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  • #2092656

    Paper Certifications?


    by grmdp ·

    Good day,

    Certifications should only be available to IT professionals who are currently employed in the IT environment for at least two years — maybe more.

    It should be a “Professional Certification” to enhance the already established IT professional’s credentials.

    It should not be a paper thingy.

    How would you like to go to a “certified” nurse practitioner who has NEVER touched a patient? or a “certified” Public Accountant who has never ran the books of a company?

    Get real you IT people out there!

    We all let the money people BS us into diluting our only professional certifications down to the point where they are now almost meaningless.

    Shame on us.

    Micro Computer Coordinator

All Comments

  • Author
    • #3868559

      agreed, disagreed

      by theq ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I agree with your point here. I wouldn’t want a nurse practioner who has never touched a patient, practicing on me! They might inadvertantly cut out my spleen.

      I however also disagree with you. Sometimes the certifications are a way into IT field. Cert first, experience later. Althought it is better to get the experience, then the cert. Take A+ for example, I recently got my A+, if there was a minimum requirement of being proffesional for 2 years, I would never have been able to get my cert. as all my experience is at home. I haven’t worked for an IT company yet, so I have no credentials, other than the A+ cert now.

      Most certifications are a standard piece of paper saying that you know how to perform a certain task, wether your a pro or not! A certifiation gets dilute, and loses it professionalism as the market gets more and more populated with MCSE, CNE, CCNA, etc…

      It is a scary thought that there are people out there that have certs that dont know a damn thing about computers, but we have to give them a chance. How can they prove themselves and enhance the knowledge behind the cert, unless given the chance? Home knowledge doesnt cut it anymore.

      -Mark Carman

      • #3882325

        Learned at Home

        by jbane ·

        In reply to agreed, disagreed

        Certification for those of us who learned everything we know at home is the only way to get recognized in the IT industry. There are plenty of us home geeks that know our S*** and to say that you need 2 years experience in a professional IT envirment is BS. That is out only avenue of acceptance anymore. Home experience counts for nothing these days.

        • #3887171

          Can’t agree completely

          by walterzalewski ·

          In reply to Learned at Home

          Having different levels of certification might be better, say you have one group of certifications for those without experience. Then another for those with a certain amount of experience.

          Everyone has to keep in mind that certification means only one thing, that the person received training in a particular area. Only foolish employers are going to hire someone with only a certification and no working experience in a high level position. However, it is a good way of getting your foot in the door(entry level), as everyone has to start somewhere. Otherwise, how do you get that 2 yrs. experience if you can’t even start.

        • #3865003

          It’s not that easy

          by bmccabe ·

          In reply to Can’t agree completely

          Lets face it – Someone without experience IS NOT going to get a high-level certification such as an MCSE or CNE. A+ or an MCP is possible to get without experience, but certs such as MCSE is not going to be achieved without hands-on experience. I am currently (slowly) working my way to my MCSE and believe me – Experience helps! If someone feels that a person with a low-level cert (A+, MCP-Win 9x)is a threat, he/she should get a life!

        • #3761938

          Laughing at pompus behavior

          by gatorman ·

          In reply to It’s not that easy

          You guys all make me laugh..the discussion on who has what qualifications is ridiculous. In my short term in the IT field I have been witness to 20 yr so called pro’s who didn’t know how to look up a IP address to paper CNE’s not knowing what the default tree and context is. I also know there is a lot of smart “paperboy” and real smart pro’s with no certs at all. Who gives a rats ass…the bottom line is that 1.) serve the customer 2.) If you don’t know something ask and learn 3.) A person canknow a lot but he or she doesn’t know everything.
          So eat the weak……

        • #3875222

          Hear, Hear

          by incent ·

          In reply to Laughing at pompus behavior

          right on gatorman, experience and certification both has its place but u cant buy knowledge, u have to get in there and get it all over yr face! the whole problem is technology is in such a dynamic frenzy that both experience and certification are kinda like ‘notches on a barrel of gun’ – only good till the next kill 🙂

        • #3875093

          Are most MCSEs Theory Smart ?

          by gnx ·

          In reply to Laughing at pompus behavior

          I have about 16 years in IT. My certification is in Computer Operations on Mainframes (long ago obselete). I learned mostly everything I know about computers on the job on both the PC, AS/400 and IBM mainframe. The MCSE we have on staff asks me alot of questions about simple stuff he should already know. I am not sure if I want to even get MCSE certified as the technology is constantly changing.

        • #3865871

          MCSE Theory Smart

          by rustpicker ·

          In reply to Are most MCSEs Theory Smart ?

          Very good point Dash. I too have been in the IT industry all my adult life, starting with Mainframe Operations (while serving in the U.S. Navy) and migrating to the various platforms as they have shrunk over the years. Before I retired from the Navyin 98, I went out (with very little formal classroom trianing) and became A+ certified, and then later ACT. Because of all those years dealing with Networks and Telecom (everything from running cables drops to LAN/WAN administrator), does that makeme anything less than an IT professional? I sure hope not. Some of the best engineers I’ve ever known have zero certifications and can run circles around those that do… and do it in a very “humble” manner! IMHO, certification education is a greatfor those swtiching career fields, but it’s very expensive, and will continue to leech our pocketbooks. And I do know this… somebody out there is getting very healthy in the IT certification field, therefore, there will always be certification requirements.

        • #3833052

          Theory Smart MCSE

          by pedro sousa ·

          In reply to Are most MCSEs Theory Smart ?

          I have 7 years in IT, mainly teatching other technicians. Last year, and after a lot of years of study and experimenting, I had my exams for the MCSE. Done it all in 3 months, mainly because of some experience I had and HARD study. But reading and taking an exam doesn’t make me an expert.
          I agree certs give people a “door” to begin in IT professions, but the experience and hard work makes you good in your job.
          Something that is stuck in my trouth is that now I’ve got my cert, Microsoft forcesme to update to Win2K until the end of this year.
          So why have I spent my money and time studying for the exams, just to have to do them again…. Because my line of work makes me be certified (Have the damn paper) I have to do it…..
          Dispite this, experience and study makes you good, and IF YOU DON’T KNOW SOMETHING ASK. Nobody borns with knoledge, evebody has to learn from someone (If with a book, remember someone wrote it). So ASK, LEARN and DO IT.

        • #3851289

          No …

          by chuck l ·

          In reply to Are most MCSEs Theory Smart ?

          It is my experience that many if not most MCSEs are not theory-smart. Theory is not necessary to pass MCSE exams. Just know what to click on, and when. That’s why an MCSE certified in IIS may be able to click his way into setting up the FTP server, but given everything he needs to perform the same task on a non-MS server (and I mean EVERYTHING — settings, what commands to run, full docs, and total access to the network), that person may wind up lost. It’s not a matter of “I don’t know Unix” or”I don’t know MAC” or “I don’t know AS/400.” It’s a matter of not having enough theory and base knowledge to transfer what you’re doing on one machine to another — even when you have all the “how-to” you need for the “other” machine.

          It used to be that GUIs, Wizards and all these other “intelligent” systems allowed computer USERS to better use computers without having to spend thousands of hours learning the systems … Now we have computer PROFESSIONALS pointing and clicking their way around computers without ever really knowing what they’re doing …


        • #3851924

          RE: No…..

          by pedro sousa ·

          In reply to Are most MCSEs Theory Smart ?

          First I ask you, are you Certified? And if so, which exams have you passed?
          I am MCP+I and MCSE, and one of my exams was IIS 4.0.
          Theory and practice are both important, not also for the exams, but for your work. I would like to see you pass an TCP/IP exam without any theory about the protocol suite, and equipments, and OSI Layers, and IEEE…. Nice to say it, hard to do it….
          I’ve done it.

          Then you also say, that given the “how-to” an MCSE wouldn’t know nothing but Windows. By the term “how-to”, I think you mean Unix or Linux…. Well, maybe the person(s) your are talking about are PAPER CERTIFIED (Braindump Guys). I’ve installed lots of Linux, with Apache server (by the way, for a Web or FTP Server I always go for APACHE rathe than IIS) and the first time it was confusing but reading the “How-To” and it’s simple. The kind of guys you speak are MOUSE and GUI dependants…. Admin with WIzards are simple…. Try it on Command Prompt and/or with Admin scripts…..

          By the way, IIS exam is nothing to do with Admin of an IIS Server and the Manual/Course are worst…. Complete garbage. So, a bad example you gave….

        • #3678543

          Exactly the reason for a standard

          by lordinfidel ·

          In reply to Are most MCSEs Theory Smart ?

          You have just laid out the exact nature of the reason of this discussion.

          You have no cert but are competent. But has an mcse on staff who is not competent(assuming).

          Why was he allowed to pass his cert? Who knows. But this is the thing we need to avoid in this field. There will always be those who “just” passed. But we need to come up with a way to bestow a cert on those who actually earn it.

          This is true for all certs since now I see ads for Cisco Boot Camps. Nothing that takes 1-2 years to complete should take 2 weeks.

          If I was you I would take my Certs, not just so you can say you have them, but as contiuning ed. I have found that studying for certs forces you to study things you normally would’nt. I would’nt spend the money on schools, but it’s a great chance to update your book collection.

          Take it for what it’s worth.

        • #3878080

          An example of what I was talking about

          by jdow ·

          In reply to Laughing at pompus behavior

          Here is a person who knows whats what. Serving the customer is number one! Whether you have a cert or not. I have to say again though, that I believe that experience plays a larger role in ones career that that of simply possesing a cert.

        • #3851816

          Certifications have multiple tiers

          by ravenii ·

          In reply to An example of what I was talking about

          That is why the various certifications have multiple tiers. Cisco has the CCNA, CCNP, and CCIE. Novell has the CNA, CNE, and Master CNE, and so on. True, most of the answers can be found on the internet or in crash courses for lower tier certifications, and the person achieving his certification through such a method will pay the penalty later on.
          You can never say an individual with CCIE doesn’t know his stuff.
          Also, did you know that you can report persons with alleged paper certifications to Microsoft? It happened at my company. Microsoft showed up and administered quick exams to the people and revoked the certification from those that didn’t pass.

        • #3877938

          I couldn’t agree with gatorman more….

          by tim_holcomb ·

          In reply to Laughing at pompus behavior

          I myself am not certified, more reasons than I’d care to explain is why I am not, but, I myself have atleast 8 years in the IT field.

          Does that make me a professional? No, because I don’t have a *certification*!

          So, no, I can’t agree with thetwo year *Professional Certificate*. That’s total BS, most of these people have spend hard hours studying over manuals and texts to take the proper tests to get *certified*. And some breeze through like it was nothing.

          So, uh-unh, No way, the two year thingy is BS. I do like the add-ins about the nurse and accountant though, but IT is *totally* different from those fields.

        • #3866091

          response to gatorman

          by kma11 ·

          In reply to Laughing at pompus behavior

          Well said. That’s the best argument I’ve read on the subject.

        • #3851101

          Your right

          by gblaze ·

          In reply to Laughing at pompus behavior

          1) It’s about giving the customer satisfaction.
          2) It’s about the troubelshooting skills!

          It takes many years develop troubleshooting skills. Knowing what questions to ask.

          3) and yes no one will know everything,It changes to much.

          LAN Engineer

        • #3880977

          Reply To: Paper Certifications?

          by blkbull69 ·

          In reply to It’s not that easy

          I know of many MCSE’S who have no experience whatsover but are certified and do get hired by job recruiters and then learn their craft from seasoned professionals. sad but true. I was fortunate enough that I had enough home experience and then working my way up thru the ranks to where I am at without certs, but I am in the process of getting them one by one now. It is true that paper mcse are now diluting a good market but now they are starting to populate in cisco and other higher areas as well. We all know that employers will pay them very little before they pay you or I what we’re worth. So my dear techies that is just life and the almighty dollar that these schools make for pie in the sky dreams will just get bigger.

        • #3680956

          Your damn right…..

          by emsiesekrap ·

          In reply to Reply To: Paper Certifications?

          You hit this one on the nose. I am one of them who got MCSE certs but still unem…. crap…

        • #3880976

          Its a new day and age people

          by blkbull69 ·

          In reply to It’s not that easy

          I know of many MCSE’S who have no experience whatsover but are certified and do get hired by job recruiters and then learn their craft from seasoned professionals. sad but true. I was fortunate enough that I had enough home experience and then working my way up thru the ranks to where I am at without certs, but I am in the process of getting them one by one now. It is true that paper mcse are now diluting a good market but now they are starting to populate in cisco and other higher areas as well. We all know that employers will pay them very little before they pay you or I what we’re worth. So my dear techies that is just life and the almighty dollar that these schools make for pie in the sky dreams will just get bigger.

        • #3878054

          It is easy

          by manjeet_sembhi ·

          In reply to It’s not that easy

          It is not all that diffcult to obtain a MCSE,CNE, etc certification. In the past I have worked with individuals that have had a CNE certification but didn’t even know how to shutdown the Netware server properly.

          I believe a graduated certifcation process is the right approach. This would allow for those folks who have learned at home etc to get the higer level of certification and at the same time allow those people that have little or no experience to show that they have some theoretical knowledge etc.

        • #3877936

          MCSE without experience?

          by bobby gillette ·

          In reply to It’s not that easy

          Let’s face facts, if you have enough expendable cash you CAN get your MCSE (at least in NT4) by going to a boot camp type setting, where they grill you for 10 hrs and you take tests the whole time. It DOES happen, otherwise why would there be such an outcry of employers and experienced MCSE concerning “paper” MCSE’s. Bottom line is this, experience has been, and always will be, king. An experienced IT professional (certs, degrees, or just plain experience) worth their salt will be able to demonstrate via their resume of past projects or during the interview process of their capability to perform the job.


        • #3831565

          MCSE boot camps …. I agree

          by emsiesekrap ·

          In reply to MCSE without experience?

          But what about those that went through an eight months networking program, where hands-on labs are part of training throughout the course. Then completed the MCSE program afterwards. I went through such program and have my MCSE certs. I’ll bet you Ican do better than most workers that didn’t go through training, on the very first day at work. Even set-up a network and basic admin, but of course I realize that experience at work will help cement the knowledge learned at these training schools.

        • #3850869

          Experience, tests, and health care.

          by christyt ·

          In reply to MCSE without experience?

          I am enjoying this discussion. I am a career changer and have been in a health care profession for over 20 years. I am pursuing an MCSE and am acquiring some experience along the way. One of the writers on this discussion asked if one would go to a nurse practitioner who was not certified or who had no hands on experience. This was an attempt to make the connection to hiring an IT professional with no experience. Several things need to be kept in mind: (1) IT professions are not regulatedby professional organizations nor by state licensure laws like health care professions are. Certification and licensure are the only routes to take if you want to practice in a health care field. Is this what IT wants? Rather than grousing about inexperienced MCSE’s screwing up a good market, I would think IT professionals should count their blessings that they do not work in regulated professions, and that you can make good money without having to have a specified degree, so many hours of supervised experience as a student, pass several national and state certification exams, and then have to carry malpractice insurance and pay for a state license. Having a certification or a license in a health care field, even as a brand new graduate, does not mean you know everything, but at least among health care professionals there is an atmosphere and an expectation that you share your knowledge and experience with the “new graduate.” Certification as an MCSE does not mean that I know everything, it only demonstrates that I have met a minimum level of knowledge and a basic methodology for troubleshooting established by the test developers. Am I willing to learn by those with more experience? You bet! But by not having experience, it does not mean that I have nothing to offer in return, either.

        • #3680945

          Nicely said …….

          by emsiesekrap ·

          In reply to Experience, tests, and health care.

          Nicely said…..but the fact remains the same
          MCSE’s has diluted the market and schools are
          creating them by the 1000’s. It surely damaged the industry and professional credibility. Take it from an MCSE that took four years (experience) to complete, but still unemployed.

        • #3851897

          No experience MCSE’s

          by shanghai sam ·

          In reply to It’s not that easy

          “Let’s face it”- I have worked with many people who passed paper certifications (including MCSE)that get hired. Usually it takes awhile before managers realize they don’t know enough to do the job and replace them; meanwhile it’s left to the other techs to pick up their slack and mop up their mess. The industry would be better if the tests could measure a technician’s level of compentence and not one’s ability to memorize answers. And though I am not threatened by those with low level certs, itdegrades our profession when our industry asks people to view these certifications as proof that the technician is capable to perform their job when they are not!

        • #3845892

          I call your bluff

          by win_inf ·

          In reply to It’s not that easy

          I recently worked with/trained a guy for about 2 moonths. He picked up the Transcenders (R) and is an MCSE. He recently asked me how to create a drive share. Now tell me again that you can’t get an MCSE without experience.

        • #3864737

          That is why you go to school.

          by tary1 ·

          In reply to Can’t agree completely

          Sure entry level people need to get a start but that is why you go to school. You get the basic knowledge and some hands on experience then you apply for an entry level job to get your experience.

          There are people out there that may be in a different field all together and they decide that they want to go into the IT field. That is fine but just by getting a certification without a degree doesn’t mean that they should get anything but an entry level job.


        • #3874892

          What about career changers?

          by northwind ·

          In reply to That is why you go to school.

          I have a Degree in Electronics and I have changed careers to IT. Are you suggesting that I should have gone back to school first instead of pursueing my certifications? I recieved my MCSE cert in six months and started working in the IT field two months later. That was two years ago and now I am a network admin for a small company managing their three site WAN. I started out in an entry level position and I have moved up to where I am now. Remember, a degree is only a piece of paper that shows you have the perserverance and time to obtain it. You continue working because of your abilities not a piece of paper no matter what it says.

        • #3888013

          Degrees Far outway Certifications!

          by ljmaniatis ·

          In reply to What about career changers?

          I am so tired of IT professionals comparing a Certification to a Degree. Sure a “degree is only a piece of paper that shows you have the perserverance and time to obtain it”, but an individual can go out and purchase exam cram material and testing material for a certification and pass just by memorizing the questions. I have my degree in Management Information Systems, as well as my A+, Network+, CNA 5, and I have passed my Advanced Admin Test for the CNE. These 25-75 question tests can not be compared to a B.S. Degree. I am all for individuals bettering themselves, but I get a little disgusted when I went through 4 years of school, and I see an ex- N.Y. Taxi driver doing the same thing I’m doing, just because he or she has their MCSE they just passed after going to to get the study material. Maybe I’m wrong about this, but generally the ones who disreguard the Degree are the ones who don’t have them. Degrees show that the individual elected to follow the path of higher education, elevating their though process. For the most part, their is a difference between those with a degree, and those without!

        • #3887956


          by mugen ·

          In reply to Degrees Far outway Certifications!

          You are now separating people with degrees and those without? I’ve met many people with and without degrees and you get your fare share of idiots in both categories. Having a degree does not always guarantee you can do the job.

          The difference between someone getting there certification with no experience and someone who has experience is their starting point in the IT Field…Joe Blow taxi driver is not going to get his MCSE and then become Senior Network Administrator of AT&T….While someone like yourself with more experience will most likely start at a higher position and pay.

          I don’t think people currently in IT have to worry about MCSE’s without experience taking over the job market. There’s a spot in IT for the experienced and the inexperienced.

        • #3878088

          Degrees-They are helpful, but…

          by Anonymous ·

          In reply to Degrees Far outway Certifications!

          Congradulations on your degree. I also have a degree. A two-year degree from a technical college TSTC, Waco. I also have MS and Cisco certs. I wanted to focus my learning on my career, not on frat parties and a bunch of worthless and sometimes too liberal classes. Most people, they go to college, get a BS degree in nutrition, and then work as a receptionist. You wasted a LOT of time and MONEY on your degree, and now you’re a little annoyed that you’re made to look the fool who wasted these resources just to get into a field that didn’t require a degree, and that there are degree-less people doing better than you at it.

          I like the fact that in this field, you are recognized and rewarded for your IT-ability, while the level of your degree(AAS, BS, MS) is not relevent.

        • #3878073

          It all depends on what you want to do

          by jdow ·

          In reply to Degrees Far outway Certifications!

          I hate to say this, but if you are shooting to be high-tech and perhaps a consultant, you might be interested in this. A recent study showed that most companies, relating to IM depts, don’t hold a degree as high as they once have. In todays market, in the trenches, people want experts at technical subjects, not “Elevated Thinking”. Now this is completely opposite of a management of IS or MIS situation, where a degree is held even higher than a cert. It all depends on what you want, consultants make more money, but there is no stability. Managers make less money, but there is more security. If you wan money, get experience and possibly a cert, otherwise, you better have a degree.

        • #3878052

          Degrees Far outway Certifications!

          by rromo ·

          In reply to Degrees Far outway Certifications!

          Bravo for having the nads to say so. Certifications only teach what the Certifier wants you to know, making you a drone. The best example I can offer is when I took a few NT classes a few years ago at a nationally-known training center. Wanting to know how to optimize a server’s performance for the OS, I asked an obvious question. I gave all the parameters (number of users, CPU, disk capacity, etc.) and asked how much RAM would be optimal. “I don’t know. That’s a good question.” This from a certified teacher of teachers. A little more probing revealed that this instructor had never configured a network in a real enterprise. As a matter of fact, she had to call in tech support to troubleshoot a desktop that wasn’t hitting the server.

          “I don’t know” seems to be acceptable in today’s world of ninety-day wonders. Having been an EDP, MIS, IT – whatever – professional for almost 20 years, and having two undergraduate degrees, I never tell my boss or those that I support that I don’t know. Worst case, I tell them I’m resolving the problem. And I do. At the risk of sounding immodest, aggregate downtime of my systems (five production servers, two web servers, two proxy servers and almost 200 clients) while at my current employer of six years has been less than eight hours. That’s right. Total is less than one work day over a six year span. Now that’s knowing your systems inside and out. And I’m not certified.

          A degree is more than just paper. It’s years of class time, analysis, theory, and hands-on in labs. Add a few years of installing, maintaining and administering networks – that makes a bonafied professional. Certifications are worthless without the years of experience and/or formal education.

          Asa manager, I don’t hire certified professionals without the degree or as many years in experience.

        • #3886982

          Response to

          by Anonymous ·

          In reply to Degrees Far outway Certifications!

          I think you’re wrong on a few points.

          First you say that you would hire a person either for his/her degree or experience equivalent.

          Well, I know I’m not breaking any news to you by telling you that a degree does not in any way equate to hands-on years of expereince. If you hire for a degree only, say in Computer Science, you have just hired a greenhorn with mostly programming education. While if you were to hire an expereinced IT professional, well that speaks for itself. It is obvious that the experienced pro is the better candidate.

          Secondly, no IT manager in his right mind hires based on certifications or degrees, he would hire based upon the knowledge and experienced needed to get the job done, and neither certs. nor degreessay anything to that effect. What does matter is a combination of all three.

        • #3829978

          What is the difference

          by rossmon ·

          In reply to Degrees Far outway Certifications!

          I have a B.A. in Business Management and IS, and have my MCSE. Which do I feel is more valuable. Both! Of course nothing takes the place of experience. But that piece of paper, or at the least the perseverance of it, is what usually gets you through the door. In the end it is always about the individual.

        • #3850907

          Superior Complex???

          by diplomat1 ·

          In reply to Degrees Far outway Certifications!

          I am sorry but your arrogance is remarkable. I would love to see you passing either of your certification exams based on what you learned while pursuing your degree. Sure a degree is a good thing but if you did not have one would you still feel sosuperior to the “taxi driver” you are trying to ridicule? As I say all the time, having the piece of paper matters very little if the individual cannot walk the walk in the real world.

        • #3851945

          OUTWAY – Where was the degree from ?

          by houstonz ·

          In reply to Degrees Far outway Certifications!

          I have both a Bachelor’s degree and an MCSE. My degree is in the sciences but I did learn a bit of ENGLISH getting it. The word “outway” would seem to have no meaning while the word you WANTED to use is: OUTWEIGH meaning to weigh more than, rather than just being phonetically derived. My MCSE is partially paper and partially through experience, in addition to setting up and experimenting with a home network of four different machines, while performing SOME IT duties as a Broadcast Engineer for a local TV station. If someone takes the time and effort to become proficient in “Microsoftese” (a coined term) courtesy should dictate they be accorded the right to demonstrate that proficiency. But they should also have a more advanced certification available to strive for as they become truly proficient in their field. Why don’t we lobby for an entry level “MCSE” and an advanced certification BASED UPON DOCUMENTED EXPERIENCE ?

        • #3837557

          worth a note

          by lwood ·

          In reply to Degrees Far outway Certifications!

          I hired an assistant with an under graduate degree in computer sciences, and an MCP from Microsoft several years ago.

          He didn’t even know how to do a diskcopy from a command prompt. Which only points out the obvious, teachers are teachers and they do not know alot about the day to day activities that keep IT managers up at night.

          So much for degrees, and so much for certifications.

          Cummulative on the job experience with certifications or degrees is what really matters. Two years after I put this person to work he left us for a better position at a larger corporation.

          If you had five years of on the job experiences I would hire you in a heartbeat compared to a college degree graduate or a industry certified individual.

          It takes talent and critical thinking to be good at IT. And don’t forget about people skills. Matter of fact, I hire for people skills first and IT expertise second, which is why I hired this particular assistant in the first place.

        • #3837862

          Degrees Far outway Certifications!

          by gpricetr ·

          In reply to Degrees Far outway Certifications!

          While your comments have some merit, let me provide this for your consideration…College Degrees are “nice”, if as a child (young adult) your parents were able to support you through the “tough” four years of further academic study. For the FEW whosupported themselves through College, I applaud them! But to say that a 22 year old with a degree in Management Information Systems is better qualified to perform the JOB than an “ex-N.Y. Taxi driver”, seems to me to be a bit too much. A gifted taxidriver with the ability to learn fast and able to express themselves correctly through speech and the written word is more desirable in my organization than any “College Graduate” hardhead who knows it all, and is unable to correctly use the Englishlanguage in both its written and spoken forms. College Degrees only have merit when used as a discriminator between two apparently equal applicants for the same position. Other than that, experience and Knowledge, Skills and Abilities are what it takes to land and hold any JOB. How we measure the KSA is up to the employer, many use the “certifications” of the applicant as the minimum qualification.

        • #3865766

          Working hard for the degree is good but.

          by mjohnson ·

          In reply to What about career changers?

          The problem isn’t people who obtain thier certifications by working hard and studying for them. It’s the ones with no experience but the ability to study for tests. They go to those certification boot camps and get certified with no real skill.These are the people who are flooding the market and lowering the value of the certifications.

        • #3865582


          by 98321 ·

          In reply to What about career changers?

          It is ridiculous to think a piece of paper given a person from a major retailer means anything. IT people are falling for the hype of getting certified. The questions are so general with little technical content my daughter could study enough to pass them. Microsoft started it and all the others jumped in because it is a money maker. These certs are company/software specific but seem to be conning the corporations into believing they seperate the professionals from the non-professionals. Ihave only gotten one certification and do not plan to get any more. If corporations want to judge my skills then check my references not my certificates.

        • #3877925


          by tim_holcomb ·

          In reply to Certifications

          If someone wants to know the level of expertise that I can give them, they need to know what *I’ve* done to earn someone’s respect, not MS’s respect.

          If the customer wants a “Certified” professional, then more power the them, but if you want the job done right, then go with the *experience*.

        • #3831492

          Certification is your way in …..

          by emsiesekrap ·

          In reply to Certifications

          For those people that are career changers like me, being certified would be my only way in. Although certified as MCSE, I do not expect to be hired as head of an IS department, and I probably would not accept
          the responsibility for I do not have full skills and knowledge to administer a network. For only through work experience would I have the knowledge and confidence to run a network. But don’t down the certification process all together, get yours, together with your years of experience
          and see your reward …….. financially.

        • #3851302

          How about a different career … (pt. 1)

          by shanghai sam ·

          In reply to What about career changers?

          Say you had changed from electronics to law or medicine. Would you have been able to pop into your local Barnes and Noble, buy the “J.D. in Six Months” or “M.D. in Six Months” review manual, take the Bar or Board exam, and practice two months later?

          It is insane to think that someone who has studied for a few months to take a test can pass him/herself off as an “expert” in the IT field. All an MCSE certificate shows is that the certificate holder can work with Microsoft products, not that the person has the broader knowledge to handle complex IT issues (including those underlying issues that the Microsoft products themselves are built to handle). I deal with Microsoft-employed MCSEs all the time who painfully show that they can’t handle”the larger picture.” As an example, I recently spent almost a month of constant back-and-forth communications with several MCSEs at Microsoft trying to get the information necessary to set up an in-house LDAP server for Outlook to query. Everybody could tell me what to point and click to search an established LDAP server (like Bigfoot, which is included as an Outlook default). Nobody I dealt with even knew how to set up an LDAP server (which was not my question; we already had the server running), and nobody could find out what it was that Outlook was querying of a “public” LDAP server so that I could appropriately set up our LDAP database. In other words, the MCSEs knew how to click your way onto a public server already provided by Outlook, but nobody knew enough about LDAP to get me the information I needed.

          (– continued — )

        • #3851301

          How about a different career … (pt. 2)

          by chuck l ·

          In reply to How about a different career … (pt. 1)

          ( — continued –)

          If someone wants to pursue something like an MCSE certification, fine — but it should be done in concert with real-world experience (an apprenticeship, if you will). I have several present and past employees who work in apprenticeship positions while pursuing their educational goals (right now one is in the middle of his B.S.C.S. degree). When he graduates, he’ll have a degree plus several years of real-world experience — and much broader and deeper knowledge than any “paper whatever” can offer.

          Actually, I shouldn’t complain that much — we make good money cleaning up the messes that other consultants make. Many of my clients were especially lured by MCSEs touting their expertise, only to have to hire us to pickup the pieces …


        • #3887886

          School? Ha!

          by mattbrowna1 ·

          In reply to That is why you go to school.

          going to scholl doesn’t give you experience, and with the cost of tuition today, It’s a privelage of the rich to go. Also many schools are just diploma printers for anyone who pays their tuition.
          The sad truth is that IT pay is just going down.No matter what we do, we are not going to get rich like in the “good old days” we’ve all heard tell of. A lot of people with college degrees are doing jobs that involve wearing a name tag and saying, “fries with that?” college recruiters won’t tell you this.

        • #3887836

          Degree vs Certification

          by my4deuces ·

          In reply to School? Ha!

          It took me over twenty years to figure out
          that I needed more than just the work
          experience to get me where I wanted to be
          salary wise. You are right that the cost of
          tuition is high, but you have to make the
          necessary sacrifices to get the education if
          you want the higher salary. I have a BS
          degree in Management Information
          Systems/Computer Information System, yet I
          still can must continue on the complete the
          certification process because 15 year of work
          experience still isn’t enough. I have to
          agree with the person who earlier stated that
          there needs to be contols in place making the
          certifications a part of the job, and
          experience a requisite for ceritication.

        • #3865783

          Schools don’t give experience!!!

          by marence ·

          In reply to That is why you go to school.

          I worked as a trainer in a computer learning center, and suffered through trying to teach basic Windows skills to students who were told “Network engineers make the BIG BUCKS” by account reps who wanted to sell these career changers expensive training courses, and hey, you could put in on your credit card! My colleagues & I had the bonus of teaching the same students over & over & over, as there was a “take it til you pass” guarantee on the classes.
          The classes had the bare minimum of hands-ondemos, and were often taught by paper MCSEs and CNEs who got the certifications, then the training cert, and never touched a server in their lives – not exactly conducive to learning real-world skills along with the theory.
          You really need both hands-on practical experience as well as a thourough understanding of networking to be successful as an engineer.

        • #3837574

          Learned more in 3 months..

          by charger media ·

          In reply to That is why you go to school.

          I learned more in 3 months of on the job training from my former IT Manager than I did in several years of school.

        • #3889087

          Why Certify

          by ray.pasley ·

          In reply to Can’t agree completely

          Okay having been in the industry for 15 years, uncertified, I and the folks I now have working for me have created award winning Web sites, before that, implemented corporate wide wans, first banyan then NT, and along the way any number of other creative and productive systems. None of these people were certified. Many had no previous IT exp before working in our group.

          An example, a retired Navy nurse with stong interest, going to college, first interned, then hired.

          The point is, the perception around certification by corporations is they are getting a bargain, with pre-qualified personnel, though many don’t have any interest other than the cash the job brings, not the real satisfaction of doing creative work.

          I have worked with cetified personnel who really could do nothing more than search the web, paste info together, and hand off to a ‘real IT person’ to implement.

          Nother point is what can you do, not what paper are you basing you application on count for more in myexperience.

          So I suggest you look for those companies that realize bargains are what they are, potential lemons. If you are truely interested in the Science and Art of Information Technologys, like cream you will float to the top.

        • #3887910


          by strikeleader ·

          In reply to Why Certify

          Yes indeed, people who get into IT just for the money are not going to advance as far as people who genuinely enjoy this field. They are going to find that the long hours and constant learning curve is gong to be too much for them.

        • #3877928

          Why Certify

          by mugen ·

          In reply to Why Certify

          I think certification right now is a way for new comers into the IT field to get there foot in the door.

          As for the companies that think they are getting a bargain because they are hiring someone based on the fact that they are certified, that company problem isn’t a company you’d want to work for anyways.

          I have to admit that even though someone is newly certified it doesn’t mean they are an expert. As in previous posts everyone seems to agree that it’s a level of measurement. This goes for people with degrees also…

          I myself have had some minor experience with PC’s and networks before I received my MCSE but even after I received my MCSE, I don’t consider myself an expert. However it was a way for me to get involved in IT andit gave me lots of good opportunities.

          Whether you have a degree or certification or both, once you get your foot in, all that matters is that your prove that your a valuable asset to the company. After that, your paper certs & degrees don’t mean as much, it’s your performance that counts!

          All in all, it’s what you make of your certification or degree. There are always a few shining stars out there!

        • #3886890

          I agree 100%

          by dano1971 ·

          In reply to Why Certify

          I have been reading these postings for quite some time now. I believe that many of the people here are very angry with their own industry right now and find some form of relief slamming the “paper people”, which happens to be myself right now. I have just recently become “paper certified” with A+ and MCSE. I am so green that I havent even begun looking for that new shiny IT job yet.
          Well, here is my situation. I have been working for 7 years in the security alarm industry (YIPEE right?)And I have always been facinated with computers and have owned at least 1 or 2 pc’s at any given time. So to make this short story long, I wanted out of the old alarm crap and into the IT industry. So, I asked many many IT pros out there like yourself, what is the best way to get into this IT industry? 95% said get experience however you can!!! And if that is not immediately available then go to school to learn the theories so that you can “GET YOUR FOOT IN THE DOOR” somewhere and begin to get that experience!!! So my question to all you angry IT guys and gals out there is “why are you upset with people like me the PAPER MCSE?” “I am just trying to make a career change to get out of a dead end job and by the way “yes” I truly enjoy working withcomputers and Yes I do want to “EARN” a better living by doing this. Is that so hard to swallow? You have “EARNED” your way up…..let me EARN my way up please!!!

        • #3865603

          Experience! , But doors open with certs’

          by haffly ·

          In reply to Can’t agree completely

          Experience is great! But, it doesn’t open doors. I consider myself to be capable of solving just about any problem I come across. I have seen a number of very odd situations over the years. I read some of the problems that people have had and askmyself who they must have known to get their job. Because, some of the stumping problems I have read are so easily solved by simple logic or common sense. I do not currently have any certifications. I have not had the time. I was the owner of a retail computer store and have simply been too busy to get them. I have just recently decided to take the time to obtain certifications. I am now looking to become employed in an IT environment. Problem is, I don’t have the certifications. Do you have any idea how hard it is to even get an interview without some certifications? I have workied with these marvels of digital technology since 1978 and have been through schooling for programming & telecommunications. IT DOESN”T MATTER… I can not even get the chance to demonstrate my abilities. I can not even get the opportunity to speak with the right people. It is absolutely necessary for me to get certifications….

        • #3878138

          Certs open doors & eyes

          by jbenson ·

          In reply to Experience! , But doors open with certs’

          Your story is all too common. Individuals who have been in the industry for a number of years don’t realize how posessing a certification can get you an interview or open the door to that first job. For people who are trying to change careers, it is not always an option to go to school and obtain a Comp. Sci. degree. For that matter, most computer science curriculums are outdated. Unless you can get into MIT, Stanford, Cal Tech, or some other high profile program, what does a Comp. Sci. Degree prepare you to do? Are you prepared to walk in to a job and be an effective employee? Certifications are designed to teach product specific knowledge, whether it’s Microsoft, Cisco, Novell, or whatever. The goal is to learn how to use these technologies in a real world environment. Obviously, experience is the best thing you can have going for you, but for someone trying to get into the IT field from another walk of life it is almost impossible to get that experience. What I see is a lot of people who are getting paid way more than they should, who think their job requires someone to be a near genius(and in most cases it does not), and they’re waking up to the fact that as more people come into IT salaries will come back down to Earth and they might actually have to learn something new instead of saying, “I’ve been in this business 15 years, there’s nothing I haven’t seen.” The industry is changing. We don’t need to worry about the paper engineers. They will fail, but we should embrace this influx of new talent and help to make our industry better as a whole. Regardless of where someone received their education.

        • #3887156

          Reply To: Paper Certifications?

          by mesager ·

          In reply to Learned at Home

          Home experience *shouldn’t* count. There’s a reason for that – it’s impossible to simulate or gain the experience one obtains in a month working professionally in a year at home – no matter how many toys you have. I learned on my own, at homw, with a network, for 2 years before I got an IT job – and the only things I took with me were an intimate knowledge of a computer’s internal systems (still useful in these days of cheap parts and plug & play, but not as much as it was) and superficial networking knowledge. I am now an experienced IT pro, running a department with 10 engineers, and I could care less if you have a certification – doesn’t tell me anything other than that you know how to pass a test. What you’re missing in your analysis are all the little, forgotten things that you can only learn by doing – how to deal with users, why this driver version is unstable in that configuration, dealing with the pressure of having to fix things by yesterday…no way you get that at home.I’ll *never* hire another engineer without considerable field experience; it’s just asking for trouble. Do it for free if you have to, I don’t care – but get experience if you want to work in this field.

        • #3761931

          Are you a little intimidated or what???

          by gatorman ·

          In reply to Reply To: Paper Certifications?

          Sounds to me like your bitter or just like to beat your chest….I hope your not like the rest of the “systems Engineers” that work in our enviroment. They do the same thing, always about “me me me” and never thinking that the customer is the one that comes first. Impress with your actions not with your words. If that is the case why waste your energy worrying about who has what…..

        • #3874969

          Home to IT pro?

          by banner ·

          In reply to Reply To: Paper Certifications?

          You’ll never hire someone who does not have a lot of field experiance… yet apparently someone gave YOU that chance.. atleast according to your post.

        • #3866126

          I agree

          by theshaftman ·

          In reply to Home to IT pro?

          Some one gave YOU the chance to get into the field, Now that you’re in let’s change the rules. The same thing is happening to the automotive service industry, you can’t get in without experience and you can’t get experience without getting in. Some day it will all catch up.

        • #3865580

          Glad ALL recruiters don’t feel that way

          by ninewands ·

          In reply to Reply To: Paper Certifications?

          You amaze me with your attitude. I, personally, have about 25 years of “home” and “additional duty” experience in IT areas, and couldn’t get a recruiter to talk to me until I started accumulating certifications. On the last contract gig I had, I was advising the Back Office expert for the prime contractor on how to resolve issues related to cross-platform networking (mixed environment of NT, Novell and Linux servers). And, while I can’t do it knee0jerk automatically, I can do a fair job of configuring a Cisco router. Be that as it may, no certs, no response to the resume. Not even a polite “No thanks.”

          BTW, I also have three degrees, including a doctorate, but they are not IT-relevant, so they don’t open any doors either.

          I wonder how many people like me your attitude has cost you?


        • #3866060


          by pkust ·

          In reply to Reply To: Paper Certifications?

          Your post contradicts your opening statement. By your own admission, you are self-taught, and it would appear you have been successful in building on that initial experience. Yet you say it is of no value. This is not a logical argument.

          As for your closing statement, it is simply absurd. “Never” hire an engineer without considerable field experience? If your staff consists of nothing but experienced professionals, it is in big trouble. Proper balance requires that experienced engineers be augmented by less knowledgeable juniors; the experience of mentoring and passing of knowledge develops both mentor and mentored alike. Without “new blood” within its ranks, any team is going to stagnate and deteriorate.

          There are tasks whichrequire the experienced hand, and there are tasks best done by the inexperienced hand. Best Practice in any field is match tasks and skill levels appropriately; anything less is poor personnel management.


          Peter Nayland Kust
          TEKMedia Communications

        • #3837424

          where would they get it

          by reef2 ·

          In reply to Reply To: Paper Certifications?

          And where would they get experience without somebody letting them work for them?
          I tried to get into a few computer stores where I live but they won’t hire people without school behind them.I can fix a computer and load anything and put anything init.But no school no job.

        • #3680933

          What the hell?

          by workinonit ·

          In reply to Reply To: Paper Certifications?

          You got there learning on your own at home, but no one else is good enough to learn at home? What is your problem?! Wouldn’t hire yourself, then?

          I’ve found that the best IT folks are self taught, and learned through trial and error what works and what doesn’t, which is better than learning theory which doesn’t mean a thing in the real world. It doesn’t matter how you get htere, as long as you are honest with your employer and yourself and get the training/certs/degree in whatever order fits your life.

        • #3877932

          Learned at Home

          by michelle d ·

          In reply to Learned at Home

          Have faith, JBane.

          I hired two developers last year who had finished University and had just over 1 years experience…at home and hired them because they knew what they were talking about. Not all employers are concerned with qualifications andyour job history some are interested in the individual and their aptitude and interest in their CHOSEN profefession.

        • #3866129

          Home Trained?

          by scraggz ·

          In reply to Learned at Home

          When did home experience ever count and why should it? Would you expect to be paid a $100 an hour to work on the MD’s Ferrari ‘cos you rebuilt the motor mower? There’s a big difference between the home environment and a professional IT enviroment, to suggest there isn’t is more scary than inexperienced certs! In every other profession you can think of hands on is a must. It’s the lack of experience that is devaluing the industry not just the certs.

        • #3798476

          Home trained is best!!!!

          by kima ·

          In reply to Home Trained?

          Let me tell you something, don’t ever under estimated home based training. For your information where you think “hackers” learn their information. Most of them don’t even have a HS diploma and still Network Security Admins can get rid of them that easy. Wake up!!!

          Home based study is sometimes better than attending a college or technical school, the reason is because when you go to a technical school the teacher summarizes what he feels he should teach, but it is your responsibility to read and learn the rest. Reading books at home, doing research, getting the tools and implementing is the best way to learn.

          Yes, if you have the money to go to school, go ahead, but otherwise home school is fine. Unfortunatedly people like you will never consider people like us who are home trained. The power of KNOWLEDGE is not based on a piece of paper, is based on the ability of the person to trained itselfm and implement.

          IQ is probably higher for those of us who trained ourself without any guidance what so ever, so keep that in mind.

          Experience!!!, most of us have hands-on experience, but are not given the chance to acquired more because of a piece of paper!!!


          KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!!! Self-taugh, Self-motivated, Self-confident people are the best team players you could ever want on your team… Why, simple they love learning and there is nothing that will stop them from learning new things every day!!

        • #3851773

          Not everybody is capable!!!

          by kima ·

          In reply to Learned at Home

          Unfortunately, after reading some of the conversations I myself don’t have any certifications/paper, but I have two years experience and this days it seems very hard to get a job w/o a piece of paper saying that you went to school and study. On the other hand I have build my home school and read probably more books and articles in the computer field than anybody trying to get in the IT field w/o experience and have hands on experience.

          I strongly agree that you must have some type of computer knowledge and a level of skills in order to get in the field and be good at it. The IT field is not for everybody, there is a lot of branches to learn in the field if you want to be somebody……

          Employers who are looking for good employees shouln’t look to much into the certification but the experience IT young people out there like myself. In the mean time I quess I’ll be attending GW to get the “piece of paper” require to get a job, since experience doesn’t seem to be enough this days……

        • #3845902

          Learned at home

          by win_inf ·

          In reply to Learned at Home

          How is that WAN of yours that you have at home? Tell me how many exchange servers you have, and how are those domain trusts working out for your multiple domains? Who’s router did you choose to place between your kitchen and bedroom? You running RIP, OSPF, Static routes?

          Home learning is good for basics, but no subsititute for real IT experience.

      • #3865029

        A Moot Point..

        by diplomat1 ·

        In reply to agreed, disagreed

        Its the old argument of which came first; the chicken or the egg. People who complain about “paper certs” seem to forget that a degree in some fields is pretty much the same thing. It basically signals a level of theoretical knowledge which is thebasics a person need to enter a particular profession.

        Having spent time at University doing Computer Science, I fail to see how that degree does not count as a paper cert. No amount of coding in class can prepare anyone for the realities of thereal world. What a “paper cert” does is to open the door for the possibility of bigger and better things. It does not guarantee anything more than my driving a BMW makes me a better or experienced driver.

        All of us had to start somewhere. Noneof us came into this world tattoed with experience. Someone gave us a chance when we knew zilch so I have no problems with people spending their money to give themself a chance in a profession. Whether or not they will make it is another matter.
        There are good and bad in every profession regardless of how much hands on experience was involved in the training. Doctor’s mistakes still end up being buried – literally – so it is hypocritical for us to think that all IT pros are very good at what they do. I hardly think so.

        I say that “paper cert” bashers should take a chill pill. Even with the paper, the people having them still have to walk the walk. Only those who really know what they are doing will survive. As for me, I reallywouldn’t worry about it. Technical skills can be taught. It is the other intangibles – good customer service, being positive, etc. – that are often very difficult to find.

        Take a deep breath everyone. We all started at Ground Zero or did youall forget that at one point we really knew nothing about IT?


        • #3761793

          I almost liked you…

          by arg cio ·

          In reply to A Moot Point..

          But “Technical skills can be taught”? MY A$$!!!!! okay, BASIC skills can be taught.. to trouble shoot a loss of network connectivity ping localhost, ping local IP, ping gateway, etc. if something fails, swap it with something that works, until it works again. But, the network is a little flakey, oh, well, just replace that Cisco 7206 router (with one of the 20 or so just laying around), and go! RIGHT!!! I hate it when people say, “technical skills can be taught.” THAT IS BS, and everyone knows it! There is a special skill in troubleshooting issues effectively. (i.e. you can access the file server, but not the you really need to ping the localhost?) To do it fast, effective, and efficiently takes creativity, and THAT cannot be taught! Good customer service skills can be taught, but the positive attitude cannot. Be polite, that can be taught. Never blame the customer(but sometimes to be good, you need creativity.), or make them feel bad about it. SO, okay basic tech. skills can be taught, but you can’t teach someone how to be good or how to excel at it! AND intermediate CS skills can be taught, but you can’t teach someone how to be excellent at it. You can teach them a lot further in CS!

        • #3761756

          I Hear Ya…

          by diplomat1 ·

          In reply to I almost liked you…

          The statement “technical skills can be taught” was not meant to imply that everything is that simple. Sure nothing beats experience but even then one could argue that experience is gained through learning.

          The guy who replace the Cisco router was not born knowing how to do it. That wsa a skill he learned and eventually mastered. So the basic skills are indeed taught and experience comes with repeated practice of what we were first taught.


        • #3875149


          by rick_e_b ·

          In reply to I almost liked you…

          My God! Where your BORN with your technical skills? What a miracle!

        • #3887911

          no, but my…

          by arg cio ·

          In reply to Puulleeeeezzz

          troubleshooting skills were not taught, my creativity in finding a solution to something that has “never happened before”, is inherent in my psychy something I was born with, and nothing that I ever “learned”.

        • #3865572

          Oh come now …

          by ninewands ·

          In reply to no, but my…

          Troubleshooting involves very little in the way of “creativity” … what is involved is either analytical thinking or it is blind luck.

          Analytical thinking, with regard to troubleshooting, is the ability to apply the scientific principle of causeand effect to backtrack from the effect to the cause, and that skill can be, and is, taught everyday in all of the scientific disciplines.

          Experience allows one to be selective in the paths one follows while backtracking, thus avoiding the process of chasing rabbits down blind trails.

          You can’t excel in ANY technical field without both.


        • #3887030

          Blind luck.. my point exactly!

          by arg cio ·

          In reply to Oh come now …

          How do you get things fixed by blind luck? you just start pointing, and clicking randomly and hope your lucky enough to click the right place? *****NO!***** You get creative, and you analyze what is in front of you, and you creatively make educatedguess’ and eventually you get to the fix. You think there is not creativity in this field? You have NEVER been a true field technician! When you are out in the “field” you have limited supplies, and if your lucky, you have what you need. But, if you don’t, you can’t drive 200 miles to get the part you need, and then drive back. I have fixed printers with paper clips, because I didn’t have a replacement fuser, and the customer didn’t want to spend $300 on a new one. I troubleshot the problem with the fuser, and I GOT CREATIVE to make a solution that didn’t exist before. That was three years ago, and the printer is still working! I’d love to hear more of this, I think I’ll start a discussion on creativity in IT.

        • #3850905

          Well Said…

          by diplomat1 ·

          In reply to Oh come now …

          I couldn’t have said it any better.

        • #3877915

          true, so very true

          by tim_holcomb ·

          In reply to no, but my…

          While in the Army, I *learned* to troubleshoot according to a manual. But, I inherently knew more than the manual could tell…. Not that someone had taught me the troubleshooting skills, but my inner creativity allowed me to *try* this and *try* that, more often than not, I found the problems faster than someone using the manual. And with the same results!

          So, no, certs and degrees will get yer foot in the door, but will they hold the sweat and tears of long hours and average pay?

          Don’t think so, experience and knowledge can do that for you.

        • #3878068

          No one said this

          by jdow ·

          In reply to Puulleeeeezzz

          No one said they were born with technical skills. To be a true genius in this technical era, it is important to start at the bottom and work your way up. At 18 I started as a help desk person, making 12 bucks an hour. I moved up and moved up, gaining more and more experience. Now, after 5 years, am working for a fortune 10 company as a network admin. YOU CANNOT REPLACE THIS KIND OF EXPERIENCE AND OTJ TRAINING WITH A CERT AND OR A DEGREE. What people are doing now, is getting a cert and trying to jump right into an advanced field where experience is key. No one is born with tech skills, some just develop them naturally.

        • #3887039

          but some people..

          by arg cio ·

          In reply to No one said this

          are naturally born with better analytical ability! AND THAT IS *MY* POINT! If you don’t have the analytical skills to step through “cause and effect” troubleshooting, or can’t follow EVERY detail analytically, you are likely to miss a step, and not get it fixed. Yes, you can teach someone how to troubleshoot, give them a step by step analysis, but if the problem varies slightly from your “textbook example”, what do you do then? get creative, and try some luck. I know people that you can teach basic troubleshooting to, and they can trouble shoot the same problem over and over again, but if a problem comes up that is outside of the “textbook example”, they are LOST, and calling me!

        • #3866049

          Anything learned can be taught

          by pkust ·

          In reply to I almost liked you…

          While I will concur that creativity is innate and not learned, everything else in your statement is learned. That which is learned can be taught–must be taught.

          Can you teach a postive attitude? Yes. Parents and pastors do that every day.

          Can you teach troubleshooting? Yes. The core of sound troublshooting is not creativity but highly structured and disciplined logic.

          Can you teach someone how to be good, or how to excel? Emphatically yes–the Marines have been doing that for two hundred years.

          If you believe that a person cannot be taught, then it is certain that the person will not be taught. I choose to believe that all people can be taught, and have been well rewarded by more than a few individuals who have learned those things I am able to teach.


          Peter Nayland Kust
          TEKMedia Communications

        • #3832993

          Diplomat1 has a point – take a pill

          by beblin ·

          In reply to A Moot Point..

          No cert/degree, am working my way towards both, in the “Industry” 18+ years.
          Been pretty lucky to work for big companies (options,etc), because I was able to get in the door via experience. Company I just quit, I would of swept floors at just to get the proverbial footinthedoor. I will admit I have interviewed people with certs/degrees including DR’s in CS that either knew it all or didn’t know squat. Again, I have interviewed the ones who just blew you away with only experience.
          I will tell you this – DO WHAT IT TAKES TO GET YOUR FOOT IN THE DOOR ! Screw those who say you need a cert/degree/exp, whatever and just go for it! What can they say but NO? I’ve said NO many a times, but have said yes to the ones whom I had faith in becomming a “STAR” and have not been let down. Keep in mind with over 350K open positions, your bound to strike gold somewhere. There are hungry individuals out there who want to “Like their job”, and those who have no Life, but live to work. There arethose who have every piece of paper under file 13 who want the easy way in and out and who won’t do you or your company a bit of good. Those are the ones you wonder “how in the heck did they get hired”?

          Last company I worked for had a 12 person/all day interview. 3/4’s of the interview was being bombarded by tech questions from people who know their s#!^.
          I feel lucky, I only passed the interview 75% of the way, but they saw potential.
          Company I’m at now, didn’t have a tech interview,they were just impressed with whom I worked for and the vast HW and SW experience. Now learning Oracle, Cisco, SAP & stuff couldn’t get in schools, only hands on.It will help in future jobs. No stock, but great $.

          Do what it takes. If that means late nights to study the companies systems, classes at night, RTM’s, etc., then do it. It can only help you in the long term. As my dad used to say,I know, I been there!!!

      • #3761927


        by cschauf ·

        In reply to agreed, disagreed

        I agree somewhat here, but you have to agree that for some wierd reason, employers will look more closely at someone with a cert over someone with experience. At least it used to be that way. I think that is changing somewhat though. Employers are aware that there are a lot of paper CNEs out there.


      • #3874970

        Catch 22

        by rhale ·

        In reply to agreed, disagreed

        It is the cart before the horse delima once again. I think the major certifications (MCSE, CNE, etc) should require some experience in the field. The A+ certification should be available to anyone that can pass the exam.

      • #3881042

        Somewhat agree

        by webmaster ·

        In reply to agreed, disagreed

        I agree with the principals you have stated. I am self taught with 6 years experience. However seeing a resume from someone who was a painter for 15 years, and 2 months ago got his MCSE and now wants to be an administrator just doen’t cut it. I have worked with too many MCSE’s who wouldn’t know how to configure Perl on an NT system if it talked to him!

        I have gone through other certification programs outside of the IT field, and many of those REQUIRE a minimum of experience just to apply to take the certification. I don’t think the IT field should be opening itself up to any person who can memorize content and pass a test to be certified. We don’t trust the local mechanic with an ASE certification and years of experience to change the oil in our car, yet we are willing to trust our electronic security and IT stability to a piece of paper.

        There are plenty of oportinuties for beginners to enter into the field without certifications. Although many are being told that piece of paper will get them 65K a year, that in fact is not the case. They should earn the right to take the test through experience from the ground up. How can one possibly be an effective administrator without understanding the reprocussions of their actions on the end user?

        As for giving them a chance, that is what entry level is for. Let’s find out if you have what it takes before we give you power.

        Just my two cents….

        Tom Johnson
        System Administrator

      • #3889110

        Get Real

        by acombr ·

        In reply to agreed, disagreed

        I disagree.
        Does a person become an Accountant or Engineer by Hands on Experience of two years??? Heck no. They go to school and get a degree and then enter the ranks of those looking for a job. What is so different about this and someone going to school and getting the instruction/training so they can enter the IT field? A certifecation says that you passed the test of what it is expected that you should know.

        How does someone get into the IT field? No one wants to hire someone without “experience” At least the certification says that the person has some level of understanding of what is going on. It gives the employer a way to say that this person, even though a beginner, has a certain level of competence and training. Why must this only be hands on experience of two years??? How did you get your job? By the way, most certification schools have a lab where you practice the skills.

        If you have at least two years experience, you are on the inside of IT. I am workinghard to get there too and I am studying very hard to learn all the book stuff, so when I do get a chance to enter the IT industry, I will be a quick learner and become a very productive member of that company in a short time. I will not need two years to learn the ropes. I will be productive hopefully on the first day or at least quickly.

        By the way, if you think that all of the certifications are easy, A+ was not bad, but have you looked at the MCSE for Windows 2000? It requires a good understanding of the subject.

        Those that are certified have shown that they are willing to put forth the time, money and effort to learn on their own. This is training that the company does NOT have to provide which saves them money and time.

        Your idea certainly leaves us beginners out in the cold and the company no place to look for their entry positions.

        Roy Acomb

        • #3865704

          Get real yourself

          by paul.kennedy ·

          In reply to Get Real

          Engineers, architects, nurses, doctors, and probably others I missed, need to do significant work experience in the ‘real world’ before they are awarded their degree. Most professional associations also require some period of experience before a professional is accepted as a ‘full’ member.

          Entry level positions are a great way to learn a lot very quickly. You will be surprised how much you learn in your first 6 months. Good luck.

        • #3865664

          Disagree back

          by webmaster ·

          In reply to Get Real

          My wife happens to be an accountant, and having the degree did nothing more than prove she could take orders. Her knowledge of accounting came from experience. Books can only teach theory. Anyone with in depth knowledge knows that to fully understand and perform you MUST learn in the real world.

          My experience was self taught. I spend alot of time and money developing my skills. I did as one gentleman suggested. I started my own business because I knew I would not get hired without theexperience. When I sold my business, I still had to enter the field at an entry level. I could not prove I knew what I knew from just a piece of paper.

          I am by no means trying to keep anyone from entering the IT field. In fact I encourage it. However, just because you can take a test doesn’t mean you get full reins and compensation. That must be earned. I think we should do as the electricians and other trades do and require a journeyman’s appretice position for a period of time in order to allow the person to gain working knowledge and experience to enter into the sys admin role fully armed and qualified.

          The MCSE, while it does require knowledge, has fallen by the wayside for that which it was intended by all of these so called training courses. I can buy a book and memorize the questions and pass the test. Does that mean I know the fundamental basics? I think not.

          Anyone can learn how to repair a computer. It takes a special breed to be an effective admin.

          Tom Johnson

        • #3865452

          Got that right ….

          by emsiesekrap ·

          In reply to Get Real

          I went to a technical school to study for my
          certs. It wasn’t until three years later that
          I completed my MCSE. We had hands-on lab then
          and I continued at home until now, after all these years I think I’ll be an easy learner
          when a company finally hires me, although no
          work experience, but had a lot at home, practicing, fdisking, installling, re-installing, that’s where my experience is. To
          bad though if you don’t have one of the other
          (experience or certs) no one seems to want to
          hire you. I’m beginning to think that all of
          this about IT is all “hype”

      • #3886861

        experience is key

        by powerful_tern ·

        In reply to agreed, disagreed

        As a computer trainer, I have found the smartest techs get stopped in their tracks because they don’t have their certifications, and MCSE grads who couldn’t network their way out of a paper bag. Such is Life. Me, I teach A+ without a certification…..

      • #3832808

        Paper Certs and Employment

        by rdwarf2000 ·

        In reply to agreed, disagreed

        I currently work for a new boss who hires people based on certifications first- those are, for the most part, fairly clueless individuals. I don’t have certifications, as I am “test impaired,” but I was fortunate enough to work my way up and be hired by someone (my current supervisor’s predecessor)who found in an interview I was qualified. I am now a team lead. Nowadays, most companies won’t even let you interview without a piece of paper, which leaves out many techs like me who have over 15 years experience and can fix damn near anything but freeze when a test is placed in front of them.
        Comapnies need to interview all candidates, not just the papered ones.

        • #3839364

          You are so right!!!!

          by kima ·

          In reply to Paper Certs and Employment

          I strongly agree w/ you rdward2000, I don’t have a “piece of paper” but I have experience and lots of knowledge that I have gotten at home studying and by setting up my own home network, but it seems like nowadays a “piece of paper” is necessary.
          I can’t believe that employers will based knowledge on a piece of paper, I believe that they should give a fair change to everybody and test them if they want. I went to a few interview myself where the interviewer don’t even bother to test or ask technical questions to find out if you know, they just look at your resume and if you don’t have “piece of paper” or education then you are nothing to them.

          That’s to bad, nowadays they keep saying that they are short in technical people and bringpeople from other countries w/o even looking hard here in the states just so they can save some money and pay them less than us. Shame on them!!!! That’s my personal opinion on what’s going on, so please don’t be disturbed by it….

      • #3851391


        by ajm38 ·

        In reply to agreed, disagreed

        It’s a damn shame that people don’t know how to use proper grammar when posting messages and/or responses, certified or not!

        • #3836196

          English or ???

          by generalist ·

          In reply to English


          Proper grammar and spelling should be a requirement four some areas of certification. I, fore one, wood choose the person who knows how to spell and right if there certifications were equal.

          (Yes, I know there are ‘spelling’ errors in the paragraph above… When I dropped it into WORD, only one of them was questioned.)

      • #3851062

        Same feelings – agreed, disagree

        by ksreb ·

        In reply to agreed, disagreed

        I have been in the IT field now for 5 years (plus) and received my A+ at 3 years and my MCP at 4 years. My first employer wouldn’t pay for any certs, however my second employer had standards of at least obtaining your A+ within the first 4 weeks of hire. And they paid for them.

        My fixed sentiments are that I feel there are too many “paper certified” professionals, or users, that have that nice piece of paper on the wall and no experience. I also know several individuals that are quite skilled in the IT industry and have no certifications. A company should hire a person on the basis of experience, not just of a certification.

        My new position is an example of this. Even though I am now in a Novell environment, I was hired because of both my experience and certifications. I am on the track to becoming CNA, CNE, MCSE and CCNA by the year’s end. This isn’t just to increase my income, as I am a state employee now and can only do so at my yearly review, but to allow me to study, learn,and prove that I know something of those subjects.

        Certs shouldn’t become meaningless, but I think there should be some proof that a person has working knowledge of the cert testing for to help eliminate or cut down on those with only paper or book knowledge.

      • #3851855

        To be or not to be

        by davecdillon ·

        In reply to agreed, disagreed

        I agree that certification doesn’t make you qualified to run a network system or set one up and troubleshoot it. I have seen this in my own workplace. I am self taught in networking and had the person my company hired because of his credentials cometo me and ask how to set up a simple printer server on novell so there is where their money is but no experience. We will see more of this as the general corperate expects that paper before they will let you work on their systems even though you maybe qualified on paper but not in experience and we who have no paper will have to bail them out to maintain our company’s reputation for a fration of the $$$$$$$$$$

      • #3837460

        Why certification qualifications?

        by nonsuch ·

        In reply to agreed, disagreed

        I was always taught that qualifications may get you the job but in order to keep it you would have to prove that you could actually do the job.

        I have come across many people who have all the certificates and qualifications but could not do the job.

        The value of certification qualifications is that they frequently impart knowledge that cannot be obtained from any other source. On the other hand a person who has had years of experience could learn that way.

    • #3870656


      by patton777 ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?


      • #3866198

        What about OJT?

        by paasch ·

        In reply to AMEN

        What are IT jobs all about? solving problems.
        You can train a rat. but you cant train a rat to solve problems. 50% of all these paper people never go into IT. They heard they could make alot of money. They never realized you had to work for it. I dont waste my time or money going to any schools. I just sit down and fix it, do it, resolve it. whatever it takes. Sooooo I make alot of money because I solve problems. Who cares what paper crap people have? People care about who gets results!!!!!!! Quit whining. Get results get recognized. Forget certs. forget if your home trained. Show them by doing. Dont get me started on this wally whiner stuff guys. If companies dont want you. Start your own.

        • #3866662

          that’s all great and well but……

          by trebligb ·

          In reply to What about OJT?

          Minor point you overlooked….. If you have no education, little experience, etc how do you plan to get the opportunity to show that you are a problem solver?

          Also, if you are a small business would you hire some dude with no credentials to maintain your network and computers? No.

        • #3861316

          Cuts both ways

          by awebb2 ·

          In reply to that’s all great and well but……

          Yeah Greg, I see your point, but on the other hand, Would you trust a person proporting to be “knowledgeable heart surgeon” who has no certification to practice as a doctor to perform your heart by-pass operation? It cuts both ways. Certification isthe only route for some people to make it into the IT world today. Memories are short. In the past a vast portion of the well experienced IT professionals of today were people who were trained by companies and who had no formal IT related education.Currently you cannot seem to get into a company if you don’t have 2 years experience or more. The college graduate and home trained persons out there does not have that experience and thus the only loop hole they see in getting into a company is through the “high and mighty” certification route which some poor sap at some company has substituted for experience. And we all know that you can pass some of these IT certification exams without going within a hundred yards of a computer period!!! An so people…the well intentioned and the “you can make money out of computers person” will all join the IT certification fray…..The task is now to selectively discriminate between the certified person who is knowledgeable and those who don’t know crap.


        • #3889176

          Actually they do

          by ray.pasley ·

          In reply to that’s all great and well but……

          Yeah actually small companies do hire folks who have learned at home. Small companies are a good place to start for the self taught systems or apps programmer.

          Small companies that have had a contractor set them up, and find that their systems donot function well, or consistantly, are great targets for the self starter to begin their IT career, it gives em the ‘larger system’ to build a resume of experience, as well as have experience. The small company will be highly dependent on your skills, so you will feel the urgency, the criticalness of doing it, and doing it right, since most small companies can’t afford the price most certified people expect coming out of the class room based on the hype the training company got em into the classroom with.

          Of course when you go to a small company with your self taught self, you should have the actual knowledge needed to be of value to that company, you will be if not the only IT person, one of very few in the group, and your mistakes will not be noticed till they affect the small company in big ways. That of course is the risk small companies are forced to take with their smaller systems and budgets.

        • #3866491

          Show who?

          by ssegro ·

          In reply to What about OJT?

          You can work in you basement on computers all day long and really know you stuff but without that little piece of paper showing me that you realy DO know something, you won’t be touching my computers or my network. If you want a job working on my network you better have a cert or 2 just to get me to interview you.

          I’m a Network Administrator and hold the following Certs: MCSE,MCP+I,A+,Net+,CNA. I worked hard to get where I’m at and I love what i do and would expect the same from anyone Iwould hire.

        • #3861349

          Who hires “know-nothings”?

          by berbar ·

          In reply to Show who?

          The point is valid to a point. However, I would like to see a listing of companies that hire people with no experience (so they can gain the experience) so that they might later take their exams after having worked under a
          Certified person.

          Every company I have ever encountered wants to know they are hiring someone with at least the ability to learn. This is why these companies demand proof of some kind. Just having paid thousands to a “Cert Mill” that will provide a cert to all who had the funds to complete the courses needed is not the criteria intelligent companies use as a basis for their hiring decisions.

          Certification after taking the courses goes a lot further to assure companies that the people who took those courses can actually answer the questions.

          Until you can come up with a better solution to the predicament HR faces when trying to hire, especially with the labor market as tight as it is, the comments made are of no use to those who face the task of staffing.

          So, even paper certs have their value to HR and IT departments who have to somehow (other than using black magic, nepotism, and other
          failure paths) obtain at least somewhat knowledgeable personnel.

        • #3875148

          HR should dig deeper

          by rick_e_b ·

          In reply to Who hires “know-nothings”?

          I think that the improvement of HR’s interviewing and screening skills would go a long way toward weeding out the paper-boys. Perhaps setting up a screening lab to allow potential candidates to demostrate the basic skills needed for the job would be helpful.

        • #3887813

          LIKE THEY SAY >>>>>>&g

          by gnx ·

          In reply to Who hires “know-nothings”?


        • #3761870

          Thats totally stupid!!!

          by gmitchell ·

          In reply to Show who?

          That is soo stupid. In my 10+ years in the “IT” field I have met sooooo many CNE’s, MCSE’s, and now the lamest Cert. on the market C+’s, that have the foggiest clue. Now I would never hire anyone that has no experience and has a slew of Certs. A person that has the paper and no experience is totally lost on some of the most basic hands on knowledge. They would get in an environment like mine and freak. I see this guys all the time come in and have a long list of certs. and make stupid statements like “You can Quick Format a Harddrive for the first time”, and “Windows ME is better than Windows 2000”. Gimme a break!!!!!! These days your cert guys are a dime a dozen. How about some hands on experience. I will take a guy with 5 years in the field with lots of knowledge about NT,Unix,Novel, and workstations over a person that has 20 certs and never step foot in a real environment any day.

        • #3874928


          by acelogan ·

          In reply to Thats totally stupid!!!

          I’ve been in the buisness for 10 years now. I got my current job because of that amount of experience. I do not have a single piece of paper to back that up other then the list of refrences I have.

          On the same token a friend of mine did 2nd leveltech support for a large on-site firm that would only hire A++ certified people. She told me such tails as the guy who was on his first onsite, and had never turned on a computer before and was looking for the power button! Or another guy who got into Windows Safe mode by just turning the computer off.

          In my current evironment certs are a dime a dozen, yet the un-certified people out perform them….


    • #3882365

      Two sides to the coin

      by nettek ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Theq has a point. Sometimes certifications are the easiest way – or perhaps the only way – to break into the field. I broke into the field by going to a technical school. Upon graduation, I received a “certificate” in Network Engineering and Data Communications. It was by attending that school and getting that “certificate” that I was able to get an entry level position. I now have a few years of experience, and I am now running a multi-server, multi-site network. I am now currently studying for a “manufacturers” certification.

      What is annoying are those people who paid a significant sum of money to take a cram course and receive a CCNA, MCSE, CNE, etc., without ever touching a network.

      I can only hope that the IT Managers of the world have some degree of intelligence, and would higher someone with my credentials as opposed to someone with little or no experience but who has a “paper” certification.

      • #3867123

        You want to eat your cake and have it to

        by cst1268 ·

        In reply to Two sides to the coin

        So what are you saying? That it was ok for
        you to break into the field with a cert and
        no experience, but not the next guy?

        PS: Cert’s sure don’t seem to be the easiest
        way to break into the field – employers want

        • #3867006

          Certs show promise!!

          by ess pee ·

          In reply to You want to eat your cake and have it to

          Certs like a bachelors degree shows that an individual has the ability to learn. A Cram MCSE cert shows that an individual has the ability to learn in an technical environment. That is what employers are looking for.

        • #3866576

          Certs only show ability to memorize.

          by gherkin ·

          In reply to Certs show promise!!

          A degree is not the same thing as a cert. A degree shows that you can learn. A person with a degree usually has spent several years learing concepts and applying those concepts.

          All a Cram cert shows is that you can memorize questions and the answers. That does not indicate learning potential or an ability to operate in a technical environment. It does not equate to understanding, only regurgitation.

        • #3866513

          Memorizing what a professor wants to hea

          by chris ·

          In reply to Certs only show ability to memorize.

          If that is true, a degree shows that a student has memorized enough information to satisfy their professor, for years. So individuals with degree’s are seasoned manipulators.

          This makes no sense. A person with a degree can have no working experience with a network, yet why are degree’s viewed as being superior? Either way, you have to have knowlege of the the product you are being certified in. While someone may not be good at terminiating wires, they may be efficent at troubleshooting aserver. Every person has their niche. In the diverse Computer Support/Networking field you cannot be everything, there is too much.
          In every field the Vets do not like the fish(newbies) it takes time for the fish to gain respect.
          This argument of “Paper Certifications” is another way to single out someone you fear, or do not like.

          If you disagree with “Paper Certifications” so much, do something about it. Hire a “Paper MCSE CCNA CNE MCP CCDA A+ Network +” and teach them how to be a Guru like you. Then tell them to teach someone else how to be a Guru like you. Maybe they will build you a statue out of IC’s in your honor.

        • #3865553

          We’re talking about apples and oranges

          by ninewands ·

          In reply to Memorizing what a professor wants to hea

          You know, I’m beginning to get REALLY bored with this thread.

          No one will ever agree on the relative value of degrees and certifications because they are fundamentally different.

          A degree is broadly based and focused on the broad underlying principles of the technology because people with degrees are being trained to produce the technology of tomorrow.

          Certifications are SUPPOSED to indicate an in-depth knowledge of the details of a technology because certified people are expected to be able to maintain the current technology.

          Like it or not, that’s the fact. Engineers in R&D labs MUST have degrees. Technicians and admins NEED to have RESPECTED certs. A vendor who allows the value of its certs to be devalued to the point that they are not respected does itself a disservice. They also do a disservice to the applicants who pay money to take their tests.



        • #3866488


          by ssegro ·

          In reply to Certs only show ability to memorize.

          Anybody can lern something if they have 4+ years to learn it

        • #3861450


          by rckgtr ·

          In reply to BULLSH_T

          Maybe you should head for college and learn to spell.

        • #3887124

          Reply To: Paper Certifications?

          by gherkin ·

          In reply to Really?

          I don’t know what college you went to but when I was getting my degree it was based on the application of knowledge. There were research papers, case studies, design papers, projects building LANs and WANs from the ground up, as well as management, and business classes.

          Having said that, do you expect us to believe that someone that takes a six week course, or memorizes questions and answers on the exam, has the same level of understanding as someone with a degree?

        • #3886649


          by ssegro ·

          In reply to Really?

          I didn’t Major in Typing.

        • #3874921

          It’s not about the degree

          by ptswolfman ·

          In reply to Certs only show ability to memorize.

          Both degrees and certs show a certain level of experience. I’ve been an A+ certified PC tech for about nine years gaining knowledge on networks and various IT issues over that time.
          What it sounds like you are saying is that just becuase I cannot afford to go to school right now and get a degree in an IT field means that I must not be fit to work in the IT field?
          I myself would very much like to go back to school and get my degree. But you know what? Look at that degree. What is it? It’s a peice of paper right? Granted it’s one of the hardest certifications to get…but when you break it down, it’s just another cert on the wall. I agree with one of the other guys, higher levels of troubleshooting cannot be taught. It’s something that you were born with, the ability to think in a troubleshooting manner. That is what makes a good Net/System/Infrastructure Admin.

        • #3877956

          I Hope You’re Right

          by lou1 ·

          In reply to Certs only show ability to memorize.

          I am depending on my ability to Memorize for my first 2 Windows2000 exams so that I can get my cert MCP for 2000 in 2 months. I’m being honest. I don’t care if I know the stuff for the test, but I know that if I pass I will get that opportunity tolearn on the job. Without the cert I have a slim to none chance to work with 2000 admin in the workplace.

        • #3851943

          Incentive is an asset

          by dane_warren ·

          In reply to Certs show promise!!

          The ability to learn is one thing, and then lateral thinking is another!!!!!!
          Lateral thinking comes with experience.

      • #3866663

        Hear, Hear

        by comptech3 ·

        In reply to Two sides to the coin

        I made a career change almost 3 years ago from motorcycle mechanic to computer technician. I had been dabbling in it as a hobby at home, so I decided to make the change.

        I’m currently attending junior college part-time to get my AAS in Network Admin. My opinion is that certs will eventually expire so that new ones can be “sold” to the public, but my degree will never expire.

        I maintain a computer lab with 54 desktops and a server. I find that what I learn on the job helps me in school and vice versa. There is no better teacher than getting your hands dirty.

        I can see the point where getting certified will probably let someone be at least familiar with concepts, but there are some things you just will not be able to pick up in theclassroom.

      • #3761924

        Don’t Believe the Hype

        by dcal ·

        In reply to Two sides to the coin

        I have read many good points from both sides of this discussion. As a “wallpaper” certification holder personally, I say this…I paid over $10k to get my MCSE. Courses were about 2 weeks long, 4 hours every night of the week. Alot of time was invested, not to mention the $. I felt it was necessary to invest this time and money to “get my foot in the door.” Yes I am a convert from a former career.

        I have achieved 1/2 of the exams needed for the MCSE. Will I succeed in passing the rest? They are tough exams…for those vets without certs, take them, see if you can pass…if so, then that will be the true testament to whether or not experience is the only thing needed to attain the job. If you can’t pass them, then there is something to be said for us who made an effort to “self-improve”

        With that said, I must admit that my certificatiosn are just that, CERTIFICATIONS. I got a start in tech support because of the certs i had at the time. After 6 months, I landed a realgood job with a start up internet company in western NY area. I have NOT used any of the knowledge I learned in preparing for any of the exams, in either of the 2 jobs I have held in the IT field. Were the certs worth it? I say yes and No…yes because I was fortunate enough to get a real good job, 6 months into my new career in IT. I say NO because I spent a TON of money for certifications I haven’t used, and most likely won’t use because they are expiring come 01-01-2001.

        For those thinking about taking the plunge and spending that proverbial TON of money, take heed, DON’T do it, unless you have the discretionary income. Take some classes, do some self studying, get that first job and go from there. Don’t believe the Hype thatcertifying will increase your salary…experience is a needed and valuable attribute.

        • #3761852

          Definitely Agree

          by snowie ·

          In reply to Don’t Believe the Hype

          Thanks for the input. Personally, I am new to this field. I have been working with a vast field of very knowledgeable IT people. Many are not certified. There is no substitute for experience and schooling. Certification would mean more if it was a “hands on” situation instead of “memorize and choose” the correct answer. I have come in contact with many “certified” people–depending on the individual–for many it is just a piece of paper.

          Bottom line–I don’t care about becoming certified. Once you enter this field, and you are faced with situations, believe me no cares about how many “papers” you have hanging on your office wall–all they want are results and they want them yesterday.

        • #3761787

          I agree, but….

          by arg cio ·

          In reply to Definitely Agree

          How do you get that job to get into “this field”? lets see.. a degree in psychology, 15 years experience in psychology. 0 computer experience.

          total score = 0

          Add one MCP, MCSE, or CNE

          Total score = 5/10

          Add 2 years “real world” experience

          Total score = 30/35

          Add 5 years “real world” experience

          Total score = 80/100


          Certification IS worth something.. but not a lot!

      • #3874914

        Reply To: Paper Certifications?

        by angel garcia ·

        In reply to Two sides to the coin

        It is my opinion that what really needs to change are the companies that offer certifications. To give you an example of what I mean. Being in the field for over 10 years and I don’t have any certs. I was looking into the “Boot Camps” and looked at the CCNA camp agenda. It appealed to me because I have been working with Cisco for a long time and know the products very well so I just wanted to get the certifiction over with. Well to my surprise before I was even allowed to sign up for the course I had to take and pass with at least an 80% a screening test which consisted of basic networking questions that in my opinion anyone who is even thinking of touching a router should know. This is exactly what all cert tests should require. Example: Before embarking on MSCE you should be required to pass a basic computer knowledge test. In addition all tests should be able to test on real world situations. This in my opinion would make the certs alot more valuable to employees and employers.

    • #3881328

      two tier certs

      by mike.clemmer ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I hold several hardware certifications from an organization call ISCET ( They have an associate level certification program for students and graduates with less than 4 years of combined field experience and training. They have journeyman exams for those with 4 or more years of experience in a specific of dicipline. They also have a continuing education program. This is one approach.

    • #3881142

      My Only Way

      by rctv ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Hello All,

      I would say I have to agree with all posts here so far. I can see both points of view. The experienced IT people dont want “paper holders” to just jump into positions that are higher up the scale without paying some dues. The “paper holders” want to get those good jobs if possible.

      My current position is probably not a good one. Been in the Auto Repair business as a technician for 22 yrs. Driveability and electronics my area. Also ran my own part-time electronics shop for 10 yrs. Am a computer novice and have built 10 personal systems. Want to quit the Auto end of things and get into the “computer age”. At my level, employers would laugh at me if i applied for thieir jobs(justly so). I’m 40 yrs old and have a mortgage anda family. My plan is to go to the tech school and take what they call their “A+” classes. This is suppose to prepare you for the A+ exam. Its 1 semester long. After that, the college is now a Cisco Certified Training Center and have the CCNA available in a 4 semester course. I plan on taking that next.They claim its alot of hands on training and say they’re setting their student goals high. Thats supposed to mean they will make it tough to pass. I dont see any other way for me to have a chance in this envioronment. Employers want certifications and experience.
      In my situation,(mortgage & family) I can only give them one. Keeping my current job to pay the bills and school at night gets me the paper but not much experience. Providing you havent stopped reading this being mad, what would a projected salery be in the Midwest area (Omaha,NE.) for someone certified but not much experience? I’m sure thats tough to answer. I hope i didnt anger any of you(espically with experience) but this is my situation. Thanks for any feedback.

      Roger Carnell

      • #3866282

        paper certs

        by jpw6466 ·

        In reply to My Only Way

        Interesting comments, associating doctor’s with IT pro’s, but since that pandora’s box has been opened, we’ll run with it. I have had numerous discussions with graduate Doctors and if in a crowd, they are quick to brag on their obtaining their degrees and their prospective national licenses. Set aside, they are all scared s^%&less and will tell you so, confident that they can do the job but know that they could use some seasoning and some real world experience. Anyone else seeing any parallels? Microsoft, Cisco, etal all are not wrong in putting out vendor certs, realize that just obtaining them is not a complete package, but is an integral part nonetheless. The IT industry is not that different than any industry. nearly everyone that is in a position of ability is quite forgetful about the time they spent screwing up, asking questions, looking redfaced, asking again, sometimes the same question. Guess what, Microsoft, Cisco, etal have entrusted me with certification that I canpresent to a perspective employer that says, hey, I can LEARN this job, what do you need? Can I or anyone walk into a new network and know it cold, doubtful. Can anyone learn by certs the particular problems that their network has, its personality, limitations, NO.
        So back off a little seasoned vets, we don’t want your job, we want A JOB!!

        love to hear replies

        • #3867788

          Check Mate!

          by rzan ·

          In reply to paper certs

          I would have to agree 100% with mnay of the previous comments. Certifications have become more of an embarrasment than a prestige, as more and more ambitious and clueless idiots are passing exams and getting a cert. They heard somewhere that getting a cert will raise your salary by $30K or so, but what they didn’t hear is that without experience, you won’t get anything. The IT industry is being soiled by people who memorize answers to a specific exam and whalla…here is your cert. Put these same people in front a real server that is experiencing problems and you will see how quickly they panic and freak out because they didn’t learn a thing about troubleshooting. I have seen a negative attitude towards certified professional as I have been looked upon potential new employers as another paper cert. They grilled me with such off the wall technical questions that only someone with experience could have answered them. In a way, I am glad they are doung this to weed out the real pros from the phonies. Cert exams need to be harder and nothing substitutues for real world experience, even if you have to build a network at home to play with. If you are serious about IT, you will invest a lot of your own time and $$$$ to learn asmuch as you can.

        • #3867602

          I have to agree Totally

          by dpx2066 ·

          In reply to Check Mate!

          I am that guy with midrange experince. The certifications help round me out. I got the certification because I was being left behind. I am the guy who can get things done with a limited amount of help. I am also that guy who cant afford to pay for all of the training that is available. However, I do believe in self improvement by any means necessary. I purchase alot fo books and set up a lot os lost cost servers and workstation to get the job done. So to those who have the certs but no experince need to do what it takes to get it and stop being dead weight.

        • #3866977

          Reply To: Paper Certifications?

          by theq ·

          In reply to Check Mate!

          Employeers should grill prospect employees to weed out the pros from the phonies. I dont think that the exams need to be harder(from what I hear the MCSE is pretty hard all ready, correct me if I am wrong MCSE’s.) Employeers should be more selective. Unfortunately with a lack of IT proffesionals, Employeers can’t be pickie with who they hire. The US just increased the number of VISA’s for foreign technology professionals.

          Playing with a home network is alot different than playing with buisness networks. A home network you have allot more control over so you really wouldn’t get the real world experience with it. Sure you will know how to put together a network, but how many home networks do you know of that suffer problems from HEAVY traffic?


        • #3861457

          Certification paradigm

          by shanghai sam ·

          In reply to Check Mate!

          When an “experienced professional” who has more than 15 years of practical experience in the IT field, and writes the MCSE exams and fails them twice, would this mean anything to the people who are so convinced of the need for certification?

          I amthat person which I refer to above. About a year ago, I noticed employers in Toronto, Ontario started listing the MCSE as a requirement in their job ads. Since I didn’t have this certification, I began thinking that I couldn’t compete in the marketplace. This led me to succumb to an instructor-led course for which I paid $11,000.00 with the goal of obtaining the MCSE.


        • #3861454

          continued re: Certification paradigm

          by vision-ary ·

          In reply to Certification paradigm

          When I was deciding which exam to write first, (Workstation or Server) I took the NT Server exam first. When I took this exam, I noticed it had Workstation questions on it! What struck me was the fact that Microsoft was doing something which adverisers who say one thing and do another are usually branded with the word “misrepresentation” or “misleading” advertising. As I wrote more exams, I found this trend continued.

          Then, I came across some wording prior to the IIS exam, which made reference to Microsoft not guaranteeing the results of the exam with work performance, or some words to that effect. If that is what Microsoft is saying, (which I hope they will clarify in writing to me) then why is everybody so gung-ho on getting that certification? Then it means one’s work performance has to do with other factors that are outside of Microsoft’s certification, doesn’t it?

          If that wasn’t enough, I then realized that anybody who passes the 6 exams for NT4.0 MCSE, becomes party to a legal agreement (contract) with Microsoft upon the opening of the sealed Microsoft Certified Professional Certification Welcome Kit that one receives in the mail! Now, if I had known about this before I began that MCSE program, I may have decided otherwise. For those of you who haven’t known about this, I urge you to carefully read that agreement and then decide if you wish to continue.

          Just click on the complete link at the Microsoft site and you’ll see what I mean:

          Now, for those people who really want to go to the heart of the matter, and think a little bit more broadly about what I’m referring to, please visit the following link:

          go to “What’s Normal or Possible for Consciousness?”


        • #3861451

          continued re: certification paradigm

          by vision-ary ·

          In reply to continued re: Certification paradigm

          Excerpt from the book “The Paradigm Conspiracy: How our systems of government, church, school, and culture violate our human potentials” by Denise Breton and Christopher Largent.

          After reading that, you might be inclined to ask the question: If Bill Gates wrote any of those exams, do you think he would pass? Does anybody know whether Bill Gates is certified?

          :Pritam:Singh (Peter)

        • #3866978


          by theq ·

          In reply to paper certs

          As someone said earlier in the discussion…


        • #3874908

          Dr vs IT

          by jackieb ·

          In reply to paper certs

          You know, I just HAD to put in my two cents worth on this one. There is a major dofference between a Dr and an IT pro. With the IT Pro who has a cert, they go from the school into the job system, trying to go to work somewhere, anywhere, and sometimes they get the job that the more experienced person without the cert was trying to get. However, the Dr, after getting out of school, with all his papers in hand, still has to go through a period of internship before he can ‘practice’ what he has learned in school. In other words, the Dr has to prove his abilities under close supervision for a couple of years before he can branch out on his own. This is not true with the IT Pro! They can, and do, go directly from school to a mid to high end job. I feel that there is definitely a place for certifications, and they are needed, but this should be tempered with experience also, where the certs will get you in the door, but only into an entry or low end type position, where you can earn a better position through proving your value as has always been done. The cert should get you into the door, but the experience, without the cert, should be just as good, as long as the experience is appropriate to the job at hand. There are a lot of talented people out there without the certs but with invaluable training and experience, who can pick up a new network or system much faster that someone with just the certs can. I personally have a lot of experience and training, but no letters attached to my name (certs) but put me up against these certified people on a new system and I can usually show them a few things. Certs are great, they give you a good knowledge base to build upon, but experience should be required for any positions that arenot entry level. Jackie

        • #3865724


          by jbuchberger ·

          In reply to paper certs

          I didn’t spend thousands of dollars on cram courses to attain the knowledge needed to pass my certifications. What I invested is long hard study time using several sources of information for each test, including expensive text books, free websites, hands on fooling with it as much as I could on my home system and at work where possible.

          The people who think you can pass the CCNA test or any of the MCP tests by simply memorizing questions and answers from a braindump site are misinformed, plain and simple. Does this mean I think I could take over management of a complex network? No. I know I’m still what I consider a ‘paper cert’ holder, and without real world experience that’s all I’ll ever be. But before I started working for my certifications (A+, MCSE, MCP+I, CCNA) I was just a hobbyist with no clue about networks and routing principles.

          I began the certification track as a way to focus my studies into what is needed in the marketplace. For example, I see a lot of jobs requiring knowledge and experience in Exchange so if I decided I even wanted a chance at those jobs what I would do is learn the technology well enough to at least pass the Microsoft test. This might get me in the door at least to where I could get some real life exposure to it and become a ‘guru’ eventually if I found liked it.

          The other point I want to make is that many companies are required to have X amount of MCSE’s or CCNA’s or A+’s on staff in order to maintain their dealer authorizations. That’s why I have a CCNA and have never worked on a router other than simulators and logging into website labs. I don’t claim to be an expert at Cisco technology yet but if I ever get the chance with entry level exposure, I know I’ll at least have the basics with which to build on.

          Joe Buchberger

      • #3866589

        Studying for the Future

        by chris ·

        In reply to My Only Way

        I commend you on your effort to better yourself in a new career. I too have a family I am supporting while attending school for my CCNA. I will have my CCNA and CCDA in March, the A+ certification is not very impressive, check out the CompTia Network +. This will help you with your CCNA. As far as “Paper Certificatons” just do what you feel is right, and get arrogant. Study hard, ask tons of questions, and don’t listen to any negative S*** from anyone. I am still in school, and I help support a University campus. There are over 300 PC’s, 3 NT servers, 1 Linux server, 1 Real Server. With my Paper Certification, I have a job, and working part time in Idaho, I am making 22,000 a year. After Graduation (Associate of Applied Science) Ianticipate making 30 to 40 G to start. In the midwest, you should make more. (Cost of living in Idaho 600 mo, for a 4 bedroom house). Get your certs, find anyone who will give you experience, (phone tech is a good place to start 20G yr.)then moveinto a good job.

        When asking for a job, it only takes one yes to make a difference, keep asking untill you hear a yes.

      • #3887273

        Good Luck Roger!

        by bullheaded ·

        In reply to My Only Way

        I have the same problems that you do. I am 40+ years old and want desperately to get out of my present career. So, I began investing thousands of dollars and hours of my “free” time to earn (yes, earn) my MCSE, MCP+I and A+ paper certifications. I can’t afford to quit my current job to take an $8/hour job to gain experience. My family would starve. However, the potential employers that had the decency to personally respond to my applications an resumes for entry-level positions rejected me because I have no experience in the field. How about that for a “Catch 22”. No experience = no job and no job = no experience. Any suggestions?

      • #3887148

        On the right track

        by darbizu2 ·

        In reply to My Only Way

        Got to start somewhere and I think you are on to it. Not sure what the going rate of pay happens to be up in that part of the states but I am sure someone will give you a shot if you show desire and willingness to learn. You might try finding a small computer store that needs some extra help putting systems together and fixing them. This will give you not only some insight but that needed experience. You can work for free (God forbid) for them to gain thier knowledge and in return they will teach you the thing’s you might want to learn. Only a suggestion and it might not work for you while you are going to school and working a job to pay the bills. Maybe on the weekends or on your night off spend them at the store learning the trade. It worked for me and now I am part owner of a store here in the Dallas area in Texas.Got to start somewhere and making that first step is the hardest. Good luck and hope you fair well.Ken co/Owner of CCSI Computers in Garland,Texas.

      • #3865036

        TO GET A JOB

        by arg cio ·

        In reply to My Only Way

        $25,000 – $30,000 in the NE area without any experience, but with certification. It also depends on what school you go to for this (I assume it’s Metro), and what other graduates of that school have proven. If serveral IT grads from that school are slackers, and have pissed away a schools rep. it is almost useless. But, if a company got a couple of GREAT IT people, you could be a shoe in for entry level IT. Keep at it, and watch the public sector for jobs. They hire low level people to train, and do special jobs.

      • #3865668

        On Your Nights Off…

        by ravensperch ·

        In reply to My Only Way

        There is a difference though, in what you can do. You’ll be working during the day and taking classes at night sometimes. Okay, so on the nights that you’re not taking classes, go down to your nearest ISP and do some intern work there.
        Yes, this will make it tough at home with the family. BUT you could be able to trade that time for credits, AND you’ll be using what you learn, AND when you finally get that coveted CCNA you’ll have more than just paper under your belt. You’ll have the experience.
        Besides, if you start working for an ISP for free and prove that you learn quick and are eager to learn more and take on more responsibility, it’s far more likely they’ll give you a paying job after a few months to supplement the sacrifice you’re making spending time away from your family. (They wouldn’t put it like that, but I would.)

        Then once you have your cert and the more important hands-on real-world experience, you thank your local ISP for letting you learn and go demand the salary your combined qualifications (cert + exp) out in the IT world.

        Good Luck!
        (I’m not in the midwest so can’t tell ya. Texas, Florida, and Northern VA near D.C. are real hot spots though for CCNA’s.)

      • #3865925

        Salery and Experiance Information

        by wizardwayne ·

        In reply to My Only Way

        I do have an answer to Rogers question on wages. Go to They always have an EXCELLENT and comprehensive nationwide database. They just posted thier 2000 annual survey. They break it down by certifications, experiance,age, and region. I highly recommend it.

        • #3865916

          Bogus Salary Surveys ARE the problem

          by jbuchberger ·

          In reply to Salery and Experiance Information

          That nonsense salary survey published by MCP Magazine showing all those rediculously inflated salary ranges are the main reason you see people with no experience in computers rushing to get certified.

          $45,000/year for someone with a simple MCP after only one year? Get real!

      • #3852754

        Just like me.

        by topesblues ·

        In reply to My Only Way

        I myself worked in the automotive bussiness for 10 years.(parts dept.)That was two years ago. Im now A+ certified and working in a mortgage companys IT dept. Ill be starting my ccna classes on the 29th of Jan.
        The hardest part of all of it is actually making the change between carreers.Get your A+ first then start looking.Unlike MCSE, I consider A+ to be nessasary to get a decent entery level position. I had to work so god awfull “IT” jobs before I got certified. A+ will make it a lot easier to find entry level work.
        As far as starting pay in the midwest,Id have to say somewhere around 30k depending on what your doing and who your doing it for.
        Good luck, (I have no regrets about leaving the auto bussiness)

    • #3867755

      Not so fast

      by kvedaa ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?


      You are obviously confused, but that is all right most people are. Many CPA have never touched the books for a real business. Many of my friends took and passed their CPA exams coming out of school, before landing a job with a ‘real company’. As for a mandatory amount of time working in IT, there is no point to it. If someone does not get it, a year, two years or ten is not going to help that person. I have worked with ‘techs’ that have been at it for 6 years or more that I would not let within 10 feet of one of my machines.

      Are some certifications a joke, yes! But a lot of people who complain about them are people who are not willing to spend the time to really learn the subject. Certification does not equal experience, but then again experience in and of itself does not equal knowledge. And as with all else, those who have it all are in a better position than anyone else.

    • #3867675

      what should/entry level qualifications?

      by mooseman ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      What should the entry level qualifications be? A BS/CS?

    • #3867610

      Agreed / But more disagreement.

      by zk ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I agreed that certification should not be a paper thingy. But, I won?t whine about all the papers (yet PRETENDING, as experts) out there. Without them, real gurus like you won’t stand out. You should thank them. Because those are the ones who’ll come begging like dogs when networks crash.

      To the people who just want to learn, have fun, and make some bucks, who cares what whiners say. 9 out of 10 of them don’t have certs anyway.

      To the people who just want an entry into the field, welcome.Don’t pay attention to some old bones, they whine because they’re too slow to keep up. There are more than enough jobs. Mostly, they spent half their lives installing hard drives in repair shops. Yeah, they got 20 (wow!) years of IT experience. Great! But, it is time to retire grandpa.

      Some questions I just wonder.

      If two years is a requirement, how come I am billing $$$ (note 3 digits) to fortune 500 clients with one year of experience, at the age of 22. Yes, I got two bachelor degrees, one minor, and yes, with honors, did them in 2.5 years. Certs? I got more than my biz card can fit.

      If home learning doesn’t count, how come I got more routers than some of my client companies (with over 500 employees) got?

      If years of experience matter, how come the senior network admin at SPRINT is only 19? He can’t be born with computers, can he? Have you seen his basement with over 2 dozen computers, half a dozen switches, and half a dozen routers?

      By stating merely the years, you’ve left out many important factors, intelligence, talent, attitude, motivation and dedication in learning. And the most important thing is something we called brain, they?re not created equal, in case people haven?t noticed.

      • #3867603

        ‘—> Contd, Agreed / But more…

        by zk ·

        In reply to Agreed / But more disagreement.

        Here?s a joke. Right after college no company would even interview (let alone hire) me ‘coz I can’t seem to pass the hr bs and the experience crap. Now, I’m laughing all the way to the bank. I won?t work for these companies now even it they beg me. Yes, they have. Some of my clients don’t know that, I, the system/network guru as they now called, was the same punk, who applied one year ago and got his resume trashed. Talking about ridiculous! HR? Where do you see yourself in 10 years? On the beach, rich, retired, while you ugly people are slaving your b*tts off. Hahaha. Funniest of all, my minor is human resource management. I don?t ever remember my professors training us to be the way HR people are now.

        If any HR people read this, recite this every night before bedtime ?Interviewing skill is NOT the same skill necessary to do the job. While, I?m asking the candidate, strength, weakness crap, my company?s network is crashing and some consultants are coming in and ripping my companyoff.?

        One more note before I depart peacefully, one more advice to HR people. Get your tech facts straight before asking your candidates embarrassing questions like ?do you know HTLM?? or posting ads like ?10 years of NT experience?. Candidates, please, please, when you?re asked if you have 10 years of Internet experience, tell them you invented the fr**king TCP/IP protocol back in the seventies. Avoid HR like a plague.

        To the new people, hang in there. Take the craps with a grain of salt. Everybody starts somewhere. People will know eventually how good you are. Peace, and merry X?mas.

        • #3867546


          by rzan ·

          In reply to ‘—> Contd, Agreed / But more…

          I have to agree with the comments about HR. HR are nothing more than a bunch of stupid and technically ignorant morons who will aim at nothing than to get you a below market value salary. They will post salaries which they can’t even come close tooffering for a particular position. They will also ask you off the wall questions which don’t even apply to your position. For instance, I once went on an interview for a Novell Admin position, and they were asking me stupid crap like if I knew C++ and Java? HR, get your sh*t together and learn the techno jargon. I am not a programmer, I am a network engineer for crying out loud.
          And here is what REALLY PISSES ME OFF. I go to the interview representing myself as a professional, only to have HR play bargaining games when it comes to salary. What HR must realize is that we aren’t secretaries or clerks, we are technical professionals who deserve to be paid market value, and if you employers can’t pay up, then shut up and stop your campaign of misrepresenting IT positions for which you can’t shell out the pay.

        • #3866962

          Paper certs = wallpaper

          by lanman235 ·


          As an IT professional of 12 years and the manger of an IT department I look at certs this way. I was an auto mechanic for ten years. I had to work as a professional mechanic for 2 years before I could get my ASE certification. IT Pros should work for two years too. I did not have a cert to get an entry level position. I went to technical school and still continue my training. I have been to CCNA, MSCE, CNA, A+ and Checkpoint training but have never taken a test.

          When I hire someone I look for a minimum of two years experiance or 1 year exper with an MCP or CCNA depending on what I am hiring. Certs ARE JUST A PEICE OF PAPER but tell me that a person has the initiative to study and take tests. I do not hold them as gospel and have a tendancy to discount them because most certified persons want more money than they are worth, have no exper and paid alot of money for training that gave them nothing.

          The questions in the interview process should weed out the bad ones.

        • #3866556

          If you can’t play the game…

          by gherkin ·


          And just what qualifies you as a “network engineer”? Is a CNE or MCSE behind your name or did you actually go to college and get a CS degree? See that’s the problem, in other industries people go to university for years to become engineers. In IT you just have to pass a handful of exams.

          How do you know HR didn’t know the jargon? HR’s job is to feel out prospective candidates. They most likely asked you the C++ and Java questions to see how “well rounded” you are or just how you would respond. And the thing with salary is normal. All employer want talent for as little as they can get. What you expect, for them to hand you a bag of money? You just have to play the game.

      • #3866976

        smart a$$….

        by theq ·

        In reply to Agreed / But more disagreement.

        You took alot of cracks at people here. But you do have some good points and some bad ones.

        Your right when the server crashes the paper holders are the ones that will come running to the real professionals. Unfortunately the are taking up needed space for the real professionals at the moment. Unfortunately, I happen to be a paper holder, but for some specific reasons that I explained earlier in the discussion. ( you have a mouse, click and scroll to the beginning.

        Old bones, Get out, let us get some experience. Or at least put in a good word with HR department and hire us as apprentices.

        Two years isn’t a requirement, but it would be good experience. Where did you get the money to get more routers and certs than your biz card can hold? Mommy and Daddy? Certs take money, money that most people in the US are busting their a$$ off to make, and dont see a penny of. I am 19, and neither on my own or with my parents help would I be able to go for a cert anytime soon.

        Asfor the SPRINT kid, he probably knew someone up on the ladder. Parents are probably long time employees/managers for Sprint(meaning they have money to give little johnny to get his certs).

        Your right everyones Brain isn’t created equal. We all learn at a different pace, and in a different way? Didn’t pschology teach you that? BTW, Intelligence, Talent, Atittude, Motivation, and Dedication all START from the brain.

        • #3866804


          by zk ·

          In reply to smart a$$….

          Pardon me, if I offended anybody, I’m just sharing my view. As far as papers taking up space, I thought IT got more space than people. Don’t see a penny? try 50% income tax here.

          I don’t mean it literally for elders to get out. What I meant was instead of bashing newbies for taking good jobs, help them. Most attitude was “hey, I’ve paid my dues, let the kids boil in hell (these young arrogant little bastards).” Remember the kind souls who helped you when you were green? Good, your turn.

          You’ve achieved certs at 19, congrats, good work. I’m not the one bashing papers. I did stress, people who PRETEND to be experts, didn’t I?

          My parents weren’t Gates. I’ve flipped burgers, happily, during my whole 2.5 yrs of college. I had a weekenddelivery job too, 4-3am. Now for routers, yes, my fulltime burger (nutrition prep engineer) career during college paid for 75% of my current equipment and two of my certs. See what a $100 a month of sweat saving can do. In my entire 2.5 years at college, I DID NOT have a life. Nobody said life is easy. And yes sir, when you’re p*ss poor, you better be smart or try hard. Mentioning all the degrees and certs isn’t about my IQ (‘coz mine isn’t quite there). But, how HARD I’ve tried. Nobody has ever called me smart a$$ before, it makes me feel smart. No sarcasm. Thanks.

          As for the kid, I was making a point that age (as most people seem to equate with exp, worse yet, knowledge) isn’t an issue. BTW, he has NO cert and is a high school drop out. Degree, certs, exp;yrs;age, doesn’t matter. What matter is how good you’re. Do whatever it takes to be good. You don’t need justifications for getting your certs. It’s not anyone’s business.

          If 2 yrs exp is required for certs, how about 60 yr old IT grandpas making the requirement, 40 yrs? All of you under 45 won’t have certs anymore. Cool, we have the real pros now.

          I took the road less traveled, & I’m glad. Cheers!

        • #3866656

          Peace it is!

          by theq ·

          In reply to Peace!

          I didn’t mean to offend you by posting my reply. The tone of the whole message was that of an attack. I was just looking for clarification of your views. Thanks for explaining where your coming from. BTW you remind me of my best-friend. He and Iget along like this.

      • #3861589

        i am 11 yeers oled an been a CNE…

        by hekkletekk ·

        In reply to Agreed / But more disagreement.

        …an a MCNE, an a MCSE, an a CCNE, an a PhDMB* fore 9 yeer. Plus I invented Netware and the copper and fiber cable that the Al Gore Internet runs on.
        No, seriously, I think I know you zk – Are you “Don’t Ask Me I’m Just a Bottle Pusher” from Manhattan? (If that is nonsense to you, I’ve mistaken you for somebody else. Sorry.)

        Have you noticed comments posted on these Paper vs Experience discussions are Xx as long as those posted to a technical forum?

        *Doctor of Monkey Business

        Peace/Love/Dove – Grampa CNE MCNE CDE MCP

        • #3861482


          by zk ·

          In reply to i am 11 yeers oled an been a CNE…

          Sorry, I don’t have a slightest clue what you’re talking about.

          “Noticed about Paper vs Experience are Xx…” What is Xx as long as those posted to a technical forum? You mean longer comments? Man, I feel like I need two more shots.

          One thing I know is, I might have the same alias as somebody else. I kind of remember seeing one.

    • #3867121

      Can we restitrict access to exam ????

      by ramy naguib ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Dear Greg;
      I agree with you but it is almost imposible to restrict access to exam certification for un experienced people.
      What we can request is for the exams to be more focused on hands on experience,after all I believe it is practicaly imposible for any accountant to pass the CPA without a previuos experience.

      • #3867101

        How do You Decide

        by clarinis ·

        In reply to Can we restitrict access to exam ????

        I personally was going to a technical school to earn my MCSE, CCNA and MCDBA. I was aslso working 30 hours a week at an IT firm to put into practice what I was learning. If the exams were restricted based on experience, then I wouldn’t have had the job as they were looking form some Certification before I was hired. Without the job, I may have beena paper MCSE, no experience, et cetera.
        How can you justify limiting exams to the experienced ones? How about just changing the exams to includemore practical that would require expeience to have learned?

        Comments are welcome.

    • #3867106

      Certs required (at first)

      by mm212 ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I’ve found that to get an entry-level position, you NEED some certs. By passing the exams, you have shown that you have some basic knowledge and can be trained to do the job. Once you’ve had a year or two experience, certs are less important and youmay be able to skip upgrading your certs except those in which you don’t have a lot of experience.

      I know of one person (know OF him, don’t know him personally) who took the MS NT4 Workstation exam 5 times before passing. He got fired from his first two jobs because he could only pass the tests, couldn’t actually do anything. This shows that you can get an entry-level job by passing cert exams, but to keep a job and advance, you need to really get to know it.

      • #3867020

        Certs-Experience-Education alltogether!

        by wizbones ·

        In reply to Certs required (at first)

        Allot of opinions running rampant. Thought I’d add my two cents. I have no certs. I took some mail in class way back when to learn some VERY basic stuff when I bought my first computer (8088) Have learned a great deal as my systems grew and personalexperience grew. Anyhow, I got into an entry level position many years later by just pure determination. I am home learned and do not have much as far as paper education goes (HS Dropout as I’ve been labled). They wouldn’t even talk to me, because of this. Well as I said I just kept at it. Finally after two weeks of faxing my res’ and calling they “let” (begged me to stop calling and faxing) me come and take a “test” for which I aced, and an Interview which I landed the job. That was several years ago, today I am still in the field and have much to learn. This industry much like all of you said is a rapid industry and requires constant learning and training. How you learn it doesn’t matter. If you can’t get in because of paper then there’sa problem in my opinion. I am more of a hands on person. Classrooms are very slow and well yes boring! Give me the job and I’ll get it done is my attitude as are many others. I believe in Certs but they shouldn’t be the factor in employment. Many bookworms out there do not have enough common sense to change a flat tire much less resolve IT issues. So my faith in the school system we have in place is not a high one, whether it be HS or College level. Ok so I added 4 cents worth. Keep it real, and always remember the effective range of an excuse is zero point zero meters. Good luck to all.

    • #3866929

      MS and Cisco can’t make it too hard

      by jgasher ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      MS, Cisco, and Novell (are they still around?) don’t want the certifications to be too hard to obtain because every MCP, CCNA, and CNA are essentially unpaid salesmen for the company that certifies them.

      NT Server 4.0 is a very easy exam. MS says they don’t like paper certifications, but they also benefit tremendously from the newbie that just got his certification on NT Server, because that is what they will want to use.

      Paper certifications are will be with us forever. I just taught a Cisco class at an ATEC and have already received several emails from students passing the CCNA with no experience. Is this a bad thing? I don’t think so. Any employer worth working for knows that experience counts more than certs. Do I get job offers because of my certifications alone? No. I get job offers because I have experience and certifications show that I’ve taken initiative to measure myself with my peers.

      As much as it looks like it, being certified is not like being in a club. If you want to be in a club, go start one yourself. People whining about inexperienced people getting certified should realize that certification may someday be like a high school diploma or an electricians license. The more people certified the better. That means that our field is finally being taken seriously by more than just a devoted few.

      Heck, maybe if enough people get certified my parents will understand what I do.

    • #3866642

      Reality Tells The Truth

      by chris r ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Your statement is correct, But I do not believe that there isnt problem with this system, If people want to waste time gaining Qualifications when they could be gaining experience, let them It means there is more well paying Quality jobs out there for the rest.
      In reality any good employer or Client will value Experience over Certifications.

    • #3866594


      by nicks ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I understand your point, and it is depressing how the certs no longer mean that you are better than the average techie. However, in my case, I needed the cert to start my career. I had been a network hobbyist for years, but with no professional experience, the only way anyone would hire me was if I had a certification. If we restrict certifications to those who have been IT pros for years, then it would be nearly impossible for anyone to start out. You wouldn’t be able to get the job without a cert, but couldn’t get the cert without the job. The value of certifications is lacking because of the swarm that they have caused, and there is not a whole lot anyone can do about it.

    • #3866550

      Fear Me

      by chris ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      If you are a Seasoned Vet, you should have nothing to fear. Yet I sense fear in your posting. I am working on my certifications, and gaining experience while I am attending school. Before I found this job I was a Paper Certification Professional. My experience in school, and working toward my certifications, gave me an advantage because of my specific training. My employer sees my certifications as my strength. I am arrogant, and an exellent tech. I solve all the problems that arise every day.
      Greg, be scared, be very, very scared. I just might take your job.
      Other vets, who are not scared. Well, If you are a better tech than me, you have nothing to fear, and I hope one day we can work together on a project.

    • #3861533

      You need to start somewhere.

      by shulmice ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I would not hire someone without atlest a COMPTIA A+ and N+ certifications. I have seen to many people destroy systems that have only a BS degree, or have been to the MCSE boot camps. You need to start with the basics, and then test, and upgrade yourself.

      Yakov Butterfield
      Shulmice Software

    • #3861518

      A Solution

      by lordinfidel ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Many a night I have pondered this question.

      As a MCSE who studied his a## off for his exams and who works in the field. I do find it insulting that there are paper mcse’s out there who just went to boot camp, got their cert, but have no idea whatthey are doing.

      For those of you who are familiar with the military and the Rangers/Spec Forces. They require the completion a pre entry course before being accepted into the actual school. Following this same model there can be 2 ways to do it.

      1- B4 you are allowed to even begin taking your MCSE you will need this basic cert first plus being employed in the field. Making a minimum time requirement is not feasible because if you are a seriously in IT that means that your intellegince level is generally higher than most. In turn means you should have the ability to learn quickly on the job. But OTJ exper. is a must to learn the various networking concepts that a IT pro must learn.

      2- If you go to a boot camp then you can not earn your MCSE until you can prove via check stubs time working in the field.

      Also the tests need to made harder. (don’t hate me) It should be based more on practicals like for IIS – make a website called blah blah with an ip of
      And you have to create it step by step. Get rid of the scenario multiple choice based questions.

      • #3865067

        Army boy

        by chris ·

        In reply to A Solution

        Well Army Boy,

        Your solution suggests that you have a job (which requires experience) to get experience. What are you crying about with a MCSE – certification in a GUI (easiest Server OS to run) I did not study my ass of, an I work on a NT network, Microsoft is easy to pick up. Now Linux/Unix is a real OS that takes time to learn, and tons of experience is needed. MCSE 4.0 was easy because the OS is easy. Paper MCSE or not, they could learn the OS without much difficulty.

        • #3678548

          Get a grip

          by lordinfidel ·

          In reply to Army boy

          You obvoiusly missed the entire point of the thread.

          Before posting I suggest you read before getting Offended. You do remember how to read?

          Cert’s are not there to be taken lightly. You should be made to work for them. Not handed to you on a silver platter via boot camp. I enjoy my salary and don’t want it reduced.

          BTW- Once you get your cert does not mean you don’t have to retest. I’m going for the w2k certs to stay current. I hope they hard as hell.

          And Until you’ve served, I’d watch who you call “ArmyBoy”. Rangers don’t cry.

    • #3861492


      by emeraldway tech ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I am a MCP. I personally worked very hard to achieve this level because I am a horrible test taker. Two years is steap. Employers should see Work Experience first then the Cert as Icing on your resume.

    • #3861409

      Who’s doing the hiring?

      by chirotech ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      When I got my BS in Engineering Science, ’70, every employer knew I was a newbee. They were smart enough to know to start me off where I could learn and prove myself while getting benefit from my work.

      Years later in my new career, with my paperCNE, my first 1 1/2 years on the job were tough. I left that admin job to build a new network from scratch that now has Novell 4.11, NT 4.0 with SQL server, HPUX, and workstations up from 50 to 150. Hey, all the admins who look at my network praise my work as example of what to do. I am proud of my work and love it.

      I’m grateful to my first employer for hiring my paper CNE and giving me a chance to learn, to prove myself and do good work at the same time.

      Does the phrase “Encourage people toward a greater future.” strike you? My paper proved to me I could learn and persevere.

    • #3861406

      Everyone started somewhere…

      by lquiambao ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I am currently a Certified Surgical Technologist. But before I got my first job 7 years ago, the only experience I had was the 3 month internship that I did while I was still in school. What do doctors do before they go to med school? How many patients have they touched? If every job required job experience before certification/licensure, then what would those credentials mean anyway? If they didn’t need them to get into a chosen field, why would they need them to CONTINUE in that particular field?
      Besides, what company in their right mind would let a “newbie” CPA “run the books” for their company? Wouldn’t they just start him/her in the accounting department?
      Did you start IMMEDIATELY in the position that you hold now, or didyou work your way up to that position?
      I am working on obtaining my MCSE Windows 2000 certs while also working as a Surgical Technologist. I have passed the first 2 and look forward to passing the rest.
      And by the way? How many Presidents of the United States had experience being President BEFORE they became President?


    • #3887317

      Certifications are what YOU make of them

      by mrtjan ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Well Greg,
      As an individual that had come to a point in his line of “Dead End” jobs where he didn’t know what to do, I pondered what I should try next. I heard an advertisement offering MCSE Certification courses and the blah blah that goes with them($70,000+ salary). I decided to sign up.

      That was 7 months ago and more than $10,000 invested in the program. I am now done with all of the courses related to Windows NT 4.0… Yes, the courses finished up just as Microsoft decided to pull the MCSE Certification Exams at the end of this year. I decided not to take any of the exams and self study for the Win2000 MCSE next year.

      On to your comments…… Without the education that I received, I would still know nothing! Now I know more than I ever thought I would. This “Dead End” job has developed into a stepping stone for exerience as I am now providing LAN Support for our corp IT department. I will admit that I wouldn’t be able to be a Network Administrator. This is more out of fear for what I have not yet experienced than it is out of the knowledge that I have gained. I am happy with what I am doing for once in my life and that is what is important to me more than any Certification that I have!

      Greg, maybe its time for you to realize that there are people that are motivated to get into this field and this is a short-cut(over a 4 year degree). They may not have the experience that you do, but given time they will know as much if not more. These people will also look to you to teach them. Embrace these individuals as they look up to you. There might be some Certified people out there that fit into your complaints, but don’t let them speak for all of us!

      Happy New Year!

    • #3887254

      Reply To: Paper Certifications?

      by jerry.wagner ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I think the point should be that there are some people out there who have never touched a pc or maybe only changed a hard drive and now they have somehow gotten their hands on a course and studied for the test. I have seen first hand how someone canstudy for a test pass the test and still know nothing. I have no problem with entry level people going to a school gaining some hands on experience and getting certified, but let’s keep things in perspective, they were taught enough to make them dangerous and should realize that as well as their employers do or should.

      • #3865047

        You have got to be kidding

        by ereis ·

        In reply to Reply To: Paper Certifications?

        I never realized how many babies there are in the IT field. You sound like kids fighting over who has the best toys. I let my work reflect my skills, not my mouth.

        The people who are bashing MCSE’s and all the other certs, most of them are people who never took the tests. Very interesting! If they are so easy and then why don’t you pass them and prove everyone wrong. On second thought, let’s stop everyone from getting a college degree. It really isn’t hard work, just a bunch of testsand boring classes. I think anyone with a few thousand dollars could do it. Then we can take away high school diplomas, cause they are even easier. Trust me I have one of each.

        If you don’t think someone in your department has the experienceand they are out of their league then tell your boss and have them moved to something else. Or take a little time to get involved in the interviewing process. If someone had never given you your shot you wouldn’t have the chance to complain on this discussion, and I know you like complaining.

        If the tests bother you that much, then you are close-minded. Anyone who betters their life through education should be commended not scolded. You people are the reason society is held back instead of moving forward.

        • #3864974

          Cry babies??

          by arg cio ·

          In reply to You have got to be kidding

          Your right!! There are benefits from certifications! I learned some stuff in my “boot camp”. I also have an AAS in ET. I didn’t have the time, or money to get BS. I decided not to finish my MCSE, I stopped with my MCP. I agree with both sides,an MXXX, or a CCXX, or a NXX should be taken at face value. If you are certified, you are NOT a god! If you have experience, then you KNOW you don’t know everything! And when you get out of college, you find out, you don’t know anything! I plan to take a CCNA boot-camp, to get a “start” on setting up cisco routers. I have tweaked, and programmed, and f*#ked up my little 675 at home for ADSL, but I am learning! Techies of the WORLD, remember one thing! You chose this line of work because of it’s challenges, and the never-ending chance to learn. Go with the flow, teach some, be taught, and enjoy the growth in the industry that allows this discussion to take place. I am awed by the growth of the IT field, and I am trying to figure outwhich area to master next.(LOL) I am not a master of anything, but I am a hard worker, and get jobs done, on time, AND under budget. what’s next? see below..

          *sidenote* I am CIO for a small company, and I am charged with finding the “internet business” to generate more revenue. Currently, our business is mainly off the internet, but I have to find out how to put us on the map, any ideas?

    • #3864993

      Bad Examples

      by jefisher ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      “How would you like to go to a “certified” nurse practitioner who has NEVER touched a patient?”

      A person who is in school to get their RN doesn’t spend much time with patients that isn’t observation only. If you are talking about Nurse Practitioner, that is pretty much just a masters degree without much clinicals.

      “or a “certified” Public Accountant who has never ran the books of a company?”

      Many. I would even go as far as to say “Most”.

      Paper Certifications do mean something. No,if you don’t have any experience, I wouldn’t expect you to move to the top of the ladder but it’s a good way to get your foot in the door.
      Jeff who has spent 5 years working in Accounting in a hospital, 2 years Accounting Development for a softwarecompany.”

    • #3864935

      Paper certifications?

      by mconiegs ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?


      everyone who has a certificate is at least partly a “paper cert”. Some stuff I know really well, other bits I learned for the exam but dont use daily. EG , what is the maximum length of a coaxial cable segment. Answer zero. Get rid of it and put in decent cabling. MS did not offer this answer in the exam.

      There are also multiple motivations for getting the certificate. I do not want to be the “go-to guy”. But I do want to know that the “go-to guy” knows what he/she is doing.

      Experience is great, but I also want someone who has followed a structured and well thought out study path. Studying the MCSE showed me that some things I “knew” from 20+ years computer experience were wrong. When I hire, ideally I want both, but in times of shortage someone who has demonstrated a willingness to do something such as a certification, has a headstart over someone who hasnt.

      Also have a look at the value placed on the certificate by the issuing organisation. A RN degree is forever, a MSCE is for a couple of years at best. The RN does have to keep current, but they do not take away the original achievement.

    • #3864899

      owning up

      by awolf ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      My two cents..

      I think the certs are a good thing. As it’s been said many times over, “it gets a person’s foot in the door.”

      Now, what I think is wrong are the people with the certs that are basically lying in order to get the ‘better’ jobs. Another words, them saying ‘yeah, I know networks in and out and I have the MSCE to prove it.’ They then go to the fellas that actually have the knowledge to bail them out.

      Another bad thing? The ‘fellas’ that allow themselves to be used by thesepaper certfied ‘experts’.

    • #3864898

      Had to Vent. . .

      by shanghai sam ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Anyone out there got the certifications and ended up feeling like they were robbed by the vendors? Check out my story.
      With 2 yrs technical exp. in a school district, I gradually got my MCSE, A+, Network+, and Apple certs to help me find a better paying job in the private sector.
      I found that job and am making more money (though not much more) but my current duties really didn’t require all that preparation.
      And now I have to work with this new guy who has an MCSE & A+ w/ 10 months exp. who doesn’t know diddly squat!! I mean he’s A+ and he didn’t recognize the SYS or DIR commands (you see what I’m getting at – MCSE and A+ and he never made a boot disk!!). I glibly mentioned something about Norton Ghost and disk images and he had a look of total puzzlement on his face – with 10 months previous exp. in a large well-known investment bank! (doing what I don’t know)
      I feel so disillusioned. I mean I’m no NT guru but damn!! I’ve put a lot of time and money to get these certs and now, I’m realizing that due to lack of corporate experience, I’m going to have to stay on the cert treadmill for some years in order to keep one step ahead of all the bozos out there. Whoopee-frickin-doo!!

      In conclusion: there’s no doubt in my mind anymore that experience and brains is more important than a piece of paper, but if you’re just starting out in this industry, you have NO CHOICE but to get the cert, otherwise bozo gets the job and not you. In other words, Microsoft wins, again. . .

    • #3864897

      Had to Vent. . .

      by drobledo ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Anyone out there got the certifications and ended up feeling like they were robbed by the vendors? Check out my story.
      With 2 yrs technical exp. in a school district, I gradually got my MCSE, A+, Network+, and Apple certs to help me find a better paying job in the private sector.
      I found that job and am making more money (though not much more) but my current duties really didn’t require all that preparation.
      And now I have to work with this new guy who has an MCSE & A+ w/ 10 months exp. who doesn’t know diddly squat!! I mean he’s A+ and he didn’t recognize the SYS or DIR commands (you see what I’m getting at – MCSE and A+ and he never made a boot disk!!). I glibly mentioned something about Norton Ghost and disk images and he had a look of total puzzlement on his face – with 10 months previous exp. in a large well-known investment bank! (doing what I don’t know)
      I feel so disillusioned. I mean I’m no NT guru but damn!! I’ve put a lot of time and money to get these certs and now, I’m realizing that due to lack of corporate experience, I’m going to have to stay on the cert treadmill for some years in order to keep one step ahead of all the bozos out there. Whoopee-frickin-doo!!

      In conclusion: there’s no doubt in my mind anymore that experience and brains is more important than a piece of paper, but if you’re just starting out in this industry, you have NO CHOICE but to get the cert, otherwise bozo gets the job and not you. In other words, Microsoft wins, again. . .

    • #3864894

      where is the Reasoning

      by bazmac ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Im a freelance systems recovery consultant…
      and in my daily routine I come into contact with computers that people with all of the same Paper Certificates as myself.and yet I find so so many fundemental errors that have bought networks to their knee’s.
      Isnt it about time the fixers of the problems created by the Certified started a governing body of our own to weed out the incompetence that giving all tech’s a bad name.

      • #3761902

        Here is some reasoning!

        by arg cio ·

        In reply to where is the Reasoning

        A+ and Network+ came from CompTIA. A+ certification shows some basic computer knowledge. I didn’t “study” for this, but I passed, because of experience. Yes, I missed a couple, but mostly because of wording on the test. If an independent orginization would do the certification, then the tech world would be better! If CompTIA did “Server Admin+”, “Network Admin+”, “HelpDesk Jockey+”, “Don’t hire this geek+” then the tech world would be better, but when companies come out with their own certification, to make money(, and advertise their products), then the tests are made so that anyone can study for them, and some can get lucky and pass without any real experience. But how do you measure TRUE “Customer Service Skills”? Anyone can be nicey, nice for an hour to get certified, but when the fit hits the shan, the real customer service people get bucking, and get the job done, no matter what it takes. The job market will weed out the meek, and they will have to start at the bottom like everyone else. The strong will continue to move up, and make room at the bottom, while the weak will move in, or move out!

    • #3864889

      Cert. is good but experience is better

      by mark ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I started working with computers over 12 years ago while in the army i have never been to school for crap about computers and for the longest time nobody would touch me without certification finally i caught a break a little over a year ago yet wheni talk to other people out there they tell me alot of companies still want you certified before they even look at your resume. I believe that is crap i would rather higher a person that knows at least half way what they are doing than someone who took a test and doesn’t know crap. but that’s me i work for cheap but i also get the experience which to me is much better than money at the present time ” Down with the paper and up with the experience”

      • #3761892

        It is not “crap”

        by arg cio ·

        In reply to Cert. is good but experience is better

        The companies are looking for someone who has experience, AND Certs. If you only have 12 years experience assemblying computers, and maybe loading an operating system, they you only have one year experience, and 11 years of repetitive motion. Thiswill not get you what you need to certify. If you’ve been in the “warzone” in IT for 12 years, you may be a seasoned vet. that can go get certified, I bet you don’t pass without some studying! MSCE tests aren’t that easy. (yeah, okay WS and Server 4.0 were a cakewalk for someone who has worked with ’em for a few years.) but someone who has never touched anything other than their single home computer WILL learn from those bootcamps! It will only be a start, and when the going gets tough, they go to a team lead, or manager, or another IT member who “should” be making more money for his knowledge. I guess to make a long story short.. experience<>knowledge.. Certification<>knowledge.. experience+certification~knowledge.. an interview SHOULD tell if the “experience”/cert. is backed with knowledge, or not. If they don’t have it, don’t hire them! If they fit close, THEY CAN LEARN. If not FIRE THEM, and find someone who will get the job done!

        • #3761792

          never said 11 years assembly

          by mark ·

          In reply to It is not “crap”

          i have a total of 12 years working with all aspects of computer networking, assembly, software and hardware trouble shooting and am not cert, i never said all i did was build them. the only reason i am not cert is the fact that i am not going to pay13,000 dollars for a piece of crap paper i would rather put money down on a house and show my experience with hard work rather than a piece of paper

        • #3761650

          I didn’t mean..

          by arg cio ·

          In reply to never said 11 years assembly

          that all you did was assembly, but that is a worst case scenario where 12 years wouldn’t mean squat. I don’t know what piece of paper you think costs 13,000, but I’d sure like to get my hands on it.. MCSE costs around $600 ($100/test for six tests),CCNA costs around $100 ($100/test for one test), and A+ costs $256($128/test for two tests). The part that is expensive is the “boot camp” training given to “prepare” for the tests. I am A+, MCP certified. Planning on MCSE AND CCNA. I have a AASin Elec. Tech. and 4.5 years experience. I am not a know it all, but I know what I do, AND I learn what I need to. At 26, I know there is still a lot to learn, but I need to work. I have put in my hours in a sweat shop, I have done time in fast food, NOW I am a CIO, and content with my position. I’ve worked hard to convince people to take a chance on me, and have not dissappointed anyone yet.

        • #3865702

          Who needs ‘Boot Camp’?

          by jbuchberger ·

          In reply to I didn’t mean..

          It takes most people more than just plunking down their $100 and taking a test to earn their CCNA or MCP certification, but it doesn’t take any expensive classroom training either. $13,000, or even $5-6,000 to pass 6 MCP exams and get your MCSE is too much if you ask me. All you really need is some self discipline and maybe a hundred dollars or so worth of study guides per test, and the willingness to invest the hours you need to pass each one in order to achieve your goal. A home lab is greatand only takes a few low-cost and maybe outdated pc’s and parts to get started.

          Also, after reading many of these postings today I’m beginning to wonder how any amount of certification can do someone any good if they can’t write at even a 6th grade level in order to create a professional looking resume.

    • #3864855

      Blind following

      by mahmoodsiddiqui ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Most the people who have a certification and actually know nothing about it are those who have no apptitude towards this field and they just did it because everyone is doing it.

      I think the industry will filter these people itself because there could not any place for people who waste time.


    • #3864751

      Certification makes good sense…

      by e-computer ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Why is a cert. a BAD thing? You act like because someone worked for weeks on end and spent hundreds of dollars for a test that they’re a nimrod.

      I don’t think you’re going to find a lot of people who go out and get a MCSE/CNA/RHCE without having some experience.

      I’m working part-time for a computer firm and also completing my MCSE, A+, Solaris, CCNA and CNA cert’s… don’t tell me about working hard for a job. I’m not working towards these goals because they guaruntee me a job, but it WILL help more than 2 years of experience where I am now!

      I totally agree that there ARE lusers who think that a piece of paper will buy them a $120K a year position, but you get that anywhere… There’s crappy mechanics, crappy teachers, anything you can think of. That’s the way the world works.

      Stop being an elitist and think about who’s going to replace you when you’re obsolete. 😉


    • #3864738

      I agree in part.

      by tary1 ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      It is true that the certifications are becoming less meaningful because of non IT people getting the certifications without even having real experience.

      I don’t know that two years experience would be a good requirement for taking the exams butsomething should be done.

      Not only is it going to hurt the businesses, it’s going to hurt the real IT professionals who have to compete for the jobs.

      TSE Marconi

    • #3761932

      You have said it all!

      by cschauf ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I agree with this 100%. I personally don’t have any certifications but have been working in the industry for 15 years and a few years ago was actually teaching netware for a tech school. Experience,the desire to learn, and retention of information are the best qualities for someone in this field. Paper CNEs and MCSEs without experience and desire are worthless!


      • #3761878


        by arg cio ·

        In reply to You have said it all!

        That is the key word! someone with a paper certification may well be worth 80K/anum! They may not know much now, but how much enthusiasm do they have to learn? How able are they to learn? Do they acknowledge that they are not gurus or gods, and accept that they have a LONG way to go? Take a chance with someone, who can prove they are worth it, and they might surprise you. Don’t start them at 80K. Start them at 30K, and let them work their way up! I have friends/ex-coworkers that, given the chance, I would hire them in a second at 200K per year, because that is what they are worth to my company, but I cannot afford that! They are making 50-60K currently, and as soon as I find a way to beat that, I will! But, I also have friends that are SMART! ENTHUSIASTIC! and have little to no experience with computers, they have shown desire to learn as much as they can absorb, while working their current jobs, supporting their families, and working on a VERY tight budget. They work on their computers, and help their other friends. If they don’t know, and cannot figure it out, I get a phone call. I LOVE helping others learn what I know. I LOVE mentoring others! I tutored people in my classes in college, because I understood the subject and was able to comprehend it well enough to teach it, and others needed help. It also helped me remember the little details, because I had to “regurgitate” the formulas, and theories to my “students”. I learn from people, and they learn from me! That is the way it should be in IT!

    • #3761824

      Answer to Paper Certifications

      by pinkein ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Everyone has to start somewhere. Nurse Practitioners and Accountants, for instance, go to school to gain the knowledge needed, as do people with “Paper Thingys” as you put it..and Nurse Practitioners and Accountants get their experience in school labs…as do people with “Paper Thingys”…Then Nurse Practitioners and Accountants..go out to the world and become ASSISTANTS to those MORE do people with “Paper Thingys” where’s the shame? We all have to start somewhere..the real point is people with “Paper Certifications” went to school as do all the training and do not expect to make big bucks in the beginning or expect to know it all.. they have the Certification that says “Hey, I’ve got the training andI want to be given the opportunity to do what I love.” So lighten’s not as bad as you make it seem…No shame here!!

      • #3888443

        A senior management perspective.

        by been there done that since 75 ·

        In reply to Answer to Paper Certifications

        Isn’t it interesting how we all get along in reading the threads from the start. From a management perspective, Michael Silver from the Gartner Group summed it up beautifully in his article “NT Certification Benefits Employees More than Enterprises”Since Tech Republic is associated with Gartner, they should be able to reproduce the article. gartner is one of the most respected sources of information in the IT world. Perhaps a read of the article will shed appropriate light on this somewhat volatile topic.

        • #3874874

          It’s not always the bottom line

          by lchavez ·

          In reply to A senior management perspective.

          Let’s be totally honest, “certification” is an industry in itself and a very profitable one at that. This was driven in part by the explosion of IT and the lack of practical technically based college level programs.
          As a Supervisor of Network Services responsible for the hiring of desktop and network support technicians and engineers I find a balance between both experience and certifications when selecting candidates for hiring but, nothing weighs more heavily on the scale of an acceptable candidate than personality and someone with good customer service skills. Anyone with technical aptitude can be taught the “technicalities” and become certified but, if you don’t care about the people you service then I don’t care how many certs youhave under your belt.

    • #3875190

      There has to be a driving force.

      by chris.e.rocek ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I think it would have pissed me off if I went to college and they told me I couldn’t go because I didn’t have enough work experience. Education is always the begining of the road for anyone. Technology is driving the the world and will continue to do so till the end of time. This I truly believe. How would it be possible to limit the training available and still be able to meet the employment demands of the field? The market is flooded with paper certers that want jobs. The problem is that most of them would be transitioning to an entry level position that will mean a paycut. You have to start at the begining in whatever you do and for the amount of career changers in the field it is tough to get in. I have been in the field for two years now and I have no certs. I have been working on them but I knew to be successful I had to get into the field. I can only think that it is a threat to many ITer’s. I don’t know of many cities that don’t have a good 10000 job openings in IT. We need to evolve as a workforce. If you have been doing the same thing for a few years, step up and go to the next level. This will open up the bottom of the market for new ITer’s to get in. Technology will never go away and if we can’t supply the field with techs growth will slow down. More people are entering this field from a college perspective every year. Since IT is cool now people aren’t afraid of jumping aboard. There will always be jobs and there will always be a need. To limit what people achieve in the field, experienced or not, would truly hurt the workforce.

    • #3875126

      paper degrees?

      by tboring ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?


      I have a question for you.

      What’s the difference between most college graduates with a Computer Science, MIS, or CIS degree and people with no experience and plenty of “paper thingees”?

      The answer, of course, is absolutely nothing!I’ve seen so many college grads, toting Computer Science degrees who couldn’t program their way out of a wet paper sack. Yet they get hired. Why ? It’s simple, they have a “paper thingee” called a college degree.

      On the other extreme, I’ve seen quite a few “seasoned professionals”, with certifications that prove their greatness, crack after 30 minutes on a problem they then deem “unsovable”, which is later solved by Jack the intern during lunch.

      My point is simple. You cannot apply a blanket law to the IT industry. This industry changes so rapidly that most of your “seasoned professionals” are so out of touch it’s ridiculous.

      Also, on one hand I do agree with you. People should not be allowed into the IT industry that do notbelong here. It does dilute the skill pool that exists. Which is why I think all students pursuing an IT degree should have to go through, be graded on, and pass, a two-year internship with some kind of IT organization. It would be as simple as not getting your degree if you don’t pass the internship. The same thing is done for Doctors and Paramedics, which are to the Healthcare industry what we are to the IT industry.

      Code Poet

    • #3875119

      It’s Not That Simple

      by rljones ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I agree that Certifications should only be available to people who have been in the industry long enough to earn the respect that used to be associated with them. However, there’s more to it than that.
      First, there are those who hear, or read about how much money IT people earn, and suddenly feel that they should jump on the IT bandwagon themselves. Money should never be the reason for a career choice. I have found that these people are the ones that don’t want to earn their income, they justwant it handed to them.
      Second, there are the digital kids coming up with computers that probably know more about them than most IT professionals. However, they lack the discipline, and maturity to know how to deal with their knowledge. Getting certified for them probably isn’t as difficult as it should be.
      Then of course, there are the IT pros that have been working in the field for a few years. To them certifications are used as a measuring device to decide if Joe Blow will make a good fitwithin the given organization.
      I believe that certifications should be limited only to those that possess a B.A. in Computer Science. Like most other fields; this will ensure that everyone working within the IT field is a competant, mature adult. I believe that this policy should, and will become even more important, now that our ecomony has become so greatly dependant on those of us that support it…..

      • #3881006


        by peter_au ·

        In reply to It’s Not That Simple

        I think your being a bit elitist here, having a degree before allowing any certification is just silly.

        As to people going into IT for the money, well why else so you come to work. If your not in it for the cash, then offer your services for free.

        I see certification as a indicator that the person has a fundemental knowledge of a product. And just as importantly, an indication that the person has the drive to learn. Anyone who disregards the level of experience(whatever that may be)will do it at their own risk.

    • #3874964

      Paper Thingy?!

      by crandall ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I agree to one point in your statement, that certifications are losing their worth for working certified professionals, however, I would like to know-when you were first certified, how much did you really know? Thats part of being a “newly certified professional”. If someone says their certified and wants a job, great test them. If you have a person with certification and 2 years of experience, wont you still want to test them? And as for a paper thingy, that paper thingy still means that they have met industry standards and done the work, which I might add can be quite challenging.

      And, Greg, we all must start at the bottom, and if you dont, youll probably end up there…..

      Coral Randall
      Damn good IT Coordinator – Certifiedwith some “paper thingy’s”

    • #3874935

      I guess Ignorance is blissful for some

      by drobinson ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I thought that the purpose of certification was to learn a given skill set. If thats the case, what does “two years” have to do with anything.

      Most certification programs require that an individual be MORE THAN familiar with their product, so your comparisons are skewed.

      Certification is meaningless, only if you did not learn anything during the certification process. Now snatch the pebble from my hand, Grasshopper!

    • #3874904

      Reply To: Paper Certifications?

      by jpmcse2b ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      What about making it only available to four year degree’ers? That’ll keep “us” from making our lives better.
      –By “paper” do you mean those who just study at home, or those who attend school for two years to prepare for the exams? Attending schooldoes give some experience. Employers recognize that as a start. I am assuming you’re lumping us all in the same category.
      –I am thankful for the opportunity to change careers, study hard, and hopefully pass the certification tests. Yes, I’ll bea “paper”, (with A+ and Network+) but I’ll give credit to the employer who hires me because I’m willing to do studying before I’m employed. I may not have all of the seven+ exams passed when I do join a company, but it’s a start. I am not naive enough to think I can make as much money as you who are “experienced with at least two years or more,” but the money is not the important thing to me. It’s being satisfied with my accomplishments and achievement of my goals.
      –Perhaps there should belevels of certification for MCSE – Master level with those who do have two+ years of experience – to distinguish the “real” MCSEs from the “papers.” If so, the tests should be different. As it is now, the tests are geared for those with experience.
      –I am 42 years old, a female, a starting over. —

    • #3874875


      by andrew.leaves ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I’ve been working in IT for the last four years, started in data entry…
      Now build web site’s and can bung a network together in a day, dont have any certs, but am never out of work, I refuse to get one because they mean nothing to me now, but employers want them, i was working for one company, when i first started in 1st line support, they brought in this firm to sort out some network issue, they all had MCSE’s and blew up the network took us three days to get in back, thats when I thought wants the point, I looked into it and found that College degress and the like are far better, because employers will want you so you get experience and quals at the same time

      Andy Leaves

    • #3881035

      And Don’t Apply Here Either

      by shanghai sam ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      1. Certifications should be performed by an Independent Certifying Agency which can be litigated in the event certified personnel don’t measure up…once that happens, the certification will have “real” meaning. Until then, having certs “sponsored”by the same folks who sell the products raises questions of integrity, creates a potential for abuse, and financially rips the lips off of people who need all of their lips. The companies won’t even stand behind their certs with performance warranties! Requiring two years of experience won’t resolve those problems.
      2. We employ lots of IT personnel. We have some old ones (64) and some young ones (18). Some are certified, some not. Some are even second-starts (and, yes, for a tough pay cut – don’t apply for a GOOD team unless you’re dedicated enough to EARN your spurs the way everyone else did). They’re also of different colors, life-styles, religions and sexes. Our IT team is highly successful, but it doesn’t come from certs, experience, or magic. It’s because they all try their hardest, they are all dedicated to their IT customers, and they are all committed to the success of their team as a unit. In return, they all know that if they perform well they will go upward – with our blessing.
      3. To be brutally honest, I don’t see any evidence that most of the whiny crybabies, young braggarts, Grandpa-hating trash-mouths, egotistical know-it-alls, or who-cares-if-YOUR-company-goes-broke-make-ME-rich folks on this thread could be successful on a really good IT support team. The problem is not with their age, their certs, OR their experience, but rather with their attitude…

    • #3881030

      Right on target!

      by dean.jaramillo ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Did you hit the nail on the head. Almost all other professions have resident, journeyman, and master or apprentice programs. These programs require a certain amount of verifiable time in their field of licensure. I guess that I liken it to the Dilbert cartoon where the tech support person comes up and boasts:
      “Step away from that network server! I’m certified!”
      Then confidently says:
      “I summon the vast power of CERTIFICATION!”
      and wilts when he says:
      “Well, this is embarrassing: That’s all I remember from the classes.”

      Learning and memorizing are different than experience.

      Those of us in the field know that the classroom and books are 180 degrees opposite of the real world.

    • #3881015


      by unal ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      You sound really pissed off! What, just lose your job to a paper certified person or something? You should relax a little and take a deep breath before posting next time.

      As far as paper certification is concerned, it is just like a Uni degree ifnot better in some areas. With a degree tightly in your hand, as you commenced employment for the first time, did you know everything there is to know about IT? Did you not ask any questions, did you not learn 1000% more in the field? I think so!Compard to some degrees I think probably a certification is good especially for those changing careers at a later date. Dont forget they also take with them years of managing and customer relations. (Like myself who changed careers from IT, Working on CRAY X/Y-MP mainframes (hardware and software) to the hospitality industry, only to return to IT 11 years later!) I took with me a wealth of customer service and the qualifications of managing upto 400 people at a time!!!
      I think a degree means that you have the stamina to finish what you start, (even if the technology is out of date by the time you complete the degree) – Even then you need experience, I dont think that this is a shortfall of the education system but rather a feature of IT at the moment, IT is travelling so fast that you just cant fill the gaps unless you promote IT certifications.

      So relax and dont worry there is plenty of work out there for all of us!!!

      And dont forget any person with a certification or degree,it doesnt matter, if they have not aquired the necessary understandings, it will show up in the first month(s)…
      …Give them enough rope and they will hang themselves 🙂

    • #3881014

      lets get realistic

      by xdcbjx ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Lets get realistic the IT comunity does not want people to be certifyed unless there allready working in the field. You can not get a job unless you have a certification. so you tell me how do people get a start in the industry.

    • #3881008


      by ahevans ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I agree that there are alot of paper certs. out there. But how about those who have been working with systems for years but no work experience. I for one am not a paper cert. but the cert. definately got my job which I do well and I continually educate myself to keep on track…my .2 cents worth…..

      • #3287627

        iscet certification exam asso.and journeyman answers for exam

        by franker1211 ·

        In reply to Certifications……

        Please anybody out there help??????????

    • #3881005

      Does anyone Do It All?

      by tom the db dude ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Hi Greg,
      (Look what you started! 🙂
      First, I think your position is valid and sincere, but not really practical.

      Someone could work for many years in an IT position and NEVER be exposed to much of what is required to get a certification. Vertical specialization is the reason.

      Current certifications are only a guage that a prospective employer can use to determine if a job cantidate has the potential to fill a position. It is also a valuable indicator to prospective clients that theengineers working on their project have had SOME formal training relating to their project.

      Rarely does a cantidate enter a job having all of the ‘hands on skills’ needed to fill that employers opening. The certification only indicates that the cantidate has been exposed to a broad array of technology so that he will be able to understand the larger picture relative to the job he will actually be doing.

      The true measure of the IT Pro’s value (and subesquently his continued employment) isthe sucessfull execution of the clients project. The ‘paper’ got him the job, and it’s then up the the IT Pro to demonstrate competence.

      I guess my point is that someone that works in the industry for, say, 5 years may still only have a ‘paper cert’ since his current job may only require him to know and use a fraction of the information he had to absorb to get the cert in the first place.

      Programming Analyst

    • #3880997

      Where certifications fit

      by server queen ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I’ve been in IT for 23 years, starting out as data entry. I took what classes were offered, worked hard, and when we got network PCs, started assisting with admin. I was lucky to start out in a large company, where I could move around, learn new things, and steadily accumulate knowledge, experience, and responsibility.

      Now, I’m network systems manager for a large school district. Quite a few of the high school kids have MCSEs. I’ve never gotten around to taking the certification exams myself, but supervise and train MSCEs, some of whom have NO experience working in IT. Most hiring managers are looking for a proven track record; only the more inexperienced managers are looking solely at the letters after your name. You get a track record by starting out wherever they’ll hire you, solving customer problems, and learning new skills. A certification is one way to get that entry level job, especially if you’re changing careers.

      Certs aren’t a magic entree to high-level network admin jobs. A person may not deal well with customers, or not handle stress well. Everyone can be taught basic troubleshooting methods, but not everyone can necessarily think of what to do when the email server won’t is dead and everyone is screaming at you.

      A sensible organization has a mix of experienced people and people with book knowledge, willing to learn from each other. I don’t hesitate to ask an 18-year-old student with an MSCE for an opinion; the student may have learned something in class that I’ve never run across. By the same token, if the student realizes that an MSCE does not mean they’ve learned everything there is to learn, that student will ask me to share knowledge, too.

      Those with experience should be anxious to learn from those with book knowledge, and vice versa. If you’re convinced you already know it all, you won’t learn anything new, which will make you obsolete.

    • #3880974

      My version of the story

      by jparks1972 ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Hello everyone. I would just like to voice my opinion on this subject, as I feel really strong about it. I am in my second year at a Microsoft Certified Training facility. I have attained my Microsoft Windows 98, Network+, and Microsoft Networking Esstentials certifications. Although I can’t even find an internship to help pay my way through school, people come to me with their computer problems after they find that the so called experts with all the experience and four year degrees couldn’t fix their problems. If anyone has taken the Windows 98 certification exam, they know that you really need to know your stuff. I work on my own computers and networking equipment to gain experience because the employers I have talked to want people withfour year degrees that couldn’t pass a certification exam if their life depended on it. So what I am trying to say is that not all the people who aren’t currently working in the IT field deserve your criticism. Some of us work extremely hard to gainall the experience we can and for the most part, do it for free. I guess I am through venting now.

    • #3880967


      by kevin ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I have my MCSE+I. It wasn’t easy to get, but it wasn’t hard either. I am planning on taking some of the other certifications also but I still believe that a Networking/IT Degree from a CC or University is the best bet since these don’t obsolete as quickly as certifications. I see more of the CCs offering these types of degrees all the time. But having an Associates degree doesn’t really mean that much either, it means about the same thing as having a Certification — that you can read a book and comprehend what your reading. Lets face it folks memorizing IP addressing Schemes or the difference between a router and a switch or when to use Shielded Cable versus Unshielded is not exactly Brain Surgery type material and it just isn’t that difficult to memorize, so yes your going to have some people with little to no common sense both with a degree and with certification but that’s just life, and afterall how well someone preforms as far as getting something accomplished on the job will always be the sure fire indicator. You can be the Albert Einstien of Networking and if you don’t feel like doing anything and annoy your coworkers your not anymore useful than the next bum in line who doesn’t know didly about computer systems.

    • #3880966

      How True! How true!

      by garryb ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I have seen too many “paper” MCSE’s and CCNA’s come through the door and demand the same salary as a seasoned pro. The expectations generated by some trainers are way out of line with the real world. Granted, the theory is there but if you read the NT doc’s and believe what you are taught in the courses, you will never need more that a 500mb C:\ partition on a NT server.

      Try it…. ‘Nuff said!

      • #3889154

        I hope you are not a network engineer?

        by unal ·

        In reply to How True! How true!

        If you even thaught about looking at the date of publication for the NT Books, I beleive it was about 1994 – 1995, when yes, 500 mb was a sufficient amount of memory to alocate and 16 Meg or RAM was HUGE!!!

        … Forgive them lord, you gave them eyes for they shalt not see!!!


    • #3880946

      Paper Certifications are real

      by st_paul ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      If you were the CFO, would you really let me at your net the first day on the job? I think not. It’s good to have the paper to show you have the knowledge, not necessarily the skills yet. We?ll find out about your skills during your probationary period. I do have the skill set, but I hadn?t become fully certified before my company decided to outsource IT. I?m getting back into the books again to complete my MCSE and CCNA.

    • #3880940

      Total Agreement

      by cwdunn ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      In addition to being an IT professional I am also a licensed professional land surveyor. It’s state law here that you can’t practice land surveying without a certificate. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t operate an IT career until your licensed, it’s just that it adds credibility to your name. A certification means better jobs, better reputation and better pay in my opinion.

    • #3880936

      Bottom Line

      by peter_au ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      After scrolling through the discussions that have been taking place, I think it obvious the both experience and certification is required to get started, unless you lucky enough to find an employer that will take a chance and hire you without exprience or cert’s.

      To those who think certifications are rubbish, when employers stop putting certifications down as a prereq’ to a postion then, the number of people doing cert’s will probably fall. I for one will still gain cert’s if it mean’s advancing my career and knowledge.

      I think companies that offer certication courses are endevouring to create a baseline of knowledge about their particular product.

      It is not the be all and end all.

    • #3880912


      by convict ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I think that you are just insecure. If you know your stuff, the paper is just an added bonus. job performance is what it’s all about. i can tell you have a personal problem and it’s got to do with too much time on your hands. if you have to rely on a paper to get a job, well, there isn’t much to say. i think you get the point. i was a proffessional long before the paper came along. probably before you ever thought about it. it’ a shame that paper is your way of life. FEELING SORRY FOR YOU,CONVICT

    • #3880892

      Have to Know the Stuff to pass the test

      by jamiquest ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I took the training to break into the IT Profesion. It wasn’t easy and I can’t claim to know everything. But neither can you.
      If you don’t trust the testing system then YOUR Certification isn’t worth much is it? At least I’ve proven I know something. Which alot of IT Profesionals haven’t done.
      But I still appreciate their help.

    • #3880866

      Get Rich Quick

      by marcelle ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I totally agree with you on the fact that people should have at least 2 years experience before doing the certifications. Fine, if you have taught yourself everything at home and think you are ready then there should be a knowledge test to see if you are ready………hands on, not written.

      Younger people out of school think that if they obtain their certification they will make a lot of money in the IT industry, but they do not realise, that a company like the one that I work for, running seven servers, would never even consider someone with no hands on working experience.

      The fact that just anyone can certify is one of the reasons for so many unemployed, qualified IT people. Who in their right mind would take someone on with no hands on experience, except a firm that is looking to train someone to their needs, but how often do you find that. Companies want someone who can just come in and start working.

      Experience is always the key!!!!!!


    • #3880720

      Indicator only

      by parsonsac ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Over the years I have watched the value of the various certificates diluted down to a level where thay are simply indicators of the theoretical knowledge vested in an individual.

      Over the years I have built many IT teams for companies in all sectors and have learnt that certificates without practical experience to back them up are worthless.

      I salute anyone who takes the time and effort to study enought to gain certification but caution newbies that this will not be a fast track to meaningful employment.

      Companies are beginning to move away from stipulating certification as mandatory for a given position. This is because over the years the number of candidates who have taken accelerated courses to gain the likes of an MCSE or CNE do not have the experience to back up the “book learning”.

      My personal opinion is that organisations selling theses courses do have to shoulder a great deal of the blame as they foster the myth that by simply passing one of theses courses means that the candidate is worthy of earning huge amounts.

    • #3889148

      Paper Certifications?

      by rharris ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      How would you like to have your network administered by someone who only knows what he’s learned from experience? Yes, experience is priceless, but if you don’t have a foundation to start with, and I mean one that is properly tought, how would you know what that person can do? Would you hire someone with no training or experience? Then how do you get experience? It’s a catch 22, the best way to evaluate someone is to at least see that they have trained and PASSED some sort of assessment test. And isn’t that what the IT Cert’s are for?
      Please take a reality check! Or are you upset cause you had to work at your cert. while other people seemed to breeze through them?
      Robert Harris, Jr. MCSE, CNA

      • #3888012

        Certification is Valuable

        by sgross ·

        In reply to Paper Certifications?

        Having just waded through all 13* replies, here’s mine:

        My Story:

        – I was at DEC for 6 yrs. in the 80’s after getting an Associates Degree at a community college in Computer Maintenance Tech.

        – I spent most of the 90’s outside of IT, and when my position was axed, was back on the street.

        – I spent *alot* of the money I had saved over the years to go to school full-time while my wife worked to learn NT 4.0 and Novell 4.11.

        – I spent even more to get my CNE. For over a year I had no life, just a mission.

        – The CNE paper, along with good manners and having a head on my shoulders, got me my first IT job in three weeks. They hired me over other prospects because they were a “Novell Gold Partner” and their CNE was taking a year off. I worked there until I get a job closer to home at a school district as Network Administrator. At this point I had been out of school less than a year. But I had my CNE, and the other prospects didn’t…

        My observations:

        The 4.11 CNE tests were put together by Marketing folks, asking questions about features and numbers, mostly multiple choice. They are not easy. They make sure you know their product.

        When I went back to the test center to update my CNE to Netware 5, I failed the first time because I mistakenly thought my 1+ year of administering a few 5.0 servers would help answer test questions. Wrong. Back to the books and self-tests and more expenses.

        Now that I have over 2 years experience, I probably won’t take any more tests.

        I left the District and Novell a few weeks ago to take a positon as a UNIX Administrator. I’m learning UNIX on the job, because experienced UNIX people are hard to come by here in Massachusetts.

        Bottom Line:

        Yes, the tests are flawed. They need more real-world questions, as others have pointed out. But, they are not worthless.

        Steve Gross CNA CNE

    • #3889121

      Paper Cert…NOT

      by fultron66 ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      In 1998 I went through the MCSE training. I had no experiance what so ever in networking. I was working as a Aircraft Mechanic making good money but enjoyed computers a lot more. I didn’t even attempt to take ANY of the tests. I looked at it as going to school to learn networking. After I finished the classes I got an entry level postion with a consulting firm down the street from the school I attended, July 1998. I worked there untill Feb of 2000 when they whent out of bizz. I now work for a company as a Network Administrator/Project Manager. I am just now to a level where I feel that I have the experiance needed to actualy take the tests and pass based on what I know. This new company has offered to send me back to the same school I went to originaly and take the MCSE 2000 trac. Papaer MCSE, Might as well grab some from the stall your in and write MCSE on it. Thats about the same. No experiance means just that. Paper MCSE means you can memorize and take a test.

    • #3889117

      NO WAY!

      by systemsdude ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Most jobs that have applied for ask if I have a certification if I don’t, then do I have experience. Well, it seems that I can’t get experience without the freakin’ paper. Besides two years on what job exactly? Admin? Engineer? Help Desk? Comp.Assist? Ridiculous!! If you can pass the freakin’ tests you get certified. If the tests are too easy then make them more difficult!

    • #3889094

      …what a load….

      by a.kuhl ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      SB that wants to start a career in IT will need some sort of certification. How are you supposed to get into the IT field without certification ? Maybe your Uncle will hire you ? What really counts is the experience on the job – agreed – but there has to be a way to get in to get experience as well.
      (…who would administer this anyway ?)

    • #3889179

      I agree…or do I?

      by robert ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Maybe instead of limiting the certification to someone in the field for two years, the testing portion should be harder…

      Cisco Systems does not have a documented ‘paper’ anything, because they change the test often enough to prevent memorization. You have to KNOW the subject matter, not just know what to look for on the test.

      This is what Microsoft has tried to start this with the Win 2K testing (at least that’s their claim)…we shall see…

      Paper certifications are commonplace nowdue to Tech Schools and the like that will go and push a class out the door without any hands on. I know of one person who passed the NT 4 tests and got hired because of the Certification, yet she had no hands on EVER!

      Perhaps we should require the SCHOOLS to be more aggressive with hands on training and less on test prep…

      In actuality, I believe that the A+ certification should be a requirement for someone to get hired. Then perhaps, they can get certified in other things.

      Robert Clark
      MCSE, MCP+I, MCP, A+
      MIS – Texas Cellular

    • #3888034

      Reply To: Paper Certifications?

      by denpeters ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Are you for real? If you seriously think any legitimate company is going to hire a ‘paperboy’ to do any high level administration or engineering without any real world experience, then you really need to pull your head out of the sand (or whatever it is stuck in).

      I am an intelligent fast learner with a degree in engineering (BSEE from Penn State. I bartended for ten years to support my music career as a solo acoustic musician. One year ago when I decided to change careers and pursue a technical career, I chose to acquire my MCSE through a two week boot camp. There was no other way for a 35 year newbie to break into the IT field. I had no experience and no desire to be a gopher tech monkey for years just to ‘earn my right’ to utilize more than .001% of my brain capacity as a blue collar techie. It worked, and after a year of help desk, I feel more qualified to move on in my career. I had no misconceptions that my paper MCSE would land me a lucrative high paying position, and believe me, neither did any company I applied to.

      I could have wasted several years attempting to do anything in IT to gain experience enough to qualify for training, or anywhere from the six months to several years others have spent getting their MCSE, or the two weeks I spent taking the course work and, yes, passing all six exams for my NT MCSE. I chose wisely. I am now a valuable asset to my company. I got my MCSE to get into a field, not to gloat or conquer it. I know what it is worth, and so do companies. So don’t fool yourself, Greg. There is no magical, mystical quality to certifications, and nobody, including respected companies, puts us on a pedestal without relevant experience and a track record to back it up. Think about it. This isn’t the old boys club, it’s high tech.


      • #3888006

        A Result of Good Marketing…

        by el guapo ·

        In reply to Reply To: Paper Certifications?

        It seems that all these Tech schools promoting these “certifications” are using the deceptive pitch that high salaries will be had as soon as they acquire the paper certification, resulting in lots of burgerboys and fryguys flocking to the nearest tech center. Right on with denpeters as only the most respected companies can see past the “paper certifieds” and avoid hiring inexperienced people. It is the hiring company’s responsibility to test the candidate’s ability/skills to the fullest so he can deliver what he says he can.

    • #3887950


      by tony ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I agree that to keep the MCSE standards high there should be a requirement of 2 years hands on experience before being considered. I get p….d off with so called I.T pros constantly bitching about the paper MCSE. I am an IT pro of 8 years standing who completed my MCSE last year. Believe me , it wasn’t easy. I dont believe that anyone without corporate hands on experience could pass an MCSE.
      I have a theory that most of the people who disparage the MCSE have either failed to get one or dont have the drive and ambition to get one.

      The MCSE was one of the most difficult and therefore most satisfying achievements in my professional career. Oddly enough you dont often hear MCSE’s disparaging none MCSE’s do you?

      So come on, we all have a free choice about whether or not to become certified so dont ram your particular belief down other peoples throats.

      PS: You will still have a lot to learn even after certification.


    • #3887937

      So, you can get a MCSE without

      by wabernat ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      So, you can get a MCSE without ever having built a server? If you study enough and have a good memory, you can be a Cisco Certified Network Professional with out ever having logged into a router. Is there a physical you build it, we break it, you fix it kind of thing for the MicroSoft Certifications?
      Hummm… It sounds like some employeers have gotten burned with “paper” certifications. It also sounds like some empolyees have worked along side someone who knows less, but gets paid more justbecause he has that “paper” certification. However, if employeers are willing to base hiring decisions on “paper” only, and not have a good technical interview process; and, if they are willing to cough up the money for my “paper” certification, I am takin the money.

      • #3865764

        Finally someone know’s what it all about

        by kbnet ·

        In reply to So, you can get a MCSE without

        Finally someone out there who has figured out what it means to be certified. If an employer was going to pay me more for having a piece of paper saying that I had the basic Knowledge to perform the job of course I am going to get my certification. Ifind it really weird that all the IT people out there who refuse to get their certification or think the little piece of paper does not mean anything have not figured this out.

        I guess these, what I like to call Idiot Technologist’s (IT) people like to work for less money then going and taking the so called worthless certification exams and placing themselves in the position to where they could make more money and provide for a better living for what is really important (I don’t mean your little precious network that you won’t let anyone touch who has a certification) your FAMILY. So EVERYBODY OUT THERE, STOP YOUR WHINING ABOUT CERTIFICATION AND EXPERIENCE AND DO WHAT MY DAD ALWAYS SAYS:

        PLAY THE GAME MY SON!!!!

    • #3887922

      yes indeed

      by e00011rob21 ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I think you should have at least two years in as an IT pro. Im currently working as a tech(A+,MCP) w/less than two years experience and I still say yes. I work w/ too many people with paper certs that can barely turn a computer on let alone work on one. The sad part is its really hard to even break into the field without some sort of cert. Part of the interviewing process should be a hands on demo of said persons skills.

    • #3887906

      What about newbies?

      by kbolling ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I can’t completely agree with this. While it is true that there are some “paper tigers” out there, certification is also a great way for new people in the field to get at least a grasp of the overall picture. Now if a company hires someone with noexperience, but who is an MCSE or CNE, then that company needs to review its hiring practices. But, we shouldn’t penalize newbies who are changing careers and want a chance. Are you going to hire a newbie with no experience AND no certs?

      Kevin Bollinger
      MCP (4x), CNA

      • #3622133

        Newbies need a chance

        by kmifflin ·

        In reply to What about newbies?

        Newbies really need a chance since they have done the work to earn the certs. But the problem is that some folks get their certs with no hand on experience.

    • #3887898

      It’s not our fault

      by mattbrowna1 ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Certifications are already a prerequisite for getting an entry level job in this industry. If experience is made a prerequisite for certification, no one will be able to get a job or a certificate. Pay in the IT field, and respect for it professionals are decreasing because of big business’ greed, and desk jockeys thinking we are just bonehead mechanics, and only they make business profitable.
      I am an A+ certified technician, and have used computers since early childhood. I had to get this cert first to get a job. I was laughed out of interviews before I had it, but hired, albeit by a temp agency, only two weeks after getting it. Don’t want paper certs? Design examinations that test problem solving intelligence, not memorization. Comptia is already working on that.

    • #3887869

      Another Way

      by jmccull418 ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Good Idea, NOT!
      I’m sure Greg was born with a keyboard in his
      Since I am embarking on what I hope to be a new career,I hope that someone will be willing to work with me,not try to insult my
      effort to better myself.
      I love what I am doing!
      Everyone starts somewhere.

    • #3887857

      The problem is in the expectations…

      by brasslet ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I don’t recall ever seeing a rant that holders of engineering degrees are ‘paper’ engineers. The problem is not that certifications as they stand now are worthless, only that expectations from some are too high. Just as a new graduate from engineering school is not expected to be a senior designer without real world experience, the inexperienced MCSE/CNE/CCNA should not be expected to perform as a senior administrator. The vendors IMO are partially to blame, they’ve marketed their certs this way and now a lot of people have the wrong impression. Companies then hire a ‘paper’ MCSE, get burned, then decide certs are crap. Certs are only one piece of deciding whether an individual can perform a job.

    • #3887787

      RE: Paper Certifications

      by heybobk ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Gee, then I guess we shouldn’t allow “certifications” for attorneys, doctors, dentists, CPA’s, and other professions unless they have practiced for at least 2 years. The problem is, nobody will let them practice UNTIL they have their certifications!

      And I guess we shouldn’t allow college professors to teach MCSE-related classes unless they have “practiced” in industry for at least 2 years before they obtain their MCSE.

      In the absence of industry experience,taking classes and passing the tests to obtain an MCSE certification certainly does not diminish or invalidate the person’s knowledge of the subject. Certainly, there is no substitute for relevant experience, but lack thereof doesn’t mean the person doesn’t know anything, or isn’t worthy of an MCSE cert.

      On the other hand, I know people who have, say, 5 years of experience, but it’s really just one year’s experience five times, if you catch my drift.

      Greg, your message sounds like you believe some of the elitist garbage being floated these days. Being certified is not, in and of itself, an indication of competence. It is simply an indication that certain tests have been passed, and that the person “should” posess certain basic knowledge.

      Kind of like a college degree, huh? The degree itself doesn’t mean you can do a particular job, it just means that certain tests have been passed — kinda like an MCSE.

      Bob Keller

      • #3877924

        Right on Bob!

        by shanghai sam ·

        In reply to RE: Paper Certifications

        Why do people with years of experience think someone learning a new area of expertise through classes or self-study in order to increase their skill set in this rapidly changing industry is a threat to them because they have passed the required tests?

        A person who is a good study and has cranked out his or her MCSE in six months knows full well what a limited skill set they really have and how far they have to go before considering themselves on par with someone who’s been in the trenches for years.

        If I had ten years experience in one area of the industry, say networked accounting applications, and then decided to expand my horizons and protect my earning potential by learning an entirely new area, say Cisco, or SQL or Oracle, or Exchange, should I need to learn everything hands on before being qualified to take a test showing I now have these new skills?

        No. I study and learn the technology, and take a test to prove that I have attained the minimum knowledge requirements to be considered for at least an entry level and possibly higher position, depending on other factors such as people skills and a willingness to be a team player and the ability to learn.

        A certification isn’t a license to perform brain surgery, and the ones attaining them realize it more than you do Greg, get over it. Or better yet, go add a few easy line items to your resume by knocking off some certification tests.

        Joe Buchberger
        AS-Accounting, A+(highly qualified), MCSE, MCP+I, CCNA(paper)

    • #3865778

      A different Perspective.

      by bj9 ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      To begin with, the context of the complaint is indicative of someone with a personal gripe against the system. If anyone can take and pass any of the certification tests, without using the software or technology, should amaze us.
      I do believe that the Certification demonstrates completion, not competency. I personally have been exposed to NT for the past 6 months and have passed 5 of the 6 tests. I will have my MCSE in 1 week but could I administer and maintain an NT network? Maybe, or maybe not.
      In this industry, the certification should indicate that you understand the concepts and the intent of an OS or App and are able to apply that knowledge in support of clients, customers, or users. Employers need a baseline to evaluate potential employees. First we needed a High School diploma, then a two year or trade school diploma, then an undergraduate or Graduate degree. All of that is too generalized. Technology is becoming too specialized.
      In a nutshell, the Cert is just another hoop to jump through.

      • #3865730

        Losing Value?

        by ssg0487 ·

        In reply to A different Perspective.

        It was not to long ago that I discovered many job postings that stated that A+ Certification was required. Now, I see less, if any that require A+ Certification. I am A+ Certified, and I wonder if the certification is losing its value. Is it possible that employers looking for a certified individual to ensure competency have gotten burned by Certified Techies that have never actually done the work? and are unable to do so without guidance? From my studies via the internet in preperation of the A+ exams, I found that there were people that would memorize the “brain dumps” and “practice tests” in order to pass the exams. There is nothing wrong with this, unless the person actually does not have any skills outside of the skill to pass the exams. Experience is required to be able to actually do the job, and passing the exams can not certify that the technician can do the job.

    • #3865723

      Was an engineer, now a tech …

      by cotty ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I was a degree qualified, registered engineer who spent many years using and working on electronic equipment (including computers).

      I have just completed the A+ certification, and am working as a help desk technician with a large company. My previous experience in engineering meant nothing to my employer, but the A+ did. How did I get it? By buying the book/s and studying. Plus my hands on previous knowledge.

      If I had needed the two years of experience I would be out of work! Surely it should be up to the employer to evaluate the persons qualifications and experience, and make/or not the work offer based on those findings.

      Ex Engineer/now techie

      • #3865659

        I Would’ve Hired Ya

        by ravensperch ·

        In reply to Was an engineer, now a tech …

        Your real-world experience means far more to me than your A+ cert. Had you knocked on my door when I was running a Nat’l DSL installation company, I’d have hired ya. Given you a week or two training, and then sent you out solo.

        Guys with MCSEs BOUGHT (not earned through hands-on experience) from tech schools came knocking on my door everyday. 99% of them failed the simple test I gave them – constructed of questions like “How do you add an email account in Microsoft Outlook Express? What does TCP/IP stand for?”.

        It’s the guys who EARNED their wings through hands-on and hardcore studying/practicing at home that aced my test everytime. No certs. And they were my best workers – the MCSEs acted like they owned the world.

        I’m starting up my own company now and I tell ya, if an MCSE walks through my door with no experience, he’ll be kindly thanked and never called again.
        I don’t want people who slept through lectures and crammed to pass an exam. This ain’t college. This is real world, real computers, real customers who need solutions.

        And for that, I only want REAL techs. The guys who have been-there, done-that.

        Two thumbs up to the 2yrs prior before certification idea! There are plenty of entry-level positions or even internship to build up that first 2 years. Then we’ll know that Paper Techs can actually hold their own with Real Techs.

        • #3850775

          In my day.. (not that I am that old)

          by cscript ·

          In reply to I Would’ve Hired Ya

          What ever happened to the Apprenticeship programs?
          In my day you could pass the test 100 times over, but still need 2 to 10 yrs experience working the real deal until you made journeyman then another 20yrs to master journeyman.
          Now THERE is an idea!!

      • #3865599

        Re: Paper Certs

        by janetf ·

        In reply to Was an engineer, now a tech …

        I don’t have much IT experience but I have a paper certification and I help students to achieve their paper certifications, mostly as Oracle DBAs.

        I advise students who do not have the recommended year or two of experience that they will need tocreate it for themselves through intense practice.

        I train experienced DBAs, programmers and career changers with little to no computer experience.

        The students that practice at home regulary are getting a kind of experience. It’s also no surprise to me that the same students who practice a LOT are able to pass the exams and I suspect they did well in their previous careers too. They work HARD!

        Most paper certifications are not earned by listening to lectures and memorizing textbooks. Sometimes they are just like some doctors go through medical school and never learn to relate to patients patients.

        I think a good technical interviewer can tell one paper certificate(memorization) from another(synthesized experience)by askingtechnical questions just not too soon after the certification date!

    • #3865655

      Bottom line

      by webmaster ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Is Bill gates MCSE or MCSD?? NOOO!!! What if he had been required to have a certification before he made windows? Did he make windows?

      The point is we as IT professionals are allowing some scam artist book worms dictate how our profession isperceived. It is up to those of us in a management role to look at the experience and then and only then should we account for the paper cert. When I review resumes, I look for the experience, not the paper. It doesn’t hold value to me anymore.
      I would rather hire someone who has sweated and spent every ounce of energy perfecting their skills. And not because someone told them they could start out making 65K a year, but because they enjoy it! I am fortunate in that my job is also my hobby. Most admins that excel are the same.

      To us it’s a passion not a job.

      Tom Johnson

      • #3865607

        Not black or white

        by tjryan123 ·

        In reply to Bottom line

        Well, at age 53 I decided to make a career change after 26 years in eng/const management. My salary was over 100K/yr but for the past 10 years I hated my job.
        I have had a computer since the Pong game came out. I loved messing with my home computer screwing it up and figuring out how to fix it.
        In 1998, I quit my E&I job tapped my own savings and went back to school. Took 346 hours of classroom/labs. Got A+ certified first and the MCSE next. Took me 8 months. Worked partime in helpdesk slotfor $8.00/hr while going to classes. Out of our class of 24 there were those who snoozed or generally goofed off. Some even passed.
        BUT there were also those of us who after class went to the CBT lab to study more, studied everyday 7 days a week. Met in study groups. When didn’t understand something we bought other materials or used the internet to get other explantions. It was very hard for me but I loved the learing experience.
        After looking for 3 mo for a full time slot I wound up workingwith another E&C company but in their IT dept providing desktop support adding PC’s to the network, troubleshooting. I took over a $50K/yr cut and was glad to just get a chance in IT. I knew I would take a big hit but was ready and willing to make the jump to IT. My employer recognised that I had little experience but also recognised the value of my determination. I just received a quality excellence award after 6 months on the job. He did say that without my “paper MCSE” I would not have been considered. My MCSE schooling gave me the basics and helped me make the transition. Now it’s up to me to expand my skills. But without the schooling and the paper and an understanding IT manager I never would have got the chance.

        Us “paper MCSE’s”aren’t all the same. Some of us did it the hard way. You could be overlooking a valuable asset to your company when you just look at “yrs of experience”.

        • #3865595

          Read it all

          by webmaster ·

          In reply to Not black or white

          If you read my post correctly, I said I look at experience before the paper. That means I prefer a hard working, determined person over a test taker. Your case is a rare one. 9 out of 10 applicants just got certified and now want to be an admin.Doesn’t work that way. You actually did it the right way. Start at the bottom and prove yourself. If you are the dedicated person you claim, the proving part will payoff in a big way in a short amount of time.

          When I sold my business, I alsotook a big hit. I went from grossing 1/2 mil a year to 40K a year. But my determination to be in this industry was worth it. As I said, I would rather hire a person whose life IS computers than some snot nosed punk who thinks because they can pass a test they have earned the right to be an admin.

          I admire your determination. These snot nosed punks could learn alot from you.

          best of luck.

          Tom Johnson

        • #3866039


          by tjryan123 ·

          In reply to Read it all

          I appreciate your comments Tom and I certainly meant no disrespect for them.
          It looks like you had the same hard decision to make for yourself, that being to start over and follow a more satisfying path. When I quit my management job and people found out that I was going to be taking such a cut they thought I was NUTS. But the job satisfaction I get now is worth more that the dollars. In my support postion people ask me to help them setup their PC’s, use applications, upgrade RAM, install CD drives, get their machines on the network by setting up the TCP/IP. Part of what I like is that when your able to help someone and solve their problem most really appreciate it and in figuring out how to solve a problem I am always learning somethingnew.

          I have told my employer that I’ll string Cat5 and make up RJ45 connections or help them assemble racks if they want me to so I can move more into direct network support which is what I really want to do.

          Like I said, the MCSE help get me in the door. I can sit in on dept meetings and if someone mentions TCP/IP, or IP address or SMTP I at least have some idea of what is being discussed. Now that I’m in the door however, I am seeing how much I really don’t know about real world IT. ButI am going to continue learning.

          Good luck to you also.

          Terry Ryan
          Houston, Texas

    • #3865584

      Certification in general

      by georgeb ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      My view of certification is multi-layered. If you consider certificates as works of art they are worthless, but what they *represent* can mean a lot.

      Some are awarded for passing a Q&A test, where a good score is sufficient to prove that you understand *Something* fairly well. The more tests, the better the understanding. This type of certification – by pure Q&A – implies no practical experience or adaptive skill, but it can be helpful when preparing for an entry-level job, or learning something new, to ‘broaden your skill set’.

      Other certificates, such as those held by commercial pilots or heart surgeons, cannot be gained, or even maintained, without considerable, ongoing “field experience”. In these occupations, errors are measured in human life, and entry-level positions are simply not available (except in emergencies).

      Somewhere between ‘printer setups’ and ‘code blue’ there is room for debate on IT certification, both in principle and in practice. Should they be pure Q&A? Should there be a “master” or “doctorate” level, where field tests are included? Should certificates have an expiry date, or a mandatory periodic re-test date? How much of any test should be standards-based, and how much should be vendor-specific? Of the dozens of IT tests available today, how much or how many will still be relevant in another 5 years?

      As a proof of learning, I believe there is room for all manner of degrees of certification in IT, just as in every important field since the word ‘test’ was first used. All tests are crude measuring tools of knowledge and skill, and most require hands-on experience as a final supplement, but they serve a useful purpose, as benchmarks of understanding and as evidence of competency and a desire to learn.

    • #3865555

      Computers are my life, so I pass tests

      by jbuchberger ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I want to learn as much about the industry as possible, and while it isn’t feasible to be an expert in every area, I can sure get a grasp of a new subject by learning it well enough to pass an industry certification test. I’m also up front with recruiters who ask about my actual skill set; while I studied my butt off in order to pass each test, I don’t pass myself off as an expert in say, MS Internet Information Server 4, which I book studied and have never used in real life.

      Professional interviewers don’t seem to expect it either as long as I’m straight with them up front about what I know I can and can’t do for them.

      I’ve run into a few arrogant bustards though who’s first words to me in interviews were that they’ve been in this business for X amount of years and don’t have any damn certifications while they look accusingly at me like I shouldn’t either unless I’m as experienced as they are. Do these jerks feel threatened by an entry-level applicant who’s happened to spend the time and effort in learning the material well enough to pass a simple standardized test?

      I’ve been working with computers since 1980, in PC sales and support initially and in accounting software application support more recently. I knew next tonothing about NT networks, or networks in general until I discovered the certification tracks and that’s when my ‘formal’ computer education really took off.

      You old hands in your field, crusty with your hard earned experience, ought to check your prejudices against those who have worked for their certifications yet haven?t gotten the experience YET. And while you?re at it, if the tests are so damn easy why not waltz into a testing center and plunk down your $100 and crank out a passing score so you don?t feel so intimidated by the newbies who?ve only had the tests as their measure of progress so far.

    • #3878086

      Excellenet Point!

      by jdow ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      A MCSE or CNE, or whichever cert your looking for shows you know how “MICROSOFT or NOVELL” says things should work. Your experience in the field shows you how things ACTUALLY work. The problem today, is for professionals, a cert doesnt mean anything compared to an ex-psychologist turned computer man. But, I do say this, regardless of certification or past experience, there are ways of making it out there, your intelligence and will to succeed will show, and employers respect that.

      Just mytwo cents.

    • #3877863

      Good idea in theory

      by dixiedi ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Like you I agree there are too many individuals out there with certs and no idea what they are doing.
      I am self taught, using online classes and free tutorials whenever I can find them.
      I know more than a few individuals who had the money to go to school, just about memorize possible test questions, then get very well paying jobs.
      In the meantime, because I only have free Brainbench certs, I am still a struggling self employed person. While my friends are now earning $75,000 + a year. Asking ME how to do this and that via ICQ, email, etc.
      Needless to say, I have gotten tired of working for them for free and got a new ICQ number and don’t use those email addresses anymore.
      I have one “friend” who put my struggling self employment business on his resume as my employee. This guy now makes $50,000, free automobile, great benefits, etc. With a Microsoft Work Station Certification! It is all beyond comprehension to me!

    • #3887045

      Lets compromise on the certs issue…

      by spazzy814 ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I can see the point about the diminished value of certs when you have people who pass them from rote memory only, with no working hands on experience or understanding in the “real world”. True, its an embarassement for the rest of the IT community when these newbies constantly flub the job after boasting their paper successes, but in some cases, certification is what gets many “a foot in the door” into their IT fields in the first place. Most of whom I’ve met have proven their expertise time and again and many credit their success to taking the first step which was studying hard and bringing their goal to fruition through certifications.

      I do agree however, that when a newly certified employee comes on to the platform with no proven experience, that there should be a time of apprenticeship served. Many employers are beginning to see the financial benefits as well as the gain in productivity from this type of arrangement. Why in productivity? Because the apprentice wants deeply to prove him or herself and there is less boasting and covering up for lack of knowledge. It promotes an atmoshere with the liberty to ask questions when an uncertainty arises, instead of making a critical mistake and covering it up…and we all know what can occur when that happens!

      What do all of you who read this think? Am I way off base with this?

      Network Technician

      • #3865967

        On base

        by jeffz ·

        In reply to Lets compromise on the certs issue…

        I also believe the value of “certs” have diminished. In the glory days of the past if an individual held a computer cert of some type it held more “weight” than it does now because you had to gain the experience in the field and hits the books to pass the exam. (Work or reference books, not the ones made to help one pass the tests) Presently, with all the cramming, boot camps, and brain dumps anyone with the time and mental capacity to retain it can become a cert holder without any real worldexperience.

        I also believe that it can be a way to get your foot in the door and that all depends on the needs of the company your applying for. And there is no comparison between a college degree and a ?cert?. A cert gives you the knowledge ofone subject per se, where a degree gives you knowledge in many different areas. Neither will make you a professional once you have that paper in your hand. It takes time in your chosen field to be seen as a professional. I don?t care how good youthink you are, you?re not a professional until you have proven yourself to your employers, peers, or clients and have their respect in my mind.

        I?m a senior LAN administrator for several LANs. Versed in heavily in MS server application with 8 administrators under me. I?ve seen MSCE?s come and go. Given the cert-crazed environment today, when a person tells me they are a MSCE or others cert ? I take it with a grain of salt. There?s far more to running networks/LANs than books can teach, but the book is a technical start. No, I don?t have a cert and wasn?t really interested in getting one until this thread but out of curiosity I want to test my knowledge against an exam to see the results without studying for it.

        Senior LAN administrator

    • #3886917


      by seanr ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I would also have to agree to a certain extent. However, it is a little like getting your driver’s license. You need to have a little experience before you can go and take the drivers test, otherwise there is no way that you would be able to pass the parallel parking portion of the test without practice.

      On the other hand, employers aren’t so blind to the whole situation. Just because you have a license to be a driver doesn’t make you qulified to drive a bus or 18-wheeler. I think the same can be said of the certs because of the fact that experience comes into play just because of the fact that we all know that many of the things that you learn for certifications are not specific to the needs of the company and the integration of other systems. There are many things that one must learn under fire, and I think that this makes many better at their job than those who are just paper certs.

      And who are we kidding, you can’t really get the big jobs without experience anyhow. That would be like hiring an engineer right out of college to head a massive project with no help, and without learning all of the tricks of the trade.

      MIS/Network Admin

    • #3886865


      by auman ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I agree that protecting the value of our certifications is important. I have often wondered if Microsoft and Cisco have considered a sponsorship program where two or three people with a specified amount of real world experience have to sign off on you before you recieve your certification.
      This may not be the ultimate answer, but it at least grants some accountability because someone with some experience has to hang their name on you before you get the piece of paper. I think it would also encouraged mentoring – something we don’t do alot of in IT.

      MCSE, CCNA

    • #3866068

      Bravo Greg

      by kmm19h ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      You’re absolutely correct,the main problem I see with this stance is it is nearly impossible to get hired in the IT related job field without some form of schooling,experience and/or “certification”,no matter what you’re desire or intent. Also, a “certification” always,to say the least,looks good on you’re resume.

    • #3865800

      Experience & Certs Enhance each other

      by kmk0500 ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Certifications indicate a CURRENT willingness, interest and achievement whether one is employed or trying to get into the field. There are way too many people on the job who become comfortable and do not want to do the rigorous studying and training to keep up-to-date. I have seen these people keep a whole organization in the dark ages because all their time is used pasting together old hardware and technologies and they don’t really want to learn new stuff.

      No matter what you think, certifications are not a “paper thing.” I took the MCSE courses on weekends for a year and estimate 100 hours of additional home study for each exam. I made a $10,000 investment and now my MSCE is delayed and there are more courses to study. I’ve worked hard to make myself a desirable IT candidate and wish I had the opportunity to utilize my knowledge on the job, but I continue to bump into the “2-year experience” wall while looking for for a “trainee” position so I can prove myself. This is also while corporations are crying that they cannot find qualified help.

      No, I do not believe the certifications should be only for experienced professionals.
      In my work experience I have met many, many new grads with great, fabulous degrees, who don’t have the most basic knowledge of the business world or life in general. It is assumed that somewhere their collective educational knowledge will gel and through experience they will become valuable. As they apply the knowledge of their degrees, they learn, make better decisions and become self-reliant and instinctive. I see no difference with those of us not yet lucky enough to break into our chosen field, but still working on our certifications to get a foot in the door.

      Give us a chance.

    • #3865794

      Certification analogy

      by fshco14 ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I agree with maitaining a level of professional credentialing , paper certification alone cannot do that.I have been a Medical Technologist (MT)for over 20 yrs..I am currently in a CCNA program and have passed the CompTIA a+ cert. test; one of a number I hope to attain if needed.
      To be a M.T. one must aquire a BS/BA,get through a 1year internship and then pass a certification and or license test. None of this helped us since the Gov. and insurance cuts have forced Hospitals and Labs to tighten on positions and wages . This tightening has created an increased demand for lesser trained (and payed )workers to be in greater demand. I see many similarities in the IT field. What hurt the M.T. field was multiple accrediting agencies,Gov. intrusion and lack of unified professionals . The IT field may also be affected (wages not stds.) by the gov. allowing increased immigration quotas for techs. Thanks Dan

    • #3833003

      Re: Certifications & the Industry

      by charlene_deaver ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I’ve been in the IT field for nearly 15 years. Through the years I’ve watched the trends and learned a thing or two. So, here’s my 2 cents worth.

      (1) Certifications are a good thing. It gives a business a way to measure knowledge when hiring new employees. Unfortunately, both the vendors offering certifications and the general business community have lost site of the main point. Corporate america is mistaken to believe that any training will replace experience. That was part of the complaint they made to Microsoft which caused them to reconfigure their certification process. That’s why Microsoft now suggests you have 1-2 years experience before you approach their certification tests.
      (2) Vendors are on the verge of abusing thecertification process. It’s been predicted that Microsoft’s revamping of their process will cut the number of MCSEs by 1/2 this year. While you may think that helps boost your salary you’re wrong. There’s already talk of Corporate America lookingelsewhere to bring in qualified technical staff.

      Microsoft has already stated in their materials that 2000 is the beginning of their efforts to Lower The Cost Of Ownership. They plan to do that by getting rid of many of YOU. Those who want tostay in the industry need to shoot for the highest rungs of the ladder. The lower and middle tech positions will begin disapearing over the next 5 years. Operating systems will become smart enough to do your jobs for you.

      My suggestion is to get certified as quickly as you can and get the experience where you can. To that end I’ve created an on-line educational site that provides IT courses. You’ll also find FREE Study Guides and other userful links and information.

      • #3832715

        I have a mixed viewpoint on the topic

        by dbertsche ·

        In reply to Re: Certifications & the Industry

        I don’t think certification programs are a bad idea but regarding vendors abusing the program, what did Microsoft expect! The old adage “follow the money” comes into play here. A lot of companies have made tons of money off of the certification process and in the process have mislead people at times.

        I was going to try to gain certification on NT4 but when I heard this would not last long I’m having second thoughts. My company has not adopted 2000 yet so I can not gain any experience on it. I would bet there are a lot of people in the same boat.

        I believe it’s good to get certified but only in an environment where you can learn the practical aspects. For this reason I will probably put getting certified on hold.

        I know this runs counter to what you’re suggesting but I don’t see what you’re predicting happening any time soon. In fact some of the environments I’ve worked in and clients I’ve worked with are still at very elementary levels when it comes to technology and itlooks like lower and middle level techs will still have jobs for some time to come.

        • #3831225

          status of lower to mid techs

          by matt ·

          In reply to I have a mixed viewpoint on the topic

          I agree with you, I see no way that lower level techs will be left out. I think lower level techs will always be needed, who else is going to install cards, set up new comps, replace bad hardware, it certainly would not be an upper level tech. I think if anything the upper level techs will be the ones in trouble. Who needs a network manager onsite, when half a world away someone can remote control the network. If there are problems that can’t be fixed remote, then a call is placed to the low level techs to fix them on site. This is where many companies that I have worked with are heading.
          As for certifications, I think they are a good way to gain knowledge and show you have some knowledge in a particular area and are great for entry level. But I think that without experience, there should be no way for a tech to get to those upper levels.

    • #3832882

      Certified, Experience, Qualified?

      by blitzer ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I find that when it comes to doing the actual work, nothing holds up but experience. When I was looking at a career move, I looked at certification, but while I was getting that certification, experience were getting me the jobs (contracts). What I usually ask people that joing an argument like this, without saying you’re experienced, or certified, do you qualify for the job? My angle on this is unusual, some people would say that qualification is having the bare minimal to do the job, I disagree, I see it as qualifying for every single task that you will be required to perform!

      I’m still working through my NT4 MCSE certs, not because I’m going to flash it around and say “Look at me, certified pro!” no! because I’m learning from the exercise. I would say that my knowledge, only 20% comes from the certification studies I’ve done, the rest, is asking, seeing, playing. And I do make sure that everytime I took a contract, I was qualified to do every single task that would be asked ofme.

      Do you qualify to do the work you’re doing?


      • #3832592

        Here is my two cents worth.

        by mmcisaac ·

        In reply to Certified, Experience, Qualified?

        Experience is certainly the best qualification.

        Many employers aren’t qualified enough to ask the right questions in an interview to accurately determine a candidate’s suitability for the position. So a certification can be said to do the work for a lazy or unqualified manager.

        With almost ten years experience I find it very frustrating that some employers will not consider people who do not have an MSCE or an A+ certification. Even though my college education far exceeds anything that an A+ cert. can possibly hope to offer. I consider MSCE courses simply introductory material. I enjoy them for the other IT people I get to meet with and discuss various network issues. I have found that the some of the course materials don’t make very good reference material however.

        In short a good manager or interviewer should be able to tell if the right skills are there. Certification can be a good kick-start, but this certification craze is a little out of control. I find it really boring to study for MSCE exams. I’ve already worked with the stuff so I want to move on to areas beyond the course material. (Having said that, I have used the course materials for review from time to time)

        There’s more than one way to skin a cat!

        • #3830142

          I agree

          by matt ·

          In reply to Here is my two cents worth.

          Employers put too much wait on certs. I almost did not get hired at my last job because I had never bothered to get my A+ cert. I had tons of experience but still had to convince them that I was qualified. I came right in and took the A+ and Network+ tests in a combined 20 min for the 3 required tests. You cannot tell me that 20 min of work is better than 6 months minimum of experience.

    • #3832801


      by baz ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Very good point I have interviewed people
      with certification but little if any experience. Trust me you would not let them near your network.

    • #3832703

      I agree, but…

      by toksymore ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      It’s a fair baseline for assessing proficiency/expertise in the IT world, however still not a substitute for experience and on-the-job intuition.

      I would prefer a professional with both qualifications though.

    • #3832686


      by jmissild ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      First of all you have all of these training companies advertising big money if you can pass (x) number of tests. Half of these people have no real world experience and will blow it when real skills are needed. Anyone can study for a test and pass. These paper certified people make people that actually have the knowledge along with the certification be paid less. I agree with the time limit in the industry.

      Network Administrator

    • #3832630

      Paper Certifications?

      by gary.evans ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Until the testing methodology is changed, paper certifications will continue.

      The Microsoft tests are a joke!!

      Cisco has the idea of doing hands-on. Until all certifications are hands-on, this will continue.

    • #3832608


      by __23skidoo ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      You assume that someone with a certification simply memorized the material and regurgitated it on to a test. I believe it is an unfair characterization.
      I was in the electronics field for several years and unsatisfied with my field. I took the knowlege I gained at home and from handed down MCSE books and applied it. I got an entry level help desk job with NO experience OR certs. Now I’m full time IT support, working on my degree (which I think is more important). My point is that I made my own way in and am very happy with my progression so far. If I had no way of getting in the door, I’d still be hating life. Just because someone gets a position w/o experience doesn’t mean he/she doesn’t deserve the opportunity to apply their skills.

    • #3832585

      Management’s Responsibility

      by adminsparky ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I applaud your efforts to improve the perception of the entire IT field. However, ultimately, it is the perception of your employer/customer that is of greater importance. In support of your view, I would propose that using generalizations to catagorize a group of people (those with certs), has led to the dilema that you describe. However, generalizations, such as yours, are just a different swing of the same pendulum.

      It is management’s responsibility to hire competent individuals, and to release those that are not. There are a myriad of tools and criteria available to make these decisions. Certification is only one such criteria. Until a business identifies an economic impact related to a person’s poor performance, that company will continue to support its decisions based on the investment already put forth.

      The truth of the matter is, that in the event of an economic downturn, only those persons capable of performing the job will be retained, regardles of how they entered the field.

    • #3831569

      I agree …. to a point

      by emsiesekrap ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      If what you mean is for those people that certified thru reading books and pass the exam definitely I agree. What about those people that went to an eight month course with hands-on labs training then I” say otherwise. I went through that route andI tell you we had our share of hands-on training that I’ll bet you I could do some
      administration on my very first day, if given
      the chance. Even better than those that are working, but no training experience like we had. Besides degrees also goesthrough on the job training once they are hired.

    • #3830151

      Certs not what they appear to be

      by an2370 ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Too many times I have seen people who are book smart but have no pratical experience. I know a Contractor that we hired as an MSCNE. This Contractor has gone to the Certification courses and taken the tests and had the Certification. However thisperson had troubles loging onto NT. The smallest problems that I consider comon sense, would completely through this guy off. I am also disappointed in the way the industry has set so high an importance on Certifications. I have been in the fieldfor over 15 years. When I was looking for a change in companies I would go on interviews and because I was not Certified I would not get even a call back. It did not matter that I had performed all the LAN Admin and Domain Admin functions and knewmuch more than just Windowns and Novell. Now that I work with many Contractors who were hired just for the reason that they were Certified, I can tell you that many of them are the least knowlegable workers we have. And for all you people out there who claim that it is a foot in the door. Why not try College. Gee, what a nobel Idea.

      • #3831775

        You are joking, right?

        by jbuchberger ·

        In reply to Certs not what they appear to be

        Why not try college as a foot in the door for a technical position??? You have got to be kidding! Why would someone want to go to college for four years to learn what according to everyone else on this discussion says is only possible through hands-on, real world experience.

        If you really do have 15 years of actual experience and not just installing hard disks and reseating ram, and really have performed all those LAN Admin and Domain Admin functions, then why not quit complaining and go in and take the tests that these book smart people have taken so you will get called back after the interviews. If you have the college degree that you think is so important in a technical environment then you must also have the ‘book smarts’ required to pass the tests.

        • #3839112


          by arg cio ·

          In reply to You are joking, right?

          and what do you learn in college? Nothing practicle!!!!!!!!! Did this guy go to college? Does he remember how much he learned in college(that has always been useless!)? I have a degree, and I use less than 2% of what I was taught in the school. Iwent to a “boot camp” and use 60% of what I learned there! You show me a four year degree that will give me useful information, and I’ll show you it ain’t in a university!

    • #3829984

      can you resolve?

      by shanghai sam ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      hello everybody,
      I have been following this discussion from
      quite a long time , still my question is unresloved. can all these threds realy help solve my problem or will end up tieng me is a question itself.

      I am now opening my case for discussion

      here is my Case

      I am a Chemical Engineering graduate (fresh) interested in making my career in this wonderful field. now i have three options in front of me
      go for a PG course in IT or
      go for certifications or
      simply learn more my self & getsome Experince in a small company based on my present tiny skillset?

      Tell me what shall I do for this ? ,I thought
      this discussion will help me resolve this
      ambiguity but I am unable to arrive at any conclussion, please help me I am in a grate confussion.

      Chandrashekhar HN

      • #3829889

        resolve? prob not

        by matt ·

        In reply to can you resolve?

        Since you already have a degree, I would suggest starting in a desktop support job, they will train you anyway, plus most will reimburse you for any certs you go after. And having no experience you’ll want to get the general certs(Comptia, MCP) just to gain knowledge of the field. Then decide where you want to go from there.

        • #3831866

          Reply To: Paper Certifications?

          by jadair57 ·

          In reply to resolve? prob not

          I also have been following this discussion for some time and it seems the degree advocates, for the most part, are semi-illiterate. High amount of misspellings and poor grammar. “Paper” degrees? And of course the guy with the paper (degree) gets the entry level job instead of someone without the paper.

          I have some college, but no degree. I also have almost 2 years experience in help desk positions (some of you purists might call it customer service, as I support end users). This is a career change for me; I used to be a Steam Engineer in a utility power plant (people could die, not a server crash, if I made a mistake at that job).

          I want to know the names of some of these companies that are hiring MCSE’s with just the cert and no experience, as I have obviously taken the wrong career route! I felt that just the cert would not be enough to do the job so I am working my way up with experience and certs. I have my A+, will have I Net+ and Network+ within 2 or 3 months and amup for promotion to internal help desk. And computers have been my hobby for more than 20 years. While this would be a nice raise, my salary is quite a bit less than a MCSE makes. And I would enjoy the job a lot more.

          My point is: a MCSE with no prior background, even as a hobbyist, would truly be a paper cert, but don’t forget there are a lot of us out there starting in the trenches and using the certs to build on our experience and work our way up!

        • #3831815

          Want the truth do you?

          by webmaster ·

          In reply to Reply To: Paper Certifications?

          Want the truth do you? Well, speaking as an IT manager, I can tell you this. The MCSE cert. has become such a bloat and scam, that most REAL technical companies don’t take much stock in it. As a point, most are migrating towards Linux. Why you may ask? Quite simply. Linux is a Unix clone. Unlike NT you can’t rely on a GUI to be able to navigate and administer a network. You have to really know how the system functions and performs. You can’t bs your way into a *nix network. You eitherknow it or you don’t. Plus, all of the certs available require hands on problem solving and trouble shooting to pass the test. It is not just a question and answer test.

          So, having said that, I would recomend anyone wanting to be a REAL administrator to learn *nix. Not only will you gain a full understanding of true network architecture, but *nix administrators are in more demand than NT AND the salaries are higher.

          I can train anyone to point and click to administer a small to medium NT network. But it takes years of experience to master the *nix environment.

          I have seen alot of postings from people who say computers are their life. If so, invest a few bucks in RedHat or Caldera or Slackware or any other Linux OS. Tear it down, rebuild, do it again and again. And just when you think you understand it, build a Linux system from the original code. Once you can master that, you have the knowledge to be a *nix administrator and will command respect from the rest of the IT community.

          Tom Johnson
          IT Manager

        • #3831768

          I will Tom-just haven’t gotten there yet

          by jbuchberger ·

          In reply to Want the truth do you?

          But if I learn all that on my home network, will I still be considered a paper cert Linux guy because I haven’t worked on one in a live environment for two years?

          Damn! It seems like the more I learn the less I know, in this business, and yet I still love it. 🙂

        • #3832306

          More credability

          by webmaster ·

          In reply to I will Tom-just haven’t gotten there yet

          If you take a cert for Linux, particularly RedHat, you will not be considered a paper cert. Being RedHat certified carries some weight. To get that cert you really need to know your stuff. At my company we had a guy take the course and test. Even though he had worked with *nix for years, he said it was tough.

          I would recomend this track for anyone serious about being a network or sys admin.

          Tom Johnson
          IT Manager

        • #3850796

          Are you saying?

          by shanghai sam ·

          In reply to Want the truth do you?

          That NT or anything other than *nix does not need to be managed? I’d just like to make a couple of points.

          I’m no fan of NT, Unix etc. I’ve given up on that years ago. Nowadays, when proposing a solution I look at what makes the most sense from acost / benefit viewpoint.

          If someone wishes to be a Unix admin and follows that career path then great. If it’s NT, well that’s good also. ‘Real’ administration is getting an honest days pay for an honest days work – NT, Unix, mainframe, midrange whatever (I think it’s also called being a professional).

          I agree that understanding what makes something tick is important and as you pointed out it can only come with working with whatever product.

          With regards to MCSE etc. I think these exams should be mixed with professional experience and I know that the exams strive to do so but sometimes don’t accomplish the goal. I’ve been a database administrator for many years and sometimes it irks me that a piece of paper could mean so much – but it only does to those that do not know better. Most times experience is really the differentiator and if a prospective client does not understand this then working with said client can become difficult at best. Gratefully, most do and the others I don’t work with. And I say this from my own experiences. Nevertheless, I think certifications are valuable as a personal milestone.

          If computers are someone’s life then that person should make a living at it – otherwise it’s a hobby. Would you say that computers are not Bill Gates’ life because he is not a Unix admin? What about Steve Jobs? I don’t think so.

          Maybe in a perfect world we’d all have Unix workstations and be Unix admins. But then there’d be no money to be made because of lack of competition.

        • #3839207

          Thank you very much

          by chanveda ·

          In reply to resolve? prob not

          But my basic degree is chemical, will it not
          affect in the long run?

        • #3837867

          you would think…

          by matt ·

          In reply to Thank you very much

          You would think it would, but most companies just want to see you have a degree, it doesn’t matter what it’s in. If you add some certs to your resume you will be fine. Those certs will make the difference between you and another guy.

    • #3831756

      Sounds like pull up the bridge

      by bruce.macdonald ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I have not been a paid IT for 2 years. But I took my first electronics course 30 years ago along with my first programming course. starting 15 years ago I ran my business with a computer, even writing a program that was replicated across my industry. I have been doing upgrades of hardware and software for my self, friends, and my employers for 5 years. Every where I work I am known as the GOTO Guy. Why shouldn’t I be able to take a course and pass a test to get a certification?

      • #3850781

        Top of my field…no Certs

        by cscript ·

        In reply to Sounds like pull up the bridge

        I started out in this business before anyone had thought of a cert process. (except maybe IEEE)I am now the Sr. Administrator of one of the largest centralized Exchange deployments in the country. In fact, I designed the whole thing. I just got my MCP last month. hehehe. Try and tell me I am not worth anything because I don’t have cert’s and I’ll either kick you out of my office or ignore you. Prob both.

    • #3850694

      Well said, Greg.

      by ozrunner ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      Well, Greg, didn’t you get them going?

      As an IT manager, I have to agree with you.

      Certainly when recruiting graduates (I wouldn’t employ soemone who has neither a degree nor experience), I expect to have to spend 3 months “retraining” them, as there’s a whole lot of stuff to learn about the real world.

      Having said that, though, I also don’t believe that “on the job” training is sufficient for IT. So you really need to have the formal education, but until you have some experience in applying that knowledge to real life, it’s value is minimal.

      As for the debate about degrees vs certificates, I would make the comparison with cakes vs icing. The degree is the cake; the certificate is more like icing. You can certainly have a very satisfactory cake without icing, but you can’t have icing without cake.

    • #3851309

      Useless paper (pt. 1)

      by chuck l ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I recently took a course in network switching and routing at the local community college. The course was being offered by Nortel, so I figured that it would be up-to-date and pertinent. Instead, what I sat through for an entire term was a class (oneof four, I believe) designed to get you to pass the Nortel networking certification (I forget what it is called). Instead of delving into the concepts of network administration, switching and routing, we instead concentrated on those questions that would be on the test. The course midterm was a collection of “review” questions, copied verbatim from the course documentation. The final exam included half of the questions — again verbatim — from the midterm. When the instructor reworded a question on the final about bandwidth requirements to make it more pertinent (by replacing “a video feed of a Michael Jackson concert” with “a video feed of the presidential debates”), he was called to task for it by several of the students. Worse still, the Nortel course documentation was full of errors and inconsistencies, many of which made it to the review questions. These questions were “taught” with the wrong answers — and graded that way as well — because that’s what the book said.

      Obviously I didn’t get what I wanted out of the class. And it served to solidify even more my long-standing distrust of “paper s.” Ten years ago it was the “paper CNE” — now there are dozens of different paper certifications.

      ( — continued –)

      • #3851308

        Useless paper (pt. 2)

        by chuck l ·

        In reply to Useless paper (pt. 1)

        ( — continued — )

        Five years ago I purchased an NT Server for my company, which was running on Unix and Novell servers. The consulting company that got the job touted its MCSE staff as the most appropriate to integrate an NT Server into a network where the Unix servers dominated the scene. (Back then, Microsoft was still on its “we’ll bury Unix” kick. Their thrust was for NT to displace Unix servers, not coexist with them.) They totally screwed up the installation. One of the things that blew my mind was that they didn’t understand TCP/IP, even though several of these MCSEs had the Internet and TCP/IP “option” on their certificates. Even with my staff doing all the work on the Unix side, we couldn’t get the information we needed for the integration because these MCSEs were completely lost when it came to the task at hand.

        As an IT employer, I have been wary of manufacturer certifications for a long time, and do not hire technical personnel based on manufacturer certifications they have or do not have. If a candidate shows me that (s)he has an MCSE, I will make that candidate prove that the certification was properly earned. I currently have several people on staff who have not bothered to acquire manufacturer certifications, who know far more about the systems that they’re maintaining than other “certified” consultants.

        Certifications should be industry-wide and industry-standard, and should be made available only when educational and experience requirements are met. I currently hold three ICCP certifications (the closest thing to an industry standard so far), and had to prove education and experience before I was allowed to take the first test.


    • #3851304

      paper certification

      by devrich12 ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      how ridiculous to think cerification should only go to people employed in the field. not all of the employed people are that talented at what they do. some just managed to get the job. while i would agree that some experience whether through simulated classes, internship or whatever should go with the certification. i don’t think employment should be the minimum requirement.

    • #3851113

      Your right

      by gblaze ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I agree with you 100 percent, Presently I’ve been looking for another contract, since it will be up in a few months, and every agency I’ve talked too has asked, “Do you have X certification”, My reply is always “I do have experience in setting up and maintaining X” But it’s never good enough they want the Certification even if you don’t have the experience.

      LAN Engineer

      • #3852007

        Certification vs. Experience ?

        by hyatt ·

        In reply to Your right

        Granted, a certification might get you in the door for an interview. Experience usually will get you the job. If a company bases there IT hiring process on certifications, then I don’t think I would bother to apply.

    • #3851949

      Sign of commitment

      by achaddy ·

      In reply to Paper Certifications?

      I had no prior experience in the IT field but wanted to make the move as I was watching my current engineering job being squeezed by the IT revolution. I took the MCSE track to prove to any possible employers that I was commited to moving into IT and rapidly gaining knowledge in the process.
      I am now about to start a new job as an IT support assistant next week. My very first IT job and I made it perfectly clear to the company, that this would be my first IT possition, in the interview.
      If Ihad not been able to follow these certifications then I would be looking forward to a future of unemployment and not going forward in a dynamic industry.

      Andy Chadwick

      • #3851939

        If you don’t learn you never will

        by dane_warren ·

        In reply to Sign of commitment

        Why should it be an industry cert that gets you the job. I gained all my computer/networking knowledge in my own time, I convinced employers that I knew what I was talking about, and I showed ambition. Now I am fast tracked for CCIE, but only to improve the work that I do.
        Sounds like any excuse will do at times.
        That is not how the industry works. Maybe you should show a genuine interest, and not let a piece of paper indicate that.

    • #3851944