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Other Are Entry Level Certifications Worthwhile?

Discussion in 'Software' started by Dae314, 28 May 2013.

  1. Dae314

    Dae314 What's a Dremel?

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    I'm speaking specifically about Info Technology type certifications like the low level CompTIA ones (net+, sec+, a+, etc.).

    I'm just beginning what will hopefully be a long and fulfilling career in IT, and I'm looking at various certification programs. What I'm finding is making me very hesitant though. I can understand the value of high level certifications like the upper reaches of the Cisco Routing Expert stuff to show that you are an expert in a certain technology, but I just can't see how a low level certification can add value to a person. They almost seem like a badge that says "hey look, I can speak geek." :rolleyes:

    I looked at sample questions from the low level CompTIA exams, and while I definitely wouldn't pass the exams if I tried now, I think it has more to do with the terminology they're throwing at me than not knowing the concepts they're testing me on. Shouldn't a college degree and like 4 years of internship experience in various levels of IT support be able to stand up just as well if not better than basic certs like A+? You might not know everything, but you're prepared to learn what you need to know at a basic level with only minimal training are you not?

    The other thing that's making me hesitate is the cost of the exam, study materials, and the overall time commitment it will take to pass the exam. Why, after investing so much in a college education and specialization is it necessary to dump even more money and time on proving your worth at such a basic level :eyebrow:?

    "Well, what about more advanced certifications then?" you might ask. The answer to that is I don't know if they'll be useful. Since I'm just starting out, I don't have a direction I want to head in yet. Networking, Databases, Server Administration, etc. are all open paths to me, and they all have various certification routes that *do not* intermingle very much. If I pick a path and invest time and money into a more specialized certification path only to jump off the track because a better professional opportunity opened elsewhere, will I still be able to salvage some value from it? Or would it hurt me more to wait till my career has a direction to start getting specialized certifications :confused:?

    "Well that's why you start with basic certifications that are broad and won't pin-hole you," you say, but that brings me back to the initial question :wallbash:.

    There is one compelling argument I've heard for the basic certs though. Rather than viewing the certs as a declaration of basic knowledge, for which a degree and internship experience should be sufficient to cover, the certs are more of a declaration of the willingness to continue growing. To invest time and money on a basic cert program after college is a testament to the cert holder's willingness to continue their education which is a great trait. I'm just not sure that this alone is enough to justify the cost or if this is just the view of an aberrant employer.

    Anyway :sigh:, any type of comments are appreciated :).
     
  2. RichCreedy

    RichCreedy Hey What Who

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    the certificates just prove you can do exams, what you really need is practical experience
     
  3. saspro

    saspro IT monkey

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    If you aren't familiar with the fundamentals of IT then a compTIA is a good stepping stone but you'd be better off starting on Microsoft or Cisco and doing beginning a CCNA or MCSA/MCSE as they're worth more to employers.
    You'll still need experience but you'll get more chance of getting an IT job with Microsoft or Cisco certs than a CompTIA
     
  4. workingclass

    workingclass What's a Dremel?

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    Currently I'm doing a course involving A+, Network +, CCNA, MCSE, and Exchange. As we speak I've finished A+ and Network+ and am on the last chapters of the CCNA book. Several years ago I passed the Win XP MCP, have taken the course for Win 7 and SBS as well as Server 2003, so I spoke geek before I started ;). What I will say is this, A+ is good for understanding hardware terms and can increase your knowledge and provide a platform for other courses. Network+ was a good preparation for CCNA as there is a lot to learn for the CCNA and the Network+ eases that a little. Saying this only about half of my class has taken and passed the 2 + degrees so these are not easy if your not dedicated to learning about these things.

    However if you can read through CCNA study material and pass that test, Network+ is not necessary, but it is useful in regards to your knowledge and understanding of networking in general. CCNA is more specific although vastly more advanced as well as the Microsoft courses. It really just depends on where you think you stand today. I'd recommend to anyone to pick up a book for the N+ and see for themselves where they stand. If you struggle with that, forget CCNA for now and focus. If its readable and mostly stuff you understand already, skip and and go for CCNA.

    The Microsoft exams on the other hand.... if you have a lot of experience working with servers then meh... if not these courses are vital as this is not Win 7 in a slightly different form. It all really just depends on how much you understand now...

    As far as choosing which line you want to pursue I suppose the books themselves will give a good hint. Whatever you find most interesting and appealing should be your chosen line of because working in this field requires knowledge and it helps if your actually interested in what you'r learning. Mike Myers Network+ is a short concise book and will introduce you to networking. The Microsoft books are bigger, a lot, and not something you'd start doing unless you actually want to pursue that kind of work. You can read up on the internet, take practice exams for the + exams easily on the internet and there is a lot of material available and accessible online. So look around and see if you can't find something that interests you and then read up on what you need to know to pursue that line of work.
     
    Last edited: 28 May 2013
  5. T2I3M

    T2I3M Minimodder

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    I completed A+ before moving on to MCDST and MCSA, it might not be vital to take the A+ but it will definitely give you a good starting block to move up from and i would recommend it to anyone starting out.
     
  6. rollo

    rollo Modder

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    Done A+ and networking at comptia gives a nice basic idea before moving on and I got sent on it by employer to do it. Microsoft ones are more nice to have but they will be out of your own pocket very few companies put you through them.

    I know we do no longer do it where i work so everyone there has to pay to keep them relivent.

    Most Certs have a 2 year expire date on them so you have to at least resit the exams. Each test is like £80-£140 on most of the comptia and Microsoft stuff so it can end of costing you a good chunk of cash to keep everything in date. ( required for most major company's)
     
  7. workingclass

    workingclass What's a Dremel?

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    Expire date is 3 years :)
     

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