How to start with IT Certifications – My opinion

After I received an email yesterday, how to start as an Administrator with certifications in IT, especially in the Microsoftworld. I decided to take my answer and write a blog about this topic.

This path is based on my own “road of certification” and written for people with around 1 year experience in IT. I focus on Microsoft and CompTIA in this post, because they are my main focus areas and they are good to combine with each other.


To prove your Microsoft Administration Skills, that you have right know you can try the MTA Exams.
I would suggest:
Exam 98-365: Windows Server Administration Fundamentals
Exam 98-366: Networking Fundamentals

Exam 98-349: Windows Operating System Fundamentals
Exam 98-367: Security Fundamentals

That should be no Problem and gives you an understanding how Microsoft handles the Exams and what they are focusing on.

After this you should go on with the MCSA Windows Server 2012.

Here the Exams you have to take
Exam 70-410: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012
Exam 70-411: Administering Windows Server 2012
Exam 70-412: Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services
<book not released yet>

For you studies I would suggest you the learning guides from Keith Mayer.
You can find them in my Blogpost with the MCSA Materials.

For the learning and reading stuff you should order the Training Guides from microsoft. To save some money you could take used books.

I normally do the learning after work. That means I invest between 10 or 20 hours a week on training and reading. So I need around 3 to 4 Month to prepare for an exam and to get the knowledge in my head.
If you have tho opportunity to integrate this in you day 2 day work, I would say you can finish preparation in 2 months for each exam.

So the best way to be successfull on the new Microsoft exam and study style is “practicing, practicing, practicing”!

What I do to keep motivated is, to look over the board an gain some extra knowledge or prove my existing knowledge with additional CompTIA exams.

So for you it would be helpfull to show you skills in Networking, Storage and Server, if you want be successfull in enterprise business. So you should maybe focus on CompTIA Server+, Network+ CE and Storage+ CE. Since 2008 Microsft concentrates on normal Server knowledge like “which RAID Level to use” or “What is SAS”, too. When it comes to encryption and certifications environments, you will learn a lot while preparing for Securty+ CE.

To combine learning for MCSA/MCSE and CompTIA is a valuable way to improve training experience. Both sites cover sometimes the same topics and give you different views how to touch systems, network and operating systems.  From CompTIA you will also get the view upsides Microsoft, so like it is when you work in hetero genes environments.

I think that would be the best starting point in IT and you have enough space for specialization. Like me in the Cloud Business.

If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to me



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