No certs, need advice on starting off with MCSA...

GB87GB87 Posts: 3Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
Hi,

I currently have no IT certs but have been working in IT for close to 7 years. I've been getting some advice on another post regarding how to forward my career and have decided that a good starting point is getting my MCSA out of the way as I work with Windows Servers on a day-to-day basis..

To those who have done it, where do I begin? My company will probably pay for books and my exams but do I need to be going on paid training courses for this stuff or will the books probably be enough? Do I need to be purchasing the official Microsoft books or are there better books or online materials for making sure I know what I need to know to pass?

Any advice would be brilliant! :D

Comments

  • ptilsenptilsen Posts: 2,835Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    Books are enough. I swear by the MS Press official books up and down, but some don't like them. My study plan for MS is usually this:
    1. Read book (always MS Press) and do labs from book
    2. Take practice test (Transcender's recently, Preplogic in the past)
    3. Review weak sections from book
    4. Re-take practice test
    5. Repeat 3-4 until scoring over 80%
    6. Schedule test
    7. Continue to study and practice until taking test

    Training can definitely be helpful for some things, but I think it is major overkill for MCSA-level stuff. Not just the price, but the time commitment. In the time it would take to be at training, you could probably do all of the above on your own, or at least close to it. That's a big deal, because training alone is unlikely to be enough; you would have to supplement with practice tests and books anyway, in most cases.
    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
  • GB87GB87 Posts: 3Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for that Ptilsen.. It's very useful advice, especially the study plan for somebody like me that's been out of studying for quite a while! :)

    Would you agree the MCSA is a good starting point for somebody like me who has worked in a Microsoft IT environment for 5+ years? I do want to get more into networking eventually but have no hands on experience so the CCNA may be tough?
  • ptilsenptilsen Posts: 2,835Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    It is the perfect starting point. I would recommend MCSA followed by CCNA if you want to branch out right away, or MCSE Server Infrastructure if you want to take a deeper dive into Microsoft.
    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
  • mimirmimir Posts: 9Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    ptilsen wrote: »
    It is the perfect starting point. I would recommend MCSA followed by CCNA if you want to branch out right away, or MCSE Server Infrastructure if you want to take a deeper dive into Microsoft.

    Not to hijack this thread, but I'm in a similar situation to GB87, although with only two years experience. If I'm looking to make a move into a desktop support environment (right now I'm mainly help desk), would a CCNA be worth pursuing after the MCSA? Most job postings seem to care about Microsoft, VMWare, or SonicWall experience. I'm sure it couldn't hurt to have, but would it help at all for the kind of job I'm going for?
  • EssendonEssendon Posts: 4,548Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    Work for a cert if:

    - if you work with the technology
    - if you want to work with the technology

    not if:

    - 10 other people are doing it

    Point is, do what you want to do. Why do something you dont like? So if networking interests you, work towards the CCNA. If you think Virtualization is your fantasy, study for the VMware VCP.
    NSX, NSX, more NSX..

    Blog >> http://virtual10.com
  • mimirmimir Posts: 9Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Essendon wrote: »
    Work for a cert if:

    - if you work with the technology
    - if you want to work with the technology

    not if:

    - 10 other people are doing it

    Point is, do what you want to do. Why do something you dont like? So if networking interests you, work towards the CCNA. If you think Virtualization is your fantasy, study for the VMware VCP.

    Assuming that was addressed to me, I just haven't seen any networking jobs that let someone in with nothing but a few years of help desk experience and a stack of certifications. Most of them seem to require several years of at least desktop support. And if I were able to find work in an IT shop, that would also give me hands-on training that I wouldn't get from books and videos.
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