I think that coming from India on a HB1 visa is the quickest route.
College of the Ozarks (”Hard Work U”) students work rather than pay for tuition:
You live in California? If so then my advice is to get your A+ and then get a job with the Dept. of Corrections as an AISA. Once you’re in the system take advantage of the training and have them take care of your MSCE and all that for you. The only thing in California that’s not going to go out of business anytime soon are the prisons so I’d also say that will be steady work.
2) Pass the Microsoft exams.
3) Move to China where the jobs are. :)
Tell them to look into a tech MOS in the military.
The terms IS Admin and Network Admin are thrown around loosely. The requirements are set by the employer and it depends on the needs and size of the hiring company.
I am the entire IS department for the small business I work for and do absoltely everything on anything that even remotely smells like it might be thought of as something to do with computers. lol
Send your boys to a tech school and have them learn both electronics and network administration. They will then be of value to any size business who is looking to hire them.
Just my 2 cents ... (I’ve been in this field for 30 years).
Well, what do the boys have to say about this? Do they want to become system admins or are you just pushing them into it?
If the boys are motivated to take this career track, then my advice is that they attend a technical school (such as an MCSE course) at night and take any entry-level job that they can find that has them involved with IT in some shape or form - even if it's sitting on the Help Desk coaching panicked end users on what to do when they get the blue screen of death or when their mouse does't work.
To become system or network administrator for any decent sized company, you generally need to have a few years of IT-related experience under your belt as well as the certifications that go with it. Bear in mind that an MCSE course will teach you the material and give you some hands-on, but it won't get you certified. You still need to pass all the tests that are administered by a third party (not the school).
MS`all the way. Don’t fart around.
NoLibZone, I have been a Network Engineer for over 20 years. I only have 1 year of college and some technical school after High School.
Any Cisco certification program such as CCNA, CCNP, or CCIE can help get a foot in the door in an entry Network Admin position. I highly suggest CISSP certification which can really make a candidate attractive for well paying network security positions. Also it is advisable to study Checkpoint firewalls or attaining CCSA and CCSE certifications.
Best of luck.
If it's network infrastructure (Routers, Switches etc.) there is NO SUBSTITUTE for Cisco certifications. They are the price of entry. Period.
And, they are not easy. Even the CCNA entry certification test is failed the first taking by over 80% who try it.
If it's the administration of Servers the MCSE is the way to go and far easier, though it pays less.
At the highest Cisco certification level (CCIE) we often pay $100/hr.
And, you don't need a College education.
My firm currently charges (depending on duration, location, weekends/nights etc.) between $150 and $225/hr for these advanced services. And, they cannot be outsourced to India or China as networks are physical things.
Whats Information Systems Administration? .... I'd call it "management", or maybe a catch-all for IT things that are a bit less technical. I'm sure that there are HR people on the thread who can correct me.
My $0.02? Do they want to be geeks, or do they want to manage geeks? Both have their upsides and downsides.
IT can be lucrative, but it's largely thankless job (when was the last time you called your internet provider and thanked them because you could log on to FR? yep, me either. :-) ) When things go well, it's fun. When things go poorly, the hours are incredibly long and the stress level is high.
As for getting in, The A#1 thing that matters (as with any job) is experience. Get 'em to intern somewhere, or volunteer (schools or churches are good for this). Make some contacts, get some break/fix experience. A question that I always ask at job interviews is "How many PCs do you have at home?" 'None' is the wrong answer, always. "One", is acceptable. "Well, let me think....3 or 4, with parts for 4 more...", is EXACTLY what I'm looking for. Entry level people should be incredibly excited about all things computer.
Certifications / Degrees are OK to fool their way past HR. Once they get in front of techs, all that goes out the window. Personally, my degree (Electrical Engineering) has little to do with what I do, and I haven't bothered to get any certifications (if I was sticking my neck out in the job market, I might, depending). Of the 5 people on my team, one has a degree in accounting, one is an ME, one is a music major, and two don't have degrees at all, at least that I know of.
I can't speak to DeVry, or ITT. I don't give a lot of credence to universities that need to advertise on the radio. BUT - I'd stress that's my own personal prejudice. I also don't give a lot of credence to certifications, degrees, etc etc etc etc. "What do you know?" is what I'm looking for.
We've had a hard time of late finding entry level people. If it's not too late, stress to your kids to BE ON TIME to any interviews, dress appropriately and behave appropriately (no cursing, no gum chewing, and so on). The last entry level guy we hired for the help desk - we started out with high standards, and wound up with "Must show up on time and not swear at the customers when answering the phone." So, if your kids are well mannered (as I'm sure they are with a FReeper for a parent....), they'll have a huge leg up on the competition.
end of brain dump. Tell your kids I said "Good Luck."
MCSE, or Microsoft Certified System Engineer, is a certification that is being replaced with the Microsoft Certified Information Technology Professional, or MCITP. The MCSE still exists for Windows NT and 2000 Server but you can no longer sit for those exams (they’ve been retired), and while you can still sit for the Server 2003 exams, there are 6 you must pass and they’ll soon be retired, too. The MCITP: SA is for System Administrator and requires passing 3 exams and the MCITP: EA is for Enterprise Administrator and requires 5 exams. The MCITP: EA is basically the MCSE for Server 2008, with a new name.
So, ITT and Devry are the training institutes (and there’s many others) that can provide you the training to get ready for those exams, but you still have to pass them on your own, and you can’t bring in books, cell phones, notepads, etc into the testing room, so you should either know your stuff, or you can be like some people who cram the answers collected by cheaters called “brain dumps”. Brain dumps are bad because often they’re just wrong, and seriously you won’t learn anything.
Now if you are interested in other industry certifications there are a ton of them out there... Like already mentioned, Cisco (routers, switches and firewalls mainly), various Unix and Linux, even Apple has certification tests and some interesting certifications.
The main thing to consider is whether you’ll get a job after spending all your time and money getting certified... I have over 50 certifications but I have to as I teach this stuff. Honestly, if you’re not already in the industry I’m not sure it would be a wise investment. The jobs aren’t out there right now, I’m sorry to say. Better to go to college and get your IT related degree, and perhaps volunteer as a student worker on the campus IT staff to get some experience.
Others may have different opinions but I’m very saddened at the lack of prospects for new comers in the industry right now. I am also a Microsoft MVP and I can tell you I am asked to find people jobs all the time and it is hard right now. Not impossible but much more difficult than it’s ever been in my 35 years doing this.
Your community colleges may have suitable certificate and/or degree programs. And you can probably find someone there to give you a straight story as to what is the best program for your needs and what are the true job prospects for graduates.
I don’t want to discourage you but there are a tremendous number of certified IT people who are out of work. The job seeker pool is crowded. Much of the serious advice on this thread is good advice. Get a basic training in computers - A+ - get a low level job... Let the corporation pay for higher level training. Corporations will do this for sharp younger people but not for anyone in their 40’s or beyond. Leaning CISCO VOIP is a good area - (computer network based phone systems). For Cisco Call Manager and Unity (voice mail) training a private school charges about $3200 and it won’t make you certified. Getting base level employment with municipalities, city, county, state universities, school districts or even State bureaucratic employment will help assure eventual paid training towards certification... IF you can get past the bias favoring women and minorities for such positions.
RE> Network Systems Administration: Is this hooking up and maintaining networks?
Yes. Installing and maintaining switches, routers and firewalls (LAN). Understanding network security is typically crucial. Knowledge of types of Telecom data lines is usually important (WAN).
RE> Whats Information Systems Administration?
This is typically installing and maintaining operating systems as servers or desktops in a corporate environment, such as MS Windows or Unix, printing and backup systems, and can also include managing telephone systems (many phone PBXs run over the network these days). Usually systems and network administration are kept as separate functions, but in small companies they can be combined.
RE> Are these good routes:
Can be to achieve internships, which is a good first step, but for actual network admin, engineering, or consulting positions, see my earlier post.
Best of luck.