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Old 10th-November-2016, 10:41 PM   #1
EyeSeeCold
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Default IT certifications

Anyone have experience with Microsoft or CompTIA certs? I'm 99% sure I can pass the A+ easy so I'm curious about the breadth of the Network+, Security+ and MCSA. I was planning on taking the CCNA but reading around it seems many people were surprised by the technical difficulty of it. I took training classes and did pretty well but Cisco just updated their exams to focus on ipv6 and virtual/cloud services, so I'm not feeling too confident about dropping $300.
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Old 11th-November-2016, 12:26 AM   #2
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Default Re: IT certifications

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Originally Posted by EyeSeeCold View Post
Anyone have experience with Microsoft or CompTIA certs? I'm 99% sure I can pass the A+ easy so I'm curious about the breadth of the Network+, Security+ and MCSA. I was planning on taking the CCNA but reading around it seems many people were surprised by the technical difficulty of it. I took training classes and did pretty well but Cisco just updated their exams to focus on ipv6 and virtual/cloud services, so I'm not feeling too confident about dropping $300.
I think I took a Microsoft Word certification exam a while back. It was by no means impossible to pass but, in fact I believe I scored very highly. Just look over some things and make sure you have a thorough understanding of how to do all the little ins-and-outs u That being said this was just Word. Sorry I don't have much more information to provide you. Best of luck though on your endeavors.
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Old 11th-November-2016, 04:32 AM   #3
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Default Re: IT certifications

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Originally Posted by dutchdisease View Post
I think I took a Microsoft Word certification exam a while back. It was by no means impossible to pass but, in fact I believe I scored very highly. Just look over some things and make sure you have a thorough understanding of how to do all the little ins-and-outs u That being said this was just Word. Sorry I don't have much more information to provide you. Best of luck though on your endeavors.
Yeah the "thorough understanding" bit is what I'm trying to nail down. Even for Word, with all the menus and tricks, someone could make an exam that the average person wouldn't pass. So it would help if I could get some idea from people who've taken or passed these already. Although I believe the cert companies have some weird tradition where no one can give specific details about exams.
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Old 11th-November-2016, 09:04 AM   #4
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Default Re: IT certifications

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Originally Posted by EyeSeeCold View Post
Yeah the "thorough understanding" bit is what I'm trying to nail down. Even for Word, with all the menus and tricks, someone could make an exam that the average person wouldn't pass. So it would help if I could get some idea from people who've taken or passed these already. Although I believe the cert companies have some weird tradition where no one can give specific details about exams.
This is certainly true. But then an exam to test everyday competence in Word would be pointless, since the everyday features are fairly intuitive. If there were to be an exam, it would test the advanced features and tricks. But there'd be a rather small niche market for this.

Regardless, such an exam would not be an IT certification; it would be an computer competency test.
An IT certification validates the competencies required for an IT Technician/Engineer/Architect role.

In the "old days", IT was basically divided into three domains: programming, systems and networks. At entry level, most people had exposure to at least two of these. Systems and Networks went more naturally hand in hand.
Certifications aren't relevant to programming as far as I'm aware; it's as much an art as it is a science.

Systems meant Microsoft and Networks meant Cisco. There were other players on the scene as well, but these were the dominant ones, and they dictated the paradigms.
The Microsoft MCSA was the golden rite of entry into Systems, and the Cisco CCNA into Networks.

Things have changed a fair bit in the last decade. Other giants have emerged, like Juniper and Alcatel-Lucent (Nokia). You have other players in subfields of Networks as well.
I left Systems behind very early, so I don't know what goes on these days. But I'd imagine VMWare has emerged in that space, as well as others.

Increasing virtualisation, abstraction and automation is blurring the lines between the three areas now, as well and between enterprises and service providers. And it's an exciting time to be an Engineer. But it's also a time of profound anxiety about the obsolescence of the Engineer. But that's another story.

Despite all the evolution, it very much remains the case that the CCNA is a gold standard for the entry level in Networks. Whatever path you take after that in specialisation or deviation, it teaches you the fundamental anatomy of computer networks. And it commands unparalleled respect for that level.
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Old 12th-November-2016, 07:02 AM   #5
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Default Re: IT certifications

I agree that programming is an art, I enjoy the challenge of modeling problems but I don't hunger for it. C++, java, and database programming are required for my degree so at least I have some of the fundamentals because I know most companies want some scripting and Linux familiarity.

Discussion of obsolescence here is warranted imo. If I'm trying to validate a specific competency in the eyes of employers who are looking to fill positions, it's imperative that those positions be available and in-demand. Would you say Microsoft and CompTIA certs are still useful? What did you leave systems for?


There are a lot of technologies I still haven't really experimented with but I'd imagine you learn some of them from working on the job.
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Old 12th-November-2016, 11:15 AM   #6
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Default Re: IT certifications

I say don't bother with CompTIA. That level of studying is really for people who have to be taught to suck eggs. More appropriate for people without an IT/Engineering degree.

If you're already into C++ and Java and Linux, you're already in a good position. I would suggest getting familiar with Python as well if you can.
Microsoft is ok, but I got bored very early in my engagement with it, and if you're anything like me, you will too.

After doing the CCNA exam and a few qualifying exams for the MCSA, I realised that in a choice between the two areas, there was no contest for me.
While I was studying for these exams I was actually still working in the programming sphere at the time. I did some coding (Java) and some software testing (manual and Python).
I was motivated to do those exams after my time on a brief telecoms-focused project at work. It confirmed what I experienced at university - that my intereat was more in telecoms than in "IT". I had enjoyed (and done better in) the mobile communications modules of my electronic engineering degree far more than the programming, maths and electronics ones.

I got a job with an internet service provider a few months after my CCNA.
Looking back, I shouldn't have bothered with the Microsoft. I did because I was told that doing Microsoft (and linux) with cisco made you very marketable. Which of course is not false. But the key thing is to identify the area where your aptitude and interest most align. If you do that, you spare yourself a lot of wasted time and effort.
And it is truly a waste, because useful knowledge in this field has a startlingly short half-life, if unused.

What I would say about obsolescence in your situation is for you not to worry too much about it. The universal law of trade is to become so skilled at something that others will be prepared to pay you for it, since it is beyond their reach and the reach of those they know. This hold true irrespective of time and place, and if you keep it in mind, you start to see that chasing after the currently hot thing is a fool's errand in the long run.
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Old 12th-November-2016, 04:56 PM   #7
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Default Re: IT certifications

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Originally Posted by EyeSeeCold View Post
I agree that programming is an art
Knuth gave a talk on this.

Personally I don't think it's an art, or a science, but it's own thing that is both, and neither. I don't know what it is, other than I use science daily in my practice of it, and skill and experience is necessary for good work.

I'm a straight up engineer, don't know anything about Certifications, just curious what kind of jobs you shoot for with them?
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Old 13th-November-2016, 06:26 PM   #8
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Default Re: IT certifications

I'm not fond of certifications myself. They feel too inflexible to keep up with trends in the infantile universe of IT. It also feels like a snake oil market which I hate. Something stupid like SCRUM certifications feel very much like pissing money into the wind.

It's a good indication of what you used to know but no indication of what you're currently hot with. One of the things you want is a job that has you ping pong back and forth between languages and disciplines. So all you learn stays relevant. Like being bilingual you want to exercise both regularly.

Though keep in mind many in the Khaki community rely on paperwork to adjust pay grades. You can be an awesome developer with a wide and often used skill set but if your certifications on paper are lacking some ignorant shitheel will suppress your reviews and raises.
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Old 10th-December-2016, 02:51 PM   #9
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Default Re: IT certifications

Quote:
Originally Posted by OmoInisa View Post
I say don't bother with CompTIA. That level of studying is really for people who have to be taught to suck eggs. More appropriate for people without an IT/Engineering degree.

If you're already into C++ and Java and Linux, you're already in a good position. I would suggest getting familiar with Python as well if you can.
Microsoft is ok, but I got bored very early in my engagement with it, and if you're anything like me, you will too.
The thing is, I've never really had a passion for programming so I have to be a bit pragmatic about my choices since IT is a "best fit" choice for me. And I know IT and engineering are more than programming but as an entry level person I can't think of any other feasible starting point than certs and learning languages.

Quote:
After doing the CCNA exam and a few qualifying exams for the MCSA, I realised that in a choice between the two areas, there was no contest for me.
While I was studying for these exams I was actually still working in the programming sphere at the time. I did some coding (Java) and some software testing (manual and Python).
I was motivated to do those exams after my time on a brief telecoms-focused project at work. It confirmed what I experienced at university - that my intereat was more in telecoms than in "IT". I had enjoyed (and done better in) the mobile communications modules of my electronic engineering degree far more than the programming, maths and electronics ones.

I got a job with an internet service provider a few months after my CCNA.
That's cool .What kind of projects have you worked on since discovering your interest in telecoms?

My mind tells me this is the future, and there's lots of potential to move out of country for jobs in telecommunications. It is kind of my desire to do what Google is doing with GFiber / Project Loon, if not that then working for the FCC.

Quote:
Looking back, I shouldn't have bothered with the Microsoft. I did because I was told that doing Microsoft (and linux) with cisco made you very marketable. Which of course is not false. But the key thing is to identify the area where your aptitude and interest most align. If you do that, you spare yourself a lot of wasted time and effort.
And it is truly a waste, because useful knowledge in this field has a startlingly short half-life, if unused.

What I would say about obsolescence in your situation is for you not to worry too much about it. The universal law of trade is to become so skilled at something that others will be prepared to pay you for it, since it is beyond their reach and the reach of those they know. This hold true irrespective of time and place, and if you keep it in mind, you start to see that chasing after the currently hot thing is a fool's errand in the long run.
I guess that's true. More specifically, without a resume full of projects or my own businesses, I'm really dependent on having a cert to get my foot in the door, but I don't want to waste time on certs below my aptitude.
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Old 10th-December-2016, 03:05 PM   #10
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Default Re: IT certifications

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Originally Posted by Architect View Post
Knuth gave a talk on this.

Personally I don't think it's an art, or a science, but it's own thing that is both, and neither. I don't know what it is, other than I use science daily in my practice of it, and skill and experience is necessary for good work.

I'm a straight up engineer, don't know anything about Certifications, just curious what kind of jobs you shoot for with them?
Yeah I think I misspoke, I didn't mean to denigrate the scientific approach to computer logic. Just to speak on the inherent subjectivity and difficulty of writing code that could be designed in various ways.
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Old 10th-December-2016, 07:18 PM   #11
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Default Re: IT certifications

There is virtue in the Network. Without those first three layers we're back to carrier pigeons and sneakers. (EDIT: 'course you can do layer 3 over pigeons or sneakers or both. But u get my drift)

Take the CCNA. If you get any kind of thrill when you think about telecom or how that little box connected to your computer, connected to another box down the road a ways, which is connected to another box in a building some miles away which is in turn connected to other boxes in other buildi-hnnnnnngs *sploosh* around the planet transferring the wee bits of data that make up this thread, and all the other stuff you're doing with the internet throughout the day with or without your knowledge... like if you love to hook stuff together between point A and B and everywhere else... and then figure out why random things don't work... Network is love. All week long.
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