Certification Question

I'm trying to get input from cisco fans and microsoft fans as I'm evaluating the following:

I've been removed from IT for a few years after period of doing web development. I'm looking to get a few certifications to signify that being away from things didn't hamper my ability in the network admin area and also relearn all the ins and outs. It could also help with a better job down the road.

The question revolves around Network+, CCNA, and MCSA 2003 (70-290,

70-291, and 70-270).

Let me cover each one individually.

1) Network+. I thought that getting this one would give me a good foundation, and I had actually considered it before I was told about the CCNA and how much weight it would carry (of course this was from a CISCO employee). I have the study guides for this test but I'm wondering if I should hold off on this one.

2) CCNA. As I stated before, I was told that this would be a really good one to get. I was basically told that when cisco is hiring someone they won't hardly look at you unless you have a MCSA and CCNA (take it for what it's worth).

3) MCSA 2003. In my current environment, this would probably do the most good. I'm in state government and they are usually behind the curve on moving to the latest and greatest, so going for the new certs probably won't do me any good at this point.

Given the info I've presented above, what should be the path I take?

Which one should I do first? Should I eliminate the Network+ cert and only use the books for ref?


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You may wish to investigate what your competition has been doing.

Cisco Resumes:

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Brad Reese on Cisco Network World Magazine Cisco Subnet

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I'd do the Net+ thing last. I would submit that if you earn the CCNA the Net+ is moot.

The CCNA will take a solid month (usually) of reading, simulations, and constant immersion. If you have a couple routers at home, that's a big help for working out the sims...otherwise the sim software that comes with the Cisco books is fine too.

I have been a WAN/LAN manager in the past but spent the last 7 years working in software...lost my job so I am in the midst of accumulating certs. My WAN/LAN experience was with Bay, Northern, 3COM, and a little Cisco gear...so it's been a steep learning curve sort of.

I have Comptia A+ hardware and OS, testing for CCNA next Tuesday (30 days of study study study)...will take Security+ in June, Server+ in July, and Linux+ in August...In Sept I will begin working on my CCNP/CCSP/CCVP courses....my soon to be new employer pays for the training!

I hope to have my Project Management cert and an AAS in Network Security for local community college by the end of 2008. I figure I have three years to finish the next Cisco level.

I am an old dog, relearning old tricks.

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Here is my stance on working in the IT field. I have been in networking for 10 years, designing and administrating CIsco routers and switches. In the past few years, my job has been offshored and outsourced. I have been going in and out of different contracts.

I have expanded my knowledge beyond routers and switches to the client/ server environment. Basically, understanding basic server protocols, configuration, and administration. My feeling is that if I will stay in the IT field till retirement, it will be with a small-medium company that will need an IT administrator that will perform all IT functions (helpdesk, server admin, network/internet admin).

Now to answer your question. I say work on getting your MCSA and CCNA. The CCNA will allow you to understand basic network fundamentals. The network infrastructure (routers/switches) is your foundation which allows your users to speak with servers and out to the internet. But the bulk of your day-to-day work will probably be server admin. Users want email, access to shared folders, print, and Internet access. Majority of what I just listed involves servers.


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Yea, it's funny how it all comes back to the basic IT shop.

My current plan is to get my MCSA 2003 while it's still in play in my area. I will then get my CCNA, and then possibly the Project+.

This will enable me to possibly take a step into IT management and move forward in a smaller IT shop.

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