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  1. #1
    Member DreamerBrian's Avatar
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    Microsoft vs Cisco certifications.

    Gentlemen,

    So I have finally accepted that I can't be successful in the IT industry with just Cisco certifications (which sucks because Cisco is where its at!). I need to understand the server side of the equation, and Microsoft is a safe choice of certifications to acquire in order to be marketable in today's economy. With that in mind I will be pursuing the MCITP Enterprise Administrator certification and it's pre-requisites.

    I have heard that Microsoft certification exams are much easier than Cisco exams in that they test you more on concepts and less on experience with the technology. So my question is this: Should I expect to spend less time stressing experience with the associated technology prior to the exam? Should I just get the concepts down and take the exam and worry about becoming proficient when I work with the technology on my own time/at a job? Can anyone provide any advice from experience on how the difficult the Microsoft certification exams are? Maybe even how they are in contrast to Cisco certification exams?

    Thanks in advance for the insight/advice.

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    Brian
    Yayer.

  2. #2
    Member saint19's Avatar
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    CISCO certifications are other thing, Microsoft certifications are much easier because you can find many info about them in Google an even you can buy the simulator from Microsoft's learning site and many of the question in the simulator are the same of the exam. Keep in mind too that many of those Microsoft certifications are valid for 2 or 3 years and then you have to take the certifications again.

    Maybe this won't help you, just was let you know my experience.
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  3. #3
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    with cisco exams you will need to read the question carefully and as quickly as possible. the one thing cisco does is plays head games.

    for example,


    interface fast eth 0
    ip add 65.43.252.31 255.255.255.252

    ip route 0.0.0.0 0.0.0.0 65.43.252.33

    how come you cant ping out to the internet?


    they will ask you things similar to those, but mabye in more or less detail. they may trick you in subnets as well. you have to think quick and be precise because you will never know when you will be thrown into a router sim to configure something.
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  4. #4
    Trailer Chasing Senior Adragontattoo's Avatar
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    Be aware that MS cert tests are tricky for one reason only.

    There are two correct ways, ONE is right though. MS way is correct ONLY, the other is wrong. It doesnt matter if they both result in the same thing. THe MS way is the only correct answer.

    I know a few people who failed a few tests due to that.
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  5. #5
    Member G33K454URU5 R3X's Avatar
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    I think there is a lot of misinformation regarding the Microsoft exams.

    First, if you are finding 'real' questions on the exam, then you are using a brain dump website and you aren't learning anything - you're cheating. There are some scenario's or questions that are similar, but in my experience in taking the exams, not too many.

    Second, Microsoft exams do not have an 'expiration' date. There are certain exams that get retired (for instance, I have my MCP with ISA 2004 - retired exam) - that doesn't mean I am no longer an MCSE.

    Third, the Microsoft test prep CD's that come with a lot of the certification books are, in my opinion, often more difficult and may ask you questions on things not covered in the book. I have used them for test prep, but Self Test Software is what I used primarially.

    Fourth, there is a difference between knowing the material and passing a test. The exams are written so that if you don't know what you are talking about, you will fail. You can know the material extremely well, yet get caught up on minute details and fail. Likewise, you can use bogus websites with stolen exams, memorize the answers, and pass.
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    If you are thinking about getting certified in a field of IT, please make sure you aren't using a braindump website. It discredits the certification, and makes those who worked hard for their knowledge less credible as well.

    "No braindumps. No stolen exams. No excuses."

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  6. #6
    Member G33K454URU5 R3X's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adragontattoo View Post
    There are two correct ways, ONE is right though. MS way is correct ONLY, the other is wrong. It doesnt matter if they both result in the same thing. THe MS way is the only correct answer.
    That is very true!
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    If you are thinking about getting certified in a field of IT, please make sure you aren't using a braindump website. It discredits the certification, and makes those who worked hard for their knowledge less credible as well.

    "No braindumps. No stolen exams. No excuses."

    Current studies: GCIH, GREM

  7. #7
    Member DreamerBrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adragontattoo View Post
    Be aware that MS cert tests are tricky for one reason only.

    There are two correct ways, ONE is right though. MS way is correct ONLY, the other is wrong. It doesnt matter if they both result in the same thing. THe MS way is the only correct answer.

    I know a few people who failed a few tests due to that.
    Yea I've heard that as well. Questions that are on the exams have answers that are both right, but you have to choose the one that is the closest to Microsoft best practices to receive credit. I would rather learn best practices than shortcuts to be honest. I mean... that's why they're called best practices
    Yayer.

  8. #8
    Member Whisky's Avatar
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    Microsoft exams are no walk in the park. The questions are very convoluted and you do need to know the material backwards and forwards. However, if you can get enough experience with the MS software or OS and pair that with your Cisco certification on a resume, it will still look nearly as good. All the certifcate shows is that you are willing and able to learn and that you are capable of performing on the job.
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  9. #9
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    I know that this may derail things but I wouldn't be doing my due diligence if I didnt put forth a Linux plug here

    M$ is not the only valid server environment in fact there are more linux servers in the world then Windows. so in terms of "industry standard" I would say it A) depends on the industry and B) you have to consider whether you are targeting small businesses or larger ones

    Larger ones are a lot more likely to have a Linux backbone while the small "mom and pop" shops will lean towards M$ (which in my estimation is because they either don't know any better or don't want to recruit Linux personal)

    I would say that the LPIC and/or the RHCA would be worth while having as well
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  10. #10
    Member DreamerBrian's Avatar
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    Yea I definitely understand and agree with you, Stratus. Like I mentioned in my first post - Microsoft certs are a safe choice for me as far as employment. This is due in part to the fact that I live <50 miles away from Microsoft headquarters. I figured that I could grab a couple MS certs, couple them with my Cisco certs, and get a job. Once I get the job and have some more time to get cavalier with my certs I was going to start venturing into the LPIC and Linux+ side. I would ultimately rather be employed as an engineer within a network that uses Linux as its base.
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  11. #11
    Member SteveLord's Avatar
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    The only "easy" ones are probably the Desktop Technician certs for XP and Vista. However, the enterprise grade stuff are no pushovers. I have my MCP for Windows XP and it was very intimidating. I heard the Vista one was much easier. But...the Windows 7 one is pretty tough and at least a little experience in server 2008 is almost essential. I too want to get the MCITP...however, I am being forced to learn and wear a DBA hat for a little while.

    Go to techexams.net and lurk the forums there. You'll get a lot of great information on anything you are interested in.
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  12. Thanks!

    DreamerBrian (05-04-11)

  13. #12
    Member DreamerBrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveLord View Post
    Go to techexams.net and lurk the forums there. You'll get a lot of great information on anything you are interested in.
    Sweet website! Thanks for posting this. I have my ICND2 on Friday and I'm super excited to go in there and murder it. Hopefully I'll be flashing that CCNA business card to all of the people on my ship before I get out of the Navy! They all act like they don't know what Cisco certs are... but they are secretly jealous
    Yayer.

  14. #13
    Member G33K454URU5 R3X's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DreamerBrian View Post
    Sweet website! Thanks for posting this. I have my ICND2 on Friday and I'm super excited to go in there and murder it. Hopefully I'll be flashing that CCNA business card to all of the people on my ship before I get out of the Navy! They all act like they don't know what Cisco certs are... but they are secretly jealous
    Good luck to you on your exam!
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    If you are thinking about getting certified in a field of IT, please make sure you aren't using a braindump website. It discredits the certification, and makes those who worked hard for their knowledge less credible as well.

    "No braindumps. No stolen exams. No excuses."

    Current studies: GCIH, GREM

  15. #14
    Member DreamerBrian's Avatar
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    Yayer.

  16. #15
    Overclockix Snake Charming Senior
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    congrats
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  17. #16
    Member TempliNocturnus's Avatar
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    Hey Dreamer,

    I'm actually pursuing the same path you seem to be on. With my CCNA, I've since gone after the MCITP Enterprise Desktop Admin path, then I'll apply the 70-680 to the Enterprise Admin track.

    I've taken and passed the 70-680 and I have to say, it was by far one of the easiest exams I've taken. I take the 686 in less than two weeks, then I'll start studying for the server exams.

    MS tests are good and it's always a great to be a very well rounded tech. Good luck to you and congrats on passing your ICND2.

  18. #17
    Member DreamerBrian's Avatar
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    Thanks for the gratz, guys.

    So I spoke with my brother-in-law after obtaining my CCNA and I told him that I wanted to ultimately work in data centers and not do helpdesk. He told me that in his experience he has learned that there are typically 2 shops within a company's IT department: the server side and the network side. The server side deals more with Active Directory and client side operations whereas the network side deals more with data-center integrity and maintaining backbone connectivity. He recommended that I do not pursue the Microsoft certs if I wanted to work in the network side of the house because I would be stuck in the server side of things with MS server certs coupled with my networking certs. He told me that if I continue to pursue further networking certs (i.e. the CCNP is the next cert I will be pursuing) and span those networking certs cross-vender to like Juniper and Extreme networks then I'll get the type of job that I want: Network Engineer (data center responsibilities).

    Does this sound right to those whom have experience working in large IT departments / Templi?

    Brian
    Yayer.

  19. #18
    Member TempliNocturnus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DreamerBrian View Post
    Thanks for the gratz, guys.

    So I spoke with my brother-in-law after obtaining my CCNA and I told him that I wanted to ultimately work in data centers and not do helpdesk. He told me that in his experience he has learned that there are typically 2 shops within a company's IT department: the server side and the network side. The server side deals more with Active Directory and client side operations whereas the network side deals more with data-center integrity and maintaining backbone connectivity. He recommended that I do not pursue the Microsoft certs if I wanted to work in the network side of the house because I would be stuck in the server side of things with MS server certs coupled with my networking certs. He told me that if I continue to pursue further networking certs (i.e. the CCNP is the next cert I will be pursuing) and span those networking certs cross-vender to like Juniper and Extreme networks then I'll get the type of job that I want: Network Engineer (data center responsibilities).

    Does this sound right to those whom have experience working in large IT departments / Templi?

    Brian
    That is pretty much true: individuals in large enterprise IT tend to be specialists in thier discipline. However, it's ALWAYS a good idea to be well-rounded when you're still young in the field. You never know what you'll be interested in later on, nor do you know where/when your organization might cut/outsource positions in the future. If you maintain a fairly well-rounded skillset, it'll be much easier to move aroundin your organization if/when you choose/need to.

    At the same time, if you know that networking is your thing and intend to stay in that field no matter what, then yeah I could agree that getting MS certs would be useless. However, at the same time, I would also discourage that mindset of expecting to do one thing in the IT operations field (operations as opposed to developement; database/web admin people).

    Personally, my goal is to get into the systems engineering and architecture field. In these fields, it's important to understand how everything fits together, thus being certified in multiple areas is helpful. I also feel better about myself being capable of doing something on my own that would otherwise take multiple specialists to accomplish. Of course the most efficient business practice would be to have a team of specialists working on something, but I just like knowing how to do others jobs as it often helps me bridge gaps.

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    the more you know about both the better off you are.
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  21. #20
    Member Whisky's Avatar
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    If you are ultimately focused on a career in datacenter or service provider ops, then you should look into VMWare VCP material and different traffic management solutions like F5's Big-IP or Blue Coat. All have their own certification tracks and are highly desirable throughout the industry.
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