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"Microsoft Certifications"

Table of Contents
(Just scroll down to see the text of all messages)

Microsoft Certifications, Isabow, 19:14:30, 9/06/2002
Self-paced learning, Tanja @ Words4Nerds, 20:52:30, 9/07/2002, (#1)
Classes?, David Badurina, 17:48:27, 9/08/2002, (#2)
Microsoft Certification, Unindra Sawh, 20:05:16, 9/08/2002, (#3)
Lots of Competition, Matt U., 05:42:05, 9/19/2002, (#4)
Certification, Unindra Sawh, 16:37:56, 10/04/2002, (#5)
MCSE Certs, Doug Robertson, 14:29:43, 10/10/2002, (#6)
MS Certifications, Eric , 13:38:47, 10/19/2002, (#7)
IT certification, Unindra, 00:49:48, 10/20/2002, (#8)
Bump, Isabow, 09:57:05, 11/19/2002, (#9)
Questions, Isabow, 11:40:14, 11/19/2002, (#10)
Back to the bookstore!, David Badurina, 17:00:41, 11/19/2002, (#11)
Thanks!, Isabow, 18:54:09, 11/19/2002, (#12)


"Microsoft Certifications"
Posted by Isabow on 19:14:30 9/06/2002
Does anyone know anything about Microsoft Certifications and how to obtain them online? I can't see spending $7000 on airfare, accomodations, etc. for a 5 day class. Not to mention doing that all over again for a different or continuing certification.



1. "Self-paced learning"
Posted by Tanja @ Words4Nerds on 20:52:30 9/07/2002
Hi Isabow,

There are "course kits" available to study at home at your own pace, and you can then call the nearest certified test center in your area to take the exams whenever you're ready. or any computer bookstore should have many to choose from. They're pretty expensive though from what I've seen. You'll need access to a testbed of server(s) to practice on as well, but if you know anyone that works in an IT department that should be easy enough to sort out. :^)



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2. "Classes?"
Posted by David Badurina on 17:48:27 9/08/2002

When you take a class for certification, whether it's just server administration, or data warehousing, you get very little extra in comparison to what you can find in a decent book. Especially doing it online because you're likely going to pay more for an online class than you would a book, and you're going to be sitting there and reading - just like you would do after a short trip to your local book megawarehouse. If you learn by watching someone stand in front of you and talk, by all means, but there are much cheaper alternatives out there!

Check out these sites for some help in studying: (good free newsletter) (plenty of free stuff to help like "questions of the day") (home of the hands-down best simulated tests and study guides ever made for certification)

In general, the quality cert books by Microsoft will run about $50-$150 (depending on what you're looking to certify in), and in some cases will come with a free trial version of Server and Client software. I have full versions of 2000 Advanced Server, Server, and Client because of the testing I need to do before rolling out a database for someone. I'm sure I have a trail version or three of Win2K lying around somewhere so if you'd like one, let me know and I'll do my best to rummage and uncover to send to you (sorry, I don't have XP stuff).

Tanja is 100% on target when she says you'll need a testing environment. I was able to do every exercise I encountered by having two PCs hooked up with a simple network running from a 10/100 5-port switch that I picked up for 50 bucks.

If you don't have access to two PCs then you run into a logistical problem because as much as you can learn by going through a book it's just not going to be the same unless you do it hands on (much like real life!). That's when it sinks in.

My advice? Save the 5K or so per class and do it the old fashioned way.

Good luck!

David Badurina
Custom Database Design and Expert On Demand


3. "Microsoft Certification"
Posted by Unindra Sawh on 20:05:16 9/08/2002
Hi Isabow

If you have $7000.00 to spend why not get three cheap computer buy the mcse study guides and the microsoft software (windows 2000 Pro, server) and setup your own lab at home. You can set up a server and two workstations and test out different settings like DNS, DHCP etc. It will be a lot cheaper and you will learn a lot more by reading and setting up your home network as you go. Just an idea.




4. "Lots of Competition"
Posted by Matt U. on 05:42:05 9/19/2002
I am Microsoft certified, and have been so for a few years. Until a year or so ago, one could make a lot of money with a Microsoft certification and a little experience. Since the .com bubble burst, the poor state of the economy, and 9/11/01, the IT market is trashed. Open positions are significantly less, and salaries are 1/3 to 1/2 of what they were 1-2 years ago. As the job market is more competitive, employers are now looking for specialists with 5-10 years of experience whereas 2 years ago they were only looking for 3-5 years of experience.

I am not trying to discourage you, but just letting you know what the competition out there is like. Go ahead and self-study (preferably getting some hands-on as others have suggested) and when you feel you are ready, take the exams. ONLY take the exams when you are ready, as MS exams are now $125 each. Once you get the hang of the MS systems, figure out what area of networking you want to get into. Lots of people out there know the basics of MS networking. Like any other business, you need to set yourself apart. To do this, figure out if you like to program (VB, C, etc.), work with databases (Access, SQL, Oracle, etc.), work eith E-Mail servers (Exchange 5.5/2000), network security, etc. Once you decide on how you want to specialize, go out and learn all that you can about your area of specialization, then PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!

Later on, you may want to branch out into other certifications like Cisco, Oracle, Citrix, Security, Linux, etc. Having multiple vendor certifications further sets you apart from the crowd, and proves you are "well-rounded" and thus a "force multiplier" for a potential employer (they can hire one person with multiple talents rather than several people to do several things). In this economy, employers are looking for "jacks of all trades". To be successful, that's what you need to do.

Best of Luck! If you need any further information or advice, feel free to contact me.

Matt Unger, MCSE, MCP+I, CCA


5. "Certification"
Posted by Unindra Sawh on 16:37:56 10/04/2002
Hi Isabow,

If you are going to go into the IT field try to get a wide range of certifications and experience like comptia's A+ and Network + certifications which teaches you to build repair and upgrade computer and how to put together your own network. Then move on to MCSE which is basically managing a domain based network. Then move on to CISCO, CCNA, CNP which deals with internetworking like connecting remote sites. It also help to have some programming background like C, C, COBAL and a little webdesign like HTML, PERL, PHP, MYSQL,and SQL wouldn't hurt. Also try go get as much experience as you can. Build your friend and neighbors computers and networks. Volunteer at your chuch help them with their network. Once you have the certifications and the experience to back it up you should be ok finding a job. Don't let people tell you it impossible to find a job in IT. Yea the job market is tough but if you really try you can do it. If you only have one skill yea it would be hard but if you have a wide range of skills you shoud be ok.

Unindra Sawh


6. "MCSE Certs"
Posted by Doug Robertson on 14:29:43 10/10/2002

When I got my NT 4.0 Certification I used a Training Center. Having a live instructor explain the concepts and lead the labs was a big help. They often have stories from the real world or know to stress cetain concepts that will definately be on the exams. Setting up your own home network is a good idea too.

The Exam Cram books are the best. The Transcender test simualations are invaluable. Also check out for sample questions.

It is important to understand the the concepts than just know the answers to the questions, especially when you are faced with a crashed server and 400 frustrated users!

I agree with the previous poster who said the field isn't what it used to be, but with the certs and some luck you might find something.


7. "MS Certifications"
Posted by Eric on 13:38:47 10/19/2002
As someone said previously, remember to consider whether or not you're going to be able to do anything in the future.

MS Certified people are a dime a dozen right now. Most of the certification places turn out paper MSCE's, which can't troubleshoot their way out of a paper bag.

You would be better off to get a job starting on a help desk somewhere, and work your way up...starting with IP communication.

Good luck!

LanRx Network Solutions, Inc.


8. "IT certification"
Posted by Unindra on 00:49:48 10/20/2002
I still think the best way to go is to selflearn. Get the books, operating systems. Get two or three computers, a switch/hub/router and setup your own mini network. Don't just study to pass the exam. Study so you will be able to trouble shoot problems in the real world. Install the operating systems. Try upgrading from a different operating system. Install tcp/ip etc. Setup NT, Unix, solaris machines and try to get them to talk to each other. Try setting up different subnets and have one machine on each subnet and have them talk to each other. I believe you learn more on your own than to have an instructor. I don't like being lectured to I learn more by doing but that's just my views. Besides I think it's a waste of money to pay $7000.00 for just MCSE when you can get a degree for that amount. Also try some programming c, c and some webdesign like HTML,javascript, php, mysql.




9. "Bump"
Posted by Isabow on 09:57:05 11/19/2002
I still need to read over this thread again. Bumping it up to keep it from getting "dishwashed".



10. "Questions"
Posted by Isabow on 11:40:14 11/19/2002

I perused the bookstore last night and came across the certification books for 2000 and XP. The corporation I work for just rolled to 2000 from being on XP.

Which platform would be more beneficial to certify in right now? As I understand it, you can't upgrade from 2000 to XP and vice-versa, is that correct? So if a client has 2000, you will need to completely erase 2000 to install XP if that's what the client desires? I have tons of questions on this. I hope I don't get on anyone's nerves.


P.S. If my test bed is for 2000, how can I convert to an XP test bed if I want to go for that certification later on?


11. "Back to the bookstore!"
Posted by David Badurina on 17:00:41 11/19/2002
Hi Isabow,

There's usually a small army of certification books, so be sure to take long looks and compare to find the one that suits you best. I've been working with Microsoft applications for far too long, so for me the Microsoft Press books felt best although many people compare them to stereo instructions. (I've been assimilated into the Microsoft way of thinking! Darn that brainwashing! Pretty soon I'll GPF while making myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! - "David has caused a General Protection Fault in module SANDWICH.PBJ...")

As for 2000 and XP I'm not quite sure what to tell you. I don't use XP and I'm not familiar with running it in a server environment. I can't imagine you'd have to wipe everything off of a 2000 machine in order to get XP on, as you don't have to wipe a 98 machine to upgrade to 2000 (you will not be able to take advantage of native disk formats and such, but you can still do it - that's the kind of system I'm typing on right now as a matter of fact).

As far as converting testing environments this may sound a little oversimplified, but I'd just keep formatting and re-writing the machines. A good portion of questions on the MS exams have to do with installations, might as well get familiar with them as you're setting up your environment. Re-install and try different options and set-ups, get very used to the different configurations (setting up stand-alone, server, remote installation, etc).

For more on XP vs. 2000, you might want to post either a different string here to grab the attention of a networking guru, or head right back to the bookstore and dig up the answer! (You're going to have to find these answers yourself to be able to pass that exam, this is a good way to get started, right?)

Good luck!

David Badurina
ReachOut. Say Something. Your Customers are Listening.


12. "Thanks!"
Posted by Isabow on 18:54:09 11/19/2002
First off, thanks to all who have posted! These have been very helpful replies!

Matt - yeah, the competition is stiff. Actually, my man and I were considering working our own business in a small town for this venture. We've been in network services with a long distance company for the past 10 years and understand the network side of the house. We'd both like to get started repairing, replacing and upgrading PC's and software. The certifications will help our understanding of PC's better and hopefully will qualify us for the type of work we want to gain a respect for from our community.

Unindra - the workstation/testbed ideas are wonderful and thank you for bringing them up. We will work on this avenue as well and see what we can come up with.

Doug - I agree! On-site training can't be beat! I'm the type of person that requires immediate answers to my questions and I usually consult a SME for it. Hopefully, we can build our community network and reputation to a point where we can call on the professionals for help. But the money for on-site training simply isn't there right now (we're adventuring with this, too).

Eric - a helpdesk job would be great! Know of any in the NC western region around Greensboro? If you hear of anything, I'll be the first to apply but the jobs there are few and far between for help desk personnel. I'd consider that a great job, tho!

Thanks again for the ideas!



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