9 Ways to Get an MCSE or CNE Without Wasting $5000-$9000
by Richard Stooker
1. Buy good certification books.
Yes, I know how thick they are - tests do cover that much material, so what can you do? A teacher is not going to talk that much without wearing out their throat, so in final analysis you are going to spend a lot of time reading and studying those books anyway.
I was told by a training school recruiter that recommended process was to take a class for 3 full days, then study for a month, then take certification exam.
So, thatís at least ten days of study in front of a thick book for each day of class anyway.
So youíre going to buy and study thick books anyway. Do you really need to pay for a live teacher too? People can and do pass certifications simply by studying on their own.
2. Buy computer based CD-ROM training.
This is of course very similar to above method, except that computer based training is more interactive, more fun, probably more effective for most people and also more expensive, although still nowhere near $5000.
Itís easier to stay awake. The questions and interactivity force you to interact with material. Using it immediately and getting immediately feedback does help reinforce learning and understanding.
This is recommended for people who really dread thought of just sitting and reading thick books, but who canít afford $5000 classes. If you have a question you just cannot find answer to, put it out on one of many newsgroups or listserves on Internet, and let experienced on job networking professionals help you out. Live teachers can do same, but sometimes not with same extensive background in whatís happening in real world.
People can and do pass certification exams jst by taking computer based training. One company, Forefront, even gives you a 90 day money back guarantee on all its certification courses. If you donít pass after using their CBT course, you get your money back. Details available at (877) 872-4646.
3. Take training classes online through Internet.
Again, it will take long hours of study, but itís an interesting format.
4. Put together your own network study laboratory by buying several used PCS hooking them up in your home office.
Look for used computers cheap online, in your local newspaper For Sale ads or just ask your friends. Lots of people have old 386/486s theyíd gladly give you for free just so theyíll have more closet space.
Buy network parts in a local computer store or online.
This is a terrific way to get hands on experience. I saw it mentioned in a letter in a discussion forum by someone who actually did it. Youíll learn directly how to work with equipment.
Itís not same as networking 100 stations in a company, of course. But itís still a good idea. Youíll still have to study those thick books, but youíll be able to right away put your hands to work on that chapter, thus reinforcing your new knowledge and skills as you go.
5. If youíre currently employed in a networking job, get your current employer to pay for classes.
You may have to sign an agreement to continue working for them for two years or so. Many companies are starting to require such policies after they paid for certification classes for employees who then immediately got better jobs and quit, or who first demanded higher pay and, when refused, then got better jobs and quit.
In other words, most companies are willing to pay for your certification only if you are planning to put your new knowledge and skills to work for them for a reasonable time period.
It is certainly fair however to make it clear to your boss that you want to take on more responsibility as you are prepared for it and you expect to be paid a higher salary commensurate with your higher level of job duties, as they do expand to a higher level.
If your company refuses that, it wants to keep you trapped in your current dead end job. That should be a clue that you need to get out, whether they pay for your certification or not. Look for a company that wants to build itself by building its employees.
A lot of course will depend on your relationship with company. How long youíve worked there already and whether you act in a way that makes them believe you see a long-term future with them - or not.
6. Pass first several required tests, use those credentials to get an entry level job and then get your new employer to pay for classes.
Youíre not going to be hired as a network administrator after you pass one or two of MCSE required exams. However, you may be able to use those exams to get your foot in door with some menial entry-level job. Even if itís repairing computers, thatís something.
Many new IT job seekers are hired to answer customer technical questions.
Make it clear to your boss however that you have set your sights on networking and that you are going to continue your education whether they pay for it or not. Donít say so right out loud in so many words, but do make it clear that if you wind up paying for your certification by yourself, you will feel no loyalty toward company, and will therefore feel free to take any position for which you qualify once you are certified. Why should you not feel that way, if you did have to do it all on your own?