Poll: What certification do you have? (vote for more than one if possible).

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General Chat Thread, Certification in General; At my first job in a school I was told my training budget for each year was £200! As you ...
  1. #16

    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    Re: Certification

    At my first job in a school I was told my training budget for each year was £200! As you can guess, I didn't get any training at all.

  2. #17

    beeswax's Avatar
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    Re: Certification

    This flies off at a tangent a bit, but one job application pack sent out to me some months ago, for the post of ICT Technician contained the following in the job description, "..and as part of the job the prospective candidate will be required to see that the school mini bus is topped up with oil and kept in a clean and road worthy condition." Can anyone top that?
    I know I've only got a City & Guilds in Practical Networking, but even I balked at that. Though the £10K+ a year was hard to turn down.
    Getting back to certification, my feeling is that at my level, ICT Technician, employers are looking for experience (not a dipstick then) and possibly something "value added", in my case (re)designing the school web site and helping the IT (teaching) staff come to terms with Dreamweaver/Fireworks for the forthcoming DiDA (Diploma in Digital Applications) qualification. It could be my children they're teaching.
    Cheers,
    beeswax

  3. #18
    OverWorked's Avatar
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    Re: Certification

    I agree that experience is much more important. I've only been doing IT 'properly' for about three years, and really needed the certs to improve my chances getting a better paid job. Very few job ads actually specify a cert, but it should help.

    I found that when I had the A+ a few years ago, it only impressed people who didn't know what it was.

    I wanted some certification to back up my skills, and put them on my CV. I've also learnt quite a bit of new stuff whilst studying.

    From reading your posts, Dos_Box, it seems that you've been in IT for quite a while, and probably don't need the certs like I do. I certainly wouldn't have the skills to set up a web site like this!

    I just wondered what everyone else had.

  4. #19

    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    Re: Certification

    From reading your posts, Dos_Box, it seems that you've been in IT for quite a while, and probably don't need the certs like I do. I certainly wouldn't have the skills to set up a web site like this!
    Not as long as you would imagine. I've been working as an IT professional for just over 5 years now. Before that I was a soldier for 13 years (see www.spookyplanet.co.uk for my exploits). I was in Bosnia in 97 bored out of my brain and picked up a PC mag which was lying around. I'd been into computers haevily as a teenager with a ZX 81, C16 (god waful machine that it was) and finally a C64 then stopped after I'd joined up.
    This magazine rekindled my interest and I brought an old 486 laptop when I was on leave and took it back to Bosnia with me to play around on. I then spent my remaining couple of years trying to get on every IT course going. For my re-settlement I did my NT 4.0 MCSE course (I didn't take any exams because they 'nixed the qual as Win 2k came out!). After leaving in 2000 I got a job as a school network manager and went on the steepest learning curve ever, but I still had no qualifications. I applied for (and got) my current post of chief schools techy\liason to schools 2 years ago off the back of my technical abilities and communication skills. It was only in this post that my employers would send me on decent courses. I am often called upon to advise and recommend to schools the skills and abilities of technical staff they should employ and I always place experience above qualifications. Just seek out a paper MCSE and see how many mistakes they make!

  5. #20
    Netman's Avatar
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    Re: Certification

    @ dos_box

    Spooky is right - almost exactly the same story here! But I was RAF for 13 years, worked in computers before joining up and returned on leaving via NT MCSE resettlement course - Yep you guessed it - just over 5 years ago...) Parallel universe theories anyone?!!

    For anyone without quals but with experience, I would recommend MCP quals which you can gain one by one and stack up towards an MCSA or MCSE (I agree with dos_box that it's a pain when they expire, but MS are settling down to a better product life and you can bet XP/2003 combo will be around for a fair while yet). Even if you have no training budget get the librarian to buy the books (or borrow them from your local library) and just get the School to pay for the exams... if you have experience then you shouldn't need to do a course to gain these sort of certs. When shopping for staff, I'd always look for experience first then certs MCP, CCNA, A+ etc..

  6. #21

    Ric_'s Avatar
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    Re: Certification

    @netman: The XP/2003 combo won't be around for too much longer with Vista due out second-hlaf of 2006 and Vista Server about 6 months after. I'd say you'd probably be lucky to get 3 years out of a XP/2003 MCSE qual.

    As for the way I fell into the world of educational IT...

    I was studying a physics degree at St Andrews University when I found that my brain went to mush and couldn't do the prerequisite maths course for physics (I passed all the physics modules with flying colours I hasten to add). I then switched to a management degree and they wouldn't let me into the honours course (years 3 and 4) cos I missed the mark by half a point (on a logarithmic scale out of 20!). Out I came with a 'General Degree'

    Luckily, I'd spent 3 years studying computer science at the same time and was heavily involved with the computing society (WiredSoc ) which had kept my knowledge and skills pretty much up to date. I'd also been into computers from an early stage.

    That takes us up to 3 years ago when I got a job at a school - basically off a good interview technique and ropey experience. The time I spent there allowed me to fully develop my skills and impress a few people which helped when I went for my current position.

    All sounds rather flukey and it probably was. Hey Ho... I know people that got 2.1s and they have jobs that are mind-numbingly boring and earn a lot less than me so who's laughing now!

  7. #22

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    Re: Certification

    I agree experience is best thing.

    well if we are all going down memory road...

    it was hot summer night.. sorry wrong story..

    I basicly got computers in year 10 and from there i basicly doomed to go either into stage lighting or IT and endd up doing gnvq in IT and helping it department at college then they offered me a temp job there.

    But with only gnvq IT and plus temp job not many jobs on offer so in end started doing work for myself (to gain expierence).

    while doing that i ended up working as youth worker and there it tech that would be nearly 4 years ago and then got a job in primary school as ther tech looking after the network and from there came to current place as tech and then got promoted to network man (as was doing job and means got more money) and will have been working here for two years in jan.

    I am RM Certitfied (i know...) but after that that is all ehcne why in next 12 minths want to do some courses.

    russ

  8. #23

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    Re: Certification

    @dos_box, @netman: I only did 3 years before a knackered knee forced me out of the army, but I had been pushed into working with computers whilst in (I was the only one in the GuardRoom who knew how to turn one on or showed the slightest interest in actually working out where to find things in Unicom!)

    My resettlement was a C&G in PC repair and maintenance ... in fact the only formal techie qualification I have.

    I've been on various M$ courses but only to fill in gaps on knowledge ... I have never seen the point of spending the time and money to gain a qualification that could be out of date with but a whim of M$ ....

    Experience and a willingness to adapt seems to be the key thing.

    Most of the courses I have been on recently are very specific to certain products (SIMS, First Class) and the only other courses I would like to do in the near future are skills based courses to speed me up on getting to grip with certain applications or tasks (eg, Flash and Photoshop)

    I will probably end up doing DiDA this year though ... just to see what it is going to be like for the students, and will probably finish of my ECDL too.

  9. #24
    OverWorked's Avatar
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    Re: Certification

    @ Dos_Box: Wow, I am impressed.

    As I said, I've only been doing IT properly as a career for three years.

    Before that, I had a mind-numbingly boring job in an office. I spent all my time banging out spreadsheets on a Win98 machine (I'd automated the process so much with macros I did't actually have much to do). I used it to teach myself visual basic, and play old text adventures downloaded from the net.

    During my time there I did an NVQ in multimedia and web site design, which got me interested in networking. One of the teachers there taught us the OSI 7-layer model, TCP/IP and all that. I think I was the only person in the room who really found it interesting. The rest were just interested in the multimedia stuff and surfing the web.

    I also taught myself for the A+ and Network+, but got ripped-off for £900 for a crap Wave A+ 'course'. I've always been sceptical about courses since then and have always self-studied.

    Now, I'm trying to learn as much as I can, as fast as I can. The best thing about working in a school is being in sole charge of the network, so it's a great learning enviroment. I just wish I had time to spend on the interesting projects instead of getting bogged down unjamming printers all the time.

  10. #25

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    Re: Certification

    I had to pay for all of my own stuff, 6K in all so far (2k was for kit tho... lol)

    Ive got my A+ and enuff MCPs to get me an MCSA, but i need to do my Net+ to get over the top, then onwards with the rest of my MCPs to get my MCSE and onto CCNA :\

    tis all good fun...

  11. #26
    OverWorked's Avatar
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    Re: Certification

    I did the Net+ recently to count towards the MCSA. It's a doddle for anyone who already works in networking.

    I used the Mike Meyers All-in-One book. It's good enough and covers all the things you probably won't see anymore, like older networking cables; but they're still needed for the exam.

  12. #27
    mark's Avatar
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    Re: Certification

    I think we should have an essential book list.

    I've added a page on the WIKI here.

  13. #28

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    Re: Certification

    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box
    I just found out something interesting this morning. Apparenty with the new workforce rules fro teachers (more time marking and doing admin etc) the schools have to pay for more staff. Guess where the cash comes from?
    Teachers aren't meant to be doing admin either ... that is what curriculum technicians do for you ... fill in paperwork, put up displays, hand out books ...

    In fact that only things teachers are really allowed to do now is to write materials, teach and mark.

    So ... any ICT Co-Ords out there that do anything on the techie or sysadmin side will get their wrists slapped by OFSTED.

    It means either more techies, or outsourcing. And you know it will come down to money in the end, after all ... if it is outsourced then that company has to pay for the training of it's staff ... not the school.

    The next 12 months is going to be veeery interesting with respect to the change of the NAACEMark, a common ICT Roadmap being written by *all* interested parties (DfES, BECTA, QCA, NAACE, SST ... and a few more )

  14. #29

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    Re: Certification

    I feel that as job descriptions become more formalized and our roles in schools are recognized, then formal qualifications are also going to play an increasingly higher part in our c.v's. as in all things, this techies' 'wilderness' will be tamed, the railways will replace the covered wagons, the people who can do it are going to be edged out by the people who can pass exams (can I be excused this ramble please? I've just finished work in one school where I didn't think I was appreciated by some of the staff, only to have almost every member of staff thank me for all the hard work I'd put in -the letter from the head was particularly moving- and wish me the best. as I said to someone, it makes you wish you could be at your own funeral to hear the eulogies. and before anyone points out to me that I will be at my own funeral [all being well] I know).
    We can't let the people who 'can' slip away. preserve innovative thinking. there has to be room for those of us who can't show a fistful of certificates to the interview panel.
    er.. if there are some brackets short, or too many, I hope it makes some sense.

  15. #30
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    Re: Certification

    lol exactly where i was going in the previous post in the courses section of the forum lol

    I have never had the cash from either my pitiful wages or funding from the school to do any "proper" certifications or decent courses, so how does one (to sound all posh) manage to get another job without them if establishments want applicants to have them when applying?

    I dunno how I'm gonna get out of the rut i'm in

    N.

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