What certitications do I need?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Chuck Mullen, Nov 4, 2004.

  1. Chuck Mullen

    Chuck Mullen Stunt Coordinator

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    About six months ago I went to work for a mortgage broker after spending fourteen years in the car business doing sales, finance, etc. The mortgage business has been, uh, uninspiring.
    I am considering making a major change and trying the computer field. What certs will I need to make a living at this? Does it matter where I get them? Are the places that advertise on the radio any good?
    I am in the metropolitan D.C. area, and I believe tech jobs are plentiful around here.
    I never got a degree so I don't know how that will affect my employability. (Should have stopped smokin' that shit a long time before I did!)
    TIA
     
  2. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    Do you like computers ????? While most IT jobs pay pretty good (some REALLY good), IT jobs are extremely demanding - long, long hours, lots of weekend work, being oncall 24x7, etc... You must also continue studying as the industry changes at the speed of light. One article claimed top-level IT pros spend more time studying to "stay current" than most doctors do. I believe it....

    If you don't have a firm interest, and are just doing it "for the money", you will not succeed.


    Now... if you're not scared away yet, Microsoft (MCSE) and Cisco (CCNA) certs are a good foundation. Security and E-mail are booming, so consider them as add-on certs. I'm sure there are a ton of folks that will chime in. We are such a geeky crowd in AH.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

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    I've said this a zillion times and I'm going to say it again. What you need is experience, not necessarily a cert. A cert can help you once you have some experience, but most employers would be hard pressed to hire someone who is "paper trained". Plus, most jobs, especially entry-level, are so hands-on that you can't possibly learn what you need to from reading out of a book or taking a few tests.
     
  4. Patrick_L

    Patrick_L Second Unit

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    i don't agree with that. how do you expect to get hired in the first place with absolutely nothing but "yeah, i screw around with computers at home" ?

    Chuck, if you don't want to shoot for a degree, Kurt's suggestions are good. it's mild and basic, but an A+ cert is good too.
     
  5. shaniceMW

    shaniceMW Stunt Coordinator

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    depends on what exactly you want to do in information technology. there are different fields in computers, such as security, maintenance, network engineering, etc. depending on what you want to do, and depending on what you consider good money, that will determine what certifications/education/experience you need. most companies nowadays hire people with experience + education + certification + security clearance. if you have a security clearance + any of the others you may find a job that will be willing to train. certification will get you an interview, but where i come from, we have technical interviews and not just verbal technical interviews either. you may have to do some configuration on a router or look at some code and figure out what's wrong with it and so on an so forth. a+ is good if you want hands on computer maintenance. help desk, i would say mcse and ccna. to advance in help desk or entry level networking, mcse and ccna are mandatory. if you want to work with routers and switches, you need ccnp. all of this is in addition to experience and education. that's just the way the job market is in the mid-atlantic area.

    chuck, just realized you are in my area. the mtg biz is uninspiring? huh? the business is booming. after i had my son, i went into real estate full time. this is after about ten years of network engineering. my sister just went into the mtg biz while practicing real estate as well. from my eyes you are in the best seat in the house. you all get paid on the front and the back.

    as for places to get your training, depends on what kind of training. for microsoft, i would go with kei. for cisco, ars limited. they are located in arlington. a+ i believe kei does that too. pm or email me if you want further info on this. at ars, i did advanced router configuration, installation and maintenance, blah blah blah. kei, i used to work there in the IT dept and they have excellent trainers. i became a microsoft trainer while i worked there although i got my training from another company. if you want a technical degree, i suggest capitol college. it's tough, but manageable.
     
  6. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    I'll tell you a story. I'm an MCSE with certs under NT4.0. But, having worked in the field since 1995, I've got a thick resume. The reality is, when I go into places to raise clients, not a single person asks me about my certs, etc. Everyone wants to know "who are your references" and a list of clientelle. When I can throw out larger companies and names to contact, it seals the deal.

    In other wise, certifications will help, but they won't assure you of much. A local (large) company jokes with me privately that they have avoided hiring "book" MCSEs and CCNAs, because so many are "trained to pass the test" with little or no practical experience. The best advice I have for you is to get a start with whatever certification you want, and start work small by building up a client base or working in a "very small" independant computer shop were you can develop 1 on 1 relationships with a client.

    The days are kind of over to do it the way some of us did; in 1997 I walked into large companies and said "I'm your guy" and picked them up right and left. Can't really do that anymore, the marketplace is too stiff. But if you don't have a resume or a list of clients who can recommend you or watch your work, then all the certifications in the world will help you get in the door only.
     
  7. LDfan

    LDfan Supporting Actor

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    Avoid getting into programming unless you want to move to Bangalore India. Seriously. Otherwise stick with basic networking and security stuff. Don't be afraid to stray off the path that most go. Yes the MCSE is nice but don't neglect UNIX/Linux and other non-microsoft stuff like Oracle and Sybase.
    The Fed gov't is the largest employer in this area and with it come all the big contractors.

    Good Luck,
    Jeff
     
  8. Jason L.

    Jason L. Second Unit

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    At first I thought the original post had to be a troll, but maybe it isn't.

    Unless you have a security clearance, and want to live in war zones [Kuwait and now Afghanistan for myself] don't even bother.

    You don't have a prayer. You sound like you are in your 40's - perhaps late 30's. How can you compete with razor-sharp 19-year olds who have grown up with computers all their life? Those Mountain-Dew drinking, Goth-wearing, ecstasy-popping, staying up until 4 A.M., will work for nothing because they live at home until age 35, cyber geeks will eat you alive.

    I implore you not to do this. You will go through the classes and think of all the neat things you will be able to do as an Administrator. If you are lucky enough to actually get a job then you will start out working on a Help Desk making peanuts. Of course the job completely sucks, but the "plan" is to only do this for 6 months and then move up the ladder right?

    Fast forward 3 years later. You are still working the same Help Desk in a job you completely loathe with every fiber in your body because you can't find an Administrator position. The only reason you can think of for getting up in the morning is that you don't want to live in a cardboard box. You are 50 lbs. heavier because man was never designed to be sitting in a chair all day eating Cheetos and drinking frappuchino lattes. You haven't been able to read a "normal" book because you spend all your free time trying to keep up with the pace of technology. Your stress level is on Defcon 5 all the time from having to answer the phone all day long and speak to end users whine about problems that they don't even know how to describe properly. Your sex drive will diminish and females will not even acknowledge your presence. All of your troubles will be over when your job is taken over by Gohar Syed from Hyperbad, India who gets paid $220 a month to do your job.

    Stop now. It will save you a great deal of money and pain.

    P.S. If you do have an active Secret clearance, then none of this applies to you.
     
  9. LDfan

    LDfan Supporting Actor

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    Nice post Jason [​IMG]

    True about having a security clearance. Minimal experience and a top secret clearance will land you a 80-100k starting salary around here. Problem is that it's damn nearly impossible to get a clearance and the waitlist is currently over 2 years long to get one.


    Jeff
     
  10. Chuck Mullen

    Chuck Mullen Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for all your posts. This is all a little discouraging, but I guess I needed a reality check.[​IMG] I am just getting tired of being "stuck" in sales.Jason,
    If I was trolling I would have started like this;
    I am thinking of buying a [email protected] Acoustimass system...[​IMG]
     
  11. Jason L.

    Jason L. Second Unit

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    Come on, with the amount of IT people here at the HTF, this should be a 30-post thread. Easily.

    Maybe not as high as threads about silica, tipping questions, single russian women, or home mortgages - but it should be up there.
     
  12. LDfan

    LDfan Supporting Actor

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    Being a gov't IT employee one certification that has good word of mouth is the CISSP (Certified Info. System Security Professional). It's not an easy one to obtain, something like 500 questions on the exam but with federal agencies paying a lot of attention to security these days that certification carries a lot of weight on a resume.


    Jeff
     
  13. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    I just took the CISSP last Friday and I still have a lingering headache from it! [​IMG]

    There are 250 questions and it goes for 6 hours, most people complete it between 4-5 hours. The study guide is about the size of an encyclopedia...and you still need to review the Orange book, and the other rainbow colours of books.

    If I pass this thing I'm throwing a party. I should know in two weeks.

    BTW, I've been an IT Auditor for about 10 years now. If you can get your CISA and CISSP someone may take a look at you as an entry level IT Auditor.
     
  14. shaniceMW

    shaniceMW Stunt Coordinator

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    at my school, they gave you discounts for tuition if you passed the cissp while in school. i think a few people did. i just didnt want to take it so soon. now i wish i had.
     
  15. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    I totally agree with Jason... IT in the U.S. is dead. Most of the 'starter' positions are already farmed out to foreign countries. Unless you are already an expert it will be very difficult for you to get a job and move up the ladder. You are better off becoming computer-savy and get a degree in another area (e.g. a MBA with database expertise, etc.).
     

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