I've come across alot of IT Manager\Network Manager in my years in IT and I've always been shocked that they lack knowledge in certain areas of IT, imo if you are a IT Manager or Network Manager you should be aware of all technoglogy, worked in all areas of IT (Web Design, Networking, Support etc).
I remember a few years back my old Network Manager asked me to come to his house and install a DVD-RW drive :confused:.................i'll say no more.
Edit: It also might be why you have IT managers who have been there for years, they aren't good enough to get other jobs or a promotion.
Firstly good luck with your interview.
I came my current job from about 3 years technical help at a small school and at a bank. I have no certs and currently the only cert i would be after is something to do with Exchange. What I have found is that in schools it is a very unique operation structure, you will find that a lot of your job is spent with budgets, training and managing the staff and SLT. If you can keep the SLT happy and the staff feel that the network is being managed you will have few real issues.
perception is everything and I don't mean you have to ever tell fibs, I have always been very honest with the management here and that has stood me well. I manage a fairly large school (1440 students, 220 staff, currently 9 servers and just under 1000 machines ) and a lot of my job is organisation and liaising with staff to work on improvements to what they use and how IT helps them work. Yes, knowing your stuff is very important but you might find that more of your time is management, something that an MCSE doesn't qualify you for.
Please don't think I am rubbishing certs as they are something I have tried but didn't have enough time to see them through.
experience, confidence and a smile will really do you well.
Yup, you don't need certs to be a good NM.
What you do need is a BOFH attitude and a LART :-)
On a serious note, I've been a NM here for 6 years and work in IT as sysadmin, helpdesk, web dev for close to 15 years now and the best people I've worked with are people that enjoy computers and use them for fun.
I have no certs, but I am working though an Open Uni Computing BSc course with a plan to get a degree, I am currently doing a Cisco module.
From experience of doing 6 modules of the degree course it will not help in the slightest once you get into a work environment.
I am more impressed with people that have used Linux at home, in my experience the best people are the ones that are self taught.
I say go for the NM job, once you've got the technical stuff covered then you get to work on your diplomacy and soft skills.
Personally I feel that it helps to have both. I have the knowledge and experience of working in a school and Windows 2K3/XP environment with CC3.
The best way for me to get knowledge in a vanila environment was to do the certifications and labs as well.