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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    Default More certs? More training? Or just work?

    Started my new position as a Help Desk Technician for an MSP almost 2 weeks ago, and I'm trying to figure out the best way to improve from here. I've had an ambitious idea that I could make SysAdmin in 2-3 years, although it would just be a formality, since everybody kind of just does everything around here.

    Since things are a bit chaotic around here, I'm not quite sure where to go. What I mean is that this MSP has kind of served as a "quick fix" where someone calls in and they get a direct solution to their problems. They are currently in the process of outsourcing their Help Desk to a separate location that specializes in this, so we'd expect maybe 20 people to do nothing but handle the phone calls for our sites and do Tiers 1-3 support.

    I realize certs don't necessarily mean you can do the job, as none of my certs thus far(the basic 3 CompTIA) have helped me actually resolve any tickets. However I have been told that assignment to higher duties such as System Analyst or SysAdmin wouldn't necessarily be restricted by the number of years my ass occupies a seat, but rather aptitude. So it does kind of make me want to put in 60-80 hours a week into getting better at my job and more.

    I figure if I manage to get something like an MCSA Windows Server 2016 it would be a clear signal that I've familiarized myself with the material and I'm ready and willing to take a shot at it.

    Although I don't know if waiting to see what the situation is might also be a prudent decision. Since we're offloading much of the Help Desk to another State(still in the US), I would think putting time and effort into learning how to administer Office 365 might be of limited use if it's all going to be out of our hands in 6 months.

    I also don't know if anyone has a favorite go-to for training. I generally find that videos are good for a brief taste, but I won't learn much from watching them alone (plus I don't pay much attention to instructional videos). Books are good for in-depth delving into a topic, but it's not exactly experience. I generally find that actually doing a task in a manner that you will actually have to in a real situation (i.e. labs) is the best way to gain experience, but the labs have to be realistic (I'm thinking OSCP here).
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  3. Senior Member
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    #2
    How can you know what to practice in a lab if you don't know what to practice in a lab? The books, videos, tutorials etc is the material that you need in order to trigger thoughts and ideas that you can go and practice in lab environments. If you install whatever software product and just start clicking around without knowing what each click does then you will never use the product to its full capacity. You need to read manuals, books, watch tutorials etc, period.

    If you have aspirations to become Sys admin, and want to speed up your advancement, you better start watching videos, reading books and labbing. There is no shortcut to experience, it takes time and effort and dedications.

    Also, try not to focus on what the trend for the next 6 months will be and start focusing on YOUR long term plans, not on the short term plans of your company. When you focus on YOU, and build YOUR skills, you can move at any company that needs those skills. Do not silo yourself and try to learn only what your current company wants.
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  4. Senior Member dontstop's Avatar
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    #3
    If you have aspirations to become Sys admin, and want to speed up your advancement, you better start watching videos, reading books and labbing. There is no shortcut to experience, it takes time and effort and dedications.
    I would say even if you had all the knowledge of all certifications at your fingertips you'd still only be around 50% effective in the industry (okay maybe a little more, but I'm trying to make a point). Many vendors certs are ideal situations and setups. The real learning happens when you enter an environment and start learning how things are done in the real world. By all means certifications are a great start but I think you really need some real world, hands on to compliment that. For instance a paper RHCA would not be as useful as a RHCSA who's had a fair amount of time dealing with real world situations.

    For every vendor/industry best practice a customer/company is doing that + whatever kludges they need to get their stuff to work. This subtle difference is what makes real world hard and are the kind of things that force you to really understand what is going on.
    Last edited by dontstop; 02-14-2018 at 10:12 AM.
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  5. Senior Member
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    #4
    Before starting on any certs, get really good at your job. Be an overachiever at work. THAT'S how you get promoted. Once work becomes second nature, then you can start learning more advanced concepts in your free time.
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  6. I drink and I know things Ertaz's Avatar
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by EnderWiggin View Post
    Before starting on any certs, get really good at your job. Be an overachiever at work. THAT'S how you get promoted. Once work becomes second nature, then you can start learning more advanced concepts in your free time.
    +1

    I worked for several years before I went back and got my bachelors degree. I actually had one of my supervisors tell me that the chip on my shoulder that I worked with made me a much higher achiever because I felt I had to prove my worth everyday. You don't have to be passionate about every facet of your job, but you need to be passionate about how you do it and how you treat people while you're doing it.
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  7. Senior Member E Double U's Avatar
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by TheFORCE View Post
    When you focus on YOU, and build YOUR skills, you can move at any company that needs those skills. Do not silo yourself and try to learn only what your current company wants.
    This has worked for me!
    "You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try." - Homer Simpson
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  8. Senior Member
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by dontstop View Post
    I would say even if you had all the knowledge of all certifications at your fingertips you'd still only be around 50% effective in the industry (okay maybe a little more, but I'm trying to make a point). Many vendors certs are ideal situations and setups. The real learning happens when you enter an environment and start learning how things are done in the real world. By all means certifications are a great start but I think you really need some real world, hands on to compliment that. For instance a paper RHCA would not be as useful as a RHCSA who's had a fair amount of time dealing with real world situations.

    For every vendor/industry best practice a customer/company is doing that + whatever kludges they need to get their stuff to work. This subtle difference is what makes real world hard and are the kind of things that force you to really understand what is going on.
    Mostly interested in how to get to the point that they would think I'm ready to give me a shot at it, maybe on how to spend my off-hours.

    Frankly since I'm on a salary, my hours aren't being counted, so I can stay past my shift and nobody would blink an eye. There was a bit of a hiccup on my password vault setup so I can't do much regarding their bread and butter tasks, which is administering Office 365 accounts for our clients.
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