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Cheap training/cert. alternatives?

By privately_owed ·
Is $1000 or more too much to pay to get training and a basic vendor certification? What cheaper alternatives are there for classroom training, or even for the certifications themselves? Anyone have any ideas or input on how to cut some cost out of getting certified?

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Experience is more important

by svobodatl In reply to Define cheaper

I agree with the approach of using on-the-job experience, reading, and taking practice tests to get ready for cert. You do not need to spend a lot of money. What good is your cert going to do if you don't have the knowledge that comes with experience?

Employers want more than someone who can spout solutions from a book. YOUR real world solutions may be very different from what you've read in books or learned in school. The book and classroom environment is usually in an ideal setting, and while the real world IS usually that way too(HA! HA! HA!), you need to be able to figure things out in a less than ideal environment.

Anyway, if you would like to get a certification, go to They give free or very low priced exams that you can take online, and they will give you a certificate for every passed exam. This doesn't mean that you are certified by Microsoft, but you are certified by Brainbench. The cert is good for 1 year. After the one year, you will need to take the cert test again to remain certified by Brainbench. This may sound disappointing, but with the way the world works now, your MS certification will probably only be good for 2 or 3 years. Look at all the NT certified people - now they can spend more money to get certified in 2000.

Look at what you spend for certification and try to estimate how much of a salary increase you are going to need in order to cover your costs. If the salary increase you'll get isn't going to be enough that youcan pay yourself back within 1 year (2 at the VERY most), then I think it's too much money spent.

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by tcochran In reply to Experience is more import ...

I believe the question was whether there is a cheaper way to acquire certifications, not whether experience is a better solution. Of course, experience is better. However, lets answer the posted question.

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by Shanghai Sam In reply to Ummmmm....

That was a very insightful and helpful reply. Thanks!

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by topbudgetcomputers In reply to Cheap training/cert. alte ...

Certification is well worth it, even with higher college degrees. I have a Masters, and a PhD in engineering discipline. Due to age I have had difficulty obtaining employment. I therefore went for computing certification. I studied A+ and am on the verge of finishing N+ certification. I then intend to go further.
I HAVE NOT PAID A SINGLE PENNY for my studies, only for the exams. All the material is available in books and on line. The best site that I found for help and advice including all kinds of FREE course material was It is a brilliant site for the aspiring and well worth the visit.
You can guarantee your certification by browsing and following links to course materials.
Another good site is Unfortunately, it is in PDF format and the printing facility has been disabled, but, you can save the material and read it off line.
Good luck

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Hard to get Real World Experience

by jeffrey_worley In reply to

I agree that real world experience is better than certification, but the problem is how to get REAL world experience when you are fresh out of school. I have fould it extremely hard to find an employer willing to intern or coop a student in programming. I would love to be able to snag an entry level Java programming position, but with an A.S. in Computer Technology from Purdue, I have not been able to secure one yet. In my case, I really don't think a certification would be ideal. But, I have also checked out a few sites regarding certification, and seems to be the best. They have a lot of summary-type exam-crams to let you know what you need to study, especially for Oracle DBA's!!

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by Shanghai Sam In reply to Hard to get Real World Ex ...

I don't get it either. People who has certificate and fresh out of college and people who doesn't have certificate but have alot of experience and both are having problem getting a high pay job. If they do usually entry level. got paper butno experience. Oh.. you got experience but no paper. Oh... you got both but can't afford you 'cause you over qualify.@#%&*!@#*&^%!???

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by Shanghai Sam In reply to

That is precisely my point.

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Maybe try going to "them"

by Shanghai Sam In reply to Hard to get Real World Ex ...

Getting real world experience can be tough, and often you might have to take a job that is "beneath" your education level to get a foot in the door. I am currently working in my company's Program/Web Development shop. I started there 3 years ago when I took a temp position to help install 800 computer systems. All I did is sit and load software all day and configure mailboxes and printers for a month. But it just so happened that 3 people in the IT department got fired, and I was just in the right place at the right time. So that's one way to get experience - sign up at a temp agency (but don't pay them a dime to do so - the employers who use them pay them) and stress your education/experience with computers.

Another way to gain experience is to create your own - if you want to get experience developing, start doing it. Write your own programs. Look around for new businesses opening up in your area. Offer them your services of doing their web pages at a really cheap price or free. Check out churches - see if they would like a web page. Mention that many of their parishoners have web access who would love to see the church's activities published, and it can be a great advertising tool for people who are looking for a church. Ifyou are going the hardware route, get your name out there. Fix peoples' computers for free, or again, at a really low price. I do a 30 minute free diagnostic and then charge $20 an hour for "business" customers as opposed to friends or family - those I do for free. Many non profit organizations need web pages or computer work done too. Look them up in the phone book and try to look up a web site for them. If you can't find a website, well - there you go. Into Networking? Build a network at homeand then break and fix it repeatedly :). Sometimes companies who are doing a technology refresh will sell their old systems for really cheap. Check out computer equipment auctions.

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by Shanghai Sam In reply to Maybe try going to "them"

While you are gaining this experience, document it. Document your programs well; get screen shots of your forms, reports and web pages; diagram your networks to include infrastructure, number of users supported, and software used. Annotate every single piece of software that you have experience with. Get reviews and letters of recommendation from your customers. Package your experience in a nice portfolio. When you go to an employer for an interview, you will have "product" to show them vice chronological job experience on your resume. Your portfolio will say what your resume may not - "Here's what I can do for you." Who knows? Once you start working on your own, you might not even need to worry about working for someone else.

The workwill pay off! You can advance so fast that those months of toiling won't seem so bad at all. Good luck!


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Try going to them is correct

by Shanghai Sam In reply to Maybe try going to "them"

I belive this user is correct in the way to aquire real life experience. I am doing this by being a volunteer at The World Impact Center in St.Louis,MO. I am getting alot of knowledge and at the same time helping that organization.
I don't belive that this will help get certified, but it will lead you down the road as to what your strenghs are, as well as your weaknesses.
Good luck. OH, by doing this it has opened up the door for some job opportunities that I don't believe would have come if I was sitting at home wishing I has the money to get certified.

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