srabiee wrote: »
As was mentioned, the MCSA: Server 2008 cert won't retire until the next full OS is released as the successor to Server 2012 R2. I would imagine that's not going to be anytime soon.
Furthermore, you can upgrade the MCSA: Server 2008 cert to the MCSA: 2012 cert with a single exam. (70-417)
Obtaining the MCSA is required on the pathway to MCSE. If you're serious about being an administrator or engineer working with Microsoft products and technologies, you will want to ultimately pursue an MCSE certification. (or multiple MCSE's depending on the products you want to work with)
The amount of time required to obtain the MCSA depends on the amount of knowledge you currently possess, the amount of time you invest in the preparation process, how well you do at self-teaching/self-study, etc. The MCSA cert requires passing three exams; it could take you 6 weeks to prepare for each exam or it could literally take you 6 months to prepare for each exam. The important thing is that you learn the material.
I would recommend starting with the MCSA: Windows 7 before you go for the MCSA: Server 2008, or alternatively obtain the MCSA: Windows 8 before pursuing the MCSA: Server 2012. That's just my personal opinion, but you will benefit greatly by mastering desktop technologies before attempting to master server technologies.
Once you obtain your MCSA: Windows 7 and MCSA: Server 2008, for example, you can move on to something like MCSE: Server Infrastructure and/or MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure. From there, you can specialize in Exchange, SharePoint, Hyper-V, Lync, etc.
Obtaining the cert won't guarantee a job, but it certainly can help. My position as a Systems Administrator required an MCITP or equivalent (MCSA or MCSE).
srabiee wrote: »
With your experience, you may want to skip CompTIA altogether and just go for the Microsoft stuff. I have 6 CompTIA certs myself, but honestly with the exception of the Linux+ (which I don't have), they probably won't improve your chances of obtaining a better position at this point in your career. Once you already have a desktop support position and the experience that comes with it, I think you can skip most of it.
My employer crosses off CompTIA certs during the interview process. Literally when they see them on a resume, they cross them off and don't even consider them during.
The MCSA: Win7/8 cert is up to you. It isn't required on the pathway to MCSE, so it's totally optional. The tests are quite difficult as well. If you are interested in delving deeper into Win 7/8 features and have the time to pursue them, I say go for it. If not, skip them and go straight for MCSA: Server 2012.
Your VMware experience is also a huge plus. If you are interested in working with VMware technologies, you should also look into eventually pursuing VCP5-DCV and beyond. (big bucks $$$)
unfbilly11 wrote: »
I will tell you from my experience, the Microsoft tests, specifically the 70-640, are no joke. They are difficult tests that require you to know every little bit of the subject material. A CompTIA test will ask you, "What port is DNS?". A Microsoft test will explain a situation to you where DNS queries are not getting through to a certain segment of the network and you'll have to know to open up port 53 before you can solve the question that they're actually asking. Not telling you any of this to discourage you, because it sounds like you have a great background in all of this. I'm just saying, you just really need to know your stuff.
geekboss wrote: »
Hmm, I know how to do most things in 2008 and R2, however there are some specific details I often forget, such as many port numbers. Will the Microsoft press books tell me everything I need to know? I can study at work, today I studied five hours during downtime.
Thanks a ton guys. This site is a great free resource.