What is the best place to start a comprehensive IT education?

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CIO
CIO skills
My name is Matthew and I'm currently working as an entry level Systems Administrator for the Department of Defense.  My training is mostly of a military background with some college prior.  On the job training is valuable, and making me better, but I'd like to find something that ties in loose ends and provides me with a better fundamental base.       Would college be the obvious answer and if so, what degree?       Would certificate training be the obvious answer, and if so, which certificates?

Software/Hardware used:
Microsoft Server and Microsoft Exchange 2000

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Questions like this depend on where YOU want to go with your future career. You are in a good spot to get some good training….see what you like, and run with that. You might deal with Cisco Routers, Active Directory, I see you have Exchange Server tagged – any of these can give you a point of focus, or you might find that you partcularly enjoy working with a specific software. Nobody can really advise you on what path to take, until you know the direction you might like to head.

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  • Subhendu Sen
    "Would certificate training be the obvious answer, and if so, which certificates?" - taking this line, not only certs provide u a best job / switch over, hands on experience (real time) is also necessary, but here Q arises as, how will u get hands on experience ! as many organizations provides carious R&D but u r working in defense, so it is good to read more & more IT mags / books and earn knowledge of new techs. If possible, make a test environment and do different kinds of experiments taking guidelines from books/blogs/technical writings etc.etc. 
    In current scenario u may go certs for either Windows (MicroSoft) / Linux / Mac. But it depends on u on which system u have confidence or feel easy to learn. But of course learn with joy not under pressure.

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  • James Murray
    Matthew, I agree with Andrea... it's a tough question to answer without knowing what you really want to do with your life.  Yet it's a question that is asked over and over on this site.  When I teach classes, I'm also asked this question over and over again. Let me say what you are doing right though.  You are getting the experience you need in the military to build a technical foundation for yourself.  You need 5 years of something to really understand this.  But here's something that I noticed very early in my career that has been essential for me to understand.Technology changes every 2 to 5 years.  Just as you get really good at it, everything changes.  So as you think about your career you need to understand that if you stay highly technical, you will need to relearn every technology all over again every 2-5 years.The second thing to understand is the difference between left and right brain jobs.  Anybody in the world can do left brain (sequential) thinking.  If you are a system administrator and you enjoy it, this may be because you are very left brained.  My systems administrators tend to be.  The problem is that someone in India, Malaysia, the Phillipines or anyone anywhere in the world can do your job much less expensivly than you can.What they can't do though is right brained (creative) types of work.  Not that someone from another country isn't creative... far from it.  the reality though is that you know your culture better than someone from another country.  By the same token they know thier culture better than you.  If you tried to move to Malaysia with your skill set, it would be difficult for you to fit in.  Even managing a team from Malaysia, it takes six months or more before I gain the trust of the team.What you can bring to IT is a creative understanding of technology within your culture.  When you create the project and the project plan these are right brain activities.  When the plan is created, now it is a left brain exercise and can be handed off to anyone anywhere in the world.My point is that as we develope a global economy, left brain jobs are going to be shipped around the world and will dillute your income potential. While developing a right brain / left brain skill set will help you keep ahead of the globalization of IT.If you are a leadership type person, this is good news.  If you have strong soft skills that allow you to work with stakeholders, users and developers, it's also good news.  On the other hand if you spend your time chasing certifications for the rest of your career, you will find that you will be competing against a global market place for jobs.I would recomend going to college, getting a masters degree and developing your leadership skills. Then looking for positions that allow you to leverage your right brain thinking in a left brain technological world. 
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