One of the clear problems with the CompTIA A+ has always been that it clearly caters to promoting Microsoft products and not being vendor neutral as it has always claimed to be. With the latest release, literally half of the exam is Windows only. There is no section for macOS, any Linux, iOS, Android, Chromebooks, nothing, nada. It's become a Windows exam, which means that they don't just skip the underlying principles that they claim the exam is about, and skip the neutrality for the industry that they claim it is about, but they also leave people going into entry level positions totally unprepared for the real world where running into non-Windows OSes is common. If you were learning from nothing but the A+, you might not even be aware that non-Windows exists. Let alone non-PC hardware, which appears to also be completely skipped.
Where I work, I dont have control over my colleagues. I am sure most places suffer from those people that are just there to stay in their lane and keep the status quo, at least everywhere I have ever worked. This sometimes applies to department heads and those people that should be taking charge of things like training. Generally, I find myself training users on specific tasks that they need to do their job, but a lot of times it comes down to how to process a specific task within our ERP, or somehow relating to how they use the technology we provide. I dont train our estimators how to make an estimation, but I will show them how to enter that into our ERP, or show then where to put all related documents. In a company our size, if there is no one that will take charge and try and force some sort of consistency and order, there will be chaos. A great example is the idea of a classic file server, whether it is a NAS or something else. Without proper permissions and forethought, you will end up with multiple users trying to share the same resources in multiple ways, that are often mutually exclusive. It also doesnt help, when talking about training, that some 'department managers' or other mid level managers are not really managing as much as they are just the most senior person in that department. We have a lot of these types of managers where their workload is still doing the primary task of the department, instead of managing their workers who do the actual work. It makes it hard to have consistency for training, when no one seems to even have the time to train any properly, let along work up any training materials and document any procedures ahead of time. It pays off in the end when it happens, but its never an organic thing that happens, that's not how entripy works. This is one of the primary struggles for our company, and I have taken on some of this (not all of it mind you), possibly because I happen to be able to find a solution that fits our variables, and other people are not as well suited to the task.
When I was deciding when if I was going to do Server 2012 or 2016 certifications, I went with 2012, and I'm glad I did because it was still a year from that point that the Server 2016 exams came out, and I was already certified.
Maybe I should have worded it "study for the farthest future that there is a test for" 🙂
@worden2 So this is one of those get certified while getting a degree schools like WGU?
Yes and no. I don't think my college is going to start employing "course facilitators" instead of professors, and simply point students to the material and expect them to grind through it. On the other hand, as a 2 year college we're not diving too deep into theory and abstracted concepts because of the time scale we're at. Does that clarify it? I do know one of our graduates is doing the WGU thing right now as part of a BS and is getting their MCSA as part of it. Personally, I think we use the certs as external validation that we're staying relevant, but when I see the A+ and other certs not keeping up (the latest A+ cert finally eliminated floppy drive questions!) I worry we're slipping behind as well.
Certs are not in any way a validation that you are relevant and certainly not ones that are not even in the right field. Certs have a place, a good one, but they are VENDOR TOOLS, not industry ones. It's not appropriate to be using them in an academic setting in any way unless, as you had originally stated, using them as a guide to the "level" of knowledge, but never as a guide to the actual knowledge.
How do you teach IT or Systems Administration without teaching students about any technologies they would be using on the job? You can't administer a System (which is from a vendor) if you don't know anything about it.
So if a course wants to teach Linux or Windows Server administration... Well surely covering many of the things the "vendor tool" covers is a great start... Competencies, measured skills, etc.
Well the first thing is that a course in college should not be teaching Linux or Windows administration, that's a trade school's job. They should be teaching concepts of administration. Now, that said, they need operating systems to use for that. But teaching concepts instead of specifics is the core concept of academic work and is very different than teaching to a vendor cert.
Remember collegiate academic work isn't for the purpose of teaching on the job skills, but to teach someone the fundamentals and concepts so that those specific skills will make sense. You aren't teaching them which button to push, but why a button like it needs to be pushed.
Example... you don't learn details of NTFS and ReFS, but you do learn file system concepts so that when someone tells you the details of NTFS and ReFS you can immediately understand them and understand other IT concepts when the market changes.
This is a problem I see with most college grads. Instead of learning IT concepts, they just memorize the motions to go through to accomplish a task. They are only trained to follow a script, they don't understand why they do things or what they do means.
The second big skill needed in IT departments today is an understanding of business – both business in general and the business referring to the specific business of their own organization. As I said at the beginning of this article, IT is a business enabler. If IT professionals do not understand how IT relates to their business they will be poorly positioned to valuate IT needs and make recommendations in the context of the business. Everything that IT does it does for the business, not for technology and not for its own purposes.
With that in mind, what are some recommendations to improve one's business acumen from an IT perspective?
Hypothetical scenario: Someone has worked at a small IT shop for years and is a comfortable sysadmin, but is considering an IT administrative position at a much more "corporate" environment. Their role will involve a lot more interfacing with other departments or agencies, as well as driving "big picture" projects and purchasing decisions.
What resources could they use to improve their understanding of how to fit in in the business realm, and to develop the proper understanding of IT in such an environment? Are there any particularly good books on this subject?
This is an area where university classes can be really beneficial, if you have access to the right ones. Classes on communications, business, accounting, psychology and such can be huge. There are three main areas that I can think of that really matter:
And you might add on the more specific "understanding THE business" as well.
The more that you have any of these, the easier things get. Even if you are a great communicator, if you don't understand the business and its needs at all, you won't have much to communicate.
I don't know of any specific books around this. Maybe things like Open University or something would have resources.
For tech people I think college is a waste of time.
Depends on the kind of tech. There's stuff you should definitely learn in a classroom before you have any business being on a job site. I generally agree that fundamentally how higher education is taught could be improved greatly.
Doesn't mean college, though. Those are normally safety things. And classrooms teach very little. If it's risky, they should be certified. It's the testing that matters, not the classroom.
@scottalanmiller Although thats true, I think that internships should have a set person to mentor them (in some respects) and set aside a few hours a week or day, and work with interns and in the off time the interns would be better off reading, and doing "homework"
Needs to know before L0 (Similar to A+, minus the old tech that you won't see anymore)
knowledge of administrating OSs
Interfaces and cables (At the computer)
Networking devices & mediums (WiFi, copper, fiber)
Administering a Soho wireless network
TCP/IP Suite w/ OSI Model
Needs to know before L1 (Similar to Net+, with additional prerequisites)
Touch on logic and programming
Touch on databases
Touch on Web technologies
An actual administrator (Sys Admin, Net Admin, etc.) would have more focused training depending on their field & specialty