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 Career-related Questions
 Certification Programs     

 What do you think about IT certifications? Should I start to work toward certification in order to enter into the new field?

 I am not familiar with Computer Networking industry, and therefore, don't understand what the certifications I should earn. Could you explain what all those certifications mean?

 When I heard that some Cisco Engineers making $80K+ a year I enrolled in a Cisco certification course (CCNA). I am learning mostly textbook materials, and, despite some hands-on Labs with Cisco routers, I am not getting hands-on experience or background in computer networking. I am not sure I will be able to apply what I have learned on the job, it all seems a bit foreign to me. What would you recommend me to do now? Can RTEK 2000 help me?

 What do you offer for the CCNA certification path?

 Do you offer MCSE (or similar) courses?

 What do you offer for the A+ certification path?

 Is there any certification path for Web Developers?

 Hello, I've been reviewing your site and considering enrolling in the Security Certification course. However, what are your statistics for employment after gaining certification? I have been in the desktop support field for over 7 years (with certifications and Bachelor's degree). I need to know if making this career move is right for me. Thanks for all your help.

 What do you think about IT certifications? Should I start to work toward certification in order to enter into a new field?
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There is an extended list of available certifications from multiple vendors. Some of them more popular than others. IT certifications are meant to be a clear identifier of your skills set with a particular vendor's product, or at least that is the intention. Obtaining certification does not necessarily mean that you have all the skills needed to do the job. Certification often requires passing a set of exams that tap your knowledge based on a particular area of technology.
After completing an RTEK 2000 program, students will have a significant number of real world skills that will allow them to perform the demands of the job. RTEK 2000 recommends beginning the process of certification only after receiving a solid foundation in your area of specialty. Certifications help make candidates more marketable in a competitive economy

If you ask any employer if they had to chose between a candidate who had a certification with minimal skills and a candidate without certification but very skilled, any savvy employer would choose the skilled candidate.
Do you want to know what employers are ACTUALLY looking for? Read this excellent article: WHAT MAKES GOOD I.T. PEOPLE GOOD

We recommend you to read several other articles about the value of certification:
--About Certification Hypes (old but good)
-- Still not convinced? Read this article

 I am not familiar with the Computer Networking industry, and therefore, don't understand what certifications I should earn. Could you explain to me what those certifications mean?

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 You have to understand that most of the IT certifications are your marketing tools. When added to your resume, it sounds more solid in the eyes of potential employers (see the example below). While most certifications aren't good for much except demonstrating to clients that your staff is well trained, there are a few certifications that still valuable. They allow the certified professional to show better education and more skills. They allow HR people to pretend to know what to look for. A few certifications have gained some broader respect. The reason many certs have fallen in value is the proliferation of "Boot Camp" training programs. These programs quickly prepare individuals to pass certification tests. As Andy Swenson, managing director for security and infrastructure at Tribridge in Tampa, Fla. indicates, "Pretty much it's «Instant Expert � Just add water,». "The problem is very little of the knowledge sticks after the test and there is no real world experience to back it up. Put them on a project and it is not likely to have a good outcome." Certifications that require real job experience, however, are standing up in value, Swenson says.
While certifications are always a good thing to see from a candidate, proof of knowledge is normally something that is required during the interview process. Just because a candidate passed the certification requirements does not necessarily prove anything other than they knew how to pass the tests.
Read more about certifications at our IT Certifications web page.

You have to recognize two types of certifications. There are vendors certifications such as from Microsoft, Cisco, Sun Microsystems, Check Point, and there are vendor-neutral certifications.

To answer this question fully we want to use an e-mail of one of the IT engineers.

"IT Industry Certifications roughly follow a career path, and career paths will vary:
  1. PC Technician, Helpdesk Technician, Customer Support Engineer
  2. Network Administration
  3. Network Engineer
  4. Technical Manager
With this in mind, entry level certifications would be:
A vendor specific hardware certifications related to specific hardware such as Hewlett Packard (HP) or Cisco hardware certifications that are model specific or types specific. For instance, HP offers warranty authorization certifications for all of the various models of printers, plotters, net servers, etc.

These types of certifications as well as the industry non-specific certifications such as A+, Network+, MCP, Linux, etc. are field entry-level certifications. Also, any user certifications such as HEAT (or one of the other helpdesk programs) would be an entry-level certifications. In addition, there are users' certifications for user level programs such as MS Office, Outlook, or Star Office. The entry into the IT field is at this level. Sitting on the helpdesk, thorough knowledge of Excel is more helpful to your user than knowing how to setup a network server or Domain.

These certifications along with a year of real experience should get you a job that allows to work with network servers. This is basic Network Administrator stuff. Setup new users from templates, overseeing basic daily drudgework the senior guys don't have time for, report problems to them, etc.

Towards the advanced end of this category and beginning of the Network Engineer category are advanced Microsoft and Cisco certifications. Mixing and dual certifications in Cisco, UNIX, and Microsoft training in WAN technologies becomes essential. These allow, with experience and previously learned detail on operating systems and communications, the beginning of the design phase of the career. This phase should also include training or certifications in project management, a broadening of the knowledge base into telephony, programming, databases, budgeting, and personnel management, mixing O/S environments. After a few years in this environment you should be at the Network Engineering level where you can plan, design, budget, and implement on a time schedule, larger and more complex networks.

At the Network Engineer level you should also begin training back out of the proprietary systems. Look to SCNP, SCNA, GIAC, and (ISC)² for training in security issues for instance. It is only at this level where you can fully understand the implications/costs and business tradeoffs involved in these topics. A certain amount of specialization should occur again as in specializing in Database to Internet issues, advanced WAN technologies, security, crypto, etc.

After Network Engineer you reach the Technical Manager level. You know you are here when you feel comfortable enough to tackle independent standalone projects such as manage the planning, design, budgeting and implementation of a new or complete replacement of a business system that is used by more than 500 people concurrently. Manage vendors, techs, the budget and your own VP's to implement a project that spans 6 months to 2 years. At this point certifications are not as important as the last project you managed or participated in. But you will get some of the more specialized ones anyway such as your University degree, SCNA, CISSP, or GSNA. You should be comfortable with all aspects of business and technology to decide whether to go it alone and open a consulting business or a technical business to service a particular market segment such as computer forensics or systems for medical offices."

Let's quickly review the certifications that are valuable today.
Comptia A+
This is the first certification almost everyone gets when first starting in the IT field. It is by far the most popular entry level certification. It certifies your knowledge in PC and server hardware and basics of the desktop operating systems.

Comptia Network+
Coming in right behind A+. This is usually the second certification that most IT Professionals acquire. As you may guess, it certifies your knowledge in Computer Networking.

MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional)
As one of the online bloggers said, this will probably always be number one for the next 1,000 years. There are over 2 million people with this certification. Now, there are variations of this certification for different speacialties.

CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate)
This one comes in 2nd as most network administrator jobs right now are IP related and they are in more demand at higher professional level as compared to Microsoft Certifications since you must manage the network of local area networks joined in certain fashion.

MCPD (Microsoft Certified Professional Developer)
This has been a rocket since last year. Demand for these developers are up over 80% compared to last year, and does not seem to be slowing down any time soon. There are only a little over 3000 currently with the certification. If you are looking for a certification track, we would give this one a lot of consideration.

SCJP (SUN Certified Java Programmer)
Today, a Java credential is one of the most valuable credentials that a programmer or developer can have. About 70% of business entities' development projects are done through J2EE (Java technology).

MCTS SQL Server 2005/2008 (The Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist)
A lot of companies are switching to SQL Server 2005/2008, and SQL Server certified professionals are going to be in big demand. Companies of all sizes need these professionals to manage everything from planning a new database to managing and supporting existing databases.

RHCE (Red Hat Certified Engineer)
About 25% of enterprises will be running mission-critical business applications on the Linux open source operating system by 2009, according to a survey by Saugatuck Technology and Business Week Research Services. RHCE is called the 'crown jewel of Linux certifications'. In addition, 75% of world Internet servers are running on Linux.

Comptia Security+
Growth in Security+, which covers topics like communication security, infrastructure security, cryptography, access control and authentication, shows no signs of slowing down. Comptia's Security+ credential is a must have in today's world.

CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)
One of the elite certifications. With CISSP's earning $94,070 a year on average, it is easy to see why this one is on the list. The exam lasts up to six hours and includes 250 multiple choice questions.

 When I heard that some Cisco Engineers making $80K+ a year I enrolled in a Cisco certification course (CCNA). I am learning mostly textbook materials, and, despite some hands-on Labs with Cisco routers, I am not getting hands-on experience or background in computer networking. I am not sure I will be able to apply what I have learned on the job, it all seems a bit foreign to me. What would you recommend me to do now? Can RTEK 2000 help me?
Click (+) sign to expand >> [-]
To our knowledge there is still no "free lunch" out there even if you have CCNA certification. You have chosen a road to a new profession that will not result in what you had anticipated. You will not be able to setup and troubleshoot Wide Area Networks (WAN) without previous hands-on experience and thorough understanding of Computer Networking, computer hardware, network operating systems, peripheral devices, Local Area Networking (LAN) administration and security issues, LAN components, cabling, and more. It seems you are trying to learn how to operate a plane without knowing how to ride a bicycle. One of our previous students summed it up like this: "I see it as trying to jump to the 10th floor without climbing the first nine floors."

RTEK 2000 would recommend quitting the Cisco training and try to recover your money if at least prorated for the time left in the course. The journey to a profession begins with the first step and on the right road. Here is the correct path to the top level: PC Hardware Desktop Operating Systems LAN Components and Networking Technologies Network Operating Systems (Microsoft/Linux) and Network Administration Cisco Routers and Wide Area Networking Internet Security, Virtual Private Networking, and Computer Network Perimeter Protection.
Review our Computer Systems Networking professional program.

Cisco question What do you offer for the CCNA certification path?
Cisco answer The Cisco CCNA certification program includes 40 hours of lectures and intensive labs. Our instructor is a Cisco Certified Engineer (CCIE) with several years of teaching experience.

MCSE question Do you offer MCSE (or similar) courses?
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-- First of all, if you are looking for a way to enter into the IT field and to change your profession or obtain a new one, so-called "MCSE courses" are not for you. Don't waste your money and time. MCSE is NOT a profession! Click here to find out why.
-- For those who are in the computer networking field already and who want to expand their skills in Windows 2008/2012, we offer a home-study certification programs or onsite training for groups of students. Please keep in a mind that we serve the corporations/organizations only and send our best trainers on your site if you have 5-6 employees that must be trained in a particular technology.

 What do you offer for the A+ certification path?
Click (+) sign to expand >> [-]
RTEK 2000 offers a full program leading to the A+ Certification (Computer Service Technician certification program). This course is often a good first step in to the world of information technology. Knowing the hardware of a computer in great detail can be a benefit as you pursue other directions in technology.

The full professional programs RTEK 2000 offers incorporate aspects of the A+ program so that student who do not have this skill set will be able to master the objectives taught in the program.

 Is there any certification path for Web Developers??
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CIW = Certified Internet Webmaster - the industry standard for web certifications. This type of certification in actively pushed by, however, it did not add the value to the hands-on skills (at least in the eyes of hiring managers). Certification itself is a booming business, and companies like CompTIA, ProsoftTraining, BrainBench, and others are trying to repeat the success of Novell and Microsoft, companies that generated substantial revenue introducing certification of their proprietary software programs and operating systems (Please note, their proprietary programs!).
So-called "vendor-independent" certifications are another method to make money for companies that do not manufacture their own product. So far, CIW certification is not very popular. Many employers are not familiar with this type of certification, and frankly the hands-on experience is a king. RTEK 2000 recommends that a student concentrate on hands-on skills in Web Design and Development rather than focusing on certification requirements.

 Hello, I've been reviewing your site and considering enrolling in one of the Security Certification courses. However, what are your statistics for employment after gaining certification? I have been in the desktop support field for over 7 years (with certifications and Bachelor's degree). I need to know if making this career move is right for me. Thanks for all your help.
Click (+) sign to expand >> [-]
There is no doubt that the Information Security field is the fastest growing IT field today. Example: we are managing Internet Security - related Index list. We relatively easily managed this Index just about a year ago. Today, it's a difficult task because of exponentially growing number of companies that release new Information security products and services. FACTOID: According to the Computer Security Institute, businesses lose an estimated $10 billion or more annually due to security breaches in their computer systems. Therefore, more than 40% of budget for numerous large size companies will be dedicated to improving and securing their network infrastructure. Who will implement, setup, maintain, improve and secure those numerous operating systems, web servers, proxies, firewalls, routers, etc? The answer is: the Information Security practitioners.

Tina, more and more employers look at ANY certification with skepticism because the certification is the proof that you are FAMILIAR with a product or technology but IT IS NOT a guarantee that you can do the job skillfully because the certificate doesn't certify your hands-on experience.

The benefits of having hands-on knowledge means having job security, constantly increasing compensation, and working with leading-edge technology products. It would pay-off very quickly.
Hands-on Security+ course is a great first step into the Information Security field. Another course to consider is CISSP® that is oriented more toward writing security policies, general rules and those managers who are responsible for IT security. It's not a hands-on course but it is very popular among employers. In fact, this certification became a requirement for IT Security professionals working for DoD.

As technology evolves, the security of information becomes an issue #1 for all government organizations and private corporations (banks, infrastructure builders, transpirations, energy, etc) due to the fact that successful hacking attempts by internal and external hackers (with the goal that can vary from simply damaging the system, denying access to it, or stealing social security numbers or corporate secrets) ares on a rise. It prompted to create numerous regulations and IT security standards such as FISMA, NIST, HIPAA, GLBA, Sarbanes-Oxley, PCI, that are intended to protect the information, privacy, medical records, and many other valuable entities. (Run the search on Google if you are interested what those standards means).

Suddenly, the knowledge and hands-on experience of IT Security became extremely valuable, and, therefore, the compensations for expertise in that area often exceed $100,000. For instance, below is a Job Description of IT Security professional to be hired by IBM in November of 2008 with a compensation up to $105K.

Network Security/Network/Communication Specialist

Support the IBM HIGLAS application, server and end-user community. Perform daily network operations on multiple applications and be available to provide support during non-business hours, work onsite and weekends as needed.
  • Extensive Networking experience (Required Cisco CCNP, CCSP certification (Cisco Certified Security Professional would be a plus)
  • Check Point Certified Security Administrator NGX (CCSA NGX)or equivalent experience (firewalls)
  • Strong working knowledge of Nokia Appliance with Checkpoint Firewall (Level 4)
  • Checkpoint Firewall configuration/Maintenance (Level 4) WAN, LAN,VLAN
  • Strong troubleshooting skills in all aspects of WAN, LAN,VLAN (Level 5)
  • Configure / Troubleshoot Cisco 2691 Router/Firewall Access Lists
  • Cisco Catalyst Switches 4506, 3548, 3550
  • Cisco VPN Client
  • (ISS) Siteprotector/Intrusion Detection System (IDS) Proventia IPS G200 - Level 4
  • Network /Server Security Scanning and reporting ­ ISS Internet Scanner
  • Network /Server Security Scanning and reporting ­ ISS Security Fusion
  • Network /Server Security Scanning and reporting ­ ISS Reporter
  • Network /Server Security Scanning and reporting ­ ISS Third Party Module Cisco Cluster Management suite
Server Support:
  • Windows 2008 / Windows 2012 Servers
  • Veritas Netbackup Business Server
  • ePolicy Orchestrator Server
  • Desktop support exp
  • Inventory management
  • Excellent communications skills
  • Must be able to work onsite, rotational and off shift hours
  • Excellent documentation skills Project, Word, Visio
  • Excellent team building skills
  • Responsibilities (or Statement of Work for subcontractors):
  • Network Design/implementation
  • Network performance monitoring
  • Network troubleshooting
  • Update Firewall Rules upon request
  • Create maintain network diagrams
  • Network health checks
  • Network liaison to work with carriers AT&T and Virtela
  • Network device maintenance (patching)
  • Network Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) security policy creation/updates
  • Firewall IDS log monitoring
  • Submission of ManageNow MNCR/MPT
  • Work with the ASP (Boulder) on network update or problem resolution
  • Daily checks of the entire Linthicum infrastructure
  • Windows Server Administration
  • Unix Server Administration
  • Helpdesks tickets
As you can see, nobody pays $100K for lack of knowledge. However, some days ago those professionals who apply for this job were in your shoes. At least you know that $100,000 pay check is possible if you can apply maximum efforts.
View HERE the salary averages for experienced security practitioners.
Contact us today to sign on for the classes and be among the elite of the IT Professionals.
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