Because you’re looking at information about MCSE training programs, it’s possible you’re in one of two categories: You might be wondering about a radical change of career to the world of IT, and research demonstrates there’s a great many opportunities for qualified people. On the other hand you could already be in IT – and you want to enhance your CV with the MCSE accreditation.
As you find out about training providers, make it a policy to don’t use those that compromise their offerings by failing to use the current Microsoft version. This is a false economy for the student because they’ll have been studying an old version of MCSE which doesn’t fall in with the current exam syllabus, so it’s going to be hugely difficult for them to get qualified. Don’t use training companies who are just trying to sell you something. Ask for comprehensive, personal guidance to ensure you are taking the right decisions. Don’t be shoe-horned into a standard product by a second-rate college.
Adding in the cost of exam fees upfront and offering an ‘Exam Guarantee’ is popular with many training course providers. But look at the facts:
You’ll be charged for it ultimately. One thing’s for sure – it isn’t free – they’ve simply charged more for the whole training package. Qualifying on the first ‘go’ is what everyone wants to do. Going for exams one by one and funding them as you go sees you much better placed to get through first time – you revise thoroughly and are mindful of the investment you’ve made.
Look for the very best offer you can at the time, and save having to find the money early. You’ll then be able to select where you take your exam – meaning you can choose a local testing centre. Buying a course that includes payments for examinations (and if you’re financing your study there’ll be interest on that) is a false economy. It’s not your job to boost the training company’s account with your money simply to help their cash-flow! Many will hope you won’t get round to taking them – so they don’t need to pay for them. It’s also worth noting that exam guarantees often have very little value. The majority of companies will not pay for re-takes until you’ve completely satisfied them that you’re ready this time.
On average, exams cost 112 pounds or thereabouts twelve months or so ago via UK VUE or Prometric centres. So what’s the point of paying maybe a thousand pounds extra to have ‘Exam Guarantees’, when it’s obvious that the responsible approach is a regular, committed, study programme, with an accredited exam preparation system.
A successful training program should also offer accredited exam preparation systems. Sometimes people can find themselves confused by practicing questions for their exams that aren’t from official sources. Quite often, the phraseology can be completely unlike un-authorised versions and you should be prepared for this. ‘Mock’ or practice exams can be invaluable as a tool for logging knowledge into your brain – then when the time comes for you to take the proper exam, you don’t get uptight.
You should remember: a training course or an accreditation isn’t the end-goal; the particular job that you’re getting the training for is. Many trainers unfortunately place too much importance on just the training course. Students often train for a single year but end up doing a job for a lifetime. Ensure you avoid the fatal error of choosing what sounds like a program of interest to you and then put 10-20 years into something you don’t even enjoy!
You’ll want to understand what expectations industry may have of you. What qualifications you’ll need and in what way you can gain some industry experience. You should also spend a little time thinking about how far you wish to get as often it can control your selection of accreditations. Your likely to need help from an experienced person that can best explain the market you think may suit you, and who can give you ‘A typical day in the life of’ synopsis of what you actually do on the job. All of these things are incredibly important as you’ll need to know if you’re barking up the wrong tree.
Some trainers only provide basic 9am till 6pm support (maybe a little earlier or later on certain days); not many go late into the evening (after 8-9pm) or cover weekends properly. Don’t accept training that only supports trainees via an out-sourced call-centre message system when it’s outside of usual working hours. Training schools will try to talk you round from this line of reasoning. Essentially – you need support when you need support – not when it’s convenient for them.
World-class organisations opt for a web-based 24 hours-a-day facility utilising a variety of support centres over many time-zones. You will have a simple interface which seamlessly selects the best facility available no matter what time of day it is: Support on demand. Don’t under any circumstances take less than this. Support round-the-clock is the only way to go when it comes to computer-based study. Maybe late-evening study is not your thing; usually though, we’re out at work at the time when most support is available.