A training center sales rep told me that with an MCSE certification, I could land a $100,000-a-year job with minimal experience. Is this a realistic figure?

A. Anything is possible, but the salary you have been quoted is highly optimistic. If you read the salary surveys for an MCSE, ( Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine Salary Survey or Certification Magazine's "Certification and IT Professionals" research study ) you'll observe that most MCSEs are earning $35,000 to $65,000 per year. Less experience means less money or no money at all while you're trying to find a job. Before you sign on the dotted line, remember that you will be paying back a loan that's equivalent to a car payment. IT certification is one of the best career enhancement bargains, but it's not for everyone. Go into this with your eyes open and realize that the promise of a high-paying job for people with no experience is not realistic.

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