CompTIA vs. MS vs. Cisco certification

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Kelly Scott Rickards, May 15, 2002.

  1. Kelly Scott Rickards

    Kelly Scott Rickards Stunt Coordinator

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    I am looking to go back to school in the hopes of getting in the IS Networking field. I am still new to all of this and was wondering if anyone who has any experience can make any comments concerning CompTIA, Cisco or Microsoft certification.

    I hope to get my Associates degree in Computer Science in a couple of years and would like to continue my CS studies towards a Bachelors, or perhaps even a Masters degree someday. I am hoping(fingers crossed) that in 3 or 4 years I will be able earn a position of network administrator....does this goal sound reasonable???

    I am learning as I go and any feedback you can provide me is very much appreciated...believe me....

    What about the Information Systems field in general?

    I understand that there *is* a lot of competition out there right now and there are a lot of IS guys out of work because of the downturn of the economy and the tech market. I am hoping that in a few years, when the economy bounces back, things will be better. I mean its not as if I am qualified for an IS job right now anyway and the tech market is always changing....I am optimistic.

    At any rate, any comments about computer certification, the goals I have set for myself and the market in general are not only appreciated, but desired....I need the feedback.

    Thank you,

    Kelly Scott Rickards
     
  2. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    In the more serious shops, I doubt the MS certification would be useful to you. In fact, many of the know-it-all sysadmins (gurus) snub the MS-certified people. Keep this in mind when looking for work!
    Cisco certification would be useful though. It would impress me at least, but I'm a UNIX/MS/embedded software developer, not a sysadmin. [​IMG]
     
  3. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i agree with max. "paper mcse's" (like me) don't hold much weight.
    it's so easy to get mcse'd that i think everyone realizes the certification has lost it's "legitimacy". why do you think microsoft has made the 2K certification so hard. even my mcse instructor (who is quite the stud) couldn't pass the 2K cert the first few times.
    all i did to pass all my tests is study the Transcender tests. you can "obtain" copies of the tests. the questions are literally 90% of the real microsoft test! in some cases, they were almost word-for-word.
    but i don't mean to slam the certification. it's still better than nothing. it did help me obtain a helpdesk position which i was able to turn into something more meaningful with my current employer. so, although it may not help you get that ever-so-cool network admin job, it may help get your foot in the door.
    if i had to do it over, i think i would have chosen a cisco certification instead.
     
  4. Paul O

    Paul O Stunt Coordinator

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    Go for it if you enjoy it. I work in the tech field and its been brutal out there. Certifications don't mean a lot, especially bottom feeder ones like Microsoft. The industry got way over capacity in the last decade like real estate in the 80's - every Tom, Dick and Harry out there has certifications and frankly i don't see IT as a high paying professional job going forward - too much competition from H-1B's, cost cutting and Outsourcing.
     
  5. Greg Rakaska

    Greg Rakaska Stunt Coordinator

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    I know you didn't mention database administration, but thought perhaps you just haven't given it much thought. Oracle DBA certification (OCP) combined with experience, can be very lucrative.

    If you are not dead set against it, you might want to give it some consideration.
     
  6. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Of the certifications you mentioned, Cisco would be the most useful, IMO. Cisco's highest certification -- CCIE -- is very difficult to achieve and would open a lot of doors for you if you succeeded. There are not that many CCIE's out there, and the majority are Cisco employees. I know a few very bright Cisco system engineers who needed more than one attempt to pass the CCIE exam (of course, Cisco requires a higher score for its employees than to certify a non-Cisco employee).

    There are lesser levels of Cisco certification, such as CCNA, etc. These are more common among non-Cisco employees.
     
  7. AllanN

    AllanN Supporting Actor

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    Im in network support and have a MCSE and MCSA, they dont cary much weight with tech companies. But if you go into a non tech company allot of HR people notice it. Out of the 3 test I recently took, I only did some minor review for two of them 70-210 and 70-215, I took my MCSA test 70-218 without even cracking open a book, study guide, brain dump, etc. So if you have the experience its always good to have some letters behind your name. But experience is the most important thing. The Cisco certs are probiably the most prestigous. Im going to start studying Cisco this summer. I would try to get a part time job/internship somewhere. When I was in school I worked in a government studnt hire program. That gave me allot of experience and let me make contacts in the IT field. So when I graudated and the economy was shitty I found a job through some of the poeple I worked with in college.
     
  8. Paul_Fisher

    Paul_Fisher Screenwriter

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    I just graduated from college 4 days ago with a degree in Management Information Systems, and I'm a CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) and a MCP, and I can't find a job to save my life. The economy is just terrible right now. From my experience it is only possible to get a job through people you know.
     
  9. AjayM

    AjayM Screenwriter

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    Well, I'm a senior level IT guy (getting close to 10 years in systems/network administration...damn I'm getting old). Anyways, the certifications can be good and bad as everybody has mentioned, but let me go a step further as somebody who hires junior level network people from time to time.

    If I have two resumes on my desk both that are both roughly the same (in terms of experience, education, etc), but one person has a full certification, I'd probably go with that person. Now if I had to choose between an entry level-no experience guy but has a certificate and somebody with 2-3 years of real world experience for the same money, I'd get the guy with the experience.

    It's just to easy to get Microsoft certifications (well used to be anyways), so they don't mean much.

    Now for Cisco that becomes a different thing entirely, the lower Cisco certs aren't all that useful, but will attract some attention, the higher level certs are a no brainer (but be prepared to study, build a lab, etc in order to pass), but require a lot more effort than most people can give. Also if you have a high level Cisco cert, you are not going to be doing network/systems admin work, you are going to be the "router guy" in a large corporation or ISP.

    Some ideas on how to get your dollars up, is to start at a smaller company (say being the junior sys admin guy) and try and learn a lot of everything. Working for a help desk at level 1 or 2 just isn't going to give you exposure to everything you will need to know in order to run a department. Learn as many OS's as you can and know them very well (Linux, Solaris, AIX, HPUX, Apple), pick one to be a top of line expert at (Windows is the obvious choice here as it's on 90% of the desktops you'll see), learn how to make all of them inter-operable. Learn how to work in the popular databases (Oracle, SQL2k, Sybase, DB2, etc) at least enough to get you in trouble, again pick one to become fairly familiar with (SQL2k or Oracle), and I'm not talking full on DBA level, but know how to install it and tweak it a little bit.

    Learn everything you can about security and computing, from firewalls to the different encryption schemes, etc. Security has been and will always be a hot point, and knowing how to secure a network with minimal interference (little to no difference in what the end user sees) is always a good thing to have. Learn about the laws in your area on what you are able to do and not do in regards to employee privacy (well at least have a grasp of it all), at some time in your career you are going to have to snoop. If you want to work at a smaller company (say under 100 employees) learn some basic phone system skills, like how to punch into a block and connect extensions, etc. Learn how to cable a building effeciently, you may never do it (other than maybe a run or two) but it pays to know, plus you can buy a spool of 1000ft of cable and build patch cords (your fingers will love it) and save tons of money.

    I'm sure I've missed tons of things, but that's a good start. I'll disagree with the statement that being in IT is not lucrative, if you know your stuff and can do lots of things very well and have the ambition you can easily see the words "Director" or "CTO/CIO" next to your name by the time you are in your mid/late 30's with a nice 6 figure salary and other perks.

    Andrew
     
  10. Kelly Scott Rickards

    Kelly Scott Rickards Stunt Coordinator

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    HOLY CRAP!!!
    Information from the heavens!!![​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] THIS IS THE BEST FORUM IN THE WORLD [​IMG]
    Thank you all so very much for the feedback. This information is priceless to me and is just the thing collage career councelors never talk about.
    Yes, it seems like it is very tough to get a job these days. Do you think it is something that is linked to the economy and could bounce back or is the tech field just too saturated with IS guys to have a full recovery. Again, I am not too discouraged to hear jobs are hard to come by these days as that is the case with most occupations in this economy. I am also not too discouraged because this is something I feel I will enjoy and can do for many years....thats how I feel, anyway. The field is always changing and there is always something new to learn, from what I hear.
    Andrew, thank you for the detailed advice and I would like to talk to you more about this, if thats O.K.? [​IMG]
    I am, literally starting from scratch. I am not afraid of hard work as I am a single father with 2 jobs and am busting my A$$ just to make ends meet. I am looking to start by taking classes at a community collage and see if I can get a job....any job...in the computer field so I can start to get some experience...
    The way I look at it, I am busting my butt anyway, why not work hard towards a career with a future. My goal is to be able to live comfortably, become a homeowner someday and have a kickass Home Theater [​IMG]
    Most important of all, I want to be able to put my daughter through collage (she will be 7 in August)so she doesn't have to struggle through life like I did and wait until she was 34 years old to go to collage [​IMG]
    At any rate, does anyone have any comments on CompTIA certification? I read about it at Monster.com and they made it sound like the greatest thing since sliced bread.
    Thank you all so very much,
    Kelly Scott Rickards
     
  11. Paul_Fisher

    Paul_Fisher Screenwriter

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    Just to let you know, collage is spelled "college". [​IMG]
     
  12. Mark Romero

    Mark Romero Second Unit

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    Gotta agree with Ajay. Certifications are cool but experience is cooler.
    I am a Network Engineer doing design work at the moment. I am CCNA, CCDA, CCNP, and MCSE Win 2K and MCP Win XP. Since I don't work with routers and switches every day, I would struggle to do just the basics without some real world switch/router configuration experience. But, dammit, I have the certifications![​IMG]
     

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