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  1. Geezer
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    #1

    Default Cisco guy wanting to learn the MS sdie

    I'm about to finish my CCNA, and I'm looking to start Microsoft studies. I do intend on going for further certs, but I'm sick of contracting, and best hoping to round out my skills to land a perm job. Experience obviously trumps all, but it doesn't hurt to be familiar with a topic or subject, as I've had many opportunities come my way because I was willing to learn.

    Would I be better off getting my Win7 cert, and then progressing to the 2008 server MCSA/MCSE certs?

    Or, should I go towards the 2012 server MCSA/MCSE certs?

    Just trying to round out my skills, and most places I've talked to don't look for just a WAN guy, or just a Cisco guy. In fact, I'm now supporting Extreme switches, which there is barely a market for, but it's a job.

    Thanks in advance.
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  3. Senior Member
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    #2
    Dude.. I am in the same boat.. Cisco guy here through and through, but doing more and more Windows/Servers due to the JOAT expectation of businesses... I havent gotten a MS cert yet but wondering the same thing. Might want to look into VMWare.
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  4. Senior Member
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    #3
    You would lean towards JOAT if you take that path. Its a good place to be for a while, but eventually you want to specialize to make more $$$$. But if all you can find are these joat trades type jobs its best to get the basic mcsa and hope someone gives you a shot.
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  5. Geezer
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    #4
    Excuse my ignorance, but what's "JOAT"? thanks for all the advice!

    edit: Nevermind, I figured it out. Jack of all trades...duh lol


    Yeah, I'd love to so security at some point, but just want a perm job again. Contracting, at least at my pay rate, kinda blows.
    Last edited by howiehandles; 06-18-2013 at 07:26 PM.
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  6. Senior Member pizzaboy's Avatar
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    #5
    Might want to look at MCSA 2012, 2008 will be expiring by the end of Jan 2014. Unless of course you can complete the 3 exams by then, it is possible.
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  7. Junior Member widget101's Avatar
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    #6
    If you are able to obtain your MCSA 2008 before the exams expire, you could take the 417 exam to upgrade it to MCSA 2012.
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  8. Senior Member
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by shodown View Post
    You would lean towards JOAT if you take that path. Its a good place to be for a while, but eventually you want to specialize to make more $$$$. But if all you can find are these joat trades type jobs its best to get the basic mcsa and hope someone gives you a shot.
    shodown is right! Earning your MCSA (or even MCITP if you can push that through soon enough) will definitely make you well rounded. The primary question to consider is: Do you really want to be well rounded? Knowing network protocols and Cisco IOS config syntax commands is beneficial, but also being able to configure Microsoft servers and desktops would be useful as well. No so you can be a system administrator, but so you can be a network administrator and fully understand how everything is completely connected.
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  9. Senior Member
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    #8
    From my last 3 employers I've come to learn that they expect you to have a general knowledge of anything and everything that connects their network and systems together.

    I've been asked if I knew Cisco routers, switches, firewalls and then also asked if I knew Microsoft server and anything built into the system.

    It's been a great learning experience and has helped me increased my skillset on the technologies. I enjoy what I do (Systems & Network Engineer) because not only does it involve different technologies (Cisco/Microsoft) but because I never get bored learning something new.
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  10. ABL - Always Be Labbin' Iristheangel's Avatar
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    #9
    There are pros and cons of breaking into the MS/VM side of things while focusing on networking. I would say that going from "specialized" to "JOAT" would actually be a step down in your career. Most of the time, the companies looking for a "JOAT" are MSPs or companies that are too small to justify a dedicated network team/person. These places do not often pay premium for your services so therefore should be avoided if you have skills and are confident in them.

    If your career goal is to get to an architect level, that MS knowledge will definitely come in handy later down the road but the path to architect isn't usually found through a bunch of JOAT/MSP positions and then BAM! You're an infrastructure architect! So it really depends on your career goals. If you're one day planning on excelling past an engineer level to an architect, continue down the networking path, get employed by large companies or VARs that will give you plenty of hands on experience with various technologies and pay to match.
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  11. Senior Member
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    #10
    From my personal experience, the JOAT jobs pay much less.

    If you're trying to get out of contracting and trying to get something stable, finish your CCNA and keep going on that track. Starting off onto MCSA is not a short track by any stretch of the imagination. It shows three separate exams for it here:
    MCSA: Windows Server | Microsoft Learning

    But, as others advised, if possible, decide what you want to do prior to going too far in any direction.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by instant000; 06-19-2013 at 04:04 AM.
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  12. Geezer
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    #11
    That's what I am thinking. In this market, while it's nice to be a guru, I also need to broaden my skills to stay employed.
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  13. Geezer
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    #12
    Interesting point. I'm not sure where I want to go. I was told Voice is a good route, as a former instructor said "people need to talk". I'm intrigued by security, but was told that the field is 1. hard to break into, and 2. getting flooded with people going in that area. But a guy I work with said they're in huge demand (he's in that field). Honestly, I could be content as a server admin, as much as a WAN guy. I guess that I just need to figure out where I want to go, but felt that having some server knowledge/certs wouldn't hurt.
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  14. Senior Member
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    #13
    FWIW - when I finished my CCNA I started receiving offers 20% higher than my previous JOAT positions. MSP's love cisco guys even if you are mediocre on the windows side.. (and no offense to the MS guys) but generally MS/General IT guys arent very network savvy outside of network+

    example is that I've worked for a few MSP's now and while they have great windows/exchange guys.. the network side is "all a mystery" to them, or they have incorrect understanding of how traffic flows etc.. then again if you asked me how to cluster 5 exchange servers and optimize it.. I'd have to get back to you on that Everyone has their niche.
    Last edited by TheNewITGuy; 06-19-2013 at 02:31 PM.
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  15. Geezer
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    #14
    You're probably right. Having my CCNP, especially if I have some of the other tracks as well as R&S, is probably more valuable than just CCNA and Server. Probably spinning my wheels, and I'd have to start at the bottom on the server route.
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  16. Geezer
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    #15
    Quote Originally Posted by howiehandles View Post
    Interesting point. I'm not sure where I want to go. I was told Voice is a good route, as a former instructor said "people need to talk". I'm intrigued by security, but was told that the field is 1. hard to break into, and 2. getting flooded with people going in that area. But a guy I work with said they're in huge demand (he's in that field). Honestly, I could be content as a server admin, as much as a WAN guy. I guess that I just need to figure out where I want to go, but felt that having some server knowledge/certs wouldn't hurt.
    I'll be honest too, $$ is a huge factor. I've been playing around with the CCNA stuff that I'm almost sick of it. Thankfully, Jeremy Cioara could make grass growing sound fun. Thinking I'll stay the Cisco route, and dabble in MS after NP.

    Thank you everyone for the advice.
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  17. Senior Member
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    #16
    Depends on what you like doing. Staring at a command line all day sound fun? Cisco or linux is for you! Though, CCNA voice is a different story.

    I have a CCNA, nearly an MCITP:EA and plenty of linux/bsd experience. MS skills are in extremely high demand while cisco, not so much. I don't have a CCNP or IE so I cannot comment but CCNA never paid much when I was looking at those positions. About 55k was the top pay. If you really like Cisco then a CCNP probably pays about equally to an MCSE and is probably about an equal amount of study/work. I hear all the money is in Cisco voice, but in my experience it might take months and months to find a good paying job with Cisco while with MS its almost instant due to ubiquitous demand.

    I have a friend who works AT cisco and they paid for him to train and take his CCNA. He still makes $18/hr.
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  18. Senior Member
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    #17
    it really depends on the market. Here there used to be cisco jobs but they've dried up. MS jobs too are harder and harder to come by. So for Pay? lets break it down:

    in this area for helpdesk you're looking at

    $12-$18/hr doing Windows Support via Phone
    $18-$25/hr doing deskside support , but more so the $18 range
    $22-$26/hr doing Cisco CCNA type work

    Thats for FTE with actual businesses.. on the MSP side different story. I worked for a Cisco VAR doing CCNA level work and made $24.00/hr hourly.. once I moved into a VM/Windows/Cisco style JOAT role I jumped to $65-$70K salaried, all with just a CCNA, (no MS certs) and experience (and a sweet line of BS...)

    I've seen VMWare spots posted for like 7+ yrs exp + MS + Cisco + everything and paying $110K a year too...

    YMMV, but thats how it breaks down here.
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  19. Member
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    #18
    So where is "here"?
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  20. Senior Member
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    #19
    Western NY area.
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  21. Member
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    #20
    Thanks. Reason for asking is I'm in the RTP NC area and that's similar to the situation here as far as the pay scale. Jobs are available.
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  22. Senior Member
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    #21
    Sure, no problem. I was thinking at one point taking a job with a larger corp but it would require a 20K pay cut.. ugh.. the market here doesnt support the salaries, but then again the CoL is cheap.
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