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Old 1st March 2017, 11:58 AM   #1
cbb1935 Thread Starter
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Default Reskilling in IT

This might seem like a bit of a strange question, but it's something I'm willing to stick my neck out and ask.

Chances are I'll cop a flogging on here as per normal, but if people can go easy this time I'd much appreciate it. I'm viewing to the future, not looking at the past here.

For the past 15-20 years, my skills in the world of IT have grown from basic OS stuff, to advanced knowledge at a workstation level (up to Win7). I've also grown my server OS / functionality and networking skillset to a point I'd consider myself "above average", but by no means a specialist/network engineer.

I understand the basics surrounding most things (DNS/DHCP/AD/Group Policy) (e.g the why its important, what it does, where it's relevant and how it fits in), and how they interact at a basic/intermediate level together.. but have never actually set it all up from scratch, nor got into the complexities of them at an advanced level.

Problem is, due to a shit work/life balance (it's actually more a work/working on call life balance), and never having the chance to play with newer/emerging technology through my career, I've always started to slide down the slippery slope of IT skills.

I have a bit of hands on with Server 2008, and have setup a network using S2012 and a VM before, but that's about it.

Looking at jobs these days, there is a firm requirement for Server 2012 / Server 2016 experience, and DNS/DHCP/AD is generally preferred as well.

So... my question here is..

How is the best way to reskill/upskill, so that if one DOES happen to go for a job requiring the above, that they can be confident of providing support for such systems?

Is it best looking at an MSCE/MCP exam for those servers? (personally I see that as a bit of a waste).

Or is it best grabbing some course/reference material and working away on a test bed?

How did many of you guys end up upskilling/reskilling, and how do you keep yourselves up to date with knowledge in your relevant areas?


I'm very much at a crossroads with my career, and the winds of change are blowing steadily. I've even thought about career swaps to destress a bit more, but I'm not skilled in anything else.

I find myself coming to work. Dwelling on the inevitable, then going home, and trying to shake my mind away from the inevitable. All the while thinking "how the hell can I move on, if I don't know what people require me to know".

If ever there was an analogy for my working life at present:
Veteran fighter pilot, trying to get to grips with a new fighter jet. Fighter jets just been shot out of the sky and is hurtling towards the ground from 30,000feet. It's either going to crash and I'll survive, but crawl out and pick up the pieces, or I pull the ejector seat just before impact.

Appreciate everyones input/thoughts/opinions here, and don't really want to delve much more on a personal note on this thread.. it's caused enough anxiety (and actual minor health problems) as it is.

Thanks.
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Old 1st March 2017, 12:03 PM   #2
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I have zero certs.

I have 10+ years Windows Server, Exchange and a bunch of other shit experience.

I have great references.

My current role wants me to certify (predominantly for their benefit for meeting partner competency). I couldn't care less, but the course work is interesting.

If your situation, I think a concentrated certing effort (e.g MCSE Messaging or MCSE Server Infrastructure) would do you well to further your employment opportunities.

If I was picking and choosing course work that is attractive - I would be sure to focus on balancing out On-Prem stuff with O365, Azure and AD FS.

Last edited by NSanity; 1st March 2017 at 12:06 PM.
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Old 1st March 2017, 12:05 PM   #3
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get a box.
get some trial software of 2012r2, 2016 etc.

put it all together.

play with it.
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Old 1st March 2017, 12:08 PM   #4
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you need to pony up about $1000 and build yourself a vm library of varying things, server 2016, exchange, and various other server type things and play with it, break it and fix it, setup HA/clustering/etc. ANd given your in IT, its a total tax write off.

But to be blunt, if you were inclined to have done it, you would have done it by now. my guess is you will make up every excuse under the sun and not do a single thing in another years time, possible be made redundant or fired from your current position.
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Old 1st March 2017, 12:09 PM   #5
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get a box.
get some trial software of 2012r2, 2016 etc.

put it all together.

play with it.
Thats good so he actually knows - and absolutely what he will have to do to pass certification. But it won't tell an employer that his skillset is current, or that he's specifically worked recently in refreshing his skills.

Quote:
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But to be blunt, if you were inclined to have done it, you would have done it by now. my guess is you will make up every excuse under the sun and not do a single thing in another years time, possible be made redundant or fired from your current position.
I also agree with this, but some other poor soul will probably step on this thread at some point, so this is what you should do, not necessarily what he will do.
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Old 1st March 2017, 12:12 PM   #6
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Come to the dark side. We have cookies. And a 20% higher base salary.
http://forums.overclockers.com.au/sh....php?t=1174418
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Old 1st March 2017, 12:14 PM   #7
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A home lab and some coursework definitely helps, but it is entirely up to you if you want to learn, progress and advance through the things commonly looked at and required as a skill set in the IT industry.

For DNS, DHCP, AD in 2k12, the Microsoft MOC20411/12 books can definitely help you with a starting point and you can advance from it there onwards. Whether or not you want to do the MS exams to get the certificates is an entirely different idea. Most companies employing IT/support/network/system admins nowadays care more about the experience and your up to date knowledge on commonly used technologies, they don't care much about certifications unless it is one that plays a major factor in what the company specialises in (aka Hyper-V/VM etc).
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Old 1st March 2017, 12:40 PM   #8
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The best way you can learn if money isn't an issue, is joining a small IT company that does support/hosted services...


Small IT (10-50 employees) companies generally run on newer tech, why? Because they have a LOT of competition and need to stay a head of the game. This won't be the case for ALL, but it will be for a lot... research the company first before applying.

They're more likely to want keen learners and skill them up, this involves letting you have access to the newer stuff... Ask questions and be willing to learn.

Most small companies that sell support are likely to pay for your certs/training so that they're certified through you.

...

My 2c is that learning on the job is wayyy better than in your own time. You can ask questions, get mentored, have access to the latest gen stuff and it also means you're getting regular exposure, rather than using your own time/passion to study (Which can hinder on family/social life).
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Old 1st March 2017, 12:42 PM   #9
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What you want to do for the future will determine where to best invest your time and effort into training.

Doing something that you hate, just because its the only thing you know, won't lead to a happier you.

Think critically about where you want to be in 5/10/15 years time, both in work terms, and in personal terms, and use this to guide your decisions.
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Old 1st March 2017, 12:48 PM   #10
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As an employer... if you havnt done the time and cant demonstrate your competency via being put to the task than in a test lab environment than you'll need to cert up

And even if you run a test lab yourself and do your own learning most of the guys i know can tell betweem a self taught / experienced / certified tech.. its just the way they do things...
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Old 1st March 2017, 12:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
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And even if you run a test lab yourself and do your own learning most of the guys i know can tell betweem a self taught / experienced / certified tech.. its just the way they do things...
The self taught person knows how things fit together in a lab
The Experienced person knows how things fit together in the real world.
The Certified person memorized the exact things needed to get the certificate and is as useless as tits on a bull.
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Old 1st March 2017, 12:51 PM   #12
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The Experienced person knows how things fit together in the real world.
To the limits of their experience. No two businesses are the same. And while similar things happen everywhere, bias is still a real thing.
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Old 1st March 2017, 12:56 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PabloEscobar View Post
The self taught person knows how things fit together in a lab
The Experienced person knows how things fit together in the real world.
The Certified person memorized the exact things needed to get the certificate and is as useless as tits on a bull.
The self taught person is harder to employ...

The experienced person has bias and baggage..

The certified person can be taught and is easier to employ...

If i was looking for a FOB if take the certified guy... if i was looking for an architect id be asking for all three...

So context buddy... context...
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Old 1st March 2017, 1:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
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The self taught person is harder to employ...

The experienced person has bias and baggage..

The certified person can be taught and is easier to employ...

If i was looking for a FOB if take the certified guy... if i was looking for an architect id be asking for all three...

So context buddy... context...
Yeah Ideally you'd have all three... but then you probably wouldn't be looking for a job eh? And 2). 3). would probably clash a lot (How it's done vs How it should be done)

1). The self taught person - Shows initiative and a willingness to learn
2). The Experienced person - knows how things work in the real world / outside of the box perhaps?
3.) The Certified person - knows (Well should know, if you haven't just braindumped the exam) how it should be done properly, which in tern helps #2 in real world situations where bias practices aren't always correct/efficient.
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Old 1st March 2017, 1:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
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If i was looking for a FOB if take the certified guy...
I've hired a lot of people for a lot of jobs in a lot of businesses (including one that was my own business), and never in my career have I wanted this person to work for/with me.
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