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1  Microsoft (MCSE, MCSD, MOUS, MCAD) / Windows XP exams / Dead link but still a good lead on: January 01, 2007, 10:24:01 PM
This link was no longer working but tipped me off to the website which was loaded with helpful FREE complete downloads of study materials (including full well-known books and study guides). Just do a search for something like Linux+ or MCSE, etc.

A great resource so thanks anyway even though the particular link was down!!
2  Other IT certifications / Linux/Unix / CBT Nuggets on: December 29, 2006, 12:31:44 AM
I agree. The CBT Nuggets is outstanding but pricey if you buy it direct. Look around on eBay. I bought a set there that had RHCE and Linux+ for reasonable. Great videos.
3  Other IT certifications / Linux/Unix / How about it, webmaster? on: December 29, 2006, 12:23:27 AM
I use this site for the daily questions which is good but I haven't been able to get to the practice exams. How about checking into this one, webmaster, since you're recommending it or else maybe provide and update on it?

4  General discussions / Certifications and IT jobs/Salaries / How much are you making and with what? on: December 28, 2006, 06:45:09 PM
$40k ($US) and working as Tech Support Analyst (2nd level support) for Australian state government. Job is 35-hr week, no weekends, no on-call plus 4 weeks paid holidays with 17.5% loading (extra pay for holidays). Also has flex days and flexible work hours. Unreal after 20 years of trades work in the rain and heat! 2 pay raises in 12 months. Most family-friendly job I've ever had. Loving it.

Had 18 months IT work experience (1st level) before this and a 2-year tech diploma in Network Engineering and just finished Bach degree in Applied IT. Certs on left (my employer could care less about them though). If you're considering IT, I'd encourage you to go for it. Huge shortages here in Oz plus lowest unemployment rate in 30 years.
5  General discussions / Certifications and IT jobs/Salaries / My 2cents on: December 28, 2006, 06:29:46 PM
I finally went back to uni and finished November 2005 (B of Applied IT) and was lucky enough to get a government job within 2 months of graduation (admittedly I was already sending out resumes while I was still taking finals instead of waiting until it was over). I'd had a 2-year tech college degree in Network Engineering before that and 18 months experience at 1st level support. Now working at 2nd level and earning 40k ($US) and have received 2 pay raises during these first 12 months so consider myself fortunate to now be off and running. There's a huge IT shortage on now in Australia and unemployment is at a 30-year low. My employer doesn't care about certs though. Found that the hardest thing was initially cracking in to getting the first IT job and gaining "experience" for future resumes as well as good job references. After that, laughing. I'd highly recommend for anyone doing studies to at least do volunteer work (yeah, unpaid)in an IT section somewhere if they can't get paid part-time work. Don't wait until graduation and THEN look for first job. If it means having to go to uni for an extra year to balance it all, it's worth it - at least you're bringing some experience and some kind of track record to an employer instead of just another grad with a head full of theories and no practical experience or people skills.

BTW, this was a total career change for me after the age of 35 years. To anyone considering the annoyances of certing up (or going back to school although uni is a LOT more expensive in the US than Oz) and studying to retrain in IT, I'd encourage you to do it. There is a shortage everywhere in IT and if you're good with people and IT and enjoy the work, it's a great field. Also, I'd recommend going the route of cert training or tech college and get into the field instead of bothering with uni (far cheaper and more useful). Also, if you're young and willing to come to Australia on a student visa and determined to go through university, you can do it in Australia even on the full overseas student rate for far cheaper than in America and in a year less time. It's beyond me why more Americans never look outside the US for education (no offense, I used to live there). Get on some of the websites (Uni of Newcastle is a good one) and check out the prices and don't forget to then convert them via the exchange rate to see what I mean. Hope that helps!!
6  CompTIA / Other CompTIA certifications / Link looks okay now on: December 27, 2006, 08:15:40 PM

The link looks to be okay now (just checked with IE6 and Opera 9.01). You'll need to register (free) and tick which cert questions you want to recive questions on. So far I've used this site for 3 months and have found it trustworthy (no spam or leaking your address to mail lists) and I like how anyone can comment on the question/answers. Also there's often a link to verify the source for the official answer. I'd recommend this QOD site. Some of the questions are probably a bit over-difficult but...still good.
7  CompTIA / A+ forum / Network+ stuff on: December 27, 2006, 08:06:34 PM
Good luck with your Network+ studies. There's a great writeup on the Network+ cert here and I'd highly recommend downloading the free study guide from the Cramsession site (all of theirs are excellent -  you have to join but they don't leak your name to spammers and you can d/l as many guides as you want). Make sure you know the OSI model levels in order in both directions (forwards and backwards) and what networking devices (routers, bridges, etc.) work at which levels. Also memorize your network topologies and cable standards. Hint: For the OSI levels, memorize one of the silly but effective sayings like "Please Do Not Throw Sausage Pizza Away" to remember the order of the levels (take the first letter from each word in the above saying to match the appropriate OSI level - like remembering musical notes). You'll do it. I've found the Network+ exam to be tougher than A+ or I-Net+ but fair questions (few if any extra trivial questions). Best wishes and post when you pass it! Also, QOD has a good daily question that they email you daily (again, you've got to join but I haven't received spam from them so they seem trustworthy). Anyone else got any pointers?

8  CompTIA / A+ forum / Just got A+ late in the game on: December 26, 2006, 09:52:18 AM
I just passed the 2nd of the A+ exams and waiting to get the cert in the mail. I put this cert off due to the cost of the 2 exams but had already done the Network+ exam and am heading for the MCSA. Since Microsoft accepts the combo of A+ and Network+ as the elective requirement toward MCSA, I thought I'd go that way so I can still have the A+. I just finished the A+ 2003 before it changes and got quite a few of the newer questions tacked on. My honest opinion on the A+ exam does seem that the newer questions (which I suspect were the extra questions which didn't count on mine) dumb down the exam, focusing on customer service and safety instead of h/w and s/w knowledge. That said, A+ is much more broad then the Network+ and requires rote memorization of a lot of trivial details that most techs can promptly forget as soon as they're employed and focus instead on troubleshooting. The MCDST seems to pick up more on the troubleshooting aspect from the look of practice questions. I'm already working at 2nd level support and doing a lot of onsite and remote troubleshooting and found that A+ is more a qual for future employment than useful skill sharpening (unless you're a newbie). Still glad I've done it but looking forward to doing the WinXP MCP and Linux+ to actually learn more practical and useful things. I'm glad I've done it before the 2006 change though as I think the new one will be easier and, sadly, eventually weaken it's value in the future. Just my opinion.
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