New Horizons and other certification programs

By tom_oftheplains
Jul 28, 2008
  1. Hey, all. I'm mostly a lurker here, haven't been an active community member, but the times I've dabbled with tech questions here I've always been very satisfied. That having been said, this is a review of sorts, partly because I didn't know where else to post this thread.

    First, the review portion: if some of you are looking for an IT-related job, whether it be tech/desktop support, server administration, etc., you may be contacted by a recruiter from an IT learning center called New Horizons.

    Short review, for the short attention span folks: Run. Run away. Really fast. Do not look back.

    Detailed interview for those bored at work or nothing better to do with their time: I was, like many people, contacted by NH because they said they could offer me a career in IT better than the one I was currently in. They offered me Net+, A+, MCSA, Linux+ and Certified Ethical Hacker Certification. I mean, who wouldn't want to hire a bonafide hacker to protect their precious servers, right?!

    Well, it all sounded fine. And the hefty price tag ($20k) made it all seem MORE legitimate, as I thought I was paying for a really good service. Well, it turns out that I was mislead. Their classes are basically 'book reading sessions', they sign you up for a measure-up exam which, if you're taking the CompTia exam to get certified, does NOT cover a lot of the subjects in the exam. Coupled with the fact that the classes themselves serve no test-prep purpose to speak of, and all I can hear in my head is the sound of lots and lots of hundred dollar bills flushing down the toilet.

    I attempted to address these problems with the Co-Creator, Vice President and Financial Controller. They tried to convince me that these problems didn't exist, and the ones that did are minor and will be resolved.

    Then, just out of curiosity, I asked my 'student adviser' if I decided to pull out of class today, before taking any of the MCSA, Linux or CEH classes, what would my refund be? Well, the A+ (two parter) and Net+ classes all cost just shy of 2k (leaving aside the fact that I didn't pass one of the tests because the class left me woefully unprepared), so NH should only be keeping about 6k for the classes I took, right? Whoa-ho, there! Not so fast! For some unexplained reason, these 3 classes I took somehow magically cost a total of over Ten THOUSAND dollars!

    So, apart from not preparing you for your certification in whatever area you may be studying, being argumentative over whether or not a refund is deserved (and how much it should be), and wasting your time trying to convince you that they also do 'job placement' (I'm gonna take a wild guess on this one and say they - post your resume on job boards), NH was great because they put out a basket of snacks during lunch. Man, I enjoyed those mini-snickers bars, especially because I had to take public transit for two hours to get to NH, walk 15 minutes to get to the building, and now that I'm in the middle of bum**** New Jersey and can't walk to anywhere that serves food, I'm SOOOO appreciative that I get the 'fun size' Snickers. Man! 20 grand well-spent.

    Well, that about sums up my time there, and with the review I have a question: has anyone encountered a place like this before? I'm trying to get certified as an MCSA and could use some advice. I think I may have found a decent place that will provide me with the certification and training I need, but I'm a little gun shy after my experience with New Horizons.

    There's a place called 'Global Knowledge' which offers an 8-day boot camp that guarantees a cert in MCSA and a couple of other things. Looks promising; hopefully they'll be legit. They're certainly cheaper.

    Which brings me to ask: to all those IT pros working today, how important is certification? Any advice, anecdotes or animus, please post. Thanks!
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

  3. tom_oftheplains

    tom_oftheplains TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 21

    Thanks for posting that. I looked into it, and it's similar to what Global Knowledge offers: train with them, take the exams during the training, and if you mess up you get a free re-try on each of the tests. That's what I found out too late about New Horizons - if you mess up on a test, you have to pay for your next one out-of-pocket.
  4. dtooth71

    dtooth71 TS Rookie

    I think certs are imporatant as they enhance your skills so if you are seriious about a career in IT, certs can only help/
  5. tom_oftheplains

    tom_oftheplains TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 21

    Oh, I absolutely agree. In fact, it was the certifications I got through Global Knowledge that helped me get my current job. But the danger is this - since certifications are SO important, there are plenty of unscrupulous people out there who would capitalize on that by charging outrageous sums of money for 'training', and whether or not you actually get your cert depends solely upon your ability to study, not their ability to teach.

    Sadly, New Horizons is one of those.
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