MCSE 2000;Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA);MCDBA 2000 (SQL Server 2000);MCSA 2003
08 Jun to 02 Aug 2005
Please bear with me, I will explain my thought process and how I came to choose Koenig-Solutions plus other good to know bits and pieces...
Please bear with me, I will explain my thought process and how I came to choose Koenig-Solutions plus other good to know bits and pieces.
Oh where to start! In the beginning
I decided a few years ago that I quite fancied the MCSE certification. I have always enjoyed ‘messing' around with computers and had been self taught over many years. As a result I had grown quite adapt at building and loading/configuring software. As the price of computers started to drop I created my own home network with the help of windows wizard. This is when it struck me how little I did know… Yes it is easy to follow a wizard, but what happens when thing change or there is a problem? So I decided that the MCSE was for me. I don't come from an I.T back ground and my knowledge of servers was “you log onto one” the end, so I had a lot to learn and the tutor had a big task in front of him.
What were the options?
I went onto eBay and bought the MCSE books (4 book set) and got a bargain. I read about one third of the first book and the others have never been used. I found it hard to follow a book and if something was not clear, where do you turn to.
As I believed I needed assistance, I bought a CBT package from a well known company. This was much better, however it became clear very early on that I needed to focus my attention on the course and not get side tracked. It also never followed a logical path, it never even started with installing server. It would be great if I was that disciplined, but I am not, so again after a couple of sessions of hard slog the focus went and so the course slowed and then ceased to exist. So again this is still in the cupboard.
It didn't take rocket science to realize that I needed a classroom. Somewhere that I could do things at my pace and ask questions so that I can understand the ‘what's and wherefores'. Equally the nature of my job meant that I could not go to collage as I work away a lot and work shifts. This sent me down the boot camp route.
Now there are many boot camps varying in price and duration. The majority of them seem to be for 10/14 days and quite a few thousand pounds. As I mentioned earlier, I have messed with computers for many years, but I still though that 10/14 days would be too short. This sent me on the net looking for longer courses. This led me to Koenig-Solutions, and the added benefit that it was much cheaper. I did some more searching around because cheapest is not always best. There are a few comments on Koenig outside the featured students, but they are there. These comments fall into 2 areas; ‘Best training I ever had' and ‘Boot camps are a waste of time'. Obviously the second opinion didn't worry me too much as the boot-camp was the only real choice. There is a difference with this boot camp, apart from they are a Microsoft gold partner, they follow the course to the Microsoft guidelines and that can not be done with the 14 day camps.
So the first step was to write to Koenig-Solutions and they sent me the assessment test. I had already decide that I was only going to answer the questions I knew the answers too. My logic was why guess I would only be kidding myself if I got the questions right and this may send me on the wrong learning path. As a result I was not surprised when my results returned and my score was not high. I did a bit more searching on the net because my course had just gone from 20 days to 40 days. Bottom line was I still wanted to become a MCSE and the test result would be right so why look elsewhere. In this time frame the MCSE 2003 had come out so this could move my 40 days to 50 days even more time off work. Well life has a funny way of working out and I was issued with redundancy notice. This then got me wondering if the MSCE would be enough! I have to find a new job? Would I have what the market wants? This is am opportunity of a career change! plus many other questions.
Koenig-Solutions do suggest that anyone taking a course should consider taking multiple certifications and only pay for one flight. So I decided on MCSE, MCSA, MCDBA and the CCNA. I re-sat the assessment test with the same logic as the first and got much the same result. This has resulted me in opting for the 67 day course (phew now that is a long time from the original 20 days) and also requesting the one to one training. This I feel will give ME the certifications what I wanted. I compared the fee Koenig gave me with a local company in Manchester England . To take the same exams and a shorter timescale (they would not give the extra days) and without one to one was many thousands dearer . Koenig here I come. So the course booked I then booked the flights with Emirates. (I chose a dearer flight as I didn't want a ‘cattle market' cheap one).
All that just to decide that Koenig was the best option!
India here I come… but wait,
Boy did I need some inoculations; Typhoid, Rabbis, Hepatitis A and B, Tetanus, Polio, Diphtheria, Encephalitis and a course of malaria tablets. Some were available from the doctors and therefore free, but rabbis (not available anywhere) and Encephalitis where only available at the School of Tropical Medicine in Liverpool at £30 per injection. (Still find it strange that I didn't have a natural immune system for all these J in Cheshire ). I felt like a pine cushion, but still better safe that sorry. Check with your own doctor for yourself. (When asking the other students what they had, it seems the doctor seen me coming with mug tattooed on my head because nobody else had all the jabs)
Then there was the visa. I chose to take my application to the Indian Consulate in Birmingham . Just a couple of pointers;
1. Contacts; Koenig will supply names and address, but remove the telephone numbers and reference to Koenig.
2. Do NOT put holiday and short course, just put holiday.
I did both of the above and it only created more questions and the gentleman on the desk did say that I would have been better not to mention the course in any contents. Also if you take the application by hand they are only open 9.30 to 12.30 and then you have to return AFTER 4.30PM to collect your passport with the visa.
As mentioned before I have only messed with computer before, so I opted for the pre-study course books. Now I would say that they are not the best print quality (some of the images are not as clear as the should be), but for me they were defiantly worth getting as they did make things a lot clearer and gave me much more confidence before attending the course. So my recommendation would be, unless you work in the field every day, spend the money and get the books.
You may also want to look at http://www.indiamike.com/ for information about India . The forum on here is a great unbiased help, if like me this is your first visit to India . It is huge country with many cultural differences that may get you prepared for a shock.
||1 Double with Desk and Telephone
||Wired into room. (the only hotel that does I think)
|Sunny quiet area
||No… there are parks, but Delhi is loud
||Not in Rangoli Park , but loads within 5 min walk
||Very Quite… All students
||Very, all the Indians are friendly, we could learn from them
||When ever you want it, about 30 rupees a piece
||5 minutes away
|Proximity to shops and bars
||On a very busy road
|Time to location
||20 minutes walk, 5/10 minutes drive
||Labs, test Centrex, reception
||Yes in all rooms
|One to one
||Yes and recommended
||Bank next door, but they will exchange in Reception
|Proximity to shops
||Near, but junk
||Yes, just ask and they will set you up with a sign on
||Lunch ordered from about 5 restaurants including subway
||Laid on as and when you need them.
In my time hear I have had 4 tutors, All I can say is they know their stuff and took someone who knows very little and gave me the knowledge to pass the exams. I would also like to take a bit of credit myself, seeing how I put many hours in each night and every weekend of extra study.
My hotel really is only 20 minutes walk away, but they supply taxis on demand so you don't need to walk anywhere. They collect you in the morning and drop you off when you're finished.
Exams couldn't be easier to book, and you sit them when you feel ready. You will know your own timescales and the amount you need to do, so pace it yourself.
The driving has to be seen to be believed, 3 rules
- You must have a horn and sound every 100 yards
- You have right of way
- Go the quickest way at all times, don't bother about whether you are on the right side of the road or is something coming at you, remember point 2.
The only exception to the above rules are cows always get right of way and nobody beeps their horn at a cow.
- Don't underestimate how long you're staying here. 4 weeks may seem a short time, but it is hard. (Even harder if you do 10 weeks like me).
- Be prepared to study hard. I do mean hard, even people on the fast track and super fast track put 4 hours or more in each night.
- Don't count on getting Sunday off. There is so much study; Sunday usually ends up as a study day.
- Don't expect Delhi to me like a major European city, you're in India and there are superb building and building that look like they should be condemned.
- Don't over stretch your courses, it easier to add courses on (with only the cost of the course and exam) than it is to remove courses as they will charge you (as per web site).
- I came with nothing and am going home with lots of certifications and I would say I have learnt an awful lot since I have been here; more than I would have even hoped to have understood back home.
Finally the people in India are very friendly and always welcome you with a friendly smile.