Beginner Advice

samh88samh88 Registered Users Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hi all,

I am currently working on a 1st line retail systems support helpdesk and have no certifications to my name.

I want to start studying IT systems and get myself certified, whilst progressing into 3rd line support roles such as network / server administration within the next year or two

I figure that taking my MTA Infrastructure exams will be a good place to start, with a plan to following on with MCSA and MSCE accreditations after this.

If I am to follow this path, what are you guys thoughts on home vs classroom based study? I'm finding it hard to find classroom based study in my area, but am worried that home study wont give me enough hands on experience. If am am to study from home, what sort of home server set up would I need to create and what kind of equipment would I need to buy?

Any words of advice would be really appreciated.

Many thanks

Comments

  • TrashmanTrashman Member Posts: 140
    Get a good book (search Amazon for "MTA" and "MCSA" and read reviews)
    Great amount of documentation available on TechNet as well.

    Virtual Box is free virtualization software you can use to play with Full-featured evaluations at no cost on your existing computer.

    You need a computer with decent amount of RAM.
    Other than that, there is very little you need to buy.
    Bachelor of Science in Information Systems
    2015 COLOR=#008000]X[/COLOR | 2016 COLOR=#ff8c00]In progress[/COLOR | 2017 | 2018
  • BGravesBGraves Member Posts: 339
    If you are just starting out, the MTA exams might be useful....
    If you have a good handle on Microsoft Desktop OS (using it for a while), you might try to just go for a MCSA for Win 7 or 8 and then transition that to a Server related MCSA. Make sure to get the exam blueprint and go through each section thoroughly, whether using a book or Microsoft's Virtual Training academy or whatever else you can get your hands on. Almost all Microsoft OS have free trials you can download and play with.

    I have done nearly all of my certifications at home, purchasing a book or ebook and practicing on my own using virtual machines as Trashman above suggests. VmWare also works if you can afford it.

    Best of luck!
  • linuxloverlinuxlover Banned Posts: 228
    MTA is a joke. That's what you study for when you apply for the type of job you're already doing. First of all, I must say that's an optimistic plan to go from 1st line support to system administration within a year or two. I won't say it's not possible because theoretically anything's possible, but for a sys admin you need experience and not certificates. Nevertheless, if you're serious about what you're saying then you need to go for MCSA Server.
  • ajs1976ajs1976 Member Posts: 1,945 ■■■■□□□□□□
    If you want to move to SA then I would suggest focusing on MTA: Server and MTA: Network. Once you have a good handle on that material move onto the MCSA Server material.
    Andy

    2017 Goals: 1 of 5 courses complete, 0 of 2 exams complete
  • TrashmanTrashman Member Posts: 140
    Agree with ajs1976
    Bachelor of Science in Information Systems
    2015 COLOR=#008000]X[/COLOR | 2016 COLOR=#ff8c00]In progress[/COLOR | 2017 | 2018
  • SweenMachineSweenMachine MCSA: Office 365, MCSA: Windows 7 (I am old), ITIL Foundations V3 Chicago areaMember Posts: 300 ■■■■□□□□□□
    linuxlover wrote: »
    MTA is a joke. That's what you study for when you apply for the type of job you're already doing. First of all, I must say that's an optimistic plan to go from 1st line support to system administration within a year or two. I won't say it's not possible because theoretically anything's possible, but for a sys admin you need experience and not certificates. Nevertheless, if you're serious about what you're saying then you need to go for MCSA Server.

    OP creates a topic that says "beginner advice" and says he thinks he should start out on the MTA for Server Administration, a certification for beginners.

    You say it's a joke.

    With all due respect, that makes no sense.

    I get you think that specific certification path is joke. Maybe for you it is. For me, it sure wasn't, and I have been doing end user support for 10 years. Retail system support likely has nothing at all to do with server admin at this point. So why would this be something 'to study for to get a position like you already have'? My server experience was almost zilch. My networking experience was minimal. I learned plenty from those joke certifications. In fact, I learned more from my 6 MTAs that I thought I would; and that is with 10 years experience.

    Not only did I learn plenty, I learned how to take Microsoft tests. I took my first MTA in January and I feel that was the right thing. It taught me to focus, to study, since I had no education at all since high school (and I am 35 haha). I studied for the MTAs I wanted to get solid for a month, passed the 6 tests in one week and I have been consistently validating the knowledge I DID accumulate working help desk (namely the Windows 7 stuff) ever since, passing 4 exams in the past 7 weeks.

    Sure the MTAs were easy, which I have clearly indicated in posts before. I definitely over-studied for them, and if YOU asked about taking them (given your experience and posts on the board) I probably would say they would be pointless. For YOU.

    So why are you so negative when a beginner wants to take a beginner certification such as the MTA? I just don't understand coming out and saying 'MTA is a joke" without actually citing REASONS you think it is a joke. OP is in an entry level IT job, with no experience and no knowledge really. MTAs seem like a perfect solution to start.

    Did you take any of these or are you assuming? Just wondering.
  • joemysteriojoemysterio Member Posts: 152
    I agree with SweenMachine, I don't understand how people can be so elitist and brush off certs like the Comptia trio and MTA like they are trash just because they are above it already. Everyone has to start somewhere, you know, and these provide fundamental material everyone must learn.
    Current goals: CCNA/CCNP
  • SweenMachineSweenMachine MCSA: Office 365, MCSA: Windows 7 (I am old), ITIL Foundations V3 Chicago areaMember Posts: 300 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I agree with SweenMachine, I don't understand how people can be so elitist and brush off certs like the Comptia trio and MTA like they are trash just because they are above it already. Everyone has to start somewhere, you know, and these provide fundamental material everyone must learn.

    I agree with this as well..

    I understand WHERE LinuxLover is coming from. I really do. Since I passed my 685 last week, I feel like I'm 'move advanced' than I was before I got my MCSA -- I also feel like I have long, long, LONG eclipsed the real high level information that the MTA provided on OS.

    But I didn't and still don't have much networking, security or server experience. Those are still my fundamental backbone with all that.

    I am going to work towards my MCSA in Sever 2012 over the summer, understanding that it will be a lot more difficult than the OS one, since I have been supporting Win7 for 4 years now. However, when I started skimming over some resources this week, I was pleasantly surprised at how decently robust the MTA server one is, and how it is already going to help me for this next level.

    I understand there is no ROI. I understand there are no employers that put any stake in MTA, but life choices aren't always about the bottom line. If the MTA helped prepare me for bigger and better things, then the ROI is huge for me.

    -scott
  • Grafixx01Grafixx01 Member Posts: 103 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I agree with you both, SweenMachine and joemysterio. The lower-level certs are where to start because it should, theoretically, allow you to get your foot in the door and / or show management that you have the willingness to learn and pursue a higher position.

    I started out with the Sec+ and CWTS, then got Net+. Now I have my CISSP and am looking at CEH. Everyone has to start somewhere and in all honesty, I would be severely questioning those who put down a slew of certifications on their resume but do not have the experience to back it, cannot show me what I want to be shown, and cannot talk the talk, so to speak.

    I interviewed one time as a sysadmin for a job, the manager I interviewed with asked me to add a user to the local computer as a general user. Naturally (under WinXP), all I did was ask if I was logged in as admin, response was 'yes', then I just right clicked on "My Computer", went to manage, and added it that way. They said I did it wrong however, when they went to check, my user was there. His boss was there when and talked to me afterwards because I made his "main go to guy" look like shyte since he didn't know that way to add the user. He told me that the way the guy wanted me to add the user was to go through control panel -> admin tools -> comp managment. I told him you can add the user like four different ways, he was just dumbfounded and subsequently hired me and fired the other guy.
  • samh88samh88 Registered Users Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Really appreciate all the thorough advice from everyone here.

    I have decided to study for and complete the 4 MTA IT Infrastructure exams first and then move onto MCSA from there. I will definitely home study using the books mentioned above and get hold of a decent laptop to test on.

    Again thanks for the input here, I'll keep monitoring the thread if anyone else has anything to say :D
  • srabieesrabiee Member Posts: 1,231 ■■■■■■■□□□
    I recommend CBTNuggets and TrainSignal videos. Check their inventory and see if they have training videos for the MTA stuff. If not, then you can still use them for the MCSA exams.
    WGU Progress: Master of Science - Information Technology Management (Start Date: February 1, 2015)
    Completed: LYT2, TFT2, JIT2, MCT2, LZT2, SJT2 (17 CU's)
    Required: FXT2, MAT2, MBT2, C391, C392 (13 CU's)

    Bachelor of Science - Information Technology Network Design & Management (WGU - Completed August 2014)
  • citrus_sugarcitrus_sugar Member Posts: 35 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I got my A+ before I started classes at my local community college that are official Microsoft training courses and include an MTA cert for each of the 4 classes, and except for the MTA Server cert, I've been able to pass all of the MTAs with just my A+ knowledge. I did feel when taking the tests they do provide a good knowledge base moving forward, even if the test is less rigorous than the CompTIA entry level certs.
    Goals for 2014: Summer Internship, Graduate, Net+, Sec+, CCENT
  • SweenMachineSweenMachine MCSA: Office 365, MCSA: Windows 7 (I am old), ITIL Foundations V3 Chicago areaMember Posts: 300 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I got my A+ before I started classes at my local community college that are official Microsoft training courses and include an MTA cert for each of the 4 classes, and except for the MTA Server cert, I've been able to pass all of the MTAs with just my A+ knowledge. I did feel when taking the tests they do provide a good knowledge base moving forward, even if the test is less rigorous than the CompTIA entry level certs.

    Right. Totally. They aren't even close to Comptia tests.

    Some people need fundamentals. Some don't. I guess I can see how these could be worthless to some.

    They were good for me!

    -scott
  • linuxloverlinuxlover Banned Posts: 228
    You're missing a critical point here. OP says he plans to move to sys admin role in 1-2 years. I believe my advice is valid and I wasn't being disrespectful, you probably misinterpreted the tone from my post. So before you start bashing me, you might want to explain how can MTA and CompTIA help someone get a sys admin role because I don't understand that. I'm not a sys admin but I work with them and I know what it takes to become one. MTA is most certainly not the way to go.
  • SweenMachineSweenMachine MCSA: Office 365, MCSA: Windows 7 (I am old), ITIL Foundations V3 Chicago areaMember Posts: 300 ■■■■□□□□□□
    linuxlover wrote: »
    You're missing a critical point here. OP says he plans to move to sys admin role in 1-2 years. I believe my advice is valid and I wasn't being disrespectful, you probably misinterpreted the tone from my post. So before you start bashing me, you might want to explain how can MTA and CompTIA help someone get a sys admin role because I don't understand that. I'm not a sys admin but I work with them and I know what it takes to become one. MTA is most certainly not the way to go.

    I wasn't bashing you, I was disagreeing.

    I didn't think your tone was angry, I just thought it was negative and not informed. It's pretty easy to dismiss something you haven't taken. You called the MTA a joke; the Server Administration exam isn't exactly a cakewalk. OP said in his first post he was looking into server administration. Explain to me how an entry level test in Server Administration won't help him? It is all fundamental stuff, and high level, but I learned a ton from that test.

    I work with system admins too, every single day since I work at an MSP. The server administration MTA is a pretty solid test in regards to MS server admin. The following is covered in the MTA:

    Understanding Server Installation
    Understanding Server Roles
    Understanding Active Directory
    Understanding Storage
    Understanding Server Performance Management
    Understanding Server Maintainence

    Sounds to me EXACTLY what the OP should be looking into. Studying for this will take a couple weeks, he will learn good information, he will pass a MS test, get an MCP and then he can move on to the next steps. I just don't see any reason to dismiss this as soundly as you did

    -scott
  • srabieesrabiee Member Posts: 1,231 ■■■■■■■□□□
    As someone who began my certification journey with the A+ just a few years ago, here's my advice:

    Choose an entry level cert that you are interested in and review the study material. I either purchase the book(s) on Amazon or I will purchase a subscription to CBTNuggets or TrainSignal. Depending on your level of expertise and experience, you may find that you don't have to study much to pass the exam. For example, it only took me a week or so of brief study time to prepare for both A+ exams, because I already knew the material. Same thing with Server+. Network+ and Security+ took about two weeks of study time each, and Storage+ took about 3 weeks of study time.

    Here's the catch though. None of the CompTIA certs have helped my career in my current position. My employer frowns upon CompTIA as being too entry-level (with the exception of the Linux+ cert). They also have the same stance on the Microsoft MTA certs. They only care about Cisco, VMware, and MCSA/MCSE/MCITP. YMMV, but be prepared to encounter that type of issue when looking for a position. I decided I wanted to earn those CompTIA certs because I was interested in reviewing the material and learning about things that I didn't already know about. I also use them as resume filler, and they also waived classes at WGU, which was a very nice bonus.

    So do it if you think you will learn something new that pertains to your career path. That's my advice.

    Or if you find that you already know 90% of the material, you can just go sit for the exam, pass it, and use it as resume filler.

    Or you can just say "Hey, this happens to be too entry-level for where I am at right now" and skip it and move on to MCSA stuff.

    Good luck!
    WGU Progress: Master of Science - Information Technology Management (Start Date: February 1, 2015)
    Completed: LYT2, TFT2, JIT2, MCT2, LZT2, SJT2 (17 CU's)
    Required: FXT2, MAT2, MBT2, C391, C392 (13 CU's)

    Bachelor of Science - Information Technology Network Design & Management (WGU - Completed August 2014)
Sign In or Register to comment.