Hi all,

Well I’m starting at the bottom of the ladder, I have been using, building and repairing computers for a number of years but now I want to get certification.

Do I really need the A+, network+ etc or should I go straight for the MCSE I’m 36 years old I just want to do something I enjoy whilst earning a half decent wage.

Any advice on the right route to take would be great.



Hey Justin,

I currently have the A+ and MCSE; I'm testing for net+ this summer.
If all you are going to be doing is repairing computers, A+ will be a good start. Actually, A+ is a good start for any IT career; it is the foundation of computer information.

The MCSE is typically for network administrators. You have to be very determined and self motivated to go through the entire MCSE program alone. It is a series of 7 exams, each with a book about 2 inches thick. MCSEs typically go through college programs or vocational schooling to train for their exams. If you are wanting to become an MCSE, you're saying you basically want to maintain servers for a company. Would you rather fix computers or troubleshoot servers?

In a nut shell the A+ and Net+ are very obtainable within the year. MCSE, studying alone, can easily take up to 3 years.

What is your real passion? How long are you willing to spend studying for exams? What is your goal from this?

Answer all of these, and I'm sure you will find the certification best for you.

PS) do not attend a boot camp of any kind!! This is how I got my MCSE, and I'll be the first to tell you I didn't learn hardly anything. They basically taught the test for 14 days. If you want a realy understanding of the material, dig into the books or find a vocational school. Boot camps are a horrible idea and a waste of $7000. fyi


I have been in the IT staffing business for 12 years and technicians struggle with this all of the time. You should start with an A+ certification. With that, you can get a job as a service tech with a lot of different resellers/IT services companies (Banctec, Insight...) and these companies will also pay to put you through other certifications. I don't know what region of the U.S. you are in but if you need help, let me know and I will be glad to give suggestions.

Bob - Matrix IT, Tampa Bay

Thank you so much for your responses, i have infact started with my A+ and my Network+ at the same time on a 1 week rotation.

I live in the UK so my options may differ from that in the US all i can do is go for it and take each day as it comes. :lol:

don't know about the US or the UK, but around here degrees don't matter much. what does matter is the experience. I haven't been unemployed for over a couple of weeks since I finished my army service, and the MCSE I've got was done just in order to have a piece of paper to show. Nobody ever asked for it, people get more impressed by the actual experience.

My current position is Sysadmin at an international company, and everyone else they interviewed before me had many more degrees to show. But I was the only one with a sound knowledge of actual IT work, and with the experience I could prove.

So I'd go for MCSA and then MCSE, skipping the A+ thing, since any MCSE can do the techie work with ease. Unless you feel like you lack some knowledge as a computer technician. While doing so - the more exp. as you can get - the better off you are with or without any certification.

At least that's the way things are in Israel :)