What to do next? Exchange 2010 or CCNA, then CCNP?

The ShadowThe Shadow Member Posts: 78 ■■□□□□□□□□
Hi all,

I am in a quandary about what certs to do next. I am debating between Exchange and CCNA (then I'll go on to CCNP). I am looking something that's really gong to help me in my career. I just started a new job; and don't get me wrong I am grateful to have a job. However, it's not the job I want, it's not a career job. It's just a steppingstone. I don't see how me having this new job will really help me much.

My new job is pretty much a generalist, IT specialist position; and I want a more administrative position. My new co-works have been there for about 10 years, and I really don't see myself staying at this new job for even half that time.

So I really don't know which route I should go?

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Comments

  • EssendonEssendon Member Posts: 4,546 ■■■■■■■■■■
    What do you want to be doing? Exchange stuff or networks? Do what you want to be doing.
    NSX, NSX, more NSX..

    Blog >> http://virtual10.com
  • The ShadowThe Shadow Member Posts: 78 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Essendon wrote: »
    What do you want to be doing? Exchange stuff or networks? Do what you want to be doing.

    That's just it, I really don't know. I mainly want an administrative career position, and not just a generalist IT position.
  • EssendonEssendon Member Posts: 4,546 ■■■■■■■■■■
    What do you do in your current role, servers/networks/security, all three? What do you love most?
    NSX, NSX, more NSX..

    Blog >> http://virtual10.com
  • The ShadowThe Shadow Member Posts: 78 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Essendon wrote: »
    What do you do in your current role, servers/networks/security, all three? What do you love most?

    Mostly desktop support and a little bit of servers, I would say 80% desktop support and 20% servers.
  • EssendonEssendon Member Posts: 4,546 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Okay, I was in the same situation myself about 2-2.5 years ago. Did about 90% desktop support and "some" server work. Luckily for me a position opened up in our systems engineering team and got moved over other guys since I had done my MCSA. If I were you, I'd stick in the current role, work away on a CCNA or an MCTS Exchange 2010 and see what you like. After a year or so in the current role, find a new job that has more server-related work.
    NSX, NSX, more NSX..

    Blog >> http://virtual10.com
  • Chivalry1Chivalry1 Member Posts: 569
    I would recommend the Cisco certs.
    "The recipe for perpetual ignorance is: be satisfied with your opinions and
    content with your knowledge. " Elbert Hubbard (1856 - 1915)
  • Panzer919Panzer919 Member Posts: 462
    This is one of those questions that, unfortunately, no one but you can answer. I know some people on the forum who spread their technical knowledge over multiple area's and get certified in each, ultimately becoming a well rounded technical person. There are also those like myself that found their niche in the IT world and specialize with one specific vendor across multiple products. This makes you more valuable IF a company has all the same vendor but less if it is mixed. I learned servers and AD in college but have not touched it since then and have desktop support knowledge from my time in the trenches. So if it is a Cisco Network Engineer position I'm good to go, but when it comes to getting something like a "Network Administrator" position, which usually requires you to be a "jack of all trades" tech, I'm not qualified.

    It's all up to you, my advice, if you want to be an exchange admin and know some networking, go for the exchange cert and then read up on Cisco or get certified in it. If you want to go into the Cisco realm, don't touch a server and just eat, sleep and breath Cisco.
    Cisco Brat Blog

    I think “very senior” gets stuck in there because the last six yahoos that applied for the position couldn’t tell a packet from a Snickers bar.

    Luck is where opportunity and proper planning meet

    I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
    Thomas A. Edison
  • earweedearweed Member Posts: 5,192 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Since you probably want to be a system admin type the exchange cert will probably benefit you more. Do the CCNA study (and get the cert if you like) but skip the CCNP unless you want to be a network guy (or gal)
    I'm planning to do the CCNA before going for the exchange cert. I'd like some more networking knowledge.
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • it_consultantit_consultant Member Posts: 1,903
    I can tell you that there is a huge shortage of people that know what they are doing in Exchange 2K7/2K10. Enough of it changed from 2K3 to 2K7 that a lot of old timers gave up on it. There are a lot of CCNAs out there and I think you will get more bang for your buck with Exchange. However, you still really need to know the CCNA material to be both an effective Windows Admin, and an effective Exchange admin. For example, publish an exchange on the public network using a...ASA, Forefront, WG, Sonicwall, Fortinet, etc. It is a great way to go and you end up doing a lot of project work since exchange projects are always big and important projects for companies.
  • chrisonechrisone Senior Member Member Posts: 2,232 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Seems like you are geared and experienced more towards the Server role. Unless you like and have the fortitude to enter into the network realm , then go for it. It is not an easy path and studying networking is not just knowing how to click next, next , next, on installing an app or putting hardware together for a server. You will need to practice and memorize very complex logical scenarios and theories. (sorry not meant to take a shot at the server gurus)

    The CCNA is very hard for those with no network experience, it encompasses many technologies. First you need to understand which path is for you, weigh in all the pros and cons of both roles. Many people ask which path do you want to go, the reason being is that, once you are at an elite level you would not touch anything else other than what your good at.

    In other words an elite server engineer who specializes in lets say exchange or active directory, will not even waste his time trying to fix a routing issue or waste his time configuring a port for the proper VLAN. It is vice versa as well, a network engineer could care less if the exchange server queues are backed up, he has to deal with the enterprise routing and security.

    Networks are so complex and big these days it takes "teams" to focus on areas of technology , hence server team / network team.
    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 (in progress), eCMAP, eCRE
    Course: BC Security - Empire Operations 1 (Jan 28th), Zero Point Security - CRTO (course completed), Zero Point Security - C2 Development in C#
  • ClaymooreClaymoore Member Posts: 1,637
    chrisone wrote: »
    Seems like you are geared and experienced more towards the Server role. Unless you like and have the fortitude to enter into the network realm , then go for it. It is not an easy path and studying networking is not just knowing how to click next, next , next, on installing an app or putting hardware together for a server. You will need to practice and memorize very complex logical scenarios and theories. (sorry not meant to take a shot at the server gurus)

    Reasons to earn your CCNA even if you only want to work on servers:
    1. To pop the egos of pompous network admins who think they are smarter than you and that their work is superior to yours. (We all know that network troubleshooting is as easy as checking to see if the little green light is on.)
    2. You can understand when an issue is a network problem and when it isn't. Like when a misconfigured IDS starts blocking traffic on port 587 and Outlook clients can't connect to send mail, or when a strange firewall rule NATs DNS traffic intended for the new DC to the now disabled old DC and DNS requests fail, or when a network team afraid of multicasting decides to statically map MACs to ports instead of enabling IGMP, but they miss a few ports and the NLB cluster starts acting crazy, or when a bad NIC in an IP SAN corrupts your Exchange message store. Versus when mail delivery is slow because you didn't allocate enough free space to your transport servers and back pressure is kicking in.
    3. You can speak the language of the network team. It's much easier to work together to design and troubleshoot when you both understand the same terminology. Otherwise you might end up having a conversation around trunking that resembles "Who's on First"
    4. The networking foundation will help you with your future server studies and in your daily tasks. When other team members are counting out binary bit masks on their fingers, you can subnet in your head - and do it in hex just for fun.
    5. You make like networking better. Or not, but at least you'll know.
    Everything in IT involves more theory than practice as you move up through the professional and design ranks. Expect more questions on 'why' things are done a certain way than 'how' to do them that way. No single track is inherently more difficult than the other, and you will find any of them easier if you like what you are doing and want to learn more.
  • Panzer919Panzer919 Member Posts: 462
    Claymoore wrote: »
    Reasons to earn your CCNA even if you only want to work on servers:
    1. To pop the egos of pompous network admins who think they are smarter than you and that their work is superior to yours. (We all know that network troubleshooting is as easy as checking to see if the little green light is on.)
    2. You can understand when an issue is a network problem and when it isn't. Like when a misconfigured IDS starts blocking traffic on port 587 and Outlook clients can't connect to send mail, or when a strange firewall rule NATs DNS traffic intended for the new DC to the now disabled old DC and DNS requests fail, or when a network team afraid of multicasting decides to statically map MACs to ports instead of enabling IGMP, but they miss a few ports and the NLB cluster starts acting crazy, or when a bad NIC in an IP SAN corrupts your Exchange message store. Versus when mail delivery is slow because you didn't allocate enough free space to your transport servers and back pressure is kicking in.
    3. You can speak the language of the network team. It's much easier to work together to design and troubleshoot when you both understand the same terminology. Otherwise you might end up having a conversation around trunking that resembles "Who's on First"
    4. The networking foundation will help you with your future server studies and in your daily tasks. When other team members are counting out binary bit masks on their fingers, you can subnet in your head - and do it in hex just for fun.
    5. You make like networking better. Or not, but at least you'll know.
    Everything in IT involves more theory than practice as you move up through the professional and design ranks. Expect more questions on 'why' things are done a certain way than 'how' to do them that way. No single track is inherently more difficult than the other, and you will find any of them easier if you like what you are doing and want to learn more.


    Sounds like you have had the cream of the crop when it comes to network admins. By network admins are you referring to server admins who also manage the network or a network specific person?
    Cisco Brat Blog

    I think “very senior” gets stuck in there because the last six yahoos that applied for the position couldn’t tell a packet from a Snickers bar.

    Luck is where opportunity and proper planning meet

    I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
    Thomas A. Edison
  • it_consultantit_consultant Member Posts: 1,903
    Claymoore wrote: »
    Reasons to earn your CCNA even if you only want to work on servers:
    1. To pop the egos of pompous network admins who think they are smarter than you and that their work is superior to yours. (We all know that network troubleshooting is as easy as checking to see if the little green light is on.)
    2. You can understand when an issue is a network problem and when it isn't. Like when a misconfigured IDS starts blocking traffic on port 587 and Outlook clients can't connect to send mail, or when a strange firewall rule NATs DNS traffic intended for the new DC to the now disabled old DC and DNS requests fail, or when a network team afraid of multicasting decides to statically map MACs to ports instead of enabling IGMP, but they miss a few ports and the NLB cluster starts acting crazy, or when a bad NIC in an IP SAN corrupts your Exchange message store. Versus when mail delivery is slow because you didn't allocate enough free space to your transport servers and back pressure is kicking in.
    3. You can speak the language of the network team. It's much easier to work together to design and troubleshoot when you both understand the same terminology. Otherwise you might end up having a conversation around trunking that resembles "Who's on First"
    4. The networking foundation will help you with your future server studies and in your daily tasks. When other team members are counting out binary bit masks on their fingers, you can subnet in your head - and do it in hex just for fun.
    5. You make like networking better. Or not, but at least you'll know.
    Everything in IT involves more theory than practice as you move up through the professional and design ranks. Expect more questions on 'why' things are done a certain way than 'how' to do them that way. No single track is inherently more difficult than the other, and you will find any of them easier if you like what you are doing and want to learn more.

    This is absolutely correct. Good Windows admins should have a CCNA. They may not work in the networking role but its important for them to understand whats going on with those wires and strange blinking lights in green boxes.
  • chrisonechrisone Senior Member Member Posts: 2,232 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Claymoore wrote: »
    Reasons to earn your CCNA even if you only want to work on servers:
    1. To pop the egos of pompous network admins who think they are smarter than you and that their work is superior to yours. (We all know that network troubleshooting is as easy as checking to see if the little green light is on.)
    2. You can understand when an issue is a network problem and when it isn't. Like when a misconfigured IDS starts blocking traffic on port 587 and Outlook clients can't connect to send mail, or when a strange firewall rule NATs DNS traffic intended for the new DC to the now disabled old DC and DNS requests fail, or when a network team afraid of multicasting decides to statically map MACs to ports instead of enabling IGMP, but they miss a few ports and the NLB cluster starts acting crazy, or when a bad NIC in an IP SAN corrupts your Exchange message store. Versus when mail delivery is slow because you didn't allocate enough free space to your transport servers and back pressure is kicking in.
    3. You can speak the language of the network team. It's much easier to work together to design and troubleshoot when you both understand the same terminology. Otherwise you might end up having a conversation around trunking that resembles "Who's on First"
    4. The networking foundation will help you with your future server studies and in your daily tasks. When other team members are counting out binary bit masks on their fingers, you can subnet in your head - and do it in hex just for fun.
    5. You make like networking better. Or not, but at least you'll know.
    Everything in IT involves more theory than practice as you move up through the professional and design ranks. Expect more questions on 'why' things are done a certain way than 'how' to do them that way. No single track is inherently more difficult than the other, and you will find any of them easier if you like what you are doing and want to learn more.

    Yes this is very true, you should have some network knowledge, at least the very basic. However i dont think you need a CCNA for that.

    I have a small question for those of you who take microsoft exams, are they all multiple choice questions? or are there labs involved? sorry for my ignorance that is why i ask. I could only find that the MCM exam has a lab and that was it. Just curious , i am not trying to stir up an argument or anything like that.

    Network troubleshooting is just checking for a green light? i dont know if you were being sarcastic or you truly believe it is really that easy. Good luck explaining that one......But being that you gave me negative feedback on something so minor indicates otherwise. I feel you have some negative energies towards network engineers by the way you generalize us as ego-maniacs who think we are better than others. the negative feedback was uncalled for, i siad nothing to offend.
    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 (in progress), eCMAP, eCRE
    Course: BC Security - Empire Operations 1 (Jan 28th), Zero Point Security - CRTO (course completed), Zero Point Security - C2 Development in C#
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Inactive Imported Users Posts: 5,031 ■■■■■■■■□□
    chrisone wrote: »
    Networks are so complex and big these days it takes "teams" to focus on areas of technology , hence server team / network team.

    I this this greatly varies depending on where you work (the size of the company).

    I think everyone in IT should have CCNA level knowledge of Networking. The CCNA is so ubiquitous that I don't think that it is even considered a "Network Engineering" certification. I think it is closer to A+/N+/S+ in terms of foundational information for an IT pro (not in terms of difficulty, it is much harder). Grab your CCNA if you can (and if you want). CCNP IMO is an investment in either A: Becoming a "true" Network Engineer or B: Becoming an "advanced" IT generalist (when paired with something like a MCSE/MCITP:SA or MCITP:EA etc).

    I have a CCNA (as well as a CCNA:Security) but I don't not think I could step into a "pure" network engineering role tomorrow. Granted my book knowledge of cisco terms has slid a bit (I haven't really use it in over a year) but even the day after I did my CCNA, I didn't feel like I was ready to get a Network Engineering role. I did however land a Network Security Admin role and my CCNA awareness has benefited me greatly and directly. IMO you should cert towards your career goals as well as pick up some that are "HR" friendly. That's why I am picking up SSCP because it is security oriented (career goals) and people have been requesting it on job descriptions (HR friendly). If CCNA fits the bill go for it. If Exchange fits the bill go for that one. In the end do what you want and can afford (sorry SANS icon_sad.gif ).
  • chrisonechrisone Senior Member Member Posts: 2,232 ■■■■■■■■■□
    i think there is way more information in the A+/N+/S+ than a CCNA. The security+ cert's topic probably blows any security topics the regular CCNA R&S has. CCNA is good at network foundation but its geared towards configuring Cisco products mostly. I think the A+/N+/S+ would be perfect for Server roles. A CCNA in my opinion would be great if your in a server role where you have to configure basic routing and switching on cisco products. However if you are not going to conifgure routers or switches , the Network+ would be more than enough IMO.
    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 (in progress), eCMAP, eCRE
    Course: BC Security - Empire Operations 1 (Jan 28th), Zero Point Security - CRTO (course completed), Zero Point Security - C2 Development in C#
  • it_consultantit_consultant Member Posts: 1,903
    chrisone wrote: »
    Yes this is very true, you should have some network knowledge, at least the very basic. However i dont think you need a CCNA for that.

    I have a small question for those of you who take microsoft exams, are they all multiple choice questions? or are there labs involved? sorry for my ignorance that is why i ask. I could only find that the MCM exam has a lab and that was it. Just curious , i am not trying to stir up an argument or anything like that.

    Network troubleshooting is just checking for a green light? i dont know if you were being sarcastic or you truly believe it is really that easy. Good luck explaining that one......But being that you gave me negative feedback on something so minor indicates otherwise. I feel you have some negative energies towards network engineers by the way you generalize us as ego-maniacs who think we are better than others. the negative feedback was uncalled for, i siad nothing to offend.

    If the question is, which exams are harder, Cisco's are without a doubt. I won't argue that with anyone, I don't think Claymore will either. Cisco does a really good job with their certification track which is why they are so respected in the industry. If I had someone with with an MCITP in Exchange 2010 and no experience I know they will have a 60% deficit in needed knowledge.

    All of that is besides the point - Windows admins are all mini network admins at the same time since Windows and Unix servers are so dependent on the network. CCNA knowledge at a minimum for a Windows admin is necessary. If you could teach CCNA without all the IOS commands, perhaps I would consider that instead for Windows guys. As it stands now Net + is too basic so that really only leaves one other option...
  • white96gtwhite96gt Member Posts: 26 ■■■□□□□□□□
    In my opinion grabbing certs just to get a new job is not the way to go in IT. What is going to move you up in the ranks is a deep understanding of a certain technology and experience. When going for an interview where you list tons of certs you are going to be questioned to see if you truly understand the technologies you are certified in. By having the MCSE I would look at trying to get more responsibilities working with the servers at the company you work for now. Make sure you understand everything you have learned when preparing for the MCSE. If you show up to an interview for a position working with Windows servers and can’t answer the questions and scenarios they give you then the CCNA is not going to help you. Not sure of your background, but experience is going to get you further in your career than to continue to add certs and forgetting everything else you have learned from past certs. Maybe start studying for Windows 7/2008 to update your MCSE.
  • chrisonechrisone Senior Member Member Posts: 2,232 ■■■■■■■■■□
    If the question is, which exams are harder, Cisco's are without a doubt. I won't argue that with anyone, I don't think Claymore will either. Cisco does a really good job with their certification track which is why they are so respected in the industry. If I had someone with with an MCITP in Exchange 2010 and no experience I know they will have a 60% deficit in needed knowledge.

    All of that is besides the point - Windows admins are all mini network admins at the same time since Windows and Unix servers are so dependent on the network. CCNA knowledge at a minimum for a Windows admin is necessary. If you could teach CCNA without all the IOS commands, perhaps I would consider that instead for Windows guys. As it stands now Net + is too basic so that really only leaves one other option...

    Yeah i was in no way trying to even compare the two or to even start an argument about it. I was just trying to inform the poster that it was no cake in the park.

    As for taking out the IOS commands and studying for the rest of the topics is exactly what i had in mind. I would think NET+ would cover that?
    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 (in progress), eCMAP, eCRE
    Course: BC Security - Empire Operations 1 (Jan 28th), Zero Point Security - CRTO (course completed), Zero Point Security - C2 Development in C#
  • ClaymooreClaymoore Member Posts: 1,637
    chrisone wrote: »
    Network troubleshooting is just checking for a green light? i dont know if you were being sarcastic or you truly believe it is really that easy. Good luck explaining that one......But being that you gave me negative feedback on something so minor indicates otherwise. I feel you have some negative energies towards network engineers by the way you generalize us as ego-maniacs who think we are better than others. the negative feedback was uncalled for, i siad nothing to offend.

    Saying that network troubleshooting is just checking the green light is no more accurate than saying that being a sysadmin is just clicking next next next. That statement just annoyed me, what offended me was saying that studying network topics is harder than studying a server topic. I have seen people struggle for months with multiple failures on a Windows exam that I passed with barely any effort then go on and do quite well on Cisco exams. It's easier to study and pass the exams when it's a technology you enjoy, work with regularly, and want to turn into a career.
    chrisone wrote: »
    I have a small question for those of you who take microsoft exams, are they all multiple choice questions? or are there labs involved? sorry for my ignorance that is why i ask. I could only find that the MCM exam has a lab and that was it. Just curious , i am not trying to stir up an argument or anything like that.

    Many MS exams have simulations similar to the CCNA and CCNP exams. MS experimented with candidates configuring live VMs during the exam but Prometric centers weren't capable of delivering that format and the plan was put on hold. You are correct that MS doesn't have a full, live qual lab like the CCIE until you attend an MCM rotation.

    For the record, I have seen sysadmins make plenty of stupid errors that would appear to be network problems but were actually server issues. However this was not a post about network admins needing to pass a few Microsoft exams, which I believe they should do to better understand the devices living on their network.

    To the OP, you should consider doing a bit of both if you want to get into management. You may need to coordinate between the server and network teams or you may move high enough that both teams eventually roll up to you. I recommend that you study the CCNA next and then choose to move on to Exchange or the CCNP depending on job assignment or your interest.
  • Panzer919Panzer919 Member Posts: 462
    Claymoore wrote: »
    Saying that network troubleshooting is just checking the green light is no more accurate than saying that being a sysadmin is just clicking next next next. That statement just annoyed me, what offended me was saying that studying network topics is harder than studying a server topic. I have seen people struggle for months with multiple failures on a Windows exam that I passed with barely any effort then go on and do quite well on Cisco exams. It's easier to study and pass the exams when it's a technology you enjoy, work with regularly, and want to turn into a career.

    For the record, I have seen sysadmins make plenty of stupid errors that would appear to be network problems but were actually server issues. However this was not a post about network admins needing to pass a few Microsoft exams, which I believe they should do to better understand the devices living on their network.

    +1
    chrisone wrote: »
    As for taking out the IOS commands and studying for the rest of the topics is exactly what i had in mind. I would think NET+ would cover that?

    Net+ does go over networks in a basic non proprietary way. If you want to learn about networking in general and how things interact it is a good starting point. Reading up on Cisco is only going to be beneficial if your network is all Cisco. You have to remember also that if you ever change jobs you may have an all HP, Juniper or a mix and match network. Just all depends on what the company is willing to pay to stay connected.
    Cisco Brat Blog

    I think “very senior” gets stuck in there because the last six yahoos that applied for the position couldn’t tell a packet from a Snickers bar.

    Luck is where opportunity and proper planning meet

    I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
    Thomas A. Edison
  • it_consultantit_consultant Member Posts: 1,903
    Ultimately, to the original posters question, he should certify in what will get him paid. I know that sounds shallow but we all have mouths to feed. CCNA will not get you a high paid job out of the gate - I think most mid level IT professionals should have one but that is beside the point. There are lots and lots of exchange jobs out there and even though certification does not necessarily indicate expertise, it is a great way to get into the sysadmin role and get your hands dirty on the technology. A lot of time you will go for a job with a competent exchange engineer that is your competition, the CCNA will put you over the top.

    In short, do both, you won't regret it.
  • The ShadowThe Shadow Member Posts: 78 ■■□□□□□□□□
    First off, I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who replied. All you have given really great advice and insights. I am going to do the Exchange 2010 certification first, then I'll go on to CCNA.

    I want to become more specialized, which will hopefully lead to higher compensation.
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