Stuck career-wise. Not sure which certification path to take.

wellnowwhatwellnowwhat Member Posts: 56 ■■□□□□□□□□
A little background:

I've been in the IT industry for about 8 years now, mostly doing support for Apple products and OS X. I'm currently working for a software company supporting their software on Windows Desktop and Server machines.

I really want to do more with my career and get out of doing technical support, however I don't really have any certifications, which seems to be the big thing preventing me from moving into a new position. I have Apple certifications, but as far as I can tell they are pretty much useless. I also have a non-IT (read: Philosophy) degree that hasn't helped much in getting me hired.

Here are the things I like to do:
- Set up and tear down Linux servers
- Repair PC and Mac hardware
- Manage things from the command-line rather than the gui
- Develop websites and web apps
- Collaborate with other people on big projects and ideas

I've looked at a lot of different certification paths, but I can't even fathom where to begin. I ask myself things like "Do I need the A+ since I have experience with Mac and PC hardware already? Should I get it just to show employers that I have it? Should I go straight for the MCSE?"

Basically, I'm just looking for a path out of technical support and into something greater. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Comments

  • kriscamaro68kriscamaro68 A+, Net+, Server+, Security+, Win7 MCP, Server 2012 Virtualization Specialist, MCSA 2012 Member Posts: 1,186 ■■■■■■■□□□
    I would maybe look into studying for the Network+ or the CCENT to get a good understanding of basic networking. Understanding networking better will help you in all facets of IT. Once you do that maybe decide where you want to go. Continue networking career? Servers maybe? Windows or Linux? Virtualization? Security? Web development? You will need to make the choice on what to do.
  • EssendonEssendon Member Posts: 4,548 ■■■■■■■■■■
    What do you want to do? I wouldnt worry about the A+ at all, that's a very entry level cert and geez you've got 8 years worth of experience, so that'll be heading backwards.

    If you want to see yourself doing Linux administration stuff, get cracking on the Linux+ or perhaps the LPIC's, or maybe even the RHCSA if you are adept at Linux. Similarly, if you like Windows more - then the MCSA/MCSE would be a good idea. Same goes for networking, do the CCNA if you want to be maintaining networks.

    Now, another point. Word your resume accordingly. Say you want to be a Linux admin - word the majority of your current role appropriately that you interest the person looking at your resume. Thing is if there's only a slight mention of Linux in your current role, the hiring person's going to think - doesnt look like this individual has much Linux experience. Pass.

    Hope this helps.
    NSX, NSX, more NSX..

    Blog >> http://virtual10.com
  • wellnowwhatwellnowwhat Member Posts: 56 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Essendon wrote: »
    What do you want to do? I wouldnt worry about the A+ at all, that's a very entry level cert and geez you've got 8 years worth of experience, so that'll be heading backwards.

    If you want to see yourself doing Linux administration stuff, get cracking on the Linux+ or perhaps the LPIC's, or maybe even the RHCSA if you are adept at Linux. Similarly, if you like Windows more - then the MCSA/MCSE would be a good idea. Same goes for networking, do the CCNA if you want to be maintaining networks.

    Now, another point. Word your resume accordingly. Say you want to be a Linux admin - word the majority of your current role appropriately that you interest the person looking at your resume. Thing is if there's only a slight mention of Linux in your current role, the hiring person's going to think - doesnt look like this individual has much Linux experience. Pass.

    Hope this helps.

    What I'd -really- like to do is a job similar to this: Computer Systems Analysts : Occupational Outlook Handbook : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

    I really like talking about and researching technology, especially up and coming technology. I also really like working with people and not just locking myself in a closet with a server somewhere. Ideally if I could find something that uses my research abilities, people skills, and technical skills, that's where I'd like to land eventually. Not sure if there are many (if any) certifications that can help out with that.


    Another thing I've considered is going the MCSD route since I have HTML/CSS/JavaScript experience.
  • bhankins000bhankins000 Member Posts: 15 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I'm going to go with the other two who posted here as well. I would say go with your Net+ first for basic networking knowledge or possibly the CCENT from Cisco. For Net+ you can easily use www.professormesser.com and pass the test. The CCNET is just nice because you can take the second part and become CCNA. For your dream job that you linked you definitely want to dive into some Microsoft certs possibly with some virtualization (MS Hyper-V or VMWare). Get familiar with VOIP stuff too. Experience is still the key in all of these (I know, I'm in the same boat you are with this and these technologies and what I want/like to do someday.) I just spoke with a local company here and being a people person myself (having sales experience), consulting seems to be a good point with you. (Note: not referring to a sales rep consultant) For instance, we just had this company who set up all of our MS servers with Hyper-V and migrated everything from standalone server machines over. This same company worked with us before this implementation in finding out what we wanted, needed, how it would all tie together, the pro's/con's of the solution, etc. At an addition you may think about the Security+ cert just to give you that background where you can understand and talk that piece as well. So the path I would follow in this:

    Net+ or CCENT
    Sec+ (because its an easy transition from Net+)
    MCSA (pick a track either with desktop, server, ect.)

    Then onto either VMware or MSCE (virtualization, server, etc.) or possibly wireless. This is all going to depend on the area your in.


    Note: Skip A+. In 10 to 15 years we will have everything running thin clients / tablets running IPv6!
  • wellnowwhatwellnowwhat Member Posts: 56 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I'm going to go with the other two who posted here as well. I would say go with your Net+ first for basic networking knowledge or possibly the CCENT from Cisco. For Net+ you can easily use www.professormesser.com and pass the test. The CCNET is just nice because you can take the second part and become CCNA. For your dream job that you linked you definitely want to dive into some Microsoft certs possibly with some virtualization (MS Hyper-V or VMWare). Get familiar with VOIP stuff too. Experience is still the key in all of these (I know, I'm in the same boat you are with this and these technologies and what I want/like to do someday.) I just spoke with a local company here and being a people person myself (having sales experience), consulting seems to be a good point with you. (Note: not referring to a sales rep consultant) For instance, we just had this company who set up all of our MS servers with Hyper-V and migrated everything from standalone server machines over. This same company worked with us before this implementation in finding out what we wanted, needed, how it would all tie together, the pro's/con's of the solution, etc. At an addition you may think about the Security+ cert just to give you that background where you can understand and talk that piece as well. So the path I would follow in this:

    Net+ or CCENT
    Sec+ (because its an easy transition from Net+)
    MCSA (pick a track either with desktop, server, ect.)

    Then onto either VMware or MSCE (virtualization, server, etc.) or possibly wireless. This is all going to depend on the area your in.


    Note: Skip A+. In 10 to 15 years we will have everything running thin clients / tablets running IPv6!

    Awesome feedback. Thank you very much! Sounds like the Network stuff is a good place to begin.
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