The Path to Recertification Starts Here


I’ve worked in IT for well over a decade now and I’ve amassed a lot of experience of different industries and technologies over the years.

While I’ve got tons of experience, I’ve let my IT Certifications lapse somewhat. I could make the usual excuses but I’ve simply not been able to dedicate the required time over the last few years due to having a lot of other things going on in my life.

I’ve now found that I have a little more free time to effectively “reboot” my IT studies and this is the primary focus of this blog – it’s to act as a learning journal and to keep myself on track and accountable.

I’m going to use the blog to store my thoughts and notes on the IT Certification route that I end up taking – that route is still work in progress.

A Certification Minefield

When I started in IT back in 2003, the certification path that you took was easy. You started with an MCP in Windows XP and then you moved onto a MCSA in Server 2003. Once that was done you could then upgrade the MCSA to an MCSE and you could pick up pretty much any SysAdmin job that you wanted off the back of that.

For the really hard-core you could look down one of the few vendor specific certification paths such as the Cisco CCNA but they were extraordinarily expensive and you really needed employer sponsorship to take them.

Fast forward 12 years..

In doing some preparation for this blog I started to look into possible certification tracks that I could take – and there are a lot of them to consider.


While the “core” certifications still exist such as the MCSA and MCSE, they have multiple subtracks such as Server 2012, Office365 and SQL Server – each with totally different requirements both in skills and technology. The separate qualification rarely have much overlap.

The MCSA name is now more of a qualification level rather than a specific technical qualification. It would appear that the MSCE is also like this, with many different tracks available such as Server Infrastructure, Private Cloud, Business Intelligence etc..

There is slightly more overlap in these qualifications, typically they build upon the appropriate related MCSA such as the MCSE: Server Infrastructure being an expanded version of the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 qualification.

Vendor certification

One are that has expanded massively over the last decade is vendor certifications.

Nearly every hardware and software vendor now has its own certification track that’s very specific to its own solutions. The classic example of this is the Cisco CCNA but other networking companies offer similar qualifications, Extreme Networks for examples.

It doesn’t stop at networking companies. Security software companies also have got in on the act (Sophos, Smoothwall etc), so have other big vendors such as VMWare, Amazon and Google.

Picking the certification path is going to be tricky.

Where I’m going to start..

Its obviously early days but i’ve made a preliminary list of the the certifications that i’m planning on doing first – these are probably going to be subject to change but its gives me a solid basis. My inital choices are:

Microsoft: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012

ms_logo_smallThis is the very first Server 2012 qualification which is part of the MSCA: Server 2012 certification track. It covers the fundamentals of installation and configuration of Windows Server 2012.

I’ve used Server 2012 for the last few years on a daily basis so i’m used to installation, setup and maintenance so i’m hoping to be able to blast though this quite quickly.

VMWare: Data Center Virtualization (VCA6-DCV)

vmware_logo_smallThe VCA6-DCV from VMWare is an entry level certification covering some of the theory behind VMWare’s product line and how a virtualised datacenter fits into modern businesses.

I’ve used a previous version of VMWare (V5) at one of my previous jobs so i’m very familiar with the concepts behind the software and how to support it. As with the Microsoft course, i’m hoping to be able to complete this sooner rather than later.


I’m hoping to crack on with the Microsoft course pretty sharpish and should be ordering some reference material over the next few days. I’ll be setting myself a target of 6 weeks work through all the course material once the books arrive. Sitting the exams may be tricky as I need to get the time authorised through work – but i’m sure I can arrange something.

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