Q

Can an MCSE help me get a job in the U.S.?

I am a CCNA certification holder with no work experience in the United States and I am now trying for a MCSE/MCDBA Certification. Can the MCSE help me in getting a job? Also, is it possible to achieve this certification by studying at home, rather than joining an institute course? Does this MCSE certification have any value without experience?
While you may not have work experience in the United States, if you can talk clearly, cogently and intelligently about relevant work experience outside the country, it's definitely worthwhile to do so. By asking if the MCSE has value without experience, you raise a common and troubling question among many prospective IT workers, to which the answer is, "An MCSE with experience is worth more than an MCSE with no experience, but that doesn't make the latter MCSE totally worthless."

That said, employers and recruiters will all tell you without skipping a beat that most of them prefer to deal

with (and hire) candidates with experience who don't have certification rather than hire candidates with certification who have no experience. Thus, one can only conclude that the combination is worth more than the MCSE by itself, which apparently is worth less than two or more years of relevant experience as an absolute point of comparison.

While you're working on your MCSE you can do some things to boost your experience levels, however. I'd urge you to put a home practice laboratory together and learn how to install, configure and maintain all the important pieces and parts of a normal Windows server-based network: desktops, servers, Active Directory, DHCP, DNS and so forth (SQL Server as well, obviously, once you begin chasing the MCDBA). Keep a list of everything you do, the kinds of problems you solve and skills you learn. Also, look for opportunities to volunteer at schools, charities or your place of worship to help with network or system installations or migrations, or other kinds of tasks where you can put what you're learning into practice, and then later claim some experience as a result..

Best of luck with your studies and your certifications. With time, effort, and persistence you should indeed be able to find work..

--Ed--

This was first published in June 2005

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