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psydude
Mar 31, 2008

Perry'd.


OP Updated 7/26/13

Whether you love them or hate them, certs are a part of working in IT. Even people who have managed to survive on pure skill and neckbeardery alone will probably find themselves being shanghaied into picking one up at some point in their career.

Why should I spend my precious WoW and cheeto time on this?

The most common answers to this are money and employment. While certifications are no substitution for experience, they generally allow you to get past HR and give you a bit more room for salary negotiations.

For me, personally, they’re a structured way of learning material that I wouldn’t otherwise get routine exposure to in my current position. In this way, it also helps during job interviews with handling technical questions.

My nerd sense is tingling. Tell me more.

Certifications are divided into two broad categories: Industry Certifications and Vendor Certifications. The biggest name in Industry Certifications is CompTIA, which produces the likes of A+, Network+, and Security+. Vendor Certifications are just that: certifications from vendors. Among these, the two most prolific are Cisco and Microsoft, which produce the CCNA and MCSA/E, respectively. This list is anything but exhaustive; we’ll get into many more vendor certifications below.

Okay, but what should I get? And how do I get it?

This question gets asked a lot in this thread. If you’re new to IT and are struggling to find a job in helpdesk, the answer is probably A+ and N+ (I’ll cover these first). Otherwise, the answer is largely based upon which track you’re on, so I’ve grouped the write-ups into the following: Networking, Systems Administration, Security, Virtualization, Storage, Database, Project Management, and Policy. There are a billion specialty and subsidiary certifications, so I’m only going to list the major ones for now.

Networking:
Cisco: CENT, CCNA, CCNP, CCDA, CCDP, CCIE
Juniper: JNCIA, JNCIS, JNCIP, JNCIE

Systems Administration:
Microsoft: MCSA 2008/12, MCSE 2008/12
RedHat: RHCSA, RHCE, RHCA
Unix: Neckbeard Measurement

Security
Security+
CISSP

Virtualization:
VMWare: VCP, VCAP

Storage:
EMC: EMC Proven Professional

Database:
Microsoft: MCSA SQL2012

Project Management:
PMP
Scrum

Policy
ITIL
Six Sigma

Okay, please tell me more about all of these in this OP so I don't have to ask later!

Well I'm glad you asked, since that's why I spent 50 long minutes compiling this OP.

A+ and Network Plus

Sylink posted:

Both of the A+ and Network+ are pretty easy entry level certs. If you know nothing about computers, they are a decent start but no match for experience. If you are already at a tinkering/fixing your granny's PC level, then they might add some new information but it should be easy to pick up.

I had some experience prior to getting both the A+ and Network+ but was having trouble getting interviews. As soon as I got these, my responses from recruiters and other employers shot up dramatically. As long as you aren't retarded, these will help get you past resume/HR screens and in the door.

The A+ consists of two exams detailed here

One is mostly just practical knowledge which varies depending on when they have last changed the test (if they updated it recently then expect newer technologies) but its generally stuff like what are the basic standard sizes for motherboards etc.

The second exam is practical application and its usually a lot more troubleshooting or situation based questions like "A user reports their PC is running slowly , what should you do?" then choose from the various answers.

The Network+ is very similar to the A+ knowledge/essentials exam. There isn't very much troubleshooting and it is mostly questions about networking standards and practices. Expect to know all the types of network cabling, connectors, maximum bandwidths and maximum cable lengths from CAT5 through the various fiber optic cables. I found this to be harder simply due to the amount of memorization. Wireless tech is also included and I think there may be a few encryption questions related to WiFi.

CompTIA info here

For studying,there are big books on either that you can get. I found the Sybex books to be pretty straightforward but there are others.

The best online resource I found was here. I know this site is kind of annoying and ugly, but the study guides are great (even if they are outdated slightly). I primarily used the guides there to study for both exams and I passed with flying colors. They also have sample tests with 240 questions for the A+ and 100 for the Network+. If you study up and repeatedly go through the questions until you are getting 85% or better each time you should be able to take the test.

The test prices are worth it, but the A+ is pricy due to being 2 exams. They don't take long to take and you can do it at any Prometric or whatever local testing companies you have.

Networking

CCNA - Cisco Certified Network Associate

The CCNA is kind of the go-to certification for network administrators and junior network engineers. Cisco claims that the certification is entry level, but it's assumed that you are already familiar with basic networking principals (cabling, connectors, and the difference between an IP and a MAC address) when you start out.

The interesting thing about the exam is that it can either be taken in one sitting, or in two different parts. If you choose the two-part option, you actually receive an additional certification, the CCENT (Cisco Certified Entry-level Networking Technician) for passing the ICND1 exam, and the full CCNA upon completion of the ICND2 exam.

The CCNA curriculum is heavily focused on basic networking theory: knowing how to properly create an IP scheme and develop subnets is an integral part of the exam, as is fundamental knowledge of the common enterprise interior gateway protocols. You will encounter some simulators in the exam, however beyond basic configuration, they too are mostly grounded in the theory aspect. With that said, knowing IOS commands and functionality IS an important part of the test, and if you haven't touched it before, you will probably fail.

The book that I and many other people personally recommend is the "CCNA Cisco Certified Network Associate Study Guide" by Todd Lammle. Many people also like Wendell Odom's take on the exam; I've been using him for my CCNP: ROUTE studies and find him a bit dry, but he might be up your alley.

Since a solid understanding of basic router and switch operations is key to the exam, you will probably be tempted to build a lab. For the most part, a full scale lab is somewhat overkill for this exam: GNS3 is an incredibly powerful network topology simulator that can run IOS images and allows you to quickly and easily design different topologies without having to change cabling around and drop the money on an entire lab. With that said, you'll still need to get an IOS image to put on there in the first place. For this, you can buy a 2600 series router for cheap off of eBay. While you're at it, I'd pick up an old 2950 switch just to get used to the switch functions, as the only major drawback of GNS3 is that it lacks the ability to simulate the ASIC processors used in switch fabrics. You can actually assign a virtual interface to the NIC on the back of your computer and merge your virtual topology from GNS3 with your physical switch. Pretty cool!

Obviously, you need to know everything that's in the book; however, as you continue your studies, be sure to pay extra attention to the following:
IPv6 addressing, OSPF and EIGRP operations, Spanning Tree Protocol (all of it), VLANs, NAT/Access Control Lists

Systems Administration

Linux

Bhodi posted:

For Linux certifications, there is only one thing companies care about - Red Hat. Canonical offers something called the Ubuntu Professional Certification but I have literally never heard of anyone wanting it ever. If you're fairly new to linux but think you might need to become versed in ubuntu or another flavor, these certs still provide useful grounding which is easily ported while being a great resume booster. A lot of the knowledge even carries over into the other *NIXes like HPUX, Solaris, and *BSD, since they all have similar roots.

Basic Red Hat Certs are offered at basic (Administrator) and senior (Engineer) levels, as well as a third level which is given after passing separate exams for all the various middleware / software offerings that Red Hat provides. Notably different from other certs such as CompTIA, the RHCSA & RHCE exams are taken within a lab format where you install/configure/troubleshoot a real system. Because of this and limited test time, you need to be familiar with linux and have put in some *NIX OS time to have a chance at passing. It would be difficult to get a study guide and rote-memorize your way through it. The tests aren't grueling but they are most definitely hands-on.

RHCSA

Basic sysadmin stuff that is comparable to 1-2 years or junior admin experience. Be able to install, boot, configure the OS. Use the command line. Start & stop processes, install packages, handle files/directories/users, quotas, local and logical volumes, partitions, networking, ACLs, SELinux & iptables. Be able to use VI and edit config files. Basically, know your way around /etc and be able to troubleshoot configuration file fat fingering.

RHCE

Senior level admin stuff that is comparable to 3-5 years or mid-senior level admin experience. It builds on the RHCSA but gets into more specifics. Expect basic kernel tuning, building RPMs, static routes, NAT, system logging, cron, installation and configuration of common services (apache, squid, SSH, samba, NTP, SMTP, cups). Additionally, basic shell (bash) scripting. Notably absent is postfix/sendmail and bind because they are split off into a separate test at the RHCA level. Basically, know your way around /var and /proc as well as /etc.

RHCA

It's not CCIE difficulty, but it's still a fairly rare thing to come across because you have to pass 5 separate exams (network services, enterprise systems management, enterprise clustering & storage management, system monitoring & performance tuning, directory services & authentication, and virtualization). I've never taken it so I can't speak, but there's more info at that link. I've never seen it as a job requirement. A lot of it is RH-centric and uses their clustering service, their package management service, stuff like that.

Someone else will have to give resources since I got sent to a 5 day boot camp and didn't get a study book.


Security

CompTIA Security+
This is CompTIA's entry level cert for the security world. Unlike A+ and N+, however, it is considerably more involved and actually contains a good bit of basic, useful information for all IT people. The exam covers a pretty wide range of security principles and schemes, including actual physical security, but the core of it goes into various encryption algorithms and standards, types of attacks, and best practices for backing up data. Like the CCNA, Security+ assumes you already have a fundamental understanding of networking, particularly with regard to the OSI model and common ports.

Anyway, the only book you need for this exam is this one. Buy it, read through it a few times, practice copying the port chart from memory (just like it suggests), and you'll pass the exam with zero issue.

Finally, it's important to note that S+ is a requirement for all DoD IT personnel and contractors. Other parts of the federal government may require it for individual positions or departments, but the DoD is the only one I know of with a hard and fast requirement.

Virtualization

quote:

Corvettefisher wrote on Nov 28, 2012 21:59:

VMware has a good amount of certs which can all be found here . I am only going to cover over the main 3 I am getting or already have.

IMPORTANT NOTE VCP/VMware exams are not like other exams such as cisco where you are primarily tested on one area of IT, you will be expected to know on their VCP what Vlans are how networks work, OS layer such as linux/windows and how it interacts with hardware, hardware, and last but surely not least storage. While you may not be the one configuring Vlans, setting up EMC VNX's, or OS tuning within VMware I can guaranteeing you will be interacting with each area to some degree and the more you know the easier your job is.

Prior to a VCP you will probably want to have a CCNA/CNET level understanding of networking, Strong storage understanding, and solid OS/Hardware understanding.


VCP - This is the first in a line of VMware tests I am going to cover. Before you ask, yes you can take the VCP test before the class however if you pass it means jack swat. The VCP test, in order to be valid, requires a completed course, this is not only to keep the value high but also to make sure you know what you are doing after you get the cert. VMware also understands not everyone has 3k or a business wanting to fork out that and offers which is why vmware has the academic alliance program that will offer it usually for 1/10th the price. The school I attend and help out at gives VCAP/VCP training, the full list is here. The VCP as stated before requires knowledge of storage, networking, Hardware, and OS's, please make sure you feel comfortable in each area prior to jumping into VMware because it will be a struggle and probably screw you if you are not keen in each.

For example you will be expected to know:
What Vlans are and why you would use them.
FC/FCoE/ISCSI/NFS and how they interact with storage/network and pro's and con's of each.
RAID options, as well as IOPS.
Hardware and how it interacts with software.
OS symptoms of hardware issues such as problematic CPU/RAM/Storage resources.
and it goes much, much deeper.

Resources
Scott Lowe's VMware 5 provides both a great study guide and excellent resource for daily administration, helped me pass my VCP5 exam.
Official Certification BluePrint guide great book to study all the key points that will be tested on in the exam.
vSphere Admin, Planning, and Tshoot More of a textbook based approach to the VCP5, has a decent amount of labs and videos by trainsignal as well as some Q&A stuff

Storage
Reserved

Database

OCA - Oracle Certified Associate

Graves posted:

I've got Network+, Security+ and Oracle Certified Associate (Database 11g Admin). I'm going to take the OCP when I have the time to throw at studying a bit more.

The OCA is broken down into two tests, SQL Fundamentals and Admin I. They're both pretty serious compared to the CompTIA tests. The SQL test includes some seriously convoluted statements and "trick" questions. It has a pretty high failure rate from what I've heard, even though it is unproctored. I would guess this is due to the fairly lengthy questions and time limit. You need to really know your general syntax as well as some nitty-gritty details about functions. You will not have time to look them up as you go.

The Admin I centers around core Oracle RDBMS functionality. It's a pretty serious test as well, and is proctored. You need to know pretty much the full range of basic admin tasks and concepts: physical and logical storage architecture, user creation and management, memory structures, networking and a lot more. For me, this test was easier than the SQL test, but that is likely because I have a lot more Sys Admin experience than direct development.

As I said, I should be taking the OCP very soon. It looks at some more in-depth concepts of the core RDBMS, but mostly concentrates on obscure recovery processes and ancillary systems. The breadth of topics involved in it is daunting to say the least, and on top of that it requires a paid ($3000) class from Oracle to qualify. I can say, without question, that that class was the worst technical training I've ever received, by far.

I was told by an Oracle University trainer that they intentionally make this certification track difficult and expensive in order to make it exclusive. I don't doubt the truth of that, at all.


Project Management

quote:

Sarcasmatron wrote on Dec 5, 2012 10:08:
PMP: Project Management Professional

PMI:

The Project Management Institute is the governing body for all things project management certification. This is important because they publish the book that all of the tests are based on - The Project Management Body of Knowledge, or PMBOK. While jargon-heavy, it's the handbook the PMP is based on. PMI updates it every 2 years, so it's very important to make sure that you're using the current edition if you're studying for the test. PMBOK is currently 4th edition, and will be cutting over to 5th edition Q5 of this year, so plan accordingly.

Books:

Four Books:

PMBOK - previously mentioned Project Management Body of Knowledge, 4th edition.

Head First PMP - Head First is O'Reilly's "For Dummies" series - it's really helpful for getting your brain around some new concepts and a lot of jargon, and it's only mildly irritating. I find it a helpful reference if I'm stuck on a given topic.

Rita's Course-In-A-Book - I haven't read it, but this is the book that was the defacto must-read study guide for the PMP, at least until recently.

The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try, Fourth Edition - Andy Crowe is the new contender for must-read PMP guide. He also runs a training program - Velociteach - that I will be getting my hours from next month, so I will file a trip report as I go.

Training:

You need PMI-recognized training hours. After spending far too much time researching training providers, I went with Velociteach - https://www.velociteach.com/

- Most integrated offering: Book, Classroom, Online.
- Mid-range cost.
- Well documented success rate, and they back it with a very simple guarantee program.

Again, I'll be doing the online live class next month, so I will file a trip report.


quote:

Sarcasmatron wrote on Dec 5, 2012 09:51:
Certified Scrum Master

There are a lot of poo poo instructors out there and the Scrum Alliance is currently arguing over a better certification method for training centers. In the meantime...

Books:
Essential Scrum - Perfect title. If you read one book on Scrum, this is it.

Coaching Agile Teams - Best way to master a subject is to teach others about it. This book is really helpful in both regards.

User Stories Applied - Mike Cohn wrote the book on Scrum. Several of them in fact. This is a great nuts and bolts book about the importance of a well-structured user story, and how to write a well-structured user story.

Training:

Scrum Master Certification has a required classroom component. There are some truly terrible trainers and I've managed a few teams where people had terrible trainers: you end up spending more time deprogramming them and coming to an agreement on terminology than you do getting any actual work done.

As I noted above, Mike Cohn has written several very useful books on Scrum and is very active in the community. If you can take a class from him, I strongly recommend doing so. If not, contact him and get a recommendation on best trainers in your area. He's happy to help - http://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com

Policy
ITIL - Reserved

Hey guys, I found this great website that has all of these actual questions from the test! Cool, huh?
Congratulations, you've found a brain dump. But let's stop and think about this for a second: what was it called in school when someone who had taken a test in the class before you gave you all of the questions ahead of time? Oh yeah, it was called cheating.

I mean, in the end, it's your money you're spending. But as I mentioned in the OP, certifications are no substitution for experience and only indicate to an employer that you have an established baseline of knowledge upon which they can build. So if you show up to a job interview with your brain dump cert, never having learned the material, how well do you think you're going to do if they go into a technical interview?

Don't use brain dumps. Spend the time to learn the material for real.

psydude fucked around with this message at Jul 26, 2013 around 15:04

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psydude
Mar 31, 2008

Perry'd.


Additional Resources

Networking
Cisco IOS Printable Cheat-Sheets
Documentation of Cisco Supported Routing Protocols - Contains case studies similar to the ones found on their exams. Incredibly useful for CCNA/NP candidates. Maybe IE, too?

Systems Administration
Learn Windows PowerShell 3 in a Month of Lunches -- Powershell is rapidly becoming the basis of Windows Server iterations. This book is one of the easiest ways to learn it.

psydude fucked around with this message at Jun 4, 2013 around 20:22

psydude
Mar 31, 2008

Perry'd.


I want to build a lab! What kinds of stuff should I get?
This question comes up like once per page here.

Check out this thread for ideas and information!

psydude fucked around with this message at Jul 26, 2013 around 15:03

psydude
Mar 31, 2008

Perry'd.


So I'd like to keep expanding the OP with writeups as much as possible. We could definitely use a MCSA, ITIL, and CISSP writeup. Of course, I'm open to including the specialties (CCVP, etc.), but I figured more people will be asking about the general certifications than anything else.

Contingency
Jun 2, 2007

Doing a job.


Security+: "Finally, it's important to not"

Re: CCNA
Spend $50 on the ICND2 learning lab. I bought both ICND1 and 2 labs; I felt that after working through the first quarter of the ICND2 lab, the ICND1 lab didn't have much to offer.

CLL vs GNS3:
Not a buggy mess.
Emulates switches.
Don't have to worry about correct IOS version, or acquiring images.
Comes with scenarios.

Xenaero
Sep 26, 2006



So if I shoot for A+, N+ and S+ you would figure that would be a good groundwork to get past the HR wall of death and have a potential interview? I have practical experience but no certs and I'm not landing anything. Would the certs really help that much?

Sylink
Apr 17, 2004


Xenaero posted:

So if I shoot for A+, N+ and S+ you would figure that would be a good groundwork to get past the HR wall of death and have a potential interview? I have practical experience but no certs and I'm not landing anything. Would the certs really help that much?

Depending on your experience, yes. If you have like 3 or 4+ in a support role then not so much but it won't hurt.

If you have <2, which I did when I got my A+/N+ then your callback rate on jobs will increase tremendously. IT firms love that bullshit. I can't speak on the S+ but the OP already addresses it.

Misogynist
Jul 14, 2003



Xenaero posted:

So if I shoot for A+, N+ and S+ you would figure that would be a good groundwork to get past the HR wall of death and have a potential interview? I have practical experience but no certs and I'm not landing anything. Would the certs really help that much?
Which S+? There are two of them.

Sarcasmatron
Apr 23, 2004

Fun is important.


Any ITIL Masters ITT? I'm looking at my training roadmap and it looks like I need to:

- Get Foundations Qualification
- Get 5-6 Qualifications, selected from the Lifecycle and Capability groups.
- Get Managing Across the Lifecycle
- Get ITIL Expert Level

I did some cursory Googling: it looks like I can get all of my Qualifications up through Managing Acroos the Lifecycle trained and tested through Learning Tree, but it will cost me upwards of $15k to do so, and while Learning Tree is convenient when someone else is paying for it, I've found it to be a sub-optimal training experience in the past.

If anyone has passed any or all of the above Qualifications, It would be great to get some recommendations as to training providers, etc.

movax
Aug 30, 2008



I always knew psydude was more than a miserable drunk who angrily plays DotA!

Closed the old thread, new OP looks good!

Mantle
May 15, 2004


For PMP I heard you have to somehow verify your work experience hours and verification is very strict. What is the best way to keep track of 4,500 hours experience in project management?

MC Fruit Stripe
Nov 26, 2002

When life gives you lemons DANCE DANCE DANCE!

Paid in part by CF


Mantle posted:

For PMP I heard you have to somehow verify your work experience hours and verification is very strict. What is the best way to keep track of 4,500 hours experience in project management?
Stealing it right up front.

I want someone to answer this man's question AND answer "how do you get 4,500 hours of project management experience without the project management cert?"

Mantle and I eagerly await your advice!

Nebulis01
Dec 30, 2003
Technical Support Ninny

MC Fruit Stripe posted:

Stealing it right up front.

I want someone to answer this man's question AND answer "how do you get 4,500 hours of project management experience without the project management cert?"

Mantle and I eagerly await your advice!

My father is taking the PMP next month. He's worked for the last few years a Systems Architect and they are counting that as project management experience for the certification. As his job description and duties fall within what they consider acceptable

ukrainius maximus
Mar 2, 2007
girls pee out of their butts

Xenaero posted:

So if I shoot for A+, N+ and S+ you would figure that would be a good groundwork to get past the HR wall of death and have a potential interview? I have practical experience but no certs and I'm not landing anything. Would the certs really help that much?

This is exactly the situation I am in and that's my plan minus the S+ for now. I've got 2 years in the field and I used to hear back from jobs that were basically sidesteps in terms of promotion but I've gone dry for the past 2 months or so since I started trying to land a more administrative position. Having a plan definitely gives me hope and makes me feel better about life rather than just sitting here and continuing to apply to job after job.

Inspector_666
Oct 7, 2003

...essence

I think I should just suck it up and take A+ and possibly N+. All I need to learn for them are the little minutiae poo poo like the max length of SATA and the features of various outdated connection specs.

(As far as I'm concerned the max length of SATA is "Greater than any possible distance between motherboard and drive in a case.")

Sarcasmatron
Apr 23, 2004

Fun is important.


Nebulis01 posted:

My father is taking the PMP next month. He's worked for the last few years a Systems Architect and they are counting that as project management experience for the certification. As his job description and duties fall within what they consider acceptable

This.

As part of the application process, there's a worksheet that is basically a more granular resume, where you break down project work that you've done during the last 8 years and apply hours across the different process groups: Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing. There's no required allocation across the process groups. You also list references, similar to a 360 review: Boss, Customer, or direct report, which has full contact information for your referrals.

They randomly audit applications, and if they don't like the application and/or referral checks, they'll reject your application. If they find any substantial irregularities between the application and reference checks, they'll blackball you.

4500/16000 hours isn't that much: it's about 13 hours/week on average over the past 8 years. Obviously, they are trying to verify that you've got at least a modicum of experience managing projects.

EDIT: Maths!

Sarcasmatron fucked around with this message at Dec 7, 2012 around 15:34

wheez the roux
Aug 2, 2004

the agony
and the ecstasy


Inspector_71 posted:

I think I should just suck it up and take A+ and possibly N+. All I need to learn for them are the little minutiae poo poo like the max length of SATA and the features of various outdated connection specs.

(As far as I'm concerned the max length of SATA is "Greater than any possible distance between motherboard and drive in a case.")

I just decided to do the same with A+, N+, and S+ to add onto my resume so I can find something. Got a few books to take practice tests and fill in the gaps of what I don't know, and vouchers to take the tests at any time in the next 12 months -- I want to get my A+ no later than January though.

Tab8715
May 20, 2006


Is anyone able to explain the mess of certifications that is MCSA/MCSE/MCIPT?

It seems that MCIPT > MCSE > MCSA if this make sense... I skimmed through a few books - do any have labs that have you go through and setup domain controllers, etc?

MC Fruit Stripe
Nov 26, 2002

When life gives you lemons DANCE DANCE DANCE!

Paid in part by CF


At some point dude, stop asking about certs and just get them. You've been asking cert/IT questions for like all of 2012 and haven't really gotten anywhere. Quit planning and just buy a book and take a test.

MCITP, not MCIPT, is a failed attempt on Microsoft's part to rebrand their certification. It failed horribly and has been aborted.

MCSA 2003 became the 2008 MCITP: Server Administrator, which became the MCSA 2012.

MCSE 2003 became the 2008 MCITP: Enterprise Administrator, which became the MCSE 2012.

Tab8715
May 20, 2006


MC Fruit Stripe posted:

At some point dude, stop asking about certs and just get them. You've been asking cert/IT questions for like all of 2012 and haven't really gotten anywhere. Quit planning and just buy a book and take a test.

Well! I guess now that someone is actually keeping track of my posts I'll get right on that

What books did you guys use to become certified? I like labs as much as the next guy.

1000101
May 14, 2003

BIRTHDAY BIRTHDAY BIRTHDAY BIRTHDAY BIRTHDAY BIRTHDAY FRUITCAKE!

CCNP Switch down.. Never have to take another test with wireless on it again for as long as I live!

Studied with this: "Implementing Cisco IP Switched Networks (SWITCH) Foundation Learning Guide: Foundation learning for SWITCH 642-813 (Foundation Learning Guides)"

Sylink
Apr 17, 2004


Can some shitlord add the info for the Microsoft certs that keep getting recommend around here?

I know its something like 640 -> 642 and something else.

I'm looking at your Fruit Stripe.

univbee
Jun 3, 2004

Let's maintain dazzling beer indefinitely.


Sylink posted:

Can some shitlord add the info for the Microsoft certs that keep getting recommend around here?

I know its something like 640 -> 642 and something else.

I'm looking at your Fruit Stripe.

There are a lot of immediate and pending changes to the offered exams, with a lot of exams being phased out due to the new directionality a lot of Microsoft's stuff is taking (e.g. the SBS 2011 exam, 70-169, is still offered but heavily downplayed in favor of Office 365-focused exams like 74-324).

For the Server 2008 line, you need to do for-sure 70-640 and 70-642, plus one of the desktop MCP certs (XP, Vista or 7). Then, for basic Admin certification you take 70-646. For Enterprise Admin, you instead take exams 60-643 and 70-647, plus one of the desktop MCP certs: Vista (70-620), or 7 (70-680). I think XP was additionally offered at one point but I don't think it still is. Basic Admin is generally single-server type stuff (as in stuff you could theoretically do with one server, not that this would actually be a good idea) while Enterprise additionally deals with multi-server things like load balancing, clusters etc. The 2008 Server exams are being phased out end of July.

For Server 2012, you need 70-410, 70-411 and 70-412. Select MCP title holders (e.g. 2008 MCITPs) can take exam 70-417 to upgrade.

Also worth noting is that being certified can give your business increased standing with Microsoft, and the right exams and other qualifiers can make your company either a Silver or Gold partner, which gives you access to Partner licenses for Microsoft (e.g. a 15-device license for Windows 8 Enterprise), a point of contact with Microsoft relevant to your company's needs and other goodies.

univbee fucked around with this message at Dec 10, 2012 around 19:37

Bhodi
Dec 9, 2007

Oh, it's just a cat.


A new certification megathread! Here's my short linux admin summary.



For Linux certifications, there is only one thing companies care about - Red Hat. Canonical offers something called the Ubuntu Professional Certification but I have literally never heard of anyone wanting it ever. If you're fairly new to linux but think you might need to become versed in ubuntu or another flavor, these certs still provide useful grounding which is easily ported while being a great resume booster. A lot of the knowledge even carries over into the other *NIXes like HPUX, Solaris, and *BSD, since they all have similar roots.

Basic Red Hat Certs are offered at basic (Administrator) and senior (Engineer) levels, as well as a third level which is given after passing separate exams for all the various middleware / software offerings that Red Hat provides. Notably different from other certs such as CompTIA, the RHCSA & RHCE exams are taken within a lab format where you install/configure/troubleshoot a real system. Because of this and limited test time, you need to be familiar with linux and have put in some *NIX OS time to have a chance at passing. It would be difficult to get a study guide and rote-memorize your way through it. The tests aren't grueling but they are most definitely hands-on.

RHCSA

Basic sysadmin stuff that is comparable to 1-2 years or junior admin experience. Be able to install, boot, configure the OS. Use the command line. Start & stop processes, install packages, handle files/directories/users, quotas, local and logical volumes, partitions, networking, ACLs, SELinux & iptables. Be able to use VI and edit config files. Basically, know your way around /etc and be able to troubleshoot configuration file fat fingering.

RHCE

Senior level admin stuff that is comparable to 3-5 years or mid-senior level admin experience. It builds on the RHCSA but gets into more specifics. Expect basic kernel tuning, building RPMs, static routes, NAT, system logging, cron, installation and configuration of common services (apache, squid, SSH, samba, NTP, SMTP, cups). Additionally, basic shell (bash) scripting. Notably absent is postfix/sendmail and bind because they are split off into a separate test at the RHCA level. Basically, know your way around /var and /proc as well as /etc.

RHCA

It's not CCIE difficulty, but it's still a fairly rare thing to come across because you have to pass 5 separate exams (network services, enterprise systems management, enterprise clustering & storage management, system monitoring & performance tuning, directory services & authentication, and virtualization). I've never taken it so I can't speak, but there's more info at that link. I've never seen it as a job requirement. A lot of it is RH-centric and uses their clustering service, their package management service, stuff like that.

Someone else will have to give resources since I got sent to a 5 day boot camp and didn't get a study book.

Bhodi fucked around with this message at Dec 10, 2012 around 21:13

Zogo
Jul 29, 2003



Tab8715 posted:

What books did you guys use to become certified? I like labs as much as the next guy.

I read through one book (can't even remember the title now) but I found using training video CDs/DVDs to be much more effective. If there's a certification you want chances are that there's a video series that's been released for it.

FCKGW
May 21, 2006

Buttcoin is the future of online butts. Buttcoin is a peer-to-peer butt. Peer-to-peer means that no central authority issues new butts or tracks butts.



Should I bother with Network+ if I'm going to go for CCNA anyways? My local community college is doing a N+ course this semester but Cisco won't start until the next.

Work pays for classes and testing but I'm just wondering if it's redundant. My networking experience is limited to what I learned 10+ years ago in high school and general dicking around at work.

Tab8715
May 20, 2006


Zogo posted:

I read through one book (can't even remember the title now) but I found using training video CDs/DVDs to be much more effective. If there's a certification you want chances are that there's a video series that's been released for it.

I've seen CBTNuggets videos and while they're awesome I still would rather have someone give a lab to do.

It seems like I have two options the official MS Pressbooks or Sybex. I'm think you would study for the tests in this order 70-646 (Windows Server Administration), 70-646 (Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure), 60-640 (Configuring and lastly Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring)

Does that sound right?

Pudgygiant
Apr 8, 2004

Worth it

1000101 posted:

CCNP Switch down.. Never have to take another test with wireless on it again for as long as I live!

Hahaha that's a good one. Cisco's wireless revenue growth has been holding steady at around 35% year-over-year, and most of the other enterprise wireless providers have seen pretty much the same thing. With .11n being roughly as fast as wire speed in the real world and MUCH cheaper to deploy, the emphasis on wireless is only going to grow. There's going to be a dedicated Cisco wireless cert before the end of the decade, I'd bet a paycheck on it.

Jelmylicious
Dec 6, 2007
Buy Dr. Quack's miracle juice! Now with patented H-twenty!

Pudgygiant posted:

There's going to be a dedicated Cisco wireless cert before the end of the decade, I'd bet a paycheck on it.

Like a CCIE Wireless?

CrazyLittle
Sep 11, 2001




A.K.A. CCIE thar be wizards here...

1000101
May 14, 2003

BIRTHDAY BIRTHDAY BIRTHDAY BIRTHDAY BIRTHDAY BIRTHDAY FRUITCAKE!

Pudgygiant posted:

Hahaha that's a good one. Cisco's wireless revenue growth has been holding steady at around 35% year-over-year, and most of the other enterprise wireless providers have seen pretty much the same thing. With .11n being roughly as fast as wire speed in the real world and MUCH cheaper to deploy, the emphasis on wireless is only going to grow. There's going to be a dedicated Cisco wireless cert before the end of the decade, I'd bet a paycheck on it.

My goal is actually along this track:
http://www.cisco.com/web/learning/l...p_dc/index.html

The CCNP datacenter which is where I spend most of my time anyway. Going through the route/switch CCNP mostly just to a better engineer overall. Hopefully in the next year or so I can actually gun for the CCIE datacenter (http://www.cisco.com/web/learning/l.../dc/index.html.)

It's basically the Cisco certifications on the Nexus gear and UCS.

I'm hoping that by the time we have fibre channel over wireless that I'll be retired and living someplace warm.

Dilbert As FUCK
Sep 8, 2007

You either take control of who you are and fight day and night for what you might be. OR, you just accept the 'This is how the world works might as well make the best of it, and go with the flow'. What do you choose to do with your life or give up on your dreams?


Are those more practical than the DCUCD exams that they are retiring? SO far the ones I have taken feel like "which of the following gives Cisco the most money?"

Zogo
Jul 29, 2003



Tab8715 posted:

Does that sound right?

I haven't taken any of those but the general idea I've followed was to start with a couple of the most basic/broad certifications and after passing a few of those then go onto a couple that were specialized toward whatever you're doing on a daily basis.

1000101
May 14, 2003

BIRTHDAY BIRTHDAY BIRTHDAY BIRTHDAY BIRTHDAY BIRTHDAY FRUITCAKE!

Corvettefisher posted:

Are those more practical than the DCUCD exams that they are retiring? SO far the ones I have taken feel like "which of the following gives Cisco the most money?"

They are only retiring a previous version of those exams. Here's the roadmap here:


642-999 DCUCI v5.0 Implementing Cisco Data Center Unified Computing (DCUCI) v5.0
642-997 DCUFI v5.0 Implementing Cisco Data Center Unified Fabric (DCUFI) v5.0

and

642-998 DCUCD v5.0 Designing Cisco Data Center Unified Computing (DCUCD) v5.0
642-996 DCUFD v5.0 Designing Cisco Data Center Unified Fabric (DCUFD) v5.0

OR

642-035 DCUCT v5.0 Troubleshooting Cisco Data Center Unified Computing (DCUCT) v5.0
642-980 DCUFT v5.0 Troubleshooting Cisco Data Center Unified Fabric (DCUFT) v5.0


Note that as a pre-requisite for this counting towards the CCNP datacenter you'll need to take these two exams for your CCNA Datacenter:

640-911 DCICN Introducing Cisco Data Center Networking (DCICN)
640-916 DCICT Introducing Cisco Data Center Technologies(DCICT)

If I'm reading it right you'll need to take the implementing UCS and Nexus exams then either the architecture exams for those systems or the troubleshooting exams for those systems. For a partner qualification I need to be a routing and switching CCNP with a troubleshooting unified fabric and implementing unified fabric exam under my belt. That'll basically leave me 50% of the way to a CCNP datacenter.

I'm guessing they're no more or less practical than earlier versions of the CCNP curriculum. If you were taking the design tract though then I can see where practical knowledge may feel unhelpful.

Pudgygiant
Apr 8, 2004

Worth it


Sorry, I meant dedicated entry-level wireless, and not a track of something else. CCWA has a nice ring to it.

Hysterix
Dec 4, 2011


Last year I decided that full time alcoholism would be a good career path and left my job to retrain. Being cheap, I decided to do a semester at the community college before I invested in another degree. I picked up classes that are supposed to prep for the A+, Network+, and LPIC.

Now I have 3 months before I start in Oregon State's B.S. in computer science program in April (basically if you already have a bachelors, you can get a B.S. in computer science in a year, online.)

Is it worth is for me to pick up any or all of those certs before I start my program? My background is as an administrative assistant in various non-profits, so no technical stuff at all. I have 3 months to study, but currently no income, so I only want to invest in what will help me get a job when I'm finished.

QuiteEasilyDone
Jul 1, 2010

Won't you play with me?


Keep in mind that the certs require virgin sacrific... I mean renewal every so often. I'm pretty sure that Comptia stuff is good for about 2-3 years but it's quite honestly slipped my mind at this point

MrKatharsis
Nov 29, 2003

BOAT GOT BORED
God created men, Samuel Colt made them equal.

A+/N+ and a B.S. in computer science are completely different skill sets for completely different jobs. You'd probably be better off rounding out your linear algebra or calculus skills if you want to prepare for what appears to be a fairly rigorous program.

Hysterix
Dec 4, 2011


Fortunately, I was pretty good at calculus, although I could brush up. I just am wondering if there is any reason to spend money on certs given the path I'm on.

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Inspector_666
Oct 7, 2003

...essence

Hysterix posted:

Fortunately, I was pretty good at calculus, although I could brush up. I just am wondering if there is any reason to spend money on certs given the path I'm on.

What path are you on? What do you want/intend to do with the BS?

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