Have NET+, Need Some Advice on how to build my Resume. MCITP or MCSA? Please Help!

RobAndresRobAndres Member Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
I've been working as a one-man IT department for a small business for 4.5 years. I'm looking to take the next step in my career, but my resume is not doing me any favors. My Bachelor's degree is in Construction Management, but I fell into IT because I'm a natural born problem solver and I have a high aptitude for anything technical.

My employer paid for me to get my CompTIA NET+ a few years ago, which I passed in about 3 weeks. My job search has been discouraging because it seems that I need some certs on my resume to be taken seriously, in spite of the fact that I have nearly 5 years of experience. That being said, I'm looking for the path of least resistance to get some certs added to my resume.

MCSA seems like the answer, as most of my experience is with a Windows XP/Server 2003 environment. The question is: would I be wasting my time to get this cert when it is clearly becoming obsolete in favor of the MCITP track?

If MCSA is the right choice:
Since I have the NET+, would it be easier to get the A+, or just take one of the other elective exams to cover the elective requirement? I never got the A+ because it seemed like a waste of time, as I had already been building systems for years.

Here are my choices (remember: Path of least resistance):
1. MCSA: (70-290, 291, 270(WinXP) and CompTIA A+) In this case A+ and existing NET+ cover elective.
2. MCSA: (70-290, 291, 270, 680(Win7))
3. Forget about the Antiquated MCSA and put in the extra time and effort on an MCITP track.

Please Advise. (thank you for reading my lengthy post)
I am open to other suggestions, as well.

-Rob

Comments

  • RobAndresRobAndres Member Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
    47 views and no advice? I'm a little disappointed, to say the least.

    After agonizing over this for the last 24 hours (and pouring over countless threads on this site), I've decided to forget about the A+ and move in the direction of the MCSA. If I choose wisely on the elective exam, it could count toward future certifications. So, I'd like to complete the MCSA and move onto the MCSE before they are no longer available. The server 2003 environment is what I know best and I certainly have a lot of holes in my knowledge to fill, as I am mostly self-taught. Plus, I think that even if the MCSA/MCSE series is becoming obsolete, it still proves to an employer that you have the ability to learn and manage thier business-critical systems.

    If anyone disagrees with this plan, I would really appreciate the criticism.
  • dave330idave330i Member Posts: 2,091 ■■■■■■■■■■
    You do realize you're trying to cert yourself on nearly 10 year old technology, right? Build yourself a home lab to gain experience on win2k8r2 and work on the MCITP track. From what I've heard, lot of the stuff you know about win2k3 translates to 2k8r2.
    2018 Certification Goals: Maybe VMware Sales Cert
    "Simplify, then add lightness" -Colin Chapman
  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Senior Member Mod Posts: 6,927 Mod
    Welcome to TE. Opinions will vary but I just can't make a case for a 2003 track. With the upcoming new MS server OS so close the only way I could justify and MCSA is if my employer required and paid for it. Even if that was the case I would try to convince them otherwise. Since you mentioned you have many holes, you might as well move on to server 2008 by building a lab and getting to know the required material to hit the MCITP track. For anyone starting from scratch, 2008 is definitely the way to go. By the time you are done with that MCSA some of the few exams that haven't been retired may be in the retirement schedule.

    You also mention path of least resistance, but I think that's the wrong approach. Since you are actively looking to make a move you should focus on anything that can increase your chances of landing that next position or possibly the one after that. The chances of 2003 doinf this are lower than 2008. As dave330i mentioned 2008 is not a paradigm shift. It is the same old technology with a couple of new features here and there.

    I had to choose I would go with the MCITP:SA 2008 track. If you start today and work hard you can kill it in 5-6 months, possibly less if you have a lot of study time. A few books, a CBT and a lab will quickly bring you up to speed if you are really motivated.
  • RobAndresRobAndres Member Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thank you both for your feedback.

    This makes perfect sense. I thought that I would have an easy time getting the MCSA and worst case scenario, I could add it to my resume and have a couple of certs that could go towards the newer certifications, but upon further investigation, it looks like I would have to take four exams to get MCSA and only one would count toward MCITP, at best.

    I think I'm better off going for MCITP:SA with three exams, then diversify with either SQL, Sharepoint or Windows 7 concentrations (I have a lot of GUI experience with SQL, but not much command-line). Sometime in the future I could think about getting the MCITP:EA

    You both recommend a home lab. If my first goal is MCITP:SA, should I just build a Server 2008 R2 machine to add to my existing network of two Windows 7 Ultimate machines? OR do you see value in picking up a retired server (proliant, poweredge, etc.) for a couple hundred bucks on ebay and virtualizing it to run multiple operating systems?

    Thanks again for the advice.
  • dave330idave330i Member Posts: 2,091 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Your win7 machines don't support virtualization? That'll be your cheapest solution. If they don't, then pick up an older server that support x64 and virtualization (Poweredge 340 comes to mind).

    For MCITP, your lab needs to run 6-7 win2k8r2 servers. Each server needs 512 MB RAM & ~20 Gig of HD. Add that up and your ebay server will need 4 GB of RAM & 160 Gig of HD. Most of the time, you'll lab using 1-3 servers, so you really don't need a very powerful machine.
    2018 Certification Goals: Maybe VMware Sales Cert
    "Simplify, then add lightness" -Colin Chapman
  • HypntickHypntick Member Posts: 1,451 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Depending on how beefy your home systems are you could re-purpose one as a Hyper-V server and run your VMs off of there. Would give you great practice for some of the 646 topics. I actually went the buy a server on ebay route, as it was considerably cheaper than upgrading my home setup and it worked out well for me. Although I did a few Hyper-V setups later I started with VMWare as that's what we use at work. Good luck on your journey, it's a rough one, but with your experience you should do just fine.
    WGU BS:IT Completed June 30th 2012.
    WGU MS:ISA Completed October 30th 2013.
  • RobAndresRobAndres Member Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I realize this may not be the appropriate place to get into hardware specifics (if there is a forum for this, please direct me there), but I haven't really done any virtualization. I am excited to get started, however. I've checked out some used HP Proliant ML350 G4s on ebay ($200-$300) with dual Xeons in the 3.0-3.4 range (800 FSB, 2MB L2 cache). I asked a couple of the sellers for specific model numbers on those processors and cross-checked them on Intel's site, where I found that they are not "VT-x" compatible (Intel's "Virtualization Technology"). One seller is trying to upsell me to a G5 at 3X the price claiming the G4 machine "really isn't a vt compatible unit. At least not under Windows..." He's recommending something with 2 dual-core or quad-core processors. I'm all about spending $600 on a server for my home office, but I have to keep the wife happy and $300 would do a much better job at that.

    Like I said, I haven't set up any virtualized machines yet, but I always assumed it wasn't that hardware-specific.

    My current Win7 home PCs are running older processors: The "good" one is an Core2 Duo E7200 - 2.53GHz, 1066 FSB, 3MB Cache w/ 8GB DDR3 RAM and the older one is a Pentium Dual-Core E5200 - 2.5GHz, 800 FSB, 2MB Cache and the board is maxed out at 2GB DDR2 (533?) RAM (it barely has any business running Win7) but I'd prefer not to mess with these, as I need some Win7 clients on my network, anyway.

    Do I really need to virtualize 6-7 Win2K8R2 Servers to get serious on the labs for MCITP:SA?

    I'm anxious to get started, but I don't want to invest in any hardware that won't be flexible for future lab needs as I progress through the certs.

    Sorry for another long post. I really appreciate your help with my questions. My apologies for my ignorance on virtualization, I have an 8-blade enclosure at my little company, so I've always had plenty of physical servers for our needs.
  • dave330idave330i Member Posts: 2,091 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Check out ESX / ESXi 4.0 Whitebox HCL for list of servers that'll work with ESXi 4.1. You can pick up a Poweredge 840 off ebay for under $300. Single dual-core or quad-core is all you need.

    You need 3-4 servers for ADCS. You need 6-7 to test 1 of the external trust configurations.
    2018 Certification Goals: Maybe VMware Sales Cert
    "Simplify, then add lightness" -Colin Chapman
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