Here’s his filled out questionnaire, in its entirety:
1. What do you currently do for a living?
I am an IT application Specialist working in Intermediate IT. I have years of experience in the non-for-profit sector who has now moved over to corporate work. I see myself as a chief grunt and bottle washer, my job is to make the vision happen, or figure out what is needed to make it happen. Like a sergeant in the army my job is to get things done, and done well.
My goals are to be a lifelong learner, to continue to grow my skill set both professionally and personally. To be a student of both the profession and life.
2. Please describe your educational background.
I have been in University part time for the last 20 years. I have done minors in computer science, Geographical science, psychology and religious studies. I graduated college in IT in 2007 with a 2 years associates degree Network Specialist + from triOS College. I am currently enrolled in my last course to graduate from the University of Waterloo with a BA.
3. What kinds of certifications do you currently hold, if any?
Here is my list of current certifications:
MCSE Windows Server 2003
MCSA Messaging Microsoft Windows Server 2003
MCTS Windows Server 2008 Active Directory: Configuration
MCTS Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure: Configuration
MCTS Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure: Configuration
MCTS System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008, Configuration
MCTS SQL Server 2005 Implementation and Maintenance
MCSA Windows Server 2003
MCTS Business Desktop Deployment
MCITP Consumer Support Technician
MCITP Enterprise Support Technician
MCTS Microsoft Windows Vista: Configuration
CompTIA A+ IT Technician
CompTIA A+ Remote Support Technician
CompTIA A+ Depot Technician
Microsoft Office Specialist Microsoft PowerPoint 2002
Microsoft Office Specialist Microsoft Outlook 2002
Microsoft Office Specialist Microsoft Access 2002
Microsoft Office Specialist Microsoft Excel 2002
Microsoft Office Specialist Microsoft Word 2002
You can see some of my planned certifications here.
4. How has earning a certification helped to advance your career?
I was out of work after an injury and even though I had almost 20 years computer experience, I had no current formal training and no certifications. I applied for job after job without success.. While at triOS college and working towards my diploma and my certifications I continued to update my resume on Workopolis.com a head hunter found it there, and my current employer is the second job he submitted me for. Both my college and certification experience helped me get that contract job and I have since become a permanent full time employee. My certifications helped me to bypass the usual probationary period, because they showed marked skill.
5. What exam do you plan to use the MCP voucher to take?
I plan on taking 70-647 Windows Server Enterprise Admin, to finish upgrading my MCSE to Server 2008 technology.
6. What kind of advice do you have for your peers and colleagues about earning a certification?
In my opinion certification can only ever help you. You can prove existing knowledge. It is a good way to gain new knowledge and learn new technology. One of the best ways to make yourself learn something new is to be invested in it. If you have bought the exam voucher and only have a year or it expires, it motivates you to put in that extra time and effort to learn the material and to prepare for the exam.
6.a about finding a job?
Be persistent, I applied for over 100 jobs while off work, without a single interview. Then a head hunter got me two interviews and a job in under 4 months, once I had more current training and certifications on my resume. Use all the tools at your disposal, LinkedIN, Workopolis, Monster.
6.b about improving your career prospects or outlook?
Consider training and upgrading your skills, find out what certifications are hot and in demand, then go after one. If your off work, discipline your time, spend part of each day work searching and part training and prepping for certs. Treat looking for work like a job, get up at a set time, do a set amount of work each day. If you can afford to prepare for certs and have the discipline for self study include that in your daily schedule. Be persistent. Ask for help when you need it, both on the training and the job search front.
(Ed just as an aside triOS college is a modular program , you only take one course at a time, 4 hours a day in Class 1 in lab, and do one course after another. They have already dropped MCSE, and replaced with 70-640,70-642, 70-646 and the three Blackberry Admin Certs. The program when I did it was A+, Net+ Career Management, 70-620, 70-290, 70-291, 20-293, 70-294, 70-298, 70-299, 70-622, Linux+, 70-284, 70-431, Business Communications, Career Development. Now the program is A+, Net+ Career Management, 70-620, 70-622, Linux+, Blackberry Support Specialist, 70-640,70-642, 70-646, Scripting with Power Shell, Virtualization, 70-236, 70-431, Business Communications, Career Development.) The program changes year by year and even term by term as new technologies become prevelant.