrying about how you can earn that cert so you can be that million dollar IT guy, you will find that you have no skills to speak of at all.

    When you get the skills...the money will follow. Trust and believe that.

    Always providing great knowledge

    ***Correction I personally think you would make a great admin.
  • erpadminerpadmin Member Posts: 4,165
    docrice wrote: »
    Time is money and you can't spend production implementation time Googling everything.

    Funny story about Googling...since it happened yesterday. My colleague had set up some web servers that are not in production yet, but did not change the password to what we use. The default password from this particular vendor had changed, and the document that stated the default password was at my desk. I knew (and was correct) that I'd get the answer to my query by Googling. The high-priced vendor that we are using to validate our infrastructure made a phone call to his tech. In the time he took to call his main technician, I had already found the default password (changed it) and got in to the server we are working in. While yes, you can't Google your way to doing your job, you can certainly Google to do your job at that moment... icon_cool.gif

    docrice wrote: »
    Now that I'm at a point in my career where I better understand the enormity of the industry, I have a much better idea of what specific areas would be a good fit for my interests and I can sharpen my focus to the specific concentrations which I find personally rewarding.

    This and the rest of your post is definitely spot on. I will add though that in addition to knowing the IT industry as a whole, the industry to what you're supporting is just as important (at some shops...it could even be more important.) If all one knows is technology, but not the business that drives the need for technology, it will make advancement very difficult to unlikely. Aside from that though, very spot on and +1.
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