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  1. Senior Member --chris--'s Avatar
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    #1

    Default A+ for anything other than entry level?

    I recently won the job lottery and landed a paid intern job with no technical experience and no certifications. My direct boss has told me his 12 month plan (actually 15 months) for me is to leave me "in control" for a long weekend so he can take his chief IT guy (my coworker) to a sporting even that he has promised to take him to for years.

    "Taking control" will mean everything from handling the basic helpdesk stuff (resetting credentials in AD, repairing PCs, setting up printer configs, etc...) to trouble shooting VoIP phones, admin'ing windows server 2008, Lync server, Exchange server, network hardware (switches, bridges, routers and firewalls) and keeping an eye on the 14 other branches to make sure there IT teams will be keeping up on whatever needs to be done.

    It sounds like I will have a good bit of knowledge in about a year, nothing special but more than usual for a entry level job candidate. With that in consideration would it make sense for me to get the A+ Ive been studying for? I feel comfortable I could pass it in another month or so, but its ~$280 for 801/802.

    That $280 could be put towards the MCSA I want to earn or the CCENT/CCNA I also want to earn in 15 months. The plan is to have a solid place to negotiate my worth from next year. The other side of that is if they dont want me past the 15 months, I will need something to take to another employer. I figure one year of hands on and those two certs should be enough to get in somewhere even while I work on my BS. But will the A+ also help me?


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  3. Senior Member Cpl.Klinger's Avatar
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    #2
    It sounds like from this and the other thread you posted about the new job that your skills are already past those of the A+. That exam is the most basic of IT exams, and it sounds like it makes no sense. I'd not waste time, energy or money on a test that you already have the skill set for that also holds no real value. Put that money and time towards the MCSA or CCNA. You'll get a bigger ROI from either of those two than the A+. Or at least that's my opinion.
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  4. Data Network Engineer filkenjitsu's Avatar
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    #3
    PC repair can be learned and mastered without a certification. I would go ahead and go after the most basic Microsoft certifications and build on those system admin skills. You can take those certs with Microsoft server experience and go after a good wage 15 to 24 months from now.
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  5. Senior Member --chris--'s Avatar
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    #4
    The plan is MCSA 2008 then CCENT after depending on time. Would MCSE be difficult to attain in 15 months starting where I am?
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  6. Senior Junior linuxlover's Avatar
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    #5
    If you have no experience then yes, it's going to be hard if not impossible. Starter certificates are meant for people with limited or no experience, advanced not so. So begin with MCSA and see how you go from there, no reason to worry about MCSE now.

    Your job responsibilities are way past the A+ level, more like IT Management level. I don't know how you got that job without experience but congrats and good luck. A+ and Net+ are not worth anything IMO and I'll never regret the money I've spent on that cert, I don't even know why the hell did I take it anyway. Maybe because I was so desperate to have a certificate on my resume and to boost my confidence, but I read through the Net+ book in one week (scored over 90% on few tests) and haven't found one thing new to me and I've never worked professionally with networks so I don't know who takes these certificates seriously...save your money.

    At the end of the day, certificates aren't worth ****. It's just a piece of paper that says you're smart enough to prepare for a specific test or that you know how to cheat. Nothing else. It's all about what you can do right now. The sad thing is we need to get certified to get through the hiring process run by people that know nothing about job they're hiring people for.

    I went too far. Skip the CompTIA certs but read them books if you don't know jack squat and go for Cisco and Microsoft certs, looks like that's what you'll be doing after all.
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  7. Senior Member --chris--'s Avatar
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    #6
    Thanks LL, I appreciate the input.

    So this position sounds more managerial than technical from my description? I also have to keep my coworker on track, summarize his daily progress on a larger project and report this too my direct boss as well as communicate his needs/wants since his English is a soft spot in his skill set.


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  8. Senior Junior linuxlover's Avatar
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    #7
    Based on your OP, you'll need to become jack of all trades in a very short period of time. You'll be doing anything from computer repair, system administration to project management. I don't know how can someone expect you to learn all these things in one year let alone leave you in charge of them. This is all very much weird to me and I don't know what to think. Anyway, there are no shortcuts here and you will need to dig in deep into books. I suggest you set yourself CCNA and MCSA:Windows Server 2008 or 2012 as a goal but it depends on your current skill set and your dedication whether you're capable of achieving that goal or not.

    If I were you, I would minimize my social life to bare minimum and sacrifice a year of my life. It will be hard, I can tell you from experience, but it's so going to be worth it afterwards. Jobs are hard to come by and you've been blessed to have won a job with such responsibilities as your break into IT. Take advantage of this opportunity, works your ass off and you might even stay after your internship full time. If not, I bet you'll find a new job in no time.

    Start with ICND1, then proceed to ICND2. After you're done with that, start doing Microsoft Server exams one by one. You'll probably gain some work experience by the time you start studying. Best luck!
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  9. Senior Member --chris--'s Avatar
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    #8
    I was planning on the MCSA first simply because I really need to learn that stuff now, where as the IOS stuff is not used as much in my position (yet). I do a lot of integrating users into this custom software interface (4 interfaces actually). Its buggy, and takes a long time but if i could find myself around the user managment tools of AD quicker this task would become simper.

    You think having hands on experience will help me more on the M$ certifications more so than the ICND1 and ICND2?

    I thought the same thing, and talked for 40 minutes to my boss on day 2 of this last week. I told him I am extremely overwhelmed, way in over my head and I think it was a mistake hiring me. He explained that he had tried 4 other people in this position, most younger but with more formal technical education & technical certs. He said they just stopped coming in one day after a few weeks of work, he called a few back but didn't bother with some.

    He said I am version 5.0 lol. He said he would hire the more technical guys, try to teach them management techniques and project management stuff but they would push back or simply quit. So this time, he thought he would try and start from the other side. Take someone with a few years of management experience and a general willingness to learn and teach them tech stuff and project management. He accepts that I know almost nothing in terms of enterprise level IT stuff, but he has me working with 2 guys that do and they are both anxious to teach me stuff so they can focus on the more difficult tasks instead of the mundane help desk work. Its a wicked combo, I am usually overwhelmed at work but at the end of last week I only had one task not completed and it was a minor one.

    My management experience comes in with wrangling the two other guys into sticking to a plan, making sure they keep me updated and ensuring things get done within certain time periods. Its only been a week, but I think my first project with them is going well.


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  10. Senior Member DoubleNNs's Avatar
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    #9
    I also say start w/ the MCSA then go into the CCNA.

    Other than that, just make sure you understand everything you use at work and the business well enough to handle it by yourself.

    I don't think you need to completely kill your social life. But you do need dedication and consistent effort.
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  11. Data Network Engineer filkenjitsu's Avatar
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    #10
    Only certify on what you are working with at first. Don't spend tons of time studying for the CCNA if you are not working with these conepts much at first.

    Make a list of what you support. Exchange? Microsoft Windows? Outlook? Office? Active Directory? DNS Server? VOIP system (what vendor)? Virus/Spyware removal? Etc.

    That is what you focus on. If you are not troubleshooting switching (spanning tree protocol), routing (OSPF, BGP, EIGRP, etc.), etc. then don't waste time studying for the CCNA yet.

    Make sure to read the books that will directly help your day to day work, not what you want to do in the future.

    There are amazing guides out there that teach you how to clean out spyware and clean up the Windows registry from garbage startup items that slow a users system down. This can be step one of help desk support.
    Last edited by networker050184; 09-16-2013 at 03:26 PM.
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  12. Livin is ez w/ I's closed
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    #11
    Quote Originally Posted by --chris-- View Post
    I was planning on the MCSA first simply because I really need to learn that stuff now, where as the IOS stuff is not used as much in my position (yet). I do a lot of integrating users into this custom software interface (4 interfaces actually). Its buggy, and takes a long time but if i could find myself around the user managment tools of AD quicker this task would become simper.

    You think having hands on experience will help me more on the M$ certifications more so than the ICND1 and ICND2?

    I thought the same thing, and talked for 40 minutes to my boss on day 2 of this last week. I told him I am extremely overwhelmed, way in over my head and I think it was a mistake hiring me. He explained that he had tried 4 other people in this position, most younger but with more formal technical education & technical certs. He said they just stopped coming in one day after a few weeks of work, he called a few back but didn't bother with some.

    He said I am version 5.0 lol. He said he would hire the more technical guys, try to teach them management techniques and project management stuff but they would push back or simply quit. So this time, he thought he would try and start from the other side. Take someone with a few years of management experience and a general willingness to learn and teach them tech stuff and project management. He accepts that I know almost nothing in terms of enterprise level IT stuff, but he has me working with 2 guys that do and they are both anxious to teach me stuff so they can focus on the more difficult tasks instead of the mundane help desk work. Its a wicked combo, I am usually overwhelmed at work but at the end of last week I only had one task not completed and it was a minor one.

    My management experience comes in with wrangling the two other guys into sticking to a plan, making sure they keep me updated and ensuring things get done within certain time periods. Its only been a week, but I think my first project with them is going well.
    I find it odd that people just up and walk out without ever saying anything.

    Is this a paid position? Even if it wasn't paid, I could understand more why someone would just not come in anymore, but still doesn't make it right.
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  13. Senior Member --chris--'s Avatar
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    #12
    It's a paid spot, barely lol.

    I share your sentiments, be a man/ woman and face your boss when you quit a job. No matter how much you may think they will hate you for it....sometimes you will be surprised.
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  14. Senior Member
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    #13
    Chris, from someone who had a great opportunity land in their lap, I must say take advantage of this! Dedicate yourself to the job and take ownership. Even if the pay isn't great, things will improve. This can be catogorized under one of those situations that will pay off down the road. I had the same happen to me, terrible pay, but doing IT work for an NFL team that took a chance on me. If nothing else, it will look great on your resume. Get as much hands on as you can. Don't let this go to waste.

    Another thing, I say work on certs that you are getting hands on experience with at the moment. Being able to work all day on technology you are studying for is priceless. It will actually save you time.
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    #14
    I disagree with LinuxLover, except for his/her admiration for the Linux kernel. There are no worthless certifications, including the CompTIA certs. People can cheat on a test, just like they can bullshit their way through a job title; and yes, it happens every day. If you are gaining one year of experience, it doesn't matter how much of what you are doing, it's still only one year... Get the certs. You will always learn new things through studying. If the test seems pricy, check with your college, mine gave me a huge discount. Maybe even mention it to your current employer (I understand you're an intern though). I'm about to start my studies for CCNA next week and I work as a sys admin currently; however, I will likely take even the A+ at some point just to get it. I refuse to believe that it will serve absolutely no purpose, even if just for my own benefit.
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  16. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #15
    I would say go for the MCSA and forget about the A+. One thing to remember is its all about what you feel comfortable with.
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  17. Member LAN_Man's Avatar
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    #16
    I would suggest against the A+ cert in almost all cases. The money and time spent on it could be better used for a more valuable cert.
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  18. Senior Member
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    #17
    A+ is a great certification to get. I've seen administration, design, architecture and other high level IT roles require and or prefer the A+ certification. It's the only CompTIA certification I would get if I had to do it all over it again. In another thread I posted in I mentioned a friend of mine who has his bachelors in MIS and his A+ and he is now an SCCM architect. He makes about twice is much as me. It's a good certification, HR departments love it.
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  19. Member
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    #18
    Damn, in the time it's taken you to whine and complain to your boss and create this thread, you could have passed the A+. It's like 2 weeks of studying, tops. Buy the book for $40 or whatever it is and schedule the exam a month out.
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