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  • Certification or experience

    Hi Guys,

    I am really looking for a bit of advice on how I can progress my career futher as I am getting a bit frustrated.

    Ok my IT journey started as an epos field engineer back in 2003 (we all got to start somewhere), thanks to redundancy I worked my way into support analysts roles etc. But I have always been hungry to get into the nitty gritty stuff like infrustructure planning,deployment and configuration, virtualization etc....the stuff that makes you take a step back and think about what you are doing, rather than the robotic stuff.

    About 90% of my technical knowledge over the years has come from my own self study in the form of video training, microsoft books and virtual machines. I was applying for jobs but the feedback I was getting was no certs?

    I have been working hard over the past 12 months and have gained my 83-640 (ad config) and my 70-642 (2008 network), I have sent my CV off a couple of times but it has now gone the other way, I have certs but not enough hands on experience in the real world

    Is it just a waiting game for someone to give you a chance? or I'm I just dreaming and put up with what I have got.

    Would love to hear other peoples experiences
    Mark Couch
    A+, MCTS, MCITP(SA, EDA7)
    South Wales, UK.

  • #2
    Re: Certification or experience

    You can approach this in a few ways,

    You could keep haning on untill somone gives you a chance.

    Or even write and offer companies a week or 2 as work experiance, go in and prove yourself, to show you have hands on experiance in different fields.

    You could also apply for a computer firm as a junior engineer, or network engineer and progress from there? So you can build the experiance up.

    Although, thats easy for me to say, ive got 10 yrs of it behind me now.
    Shadow2k - MCP, MCSA, MCSA:Security, MCSE, MCSE:Security, MCTSx8, MCITP:SA, MCITP:EA, MCITP:EDA, MCITP:VA, MCITP:EDST

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Certification or experience

      So you want to be a SysAdmin. Great! Yes, it takes a bit of experience to get the position, but experience can be found in volunteering. That's what I did and as a result was given some massive responsibilities in a short amount of time. Nothing spurs growth in your education and character like sheer terror. Find an organization that you agree with and ask if they need volunteer help in IT. Be careful that you don't get pigeon holed into a support role though. If you end up having to install printers for people all day, approach the problem from an engineer's perspective and figure out how to automate the process.

      If you have to do anything twice, script it once or figure out some other means of automation. Look for ways to standardize everything. Don't wait for someone to give you that responsibility, look for the opportunity and then suggest that it be done (or just go ahead and do it if you have the authority).

      That brings to mind another possibility. Are you completely stifled in the job you have now? Can you not ask for more responsibility? In fact, don't just ask... suggest what you can do. Do you see anything that can be automated, designed or restructured? Analyze it quietly for a few weeks or a month or so, document your findings and potential solutions and then present it to whoever you need to.

      A volcano makes it's own weather systems if it ejects enough material into the air. So throw enough ideas out there and you'll start changing your job's climate.
      Wesley David
      LinkedIn | Careers 2.0
      -------------------------------
      Microsoft Certifications: MCSE 2003 | MCSA:Messaging 2003 | MCITP:EA, SA, EST | MCTS: a'plenty | MCDST
      Vendor Neutral Certifications: CWNA
      Blog: www.TheNubbyAdmin.com || Twitter: @Nonapeptide || GTalk, Reader and Google+: [email protected] || Skype: Wesley.Nonapeptide
      Goofy kitten avatar photo from Troy Snow: flickr.com/photos/troysnow/

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Certification or experience

        Originally posted by Nonapeptide View Post
        A volcano makes it's own weather systems if it ejects enough material into the air. So throw enough ideas out there and you'll start changing your job's climate.
        So next time the whole of European aviation shuts down for a week, we'll blame you.... yes, YOU, Nonapeptide

        Ontopic:
        Agree with the previous post -- gain lower level experience and work up. Volunteering is a very good way.

        Also splash out for TechnetPlus and some old hardware and practice, practice, practice with the technology. This can start going on your CV as some sort of experience.
        Tom Jones
        MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
        PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
        IT Trainer / Consultant
        Ossian Ltd
        Scotland

        ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Certification or experience

          Originally posted by Ossian View Post
          So next time the whole of European aviation shuts down for a week, we'll blame you.... yes, YOU, Nonapeptide


          Originally posted by Ossian View Post
          Also splash out for TechnetPlus and some old hardware and practice, practice, practice with the technology. This can start going on your CV as some sort of experience.
          Very good point! Even without TechNet you can dig yourself into amazing amounts of trouble with just trial versions. As I always say, if you don't completely hose your system before the trial expires then you're just not trying hard enough!!

          Couch, get involved with user groups too. Maybe find some kind of community project. Put yourself into the community of helpers on CrossLoop and eLance.com when you start getting more experience with the SysAdmin side of things so you can get paid for your help and list that on a CV as well. Just some ideas.
          Wesley David
          LinkedIn | Careers 2.0
          -------------------------------
          Microsoft Certifications: MCSE 2003 | MCSA:Messaging 2003 | MCITP:EA, SA, EST | MCTS: a'plenty | MCDST
          Vendor Neutral Certifications: CWNA
          Blog: www.TheNubbyAdmin.com || Twitter: @Nonapeptide || GTalk, Reader and Google+: [email protected] || Skype: Wesley.Nonapeptide
          Goofy kitten avatar photo from Troy Snow: flickr.com/photos/troysnow/

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Certification or experience

            Sound advice guys

            I didn't even think about volunteering, not a bad idea at all. I just need to lift my confidence a bit now and start getting my name about.

            Thanks for the site links Nonapeptide, gonna get registered on them asap. I'm going to step up to the mark in work aswell and show people what I can do.

            Thanks again everyone
            Mark Couch
            A+, MCTS, MCITP(SA, EDA7)
            South Wales, UK.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Certification or experience

              Originally posted by Couch View Post
              Sound advice guys

              I didn't even think about volunteering, not a bad idea at all. I just need to lift my confidence a bit now and start getting my name about.

              Thanks for the site links Nonapeptide, gonna get registered on them asap. I'm going to step up to the mark in work aswell and show people what I can do.

              Thanks again everyone
              Your confidence will grow as your exeperiance gets better. This may sound daft, but next time your at the super market, when you go through the tills, talk to the staff etc about random things.

              This helped me alot yrs ago, now i can just stop and talk to random strangers, lol
              Shadow2k - MCP, MCSA, MCSA:Security, MCSE, MCSE:Security, MCTSx8, MCITP:SA, MCITP:EA, MCITP:EDA, MCITP:VA, MCITP:EDST

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Certification or experience

                Originally posted by Couch View Post
                Would love to hear other peoples experiences
                Well... You should manage your goals and expectations. A lot of admins started on-site or at a servicedesk. It took me a substantial amout of years to "become a sysadmin". Be patient! It can be a long road, some luck is needed also.

                Even if you "are a sysadmin" (up to date) IT certifications and experience is not enough when you work for a multinational. You need more skills to stay "offshore-proof".

                Please be carefull to not place yourself in a position where need to perform 150% for a long period. Some can do that, some will fade out. So, do not volunteer too much.

                Anyhow, offcourse both certification (including classroom courses and hands on experience) and working experience are very important to get and keep a good job.
                Try to suck up all the knowledge you can, be patient and stay positive!

                Good luck!
                MCITP:EST | MCTS | MCSE 2k3 | MCSA 2k3 | MCP
                A+ Core | ITIL-F

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Certification or experience

                  Originally posted by Ciro View Post
                  It took me a substantial amout of years to "become a sysadmin". Be patient! It can be a long road, some luck is needed also.
                  I was fortunate in that I was handed a small SysAdmin position after only about 3 years of IT experience. Boy was that ever a learning experience.

                  Originally posted by Ciro View Post
                  Even if you "are a sysadmin" (up to date) IT certifications and experience is not enough when you work for a multinational. You need more skills to stay "offshore-proof".
                  You also need a good inter-personal reputation. I.e. you can't be a jerk. You don't need to be a gameshow host, but basic skills with speaking to people and dealing with tough situations. Commonly called "soft skills", but I prefer to think of it as just "Decent Human 101".

                  Originally posted by Ciro View Post
                  Please be carefull to not place yourself in a position where need to perform 150% for a long period. Some can do that, some will fade out. So, do not volunteer too much.
                  Here, here. You can easily get sucked into 18 hour days. I've done it... and am very nearly doing it now for several reasons. I have the fortune (?) of being single with very few commitments outside of work so I can make it work while I sort out a greatly changing professional life. I'll have to settle down soon though because burnout is a pain. I've had a few small episodes of it and the only thing that helps is separating yourself far from computers. Growing a beard and spearfishing in my underwear on a deserted island sounds good about now.
                  Wesley David
                  LinkedIn | Careers 2.0
                  -------------------------------
                  Microsoft Certifications: MCSE 2003 | MCSA:Messaging 2003 | MCITP:EA, SA, EST | MCTS: a'plenty | MCDST
                  Vendor Neutral Certifications: CWNA
                  Blog: www.TheNubbyAdmin.com || Twitter: @Nonapeptide || GTalk, Reader and Google+: [email protected] || Skype: Wesley.Nonapeptide
                  Goofy kitten avatar photo from Troy Snow: flickr.com/photos/troysnow/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Certification or experience

                    Originally posted by Wesley
                    Growing a beard and spearfishing in my underwear on a deserted island sounds good about now.
                    And his best friend is called Wilson.

                    Schools can be a good place to go and see if they either need someone as a local tech or to work for free. It can be a challenging environment. I had one site that had 150+ different games/applications that were all ESSENTIAL and just had to run or the school would collapse. They ranged from DOS games and up and the hardware was running NT4.0 Server to Server 2003 64bit, Win95, 98, 2000, XP, Vista AND bloody Macs. Mix in some Cisco WAPs and a Linux Proxy/Radius Server and only then it started to get challenging.
                    1 1 was a racehorse.
                    2 2 was 1 2.
                    1 1 1 1 race 1 day,
                    2 2 1 1 2

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                    • #11
                      Re: Certification or experience

                      Originally posted by biggles77 View Post
                      I had one site that had 150+ different games/applications that were all ESSENTIAL and just had to run or the school would collapse.
                      LOL

                      I have a similair experience on a comprehensive school with multiple locations. You can indeed learn a lot in a educational environment.
                      (Do not forget about the multiple "open door day" adhoc tasks)
                      MCITP:EST | MCTS | MCSE 2k3 | MCSA 2k3 | MCP
                      A+ Core | ITIL-F

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Certification or experience

                        I enterted IT by completeing a traineeship at a school, and I have learnt more there then anywhere else.

                        I learn how to make a secruity camera from some boards, a lens and some diods. We made our own ethernet adapter to run POE to the cameras though a non POE network. I learnt how to cable a building, between buildings, under ground, air wires. I learnt how to drive a bobcat, and got my ticket for it.

                        Schools are the best place to get your foot in the door, as they are always willing to teach you, and normally have the best opertiunties to teach you. Schools are also the smallest enviroment that you will see server clusters (our school had 1000 students, and 3 different clusters of 3 servers), so you get a feel for both sides of IT (SMB and Corp).

                        In saying all that, I am still a tech and not a admin as I freak out in MS exams and dont have the pieces of paper needed to get that school admin job that I dream of.

                        Wofen
                        Good to be back....

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Certification or experience

                          I firmly believe that certifications complement experience in a specific area.
                          MCITP:SA, MCSA 2003, MCP, CCNA, A+, Net+, Security+

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Certification or experience

                            Originally posted by boondock View Post
                            I firmly believe that certifications complement experience in a specific area.
                            And this brings us to the perpetual discussion:
                            What is more important? Certifications or experience

                            Anyway ,

                            @Wofen: In "commercial" environment technical certifications are a must. You really need to gain knowledge and pass some of those exams.
                            Offcourse you will fail for an exam a few times. That happens to best people: don't worry man!
                            Good luck! I hope you will get your changes to prove yourself!
                            MCITP:EST | MCTS | MCSE 2k3 | MCSA 2k3 | MCP
                            A+ Core | ITIL-F

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Certification or experience

                              I would like to say as well, thats it really depends on your geographic location as well.

                              Alot of companys from around where I live do not like anyone to have too meny pieces of paper, as we have alot of "schools" that "guarantee" a coruse. You pay them, they give you a piece of paper.

                              So, getting the piece of paper does not main you know what your doing, but then agian, being in the IT field for 10 years also does not mean you know what your doing.

                              I would also like to point out that alot of companys have started to change how they think about CV's. I have a mate who got a nice IT admin job due to his work on a message forum like this. He put on his CV his nickname, and the CEO had been getting advice off him for ages, so he was given the job.

                              I know a few people that troll message forums like this, and know about them, and if you can show that you have been helping and intrested for years, it always looks fantastic.

                              @ Ciro... well its why i am here, if I talk about the problems all day, and think about others and help them do reseach, I will hopfully fill the holes of my knowledge. The only problem with working in a small business is you always get to do things your way, and that means you dont learn how to do it any other way.

                              Wofen
                              Good to be back....

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