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First Certification for Fifteen Year Old Student

JacksonVDJacksonVD Member Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hi all,

I'm a fifteen year old looking for his first certification. My IT coordinator at my school has discussed this with me and offered me an e-learning course for MCSE. Obviously I believe this to be too hard of an exam as a first certification, I have been looking over CompTIA's courses such as A+, Network+ and Security+.

My plan at the moment is to get CompTIA Strata then on to A+, Network+ and Security+ then onto MTA certification as my first MCP course. In the future I wish to attend university and complete a Software Engineering course or possibly a Computer Science and Software Engineering double major.

Anyway I was wondering what sort of certification or qualification is a good entry point for someone of my age. I've seen that many people on the forum here have A+ certifications although I'm sure most of you are older than myself. I also saw forum members discussing the Strata certification and they believed that it was to be for home users and not users looking for experience in IT. I took the sample test on CompTIA's website and scored 100% the first time around.

I've already purchased a few books on the subjects of networking, especially on things such as subnetting which I really don't understand at the moment as well as several programming language books - I've already learnt Java after a year or two of studying the language, I've also been looking at network security books as I find cyber security to be quite an interesting topic. The cost of the course or certification will not matter as my parents are willing to fund it, seeing as it will aid my education and because my father is in the IT industry and has been since the times of punch-card computing and works as a senior software engineer at the IBM headquarters of my state.

Any information on the subject is greatly appreciated.

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    NotHackingYouNotHackingYou Member Posts: 1,460 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Sounds like you've got a good head on your shoulders and are heading down the right track. I would do the A+, Network+, Security+ to start then see what interests you most.

    You will be able to do anything you want in IT or programming if you major in computer science.

    My understanding is that the MTA certifications are only available to education partners, but I'm not 100% sure about that.
    When you go the extra mile, there's no traffic.
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    JacksonVDJacksonVD Member Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for that, do you know if exams 701 and 702 for A+ are still available to take? If not, is there a big difference between 801/2 and 701/2? Also would you recommend any books or exam information for the A+ exams? I've been looking at Mike Meyers' books on the exams and they seem to be fairly good, I can also view Professor Messer's videos on YouTube however I'm not sure if those go as in-depth as books like Mike Meyers'.

    My school is partnered with Microsoft as an IT Academy member however I'm not too sure if that means that they're an education partner.

    I'm open to any other suggestions if anyone else has any.
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    NotHackingYouNotHackingYou Member Posts: 1,460 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Mike Meyers books seem to have good feedback for the A+. For myself, I used LabSim's videos to supplement my experience. I also used Professor Messer for A+ and Security+ and I liked his videos.

    In all cases, I would use multiple study resources whenever possible. Mike Meyer's books + Professor Messer for A+, for example. I'm not sure if 701/702 are still available or if it's only the 800 series.

    I would check with your instructors on the MTA certifications. They are, IMO, an outstanding introduction.
    When you go the extra mile, there's no traffic.
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    HypntickHypntick Member Posts: 1,451 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Gonna second the Mike Meyers book, that's really all you need for that test. For the security+ the Darril Gibson book is all you need for that. I forget what I used for the net+, I think I went through labsim for that, although I do see a Mike Meyers book for net+ as well, probably would work out.

    Wish I had your level of motivation at 15, keep it up you'll go far!
    WGU BS:IT Completed June 30th 2012.
    WGU MS:ISA Completed October 30th 2013.
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    EV42TMANEV42TMAN Member Posts: 256
    FYI The Microsoft MTA certifications have been released to the public now, you take them through prometric. This change happened at the end of last month so if you want foundation knowledge on Microsoft technologies then MTA is another option as well.
    Current Certification Exam: ???
    Future Certifications: CCNP Route Switch, CCNA Datacenter, random vendor training.
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    NotHackingYouNotHackingYou Member Posts: 1,460 ■■■■■■■■□□
    In that case then I say go for the MTAs. They really do cover quite a bit of material for someone just starting.
    When you go the extra mile, there's no traffic.
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    veritas_libertasveritas_libertas Member Posts: 5,746 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I would really just skip the MTA and Strata exams. They have no value. The knowledge may be valuable, but you can get that from reading the material.

    If you want to gain a well rounded knowledge and gain useful certifications than this would probably be a good path:

    A+ --> CCNA --> MCSE 2008
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    paulgswansonpaulgswanson Member Posts: 311
    I would really just skip the MTA and Strata exams. They have no value. The knowledge may be valuable, but you can get that from reading the material.

    Why does everyone rip on the MTA? Yes ignore the STRATA unless you want to treat it like practice for the A+.

    However the MTA hold value as a beginner cert, as in it gets you used to the exams formats. He's 15, they hold value for High School Students + you could treat them as practice for the harder certs a benchline if you will. Yes, for active professionals they hold no significant value, however it will still provide the MCP and that is still a foot in the door.

    @JacksonVD The path you had laid out in your post was just fine as a starting point. Once you get the Comptia trio take the 3 corresponding MTAs right away, you'll pass them just fine. Do that path will gain the necessary and solid foundation for general IT. Since your goal is:
    In the future I wish to attend university and complete a Software Engineering course or possibly a Computer Science and Software Engineering double major.

    Those certs will give you a good stepping stool to stand on when pursing mention goals because you'll have a strong grasp on all the basics, plus you'll have the confidence to boot, and that helps.
    http://paulswansonblog.wordpress.com/
    WGU Progress: B.S. Network Management & Design <- I quit (got bored)
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    ptilsenptilsen Member Posts: 2,835 ■■■■■■■■■■
    No value, period, at all. They are not necessary or valuable as practice. There is simply no good reason to start with anything lower than the A+. It's not like the A+ is horribly difficult. MTA, to me, honestly represents Microsoft's dogma of doing everything it can for itself. It saw the industry flocked to CompTIA for entry-level certs, and it wanted to fill that gap the Microsoft Way. It is the Bing, the Zune, the Silverlight -- only those were/are relatively bigger components of their respective markets than MTA.

    They are a waste of time and money that could be spent on the trio or MCSA or CCNA.
    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
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    MSP-ITMSP-IT Member Posts: 752 ■■■□□□□□□□
    As a student going through the MTA exams, I can honestly say they are a complete waste of time and money. If you're serious about learning MS, go through the MCTS exams.

    As a relatively young person as well, the best advice I can give you is to get your foot in the door in the IT industry and develop your interpersonal skills. If you have any time at all to dedicate to a job, try and find a part time Help Desk/Desktop Support position. This will give you a substantial head start in the industry. If you can get 3 years in Desktop Support as well as an MCSE by the time you're 21, you'll be in a VERY good spot.
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    JacksonVDJacksonVD Member Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for all your replies. Right now I'm studying for the A+ exams, how long would you recommend as studying time?

    Thanks for your suggestions on books for the other exams, I've read through a bit of Mike Meyers' book and I love how he manages not to make everything in the book so dry. As many of you suggested I will skip on the STRATA exams, I took the practice tests on CompTIA's website and scored very highly. I'm still not sure if I should go for an MTA certification as many of you have told me it's not really worth it.

    Ptilsen I like your comparison between MTA and Bing icon_lol.gif

    Also, as work experience of some sort, I'm on the IT committee at my school and am the student voice for the school. I've seen that many of you have suggested MCSE and MCSA, these seem like fairly interesting certifications and I'll look those up.

    Thanks again for all your replies.
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    ptilsenptilsen Member Posts: 2,835 ■■■■■■■■■■
    One to five weeks, depending on your current skill level and free time. Even if you have all day and night to study, I wouldn't personally try to cram it all in a week.
    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
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    JayTheCrackerJayTheCracker Member Posts: 169
    yep, windows 8 certificate / A+ are good starts......
    by any means, skip those MTAs......
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    DiggsDiggs Member Posts: 97 ■■□□□□□□□□
    +1 on skipping the MTA - they're a waste of money in my experience...

    If I were you I would start with the CompTIA Trifecta (A / N / S+) , look at getting your CCNA then move onto MSCA / MCSE

    As others have mentioned...I wish I had your mentality when I was your age

    Good luck...enjoy the journey!
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    JamesEubankJamesEubank Member Posts: 7 ■□□□□□□□□□
    What is certification? and why is this beneficial for? can anybody elaborate please...
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    JacksonVDJacksonVD Member Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for all your replies everyone, sorry I didn't reply sooner but I've been busy studying for my A+ cert. I'll take a look at CCNA once I've finished studying for the A+ exams.

    Thanks again for all your replies, this is a great community.
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