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Can certification alone get you a job?

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by abstrakt, Jun 10, 2005.

  1. abstrakt

    abstrakt Bit Poster

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    Hey guys,
    This is my first post since my introduction so plz be nice! :)

    Anyhoo, im hoping to get a job in networking and plan to do this by working towards a CCNA and maybe later on a CCIE. My only other qualifications are 2 A-levels in Computing and Physics.

    I'd just like to know weather this alone will get me a career in networking, or will I need more academic type qualifications, say a degree in Computer science? Or perhaps just a wider range of certifications like A+ or Network+?

    I also realise I will need experience in networking before I can actually get a job in networking. This creates an interesting dilema, akin to the age old chicken and egg problem. To get around this I've considered writing to local IT businesses to see if they'd take me on as a junior/trainee while I study for my CCNA. Has anyone ever heard of this working? Or does anyone know any other ways around this experience problem?

    I'll be really grateful for anyones help with these problems.
     
  2. KeithNN

    KeithNN Byte Poster

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    Certification alone CAN get you a job - but it depends at what level you're prepared to start. My A+ got me started as an ICT Technician at a local school. Low paid but it's a start and helps you to get more experience for the next step (or help with hands on for those certs!).

    Your first cert really depends on where you're going and how quickly you'd like to get there. To follow my route then the A+ would be a good start (and has a little bit of basic Networking if you're that green). If you're not bothered about a quick start then the CCNA is great (with a lack of experience the CCNA won't be fast!). Some training providers will start you off with the Network+ before letting you continue onto the CCNA (but it's not a prerequisite) because it'll give you a good grounding in Network fundamentals. You'd also have a quick cert to help with your first job.

    Your A level and the fact that you're doing a cert (whichever you choose) could also help you get into an entry-level position - as long as you don't expect too much.
     
    Certifications: MCSA/MCSE, MCDST, MOS Mstr, Sec+,Net+,A+
    WIP: 70-284
  3. abstrakt

    abstrakt Bit Poster

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    Yeah maybe I was being a bit too ambitious diving head-first into a CCNA.

    These A+ and Network+ courses sound alright from what i've read about them, and as you say seem great as a first step.

    My eventual aim is to go down the Cisco route and hopefully become a network engineer or analyst. If you dont mind me asking, does your ICT technician job give you networking experience? Or are there entry-level networking positions available for people like me looking for a fast-track way into networking?

    Also, would an MSCE or other MS cert be worth considering to go along with a CCNA?

    Cheers :thumbleft
     
  4. KeithNN

    KeithNN Byte Poster

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    Not necessarily - but, with little experience, maybe biting off a little more than you can chew depending on your ability to learn (not trying to belittle you at all - I know I'd have struggled!).

    Maybe someone with more knowledge will correct me but I'd say your best route would be A+, Network+ and then CCNA - with MCSE somewhere along your path. You will find that each of those certs will build on the previous one and ease(!) you into it!

    It does but not all ICT Technicians get into the Network (at one interview I was told in no uncertain terms that the Network Manager didn't open Computers - meaning I'd not get involved in the Network side!). My situation is definitely a lot different because our Network Manager (with "9 years" experience) doesn't have a clue - she's not even good enough to be Technician! so I'm, literally, running our network.

    Probably not purely on the Networking side. Most people I know have worked their way up from entry-level such as Technician or help desk.
     
    Certifications: MCSA/MCSE, MCDST, MOS Mstr, Sec+,Net+,A+
    WIP: 70-284
  5. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    I hope certification alone *can't* get someone a job. While certifications are useful and sometimes even important, they don't always mean what you think they do. Number one on my hit parade of important things to get a job is *experience*. Also, a solid education can be a wonderful asset. Certs come and go but a degree if forever.

    That's not to say that you have to go to school and get a degree but you do have to get expereince, usually at entry level type jobs and work with computers and networks before you can ever expect to tackle a higher level job.

    The CCNA is great if you take to networking like a duck takes to water but for most people, it's pretty challenging. I'd suggest going the A+ and Network+ route and laying an foundation first. When I was doing freelance, my A+ cert is the one that got me the most jobs. Tons of people are looking for techs who can install PCs, servers and do Ethernet rollouts. You don't need a CCNA for those but as part of the process, you end up touching switches and routers as well as the PCs and servers.

    Just my two cents worth. :)
     
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  6. KeithNN

    KeithNN Byte Poster

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    But here we're, I think, talking about getting that first step on the ladder. A cert should be able to get you that first entry-level position (Junior Technician or Level 1 Help Desk) but I agree with you totally in the case of appointing someone, say an MCSA/MCSE, purely on the certs they hold and no experience to back them up...
     
    Certifications: MCSA/MCSE, MCDST, MOS Mstr, Sec+,Net+,A+
    WIP: 70-284
  7. abstrakt

    abstrakt Bit Poster

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    Thanks for the advice. Kinda makes me realise that this is gonna be a lot harder than I initially thought. Needed the reality check I suppose. :hhhmmm

    At the same time I now have a clearer idea of where I want to go and how i'm gonna get there.

    I hear what your saying about gaining experience and taking an easy learning curve, however computers have always been relatively easy for me. Most of what I know is self-taught, and includes basic troubleshooting, programming (C++, VB, Python), and basic network management from running a simple 5 computer network at home. I'm always the guy who friends and family will call if their PC goes belly up. I honestly dont mean to brag here (sorry if it sounds like that) but i'm basically saying that if I put my mind to it I'm sure I could gain a more in-depth knowlege of things like networking.

    Thanks again for your help, much appreciated! :biggrin
     
  8. KeithNN

    KeithNN Byte Poster

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    OK, now I'm home from work I can dig out my Job Description and quote at you. Overall Purpose of Job is given as:
    Under main responsibilities you'll find:
    Any router configuration is, usually, the domain of the LEA (we have a very nice young lady pop down to us every six months or so...) but everything else is there for us to muck about with... er... maintain in a professional manner... Although it depends on what other roles are there. At a previous school I was the only Technical staff so in a case like that you're in charge of the Network. At other schools you may be under a Network Manager and it depends on them if you have any Network responsibility.
     
    Certifications: MCSA/MCSE, MCDST, MOS Mstr, Sec+,Net+,A+
    WIP: 70-284
  9. abstrakt

    abstrakt Bit Poster

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    Can I ask how you got into doing freelance work? It sounds interesting and would definately be great for some hands-on experience.
     
  10. abstrakt

    abstrakt Bit Poster

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    That sounds pretty good actually. Something like that would be great for the kinda experience i'm looking for. Although I dont think my old high-school would even think about taking me on considering the hell I caused for the administrator. At one point I managed to hack the network and put counter-strike on the network hard drives. We were playing for weeks before someone got caught! :lol:
     
  11. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    In my case, I was going to school full-time and working full-time at a non-IT job to pay the bills. My first bit of experience was actually a class project, installing the router, switch, cabling and PCs in a new classroom. Naturally I put it on my CV. I got my A+ and Network+ in short order.

    I posted my CV on various techie job sites such as dice, careerbuilder and monster. Got my first call from an outfit in Virginia that was looking for a tech for a one-day hardware rollout in my area. I quickly purchased a toolkit (which I really didn't need), got all the materials from the vendor, and away I went.

    Fortunately, there was a more experienced tech also working the job so he walked me through how to deal with the contract and invoice for the job.

    After that, calls started coming in...very occasionally at first but then more frequently. I had some recruiters get to know me and like me so if there was a job in my area, they'd send it to me first.

    I registered with ManPower Professional which was an IT recruiter local to me, so I got to know my recruiters face to face. I finally got too busy to maintain my non-IT "day job" and quit. I was finishing up updating a UNIX server and installing additional RAM for the thing as well as upgrading the PCs for the company, then moved to a three month temp job for the IT Dept of a small local city.

    When that ended, I did phone support (via a cell phone) for an HP project, but it only paid when I got a call and I only got a few calls a week. I finally landed a job at HP as a contract worker but it was only part-time. I was hoping my tech writing gig would make up the difference but all of the jobs dried up and I was barely making it.

    My current job opened up and they scooped me up faster than I can blink. Now I work for a software company full-time and do tech writing and editing on the side. I back up tech support at work and help out with the server and router configs on occasion. Helped my supervisor with a Windows Server 2003 DC this morning and watched him reconfigure the Linux Router we have in house. Fun stuff.

    There's more to the story, but it would take a lot of time to tell. You learn something different and new at each freelance job you take. I've made mistakes and only a couple of the people I've worked for have been total @zzh*lez. The rest were pretty decent to work with.

    Hope my rambling missive is somewhat helpful. Let me know if you have any more questions. Cheers.
     
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  12. abstrakt

    abstrakt Bit Poster

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    Yeah its definately helpful thanks. I see from your mini-profile you've got the very certifications i'm currently considering, so it's very useful to hear of your experiences in this line of work.

    I think my first step should be getting the A+ and Network+ certs as a foundation. But after that i'll be considering all the different ways of getting into the career I want, and freelance work is definately a possibility.

    So once again cheers :beers2
     
  13. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    Microsoft's intention is for certifications to prove that you have relevant skills in a particular field. They weren't intended to replace traditional training, education and experience.
    To a certain extent they are being de-valued, but as long as we are all paying £100 per exam, I shouldn't think they'll get too upset about it.
    However, the new MCSE 2003 simulated exams and the new Architect certification may hint at a shift towards making these things harder to obtain.
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  14. abstrakt

    abstrakt Bit Poster

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    I understand this, however I also gather that certs can get you into an entry-level job relatively quickly and you can work your way up using the experience you gain. My aim is to get a half decent job in the shortest time possible.

    So, in retrospect, I think my question woulda been, which will get you a decent job in the shortest time, a degree in computer science, or certification and experience?
     

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