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Nov 2, 2012

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Dallas, TX

The Best Certifications to Start an IT Career

So you want to change careers and move in to IT? Itís easier said than done. Iíve been working with PCs for 20 years but not professionally. Then one day, at 37 years old, I suddenly came to the realization that I wanted to make my living doing it. I know I am not alone. Iíll be the first to admit that the hardest part is getting in the door. But donít even think about walking up to the door until you have your presentation ready. In todayís highly competitive job market, learning enough to talk the language isnít going to be enough to fool many folks. Most employers wonít even look at you unless you show them some sort of standardized credentials. Meet CompTIA. It doesnít take too much time at Monster.com to figure out that the entry level IT positions like to see the CompTIAís A+ certification under your name. These are the folks that bridge the gap for all of us currently outside the IT world to come in, explore, and hopefully stick around a while in the industry. In addition to the A+ certification, they offer the Network+, and the Security+ certifications which, when all obtained, give you a great foundation from which to launch. The Cisco CCNA still is the gold standard for associate level networking certifications. You also want some background with Microsoft to be well-rounded. Certifications like the MCTS or even the MCITP in Windows Server 2008 (or 2012) probably take the cake in my opinion. Considering that the books for the CompTIA certs are about 300-500 pages a piece, and the Cisco and Microsoft books are about 1000-1500 pages a piece, youíd better have some time if youíre going to do it by yourself (the hard way). If you want to get it done in a reasonable amount of time, the boot camp is the way to go. These are 5-7 full days of intense learning that will flat out wear you out, but, walking away, after passing the exam after only a week of study, is a feeling of accomplishment like few others. As far as these classes go, I have found the biggest bang for your buck, for those of us in the Dallas / Ft. Worth area, to be the folks at ComputerMinds.com. I have been through a couple of weeks of instruction there, thoroughly enjoying the small class sizes and friendly, enthusiastic instructor interaction. Even after having gotten in the door of a small IT management services company, I was still overwhelmed with all that was still to be learned. My peers, who have been in the industry for years, have reassured me, that the learning continues to be part of the job, in fact the major part of the job. So, if I havenít talked you out of it, and you still want in, quit reading blogs and get busy!  (Nov 2, 2012 | post #1)