Thursday, April 23, 2009

Computer Courses - Microsoft MCSA in 2009

By Jason Kendall

For those hoping to start an MCSA (Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator) study program, it's important to realise that courses vary hugely; some are easier than others. You will be able to choose from a number of options, whether you're a beginner, or an IT professional hoping to gain acknowledged certifications. If you're just getting started in the industry, it may well be necessary to have some coaching ahead of getting involved in the first of the four MCP's (Microsoft Certified Professional exams) that are necessary to pass the MCSA. Find a training provider that can tailor your studying to help you - with knowledgeable staff who will guide you to guarantee that you've selected your options carefully.

Being a part of the information technology industry is amongst the most electrifying and revolutionary industries to be involved in today. To be working on the cutting-edge of technology is to do your bit in the gigantic changes shaping life over the next few decades. We're at the dawn of beginning to comprehend how all this change will affect us. How we interrelate with the rest of the world will be inordinately affected by technology and the internet.

Should lifestyle be up there on your goal sheet, then you'll appreciate the fact that the usual remuneration for the majority of IT staff is much higher than with most other jobs or industries. The good news is there is a lot more room for IT expansion in the UK. The market sector continues to grow hugely, and we don't have anywhere near enough qualified skilled IT professionals to fill current job vacancies, so it's most unlikely that this will change significantly for years to come.

So, what are the questions we should pose to take onboard the understanding we need? Because it's apparent there are a good many pretty outstanding prospects for everyone to consider.

Looking at the myriad of choice out there, does it really shock us that a large majority of career changers don't really understand the best career path they should even pursue. Working through long lists of different and confusing job titles is a complete waste of time. The vast majority of us don't even know what our next-door neighbours do at work each day - so what chance do we have in understanding the complexities of a specific IT job. Consideration of many areas is vital when you want to reveal the right solution that will work for you:

* Your personality type as well as your interests - which work-oriented areas you love or hate.

* Is it your desire to reach a key dream - like working from home sometime soon?

* The income needs that guide you?

* When taking into account all that the IT industry encapsulates, it's a requirement that you can take in what is different.

* Having a proper look at the level of commitment, time and effort you'll make available.

In all honesty, the only way to research these areas will be via a meeting with an advisor who understands Information Technology (and specifically it's commercial requirements.)

Some training companies only provide office hours or extended office hours support; most won't answer after 8-9pm at the latest and frequently never at the weekends. Look for training with help available at any time of the day or night (no matter if it's in the middle of the night on a weekend!) Make sure it's always 24x7 direct access to mentors and instructors, and not a call-centre that will take messages so you're waiting for tutors to call you back during office hours.

We recommend looking for colleges that use several support centres around the globe in several time-zones. Each one should be integrated to provide a single interface and also 24x7 access, when it suits you, without any problems. Unless you insist on 24x7 support, you'll end up kicking yourself. It may be that you don't use it late at night, but what about weekends, late evenings or early mornings.

People attracted to this sort of work are often very practical, and don't really enjoy classrooms, and poring through books and manuals. If this is putting you off studying, opt for more involving, interactive learning materials, where learning is video-based. Many studies have proved that long term memory is improved when we involve as many senses as possible, and we get physically involved with the study process.

Learning is now available on CD and DVD discs, where your computer becomes the centre of your learning. Video streaming means you can sit back and watch the teachers showing you precisely how to do something, followed by your chance to practice - in a virtual lab environment. All companies must be pushed to demo some samples of the materials provided for study. Make sure you encounter videos of instructor-led classes and interactive areas to practice in.

Seek out CD or DVD ROM based materials every time. You're then protected from the variability of broadband quality and service.

One area often overlooked by those mulling over a new direction is that of 'training segmentation'. This basically means the method used to break up the program for drop-shipping to you, which vastly changes what you end up with. Many companies enrol you into some sort of program spread over 1-3 years, and drop-ship the materials to you piecemeal as you complete each exam. On the surface this seems reasonable - until you consider the following: Often, the staged breakdown prescribed by the provider doesn't suit you. It may be difficult to get through all the sections inside their defined time-scales?

In all honesty, the best option is to have a copy of their prescribed order of study, but get everything up-front. Meaning you've got it all should you not complete it inside of their required time-scales.

Always expect the current Microsoft (or relevant organisation's) accredited exam simulation and preparation packages. Steer clear of relying on unofficial preparation materials for exams. The way they're phrased can be completely unlike authorised versions - and this could lead to potential problems once in the actual exam. You should make sure you check your depth of understanding by doing quizzes and simulated exams before you take the real thing.

Getting into your first IT role is often made easier with the help of a Job Placement Assistance service. Having said that, occasionally there is more emphasis than is necessary on this service, because it is actually not that hard for any motivated and trained individual to find a job in IT - because companies everywhere are seeking well trained people.

Whatever you do, don't procrastinate and wait until you have qualified before getting your CV updated. The day you start training, mark down what you're doing and place it on jobsites! It's possible that you won't have even passed your first exam when you'll secure your initial junior support position; although this isn't going to happen if your CV isn't in front of employers. If it's important to you to find work near your home, then it's quite likely that a specialist independent regional recruitment consultant or service could work much better for you than a national service, as they're far more likely to have insider knowledge of local employment needs.

A slight grievance for a number of training providers is how hard trainees are prepared to study to become certified, but how little effort that student will then put into getting the position they're acquired skills for. Get out there and hustle - you might find it's fun.

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