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New to this and need help....

New to this and need help....

New to this and need help....

(OP)
Hi guys,
    I'm a recent grad (BS IT) and current student (MBA-IT), and looking to get my certification and wanted to know the best route to take.  I'm waning between MCSA and CCNA...either way, I have no prior certs, and my only experiences come from running an at home PC repair/networking service currently and while in school. I dabble in web & graphic design which is primarily where most of my business lies.  Prior to that I was a military medic and as a secondary duty was assigned as IT liaison for an outlying clinic.

Any help you can give as far as the MOST RECENT MCSA study materials/tips would be a great help to me.

Thanks in advance.

RE: New to this and need help....

If you haven't started yet I wouldn't bother with the MCSA.  While you can still earn it and the exams do not currently have a retirement data, the old MCSA/MCSE certifications were replaced back in 2008 with the MCTS/MCITP series or certifications.  The MCSE/MCSA track ended with Windows Server 2003, so if you want to be even remotely current (Windows 2008, 2008R2, or Server 8 when it ships next year) I would look into the newer generation certifications.

You need to decide what it is that you want to do professionally, then pick a certification path that supports those goals.  If you go the CCNA route you will be focusing exclusively on routing and switching using Cisco devices.  It's a good skillset to have, but some people would prefer to do other things.  The Microsoft route probably is a better fit for your current business, but only barely.  Your home PC repair business probably doesn't do much with building server infrastructures.  Neither of the certification paths that you are considering really relate to web/graphic design work that you do.

At any rate, keep in mind that certifications are intended to validate the experience that a person has, not be a "baseline of education".  Getting some entry-level certs in an area where you ave experience may be helpful (CompTIA A+, for example), but otherwise I'd say that you should get your feet wet in a couple of fields before jumping into a certification path.

Similarly, while I would expect it to take several years for you to earn your MBA in IT Management, you really should get more work experience before pursuing that degree.  Most of the companies who are looking for MBA-level candidates would expect them to have 5-10 years of professional experience (or more) to back that up.  Until you have some experience behind it the MBA probably won't be that big of a help.

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCTS:Windows 7
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Server Administrator
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator
MCITP:Virtualization Administrator 2008 R2
Certified Quest vWorkspace Administrator

RE: New to this and need help....

(OP)
kmcferrin,
    Thanks for your suggestions, but I have almost complete with my MBA-IT...I haven't had the opportunity to gain any additional experience because the majority of companies require you already have 5-10 years experience and that's on a mid-level job...this is why I have gone my own route as far as starting my own business. Ultimately, I want to enter into an enterprise/corporate setting, but it is by far the hardest thing to do when there are no options available.  I've gone as far as trying to volunteer my services, but that doesn't get you anywhere either.

At any rate, thanks for the suggestion on MCTS/MCITP series, I will start there.
 

RE: New to this and need help....

kmcferrin hits it right on the head. Pick the Microsoft side of the Cisco side, and go full steam. MCITP on the Microsoft side is the bare minimum to shoot for if you're driven towards certification. I can't vouch for the Cisco side.

If you don't have the experience, the only way you will get it is to get a job - likely lower level - at a company. Something like 1st or 2nd level Help Desk or app support.

While volunteering is noble, and starting your own gig might get you a few bucks, working for a mid or larger company is what I'd recommend.

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RE: New to this and need help....

What sort of positions have you been going for that you haven't been able to get into?

Denny
MCSA (2003) / MCDBA (SQL 2000)
MCTS (SQL 2005 / SQL 2005 BI / SQL 2008 DBA / SQL 2008 DBD / SQL 2008 BI / MWSS 3.0: Configuration / MOSS 2007: Configuration)
MCITP (SQL 2005 DBA / SQL 2008 DBA / SQL 2005 DBD / SQL 2008 DBD / SQL 2005 BI / SQL 2008 BI)
MCM (SQL 2008)
MVP

My Site

RE: New to this and need help....

(OP)
I know it's kinda not cool to say, but all of them...I've applied to mostly entry-level/intermediate help desk positions, nothing above a system/network administrator...even pc repair positions...and I have yet to receive any type of response.  I've shaved my resume down to the bare essentials and nothing, which is why I'm trying to, at the least, get some kind of certification so that my resume can make it across someone's eyes.

RE: New to this and need help....

The problem that I see for you is that you never had an entry-level job when you were younger, so you didn't gain the experience.  Now you've got the education (with more on the way) and still no experience.  When competing for entry-level positions you are probably going up against younger candidates, and on top of that you may be seen as over-qualified, which could make people think that you won't stick around for long when something better comes up.

It can be difficult to break in, but I would recommend that you keep trying.  See if you can get in with a staffing firm, many of the larger companies go through them rather than hiring directly.  If you can get into one of the larger employers in an entry-level contract-to-hire position then you have a good chance of climbing the ladder there and getting some good experience to back up both of your degrees.

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCTS:Windows 7
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Server Administrator
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator
MCITP:Virtualization Administrator 2008 R2
Certified Quest vWorkspace Administrator

RE: New to this and need help....

I'll take a different tact here.  Part of the reason why you may not be getting any offers/interviews for entry level positions is that you maybe too educated on paper.  Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that it's a bad thing, but hiring managers will view someone with an MBA and think, this guy is not going to stick around for the long run and therefore you'll get overlooked.

I would recommend that you remove the MBA from your CV when applying to entry level positions and put it back on when you are applying for higher level positions.   

RE: New to this and need help....

IF you haven't done so, consider to load your on hands expirience as the primary information you have to offer. After detailing the knowledge you have gained from on hands work then add education.

It could help to change the layout of the information. Well, God bless!!

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