« on: July 21, 2016, 01:15:01 AM »
I've passed tests for CCNA, RHCSA (Red Hat Linux), and MCT/MCP (Active Directory). The CCNA and RHCSA expire, and mine have. Of all, the RHCSA was the easiest, but was also the lowest level.
I just recently tried to retake the CCNA, but I failed. It was a bit of a surprise scenario; due to a purchase we got education credits that I used to attend CiscoLIVE. I only had 3 weeks to study and I don't really do any major networking work. The CCNA, at least right now, is one of the hardest tests I have experience in - like the format of it. You have to decide on your answer before moving on and cannot go back. So, unlike every test you have ever taken in your life, where you go through and answer all the ones you know for sure (and potentially reminding you of how to answer later questions), then go back and answer the tougher ones, you are just fucked. I ran out of time because I got caught on a multi-part simulation question and took too long, so I didn't finish the test.
That said, when I passed the Microsoft test, it was part of the full series of MCITP - Enterprise Administrator, which is a series of 6 tests. I only passed one, getting a lesser cert, but failed all the other ones by only 1-2 questions each. It was much easier, but then again, my main area of expertise was Windows at the time. They don't offer it any more in that exact form, but it would have basically certified that I know to solve every major infrastructure task with Microsoft products. To be honest, I wasn't ready. I know much more now than I did then; it was almost 4 years ago now, before I even had any Senior Admin responsibilities. I am now a manager running a team of 3 (including me) with a recent approval to hire a InfoSec person, that will also report to me.
I, also, took classes for Apple's ACTC (Apple Certified Technical Coordinator), which is their highest design/admin cert, but never took the test. I was a bit disheartened with it. You don't need a lot of skill to run a fairly large Apple Network; dare I say, I don't think it needs any senior level skills at all. So, I basically skipped taking the test, as I didn't feel like it gave me much; I probably should have though.
The next cert I am looking to grab is VCP-DCV - a VMware certification. It would certify that I can run/design a full virtual datacenter (from VMware's perspective). After VMware, about the only thing I feel like I am lacking is the high end storage experience, and maybe HPC (High Performance Computing). My current 5 year plan is to be a Director of IT. Maybe a cloud consultant too, if I get more Azure experience (I already have AWS Essentials experience).
For the last year or more, I get contacted 1-2 times a month by LinkedIn headhunters; this month I got the record 4 in one week. I guess the market is picking up.
All of this to say, certs can be bullshit. They certify you can take a test, though I would agree that you might learn something in the process. They are the gateway through HR, however. Once you get to your actual interview, expect to get hammered with technical questions. "Real" IT people care about your experience, not your certs. If you try to bluff your way through it, it would be much worse than simply saying, "I don't know."