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Choosing an IT Emphasis and Certs

By jpeterson1237 ·
Hi, I am currently a student who has had a love for IT all my life. I am in a community colleges IT/Network Administration program and I have been having troubles deciding on an emphasis to go into. My choices are Linux and Microsoft and I don't know which one is right for me. I would like to someday be a Systems, Network, or Database Admin and I don't which track will get me closest to one of these. Below is a link to PDFs with the class options; very easy to understand.

This first link is the program I am in now:
http://go.dmacc.edu/pibs/documents/inftechna.pdf

The links below go to the Database and Network Security diplomas I am considering getting after I complete my AAS.
DB: http://go.dmacc.edu/pibs/Documents/certs/dbsspecialist.pdf
NS: http://go.dmacc.edu/pibs/documents/certs/networksecuritymanager.pdf

I CAN take both the Linux and Windows tracks but I feel as if that may be a waste of time considering its an extra year of classes. The extra courses would also cost me an extra $5000 in tuition and books ($133/credit). I have a love for Linux but it's my understanding that Windows is better in the job market and it also has a special place in my heart. After completing the Microsoft or Linux track I would like to go on to get the Database diploma (if that's recommended) and then possibly the Network Security diploma. So first off I would really appreciate any advice on what emphasis to go into and which of the optional courses would suit me best for the future.

Secondly, I need help on determining what certifications are important and which are not.I know I would like to someday to get the CCNP just as a personal goal of mine. A CCIE would be even better but I feel CCNP is more realistic for the time being. So I know I will be getting the CCNA upon graduation and I also know I will be getting the Comptia A+ and Network+ to secure my first "real" IT job. The reason I say "real" is because I currently work at the campus computer labs help desk. So any recommendations on what certs I need to get a foot in the door with HR and which ones I should get to actually know my stuff would be greatly appreciated.

Lastly, I would appreciate it if anyone can sort of compare and contrast my 3 career interests. I know the IT field is going to change a lot in the next 40+ years I will be a part of the work force so I would kind of like to know what my expectations should be going into each field. I have experience with Network Security and Administration but I really don't know much about Systems Administration or Database Administration. Any advice would be greatly appreciated and I am welcome to all information you have to offer.

And to anyone who made it through all of that reading to this point I have to say you are absolutely amazing and I thank you!

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