PDA

View Full Version : IT Certification questions..


The Bad Guy
10-17-2006, 12:37 PM
I'm tossing around the idea of scrapping going back to grad school and concentrating on getting a certificate in IT.

I'm trying to narrow it down right now. I'd love to do some programming, network/help desk type stuff and was wondering if anyone could give me some direction on to what classes to look into for IT.

I would greatly appreciate any help.

Thanks.

'Hamas' Jenkins
10-17-2006, 12:39 PM
Do you speak Punjabi?

HC_Chief
10-17-2006, 12:39 PM
Depends on the platform you wish to support.

The big ones are Microsoft (most prevalent) and Oracle (based on Windows, Linux, or Unix of one flavor or another).

The Bad Guy
10-17-2006, 12:40 PM
Do you speak Punjabi?

No. I don't want to be a phone troubleshooter.

There are a lot of IT jobs back in my hometown that I'm moving back to in June and wanted to pursue something in an area that I enjoy.

I don't think grad school is necessary after examining a few college certificate programs and wanted some advice from people in the field.

Brock
10-17-2006, 12:41 PM
http://www.chiefsplanet.com/BB/search.php?searchid=134767

Bad Guy, this stuff has been brought up a few times before, with lots of good input by the guys around here who know their stuff. I'd suggest reading some of those topics along with whatever you get here. Good luck.

The Bad Guy
10-17-2006, 12:43 PM
Depends on the platform you wish to support.

The big ones are Microsoft (most prevalent) and Oracle (based on Windows, Linux, or Unix of one flavor or another).

Windows.

The Penn State branch campus offers certificates in:

AutoCAD
Network Technology
Web Authoring

Which ones would benefit me the most to make a career out of this?

kaplin42
10-17-2006, 12:45 PM
MCSE, MCDBA, A+, and any of the cisco certs would be good. To be honest though, I found if you have some expierance in the field already, Certs mean exactly squat. Not one person in my department has anything more than a MCP, and yet we run a very advanced an modern network.

TN_Chief
10-17-2006, 12:46 PM
Experience is considerably more important than paper. Certs without experience will put you at the back of the hiring line.

Programming is completely different than troubleshooting, so right there you've got some decisions to make. If you're looking to go down the troubleshooting route, I'd suggest starting with your A+ and N+ certs. Picking up your CCNA would also be a good move. While this is going on, you should be trying to scrape up some experience to flesh out your resume. Those certs (A+ and N+)are for basic computer and network knowledge/troubleshooting (CCNA is a bit more advanced). Beyond those you will need to start looking into specific OS certs (MS, RedHat) or specialized product certs (Oracle DBA, etc.).

kaplin42
10-17-2006, 12:48 PM
Also, while on the topic, if you want to be on the cutting edge as far networking/trouble shooting. Wireless techs. are in hi demand. you know your stuff about wireless techknowledgy and you will have a much easier time finding a job.

Simplex3
10-17-2006, 01:01 PM
Take mfg. certification testing, don't just get some generic thing from a college. The cert won't be a substitute for experience, but it will put you a step above the guy straight out of college with a CS degree. I'm not sure how, but CS degree guys get more worthless every year.

Generally I'd take some Cisco certs if I wanted to do networking, Windows (MCSE) if I wanted to do phone support and/or server admin, and .NET (MCAD/MCSD) if I wanted to do programming. I hold an MCSE and two MCSDs, though I don't do anything MS related anymore so it's really more of a "know your enemy" thing for me now.

Robio9
10-17-2006, 02:37 PM
Monitoring and capacity management is an important area for major corporations. These types of applications are used by Fortune 500-size companies to optimize current usage of IT resources (servers, applications, network, employees, etc.), predict future usage, and monitor events that may be critical to the environment. Certified consultants are doing very well in this field. I will admit that vendor training is expensive, but you can find manuals, trial software, and certification information from vendor web sites for product suites such as:
HP OpenView (you may be interested in OVOW -- OpenView Operations for Windows)
BMC Patrol and Perform/Predict
Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) -- HUGE demand for this currently

Some of the reasons I like this IT field:
1. Lots of demand for these products. Capacity and performance are high on CTOs' radar these days.
2. Follows a typical IT career path. Most capacity/monitoring specialists will start out in operations/help desk as a product end-user, watching an application console for performance/monitoring events. Next logical step is to move on to support staff, and then graduate to architecture/integrator/developer roles.
3. In the course of supporting these programs, you get to learn and work on many skills: Hardware, network, OS, applications, databases, web services, project management, programming, and more.
4. You can get certified without having to take vendor training classes, which can run upwards of 3000/week. Certification tests aren't child's play, though, so you will need to know your stuff.
5. If you deal with product support, chances are you won't be dealing with the same type of issues day in and day out. Low threat of having a monotonous job.
6. Pay is pretty good in my opinion, and positions are needed at every level. Glancing at monster and dice, I see these types of job descriptions and pay ranges:
operations -- for people with little or no IT experience. You're typically an end-user who watches an application console, and when a problem is reported, you escalate to someone else: 20k to 50k/year salary, 8 to 30/hour as a contractor.
level 2 support -- providing day to day support for these products. You have some IT experience, maybe not necessarily in capacity or monitoring, but you're capable of learning. May have product certification. Knowledge of OS, application support, simple structured programming (shell, Perl, etc.). 50k to 80k starting salary, 25 to 80/hour contractor.
level 3 support -- 3+ years experience, you're a subject matter expert in more than one product, you possess product certifications, have multiple skill sets (OS, Network, programming, project management, etc.), and you're dealing with architecture/development/implementation/integration instead of direct support. 60k to 120k+ salary, 75 to 250/hour contractor.
7. Relatively small niche in relation to web programmers, network engineers, DBAs, and what not. My current customer literally has hundreds of DBAs on the payroll, but less than thirty people supporting capacity and monitoring products for a 150,000+ internal customer base. Fewer total positions means fewer initial openings, but with determination and desire, you can quickly make a name for yourself and move up fast.

HC_Chief
10-17-2006, 02:52 PM
Windows.

The Penn State branch campus offers certificates in:

AutoCAD
Network Technology
Web Authoring

Which ones would benefit me the most to make a career out of this?

Well, AutoCAD I would avoid unless you plan on working at an engineering/architecture firm; and even then, you'd spend all your time troubleshooting desktop application issues. Trust me, that's a PITA.

Network Technology sounds like a high-level OSI model course to me. It wouldn't hurt to take it. You'll learn all the transport layers and they low-level functionality of networks... which applies to whatever platform track you decide on later. In other words, good general knowlege to have.

Web authoring = HTML. You can pick that up in any HTML book in a week. Seriously, nothing to it. FTR Web Developers don't make jack for money unless they own their own business and have lots of clients. HTML is so easy and so widely developed that the market has been completely flooded.

If I were you I would do a bit more research into the specific area in IT you prefer. Talk to people you know who do different jobs in the field. It's all about focus these days. You have to be really good in an area, with the ability to "pick up" other areas (act as backup to an expert in another area).

Since you're looking at a Microsoft track, MCP in Windows Server technologies is highly recommended. I would also study Active Directory, LDAP, and X.400. WMI would be also be nice to know, but you should probably learn SQL syntax first, as WMI is based on SQL.

Exchange is nice to know, but Exchange admins don't typically make much $ (50-65k range).

IIS is good to know. It's very simple, so don't break your back trying to line up courses or training... get a decent book (use Amazon's reader ratings) and play with it.

Once you have a grasp of the infrastructure, it will be time to choose a focus area: programming, administration, or a combination (DBA is a good combination role and it PAYS!).

Saulbadguy
10-17-2006, 03:28 PM
DBA.

/thread

HC_Chief
10-17-2006, 03:31 PM
DBA.

/thread

Not quite... next you have to choose what flavor of RDBMS to support (IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, SAS), then the type of data-tier work to focus on: BI, relational, DW, reporting, administration, developer, architect...

;)

StcChief
10-17-2006, 03:36 PM
Start by doing database programming in language of choice Java,C#,C,C++, native T-SQL (SqlServer) PLSQL (Oracle) and learn and know SQL cold.

Not book easy stuff do something involved (hard).

DBA/ Data Architect is a work up to position.

Certs are an initial hiring item maybe, but not over experience it's just a differentiator.

HC_Chief
10-17-2006, 03:41 PM
Start by doing database programming in language of choice Java,C#,C,C++, native T-SQL (SqlServer) PLSQL (Oracle) and learn and know SQL cold.

:spock:

That's two different jobs, Stc. If you're going to learn Java, .NET, or, worse, C/C++ i.e. <i>unmanaged code</i>, you're going down the programmer track, not DBA.

DBA's may be familiar with those languages, but they aren't experts in those languages... that's what programmers are for. If one wants to be a DBA, one should learn ANSI SQL, then pick up the various additions/extensisons relative to the RDBMS of choice (i.e. PL/SQL -v- T-SQL).

A DBA must also know infrastructure. So many hardware factors affect the data tier that in-depth knowlege of the base NOS is crucial. Programmers don't give a squat about that stuff; all they care about is the API.

StcChief
10-17-2006, 03:49 PM
:spock:

That's two different jobs, Stc. If you're going to learn Java, .NET, or, worse, C/C++ i.e. <i>unmanaged code</i>, you're going down the programmer track, not DBA.

DBA's may be familiar with those languages, but they aren't experts in those languages... that's what programmers are for. If one wants to be a DBA, one should learn ANSI SQL, then pick up the various additions/extensisons relative to the RDBMS of choice (i.e. PL/SQL -v- T-SQL).

A DBA must also know infrastructure. So many hardware factors affect the data tier that in-depth knowlege of the base NOS is crucial. Programmers don't give a squat about that stuff; all they care about is the API. :nosmilie:

Wasn't sure where he interest is.....I know that 3GL are that and most don't care about the database.

To me it's a competency factor, Working thru from programming side to DBA may have more involvement with business systems development than a Unix Admin that becomes a DBA......

Now days... DBA know really have to know both sides of coin.

Setting up an initial DB, deciding on infastructure etc is team effort
but day-to-day management of DB, tuning , Datamodel new systems
etc. conversion of data etc. Programming skills needed.

Depends on size of shop, DBA needs to be well rounded person.

If you want to specialize good area, but background should be broad.

HC_Chief
10-17-2006, 03:58 PM
True... but again it depends on the area of speciality within the DBA world (ie "data tier"). Some DBAs concentrate on the development side; writing packages, procedures, and SQL code to support application development. Others concentrate on tuning and maintenance, where knowlege in a 3GL (third generation language for the uninitiated ;) the jargon can get deep quickly) is virtually useless. In those instances you have to be an expert at the NOS level. Others are architects, who need a solid background in both areas, plus must be highly steeped in relational theory. And then you get into BI, data warehousing, analytics, reporting... those are monsters on their own :D

Data tier is exceptionally complex and wide open. It is really a good area to be in; but to get there you are going to have to take some lumps. I know I did... working through BRUTAL projects, where the stress level is very high, and the hours are ridiculous. It sucks sometimes but man, it does wonders for building you emperical knowlege base. :thumb:

StcChief
10-17-2006, 04:07 PM
MODS: move to media center tech area....

Agreed the Data tier is the most wide open,

Lots of areas of interest and moving between them can be very good for your skills, future projects.

This area IMO is less likely to be really farmed out (outsourced to India).
Especially for anything involving hard projects, redesign etc where business communication is critical.

I look at folks to see if they can solve business problems,
can think outside the box. Have been thru projects and learned alot along the way and bring those skills to NEW business problems.

Getting a cert is the tip of the iceberg. some see it as a kick start to good money, maybe down the road, depends on skills you have already.[B]

The Bad Guy
10-17-2006, 05:50 PM
I just talked to my stepbrother, who does IT work for the city of Memphis and he said the same thing about DBA. I gotta see where I can take classes in my area.

Big Dog
10-17-2006, 06:49 PM
I teach programming to people breaking into the industry as well as experienced professionals. If you decide on programming give me an IM. Our .Net developers are currently quite successfull in landing employment.

It can get very confusing, but I think it breaks down into 3 or 4 main areas:

IT Pro - help desk, troubleshooting, networks, server management
DBA - administration or development
Programming - development in one or several languages including web technologies.


you might add

Program Specific - people who have learned one, or a series of programs that are in demand...i.e. CAD programs, Adobe products, etc.


This is really simplified, but that's why the advice seems so varied, it usually comes from or talks about one of these aspects of the IT industry.

Ari Chi3fs
10-17-2006, 07:05 PM
talk to Braincase on this one.

I would say either DBA, or .NET programmer. .NET is everywhere right now, with tons of job opportunities.