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General Chat Thread, Qualifications - whch ones? in General; Currently working as a ICT Technician in a fairly large secondary school with 6th form attached, but have no formal ...
  1. #1
    theeldergeek
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    Qualifications - whch ones?

    Currently working as a ICT Technician in a fairly large secondary school with 6th form attached, but have no formal qualifications, except a City & Guilds in "Computer Maintenance & Repair", completed in circa 1995 as a paper exercise to at least have a bit of paper that says "can do" whilst looking for a route into corporate IT. Remember ISA slots?

    I'm going to be pushing for some PROPER training this year. It seems likely I'm not going to get a noticeable pay rise, so they can invest in me in other ways, especially as BSF is likely to come and burst my bubble at some point.

    I looked into and was offered ITQ, but it's training aimed at 6 year olds, not seasoned 'vets' like me who have been in the game for the best part of 20 years. ITQ is aimed at end-users anyway, not professionals.

    I want to be a valued employee who has a future when BSF does come knocking, not some seemingly 'washed out' techie with no qualifications who gets sh@t on from a great height when the game of who stays and who goes get serious.

    So, what do you guys have in the way of training/qualifications; where did you go to get it; did you secure funding in full or part, or none at all?

    I don't really want training in repairs, troubleshooting and that kind of stuff, I can do that with my eyes shut, but I do want to know better how to build and maintain Windows Server and Exchange as at present I know jack squit about them. That is to say, I get by, but I don't really understand what is going on under the hood.

    But the training has to be appropriate for the job role I'm in. No good training to be a vet if I am going to be a dentist.

    What would you guys suggest is the best route for training/certification?




    ...
    Last edited by theeldergeek; 28th December 2009 at 11:07 PM. Reason: Removed random "D" in the body of text...

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    I've done:

    CompTIA A+
    CompTIA Network+
    CCNA

    and did all of these under "my own steam" because I did them as a hobby. Friends and former work colleagues (my primary profession isn't IT) have asked me to help with their IT and network support needs and, since they're all based upon XP and W2003, I'm doing certs towards MCSA/MCSE (again, under my own steam). I'll do some sort of upgrade to Windows 7 and Windows 2008 exams in due course. My current studies are all home-based by working through MS Training Guides but the previous courses were at either evening college or as a part-time student at a college once each week.

    I'm sure that you'll get a wide variety of suggestions about what's most appropriate, but that's what I've done.

    HTH

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    wagnerk's Avatar
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    On the technical side

    I would say the following:

    Comptia A+
    Comptia Network+
    Either the Comptia Security+ or Server+

    Then depending what technology you work with either:

    The MCSA and/or the MCITP: Server Admin

    On the non-technical side

    I would say the following:

    ITIL v3 Foundation and FITS
    Some sort of Project Management cert like the Comptia Project+ and/or Prince2

    I'm not saying or recommending doing all of those within a year, far from it... But over the next couple to few years, it's a direction I would say to do or at least look into.

    Apart from that, I would also recommend (depending on your level of work) either the ICTTech mark from the ECUK via the IET or the CITP status from the BCS.

    -Ken

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  6. #4
    theeldergeek
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    Quote Originally Posted by wagnerk View Post
    On the technical side

    I would say the following:

    Comptia A+
    Comptia Network+
    Either the Comptia Security+ or Server+
    These would seem the most appropriate for my current job role. Who do I approach for training and certification exam?

    Is it done via reseller, or is their an organisation that handles the process centrally, as it were?

    Any idea on approximate costs, or is this down to individual resellers/exam boards?

    Thanks.

  7. #5
    theeldergeek
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ignatius View Post
    I've done:

    CompTIA A+
    CompTIA Network+
    These seem the most appropriate for my role. Can you give me an indication as to who you used, how you went about studying and the exam? Is it all home based, part-time or is there any vocational work involved?

    Did you have to go through a reseller or a local college? I guess I'm asking how I find who offers these and also does the certification.

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    wagnerk's Avatar
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    For the Comptia exams, I just self-studied them and then sat the exams at Prometric and PearsonVue testing centres.

    I'm not saying that self-study is the only way to go, I'm saying that self-study is an option you may want to consider, especially if you already have experience and want to save some cash

    For the first cert, the A+... I would say if you go down the self-study route, use the Mike Meyer's AiO (but you may want to wait until the 7th edition is out in Feb '10) and the PC Technician Street Smarts: A Real World Guide to CompTIA A+ Skills book. Then something like Preplogic, Measure-Up or Transcender practice questions

    -Ken
    Last edited by wagnerk; 30th December 2009 at 11:50 AM. Reason: more info

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    Quote Originally Posted by theeldergeek View Post
    These seem the most appropriate for my role. Can you give me an indication as to who you used, how you went about studying and the exam? Is it all home based, part-time or is there any vocational work involved?

    Did you have to go through a reseller or a local college? I guess I'm asking how I find who offers these and also does the certification.
    When I did the A+, I was told that it was an exam aimed at someone who had been working in the IT field for 500 hours. The course was one evening each week at my local college and the session was divided into two parts - a theory section when we discussed certain predetermined topics and a practical section when we got the desktops or laptops out and either stripped them down (the desktops) and rebuilt them or made various configurational changes (the laptops).

    The Network+ was a similar format.

    The CCNA was a full day at college once each week. It was, essentially, self-directed. There were about 15 people enrolled but we were all at different stages of the course so it wasn't practicable for the tutor to run a tutorial about a particular topic. The great advantage was that there was lots of kit to play around with so I became confident when configuring switches and routers.

    Books - well, there are loads to choose from. Have a look in your local bookstore or visit your local college. If you arrange to visit the tutor who runs the relevant course(s), I suspect they'd be happy to let you thumb through some of the material that they have in their office. Books are so individual - I find that some are very easy to read (almost like a novel) whilst others are hard going.

    As for the exams, wagnerk has mentioned PearsonVue and Prometric so I'd be inclined to google them. There's a good search facility to trace your local test centres - maybe 3 or 4 in large cities. I scheduled my exams online but, obviously, I had to go to the centre to take them. The cost was around 50 - 75 per exam but, as I was on an official college course, I was eligible for a "voucher". This gave me a discount of up to 70%, depending upon how well I did in a voucher exam which I took at college. I guess the reason that they do the voucher exams is to make sure that candidates don't waste time and money by taking exams for which they have no chance of passing.

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    wagnerk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ignatius View Post
    ...As for the exams, wagnerk has mentioned PearsonVue and Prometric so I'd be inclined to google them...
    You can only sit the exams at PearsonVue or Prometric testing centres.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ignatius View Post
    ...There's a good search facility to trace your local test centres - maybe 3 or 4 in large cities. I scheduled my exams online but, obviously, I had to go to the centre to take them...
    If you do a course, they may be a testing centre or you may have to go elsewhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ignatius View Post
    ...The cost was around 50 - 75 per exam but, as I was on an official college course, I was eligible for a "voucher". This gave me a discount of up to 70%, depending upon how well I did in a voucher exam which I took at college. I guess the reason that they do the voucher exams is to make sure that candidates don't waste time and money by taking exams for which they have no chance of passing.
    The cost was 50-70 as you were part of an approved educational course, you were eligible for the educational price of the exam (normally those exams start with "JK", however if they were bought in bulk the organisation that bought them can charge whatever they liked).

    There are three ways of paying for your Comptia exam:

    1. Integrated with your training course (if you do one, the organisation will either give you the voucher or book the exam on your behalf)
    2. Directly to PearsonVue or Prometric with a debit/credit card or
    3. Purchase a voucher from the training company, a testing centre (some do , some won't) or from an online supplier like Gracetech Solutions, etc... (just make sure that the voucher is for the UK and not for the US, they are not interchangable).

    Hope this helps

    -Ken

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