[Note: Edited for grammer and links]
Q. I am going to begin my MCSE, I was wondering if it's better to take the A+/Network+ as
electives for the MCSE so that once you get your MCSE on your resume you can post more
certifications instead of just your MCSE? What do you recommend as study guides and
practice tests? Is the MSPRESS book core kit the best thing for the exams, I want to
buy some books. Etechzone.com offers a complete MCSE 2000 and 2003 bundle
for $99 is it worth it?
A. Your type of question has been asked many times by people starting their MCSE, and
the options can certainly be overwhelming.
My opinion is that if you don't already have A+ and Network+, then go for Security+
(everything revelant of course) as it's usually more flexible for the MS Track if
you're just trying to keep costs down and are trying to keep the number of exams down to a
minimum for your MCSE.
As usual, MSPress for MS exams is #1 as far as books go. I've tried the MCSE 2003
Examblaster test prep on Etechzone.com and find they are worth what you pay, but the
screens can be hard to read on higher resolutions. There are many options out there
some worth more than others, but Examblaster is a good choice for a budget and
they'll get the job done.
If you don't have experience yet, then videos like TrainSignal are a very good
starting point. These take you through the basics and we like them because they are
affordable, although the flow from one video to the next needs work. But after all,
it isn't a Learnkey that costs 6 times as much or more. Etechzone.com also offers all
video access for $39.95 for three months which worked well for us.
You didn't say which MCSE track you're going for, 2000 or 2003, but 2000 is easier
and will get your foot in the door. Just keep in mind, a lot of jobs in the US
requires that you have A+ for entry level and help desk jobs. If you already have
sufficient mid level experience, then get A+ if you feel like doing it, but it's not
That's why planning is critical depending on what your requirements are. A+ and
Network+ seems to have more use in the US than it does for our overseas counterparts.
It all depends on your objectives and the prospective employers desires and the money
you want to spend getting to your end result.
Always remember, certifications themselves don't necessary get you the job. You need
anything that will help you separate yourself from another candidate favorably such
as a varied work experience. Those that have become certified, self studied or not,
will tell you that through your own hard will you'll learn and continue to learn
throughout your IT career. When you stop learning, its time for you to re-evaluate
your career path because it's no likely you'll stay in IT for very long.