I have a good friend who is looking to make a career change. Her current field of expertise is as an Education Consultant and Computer Technology Teacher. She has an interest and background in technology and is thinking of obtaining a Microsoft Certification this year. I am not familiar with all of the options and am looking for advice as to which ones she should consider.
On first consideration, it seems that one of the two training certifications (MCT or MCLC) would be right up her alley. She may be better off in the long run to pursue one of the IT Professional certifications (MCTS, MCITP, MCDST, MCSA, MCDBA, MCSE, or MTA).
She has the opportunity to take a course at a very low price. So cost is less of a concern. I realize that first off she needs to pick an area that she is interested in and has some aptitude. I would like to be able to help her narrow the list down based on how long it takes to get the certification and what the current job market/demand is for the job.
Given her personal situation, she would prefer a job that requires little travel outside her home city of San Diego. Overnight trips to Northern California are OK, she just can't be traveling for weeks at a time.
Here are my questions:
1. What are the hot areas right now? Is it in security, database, systems, training or something else? Which ones are most in demand today?
2. Do all these certifications require the same amount of training, or are some easier/quicker to get than others?
2b. Related to the above is which certificates do not require any prior certifications?
3 Once you have a certification, how do most people find work? Is it through a temp agency specializing in IT, or is it independently, or do you get hired full-time by a company?
4. Finally, any information on salary ranges or hourly rates would be greatly appreciated.
Ideally, it would be great if I could get answers from a few people on this. Thanks so much for your help! I know I am asking a lot and I wish I could assign 2,000 points to this question.