Why don't more SA's focus on SCCM?

N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483
I see a lot of SA's focusing on the MCSA/MCSE/MCITP, but rarely see any going after SCCM.

In my network I know several SA's who spend a great deal of time working with and configuring SCCM - 08 now 12. I see a lot of jobs that have this toolset at the forefront of their qualifications.

Is there any certain reason why?

I realize not all shops utilize SCCM.........

Comments

  • ptilsenptilsen Member Posts: 2,835 ■■■■■■■■■■
    It's kind of a chicken-and-egg thing. You don't really see many SMBs use SCCM, and most enterprises using it have a dedicated role, for which they only promote internally or hire candidates with existing experience. That makes it very difficult to get experience with at all. The certification alone won't get you serious consideration for many positions when they ask if you have SCCM experience, and most that do ask for SCCM experience are MUCH more interested in the experience than the certification.

    I think this is in contrast to more generalist SA roles. Companies are more willing (and more often have) to take a chance on someone with experience not 100% in line with the job's responsibilities. SCCM postings seem to only get filled by people already using SCCM.

    That being said, I have neither the cert nor the experience, and I've gone after a few of those positions anyway. SCCM is a tool. What I've done without SCCM is fundamentally the same thing, just more difficult. I don't feel that one needs experience or certification to get a job that uses a tool. MCITP:SA/EA and MCSE certify on platforms, not just specific tools. I would always rather certify on a platform or methodology than a tool. When I think about SCCM certification, I think I'd rather get MCITP:EMA, SSCP, CISSP, anything Linux.
    Working B.S., Computer Science
    Complete: 55/120 credits SPAN 201, LIT 100, ETHS 200, AP Lang, MATH 120, WRIT 231, ICS 140, MATH 215, ECON 202, ECON 201, ICS 141, MATH 210, LING 111, ICS 240
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  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483
    Interesting take

    My friend Pete has about 2+ years of SCCM experience and he has gone the opposite direction. No MS certifications except SCCM. He had previous SMS experience as well. He is a SA with a Master and Bachelors is CS. I did manage to talk him into the SCCM certifications. He asked what I thought was valuable and I mention VM or SCCM.

    I think SCCM and SMS are superior products. Altiris and all other solutions I have seen have nothing on SCCM.

    ***I have not seen all the solutions though :)
  • higherhohigherho Member Posts: 882
    SCCM is a god send.. Helped me and my processes out with patching and deployments. Not to mention SCCM has great monitoring tools (even 2007R3). Though, its a pain to setup (imo).
  • kriscamaro68kriscamaro68 A+, Net+, Server+, Security+, Win7 MCP, Server 2012 Virtualization Specialist, MCSA 2012 Member Posts: 1,186 ■■■■■■■□□□
    I have a major focus on SCCM and think it is a great tool. We will be moving to SCCM 2012 here within the next month as well. I think it is a great tool for managing system tasks/software deployments. To some implementing something this big could seem daunting and may scare off some SA's.
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483
    I loved using SMS and SCCM even more. I agree with both you it's amazing. Deploying packages from the console and managing patching was a breeze. I loved the ability to schedule jobs and the reporting was outstanding. It dumped right into a SQL session and could be manipulated.

    We used Net QoS for monitoring the network, but right before I left they were transitioning into that toolset.

    All the shops that I have been apart of that had SMS or SCCM implemented were a lot of fun to work in.
  • ptilsenptilsen Member Posts: 2,835 ■■■■■■■■■■
    SCCM is a great solution, but it's partly a greatly solution because it's fairly straightforward to use. Still, it's just a tool. I'd be comfortable putting virtually any experienced generalist SA in front of SCCM. By comparison, I wouldn't throw someone at Exchange or SharePoint without specific experience/certification/knowledge of those products.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying focus on SCCM is a bad career move, necessarily, and there are definitely some very high-paying SCCM positions out there. However, I, for one, don't want to my entire resume to be about one tool. SCCM can be an okay focus, but I'd personally rather focus on a platform or methodology (Windows, ITIL, Linux, etc.) than a tool, even a really great tool. I think the hiring managers at the enterprises using SCCM and similar tools need to adopt a similar line of thinking -- SCCM is not so complex as to necessitate someone who is already an expert in SCCM. A bit of training goes a long way very quickly.
    Working B.S., Computer Science
    Complete: 55/120 credits SPAN 201, LIT 100, ETHS 200, AP Lang, MATH 120, WRIT 231, ICS 140, MATH 215, ECON 202, ECON 201, ICS 141, MATH 210, LING 111, ICS 240
    In progress: CLEP US GOV,
    Next up: MATH 211, ECON 352, ICS 340
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483
    pt

    Agreed I was on the helpdesk and they pulled me off and taught me how to deploy and patch via SCCM. I was well liked and had some aptitude and that's all it took, so I agree.

    But highlighting your resume with this beautiful tool and skipping one MS certification in lieu of SCCM isn't a bad idea either.
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483
    PT

    What's your thoughts?

    I had only a high level knowledge of AD and system adminstration and was able to use the tool. I know implementing and configuring can be a bear!
  • jibbajabbajibbajabba Member Posts: 4,317 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Similar to SAN experience though. I have in-depth knowledge of the Dell Equallogic but a lot of hiring companies want experience 'in EMC'. My point is, if you understand the concepts then the tools shouldn't be a big issue for skilled SAs.

    As part of our evaluation I had iSCSI SANs from Dell, Sun and many others and every UI felt naturally and was easy to understand within minutes. Yet companies insist you worked with specific interfaces etc.

    Don't get it sometimes.
    My own knowledge base made public: http://open902.com :p
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483
    Funny thing is I am on the opposite side of the spectrum. I am not a super skilled SA, but I have experience using the tool. Maybe not all of it's features, but quite a few.

    If I get cornered hard in the next year or so I might be breaking out that card.
  • ptilsenptilsen Member Posts: 2,835 ■■■■■■■■■■
    N2IT wrote: »
    PT

    What's your thoughts?

    I had only a high level knowledge of AD and system adminstration and was able to use the tool. I know implementing and configuring can be a bear!

    My point exactly. The tool is easy to use. From my standpoint, certification in it should not be seen as a priority as a result of how easy it is. Edit: Keep in mind I'm talking about practicality, no necessarily about market. Having experience with and certification in the tool is definitely marketable. I don't think anyone will dispute that. I see 1-2 year contracts for $35-$50/hr for deployments and such that pretty much just require knowledge of SCCM, Office, and Win7. Full-time positions in the $60-$90K range as well. I just think the employers are wrong to focus on that tool. Know the OS, know the fundamentals, learn the tool.

    Having a deeper understanding of the platform being managed, however, would give you a deeper appreciation for and understanding of the use of its features.

    @jibbajabba, same thing. What does it matter if you know Dell vs EMC vs HP? You need to know about SAN protocols, performance, RAID levels, etc. Differences between different vendor UIs are generally immaterial.
    Working B.S., Computer Science
    Complete: 55/120 credits SPAN 201, LIT 100, ETHS 200, AP Lang, MATH 120, WRIT 231, ICS 140, MATH 215, ECON 202, ECON 201, ICS 141, MATH 210, LING 111, ICS 240
    In progress: CLEP US GOV,
    Next up: MATH 211, ECON 352, ICS 340
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483
    PT

    Reports can be a bit tricky, but deploying, patching, auditing, etc is a breeze if configured properly. Troubleshooting the client that isn't responding is more difficult than what I mentioned. That can be a pain in the ...

    It's been a while since I was fixing the SCCM system files client side. This is of course my least favorite thing to do. I would rather be patching and pushing applications.
  • MeanDrunkR2D2MeanDrunkR2D2 MCSA: Server 2012, MCITP: EDA KCMember Posts: 897 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I know that once I get into a SA role, and pick up my MCSE (newest version) I'll be looking at picking up the SCCM cert for certain. The things that it can do when set up is a godsend. We haven't fully implemented it here at my work yet, but when we do it will make life so easy for many of us. I wish we'd have it up and functional now as we're in the process of deploying about 400-500 machines in the next couple of weeks. It would make the process simple.
  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAMember Posts: 4,172 ■■■■■■■■■□
    From what I can tell, there is money to be made in initial design and configuration of the SCCM infrastructure, as evidenced by companies I have worked for paying big $$$ to service providers to perform these services and knowledge transfer. An SA that wanted to transition into an engineer/architect role might find that SCCM certification (or other System Center certs) would be a nice wildcard to go along with the usual MCSE/VCP/CCNA etc.
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 11/2019 - RHCSA (RHEL 7); 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
    Working on: RHCE/Ansible
    Future: Probably continued Red Hat Immersion, Possibly VCAP Design, or maybe a completely different path. Depends on job demands...
  • antielvisantielvis Member Posts: 285 ■■■□□□□□□□
    The interest in SCCM along with the new MCSE Desktop Certification track demonstrates that "Enterprise Desktop Administration" is now a real track an IT pro can follow. While SCCM is too expensive for smaller companies (you can use SCE instead), for the Enterprise it makes absolute sense. Deployment of software, updates, patches, etc using SCCM makes absolute sense. It's auditing capabilities are robust. It will cut costs for larger firms with huge software libraries.

    As for those stating this is a good addition for those with an MCSA/E, I'd say exactly the opposite. This is a GREAT certification for someone who has an MCITP Windows 7. This is for that person that has some exposure to servers (infrastructure) and would like to take that step out of "Desktop" into "Infrastructure".
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483
    @Anti

    I am no SA, but having done infrastructure task, this makes a lot of sense.

    However, if you look at the objectives almost 30% make up deploying and configurating the actual toolset itself. I have spoken to experienced SA's and architects and they never say this is an easy tool to set up or configure, in fact it's usually the opposite. So while I agree some of the objectives like deploying software synchs up with what you mentioned others like Deploying a System Center Configuration Manager 2007 or Configuring an SCCM Infrastructure do not. I doubt an enterprise would let a desktop guy transition into an infrastructure guy in the beginning or middle of a SCCM deployment/configuration.
  • QHaloQHalo Member Posts: 1,488
    N2IT wrote: »
    I think SCCM and SMS are superior products. Altiris and all other solutions I have seen have nothing on SCCM.

    ***I have not seen all the solutions though :)

    What do you think that SCCM has that Altiris doesn't? I'm just curious...(I've supported multiple Altiris environments for the majority of my career)
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483
    While the enterprise was using XP Pro as their main OS and WMI was a snap in the performance was about equal. However, once the enterprises started rolling out Win 7 and with WMI baked into the OS, SCCM took over and never looked back.

    The capability has a lot to do with the configuration and which modules you utilize within Altiris suite so this part is very subjective.

    Software deployments have had less fail rate IMO utilizing Win 7 with SCCM as opposed to Altiris and Win 7. I've noticed imaging times have dropped since going to SCCM with Win 7. The time is anywhere from 5-10 minutes, depending on the location and the device. I don't care for the Altiris recover tool/console since Win 7 was rolled out. A lot of failures have been reported on this particular piece. Maybe it's another factor coming into play, I really don't know, but that has been my observation.
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