What is MCSE demand like?

Dr_AtomicDr_Atomic Posts: 184Member
I've been doing a lot of Cisco study/certification work, and I know enough about it that I don't think I want to scroll through page after page of command line interfaces and configurations for a living. So I'm looking into other IT job possibilities, like the MCSE. I do have some basic questions about it that I hope I can find answers to here.

I admit, though, that I don't know what the "typical" salaries are like for MCSEs, nor what the market demand for it is like. I don't want to pursue this if I could only hope to earn $30k/yr. with it (I make $42k/yr now). I do have an existing CCNA, Security+, and a few mid-level Cisco tests passed so far, and I've been working in a NOC for the past seven months, so I would hope that conceivably adding an MCSE to them would get me more than just having a solo MCSE.

I know that I'm tired of having to buy routers/switches/cords/cables, etc, etc, for a home lab. I don't know if hardware and special equipment is necessary for obtaining an MCSE, is it? And I've been around Windows computers for over 15 years, so I think I'd rather primarily work at just a computer and do most/all of my work that than live in hyperterminal, if you know what I mean.

When one studies Cisco certifications, there's tons of "lab exercises" to do with either Cisco equipment, rack rentals, or VMWare. What about learning MCSE? What must one have beyond the books to know what you need to know? Thanks.

Comments

  • dynamikdynamik Posts: 12,314Banned ■■■■■■■■□□
    Research the job boards, you can make well over $30k. Adding something like Exchange, SQL, etc. onto your MCSE will propel you even further.

    As far as hardware, software, and lab exercises are concerned, you can get by with a virtualization package and a decent computer that will let you get around 3-5 VMs going.
  • JordusJordus Posts: 336Banned
    MCSEs go for between 30 and around 120 here.

    the upper is all government contract stuff for the nuclear plants.

    Personally, If i had an MCSE i would laugh in the face at anything less than 48ish. (around here, we have a low standard of pay compared to most of the rest of the country).

    I make way over 30 and dont even have that cred.
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  • Dr_AtomicDr_Atomic Posts: 184Member
    I would want to make at least $55k/yr or more in order to support my family. I figured that adding an MCSE to my CCNA and bachelor's degree (non-technical) might do that. But if that's too much to expect from an MCSE, perhaps I should explore something else.
  • networker050184networker050184 Posts: 11,962Mod Mod
    If you have the experience to go along with the MCSE making $55k probably wouldn't be an issue at all. If you are just adding a certification without experience to try and bump your salary it probably won't help too much regardless of the cert.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAPosts: 4,170Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    If you have the experience to go along with the MCSE making $55k probably wouldn't be an issue at all. If you are just adding a certification without experience to try and bump your salary it probably won't help too much regardless of the cert.
    This is the only correct answer IMO. MCSE's can make very good money, but you really need to have been doing some MCSE-ish work in the field for an amount of time to get to the real money. Don't NOT do the MCSE just because it won't pay off in the form of a immediate huge pay increase, you'll learn from the process of earning your cert and hopefully retain some of the things you learn and use them immediately.
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
    Working on: RHCSA 7, learning Ansible
    Future: RHCE? VCAP6.5-DCD?
  • Dr_AtomicDr_Atomic Posts: 184Member
    blargoe wrote: »
    This is the only correct answer IMO. MCSE's can make very good money, but you really need to have been doing some MCSE-ish work in the field for an amount of time to get to the real money. Don't NOT do the MCSE just because it won't pay off in the form of a immediate huge pay increase, you'll learn from the process of earning your cert and hopefully retain some of the things you learn and use them immediately.

    That's fine. If I can enjoy more what I'm doing and be able to actually work non-hermit hours, which would benefit my family, that's what counts.

    IMHO, this is one of the downsides to NOC work - having to regularly work second and third shifts as a matter of course. Networks never close, so they have to be continually monitored by warm bodies. As an MCSE administrator, the bulk of the people work daytime hours, so you would - I think - largely be working normal human hours, too. Correct me if I'm wrong. Of course, there are always exceptions.

    Sometimes having no experience is equated to a four-letter word, but someone with a fresh MCSE in pocket, along with a bachelor's degree, a year's NOC experience, and a CCNA would be looking at what kind of salary starting out? It would be nice to have some kind of a ballpark figure to contemplate. Thanks.
  • miller811miller811 Posts: 897Member
    Dr_Atomic wrote: »
    Sometimes having no experience is equated to a four-letter word, but someone with a fresh MCSE in pocket, along with a bachelor's degree, a year's NOC experience, and a CCNA would be looking at what kind of salary starting out? It would be nice to have some kind of a ballpark figure to contemplate. Thanks.

    That is impossible to predict. Someone with those qualification will get offered the minimum amount a company can offer to get the position filled. It also depends on where you are located, supply and demand, and how many other desperate applicants apply.
    I don't claim to be an expert, but I sure would like to become one someday.

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  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAPosts: 4,170Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    Really depends... it would be hugely variable. I would think with a little more practical experience (depending on what you're doing in the NOC, do you do any server monitoring or operations at all?), an MCSE and demonstrate a tad higher than entry level network skills, you could have a shot at a jr. admin position getting in the door. I wouldn't expect salary to start higher than what you're making now. If you're serious about wanting to transition, I'd be thrilled getting in the door starting around what you're making right now.

    You'll need to be able to demonstrate at least some desktop skills too in all likelihood. For me personally, I'm more of a Sr. Admin and do not deal directly with desktop issues unless an issue gets escalated to me once the Jr. people have exhausted their abilities, in which case I have to rely on understanding of Windows in general, desktop support, and networking.

    If you want to become a sysadmin, you'll get where you want to be salary-wise in due time, but this is one of those jobs where the adage about needing experience get the great jobs really rings true.
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
    Working on: RHCSA 7, learning Ansible
    Future: RHCE? VCAP6.5-DCD?
  • Dr_AtomicDr_Atomic Posts: 184Member
    blargoe wrote: »
    Really depends... it would be hugely variable. I would think with a little more practical experience (depending on what you're doing in the NOC, do you do any server monitoring or operations at all?), an MCSE and demonstrate a tad higher than entry level network skills, you could have a shot at a jr. admin position getting in the door. I wouldn't expect salary to start higher than what you're making now. If you're serious about wanting to transition, I'd be thrilled getting in the door starting around what you're making right now.

    You'll need to be able to demonstrate at least some desktop skills too in all likelihood. For me personally, I'm more of a Sr. Admin and do not deal directly with desktop issues unless an issue gets escalated to me once the Jr. people have exhausted their abilities, in which case I have to rely on understanding of Windows in general, desktop support, and networking.

    If you want to become a sysadmin, you'll get where you want to be salary-wise in due time, but this is one of those jobs where the adage about needing experience get the great jobs really rings true.

    This also reminds me - what kind of job title would someone new to an MCSE be looking to fill? A systems administrator of some degree, or a different title? Companies probably use different terminology. I know with a CCNA, it could be Network Analyst, Tier II NOC Technician, etc, even Network Engineer.
  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAPosts: 4,170Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    Again, really depends. The last company I worked for had everyone's title as "Systems Support Analyst" so they could keep everyone at the same pay grade, for example.

    Probably some kind of combination of [jr] systems|network|lan|server analyst|technican|administrator|engineer|specialist [I|II|III|...]
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
    Working on: RHCSA 7, learning Ansible
    Future: RHCE? VCAP6.5-DCD?
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