Thinking of taking an MCSE? If the answer’s ‘yes’, there’s a good chance that you’ll fall into one of the following categories: You’re already a professional and you should formalise your skills with an MCSE certification. Alternatively this could be your first step into commercial IT, and you’ve discovered there’s lots of demand for people with the right qualifications.
During your research, you’ll hit upon training providers that lower their out-goings by failing to use the most up-to-date Microsoft version. Don’t use this type of college as it will create challenges for you at exam time. If you are studying the wrong version, it will be hard to pass. Avoid businesses who are only trying to make a sale. Ask for comprehensive, personal guidance to be sure you are on the best program for your needs. Guard against being rushed into their standard course by some pushy sales person.
Always expect an accredited exam preparation programme included in the package you choose. As the majority of IT examination boards are from the USA, you’ll need to be used to the correct phraseology. It isn’t good enough just understanding random questions – they must be in an exam format that exactly replicates the real thing. Ensure that you request some practice exams that will allow you to test your comprehension at any point. Practice exams add to your knowledge bank – so you won’t be quite so nervous at the actual exam.
One fatal mistake that potential students often succumb to is to look for the actual course to take, instead of focusing on the end result they want to achieve. Universities are stacked to the hilt with students that chose a program because it looked interesting – instead of the program that would surely get them their end-goal of a job they enjoyed. It’s a sad fact, but a large percentage of students start out on programs that sound magnificent from the syllabus guide, but which delivers a career that is of no interest at all. Just ask several college graduates for examples.
Set targets for the income level you aspire to and what level of ambition fits you. Sometimes, this affects what particular certifications will be required and what’ll be expected of you in your new role. Before you embark on a particular training programme, it’s good advice to talk through the specific market needs with a professional advisor, to make sure the learning path covers everything needed.
A lot of students assume that the traditional school, college or university path is the way they should go. So why then are commercial certificates beginning to overtake it? With the costs of academic degree’s increasing year on year, plus the IT sector’s recognition that vendor-based training most often has much more commercial relevance, we have seen a large rise in Adobe, Microsoft, CISCO and CompTIA authorised training courses that provide key skills to an employee at a fraction of the cost and time involved. Typically, only that which is required is learned. It’s slightly more broad than that, but the principle remains that students need to concentrate on the fundamentally important skill-sets (with some necessary background) – without going into too much detail in every other area (as universities often do).
The bottom line is: Commercial IT certifications give employers exactly what they’re looking for – the title is a complete giveaway: for example, I am a ‘Microsoft Certified Professional’ in ‘Designing Security for a Windows 2003 Network’. So companies can identify exactly what they need and what certifications will be suitable to deal with those needs. You should browse www.NewCareerOptions.co.uk/qncarop.html for current suggestions.
For the most part, the average IT hopeful has no idea what way to go about starting in the IT industry, or what market to focus their retraining program on. What are the chances of us grasping what is involved in a particular job if we’ve never been there? Often we don’t even know anybody who works in that sector anyway. Deliberation over several factors is essential when you need to expose a solution that suits you:
* What hobbies you’re involved with in your spare-time – these often highlight what things will give you the most reward.
* Do you want to get qualified for a certain reason – for instance, are you looking at working based at home (self-employment?)?
* Is salary further up on your priority-list than other requirements.
* Considering the huge variation that Information Technology encompasses, it’s important to be able to understand the differences.
* You’ll also need to think hard about the amount of time and effort that you will set aside for the accreditation program.
When all is said and done, the only real way of investigating all this is from an in-depth discussion with someone that has enough background to give you the information required.
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