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Courses and Training Thread, MCSE vs CCNA Which is best? in Training and Courses; Hi Happy New Year to one and all, I am interested in completing either the MCSE or the CCNA courses, ...
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    firefox_2006's Avatar
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    Smile MCSE vs CCNA Which is best?

    Hi

    Happy New Year to one and all, I am interested in completing either the MCSE or the CCNA courses, but can't decide which one is better. I could study the CCNA at my old University down the road from where I live, but they want 1800 for the 28 week course. The CCNA is very "hands on" and you learn alot more about networking principles, right from the basics to real techie nerdy stuff, which might suit me more. However, the MSCE teaches you about Active Directory, SQL Server and Polocies which (as an IT Technician in a school) is more relevant to my current post.

    I have seen on the DVDs on ebay for the complete MSCE course, and the MCSE appears to be very "self taught" which i might struggle with.

    Has anyone complete either of these courses? which would be best in the long run?

    Regards

    firefox_2006

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    ChrisH's Avatar
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    Although it may be desirable to have both it may be better to think which one you are more interested in sytems (MCS*) or networking (CCN*).

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    mrforgetful's Avatar
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    I don't think you can say either one is best, they're completely different, one aimed at setting up and maintaining a Windows Network and the other on installing and configuring Cisco network equipment.

    One's hardware.
    One's software.

    Chalk.
    Cheese.

    I'd say think about what you want to be doing - if you're even going to be using Cisco equipment or Microsoft software. If you get a CCNA and buy Procurve is it relevant? If you become a MCSA then go into a Linux environment it's pretty useless too.

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    cookie_monster's Avatar
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    CCNA content is tricky and hard to learn without the hardware and hands on experience, as you currently work in an MS environment i'd suggest aiming for an MCSA you can cover most of the content in a lab setup at work. Once you have that cracked then consider CCNA i've found it to be a step up in knowledge

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    torledo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by firefox_2006 View Post
    Hi

    Happy New Year to one and all, I am interested in completing either the MCSE or the CCNA courses, but can't decide which one is better. I could study the CCNA at my old University down the road from where I live, but they want 1800 for the 28 week course. The CCNA is very "hands on" and you learn alot more about networking principles, right from the basics to real techie nerdy stuff, which might suit me more. However, the MSCE teaches you about Active Directory, SQL Server and Polocies which (as an IT Technician in a school) is more relevant to my current post.

    I have seen on the DVDs on ebay for the complete MSCE course, and the MCSE appears to be very "self taught" which i might struggle with.

    Has anyone complete either of these courses? which would be best in the long run?

    Regards

    firefox_2006
    As an IT tech in a school, you'll use very little of what you learn on the ccna on a day to day basis. The theory comes in very handy for troubleshooting but as for configuring switches and routers you'll do very little, if any, of that in you're current role. If you want to get serious about becoming a network engineer then the ccna is valuable when you start applying for those kind of jobs.

    The trouble with the MCSE is passing the exams is very much about cramming and memorising. Not the way I like to learn and pass exams. With CCNA you still have to do a bit of cramming but the exams reflect what is taught in the ccna courses. Plus they test practical knowledge through simulations.

    They also cover different aspects. MCSE is systems administration whereas CCNA is network administration. CCNA is one exam while the MCSE is several.
    Getting the CCNA and an MCP accredition is a good place to start. You can then decide whether you want to go the whole hog and do the MCSE or CCNP.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrforgetful View Post
    If you get a CCNA and buy Procurve is it relevant?
    Yes, the vast majority of the commands are similar if not the same. Plus its not particulaly the kit your learning, its about the principles surrounding it. Same goes for the MCSA but too a lesser extent id have guessed.


    As said they are differant so to say one is "best" is wrong... BUT imho a CCNA carries far more weight with employers, as lets be right about it, neither qualification is going to get you up on the ladder in a specialised job.

    Personally i went for the CCNA as as you said you can teach yourself the MCSA at home (not that you cant learn the CCNA at home mind). But imho if you think you will struggle with the MCSA than you will deffinatly struggle with the CCNA*
    *just my opinion mind, and based on assumptions. You might be great at maths and theory for all i know and have absolutely no problem passing.
    Last edited by j17sparky; 9th January 2008 at 12:22 PM.

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    firefox_2006's Avatar
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    MCSE Vs CCNA

    Hi all

    Thank you for your comments, it seems I have a big decision to make, as both courses offer different things. I sort of enjoy the role I do now but I feel that for the next step up (network manager) I would obviously need one or the other qualifications. I have looked at the Prince2 course for IT Project Management, as this is another avenue I could follow.

    It is difficult to find a career that

    a) you enjoy
    b) offers you room/scope for progression

    I need to research these courses further and decide which avenue I wish to take.

    firefox_2006

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    apeo's Avatar
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    Pretty much what everyone has stated but just want to add that CCNA, imo, is basically an intro into large scale networking so unless you intend on becoming a network engineer you should probably go for MCSA or MCSE. I have a CCNA and in a LAN environment i use maybe 1% of my CCNA knowledge. Other thing you have to consider is that CCNA expires and MCSE doesnt.

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    torledo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by j17sparky View Post
    Yes, the vast majority of the commands are similar if not the same. Plus its not particulaly the kit your learning, its about the principles surrounding it. Same goes for the MCSA but too a lesser extent id have guessed.


    As said they are differant so to say one is "best" is wrong... BUT imho a CCNA carries far more weight with employers, as lets be right about it, neither qualification is going to get you up on the ladder in a specialised job.

    Personally i went for the CCNA as as you said you can teach yourself the MCSA at home (not that you cant learn the CCNA at home mind). But imho if you think you will struggle with the MCSA than you will deffinatly struggle with the CCNA*
    *just my opinion mind, and based on assumptions. You might be great at maths and theory for all i know and have absolutely no problem passing.
    The two hardest theoretical aspects of the ccna to grasp is subnetting and how to use the OSI model (which is merely a guide and not a hard and fast rulebook)....Once you understand that the rest of the ccna becomes a joy and is far easier than the MCSA imo. Previous experience with binary arithmetic is practically the only mathematical knowledge that'll come in handy when trying to get round some of the difficult aspects of the theory.

    Everything else, from understanding ACLs to using the Cisco IOS I found to be very intuitive. As you've said most of the switch vendors have copied the IOS command line so you can transfer the skills you've learned. The good thing about using Cisco kit is the IOS style is replicated across most of their products not just routers and swithces. So you can pick up command lines for the firewall, IPS, content services switches, AP's and loads of other cisco kit becuase it'll be pleasingly familiar.

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    ChrisH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apeo View Post
    Pretty much what everyone has stated but just want to add that CCNA, imo, is basically an intro into large scale networking so unless you intend on becoming a network engineer you should probably go for MCSA or MCSE. I have a CCNA and in a LAN environment i use maybe 1% of my CCNA knowledge. Other thing you have to consider is that CCNA expires and MCSE doesnt.
    Not strictly true as they do like to bring out new server versions and such so in a way they sorta do

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Yep, MCSE is only applicable to the version of the software you learnt on. So a W2k based MSCE is not valid for XP.

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    apeo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisH View Post
    Not strictly true as they do like to bring out new server versions and such so in a way they sorta do
    well i'll put it another way then... if you get an MCSE for 2003 server you will have the piece of paper for that with not restrictions. If you get CCNA... the piece of paper will expire so if you dont renew it, you are not CCNA qualified anymore but MCSE dont work that way. BTW response is not aimed at ChrisH (as im sure he already know), just elaborating for those that dont understand.

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    It's a bit nit picky anyway, as employers never bother to check the expiry or scope of vendor certification. Only if you have them or not.

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    Joedetic's Avatar
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    Whilst CCNA does technically expire you can still put on your CV "CCNA 2008-2011" etc.

    I'm currently doing a plethora of Cisco courses with Uni. This semester they'll be making up 3/4 of my course. Whilst they are aimed heavily at Cisco kit there is a lot of valuable theory that teaches you about trouble shooting equipment (which everyone uses at some point), creating security policies, VPNs (not just configuration but the inner workings of different types) and lots of different skills which are transferable to other environments. Obviously, as has previously been mentioned, it's quite suited to Network Engineers (*points at signature*), so you should look at which aspect of IT you want to go into before you jump into either qualification.

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    Quote Originally Posted by torledo View Post
    The trouble with the MCSE is passing the exams is very much about cramming and memorising. Not the way I like to learn and pass exams. With CCNA you still have to do a bit of cramming but the exams reflect what is taught in the ccna courses. Plus they test practical knowledge through simulations.
    While that is true for a lot of people, I think it does come down to how you choose to study for the qualification. When I took my MCSA I did it over 6 months, studying for at least 13 hours a week. At the time, Microsoft were recommending people spent 3 months studying for each MCP, although that doesn't seem very practical for MCSE students.

    The people that turned up to the "bootcamp" and exam without having done the pre-study (my training was from Thomson Wave, now part of Skillsoft it seems) were mostly wasting their time - I was the only one of 13 people to pass the evil 70-291. How people get anywhere with intensive 2 week MCSE courses abroad is beyond me - I can retain information yes, but there's definitely a limit to how quickly I can shovel it in!

    When I did my MCSA exams 2 years ago, some of them did contain simulations rather than straight multi-choice, but I'm not sure which ones have simulations nowadays.

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