Choosing an MCSE in the UK in 2009
Does an MCSE appeal to you? It’s very possible then that you’re in one of two situations: You could already be in IT and you’d like to gain accreditation with a qualification such as MCSE. Or this could be your first step into the computer world, but it’s apparent to you there is a great need for those with appropriate certifications.
Always make sure you check that the training company you use is supplying you with the latest version from Microsoft. A lot of students get frustrated when they realise they’ve been learning from an out-of-date syllabus which will require an up-date. Avoid the companies who are only trying to make a sale. Ask for comprehensive, personal guidance to ensure you’re on the best program for your needs. Guard against being rushed into their standard course by an over-keen salesman.
IT has become one of the more stimulating and innovative industries that you could be a part of. To be dealing with leading-edge technology puts you at the fore-front of developments affecting everyone who lives in the 21st century. We’re at the dawn of starting to understand how all this will mould and change our lives. How we communicate and interact with everyone around us will be profoundly affected by technology and the internet.
Let’s not ignore salaries either – the average salary across the UK for an average IT professional is noticeably better than the national average. Odds are that you’ll earn a much greater package than you’d typically expect to bring in elsewhere. The need for appropriately qualified IT professionals is a fact of life for a good while yet, due to the ongoing expansion in the marketplace and the vast shortage that we still have.
Picking up on all the talk covering computing technology at present, how can we recognize what in particular to look for?
If your advisor doesn’t question you thoroughly – it’s likely they’re actually nothing more than a salesman. If they push a particular product before getting to know your background and current experience level, then you know it’s true. Sometimes, the level to start at for a person with some experience is often vastly dissimilar to someone without. Starting with a foundation course first may be the ideal way to get into your IT programme, but depends on your skill level.
Traditional teaching in classrooms, utilising reference manuals and books, is often a huge slog for most of us. If this describes you, check out study materials which have a majority of interactive, multimedia parts. Research has consistently shown that becoming involved with our studies, to utilise all our senses, will more likely produce memories that are deeper and longer-lasting.
The latest home-based training features interactive CD and DVD ROM’s. Through instructor-led video classes you’ll take everything in via the demonstrations and explanations. Then you test your knowledge by interacting with the software and practicing yourself. It’s wise to view examples of the courseware provided before you make your decision. The minimum you should expect would be instructor-led video demonstrations and interactive modules with audio-visual elements.
Choose actual CD or DVD ROM’s if possible. Thus avoiding all the issues associated with broadband outages, failure and signal quality issues etc.
Proper support is incredibly important – locate a good company that provides 24×7 direct access, as anything less will not satisfy and will also put a damper on the speed you move through things. Avoid those companies who use ‘out-of-hours’ messaging systems – with your call-back scheduled for office hours. It’s no use when you’re stuck on a problem and need an answer now.
It’s possible to find the very best companies which recommend and use online direct access support around the clock – no matter what time of day it is. Don’t ever make the mistake of taking second best with the quality of your support. The majority of students that drop-out or fail, would have had a different experience if they’d got the right support package in the first place.
Always expect the current Microsoft (or any other key organisation’s) accredited exam simulation and preparation packages. Often students can get thrown by practising exam questions that are not from official sources. It’s not uncommon that the question formats and phraseology can be quite different and you should be prepared for this. You should make sure you test your knowledge through tests and mock ups of exams to prepare you for taking the actual exam.
Now, why should we consider commercial certification and not familiar academic qualifications taught at schools and Further Education colleges? The IT sector now recognises that for mastery of skill sets for commercial use, the right accreditation from such organisations as Adobe, Microsoft, CISCO and CompTIA is far more effective and specialised – at a far reduced cost both money and time wise. In a nutshell, the learning just focuses on what’s actually required. It isn’t quite as lean as that might sound, but the principle remains that students need to concentrate on the fundamentally important skill-sets (alongside some required background) – without attempting to cover a bit about all sorts of other things (as academia often does).
Just like the advert used to say: ‘It does what it says on the tin’. Employers simply need to know what they’re looking for, and then match up the appropriate exam numbers as a requirement. Then they’re assured that a potential employee can do exactly what’s required.
Be careful that the certifications that you’re considering will be recognised by employers and are up-to-date. ‘In-house’ certificates are not normally useful in gaining employment. Unless the accreditation comes from a major player like Microsoft, CompTIA, Adobe or Cisco, then you’ll probably find it will have been a waste of time – as no-one will have heard of it.