Q

Can a MCSA get you an IT job without experience?

Expert Ed Tittel helps shows a reader how he can make the most out of a MCSA certifiaction.

As part of my States Workforce training initiative, I am being offered a no-cost MSCA study program. My employment counselor claims MSCA certification will provide access to entry level IT employment. I have no IT experience now. I am computer literate, have an average-high IQ and am fully capable of learning.

My question: Is it a reasonable assumption that I will be able to obtain entry level IT employment with MSCA certification and no IT experience?

Your insight will be greatly appreciated.

A wise man once told me that the answer to any good question always begins with the same two words -- namely, "That depends." In your case, it will depend on your location and your ability to get to where the entry-level IT jobs are (or might be). If companies or organizations are indeed hiring entry-level IT staff in your locale, having an MCSA can make a difference. Though you didn't describe your educational background, the combination of a college degree (even a two-year associate's credential) and the MCSA could potentially vault you to the head of the list of others like you with some credentials but no work experience.

That leads me to a second, unsolicited suggestion. You might also want to consider volunteering at a local school, church, or charity for project or ongoing IT related work. Many schools and churches invite volunteers in for special projects (such as wiring up a building or other facility for networking, for example), some also invite volunteers to help with more routine IT tasks (updating computers, performing backups and restores, and so forth). With a little volunteer experience under your belt as well as an MCSA you might be able to position yourself even more attractively.

This was first published in March 2006

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