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Need some advice on what certification to get.  I am a self taught Network Administrator/Do a little of everything IT guy.  One man shop of about 50 employees.  We use server 2008 R2 and I do about 90% of the IT work.  I have not gotten into programming the routers or installing the equipment that connects our 2 offices together.  Do all hardware installation and repair.  Babysit the server and our accounting system and IP phone system.  Basic Net Admin stuff.  I would consider myself intermediate in terms of IT knowlede.  Been  doing this for about 6 years.  Question is, I would like to get some certifications just to be more comfortable with IT and to have some credentials if I ever leave this job.  I was wondering what path to go down.  Should I just get comptia A+, Network +, Server + and that would be the best or should I go the Microsoft direction?
Don't really know what topic to add this to in EE.
IT AdministrationMiscellaneous

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Lee W, MVP

8/22/2022 - Mon
Steven Carnahan

If you are just going after your basic certs I would add Security + to the list. If you are really wanting to position yourself for the future you need to decide what path you really want to pursue. Do you want to get into the networking hardware end or stay with the computer side. If you decide on the computer side then I would consider starting with Microsoft. If you want the networking side then go with Cisco certification.
Jon Covalt

The CompTIA certifications aren't bad to have, but they tend to be ones you use for lower-end jobs (help desk). If you feel that you need certifications, as you might be looking for other employment, the Microsoft ones are probably your best bet based on your existing experience.

The biggest problem you're going to run into, though, is that the Server 2008 certifications are going to be going away before too much longer; according to Microsoft, those certifications (MCITP) are being retired in July of this year, so you don't have much time to take the exams unless you want to do the Server 2012 tests and get the MCSA/MCSE instead.
Lee W, MVP

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Steven Carnahan


While I agree for the most part I do still see many managers very insistent about certs. I personally feel that real world experience is more important. I have worked with people with what I call book experience and they get lost when something doesn't follow the book which is usually the case.

Having said that, I have a manager that is insistent on his employees getting certs. He always includes as one of the goals on their review that they take at least one job related class a year working towards certs.
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Walt Forbes

We have Win 2008 Server R2 in house.  Would it be wise for me to study for 2012 because 2008 might expire?  Would there be a huge difference in 2008 and 2012?  Would be nice to study with the OS I have here.
Lee W, MVP

Inexperienced managers perhaps.  But I've met plenty of people who can boast certification and they are technological idiots I would never hire.  Any manager with IT experience should understand the difference between experience and certification and the certification should be of minimal importance.  

That said, if you work/want to work for a consulting company, THEY can reasonably require certs as they want to use it as a point to clients who don't know better.  "All our techs are fully certified, blah blah".  So I'll amend my statement and add it depends on the kind of job you expect to be looking for... IT in a business or as a consultant.

Should I go for microsoft certs in 2008 server or 2012?   I use 2008 right now and am familiar with it, but don't want to get certified if it will go away because of 2012.  Is there a big difference in 2012 and 2008?  I have some books for 2008 that I could use to study.
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Lee W, MVP

I would expect the 2012 to last longer and having a cert one version newer or older than the current should not impact your marketability