Showing posts with label MTA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MTA. Show all posts

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Top 5 certifications to kick-start your IT career in 2016

 By Sarah Morgan

The New Year is a time for resolutions and career aspirations. In 2016, if yours is to embark on a career in IT, getting certified is a brilliant way to do this. IT certifications prove and refine your skills and knowledge in IT. This will help you get the early breakthrough your IT career needs, giving it a kick-start for 2016. 
Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong /

We’ve researched and complied the five best entry level certifications available and outlined the knowledge and skills each certification offers you. These cover the basics in IT hardware and software, networking, Windows Server and software development. These are highly popular and rewarding areas of IT and can be excellent starting points for many IT careers. Find out how they can be helpful for you and your future.

1. CompTIA A+

CompTIA’s A+ certification is the starting point of many great IT careers. It gives you a fundamental understanding of basic hardware, software, and networking concepts. A huge benefit of the A+ is the practical skills you learn through hands-on experience. This is critical early-on in your career, building the foundations of knowledge you’ll need now and in the future.

The A+ is a highly regarded entry level certification throughout the IT industry and is often a requirement for many entry-level IT job roles. This is the case in companies like Canon, HP and Dell for example. It is attractive to employers partly because it’s vendor neutral, making it applicable to whatever technology your employer is using, and because of the wide range of skills it covers. These skills will be the most up-to-date available due to CompTIA’s curriculum update in 2015. 

After achieving your A+ certification, you’ll be able conduct maintenance and setup of PCs, laptops, printers, mobile devices, network and operating systems. These versatile skills will help you secure your first job in IT like Computer Technician and IT Support, averaging salaries of between £20,000-£25,000 (all average salaries from 

2. CompTIA Network+

After your A+, you can advance on to CompTIA’s Network+ which, like it’s prerequisite, is recognised globally throughout the IT industry. This is the perfect certification to steer your career into networking as you’ll learn to configure and control vendor-neutral networking technologies. 

You’ll learn to manage, protect, maintain and configure wired and wireless devices in a network. It is these specialised networking skills that can give you an edge early in your career, helping you stand out from others starting their IT careers. You’ll be able to apply for roles like Network Support Technician with an average salary between £25,000-£30,000.

3. Microsoft MTA: Windows Server Administration Fundamentals

The Microsoft Technology Associate (MTAs) certifications are aimed at the entry-level in areas like networking, database, cloud and software development fundamentals. The MTA: Windows Server Administration Fundamentals teaches you the basics of installing and managing a server. This MTA is good for those looking to secure their first job in IT because there are no prerequisites. Some basic prior knowledge of Windows Server’s role in businesses would help your learning, but is not necessary. The MTA: Windows Server Administration Fundamentals has the potential to open many doors for you in 2016 because of the fundamental server it teaches you, especially if you’ve had difficulty finding an introductory IT role.

The MTA: Windows Server Administration Fundamentals benefits from Microsoft’s hugely recognisable brand name, and focuses on a hugely popular technology. You’ll learn about installing servers, server roles, active directory, server storage, server performance management, and server maintenance. The MTA Windows Server Administration Fundamentals can help you on your way to an entry-level Server Support role with a £26,000 average salary. 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

4. Microsoft MTA Software Development Fundamentals

If you’re looking for a software development role creating and managing web and desktop applications, the MTA Software Development Fundamentals is a great certification to get you started. Like other MTAs, it has no prerequisites and requires no on-the-job experience. It is recommended that you have some basic prior knowledge of C# or Microsoft Visual Basic .NET as this will help your learning. Again, this is not compulsory. 

You’ll build an understanding of core programming, object-oriented programming, general software development, web applications, desktop applications, and databases. It covers all aspects of software development giving you all the knowledge you’ll need to get started in software development roles. The MTA can prepare you for a Trainee or Junior Software Engineer role with an average salary between £20,000-£25,000.

5. Cisco CCNA (Routing & Switching)

If you’re interested in networking, Cisco’s CCNA (Routing & Switching) is another excellent starting point. However, it does require you to be familiar with networks and have a minimum of six month’s working experience. Once you’re certified though, you’ll be in the perfect position for you to start growing your career in networking. 

The CCNA looks specifically at Cisco technology, which is dominant in the networking and switching industry with around 60% market share according to Statista. It demonstrates you have the routing and switching skills required for network support positions, building your skills in installing, configuring, operating and troubleshooting networks. After getting CCNA certified you’ll be able to advance into roles like Network Administrator or Network Supervisor with average salaries between £35,000 to £40,000, really giving your IT career a boost for 2016.

Getting certified is always a great way to boost your career in IT, worth considering at any stage of your career. Getting certified demonstrates and improves your skills whilst keeping them current. It can also make you better at you job on a day-to-day basis, and could come with a pay rise of 10 percent or more according to Discover 200+ accelerated courses that can help you in the area most suitable for you.

 About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Friday, 2 January 2015

Certifications to start your IT Career in 2015


Looking to start your IT career in 2015? Check out this list of the top entry level certifications to help secure your first job in the field of IT. Completing any one of these will prove you have the associated skill set necessary to perform in a range of entry level IT jobs.

Microsoft entry level certifications

MicrosoftIf you're considering a career in technology then it's almost a certainty you'll end up working with Microsoft technologies. The MTA certification (Microsoft Technology Associate) is Microsoft's introductory track addressing a wide spectrum of fundamental technical concepts.

The MTA is split into three tracks which you can follow depending on your interests and career goals:

  • MTA IT Infastructure track - if you want to build a career in desktop, server infrastructure or private cloud computing this is the track for you. Hone your skills around window desktop and server operating systems, networking and security.
  • MTA Database track - this track is for those chasing a career in business intelligence or data platform administration and covers database fundamentals.
  • MTA Developer track - for those looking to become a software developer, this track prepares you to get hands on with Microsoft tech. Choose from a range of training to develop fundamental skills in software development, gaming, HMTL5, .NET, software testing and web development. 
Passing just one exam will gain you an MTA certification and prepare you for the more advanced MCSA, MCSE and MCSD certification tracks. Though it's important to note the MTA is not required as a prerequisite certification to the more advanced tracks.

Cisco entry level certifications

If you are interested in starting a career as a networking professional, attaining a Cisco certification is a huge step in making this a reality. As well as being a global technology leader specializing in networking and communications, Cisco has one of the most popular and widely recognised certification programs in the IT Industry.

The CCENT credential (Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician) will be your ideal starting point. Attaining the CCENT certification proves you have the ability to install, maintain, secure and troubleshoot small networks. 

This will qualify you to get a job as a network or help desk technician, whilst also acting as the prerequisite for Cisco's Associate level certifications like the CCNA and CCDA.

CompTIA entry level certifications

CompTIACompTIA are a non profit trade association providing a range of globally recognized, vendor neutral certifications. Their most popular certifications are the A+ and Network+ certifications:

  • A+ certification - achieving this credential shows you have a solid skills foundation in software and hardware. This course is designed to reflect the skills needed to excel as a computer support professional and has been adopted by HP and IBM as a requirement for all their technical staff. The A+ credentials is so popular it recently passed the 1 million mark for individuals attaining the certification.
  • Network+ certification - this is a fantastic alternative to Cisco certification for those considering a career in Networking. The Network+ credential proves you have the skills and knowledge to configure and operate a variety of networking products.
Take a combined A+ and Network+ course with Firebrand and attain both certifications in just 7 days.

So there you have it, the top certifications to kick start your IT career in 2015, what are you waiting for?

Author Profile

As part of Firebrand's global marketing team, Edward actively works to serve the IT community with news, reviews and technical how to guides. Working in the Industry for almost 3 years, Edward has a wide variety of experience with Microsoft Technologies including SharePoint, Windows Server and Exchange Server. Edward is an active member of the IT community contributing to a variety of tech publications including Microsoft TechNet, Channel Pro and PC Advisor.

Friday, 11 July 2014

9 Firebrand Apprentices achieve a staggering 76 certifications in just 5 weeks


Last week we said goodbye to yet another fantastic group of young apprentices. After spending five weeks of intense training with us over the past year, the group’s prospects are looking brighter than ever. They are now well on their way to a career in IT.

From left to right - Iman Attia, Fraser Price, Lewis Graham, Billy Raymond Rowan Farmer, Gary Fildes (Instructor), Lamar Brownbill, Jack Lugar, Alex Buckland and Jacob Noble. 
As a result of their Firebrand Apprenticeship, the group of 9, known affectionately as DESK0913, achieved a staggering number of industry certifications. The industry recognised certs are definitive measures of their technical aptitude and identify the group as driven, smart and ultimately extremely employable.

Altogether, the 9 students attained the following:

36 MTA’s
18 CompTIA Strata’s
4 CompTIA A+
5 CompTIA Network+
5 CompTIA Security+
5 MCTS Windows 7 070-680 (FULL MCP)

The brilliant achievement includes 73 exam passes of technical certifications, 7 ICT functional Skills, 18 City and Guilds exam passes – that’s another apprenticeship cohort with 100 exam passes.

These are all official industry recognised certifications requiring diligent studying and the completion of tough exams. As anybody who has experienced Firebrand’s accelerated training will attest to – achieving these qualifications is no easy feat.

And it gets even more impressive. These qualifications were all achieved by our apprentices during a year of full-time work. The group gained invaluable real-world experience with their employers and we expect them to remain employed even after completing their apprenticeship - a near-perfect 99% of them do.

If you’re looking for a career in IT, you can get industry recognised certifications and earn cash whilst in a proper job. Check now to see if you’re eligible to become a Firebrand Apprentice. Alternatively, if you want a talented and driven young person within your organisation, see the additional benefits of hiring a Firebrand Apprentice on our site.

It’s a great effort all round – congratulations and good luck to Iman, Fraser, Lewis, Billy, Rowan, Lamar, Jack, Alex and Jacob!

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Friday, 26 July 2013

A guide to the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) Networking Fundamentals Certification


What is the MTA?

The Microsoft Technical Associate (MTA) programmes are entry-level training and certification in the fundamentals of IT Infrastructure, Database and Software Development, designed by Microsoft, with the MTA Networking Fundamentals programme focusing on the IT Infrastructure track. By completing this programme and passing the associated online exam, it can be used as a stepping stone to the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) exams.

The purpose of the MTA Networking Fundamentals programme is to provide an overview to candidates on the essentials of networking principles. Being a Microsoft exam you will be learning the foundations of Windows Server and any potential candidates are expected to have hands-on experience with networking management tools, DNS, TCP/IP, and an understanding of the names resolution process and network protocols and topologies.

Target Audience

The Networking Fundamentals programme is associated with the IT Infrastructure track and is intended for those candidates who are interested in building a career in desktop support, server maintenance or cloud services. Potential candidates

for this programme could be looking to enhance their knowledge and understanding in networking, or could already be in a support role and looking for career progression.

What You Will Learn

The curriculum is segmented into 3 domains, containing 14 learning objectives in total:

1. Understanding Networking Infrastructures

1.1. Understand the concepts of the Internet, intranet, and extranet

This objective may include but is not limited to: VPN, security zones, firewalls.

1.2. Understand local area networks (LANs)
This objective may include but is not limited to: perimeter networks; addressing; reserved address ranges for local use (including local loopback IP), VLANs; wired LAN and wireless LAN.

1.3. Understand wide area networks (WANs)
This objective may include but is not limited to: leased lines, dial-up, ISDN, VPN, T1, T3, E1, E3, DSL, and cable and their characteristics (speed, availability).

1.4. Understand wireless networking
This objective may include but is not limited to: types of wireless networking standards and their characteristics (802.11A, B, G, N including different GHz ranges), types of network security (for example, WPA/WEP/802.1X), point-to-point (P2P) wireless, wireless bridging.

1.5. Understand network topologies and access methods.
This objective may include but is not limited to: star, mesh, and ring.

2. Understanding Network Hardware

2.1. Understand switches
This objective may include but is not limited to: transmission speed; number and type of ports; number of uplinks; speed of uplinks; managed or unmanaged switches; VLAN capabilities; Layer 2 and Layer 3 switches, security options; hardware redundancy; support; backplane speed; switching types, MAC table; understanding capabilities of hubs vs. switches.

2.2. Understand routers
This objective may include but is not limited to: transmission speed considerations, directly connected routes, static routing, dynamic routing (routing protocols), default routes; routing table and how it selects best routes; routing table memory, NAT, software routing in Windows Server.

2.3. Understand media types
This objective may include but is not limited to: cable types and their characteristics, including media segment length and speed; fibre optic; twisted pair shielded or nonshielded; cabling, wireless; susceptibility to external interference (for example, machinery, power cables); susceptibility to electricity (for example, lightning), susceptibility to interception.

3. Understanding Protocols and Services

3.1. Understand the OSI model
This objective may include but is not limited to: OSI model; TCP model; examples of devices, protocols, and applications and which OSI/TCP layer they belong to; TCP and UDP; well-known ports for most-used purposes (not necessarily Internet); packets and frames.

3.2. Understand IPv4
This objective may include but is not limited to: addressing, subnetting; NAT, static IP, gateway; APIPA; network classes, classful/classless IP addressing; reserved address ranges for local use (including local loopback IP).

3.3. Understand IPv6
This objective may include but is not limited to: subnetting; IPconfig; why use IPv6; addressing; IPv4toIPv6 tunneling protocols to ensure backwards compatibility; dual IP stack; subnetmask; gateway; ports; packets; reserved address ranges for local use (including local loopback IP)

3.4. Understand names resolution
This objective may include but is not limited to: DNS, WINS, steps in the name
resolution process

3.5. Understand networking services
This objective may include but is not limited to: DHCP, IPsec, remote access

3.6. Understand TCP/IP
This objective may include but is not limited to: tools such as ping; tracert; pathping; Telnet; IPconfig; netstat, reserved address ranges for local use (including local loopback IP); protocols.

Sample Questions

Below are some examples of the types of multi-choice questions you may be asked to the exam.

Q1. Which IEEE standard relates to WLAN

   A. 1394
   B. 802.3
   C. 802.5
   D. 802.11

Q2. Which layer of the OSI Model do bridges work on?
   A. Layer 1
   B. Layer 2
   C. Layer 5
   D. Layer 7

Q3. You would like clients in one subnet to receive IP addresses from a DHCP server in a different subnet. What feature would the interconnecting router need to support?
   C. DNS
   D. None of the above

From an Academic POV…

This programme can be embedded into any IT curriculum starting from Level 2 provision, with particular links to the IT Professional certification track. Delivery styles will vary, but it is recommended that students really embrace the MTA curriculum and training providers use a good blend of hands-on resources and plenty of intense revision sessions. Typical delivery time is between 3-6 days, including exam.

As this is a Microsoft programme learners and training providers often find the MTA programmes are fun to teach and students who have a passion for Networking will fully benefit from its course content.

From an IT Professional POV…

If you are just starting your career in IT and have developed a keen interest in the Infrastructure track, then there is no better place to start building up your professional vendor portfolio than with the MTA Networking Fundamentals exam. As you can see from the certification path below the MTAs provide an excellent foundation to your future in IT. 

Other related MTA exams are 98-349 Windows Operating System Fundamentals; 98-365 Windows Server Administration Fundamentals and 98-367 Security Fundamentals.

MTA Benefits
  • A qualification that is sought after
  •  Helps towards MCTS/MCSA Level Certifications
  • Validates Fundamentals
  • Microsoft Certification on your CV!

Exam Details

Code:                        98-366
Duration:                    45 Minutes
No. of Questions:       35
Pass Mark:                 70% (25 Qs Correct)
Question Format:        Multi-Choice, Drag & Drop
Exam Vendors:           Certiport & Prometric

Considering attaining your MTA Certification?

Firebrand are one of the few IT Training companies in the UK who off the the full range of MTA certifications. To find out more about the courses offered, check the links below.

Author Bio
This article was written by Adrian Davies, Apprenticeship Development Manager at Firebrand Training. Adrian has been in the IT Training industry since 2001 and prior to Firebrand was the Curriculum Manager for Pearson PLC. 

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Two Microsoft MTA courses launched

Firebrand has been given the opportunity to pilot the MTA program with Microsoft. MTA stands for Microsoft Technology Associate, and is the entry-level Microsoft certification. The image below shows how the Microsoft certs stack up.

This is a great opportunity for Firebrand – and a first for Microsoft’s commercial market - as MTA has previously only been delivered in the academy and apprentice space.

Two MTA courses have been added to the websites: MTA Software Development & Database Administration and MTA Networking, Security & Windows Server Administration. These courses will provide you with a first step on the Microsoft career path – in database, development, networking and security.

Microsoft Technology Associate