Is it worth it? MCSE

By Raz · 28 replies
Jan 12, 2004
Post New Reply
  1. Hi all

    Just wonderin if I can get some advice on these courses...mcse, mcsa etc. How long do they take? are they hard and how much do they cost?

    Any advice would be much appreciated!


    (I got a computer science degree, and i'm interested in hardware/networking/win2000)

    Ps does anyone know any info about Anyone gone through them or heard anything about them?
  2. Greeno

    Greeno TS Rookie Posts: 281

    Length of time?....depends if you're intructor led or not, self teaching, will take months..

    Hard?....depends on your level of skill, knowledge and ease of picking things up.. some bits are dreadfully easy, some however, are not ;)

    Cost?... instructor led courses, ran by companies such as Azlan and people like that could set you back up2 £6000 (from last look) but they do deals for people not doing it through companies.. otherwise <£200 on books should see you through.
  3. ak_in_charge

    ak_in_charge TS Rookie Posts: 119

    The test and courses are hard and very time consuming and fairley costly, so my advice would be, when you do decide which route you are going to take, dedicate yourself to it and don't underestimate the material cause its to much time and money not to take it seriously.

    Good luck, hope you do well!!;)
  4. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,276   +461

    You will have to be driven to complete it ... that's for sure. I went the self paced route - and did it fairly quickly. I did the core in 10 weeks then took my time on my electives, but some of those nights I didn't sleep at all - just stayed up all night studying with some buddies. I lived in #MCSE on several irc servers and asked lots of questions. It also helped that I had my own domain set up at home. I believe the test prices have gone up to $150/test now from $125 - prolly about the same in euro. Only thing is I don't know how helpful it would be in the european economy - my bet is Phant would have a good idea on that.
  5. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    Any learning that you do is worth it if you come away from it knowing more than you did before you started.

    The MSCE is probably a good place to start - its pitched at a reasonably high level but has simple examples, lessons, etc to follow. I've done quite a few of these and found them to be rewarding enough, although I would point out that there are plenty of people who are MSCE qualified and don't have a clue.

    That is because you need to back these things up with experience. You need to work on an actual Active Directory that's on a live LAN, you need to see these kinds of problems first hand, and learn how to solve them. That's also very important.

    All in all, I count my MSCE stuff as just a part of the big melting pot of all of my computer knowledge. And you should look upon it in the same way too. Its the beginning, not the end.
  6. Raz

    Raz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 37


    thx for all the replies! If I do actually start it then i'm pretty sure i'll stick it through. Of course, if I get a job before then, i might not...

    many thanks anyway

  7. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    even if you do get a job, you have to keep learning. never stop. never stand still. you can't in this game...
  8. BrownPaper

    BrownPaper TS Rookie Posts: 407

    phantasm is right. the more you know, the more useful you will be to where you work at. when it comes to computers (and possibly other careers), you can never know enough.
  9. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    Yeah... to be honest, all of these things (Cisco and Microsoft Certs, Programming in C#, Java, etc, learning SQL and Oracle, Sybase, etc.....) are worth something.

    Of course there's stuff in an MCSE that's worth doing. There's SO much stuff to learn if you have not done anything like that at all. If you can't get hands on experience, in fact, then I positively INSIST on some kind of certification.

    Just, don't become a paper engineer. Practice what you have learned and try to look at it from all sort of practical and theoretical perspectives.

    And once you have mastered something, move on. Never rest on your laurels and always hunger for more and more...
  10. Raz

    Raz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 37

    yeah, thats one of the problems. Employers look for experience AND a degree/qual....and a lot of people only have one. It's all about getting your foot in somewhere and working your way up i guess...

    I will start with the mcse, but sometime in mid year tho

    thanks guys

  11. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    Actually, there are a large number of IT people that don't have a degree. Experience is at the top of the list for employers. Certifications come next, and a degree comes after that. Degrees are helpful when wishing to advance beyond a technical post into more managment oriented positions, so if that is what an employer is looking for, then a degree will certainly help.
  12. Raz

    Raz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 37

    cant argue with that, I've found that alot of non IT jobs (civil service, managment etc) only ask for a degree in any discipline, but most IT jobs require at least 6months-1year exp since it's more practical than theory.

    oh wot fun...
  13. Per Hansson

    Per Hansson TS Server Guru Posts: 1,959   +217

    A small warning on Microsoft tests, they can ask some very strange questions, that you will not really have a need for in real life and therefore do not consider important to learn... Like the 15 or whatever improvments from NT4 to NT5 in DHCP and stuff like that...

    They also do lots of "company x has NT4 deployed and want to switch to 2K, how should they plan" etc etc...
  14. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    Generally, I've found that employers at my stage of the game (currently UNIX analyst) are much more interested in who I am and what I have done, rather than what kinds of pieces of paper I have.
  15. TS | Thomas

    TS | Thomas TS Rookie Posts: 1,319

    How does A+ compare with MSCE anyway? There's a few places locally I can do that course & may do just for the sake of it (Though I've being doing that a lot lately, heh). I've a vague idea what it is from the ads & all, but it is actually worthwhile or just some sort of, well done, you can setup a PC & fix basic problems, please leave.
  16. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    I am not knocking learning - quite the reverse, its IMPOSSIBLE to be in the computing game without constant, unending learning.

    But chasing bits of paper isn't always the best tactic. A much better solution is to concentrate on having a working, practical knowledge of these technologies as opposed to just passing exams in them. You will forget 99% of stuff from an exam unless you use it in your job or something.

    That said, if you have NO EXPERIENCE, and are looking to get into the computing game, you could jump start yourself a little by at least passing a single MSCP exam in Windows 2000 Server or something, just to have something to offer a prospective employer in terms of proof that you aren't a total charlatan.

    But don't let that fool you into thinking that there isn't a whole army of "paper engineers" out there. There is. I am truly sick to death of meeting people who have these qualifications and don't have the first clue about PCs, operating systems, security, network administration, support techniques, etc.
  17. Raz

    Raz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 37

    Yeah I understand, had people with me in my degree that didn't know computing basics but were getting good grades coz they memorised *stuff*. Although I've got a degree and no commerical experience, I am pretty good with hardware and can troubleshoot most problems...or at least narrow them down to specifics. It's just trying to get that across to employers...
  18. Per Hansson

    Per Hansson TS Server Guru Posts: 1,959   +217

    Thomas; A+ is considered "kids stuff"

    If you have such an exam some companies might actually look down on you (if you do not complement it with a CNE or MCSE)
  19. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    What I could recommend is some kind of system support job that lets you do desktop support with software and hardware, and will in the fullness of time afford you the chance to work with the servers, be they windows 2000 (or 2003), Novell or UNIX.

    Try to learn stuff about routers and switches, DHCP, DNS, etc as well - i.e. hard core networking stuff.

    Try to develop a "global" approach where you attack the world of computing on several different vectors - hardware, software, networking and programming.

    I should think about 3-5 years in such a job is good, probably 5 is too long so about 3 is probably best to really get a complete handle on what's going on - that is, if its a medium to large business, with a reasonable sized network, which is what you want. Avoid little firms unless they have really good work to offer (or, at least, if you wind up in such a place don't stay for 3 years and try to find something else right away....)

    Try some courses or read some books in some differing areas. But for the first part, you should be getting into some kind of networking to compliment your hardware and software experience. Get good at installing workstations for people and learn to do it fast. Get good at answering questions and in solving desktop problems very quickly and professionally.
  20. Raz

    Raz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 37

    As it happens, i'm not bad at networking, built a few networks here and there, using hubs/routers/bridges etc. Hopefully I'll get a foot in somewhere, but seriously thanks for the tips. Sent off a few applications, lets see what happens!

    pretty strange to say...but i'd rather be back at college.
  21. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    Oh, your serious learning does not really begin properly until you are in a job.

    I think you have the required skills to start marketting yourself as a smart computer guy, hopefully for some kind of system support role.

    Look upon this is a rung on the ladder and not a final resting place. Its just part of your journey.
  22. Raz

    Raz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 37

    good advice

    thanks Phantasm :grinthumb

  23. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    Now all you have to do is communication your enthusiasm to potential employers.

    When you meet them, shake their hand and tell them all about how committed your are to making a life for yourself in the computing industry. If you are asked if you can do something, either say you do know (if you do) or that you are learning or can learn. Ensure that they know only too well about your passion for computing and your enthusiasm for the job.
  24. Raz

    Raz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 37

    Thats one of the problems - getting to the interview stage. Admitedly its only been a while, and I have recieved some positive feedback but I just need that special something in my app forms etc.

    p.s. sorry i keep bugging you :)
  25. TS | Thomas

    TS | Thomas TS Rookie Posts: 1,319

    Haha, thanks for the honesty Phantasm :) Guess I may find something else to do (Updated ECDL or another MOUS exam) for a while.

Similar Topics

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...