So, over the last couple days, a very interesting prospect has been mentioned to me, brought about by a conversation I had with our network guy about his various Microsoft certifications. Microsoft (or M$ as they're often abbreviated) has a whole slew of different certifications you can get in various aspects of their technology, most focused on enterprise level and developer areas. Because of that, I'd never really bothered with them, as they didn't offer much that was relevant to my previous career as a consumer-level PC Tech.
But given where I am, and where I hope to be for the next five years or so, having those additional higher-level skills would probably prove to be more and more useful, so I've been tinkering with the idea of spending a lot of money for a bit of paper that says I know how to work one of these magical internet boxes.
The most useful, and most common certification is the MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer). In the states, the courses for these usually run between $6,000-$8,000, take a couple months, and cover the things needed to set up, run, and manage medium to large size networks (Active Directory, domain controllers, Exchange, etc).
But, of course, like everything else, it's cheaper overseas. The network guy who's currently here got his training through a company in India, that offers all-inclusive packages in all aspects of the M$ certs. And the freaking part is that they're all VERY cheap, in US terms. And by all-inclusive, the only thing that you have to pay for is getting your butt to New Deli. Everything else, accomodation, food, transport, local guides and translators, etc is provided.
There's a few variables involved in the cost, mostly how long you want the courses to be (they have fast-track classes which are shorter, but assume more previous knowledge), and which location you want to use (Deli is the cheapest, but is hot and in the middle of a big dirty city, while Shaimi is a few bucks more, but is located up in the foothills of the Himalayas). But even with the most expensive options, the courses are MUCH cheaper then in the USA. A few of our IT people here have gotten their certs with a specific company over there, and have nothing by praise for them, not only in how well they treat you, but in the quality of the classes and instructors.
So, two options:
-Spend $6000 or so for a 6-week(ish) course in Chicago to get my MCSE cert
-Spend $3000-$4000 for a 50-day all-inclusive course in India, in Shimia. located in the foothills of the Himalayan mountians, or in the beach resort town of Goa, to get my MCSE cert.
. . . GEE, I WONDER WHAT THE BETTER OPTION IS?!?
Even if I was still in the states, figuring in airfare, it would still be cheaper to go to India. But given that I'll hopefully be ending my next contract in New Zealand, I should be able to use my travel credit from Raytheon for a huge chunk of the flying, and my frequent flyer miles should fill in the rest. At maximum, I might need to shell our a few hundred bucks in airfare.
The company that I'm looking to go with is http://www.koenig-solutions.com/ , Raytheon uses them for most of the training they give to full-time staff, and the people here who have been there say it's absolutely amazing.
So, yeah. Sorry for this disjointed post, but I think I'm going to India early next year.