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Re: [vox] School Choices
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Re: [vox] School Choices

Some well thought out points, so, having gone the 'other way' I'll chip in.

I have an AS from Heald (actually 2).  It was an expensive 18 months (mine is Electronics and I work in the Computer industry go figure).  This got me my job in industry, yes supporting MS stuff but what can I say, they are a monopoly and I needed a job.  Essentially, it's a tech college.  Dugan is right in that you can miss out on a 'broader' exposure to other stuff.  I can say with certainty that not having a BS has killed some options for me.  AT this point, I'll probably do the Uni of Pheonix, it's 2 years and then I am done.  Again, it misses on the 'broad' part of stuff, but I now have several years experiance, and having the BS in addition to the Experiance can get me to the Interview where I can demonstrate my 'breadth of experiance'.

Going the 'cert' route, I have my MCSE.  DO NOT PAY FOR CLASSES for a cert like this.  Just buy the books, go through them and take the tests (if you have questions I can answer some off line).  Now, he is right, a Uni degree is 'better', but I had to 'eat now!' so took the quick route.  Class tiems were convienient and I knew how long the course was.

Now about Dugan's contention that most MCSE's are limited.  Well.... that is in part due to the MCSE certification track.  Many MCSE's do not have college.  A lot merely have retraining in the MS way so stuff in the training is often as he said, lacking in some details and 'not quite right' in others :).  The ones who progress and advance by and large do have college and learn in a constant state.

The Novell course work was far more comrehensive than the MS stuff.  Exposure to mulitple OS is much better, but I have also met UNIX admins who thought they knew what they were doing on NT/2000 systems and well.... it was interesting.  Keep in mind that UNIX admins generally get paid more (Solaris, HP UX, etc).  MS stuff is a different mindset than the UNIX stuff so despite surface appearances.  It is not a drop and replace, it is generally that the UNIX folks who make a transistion have most of the OS theory and the skills to read, research and learn new things that self taught people do not.  The self-taught people miss out and have to work to 'fill the gap' of theory that MS cert courses do not provide.  Add to the fact that without the theory, how do you know what specific learning you need to focus on to learn?

Depending on your current experiance (I missed your first post) the cert option may be the way to go to get a job you can hold down while you persue the degree part.  If you already hold a BS, then it generally is a matter fo getting the experiance.

On the certs, A+ is for 0-6 months experiance and is ONLY needed if you will be working for a hardware break/fix shop that is also doing warrentee repair work.  There are some cheap study books that you can get, spend a week or two reviewing and then test out if you want to go that route.  If you to test out, get one MS cert (that gets you the interview) any decent full time job should pay at least for future testing and at $125 a test that's not cheap.  Don't know how many Linux jobs there are, can't advise you.  The CCNA is really only good if you can ALSO show that you have worked on Cisco routers, otherwise it does show that you have applied yourself in less time than a college degree but is not a substitute.

Certifications in the private sector are also measurable performance metrics when you do your yearly reviews with HR.  I did this and this project, and that, etc, I also made sure I remained current in my technology field by testing out in the latest certifications....... 'By gaining certification I maintain my value to the company and therefore deserve a bigger raise than my co-workers who couldn't be bothered'  ;).  Now in a larger company, this line actually works sometimes (not this year tho).


On Tue, 19 February 2002, ME wrote:

> No matter what you decide, trying nearly any approach will not be easy
> under the present economy for the dot-com industry and the tech sector.
> Some things I have noted:
> A large company will frequently rely upon a tech-know-nothing HR
> department that is told to hire a body to fill a position, but not know
> what qualities or prerequisites are really useful as a meter for each
> candidate and the position to be filled.
> This is not entirely their fault as the CIO (assuming one exists, and
> is qualified) is asked to bring down to simple boolean filters, what to
> look for in a potential new hire. They rely upon certificates, and pass
> this requirement to the HR department. (Finding an adaquate gauge for any
> person's ability to solve problems is as difficult and controversial as
> I.Q. tests.)
> If you wish to work for a bigger company and have the advantages of better
> stability, and the whole corporate lifestyle, going the route of
> certificates is the way to go. (This includes a CS/MIS degree if you
> choose that route instead.)
> Working for a state agency that is directly involved with supporting state
> services is sometimes possible. To be hired, you must take a test for
> placement. They offer standardized tests for you to take, and based on the
> score as well as other things, they rate your priority for positions. They
> drill down the list until all positions are filled. Some positions also
> require a degree, but I have not seen many that require certificates.
> Working for the UC system or the CSU system is a different matter. They
> have more control over hiring practices, and you can get jobs with many
> universities or support labs without a degree or certificate. (In this
> market, you may not find it as easy as it was during the dot-com feast. We
> have People with Masters degrees in technical studies (Comp Sci,
> Engineering, etc.) applying for jobs as desktop support managers! )
> If you wish to not take any exams, or work for any certificates, then you
> can try "social engineering" but without the lack of ethics and seek out
> a small company and make sure they know your talents. (In this case, you
> will be talking with people (or a person) who is often very technically
> adept, and will be able to tell who is skilled and who is not based on a
> quick 5-minute interview.) These people can take a chance on hiring a
> person without certificates, or papers. Very skilled people without
> "papers" can find experience, and the small company can gain access to
> seriously talented people.
> As far as certs go, I know our Uni has not hired any Linux-only people
> *ever*. They have hired Operating Systems Analysts who have had to know
> Linux as well as other OS, but no Linux only positions.
> Things to focus upon when you study linux:
> apache configurations and settings (with modules and how they work, what
> they do etc.) be able to compile and optimize a web server based on a list
> of requirements.
> samba and windows 95/98/ME & NT/2000/XP integration with this
> netatalk-asun (Much much weaker then samba or apache web server above.)
>  Macs are not nearly as common for businesses, but if your target company
>   has and uses 'em, it will be a plus. If you learn this, then learn
>   integration of netatalk and samba with the whole netatalk
>   dot-Resource fork.
> Side note from me:
>  From previous experience and experience of others. I have found people
>  who only have MCSE are not well informed or really that good even with
>  MS products. I have found the people who actually seem to understand
>  how MS windows products work have a background in other *nix OS.
>  (Linux for example.) If you seek to get an MCSE, make sure you get one
>  in Linux or somewhere else.
>   I have read MS approved Questions and answers for the MCSE and many of
>   the "approved" questions and answers are just plain wrong. Some conflict
>   with internet standards, RFC, IEEE spec, and even with other MS papers.
>   Their education, educates people with invalid information.
>   Just ask a MS person the difference between a Policy and a Profile and
>    how they work/what they do, where they are stored and dont be 
>    surprised if they dont know. (They may be willing to look them up
>    for you though. ;-)
> I work at a Uni, so my opinion on this next part will likely be biased,
> but here goes:
>  If I were a hiring manager, and had before me a person with a BS degree
> in Comp-Sci, and at least 1 year experience with a *nix OS, I would hire
> them over a person with nearly any Certs and 1 year of *nix exp. if the
> position was for a Linux/*nix Admin.
>  (This includes trade schools and places that offer BS degrees
> in IT support.) Why? The core parts for problem solving and code
> optimization as well as computer security models and cryptography (to name
> a few) are often more rigorously included in a 4-year degree when compare
> to a trade school or short-cut 2-3 year IT based BS degree.
>  I *would* hire someone from one of these trade schools as desktop support
> (a non-server-admin job) and would probably hire someone to a networking
> group with the Cisco certs over a BS degree programmer.
> As for Security certification, SANS is good. However, though securty is
> very SEXY, it is not considered to be "profitable" to many
> businesses. Some prefer to claim security, and dont worry about it until
> there is a problem. Then they focus on just the individual problem) often
> not the root of the problem) and when it is "over" security takes a back
> seat to profits. I would guess that a security cert would be much like
> detailing a used car; it does not increase the value so much, but can help
> you sell it faster. (My own opinion on security is quite different, but
> I do not own a business.)
> This message could have been shorter, but I wanted to offer some reasons
> for the conclusions instead of just the conclusions.
> Any Q's, want more clarification, let me know on or off list.
> -ME
> P.S. (I am not a hiring manager.)
> On Mon, 18 Feb 2002, Roland (Rusty)  Minden wrote:
> > I have been looking for a new position (Job) and keep getting told I need 
> > credentials (CCNA, MCSE, A+) and training. I am looking into going back to 
> > school full time for a little while, but really need some direction. I have a 
> > good background in IT and really like working in it. I am stuck on several 
> > points and I am looking for some advise from those of you that are in the 
> > workforce and know what direction will be good, bad or a waste of time.
> > 
> > 1    Trade school to get the credential faster or College?
> > 2    I was thinking of getting my CCNA and A+ along with getting a Linux Cert. 
> > on the side. Should I go for an MCSE even though I detest working on it?
> > 3    I would like to do Networking and Security, but I do enjoy programming 
> > (though I wonder if I can do it professionally).
> > 
> > I am not looking for any of you to hold my hand and make these decisions for 
> > me, but some direction from those of you who are in the trenches would be 
> > much appreciated.
> > 
> > Rusty

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