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  1. Member
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    #1

    Default Stop with MCSA or keep going to MCSE?

    I passed 70-291 this week and I just need an elective now to get my MCSA. I had originally planned on going all the way to the MCSE, but now I'm having second thoughts. I'm really more interested in networking and would like to pursue the CCNA next. I know the MCSE is the most recognized certification in IT, but at the same time, the MCITP:EA is replacing the MCSE for the current server OS. Where I'm working now, Server 2008 has pretty much replaced 2003 on most servers. I'm just not sure what to do next. What do you guys think about it?
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  3. Solutions Architect gateway's Avatar
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    #2
    There have been a few posts similar to this recently.
    My opinion would be to continue to get the MCSE - it is still the most prestigious MS cert and probably will be for another year or so. It is also still highly searched for by job agencies hunting for keywords etc.

    It is also my opinion that the MCSE would help give you a more rounded knowledge which in the long run will help you become a more seasoned sysadmin/network engineer.

    By all means - take the upgrade from MCSA to MCITP but personally I'm going all out to get MCSE whilst I still can.

    I think MCSE and CCNA together would compliment each other nicely.
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    #3
    I guess my main concern is matching my certification level to my job experience. I've worked in IT for over 4 years now and have worked my way up from phone tech to basically being in a Jr. SysAdmin position. I'm confident that the MCSA matches my experience, but the MCSE is beyond what I've really done in a work environment. On the other hand, it seems like most people with an MCSE don't truly do systems engineering either. But maybe the reality is different than the theory. It always seems like you have to go at least one level above what you're actually doing when it comes to certs.
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  5. Solutions Architect gateway's Avatar
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    #4
    That's kind of true. I haven't done a cert before and thought "yes - everything I am studying now I have experience in or used before"

    The Vista exam was a case in point - who uses Windows Mail? Whilst the parental controls are great I haven't used them.

    A lot of it is about making you aware of the technologies so that if a situation arises whereby you need to implement something, you might have studied that topic that will give you this knowledge.

    I have also had many phone calls about technologies I have not had any exposure to, but other IT staff in the company have and it enables me to understand what they are talking about and communicate effectively.

    Knowledge is power - the more you know and understand the better (generally speaking).
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  6. Senior Member Devilsbane's Avatar
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    #5
    My plan was to stop at MCSA. Spice it up with MCSA:S, but MCSE seems like a lot of work for stuff I'll never use.
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Devilsbane View Post
    My plan was to stop at MCSA. Spice it up with MCSA:S, but MCSE seems like a lot of work for stuff I'll never use.
    I know right. I've always thought MCSE was overkill, but it seems to be the gold standard for being a SysAdmin. I'm really anxious to start on the Cisco stuff pretty soon. Studying for the 291, I constantly found myself having to re-read things because it just didn't hold my interest. Studying DNS is like watching paint dry. I think I just need to pick a good elective to get my MCSA and then see where I want to go from there.
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  8. Go ping yourself... phoeneous's Avatar
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by smg1138 View Post
    it seems like most people with an MCSE don't truly do systems engineering either.

    What exactly do you consider "systems engineering"?
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by phoeneous View Post
    What exactly do you consider "systems engineering"?
    Well, people who do systems engineering. Like planning and developing new networks and infrastructure. Not just administering existing systems that somebody else built. I guess there's some disagreement about what constitutes a "systems engineer", but I'm not interested in arguing semantics.
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  10. Solutions Architect gateway's Avatar
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by smg1138 View Post
    Well, people who do systems engineering. Like planning and developing new networks and infrastructure. Not just administering existing systems that somebody else built. I guess there's some disagreement about what constitutes a "systems engineer", but I'm not interested in arguing semantics.
    Planning and developing new networks and infrastructure is more of an architect role, not so much a systems engineer.
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  11. Senior Member fly2dw's Avatar
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by gateway View Post
    That's kind of true. I haven't done a cert before and thought "yes - everything I am studying now I have experience in or used before"

    The Vista exam was a case in point - who uses Windows Mail? Whilst the parental controls are great I haven't used them.

    A lot of it is about making you aware of the technologies so that if a situation arises whereby you need to implement something, you might have studied that topic that will give you this knowledge.

    I have also had many phone calls about technologies I have not had any exposure to, but other IT staff in the company have and it enables me to understand what they are talking about and communicate effectively.

    Knowledge is power - the more you know and understand the better (generally speaking).
    I agree.

    Remember the beauty of certifications is that it teaches you the majority of features available (If not all; sometimes). If you do a Windows Vista course; like you say who uses Windows Mail etc? However it may come in handy and give you more options when trying to fix another problem. Okay I am not talking about Windows Mail specifically, I am just giving an example of knowing features you don't use everyday, which can be utilised at a later date. Otherwise you may not know they exist. You don't want the customer being the first person to introduce you to a new feature/app in an OS (Although it happens sometimes).

    To the original post I would pursue your MCSE if you have the time. However if you feel in your place of work, you are really pressed to know Windows Server 2008, then do an upgrade to MCITP from the MCSA. I work in a mixed environment 2003 and 2008, but there isn't a lot of pressure to learn the MCITP server 2008 material yet, as we are not entirely committed to it. We have it in a preliminary stage (But as no doubt a lot of you know, a lot of these trials seem to creep into full production over night, due to a late senior management meeting, and the technicians/admins are the last to know about it!).
    Last edited by fly2dw; 06-04-2010 at 10:19 AM.
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  12. One Man Wolfpac NetAdmin2436's Avatar
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    #11
    Normally I'd say always go for your MCSE. There's a number of reasons, especially If you are looking for another job or plan to do so in the near future. Do a search on the job boards for how many times MCSA vs MCSE come up. You might not even find a single job posting asking for MCSA. They almost always ask for a MCSE. Hence, an MCSE will look much better on your resume.

    Having an MCSE should make the upgrading to the MCITP much much easier as well, as you already know the foundation and can just concentrate on the new features. Yeah, there are some 2003 technologies that you may never use (RRAS comes to mind), but what do you do. It's Microsoft.

    With the above said, if your not really looking for a new job and basically are just working on 2008 servers everyday, then stopping at MCSA and going for the new MCITP or even Cisco (if that peaks your interest) might prove to be a better choice. Ultimately it's up to you and what would help your career and/or your performance at your current job.

    Either way, good luck!
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  13. Go ping yourself... phoeneous's Avatar
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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by smg1138 View Post
    Well, people who do systems engineering. Like planning and developing new networks and infrastructure. Not just administering existing systems that somebody else built. I guess there's some disagreement about what constitutes a "systems engineer", but I'm not interested in arguing semantics.

    I think it's more up to the employer and the job title that they use. At my last job I was a Systems Engineer I but I didn't develope or plan any part of the infrastructure, just supported it. At my current job my title is Network Administrator and I'm rebuilding the entire infrastructure from the ground up i.e. servers, workstations, network equipment, everything.
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    #13
    Alright, I think I've got my plan figured out. Since I just passed 291, I'm going to take 293 next since it's still fresh and the material overlaps so much. After that, I'll take Security+ for my elective exam and to get the MCSA completed. Lastly, I'll do the 294 and 297 consecutively to get the MCSE completely finished.
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  15. coffee all day everyday. nicklauscombs's Avatar
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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by smg1138 View Post
    Alright, I think I've got my plan figured out. Since I just passed 291, I'm going to take 293 next since it's still fresh and the material overlaps so much. After that, I'll take Security+ for my elective exam and to get the MCSA completed. Lastly, I'll do the 294 and 297 consecutively to get the MCSE completely finished.
    make sure to finish that security+ up before the year is over so it'll be good for life.
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  16. Senior Member motogpman's Avatar
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    #15
    Lots of good responses to your initial post, so I'm glad that you made a good choice. You also need to keep in mind that what you are doing "now" may not be what is in your future employers list of duties. With the way things are going right now with the economy, finishing up your MCSE is very wise. You can then go over to the MCITP path and it will take less tests.
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  17. Solutions Architect gateway's Avatar
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    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by motogpman View Post
    Lots of good responses to your initial post, so I'm glad that you made a good choice. You also need to keep in mind that what you are doing "now" may not be what is in your future employers list of duties. With the way things are going right now with the economy, finishing up your MCSE is very wise. You can then go over to the MCITP path and it will take less tests.
    +1, you have made a good choice. All the best with it.
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  18. Senior Member Devilsbane's Avatar
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    #17
    I'm actually considering going for MCSE. My biggest concern is time. Blasting through the 290 in a month wasn't so bad. But can that be done with the 293 and 294 as well?

    Plus I want to get Security+ done this year. Either way I have quite the bit of work to do.
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  19. Go ping yourself... phoeneous's Avatar
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    #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Devilsbane View Post
    I'm actually considering going for MCSE. My biggest concern is time. Blasting through the 290 in a month wasn't so bad. But can that be done with the 293 and 294 as well?

    Plus I want to get Security+ done this year. Either way I have quite the bit of work to do.
    You stole the plans right out of my head. I'm doing 291 at the end of June. I want to get Security+ between mid to end of July. I'm confident I will pass given my degree in infosec and familiarity with the material. Then 293 by mid Sept., 294 by mid Nov., and 297 by the end of the year.

    2011 is going to be an all Cisco year so I wanted to get MCSE and Sec+ done this year.
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  20. Senior Member Devilsbane's Avatar
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    #19
    Not exactly the same plan. I want to get MCSE:S (or at least MCSA:S) there is still the potential that I bump off the E.

    I'm also planning the MCDST this year. 2 tests and I think I can get them both done in a about a month. Thats where I'm going after sec+.

    EDIT: I'm also not planning an all cisco year next year either. I have cisco tentatively planned for 2012. And even then, CCNA would be more than enough for me.
    Last edited by Devilsbane; 06-07-2010 at 10:15 PM.
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  21. Go ping yourself... phoeneous's Avatar
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    #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Devilsbane View Post
    I'm also planning the MCDST this year.
    Why? Just curious.
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  22. Senior Member Devilsbane's Avatar
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    #21
    Quote Originally Posted by phoeneous View Post
    Why? Just curious.
    Because it seems rather easy and is another credential that I can stick on my resume. Plus, being that I'm working service desk right now, a desktop support position is likely my next move. I think I can take down both tests in about a month, maybe less.
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  23. Still a noob earweed's Avatar
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    #22
    Plus if you get the MCDST you can upgrade to the MCITP:EDST for Windows 7 with just 1 exam, the 70-682. The 70-682 is like a combination of the 680 and 685 exams.
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  24. Senior Member Devilsbane's Avatar
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    #23
    Quote Originally Posted by earweed View Post
    Plus if you get the MCDST you can upgrade to the MCITP:EDST for Windows 7 with just 1 exam, the 70-682. The 70-682 is like a combination of the 680 and 685 exams.
    Also true.
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  25. Member Geek1969's Avatar
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    #24
    I had the same question after I finished my SA. I went back to my Cisco studies and completed my CCNA because I wanted to after taking the Cisco Networking Academy. Now..... I am going back to MS. I would love to continue Cisco certs but in my area, there are 9 MS jobs or each Cisco job. In what I am doing currently, (Network/Systems Admin --3 yrs.) The material covered in 293,294,298,299 would be of great help in my work. I am starting with 294 and will finish my MCSE before I go back to Cisco. I thought about just going to server 2008, but we are still 2003 as are many networks out there, with no plans to upgrade the domain any time soon. --My 2 cents.
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    #25
    I skipped the other responses because I'm short on time, but I would definitely finish the MCSE. Anyone who has done the MCSE knows how weak the MCSA is in comparison. You don't even seriously get into AD until another two exams (assuming you go in numerical order).

    When considering the upgrades, many people look at the number of exams as opposed to the new content. The new track is relatively easy to obtain with a solid MCSE-level of understanding. The majority of the material is going to be familiar.
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