There are very few IT certifications which allow you to sample a certain technology without actually committing to it AND give you a valuable certification at the end. Sure, there is the CompTIA A+ and Network+ but these are actually pretty tough exams each requiring around 4 months study.
Years ago, Microsoft only really offered MCP qualifications and the only foundation one was basic networking. Things have changed now and I wanted to share with you my thoughts on the value of the range of MTA qualifications now offered by Microsoft.
MTA stands for Microsoft Technology Associate and there are four exams you can choose from under the IT Infrastructure career path:
Exam 98-349: Windows Operating System Fundamentals
Exam 98-365: Windows Server Administration Fundamentals
Exam 98-366: Networking Fundamentals
Exam 98-367: Security Fundamentals
OS Fundamentals gives you an overview of how PC software works and is based on Windows 7. Server Admin looks at Windows Server 2008 and how server software works as well as how to install and administer a basic Windows network.
Networking Fundamentals covers much of the CompTIA Network+ exam topics and is a fantastic introduction to computer networking principles. The Security Fundamentals mirrors the CompTIA Security+ syllabus with the CompTIA exam having around 10% extra content added. It gives you a good grounding in security issues, threats and countermeasures available.
You can easily study the networking and security exams and with very little extra work pass the CompTIA exams. Doing this gives you the benefit of passing vendor neutral and vendor exams. Two qualifications for roughly the same amount of work.
If you are unsure of which career path to take or have a passing interest in a certain subject then the MTA allows you to study and pass and pass an exam without committing to a five exam (12 month study) qualification such as the MCSE. And by the way, unlike most other certifications, the MTA qualification presumes no previous knowledge AND never expires!
If you are interested in database administration then consider the:
Exam 98-364: Database Fundamentals
This is for those intending to build a career in data platform administration or business intelligence. Our video based course for this exam is only around 7 hours long so not a huge commitment of your time.
There is also an MTA Developer track concentrating on software development including .NET, mobile and gaming development and software testing.
I know of so many IT students who jump into a certain set of career certifications such as the Microsoft MCSE or Cisco CCNP but half way through lose interest or realize they have made the wrong choice for whatever reason.
I encourage you to check out the MTA certification for yourself. The link to our Microsoft training page is below and if you join with the coupon code ‘mta’ you can access all our courses for only $20 per month.