IT careers and certification

This is a discussion on IT careers and certification within the Techies Corner forums, part of the Trading Career category; Hello again this post has nothing to do with trading, but where else can I get top information from!? I ...

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Old May 11, 2004, 7:03pm   #1
Joined Dec 2002
IT careers and certification


again this post has nothing to do with trading, but where else can I get top information from!?

I am wondering how useful it is for IT employees to gain certification from companies like Microsoft (MCSE - Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer etc.), Novell and Cisco(?) in order to progress within an IT career?

I know that computeach and other training providers run such courses - which cost around £4000 - aimed at people without any IT work experience, as a means of entering the IT sector. However, I've also heard that it's better to get a job in IT, get some work experience under your belt and then get your employer to pay for the training. But then again many employers may not fancy forking out this type of brass on their employees .

So how valuable are these IT industry qualifications to both career advancement and earning potential?

Any feedback greatfully received

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Old May 11, 2004, 7:28pm   #2
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Joined Jan 2004
Hi jtrader,

Qualifications are a double-edged sword !! Especially the MCSE ones.
If you have no qualifications, but manage to get at least a years experience, that experience is generally regarded as being more valuable.

If an employer invests in an employee heavily, the employee may be asked to stay with them for a number of years, or pay some kind of proportion of the training costs, to prevent employees running off after being trained.

However, because you have these qualifications, a potential employer may not want to pay the premium salary for the higher qualified person.

I have been freelancing for over a year. At the end of the day, the employer pays for experience, not pretty framed certificates.

If you have good general experience, you are expected to be intelligent enough to work your way to solutions !!
The number of times I have found solutions by logging onto IT-help bulletin boards - seriously !!!

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Old May 14, 2004, 1:52pm   #3
Joined Feb 2004
Originally Posted by jtrader

So how valuable are these IT industry qualifications to both career advancement and earning potential?

Any feedback greatfully received

I work in IT and have had 12 years as a contractor, and about 5 years permie. I have conducted technical interviews for a large number of people for my current employer.

I look at CV's and try to filter out what I require from the buzz words in the experience - e.g. Oracle/SQL/UNIX etc.
Then I read in to the substance behind them in context for what I require.
If I want a techy then someone who's been a manager for 5 years will have blunt skills and his ambitions may take him elsewhere.
I don't care about age/sex/schooling/qualifications/ethnicity. I want someone who can do the job. So experience, proof that substantiates the inclusion of the buzz words is what I want.

If I have 2 CV's and one job, the certification shows that this guy wants to stand out, is prepared to go a little further to do it and is committed to a technical career. But if there is no experience - I would not even pick the CV up.
(We do train graduates too, but I don't interview them).

To get started in IT I worked for nothing in hospital to get the experience.
I have no computing qualifications.
If you are interested in Banking or Investments (hence this site) I would recommend looking at the Securities Institute stuff.
Our company pays for these courses I don't think they are too expensive, I have found them useful background in back office work. UNIX back ends BTW.

I hope this helps.
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Old May 15, 2004, 5:16pm   #4
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Joined Dec 2001
As an IT Consultant I find that most businesses demand Certification aswell as experience.

If you are new to the game then get the certs using the downloadable crib sheets such as TestKing or ActualTests from emule/edonkey then gain the experience.

Most exams are rendered easy with these sheets. For exmaple an MCSE should only take a couple of months self study in spare time.

The Cisco ones are more difficult, Novell and Citrix are spell your name jobs.

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Old May 15, 2004, 6:24pm   #5
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Joined Dec 2003
Its been a while since I worked in IT, but for what its worth, why would anyone want to be a MCSE? The market is flooded with them so you wont be able to get a good salary.

If I was starting out in IT, I'd skill up in J2EE, SAP or even COBOL, as these are the skills that demand a premium. Why COBOL? because all mission critical apps are written in this and all the COBOL guys are about to retire. Every company with COBOL apps (mainframe) is going to need people with with these skills to either update the apps or get them off of COBOL on to something new - like J2EE or SAP.

When I was in IT, MSFT was all file & print stuff with all the mission critical stuff that companies will pay a fortune for skills - on the mainframe or UNIX. MSFT is commodity stuff, and you will be paid accordingly.
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Old May 15, 2004, 6:41pm   #6
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Joined Jan 2004
If you have no IT experience then I think MSCE etc might be useful to get a foot in the door. If you have experience and can answer technical interview questions well then I would question how much value an MCSE would add - especially at £4000 a pop. I've been working in IT for around 3 years now and not having qualifications (of this sort) has not hampered my advancement or earning potential at all.
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Old May 15, 2004, 9:32pm   #7
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Joined Nov 2003
In 2002/03 I decided to retrain in IT, I had never worked in an office environment, It was quite a challenge, I attended a few courses at my local college, I finally took the plunge a go for an MCSE by a private training IT company which guaranteed a job at the end ,it cost £3500 up front, I joined and attended an Instructor led class initially for 2 weeks , being self employed and working nights with wife and 2 kids in tow it wasn't ideal but life is tough! I first qualified in A+ operating systems and as a Service Engineer,
I then started Win2000 W/station and Server,after a few months of study I booked up for an exam, when I arrived I was told the company had gone bust ! so I carried on the best I could not being in an IT environment and now with no support of any kind, I struggled to qualify for my MCP ( microsoft certified professional ) I still had an enormous amount of work to do, at home studying all day and then work at night until 2 or 3am not ideal,along the way I met someone who was in IT he suggested because of my age ( 40+) that I try to get a low level IT job, it would be ideal and real hands on experience, I had all to gain nothing to lose, I tried for well over a year all kinds of employment agencies, all kinds of adds I applied for but absolute zero, I even applied for jobs that met the minimum requirement, I think it was around 8k pa, yes I was that desperate I would have taken anything, After a good 15 months I decided not to carry on with the studying, Mentally I quit ,out of utter frustration and bitter disappointment, what now ? I done nothing for a year or so, but eventually I discovered Trading and now I spend a lot of time studying this instead, I liked IT, but my love of trading is much, much, greater I can work as hard as I wish at this , and I know the rewards will come, when trading there's no age, no race, no educational discrimination, you learn your craft and you do it, I only trade part- time and I'm hoping full time in the not to distant future, I apologise if Iv'e rambled on a bit, but if you can learn anything from my experience then this will have been a worthwhile post.......good luck in what ever you do...........................
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Old Dec 29, 2004, 5:36pm   #8
Joined Dec 2002
CompTIA A+ & MCDST IT Certification

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Quote: -
CompTIA A+ certification is an international industry credential that validates the knowledge of computer service technicians with the equivalent of 500 hours of hands-on experience. Major hardware and software vendors, distributors and resellers accept CompTIA A+ as the standard in foundation-level, vendor-neutral certification for service technicians. The exams cover a broad range of hardware and software technologies, but are not bound to any vendor-specific products. The skills and knowledge measured by the CompTIA A+ exams were derived from an industry-wide and worldwide job task analysis. To date, more than 500,000 individuals have obtained CompTIA A+ certification.
Earning CompTIA A+ certification proves that a candidate has a broad base of knowledge and competency in core hardware and operating system technologies including installation, configuration, diagnosing, preventive maintenance and basic networking.
Quote: -
The Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician (MCDST) certification will get you started in your IT career by ensuring you have the skills to successfully troubleshoot desktop environments running on the Microsoft Windows operating system.

in January I have the opportunity to do the CompTIA A+ & MCDST certificates - FOR FREE, at a local college. Both are for 15 weeks and 1 evening (3 hours) per week. Both modules involve sitting 2 exams. All part of my fresh approach to lifelong learning .

Despite having read the above info on the relevant websites, I'm just wondering to what extent, in reality these are useful certificates to get, both in terms of the level of knowledge to be attained and in how highly they are regarded as individual qualifications within the world of IT. I am keen to extend my IT knowledge. I'm just keen to know how challenging these are likely to be for a person with a fairly extensive (mainly self-taught) grounding in the use of computers.

All feedback welcome.

Many thanks

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