I have one year on a 20 user static NT LAN and about one year on a 30 user DHCP W2K LAN with MSExchange. I've spent a small amount of time configuring our netopia router and our 3com NBX phone switch. I've 'built' some PC's. But where am I at really? What certifications should I be going for? I have a decent A+ book, and I could probably go and pass that within a few weeks without too much trouble, but many of the techs in this forum are pretty contemptible of A+. Should I skip the comptia's and go directly to MCSE and CCNA? Any thoughts greatly appreciated.
I would go with CompTIA first. They give you a good foundation for the MCSE and CCNA.
Here is the order I recommend:
(iNET+ is good here also)
At this point you can decide what you are really going to do. if you like Cisco you can go that route with the CCNP and CCIE. If you like systems more than stricktly networking, I recommend going with Citrix CCA then to the CCEA - plus it is easier.
When you finish this come back for more direction
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."
- Albert Einstein
If you're still a young'n, I recommend changing your career path to something other than computers, or possibly go into programming.
The market is flooded with admins and technicians, and it's only going to get worse in the next few years. As companies look to cut costs, the tech side will be the first thing they look at. Two years ago an A+ cert would get you a job for $30K round here, now an A+, MCSE and a bachelors degree all rolled into one might only get you that much, assuming you're lucky enough to get hired somewhere.
If your stuck on staying in the tech field, I'd say the above advice is a good order to proceed with the certs. Plan on getting several of them.
When I left my previous job 3 months ago to work for myself, the company I worked at had 700 resumes 3 days after placing 1 add in the newspaper. No HR person has time to scrutinize that many resumes, so of course the first thing they did was shred all the ones that didn't have the key letters on them. That still left several hundred candidates to pick from, they ended up hiring a guy for $28K, just over half of what they were paying me.
For the most part. I would get the A+ and N+ first, and possibly the server+. If you have some good experience, none of these will be too difficult and it will help in prep for the others. I still need to pass my CCNA...I missed the first time! I think the CCNA should come before the MS certs, but that's my opinion.
Thanks, everyone for your thoughts. Imaeditedbysowulo, since you want to play Devil's Advocate, how much of a market is there for programmers? I took a C++ class last year and loved it, but I would think one has to be very proficient to get a job doing that, plus a B.S. Are there any C++ certifications that I don't know about? I could go Sun Java2 but will that get me a job? I do agree with you on one point, there are a lot of Admins out there, and no one wants to pay for one, which is why I posted in the first place (what certs will help get a better job). The only reason I have my job is because I'm a pretty good ACAD user.