Posted on 2014-09-09
Last Modified: 2014-09-29
I have put questions about certifications up here before and have received some good advice.  I am going to try 1 more time and see what people think before I choose a path to go.  I'm out thinking myself on which ones to go for.  I have about 5 years as an Network Administrator.  Self taught basically.  Was under a guy for about 8 months and then they gave the job to me and I scrambled to keep everything going well.  I am intermediate on most things.  Jack of all trades.  Master of none.  More of an IT guy who babysits everything once it is place.  I am wondering if I should go for A+, Network+, Security+ comptia certifications or go the Microsoft way and get MCSA by taking the 3 exams that are for Windows Server 2008/2012?  Which would be better for someone who has intermediate knowledge of a network and servers?  Which ones are more highly looked upon?  Just need some guidance on this.  I need to get started.
Question by:mkramer777
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Expert Comment

ID: 40313146
Hi mkramer777,
I've seen questions just like yours through the years regarding which certs to go for etc and the first thing I would say is there really is no right or wrong answer but I'll give you what I have experienced and seen through the many years I've been in IT regarding this topic.

First off, one thing I would suggest is to go for what interests you the most, whether its Cisco, MS, or the A+, Network+, Security+ route regardless of the certifications, this will give you more joy and satisfaction than any certs or going for whats hot in IT, because that changes  pretty frequently.

In my opinion, certifications are a good thing to have but they in no way trump experience, which wins all the time. If you go into a interview with certs on your resume it looks good that you took the effort to study and learn them but the end result is that you need to know how to solve problems and come up with solutions. Certifications also change and expire over time so if you want to keep certified you have to keep studying and paying for the exams to keep up. There are professionals in our field that have no certifications but experience and are doing good as well.

Being that you're a jack of all trades you probably and with the two different tracks your considering I would l probably go the MS route since its more specific technology than generalized like the A+, Network+, Security+. Remember though that exams change with the technology and whats hot today can go pretty cool a year later or so.

Author Comment

ID: 40313201
I thought of going the MS route.  If I took the cert exams for server will that show to other businesses that I know something about networking and servers or just servers?  I guess what I mean is do you learn some of the things that you are taught studying for the Network+ and Security+ exams when you take the MS exams?

1 more question.  Which of the certification paths would make me be able to come into a business situation and sit down and understand what is going on and get to work?  This is what I mean.  It seems like the Comptia certs are more of a "why" things are in IT, and the MS certs are a "how."  Do you thing this is accurate?  I want certs that show me how.

Accepted Solution

tolinrome earned 500 total points
ID: 40313223
Now I can see you may be over thinking it just a bit.

"do you learn some of the things that you are taught studying for the Network+ and Security+ exams when you take the MS exams?"

When you go the MS route you will already (which you mention you do with the 5 years experience), need to know networking and maybe a little security. So if you have the MS exams then the company youre working (or interviewing) with will know that you have a good basic networking background. On the other hand if you went the Network+ and Security+ you wouldnt know of course the MS course but you would know networking and security on a more in depth level.

Yes, I would generally agree that the Comptia exams are more of a "why", in the sense that it is more logical. The MS certs I would say are more about concepts and you need to think through scenarios. Although on each cert path you can expect a little of both. I havent taken any MS exams in quite a while either.
In the end I would say go for what you like and interests you the most regardless of any certs.
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 40313629
I will go along with that.  ^
Though I think a better description would be that CompTIA is more about keeping the "physical" side of things humming along, and MS is more about the "nooks and crannies" of the Server OS, to keep the USERS happy and off your butt.

In your case, I wouldn't worry about the A+. That's more if you were a "bench-tech" (after almost 20 yrs of letting smoke out of systems, I went and got mine last year).    : D
LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 40313647
As a network you anticipate managing more data hitting your servers and users through your network or are you dealing with a static workplace...??

Author Comment

ID: 40314465
Not sure what you (10023) mean?
LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 40315836
Please Excuse my comment...
I can't help but think that your job as a network administrator would be answering that question for you...
I was trying to find out the size and traffic load on your network......If you are managing a large busy network you are in a position to get experience that very few people in technology will ever experience......good bankable documented experience that would provide you with the answer to your own question.

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