Thomas L, Essen, Germany
1. What do you currently do for a living?
I’m living in Germany, in Ruhr Metropolis Essen, which has been selected as the European Capital of Culture for 2010. I’ve been working in the IT Business for more than 12 years. Since May 2005 I’ve been working as a Consultant for Avanade Deutschland GmbH, a Microsoft and Accenture joint venture, on large national and international projects.
2. Please describe your educational background.
I’m a Graduate Engineer for Vehicle Engineering. From 1990 – 1997 I studied Vehicle Engineering at the University of Applied Sciences in Cologne, Germany.
3. What kinds of certifications do you currently hold, if any?
MCITP – Enterprise Administrator, Charter Member
MCITP – Server Administrator, Charter Member
MCTS – Microsoft Windows 7, Configuration, Charter Member
MCTS – System Center Configuration Manager 2007, Configuration
MCTS – ISA Server 2006
MCTS – Desktop Optimization Pack, Charter Member
MCTS – System Center Virtualization Manager 2008, Charter Member
MCTS – Essential Business Server, Charter Member
MCTS – Hyper V, Charter Member
MCTS – Microsoft Windows Vista, Configuration
MCTS – Business Desktop Deployment with the BDD
MCTS – Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Configuration
MCTS – Windows Server 2008 Application Platform Configuration
MCTS – Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure Configuration
MCSE – Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2000, and Windows NT 4.0
MCSA – Windows Server 2003, and Windows Server 2000
MCP – several MCP exams for MCSE / MCSA
4. How has earning a certification helped to advance your career?
Certification has always been very important for the companies I was and I am working for. When I changed employers in former positions, I was always up-to-date certified. That was my advantage – the new employer did not have to spend money for me to take courses or certifications. It’s always better to say I have than I will.
My current employer is requesting all his employees to keep their certifications up to date. The earlier you archive a current certification the better it is for your career. Beside other factors certification is currently necessary for a promotion to step forward to the next career level.
For my employer, the best skilled and certified employees are a business advantage compared to other companies that don’t have such people. Our customers set a high value on such consultants and when in doubt they will always choose a certified one. Such people are easier to sell, and that is an advantage for both parties, employer and employee.
5. What exam do you plan to use the MCP voucher to take?
70-635: TS Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2008, Desktop Deployment
6. What kind of advice do you have for your peers and colleagues about earning a certification?
Try to be the first one certified on new technologies like Windows Server 2008 or Windows 7. Use the Microsoft Website, the Technet Forums, the different Blogs and some latest books to get the theoretical knowledge about the product. Take some time and set up a (virtual) environment and play around with the particular product. Learn by doing, install, configure and maintain the product according to the skills being measured. If you have a problem, you can walk through the Microsoft communities to find if others have similar issues – mostly they have and you are not alone. If you can’t find a solution for your problems, feel free to ask the community and you will see, there will be a hint or even an answer. Learn how the product looks and feels, and then the questions in the exams will be familiar for you.
6.a. about finding a job?
Use the Internet or your local newspapers and computer magazines for suitable jobs. You will see that a lot of employers require up-to-date certificates. If you haven’t completed your certification road yet, don’t hesitate to contact the company anyway. Mostly there will be enough time to complete your certifications until the new job begins. Show the new potential employer that you have a deep knowledge of the product you are interested in. Don’t give him the feeling that you need four options from which one will be correct.
6.b. about improving your career prospects or outlook?
Try to be the first to be up-to-date certified and find a certification roadmap that meets your needs. You will find exams for developers, administrators, and engineers. And you will find add on certificates for those who keep a basic certification like MCSE or MCITP Enterprise Administrator. Stay on your road and don’t get upset by new exams. First of all finish your exam series like MCSE, if you have already most of the required exams. And then choose update exam to get up-to-date. And don’t be afraid to ask your employer paying the exams and the training courses, books, and equipment. Most of them will support you during your certification roadmap because it’s good for them to have certified employees.
Thanks very much for entering, Thomas, and for providing such good and helpful advice. Again: congratulations on your win.