MCSA and (CIW) Web Designer courses

  Buffy101 09:48 22 Jun 2004

Anyone heard of the Master Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW) Designer and/or Microsoft Certified Sysytems Administrator Qualification (MCSA). There being offered by UK IT training company and wondered if they're a good way to get into IT?

  Gaz 25 17:56 22 Jun 2004

They are not bad.

But you could make more going CISCO.

  Forum Editor 07:25 23 Jun 2004

will certainly involve a qualification of some kind, but beware of spending large sums of money with any training company which leads you to believe that such a paper qualification will be the golden key to the IT door - for it's not true. You don't say how old you are, or whether you have any experience of working with computers, so it's difficult to give you specific advice. As an employer, and someone who has worked in the industry for many years I have some experience of how the industry works, and can pass on some general points.

Like any other industry, the IT business looks for a mix of qualities in people, and one of them is your overall educational level. Increasingly, IT employers are looking for a degree of some kind, and/or some hands-on experience with IT in a commercial sense. If you have worked at the coalface of IT - a corporate network helpdesk - and have a degree, you're well on the way to being the kind of person the industry wants. Most companies will provide ongoing training, and support your subsequent efforts to obtain additional qualifications.

Nothing's set in stone, and of course some people get jobs without having those attributes, particularly if they come across as self-starters with drive and enthusiasm, or have gained experience working in the industry. A paper certification is definitely valuable, and I wouldn't want to deter you from obtaining one at all - just don't be persuaded that it will be answer to your IT prayers, because it won't. I have seen lots of people fall into the trap of believing the sales blurbs of some IT training companies, and spending thousands of pounds on courses, only to find that their expensive paper qualification doesn't result in a plum job.

Study the job columns in the IT press, and get a feel for what employers are after, then make your decisions about how to proceed. The IT industry is in a constant state of flux, and the situation changes from year to yaer.

  Sir Radfordin 13:11 23 Jun 2004

Agree with a lot of the what the FE has said there. Having a qualifcation won't always get a you a job, though if it is the choice between two people one who has a qualification and one who doens't the one with is more likely to be successful.

Every employer seem to be looking for something different and will view qualifcations in a different way.

Any skills shortage you may hear about is likely to be for very specific skills and the bottom-of-the-rung helpdesk jobs are paying fairly poorly.

Nothing wrong in doing the qualification just don't expect it to automatically open doors.

  Buffy101 08:09 24 Jun 2004

Thanks I'm 33 and have also signed up for open uni course in computing but that wont start til october and is goin to be a while before I can apply for jobs so I would like to get into something that will help me into IT asap. This UK IT company advertised in local paper (click here) saying they will train you, part time. They interview first and then place you with a company in the south, so I guess its as good a getting a job, i hope??? I'm just reluctant to join as I've already spent £200 on a online course :o\ which I didn't feel i got any benefit from. Hence the reason I signed up for open uni course as they are well known and as you say a degree will help, but the down side is time. I already work in IT as a DTPer so can use a pc no problem.

  Gaz 25 01:04 25 Jun 2004

Webdesigner courses. lol

They are using frames on their own site - a webdesigners hate! lol

  Gaz 25 01:09 25 Jun 2004

To be honest - I can learn more on PCA and at home... And my experiance has gained.

but all the qualifications sometimes affect your future - best to have them.

  Damo. 19:26 28 Jun 2004

I agree with the FE about spending large sums of money to companys claiming to offer 'Industry Standard' qualifications, a lot of the time the qualifications are not worth the paper they're printed on.

Unfortunately I'm finding out the hard way! I signed up to a 'WebMaster Course' with Scheidegger, at a cost of £1500, it all looked very good and informative, until I was reliably informed by an MCSE qualified friend that it's worthless.
I tried to cancel within the 7 days, but they wouldn't have any of it. Now 12 months later i'm still battling with them, to get a refund.
They insist they're not going to re-fund me, and they also wont send out any of the course materials that I've paid for, the only way I can do it is to actually complete the 12 month course and they will send me 1 course folder every month! Even though I've only got till April 2005 to do it! Ain't gonna happen, just not got the time or the will to do it! It's left a thoroughly bad taste in my mouth about these so-called 'IT Training Companys'

Lesson learnt methinks!!!

  Sir Radfordin 22:27 28 Jun 2004

Very generally speaking my advise to anyone would be to only do any course that you fund yourself because you have a genuine interest in it and want to learn in that way. Doing a course in the hope of getting a job is most likely to lead to disapointment.

If you do a course you are interested in and do well you can prove to any prospective employer you are self-motivated, a self-starter, and can learn. Prove those things and most good employeres will realise they can train you what they need you to know.

  Forum Editor 23:04 28 Jun 2004

I'm interested in more information about your case. Perhaps you could email me with full details?

1. What reason were you given for the company refusing to cancel your agreement within the 7 -day period? This legal provision doesn't apply if the service you signed up for commenced within 7days - did that apply on your case, had the course already started?

2. What reason have you been given for the company's refusal to send you course material?

3. How much is involved?

By all means answer in this thread if you prefer, otherwise you might like to send me details via the "Contact the forum editor" link at top left of the page.

  Taran 23:05 28 Jun 2004

I design for the web a great deal; in fact it forms a very large proportion of my income, yet it is the one overall area I have the least formal training and qualifications in. Some of my clients would probably take this opportunity to suggest that last statement would explain a lot...


I met and chatted with a chap recently who makes a very, very big deal on his site about being such and such qualified as a web designer. In a good natured I'll show you mine if you show me yours session we took a look over one anothers sites (visuals and source code) and the result was not as I'd expected at all.

His own site is very 'old fashioned' with such a simple format and use of colour it looks vastly outdated and very clumsy - his words, not mine. He thought he knew his stuff which all came from one or another web designers qualification. He'd been regurgitating the same methods he'd learned without evolving his own style or building on his skills. He'd basically stagnated into a 2x2=4 mentality where what he'd been taught was the only way to go and this is not as uncommon as many would think.

This leads me up to something that has been mentioned in the forum many times in the past. In design terms, you either have a natural flair and eye for it or you don't. If you do, any training and practise will allow you to flourish. If you don't have an eye for good design then you can only learn it up to a point. There is no foolproof paint-by-numbers formula for producing good websites that anyone can follow and become a success with.

I very much agree with Sir Radfordin when he says that "Doing a course in the hope of getting a job is most likely to lead to disappointment".

In the long term any learning will help and if you have a genuine interest in web authoring then you have my best wishes for a successful future. Web design though, is saturated at present and getting worse all the time. The college I teach at offers almost a dozen web design courses in different stages of difficulty for FrontPage and Dreamweaver alone, as well as many more comprehensive courses on language/platform specific topics like .NET, PHP and MySQL.

The trouble these days is that everyone knows someone with Dreamweaver or FrontPage and you'd be surprised at how many of those people seem to think that because they have some web authoring software they are web designers by default. There's a lot of that about, and it's a growing malady.

We (my college) are currently advertising for a web developer to work within a specific environment. We want an ASP programmer with extensive XHTML and CSS abilities, with .NET very much in the fore for the near future. We are realistic enough to know that we will most likely have to teach our recruit to some extent and during selection I don't care if the applicant has limited ASP experience as long as they are willing to be trained. The important thing in this instance is strong XHTML and CSS knowledge and anyone who can deal with that to a high level will most certainly be trainable in .NET for our future requirements. Either that or we'll go with the other alternative of strong ASP skills with little or no XHTML/CSS talent. Personally I'd prefer the first option, but that's a brief example of what an employer could be looking for and that they are very often more than willing to train the right person in key skills if a strong skill base is already present in a desirable area.

Frankly, if I got an application from someone with an HND or over in software engineering or a foundation degree or above in e-commerce I'd be far more likely to look at them than if they presented a Master Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW) Designer qualification to me.

The only really useful thing I can suggest is this: pick a subject of particular interest and specialise in it. Get a good grounding in a lot of general subjects to do with your chosen field and specialise in one or two of them. XHTML and CSS are playing a larger part in web design all the time due to accessibility and web access device parameters.

.NET/ASP with Access/MS SQL or PHP and MySQL developers are in greater demand. Interest in Flash is low but e-learning, document management systems, content management systems and CRM applications are very big and growing all the time. You could do worse than consider something along these lines.

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