What about an Experience Certificate?

scot_doneckerscot_donecker Member Posts: 45 ■■□□□□□□□□
I've been discussing somthing in another forum about what counts most to an interviewer; Certification or Experience?

You see the main argument for the Certified person is that they have wonderful knowledge of theory in terms of how something "should" be done. On the other hand the experienced person would only have knowledge on that which he/she has ran across before (in terms of hardware, toubleshooting, diagnosing, etc.).

The main argument for the Experienced person is that they know what to do and have done it before, therfore they would take less time and get the job done right. On the other hand there may be a new problem out there that they have not ran across and therfore would need a certified person, who at least has a theory of what to do, to tell them what they need to do in order to fix the problem.

My question is this: With all the arguments on both sides of the table, why hasn't anyone combined both efforts to make, what I'll call for the time being, an "Experienced Certification". A certification that tests on all the book work knowledge (like A+), but would also test physically on say 15 or more real world random situations i.e. troubleshooting from each section of the written exam (A+). Or maybe just that as an exam in itself that you could add to your A+ qualifications, to where A+ would be a prerequisite certification for taking this physical experience certification.

Seriously, what are your thoughts on this?
"If the answer was never to look to yourself, then how can you expect to find it anywhere else" -Eyedea
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Comments

  • CherperCherper Member Posts: 140 ■■■□□□□□□□
    The idea of quantifying experience is good, but when it comes to reality, it is just not practical. Many experiences can't be rated. Testing for the CCIE is one of the few that may even come close by putting the candidate in the lab, but the cost to do that is $1250.00 a pop. What you are proposing would be cost prohibitive also, and if tied to A+ (which many in IT consider a joke) it wouldn't be worth the cost.
    Studying and Reading:

    Whatever strikes my fancy...
  • Ricka182Ricka182 Member Posts: 3,359
    I'm not sure I'd agree any extra tests for A+, as it is an entry level cert. Although, I believe that experience is worth more. I do think there should be required years for higher level certs, such as MCSE. I think they're already are a couple of Security certs that do have such a requirement. I agree certs prove knowledge of theory, and experience proves knowledge of real-life scenarios. I also think if someone with experience stays current with technology, they have an advantage. I'm not really impressed by anyone who has more certs than years of experience, unless they're vendor specific required for a job. If I were an employer, I would be more impressed with 5-7 years of experience, and a good interview, than someone who went through a 30 day bootcamp and comes out with A+, Net+, Sec+, MCSA, MCSE, CCNA, etc.....
    i remain, he who remains to be....
  • johnnynodoughjohnnynodough Member Posts: 634
    I dont see how that would work, certifications by there vary nature were meant to be guarentees of experience. Before companies like Test King and the sorts came out with **** software and braindumps, certs used to mean that you had experience, because obviuosly they only way you get pass the test is with hands on experience.

    You can thank @ssholes (therefore anyone who uses it is an @sshole as well) like **** for making your certs carry less worth. Certification will never get back to the way it was, Cisco tries to stay ahead of the game, but its hard to stay ahead. Only exam you couldnt BS your way through would be the CCIE.
    Go Hawks - 7 and 2

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  • scot_doneckerscot_donecker Member Posts: 45 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Ahhh, I see.

    Well I for one went through college courses in the CISCO accademy at my local junior college. I had done everything hands on with labs the entire way through, and I had two hands on finals.

    My first final I had to troubleshoot, diagnose, and repair a pc, without a lab partner and no instruction or questioning to my teacher (he had to act as a "dumb" user, not knowing anything), and provide fully detailed documentation.

    My second final I had to create a 6 computer peer to peer network with 3 pairs of two computers with their workgroups as different city names, and I had to troubleshoot it up and down using ping, tracert, and ipconfig (windows 2000 machines), and I also had to provide full documentation on that as well.

    So I had alot of hands on experience before I even went to work.

    Maybe employers could start looking at how I trained for getting my A+ certification and then maybe CompTIA could look into only providing a chance to take the exams for those who go through profesional training and pass the class with a high grade, and not just anybody off the street. Perhaps that could bring back some of the legitamacy to the certifications.

    Secondly I for one found the A+ exams very thought provoking, I do not feel that just anyone could go through what I did to earn the certification. A+ in my mind is not a joke, and the only people who say so usually don't have it because they could'nt pass it themselve's. Sorry but thats just something that I think. I also think that maybe they used to be somewhat less demanding back in the day, but I just got my A+ certification in July of this year so I can tell you they are very tough to get.

    p.s. A+ I do not feel is as "entry level" as people say it is. It is only entry level because they want their networking certified people to know EVERYTHING about the physical computers they work on. It is the only hardware certification out there (let alone its hardware, operating systems, and basic networking). People seem to be confused as to what "entry level" really means. It does not mean that it is any easier to get, it just means that EVERYONE above it should have it, because you must know everything about the computer itself, before you can hope to network them together. In fact I am finding that my A+ certification was at least three times harder than the current certification I am on (MCP 70-270). I just think people should be a little more careful about how they use the phrase "entry level", when talking about A+.

    Thats all I have to say about that...
    "If the answer was never to look to yourself, then how can you expect to find it anywhere else" -Eyedea
  • Ricka182Ricka182 Member Posts: 3,359
    Comptia refers to A+ as entry level themselves. I'm not trying to infer A+ is easy either, I failed the OS exam myself before I passed. A+ was designed to be entry, or foundation level. If someone has experience similar to yours, I wouldn't discriminate based soley on lack of A+ certification. My current job requires A+, even though I rarely use the skills I learned while studying for A+.
    i remain, he who remains to be....
  • CherperCherper Member Posts: 140 ■■■□□□□□□□
    A+ I do not feel is as "entry level" as people say it is. It is only entry level because they want their networking certified people to know EVERYTHING about the physical computers they work on. It is the only hardware certification out there (let alone its hardware, operating systems, and basic networking). People seem to be confused as to what "entry level" really means. It does not mean that it is any easier to get, it just means that EVERYONE above it should have it, because you must know everything about the computer itself, before you can hope to network them together. In fact I am finding that my A+ certification was at least three times harder than the current certification I am on (MCP 70-270). I just think people should be a little more careful about how they use the phrase "entry level", when talking about A+.

    Thats all I have to say about that...

    Unfortunately, the mindset is that A+ is an entry level cert that will get you a job at Best Buy. No way to change that as CompTIA has marketed that cert as entry level (but they try to say that it is equivalent to 12-18 months experience).

    You are right that I probably couldn't pass the A+, but I wouldn't bother trying as it isn't worth the money to do it (I did teach computer hardware and troubleshooting for a couple of semesters). It wouldn't increase my salary, and it wouldn't open up any other job opportunities that would pay as much as my current job. Most of the people I work with are in the same boat. A+ isn't seen as a needed cert once you have been working for a while. It is a great cert to get your foot in the door though.

    As for getting employers to look at how you trained, that is what your resume, cover letter and job interview are supposed to demonstrate. It is great that you went about getting A+ the right way, many don't.
    Studying and Reading:

    Whatever strikes my fancy...
  • dsa1971dsa1971 Member Posts: 52 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Personally, money is not the only factor for me pursuing certs. I've been a programmer for awhile not but have started to think about getting my feet wet in network administration (I may regret someday icon_lol.gif ). For me, at least in part, I'm looking at certs for what knowledge can I gain from studying and obtaining that cert. Sure getting A+ certified is not going to get me the job I am striving for but I feel it's a good starting point and I'm learning a lot studying for it. I've custom built a many PCs and done my fair share of hardware and network stuff working at small companies but there's definitely some good knowledge to be gained from A+. It's step one for me. After that is Network+, then 70-270, and then ???

    Experience is definitely worth more than certs IMO although recruiters who only look for certs make it so that even with experience you better get some certs. I know it's hard for newbies in the IT world but it's just the market we are in right now. If you don't have experience right now it seems you have to tough it out at some entry-level, low paying job for a couple of years.
  • JDMurrayJDMurray MSIT InfoSec, CISSP, SSCP, GSEC, EnCE, C|EH, CySA+, PenTest+, CASP+, Security+ Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 12,253 Admin
    At the conclusion of each CompTIA exam is a questionnaire and a place to make comments. I always write that I think CompTIA needs to create a set of mid-level exams (A++, Network++, Security++, etc.) that have a practical assignment. Maybe not a hands-on lab, but something to demonstrate competency in the objectives being tested. I believe the closest that CompTIA currently has to this is their training certification, which requires the candidate to submit a video tape of themselves actually teaching a subject.

    What do you think an A++ exam should be like?
  • scot_doneckerscot_donecker Member Posts: 45 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thanks everyone for all the good replies.

    jdmurray, I like your idea for an A++ examination.

    I think that an A++ exam would have multiple steps.

    Step 1: Place a bunch of parts for a computer on a table physically or a 3D environment digitally, and you assemble a computer from these parts using ESD best practices of course. The motherboard would be the only part that would not have multiples of itself, and you would use the motherboard manual to see details as to which kind of parts it supported. Then you would have to know what those parts looked like to distinguish which ones you would use. i.e. a pentium 2 from a pentium 4, DIMM's from SIMM's, PCI AGP ISA or EISA, Power Supply AT/ATX etc...

    Step 2: Have like five different OS problems where they would have to use certain programs or utilities that you were tested on to troubleshoot and repair the problems. i.e. msconfig, msipcfg, ipconfig, regedit, regedit32, and also use the device manager, system restore, etc. and also how to navigate to these programs and utilities.

    Step 3: Toubleshoot multiple Hardware and O.S. problems using a digital multimeter, your book knowledge (theory), etc. As well as fully document every step. These problems could be like the need to restore the master boot record with an "fdisk /mbr" command or having the hard drive IDE cable disconnected, the ps/2 ports switched around (mouse and keyboard), the floppy cable in backwards, not enough RAM installed, etc.

    This is an extremely rough thought of what an A++ exam, in my mind, would entail...
    "If the answer was never to look to yourself, then how can you expect to find it anywhere else" -Eyedea
  • PlantwizPlantwiz Alligator wrestler Mod Posts: 5,057 Mod
    Cherper wrote:

    As for getting employers to look at how you trained, that is what your resume, cover letter and job interview are supposed to demonstrate. It is great that you went about getting A+ the right way, many don't.


    Exactly.

    Experience vs. Certification vs. Degree all can be discussed during an interview.

    There was time, not all that long ago, when certifications were a means for experienced people to recognized the amount of knowledge they had by taking the exam.

    More recently certification exams are bastardized by the desire for people without experience to 'fool' others into believe they have the knowledge.




    Changing the A+ exam to something more hands on would be nice, but not necessary. There was a time few people had access to hardware components and few people who opened their own computers up to get inside. Now with everything sold with 'retail' packaging saying one is able to 'build' a computer is not a special. Practically everything piece of hardware comes with instructions on how to install and troubleshoot the item.

    The newer the hardware is the more idiot proof it is too. How often does anyone manually change jumpers on modems today? Set clock speeds on the mobo? Set voltage on the mobo? Those things are configured by the firmware and the end user. Doesn't mean someone won't mess it up....I've seen some good one icon_rolleyes.gif However it is much less likely it will be messed up compared to components from 5 and even 10 and 15 years ago.

    I just do not see how board swapping needs to be tested more?? When a person wants to demonstrate more of their hardware skills, they earn vendor specific certifications from HP, Dell, IBM etc.. Then they can work on 'specific' pieces of hardware making themselves more valuable by not voided warranties.

    I too agree that I dislike seeing A+ as 'entry-level', but it is. It is tests a candidate's (with about 500 hours experience) knowledge of basic computer systems and components. Frankly, 500 hours is not very much experience in my book. However, it is a fair representation of how easy the A+ exam should be for someone who has done some work.


    Scot, you seem a bit sensitive to this the topic of Certification vs. Experience. Are you having a difficult time getting a job in the field? Or concerned about something else?? You've mentioned in both threads that you attended college. Nothing bad about learning things in school and earning a degree. Costs more money than experience, but many times it is quicker at covering the basics.

    http://www.techexams.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=10012

    There is really no way experience alone or book reading only will any one person be prepared for everything that arises. A person with experience in the industry (not just a slacker holding a job, someone who treats it like a profession) will be more likely to handle something out of the norm compared to someone who only reads.


    One big reason why I continue to support experience over certifications (and I don't recall seeing it mentioned yet), is that most work environments are mixed environments. Mixed OS. Mixed Hardware. Mixed Era of components.

    I'm not aware of any company (I'm sure there are a few) who have an IT budget so large that they walk in one day and say....We're not using SCSI devices any longer and we are upgrading to XP/W2K3. It will be done tomorrow and we don't care about the cost.

    All data on FD will be converted into USB Pen Drives or some other portable device.

    We will not use any 10Base2 network for the sales people any longer, so by Friday they must be setup with Fiber Optic and join the rest of the corporation.

    etc...

    Anyway, it is extremely unlikely that an A+ Certified person is going to walk into an environment that is homogeneous. There will be mixed OS's/components and technologies all over the company. Maybe even a daisy wheel printer ;)

    Without some experience, the job applicant with ONLY an A+ taught from a book or boot camp will not likely be prepared for a larger company.
    Plantwiz
    _____
    "Grammar and spelling aren't everything, but this is a forum, not a chat room. You have plenty of time to spell out the word "you", and look just a little bit smarter." by Phaideaux

    ***I'll add you can Capitalize the word 'I' to show a little respect for yourself too.

    'i' before 'e' except after 'c'.... weird?
  • strauchrstrauchr Member Posts: 528
    Experience is almost impossible to quantify and test. Think about the massive amount of knowledge all of us IT people have. To test you have experience in all the areas necessary would be like a 1 year lab or something stupid. And some companies will require different experiences to others. Virtually impossible to test. Sure you can have hands on labs but just being able to solve 2 or 3 scenarios does not mean you have the experience necessary to work in the real world.

    Quantifying experience in years doesn't always work either. I have worked with "experienced" people who have only really ever worked for 1 company and have no where near the experience I have working at different companies for less years.

    Certs however, are designed to prove that you have the foundation knowledge of the product you are working with, not that you know everything about it. Think of a Doctor. When a Dr finished their degree they don't just go out and suddenly be Doctors operating or consulting people. No, they get mentored, they start with easy stuff and build up experience in what they need to know. You get bad Doctors and good Doctors. The system is not fool proof.

    In the end the world is plagued by useless B.S. artists that get through the world easily and IT is no exception. There is no stopping it and all you can do is do your best and be honest with what you do. This is where job satisfaction comes in. It will make you angry but there is nothing at all you can do.

    And remember, if you have a Cert it doesn't mean you know it all and if you have 20 years of experience it doesn't mean you know it all either. There is always someone who will know something you don't. I think IT needs to throw away the egos and work together to build a better industry which will weed out some phoneys - but not all.

    And I am sorry to say but A+ is absoloutely entry level. Part of being in IT is knowing your place. If your struggling with A+ it means that you are entry level in the industry. Its not a bad thing to admit you are entry level, you just have understand thats where you are. Higher level certs are much harder to earn.
  • keatronkeatron Security Tinkerer Member Posts: 1,213 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Read up on the Microsoft Certified Architect credential.
  • garv221garv221 Member Posts: 1,914
    keatron wrote:
    Read up on the Microsoft Certified Architect credential.

    Bingo!

    ps

    I have always said the VCR repair guy & the A+ tech hang out & play golf together after work.
  • PlantwizPlantwiz Alligator wrestler Mod Posts: 5,057 Mod
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/architecture/shareideas/share_certified/
    Become a Certified Architect
    Microsoft Certified Architect Program
    The Microsoft Certified Architect Program validates top industry experts in IT Architecture. These professionals have 10 or more years of experience in IT with at least 3 years of experience as a practicing architect, and possess strong technical and leadership skills and form a distinguished community. Unlike other IT certifications, this credential was built and is granted by industry architects, as candidates must pass a rigorous review board with previously certified architects.

    This certification is targeted to practicing solutions architects and infrastructure architects who have successfully applied frameworks and methodologies to create an architecture that serves the entire IT lifecycle. These architects can employ multiple technologies to solve business problems and provide business metrics and measurements to describe the success or failure of the projects they drive.

    The certification has already received the thumbs-up from some of the IT industry's most influential veterans. "Setting standards is important, especially if those standards are high enough to create an assurance that someone who meets the standard is capable of doing a high-quality job," said Tony Redmond, vice president and chief technology officer for HP Services, whose team worked with Microsoft Learning to develop the Microsoft Certified Architect credential. "Apart from individual achievement, a program like this is great for customers because you know that when you work with one of the elite, you truly are working with one of the best."

    The Microsoft Certified Architect Program is currently in its pilot phase and is conducting initial board reviews with recognized industry architects. Once the pilot program is complete, the certification will be available to the general public. Entry into the program will be limited as each person selected to enter the program will be assessed and coached by a Microsoft Certified Architect. Those interested in entering the program will complete an application, and selection for entrance will be limited by the number of certified architects available to support the candidates.

    Program Disciplines

    Infrastructure Architects
    For a corporation, the infrastructure architect would use the specifications provided by the enterprise architect to create an infrastructure that support the needs of the business and provide input to the solutions architect with the constraints and tradeoffs needed to create a viable solution.

    Awareness of business and solutions constraints:
    Create an infrastructure, not necessarily based on a single technology or vendor. They specify the technology, and work closely with the engineers to ensure proper implementation the infrastructure.
    Knowledge of the physical and logical components:
    Examples include network topology, naming infrastructure, architectural frameworks, storage, backup and recovery, directories, management frameworks, repositories, monitoring, security, and ability to apply processes
    Communication of a business case:
    Communicate and defend why an infrastructure solution is selected and how it will be implemented.
    Written, verbal, and visual – formal and ad hoc
    Ownership of infrastructure architecture:
    Meets the business needs
    Grows with business needs
    Provides services for the present and future
    Supports the solution architects requirements
    Drives creation of and passion around the architecture
    Drive to completion:
    Broad set of skills to create a solution that provides interoperability and efficiency, and a cohesive infrastructure
    Considers functional and non-functional requirements
    Has the skills of an infrastructure engineer
    Creates an integrated enterprise solution
    Creates an infrastructure to support the goals of the business
    Solutions Architects
    For a corporation, the solutions architect would use the specifications provided by the enterprise architect to create solutions that support the needs of the business and provide input to the infrastructure architect with the constraints and tradeoffs needed to create a viable solution.

    Awareness of business and solutions constraints:
    Create an solution, not necessarily based on a single technology or vendor. They specify the technology, and work closely with the developer community to ensure proper implementation the vision
    Knowledge of the physical and logical components:
    Examples include business applications, LOB applications, work flow systems, purchased applications, developed applications
    Communication of the business case:
    Communicate and defend why a solution is selected and how it will be implemented
    Written, verbal, and visual – formal and ad hoc
    Ownership of the application architecture space, and ensuring it meets the business needs, grows with business needs, provides services for the present and future
    Creation of the architecture
    Passion for the architecture
    Drive to completion
    Disciplines not covered by the initial release of the Microsoft Certified Architect Program are: enterprise architects (defined as being the next level above infrastructure and solution architects), academic architects and new architects (track record of at least 3 years of project involvement and success as an architect required).

    Certification Process

    During the pilot phase, candidates will be selected that help ensure the program has worldwide representation, and reflects Microsoft’s broad customer and partner base. The program is expected to be opened publicly in the first half of 2006 when the non-referral application process will be made available to experienced architects.

    The certification process has 8 steps:

    The Microsoft Certified Architect candidate is expected to have at least 10 years of experience in the IT field, and at least 3 years of verifiable experience as a practicing architect prior to applying for the program
    The candidate applies for acceptance into the program by:
    Contacting Microsoft directly (via the Microsoft.com web site) during an open enrollment period
    Being referred by his or her employer
    Being referred by an existing Microsoft Certified Architect or Microsoft Certified Architect Review Board member
    The candidate’s application is screened for the necessary work experience
    Upon verification of experience, the candidate is accepted into the program and assigned a program mentor
    In addition to a program mentor, the candidate is given access to a library of self-paced technical and non-technical content to assist them in the preparation for the review
    The candidate submits his or her dossier which includes a work history, an architectural solution of their creation, and a document specifying instances where they have displayed the competencies of an architect to the Review Board in preparation for formal presentation to the Board
    The candidate attends the Review Board Meeting and presents his or her solution to the Review Board members. Upon conclusion of the presentation, the candidate fields a series of questions about his solution and experience from the Review Board. The main focus of questioning will be on competencies not evidenced through your delivery or related artifacts.
    After the formal presentation and a positive vote from the Review Board, the candidate is awarded the Microsoft Certified Architect credential
    Review Board

    The Microsoft Certified Architect Review Board is composed of four voting members, a moderator, and a recorder. The moderator’s job is to keep the board on schedule and to execute the voting process. The recorder takes notes of the deliberation process, and the recommendations that the board provides to both successful and unsuccessful candidates.

    All board members are required to undergo training before they can serve on the review board. The formal nature of the program and the strict adherence to process provides confidence that candidates will be treated equally and quality will be maintained. Today, board members are a mixture of certified architects and senior technologists drawn from Microsoft, partner companies, and customers.

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    MCI Review Board Criteria

    All certification or promotion processes that are overseen by boards have well-documented criteria that the boards use to judge candidates. MCA uses the following criteria:

    Infrastructure Architects
    Leadership: Candidates demonstrate that they develop partnerships with stakeholders across the organization on their projects; that they can mentor others; that they develop and form strong teams; and that they achieve successful results.
    Able to ask thought-provoking questions that translate into actionable technological patterns/solutions
    Actively mentor others
    Provide thought leadership by enabling others to see things from a different and better perspective
    Influence decision makers
    Champion structure, process, best practices and standards
    Promote the capture and reuse of intellectual capital
    Effective in building mutual partnerships and networks with parties or organizations
    Technology Depth: Candidates demonstrate that they have a deep understanding of the concepts and application of at least two core technologies (for example, messaging, storage, Windows, networks, etc.) plus the ability to quickly assimilate information about new technologies.
    Understanding and application of at least two of the core technologies in depth (e.g. storage services, management services)
    Ability to quickly gain depth.
    Technology Breadth: Candidates understand architectural best practices and are able to apply them across a breadth of technologies to orchestrate a solution. They also have views on the future development of a technology and how it might influence current solutions. Finally, they understand the interaction between infrastructure, solution, and enterprise architecture and practices.
    Ability to wisely employ architectural best practices
    Have a conceptual knowledge of multiple technologies
    Know what is coming in technology and how it could be managed
    Ability to rationalize and apply the relationship between the infrastructure architecture and the enterprise architecture, in addition to the enterprise architect framework used
    Strategy: Candidates demonstrate understanding of enterprise architectural frameworks such as TOGAF and operational frameworks such as ITIL and be able to use these frameworks in their projects. They also understand project management principals and how architects interact with project managers to deliver projects. In addition, they understand the economic dimension of projects and how costs influence the available choices for technology.
    Synthesize industry-specific trends with respect to IT
    Align the infrastructure architecture to the enterprise framework in use (e.g. TOGAF, Zachman, IEEE 1471, BAIT)
    Operational excellence and operational frameworks (MOF, ITIL, etc.)
    IT Project portfolio management (project fits the business), balancing tactical requirements against strategic needs
    Balance between users, management, operations, support, and finance that meet the strategic needs of the business.
    Apply/integrate the value of project management frameworks and best practices (MSF, PMBOK, etc.)
    Organization Dynamics: Candidates show that they are able to recognize the key stakeholders in a project and that they can work with those stakeholders to drive a project to a successful conclusion. They present the ability to pick the right battles at the right time and then recognize the political landscape that influences a project within an organization and then influence organizational politics for the success of their projects.
    Adeptly maneuver through politically-charged organizational situations
    Effective in building mutual partnerships and networks with parties or organizations
    Relationships with other architects and project stakeholder
    Have an awareness of the internal legal organization and ensure legal guidelines are met
    Be comfortable with compromise and conflict
    Tactical/Process: Candidates demonstrate that they can gather and refine project requirements from both a technical and business perspective. They understand how to effectively prototype and test a solution and also showcase the talent to create effective project artifacts. Lastly, they exhibit the ability to refine project goals and the tactics necesary to achieve those goals as the project develops.
    Gather and analyze requirements (technical, business)
    Envision and create an infrastructure that can be implemented, and that meets requirements
    Model the pieces of the infrastructure and their relationships, communication semantics, etc.
    Prototype and prove the feasibility of the design
    Create the design artifacts that are required to deliver and to maintain the infrastructure
    See an infrastructure through to completion
    Audit compliance with the letter and intent of the architecture
    Review the ongoing implementation for opportunities for improvement
    Refine the model as requirements change, implementation choices play out, etc.
    Contribute to technical project management
    Communication: Candidates show that they maintain well-written and accurate project documentation; they are able to present information on a technical subject in a concise and measured manner; they have the ability to influence others; they have the ability to manage conflicts effectively; and to tailor their communication to the needs of the target audience.
    Effective listener and astute observer
    Communicate effectively and persuasively at the audience level (executive, technical, etc.)
    Effective mediator/conflict management
    Able to document designs and specifications (adhering to company practices)
    Communicate infrastructure constraints to solutions architects
    Able to effectively facilitate meetings
    Solutions Architects
    Leadership: Candidates demonstrate that they develop partnerships with stakeholders across the organization on their projects; that they can mentor others; that they develop and form strong teams; and that they achieve successful results.
    Able to ask thought-provoking questions that translate into actionable technological patterns/solutions
    Actively mentor others
    Provide thought leadership by enabling others to see things from a different and better perspective
    Influence decision makers
    Champion structure, process, best practices and standards
    Promote the capture and reuse of intellectual capital
    Effective in building mutual partnerships and networks with parties or organizations
    Technology Depth: Candidates demonstrate that they have a deep understanding of the concepts and application of at least two core technologies (for example, messaging, storage, Windows, networks, etc.) plus the ability to quickly assimilate information about new technologies.
    Understand the application of current and future relevant vendor offerings and associated costs
    Implementation frameworks, blueprints, patterns, prescriptive architectures
    Examples of depth competencies include (but are not limited to):
    Application Development - evidenced by knowledge of .NET (C#) or Java to create large scale OLTP systems.
    RDBMS – evidenced by knowledge of development in SQL Server, Oracle, DB2, etc.
    Data Warehousing – evidenced by knowledge of ETL, OLAP, or Reporting solutions such as SQL Server DTS, Informatica, SQL Server Analysis Services, Hyperion, Business Objects, etc.
    Enterprise Application Integration/Enterprise Service Bus – evidenced by knowledge of traditional EAI products such as Biztalk, Websphere, or Webmethods. ESB products can also be discussed such as Sonic software, or other Message Oriented Middleware (MOM) scenarios.
    Portal frameworks – evidenced by knowledge of Sharepoint, Websphere Portal, etc.)
    Technology Breadth: Candidates understand architectural best practices and are able to apply them across a breadth of technologies to orchestrate a solution. They also have views on the future development of a technology and how it might influence current solutions. Finally, they understand the interaction between infrastructure, solution, and enterprise architecture and practices.
    Apply architectural and engineering concepts to create a solution that is appropriately scalable, maintainable, securable, reliable, extensible, flexible, available, manageable, etc.
    Able to think abstractly
    Understand the capabilities and constraints of the infrastructure
    Demonstrate broad development skills
    Able to quickly learn new concepts and gain expertise
    Strategy: Candidates demonstrate understanding of enterprise architectural frameworks such as TOGAF and operational frameworks such as ITIL and be able to use these frameworks in their projects. They also understand project management principals and how architects interact with project managers to deliver projects. In addition, they understand the economic dimension of projects and how costs influence the available choices for technology
    Understand business strategy
    Have industry knowledge of a specific industry(e.g. HIPAA, ACORD, SOX)
    Create solution road map
    Recognize industry trends (e.g. horizontals, verticals – wireless, storage, health care, government, defense, information services)
    Know the product roadmap for Microsoft and other relevant vendors
    Determine vendor pricing impact on solutions
    Organization Dynamics: Candidates show that they are able to recognize the key stakeholders in a project and that they can work with those stakeholders to drive a project to a successful conclusion. They present the ability to pick the right battles at the right time and then recognize the political landscape that influences a project within an organization and then influnce organizational politics for the success of their projects.
    Adeptly maneuver through politically-charged organizational situations
    Effective in building mutual partnerships and networks with parties or organizations
    Relationships with other architects and project stakeholder
    Have an awareness of the internal legal organization and ensure legal guidelines are met
    Be comfortable with compromise and conflict
    Tactical/Process: Candidates demonstrate that they can gather and refine project requirements from both a technical and business perspective. They understand how to effectively prototype and test a solution and also showcase the talent to create effective project artifacts. Lastly, they exhibit the ability to refine project goals and the tactics necessary to achieve those goals as the project develops.
    Gather and analyze requirements (technical, business)
    Envision and create an infrastructure that can be implemented, and that meets requirements
    Model the pieces of the infrastructure and their relationships, communication semantics, etc.
    Prototype and prove the feasibility of the design
    Create the design artifacts that are required to deliver and to maintain the infrastructure
    See an infrastructure through to completion
    Audit compliance with the letter and intent of the architecture
    Review the ongoing implementation for opportunities for improvement
    Refine the model as requirements change, implementation choices play out, etc.
    Contribute to technical project management
    Communication: Candidates show that they maintain well-written and accurate project documentation; they are able to present information on a technical subject in a concise and measured manner; they have the ability to influence others; they have the ability to manage conflicts effectively; and to tailor their communication to the needs of the target audience.
    Effective listener and astute observer
    Communicate effectively and persuasively at the audience level (executive, technical, etc.)
    Effective mediator/conflict management
    Able to document designs and specifications (adhering to company practices)
    Communicate infrastructure constraints to solutions architects
    Able to effectively facilitate meetings
    Interview Process

    The appearance that a candidate makes before an MCA review board takes approximately two hours with another thirty minutes used for board discussions after the candidate leaves the room. The process is divided into six stages:

    Presentation phase - The candidate makes a 30 minute presentation to describe their solution. This is the only time that the candidate drives the session and the board does not interrupt the presentation unless they need to clarify something, such as an acronym that the candidate fails to explain. This presentation is critical because it establishes the tone and pace for the remainder of the session. Successful candidates invariably establish a rapport with the board and convey an impression that they are a master of their topic and of their solution. Like a job interview, it is best if candidates avoid controversy or claims that they cannot substantiate as this creates doubt in the minds of the board. It is preferred that the candidate finish their presentation in the allotted time. A projector and a white board will be provided. Please note that a PowerPoint presentation is not required. As a general rule, be careful with PowerPoint. Use it for diagrams to illustrate complex topics, and avoid putting the audience to sleep with PowerPoint. Your communication competency will be evaluated heavily in this phase.
    Scenario questioning phase - The board then questions the candidate for 40 minutes about their scenario. Each board member is allotted 10 minutes to ask questions to determine whether the candidate meets a specific criterion, such as leadership. Board members are encouraged to direct the candidate into areas of technology that they are uncomfortable with. The intention here is to see whether the candidate can think on their feet in a stressful situation, has a broad view of technology, and is able to answer questions intelligently and with some confidence when challenged. Questions that are rude or that insult the candidate, his solution, or his company are not tolerated.
    Break - The candidate leaves the room and the board members spend five minutes discussing the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses and identifying areas that need additional investigation.
    Candidate questioning phase - The candidate returns for an additional 40 minutes of targeted questioning focused primarily on the qualifications of the candidate.
    Closing Statement - The candidate is invited to make a closing or summary statement up to 4 minutes in length. The closing statement should focus on why the candidate believes they should be certified as a solution architect. This is the last opportunity the candidate has to influence the board, so some preparation should be put into this. Be sure to call out specific examples as proof points of the candidate’s mastery of the competencies.
    Voting - The candidate leaves the room and the board moves to the voting process.
    Many candidates will find the process exhausting because of the extended period of highly intensive interaction during their presentation and the subsequent questioning by the board. However, there is nothing really different here to the stresses and strains that many architects experience when they have to justify their work to senior management.

    Voting Process

    Following the second session of questions, the candidate leaves the room and the board takes an initial vote. Each of the board members votes “Pass” or “Fail” to establish a baseline of how the each board member views the candidate. The board then rates the candidate according to each of the seven core competencies. All board members’ opinions are noted and become part of the formal record of the board proceedings.

    Once all the ratings against competencies are gathered, the board provides formal feedback to the candidate. The candidate’s strengths are noted but the majority of the time is spent providing specific feedback to the candidate on how he or she can improve the overall solution and presentation. The experience and qualification of the board should provide it with sufficient knowledge to submit feedback and advice that a candidate will find valuable.

    The final step is the formal board vote. Normally, this reflects the initial vote taken before the feedback and assessment process, but there are instances where the discussion changes the vote positively or negatively. To pass, a candidate must receive three pass votes from the four voting members.

    Interview Strategy

    With good preparation and attention to detail, most candidates that are accepted into the program via the rigid program guidelines, should be able to approach an MCA board with some confidence. Microsoft will provide a mentor to every candidate upon acceptance into the program and this should assist candidates in the preparation of their solution for their formal presentation to the board. Preparation is always a key factor in achieving success. Here are some key points that candidates can take into account as they prepare for an MCA board appearance.

    Recent project - Select a recent project for the presentation, ideally one where the candidate had significant leadership responsibility – be prepared to discuss the challenges that arose in meeting that responsibility, the internal politics, trade-offs that were made, how you communicated with senior customer management and your own management. Also, consider proposing a new architectural pattern you discovered. In some cases, you may be in a position.
    Practice, practice, practice - Practice the presentation and make sure that you can make the major points that you consider important within 30 minutes. Again, be sure you stay to your allotted time.
    Diagrams - Include some diagrams to illustrate the logical architecture of the solution plus some details of the solution. For example, show a UML/Visio/PowerPoint model of the interactions of the 3 logical tiers of the solution in your architecture. Be prepared to whiteboard other aspects of the project at sufficient detail to convince the board that you have deep knowledge and understanding of the solution.
    Deployment - Present your understanding of how to take a project from concept to design to deployment and the different challenges that exist at each phase.
    No waffling - Don’t waffle if you cannot answer a question. Acknowledge that you do not have the answer and move on. It is OK to say you don’t know something…it actually adds credibility in certain instances.
    Future focus - Have some views on how technology will develop in the future, especially in your own areas of competence and/ore expertise, and be able to show how these developments may impact the projects and solutions that you are developing now.
    Be able to discuss non-Microsoft products - Be prepared to discuss multiple areas of technology, including some that the board may introduce (such as a question about Linux and Open Source when you present Windows as one of your areas of competence). You have to be able to show the board that you are not a “one-hit” wonder when it comes to technology and that you possess knowledge across a wide breadth of technologies. The board you present to is made up of both Microsoft and non-Microsoft employees. Impress the board with your knowledge of architecture, not how you sold/implemented a Microsoft solution.
    Long term relationships – Top solution architects inspire trust in the people they work with. Be able to show that you have achieved a longstanding and ongoing relationship with customers. Consultants who “hop” between projects to act as trouble shooters or in a presales role are unlikely to be as convincing during discussions about projects. If you are in a pre-sales role, be prepared to discuss a project in a “previous role” prior to the pre-sales role. If you choose to use a project/architecture you influenced in a pre-sales role, be prepared to discuss the architecture and technical challenges in-depth, and your influence on the architectural decisions (for the betterment of the architecture…not the sales quota).
    Economic Impact - It is good to be able to show that you understand the economic impact of projects and technology as a whole. For example, understand how the return on investment is calculated, the difference between capital costs and running costs, and how to make trade-offs to meet project budgets. It is also good to be able to demonstrate awareness of the customer business environment and the dynamics that influence their business. Be mindful of how decisions impact the Enterprise beyond the project you are working on (e.g. how other projects can use the infrastructure/systems you put into place), and the impact on the ROI model for future projects.
    Finally, take the time to submit timely, well-prepared documentation to the board. Submit documents that are prepared to the same level as any customer deliverable. Ensure that the documents are clear and concise, spell checked, and formatted appropriately. Apart from these points, candidates who remain calm and measured will prosper during board questioning. Confidence is a good thing when you are questioned by the board, but arrogance is usually bad unless it can be justified.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q. Where/when can I sign up?
    Q. How much will the program cost?
    Q. Where can I get more information on the new Microsoft Certified Architect Program?
    A. Details about the cost and open enrollment process for the Microsoft Certified Architect Program are still in development. The program is expected to be live in the first half of 2006.


    Q. I noticed that candidates will be assigned a mentor – what exactly does that mean?
    A. Upon acceptance into the program, candidates will be assigned a mentor to help foster their success through the program's rigorous certification process. All program mentors will have already completed the certification process. Mentors will come from Microsoft as well as externally chosen sources.


    Q. Does the certification cover only Microsoft Technologies?
    Q. What competencies will the program address?
    A. At the present time, it is expected that only about a quarter of the emphasis of a candidate's knowledge will be on Microsoft-related architecture technologies; the rest will relate to general architecture principles and best practices that aren't Microsoft specific. A candidate for the program will have to have a broad-based knowledge that extends well beyond Microsoft technologies. In addition, the non-technical skills domain that candidates will face throughout the process will be broad, including such knowledge areas as project management, decision-making, strategic thinking, and oral and verbal communication.


    Q. What are the prerequisites/qualifications/ minimum requirements to enter the program?
    Q. What should I be doing now to prepare for the architect certification?
    Q. Who should consider the architect certification program?
    A. This certification will require advanced and verifiable experience as a working architect (likely to be at least 10 years). The Microsoft Certified Architect credential will not have a prepackaged curriculum or traditional exams. Rather, candidates must demonstrate their skills and knowledge by creating architectures that solve complex business problems and then present their solutions to a board of their peer architects.


    Q. When will the program be in full swing?
    A. The program is expected to be live in the first half of 2006.


    Q. How long will it take to obtain the new architect credential?
    A. It is expected that the time to complete the program will range from 6 to 12 months but the final timeframes are still being defined.


    Q. Does this mean changes to other Microsoft Certification Programs?
    A. No additional changes are being announced at this moment. As has been done in the past, for example with the introduction of the MCDST certification, Microsoft will continue to respond to customer and business needs by improving the value and relevancy of certifications to business decision makers.


    For More Information
    [email protected]


    Plantwiz
    _____
    "Grammar and spelling aren't everything, but this is a forum, not a chat room. You have plenty of time to spell out the word "you", and look just a little bit smarter." by Phaideaux

    ***I'll add you can Capitalize the word 'I' to show a little respect for yourself too.

    'i' before 'e' except after 'c'.... weird?
  • scot_doneckerscot_donecker Member Posts: 45 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the good replies everybody.

    I do not fully agree with your last comment strauchr. A+ is not easy, as you seem to think I am stuggling with an "entry level" cert, so I should know my place in line, and be comfortable with it.

    I'm sorry if I came off sounding disgruntled, but I have achieved many a things in my life that were very tough to get, but nothing could fully relate to things I did for A+. Maybe the reason why it was so hard is because I did it the hard honest way, and not just drilling myself with questions/answers to pass the exams. One of those easy to get, hard to master kind of things.

    I know for a fact that in 500 hours of experience you would'nt even know the tip of the iceberg of knowledge that I posses for the A+ certification.

    The exams are tough, I should know. Maybe if you took them, you might feel the same way, and respond as I do when people say "entry level". Esspecially when they have'nt even seen the amount of details, knowledge, and plain pure dedication that it requires to pass these exams.

    Well, that's that...
    "If the answer was never to look to yourself, then how can you expect to find it anywhere else" -Eyedea
  • duckduckduckduckduckduck Member Member Posts: 45 ■■□□□□□□□□
    As an industry veteran who has recently earned my A+ at the request of my employer, I can attest to the fact that the A+ is extremely difficult to obtain.

    This is mainly because the knowledge you must posses to earn it is extremely encompassing to the point of ridiculousness. After earning this cert, you will know how to create vacuum tubes and silicon chips from scratch as well as earn the right to hobnob with the ancient tech who personally worked on the ENIAC.

    I consider it to be a certification in old-school, useless for the most part but by no means easy or general knowledge for current field techies. The "entry-level" label is a boon to the industry as employed technicians have no knowledge (or need) of much of the material covered in those exams.
  • scot_doneckerscot_donecker Member Posts: 45 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thank you duckduckduck. Finally someone who can attest to this bs.

    People seem to think the label "entry level" means easy, begginer, etc. But I personally think they label it "entry level" because everyone should have this all encompasing certification before moving on to more generalized certs like CCNA, MCSA, MCSE, etc. I am on track for the MCSA and I already know most, if not all the material for exam 70-270, because of my studying of Windows XP Profesional for the A+ OS Technologies exam. I have passed 3 practice tests for my 70-270 exam, with near perfect scores, and I have'nt even studied from a new book yet.

    So honestly, if you have'nt taken the A+ exam recently (I became A+ certified July 25, 2005), you should'nt even be allowed to say anything about it. Sorry, but you just have no idea.

    If you think I'm the one with a problem then think about this. What if someone started calling your HARD to earn certifications entry level, and saying their a joke, and that their useless; When they have no clue what the hell their talking about and have'nt even tried to take them personally.

    There is a reason why CompTIA calls it entry level and its not what you all think it is.

    Thats all I have to say about that...
    "If the answer was never to look to yourself, then how can you expect to find it anywhere else" -Eyedea
  • CherperCherper Member Posts: 140 ■■■□□□□□□□
    You don't have to convince people in IT, but Human Resources. To those people A+ does not equate great knowledge. It is not always true, but it is the perception.

    As for duckduckduck's comments, I think that the A+ focuses on stuff that isn't as applicable as it once was.
    Studying and Reading:

    Whatever strikes my fancy...
  • Ricka182Ricka182 Member Posts: 3,359
    I don't believe anyone here said entry-level means easy.....there was a discussion here once about how worthless all Comptia certs were, and they were argued with as well. They are, regardless of what anyone thinks, entry/foundation level certs. Each and every person in the world could have their own meaning of entry level. If someone is experienced in the field, you're right, they should know the A+ stuff anyway, but that doesn't mean they need the cert itself. A+ was not designed to assist you with MCSA, CCNA, or any other cert. It is a vendor-neutral, entry level cert designed to prove beginner level knowledge of PC technician skills. PC tech and M$ are completely different. If someone has never tinkered with hardware, then it would naturally be more difficult for them versus someone who has tinkered with PCs previously. I had zero experience professionally, but a couple of years of reading, and playing with my own PC, then I decided to get more serious in IT. A+ is the industry wide standard for beginners in PC Technical skills fileds, so I went for it. As someone who understood hardware more, I almost aced the Core, but wound up failing OS because I underestimated it myself. What about someone who was certified under the 2001 objectives, but kept current with technology, or continued on with more advanced certs such as M$ or Cisco; does that mean they don't know what they're talking about? I work with a few people who are A+ certified, probably under the very first set of objectives, and I would bet they couldn't walk in and pass the new objectives right now without a little studying. A+, as with any other cert, is only as difficult as each test taker makes it, provided they have appropriate study material. If they were too hard, no one would get them. If you felt A+ was that difficult, try a M$ exam. I see more people here failing those than I do A+. Again, the difficulty of an exam is based soley on each individual, and any related experience they may have with said topics and objectives.
    i remain, he who remains to be....
  • duckduckduckduckduckduck Member Member Posts: 45 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Doing the 70-270 next week. I will concede that the A+ is probably much harder for experienced technicians, simply because we cannot justify memorizing all of that information pulled directly from technical manuals dated 1985 and earlier. icon_rolleyes.gif
  • garv221garv221 Member Posts: 1,914
    I know for a fact that in 500 hours of experience you would'nt even know the tip of the iceberg of knowledge that I posses for the A+ certification.

    I can honestly remember thinking the same thing when I started out in computers. However the right time for me to take the exam has long passed. I feel over qualified. I have built hundreds of PCs and worked on all OS's & researched everything in A+ from the ground up & resolved problems when they were aroused over & over at my first stages in IT. Right now, I would gain nothing by taking that exam now, except for having the certificate (which doesn't do a whole lot). I feel it would only waste precious time from taking more advanced exams with better pay & information I feel I need to learn.
    Is it entry level? Yes....(With the idea that anyone in IT for years should have PC Repair knowledge) Also passing score is in the 500's....
    Is it waste of time? That depends on your skill level, if it is information you need to obtain so you can move on & learn more advanced things, then yes. But I think when people bash A+ it is because they mainly out grew it & are focused at the moment on larger certs & hate hearing people glorify a cert they took off the back burner and will not even consider it anymore...by the way is the A+ forum?
  • strauchrstrauchr Member Posts: 528
    I never said A+ was easy, I am just going off pure feedback. I hardly ever see anyone saying they failed A+ but heaps failing MCP, CCNA etc. and trust me there is a ridiculous amount of things to learn for these exams as well.

    Not being a Techy anyore I don't see the point of getting A+, in fact really what is the point of A+ unless you want to be a techy. If you want to do networks support A+ is useless for you the same as CCNA is useless if you want to be a Tech.

    However in climbing the IT support ladder the basics, beginner, entry level skills are considered A+ by almost every experienced IT professional.

    I am not trying to take anything away from those A+ people as I do remember passing my NT 4.0 MCP exam and the feeling I got from that, one of the biggest buzzes of my career BUT I knew it was only the beginning and that it was going to get harder. I also knew I wasn't an expert either so I knew my place.

    But apart from this tired old argument certs and experience together make up knowledge, each have their value and is equally important. Some jobs place more emphasis on one than the other but they probably aren't the best people to work for to enhance your career.

    Good point about MCA. Will be a very interesting new era for certs. I for one would like to go for it, depending on the worth within the industry or how much I would get out of it.
  • scot_doneckerscot_donecker Member Posts: 45 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Sorry grav221, but until you have delved fully into the A+ certification, you will have no idea what duckduckduck and I are talking about.

    The amount of information we had to know for those exams is extraordinarily ridiculous. I'm sorry, but you can seriously say anything you want, but it does'nt matter until you've acctually done it. I used to think just like you, that I was way beyond A+ because I had been working in the field of Computer Repair for over 2 years (thats over 3,840 hours). The fact was, I didn't know hardley anything, compared to the amount of information I had to know for those exams.

    So I don't care how much people think they know about computers or how long they've been working on them, until you do A+ by the book, the right way, you will find out very quickly that you don't know ****. Even some A+ certified individuals still don't know **** because they did those stupid useless brain ****. Also how can you other people say that the A+ certification is usless for you, just because your a Networking person. Lets say your computer breaks down...then what do you do? Call me perhaps?

    And secondly, what else do you have to compare A+ too. Because if A+ is a begginers knowledge in the IT industry, than what is the advanced computer person supposed to know? The truth is that A+ is the only certification out there of it's kind. It's not like Computer Technicians are beginners and Network Administrators are advanced; they're two tottally different subcategories of the industry.

    p.s. If you think I'm full of crap then you try and pass the A+ exams, the honest hard way, because until then you honestly have no idea what your talking about (this include's people who base their opinions off "pure feedback"). I know what I'm talking about because I've done it. I'm sick and tired of the rumors that get started by people who can't pass the exams, so they bad mouth them and then bam, even my brother (who works in construction) is calling it a joke. All I'm saying to those who have'nt done it is, put up or shut up.

    p.s.s. People have stated in earlier threads that I have made posts in, that A+ is a "joke" (exact wording), so please don't tell me I'm stemming it off from people saying its "entry level". I'm sorry if you got confused, but "Joke" and "Entry Level" are two tottally different things.

    Thats all; no more, no less.
    "If the answer was never to look to yourself, then how can you expect to find it anywhere else" -Eyedea
  • strauchrstrauchr Member Posts: 528
    Fact 1: More people complain about failing CCNA and MCP exams then A+ exams.

    Fact 2: 99.9% of people in IT see tech work as a start in IT not the ultimate career

    Fact 3: I have never heard of a Network Admin getting paid less than a PC Tech.

    Fact 4: There are very very few jobs that either ask for A+ or turn you down if your MCSE but don't have A+.

    Fact 5: I have always been able to fix my own PC whenever it breaks WITHOUT A+ cert. But if I couldn't thats what PC techs are for!

    So you see, its not just opinions of people here or just a perception some person made up by bad mouthing a cert, they have very valid reasons for stating what they do. To most people these facts add up to a JOKE therefore it gets called a Joke.

    Now I'm not saying I know all there is in A+ BUT I know enough to do my job hardware wise and thats all that counts. In fact I have worked on quite a few different server hardware platfroms and funnily enough I have never got stuck for an issue, NEVER. A+ is not needed for me end of storey!!

    And just out of curiousity how many MCP and Cisco exams have you passed? Until you have done both the honest way you can't really talk either.

    If I had the time and the money to burn I would go for A+ just so I can prove myself right, but I don't really need to.
  • duckduckduckduckduckduck Member Member Posts: 45 ■■□□□□□□□□
    strauchr: You shouldn't call something that someone else has worked hard for a joke unless you've done it yourself.

    That being said, having taken the A+, I did find it to be a bit laughable but it was the toughest "joke" I've ever had to tackle. I believe the reason more people fail their MCP is because of the large volume of non-native English speakers who attempt the exams, littered with wordy and ambiguous questions.

    I would not compare the A+ to any Cisco certifications in difficulty, however. I know how difficult those can be. On a final note, the fine distinction between "techie" and "sysadmin" is sometimes not there at all in consulting fields and the A+ (believe it or not) does cover some areas of networking.
  • strauchrstrauchr Member Posts: 528
    I just gave facts as to reasons for calling it a joke. The problem is for you guys, being drummed into you that this is where you NEED to start and you MUST HAVE A+. The truth is you don't NEED it. Don't get p1ssed off with me just because the industry thinks A+ is a joke, get p1ssed off with yourself that you put the time and money into something that doesn't translate to much in career terms. You should have gone MCP or CCNA first because I can tell you now thats all employers are going to look at. Then go and do A+ out of interest unless you do just want to be a tech.

    The MCP exams are wordy for a reason. Because in real life a problem is never presented to you in a one line sntence. You must decipher the information given to you, often by non technical people, and come up with a solution. IT is not just about knowing facts and technical bits of info its about putting them to good use in real life - such as wading through bits of information to troubleshoot. Now while MS doesn't get it perfect at least they try and make exams more than just about remember a fact. You have to know facts and have good troubleshooting skills!

    And I haven't seen anyone here who has failed because they can't speak English well.

    When you finished your MCP exam come back and see if you feel the same, or wait until you get further down the track with your MCSE.

    And no, I won't bother with A+ it still has nothing to offer me or many people in the industry regardless of how "difficult" you say it is it doesn't change the facts I pointed out earlier. Sorry but its the real world.

    I'd also just like to point out that I have nothing against anyone who does Comptia certs or A+ but I do have something against how it is pushed as the cert you NEED to start off with. Its just rubbish, you don't need it at all in most circumstances.

    Well OK, maybe I am being a bit harsh because Comptia A+ was not known when i started in the industry and I learnt all my hardware stuff at college. I guess the knowledge is definitely worthwhile just the cert does not seem worth it. Hmmmm, now I have confused my own stance on the subject. I'll get back to you on this one
  • duckduckduckduckduckduck Member Member Posts: 45 ■■□□□□□□□□
    There is already a long thread covering this here: http://www.techexams.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=9339

    I took the opposite stance, however, saying that the knowledge is not worthwhile (it's terribly dated) but the cert itself is. The problem is, while the "industry" takes a dim view of the cert, human resources and the public in general value the A+ greatly because CompTIA has marketted the hell out of it.

    I see you are in the UK which may explain it. Stateside, the A+ is moderately highly sought after by employers (many of which don't know the difference between the CCIE and the A+ certs.) Myself, I'm already gainfully employed and just grabbed it for the 3 grand bonus my employer paid me to obtain it... icon_cool.gif
  • scot_doneckerscot_donecker Member Posts: 45 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I told you that I was not a networking person, and I never called those certs (MCSE, MCSA, CCNA) anything. I'm just saying that A+ is not easy at all (joke), and the only reaon so many people pass it is because computer repair work and the A+ exam, are the most popular by choice.

    You don't see me calling your certs a "joke" off pure speculation, all I ask is the same in return (that's gos for everybody who calls it a joke). I know how tough the A+ exams are, and they are by NO means easy or a "joke". And if someone who is calling it such names really wants to prove it than step up, don't hide behind speculation...if you really want to prove it than do it, other wise, you honestly can't say anything because YOU don't know for a fact.

    *edit* duckduckduck I think the reason why you have to know so much for the A+ cert (legacy stuff), is because you need to be prepared for anything. I still get calls to work on old AT mobo machines, because home town companies will never upgrade, because what they have works, and has worked since they began.
    "If the answer was never to look to yourself, then how can you expect to find it anywhere else" -Eyedea
  • strauchrstrauchr Member Posts: 528
    OK, I've thought about this a bit.

    I will retract my statement of saying A+ is a joke.

    BUT I will stick by saying it is entry level, as I believe MCP and CCNA are also entry level.

    I never said the exam was easy though.

    I am actually from Australia but living in London at the moment and I can tell you no one ever asks for A+ in these countries, MCP or CCNA is the bottom level cert you need.

    And if the content is dated then why should be highly regarded?

    And also if I have MCSE plus a few others an A+ level of knowledge would be assumed, even though there is stuff on the exam I wouldn't know off the top of my head.

    I would seriously consider doing A+ out of interest but unfortunately I only have time for studying for progressing my career.

    I guess all my previous comments will only be relevant to Australians and Brittish since thats the only markets I know. But my stand on the diffculty level (not saying its easy) still stays. More people do fail MCP exams than Comptia exams. I've also been told that CWNA is Comptia type level cert and that was the second easiest exam I have done even though it covered a huge range of topics.

    And people do call MCSE a joke too, and it does hurt cos it isn't easy and I worked dam hard for it so I apolagise even though my comments were aimed more toward its value in the job market rather than the people who attain them.
  • scot_doneckerscot_donecker Member Posts: 45 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thank you strauchr. :)
    "If the answer was never to look to yourself, then how can you expect to find it anywhere else" -Eyedea
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