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CCNA cert £1200 wasted it seems

Discussion in 'New Members Introduction' started by bazzawood30, Jul 10, 2010.

  1. bazzawood30

    bazzawood30 Byte Poster

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    Hello everybody

    I have been going to night school for the last 2 years to get my CCNA I passed last month. I was over the moon I was looking forward to a new career in IT I am currently a police officer. I started night school 3 years ago when I did Cisco IT Essentials as I was an computer hobbyist. I just carried on onto the CCNA as it was the natural progression at the college. Have I just wasted the last two years? I have applied for jobs left right and centre but not even got an interview which I am sure it down to no experience. Anybody know the best employers to approach for junior positions or who is actively recruiting at present. I have worked really hard for my CCNA and I really know my onions but I have no way to prove it. I currently have a good salary which makes it hard to even consider some entry level jobs I have a family to support and mortgage to pay. I know this is a common problem i have seen plenty of bloggs about the same subject but somebody must be able to help. This there anyway i can get a work placement around my curent shifts are there any companies that that will take a chance on me?

    Please help

    CCNA cert £1200 wasted it seems
     
    Certifications: ECDL,A+,N+,CCENT,CCNA,MCP,MCDST
  2. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    Well, in the current climate there are people out there thinking '5 years at uni doing my Phd then 10 years working in that stressful job all for nothing, wasted' while clutching their redundancy cheque.

    Nothing that you ever do to try and better yourself in any way is actually wasted. You've gained new skills and nobody can take those away from you.

    I thought that being a police officer was supposed to be a good crack? You're probably earning more than most first line IT guys if you've been there for a while.

    If the sh1tty hours and taking abuse all day are getting you down, I wouldn't consider a career in IT as an alternative. :biggrin

    Doesn't your force have an IT department? Wouldn't that be the first place to try? You've got a foot (or boot) in the door already.
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  3. bazzawood30

    bazzawood30 Byte Poster

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    I work away from home never use the skills i have and get no job satisfaction. I want to improve my work life balance and work in a field i enjoy. I wish i could turn back the clock i would have done so many things differently.
     
    Certifications: ECDL,A+,N+,CCENT,CCNA,MCP,MCDST
  4. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    You, me, and pretty much everybody else except Bill Gates and Richard Branson.

    Fair play to you, but it's a difficult time to think about a 'voluntary' career change.
    I think you'll struggle to juggle two jobs, as was my understanding of your post. I'm assuming your work with the force is on some kind of shift pattern with the requirement to turn up if sh1t happens? In an IT role, it's going to be pretty much the same thing and I can't see the two going hand in hand.

    I did mention the police IT department as you don't say if that's something you've looked into. Can't you bring it up at your next appraisal or whatever? It would be hell of a lot easier, even if you can only get a temporary assignment - rather than throwing away your service and trying to start all over again. I know a few guys who work locally with the IT department in the HQ down here and I believe that Zeb did a stint with them.

    Probably your first port of call.
    Just be aware that IT can have all of the drawbacks that your current role has, and then some.
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  5. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Johnny is spot on in my opinion. I worked with a fella who did IT for Cheshire police. He wasn't paid a fortune and TBH I don't think he liked the role he had but at the end of the day, he gained experience that then enabled him to go onto something that was more his cup of tea.

    Offer to help your local IT Dept out, who knows, they might bite your hand off. With regard to your CCNA being a waste of time and money, it's absolutely not, you are just experiencing first hand why most of us on Cert Forums advise you get into a networking role and then study for something like a CCNA after X months. On its own, its just a piece of paper but backed by some/any experience, its like a signed document that shows you can do certain things.


    Get into the Police's IT dept, get some experience then look for work closer to home, that would be my plan if I were in your shoes. Either that or become a detective
    8)
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), HND IT, HND Computing, ITIL-F, MBCS CITP, MCP (270,290,291,293,294,298,299,410,411,412) MCTS (401,620,624,652) MCSA:Security, MCSE: Security, Security+, CPTS, VCP4, CCA (XenApp6.5), MCSA 2012, VCP5, VCP6-NV
  6. bazzawood30

    bazzawood30 Byte Poster

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    Thanks for the advice, however the force i work for is national IT is in Essex I work in North yorkshire and living in Merseyside. It would be a great option otherwise.
     
    Certifications: ECDL,A+,N+,CCENT,CCNA,MCP,MCDST
  7. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    Bummer.
    So you don't have a local or regional HQ with an IT department?
    I'd have thought any decent sized nick would have some sort of IT section, but then I guess you know more than me.

    Are there any police roles that are 'more IT' than others? Can you get into PC forensics or, I dunno, intelligence, research or something?

    If your local doesn't have an IT department, are there any opportunities to volunteer to help out every time the Inspector makes all his open windows go really big, or de-gunking mice? It all helps, and if you can get to be 'the guy who knows all about IT', then it's a good start.

    And don't forget, if you decide to start over and go for it there is every chance you may have to relocate or travel. So don't let the fact that your nearest Force IT department is a bit too far away be too much of an obstacle. Believe me, it's nothing compared to what you may need to go through.
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  8. bazzawood30

    bazzawood30 Byte Poster

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    I am the IT go to guy at work, I upgrade, repair, and remove viruses etc for colleagues. I am the person they call before they phone essex to get support a month later. I do have the skills but no way of putting that on paper to get me a job.
     
    Certifications: ECDL,A+,N+,CCENT,CCNA,MCP,MCDST
  9. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Why not mate? Jot down everything you do. From what I recall, and I'm sure Zeb can confirm if its the norm, but the fella I worked with was a jack of all trades, expected to do a little bit of everything. From the sounds of things, you are doing some 2nd line tasks..... for the police. You might have more going for you in IT than you think. I'm in Liverpool and I would find it hard to believe that big station by the Albert Dock doesn't have an IT Dept onsite.

    Don't forget, "If you don't ask, you don't get". Why not try and find someone you can ask in Merseyside, another officer perhaps
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2010
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), HND IT, HND Computing, ITIL-F, MBCS CITP, MCP (270,290,291,293,294,298,299,410,411,412) MCTS (401,620,624,652) MCSA:Security, MCSE: Security, Security+, CPTS, VCP4, CCA (XenApp6.5), MCSA 2012, VCP5, VCP6-NV
  10. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    Of course you do mate.
    You have what so many members of this forum would sell their nut-sacks for: real world experience.
    Not only that, but real world experience with a cast-iron employer.

    You put everything that you do, and have done on paper and you've got a cracking CV.

    You're in a really good position - stop putting yourself down. Why has it taken this long into the thread for you to mention these things? You should have started out 'I work for the police force, I'm the local IT guy who deals with in-house first line issues before they get escalated to regional HQ. I upgrade/repair/troubleshoot machines and have recently achieved my CCNA.

    Christ - there's people around here that would kill for that...

    :biggrin
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  11. Asterix

    Asterix Megabyte Poster

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    Load up your CV and we will have a look!
    A few tweaks may be all it needs to get you a couple of interviews! As far as salary is concerned what would be the minimum you require? Are you only applying for jobs that require/prefer Cisco/CCNA? There are a lot of companies out there who are happy to recruit 1st line tech's if they are keen, professional mannered and have demonstrated this through studying in their personal time and gained certs (although these roles are generally not Cisco initially). What are you studying for now? I have a section in my CV (as shown below) which documents the certs i am looking to pursue and also the fact that i am looking to progress further and willing to learn:

    The most important thing to do is............... Keep it up, continue with your personal development and never give up!
     
  12. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    TBH with you mate the fact that you're already doing the job just means you need to restructure your CV to cover that. Just because you're a copper doesn't mean you don't have the skills to do the work in another walk of life.

    If I were in your shoes I would have a look at the CV and definitely change the way you're presenting your experience, yes you're a Policeman but you also happen to be the first line of support for your co-workers and senior management, you're the preferred engineer when it comes to hardware failure and repairs, you're the go to guy when something goes wrong because the Force\Service IT team are too far away and it takes weeks rather than hours for something to be repaired\replaced.

    It's all about the right wording on the CV, you're not telling lies, embellishing etc, you're just explaining better what exactly it is you do from an IT perspective.
     
    Certifications: CNA | CNE | CCNA | MCP | MCP+I | MCSE NT4 | MCSA 2003 | Security+ | MCSA:S 2003 | MCSE:S 2003 | MCTS:SCCM 2007 | MCTS:Win 7 | MCITP:EDA7 | MCITP:SA | MCITP:EA | MCTS:Hyper-V | VCP 4 | ITIL v3 Foundation | VCP 5 DCV | VCP 5 Cloud | VCP6 NV | VCP6 DCV | VCAP 5.5 DCA
    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).
  13. bazzawood30

    bazzawood30 Byte Poster

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    Ok thanks for all of your interest and support I am feeling more positive. I hope you have not misunderstood me the repairing and upgrading I have done is for colleagues on their personal equipment. The IT help I provide to the police is not part of my role however when people need their outlook setting up, printers setting up, projectors and network drives mapping I am the guy who gets a call. I also reboot the server from time to time when the printer server packs up. The only official task I have completed was to put a training package together for a Linux based alarm system, I will point out I know very little about Linux I just know how to work the alarm system.

    Ok here is my CV minus the personal details

    Personal statement
    A committed and proactive professional who has specialised qualifications in Cisco networking. High levels of motivation and discipline utilised to achieve Cisco certification whilst in full-time employment. The ability to learn new concepts and cutting edge technologies quickly, whilst able to troubleshoot issues with a logical and analytical approach. Able to handle responsibility, work on own initiative and achieve goals with effective planning and prioritisation. A proven team leader who enjoys being part of a productive team.

    Qualifications
    CCNA 21/06/2010 Cisco Testing Centre
    CCNA Discovery Sem4 02/06/2010 Southport College
    CCNA Discovery Sem3 19/01/2010 Southport College
    CCENT 08/06/2009 Cisco Testing Centre
    CCNA Discovery Sem2 15/05/2009 Southport College
    CCNA Discovery Sem1 06/01/2009 Southport College
    Cisco IT Essentials (A+) 08/08/2008 Southport College
    ECDL 21/09/2004 Darlington College
    NVQ Lvl2 Retail Operations March 1998 City & Guilds
    4 A-Levels 1995 Formby High School
    9 GCSEs 1993 Formby High School


    Skills acquired
    The CCNA Discovery program has given me a broad knowledge foundation for Cisco networking systems. I am familiar with the Cisco IOS and GUI interfaces used on Cisco hardware. I have proven proficient in the use Cisco equipment in Labs and on simulation software. This includes the administration of Vlans, ACLs, Switch & Router security, Wireless configuration, LAN & WAN Links, Routing protocols and trouble shooting. I have a sound understanding of Microsoft operating systems and computer hardware. I have built, repaired and upgraded many systems for friends and colleagues. I have had a great deal of success with virus and spyware removal. I have also installed a number of domestic wireless networks, and configured their security.

    Employment history
    Police Constable Sept 2002-Date Ministry Of Defence Police

    I have been a police firearms officer for nearly eight years, my role is primarily high visibility armed patrols and fixed point security duties. My position requires a high level of security clearance. I have a number of secondary duties, I undertake Acting Sergeant Duties where I assume responsibility for the police control room and armoury. I am a member of a protestor removal team and a rope access instructor, which involves a considerable amount of planning and training. I also conduct control room duties and undertake additional health and safety tasks, such as building inspections and risk assessments.

    Branch Systems Operator Sept 1998-Sept 2002 Tesco Stores Ltd

    This role was based around fresh food stock control, I was part of a small team that maintained the stock control systems to ensure high levels of stock availability, whilst maintaining low levels of wastage. This involved working to tight deadlines in a dynamic environment.

    Relief Manager April 1996-Sept 1998 Spar, James Hall Retail Stores

    In my two year employment I was able to work my way up from a part-time cashier to a relief manager. My final role involved resuming full responsibility of a store in the absence of the store manager in periods of annual leave, sickness and maternity leave. I would have full responsibility for customer service, stock levels, staff rostering and promotion planning. This role involved travelling within the Southport, Ormskirk and Preston areas.

    Interests
    I enjoy golf, squash and rock climbing in my spare time. When possible I enjoy the outdoors camping and walking in Snowdonia and the Lake District. I support St Helens RLFC and attend matches as often as I can. I enjoy doing DIY around my home including car maintenance, I have dream of building a kit car in the future.
     
    Certifications: ECDL,A+,N+,CCENT,CCNA,MCP,MCDST
  14. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    Ahh MOD Plod, gotta love em :)

    If I were you I would add to the MOD Plod part with regards to your IT skills being utilised to implement various fixes and training\documentation.

    I would perhaps have a look at either of my two CVs and see if that format is more to your liking. I would take out the semester side of the CCNA, you either have the CCNA and CCENT or you don't, employers don't really care if you did it over 4 semesters or a 1 week course, all they care about is the certification and how you're utilising it.
     
    Certifications: CNA | CNE | CCNA | MCP | MCP+I | MCSE NT4 | MCSA 2003 | Security+ | MCSA:S 2003 | MCSE:S 2003 | MCTS:SCCM 2007 | MCTS:Win 7 | MCITP:EDA7 | MCITP:SA | MCITP:EA | MCTS:Hyper-V | VCP 4 | ITIL v3 Foundation | VCP 5 DCV | VCP 5 Cloud | VCP6 NV | VCP6 DCV | VCAP 5.5 DCA
    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).
  15. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    You have listed some 1st line support tasks right there mate. To be honest you are selling yourself short in what you have been doing IT wise over the past few years.

    I would recommend that your perhaps try and add some entry level certs to your CV such as the A+, Network+ and MCDST. I would also highlight that you achieved the CCNA through night school as this shows a big commitment while working full time.

    Hope everything works out for you mate. 8)
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  16. bazzawood30

    bazzawood30 Byte Poster

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    yes good old Mod Plod best kept secret of the civil service.

    forgive the formatting does this read better

    Personal statement
    A committed and proactive professional who has specialised qualifications in Cisco networking. High levels of motivation and discipline utilised to achieve Cisco certification whilst in full-time employment. The ability to learn new concepts and cutting edge technologies quickly, whilst able to troubleshoot issues with a logical and analytical approach. Able to handle responsibility, work on own initiative and achieve goals with effective planning and prioritisation. A proven team leader who enjoys being part of a productive team.

    Qualifications
    CCNA 21/06/2010 Cisco Testing Centre
    CCENT 08/06/2009 Cisco Testing Centre
    Cisco IT Essentials (A+) 08/08/2008 Southport College
    ECDL 21/09/2004 Darlington College
    NVQ Lvl2 Retail Operations March 1998 City & Guilds
    4 A-Levels 1995 Formby High School
    9 GCSEs 1993 Formby High School

    Skills acquired
    The CCNA Discovery program has given me a broad knowledge foundation for Cisco networking systems. I am familiar with the Cisco IOS and GUI interfaces used on Cisco hardware. I have proven proficient in the use Cisco equipment in Labs and on simulation software. This includes the administration of Vlans, ACLs, Switch & Router security, Wireless configuration, LAN & WAN Links, Routing protocols and trouble shooting. I have a sound understanding of Microsoft operating systems and computer hardware. I have built, repaired and upgraded many systems for friends and colleagues. I have had a great deal of success with virus and spyware removal. I have also installed a number of domestic wireless networks, and configured their security.

    Employment history
    Police Constable Sept 2002-Date Ministry Of Defence Police

    I have been a police firearms officer for nearly eight years, my role is primarily high visibility armed patrols and fixed point security duties. My position requires a high level of security clearance. I have a number of secondary duties, I undertake Acting Sergeant Duties where I assume responsibility for the police control room and armoury. I am a member of a protestor removal team and a rope access instructor, which involves a considerable amount of planning and training. I also conduct control room duties and undertake additional health and safety tasks, such as building inspections and risk assessments. My IT skills have been drawn upon in my police career, due to lack of local IT support. I am regularly required to assist colleagues setting up client services. I map network drives, configure outlook, add printers and troubleshoot the print server. I was tasked with producing a step by step user guide to a Linux based alarm system. I assist less IT literate officers with computer based learning and Microsoft office issues.
     
    Certifications: ECDL,A+,N+,CCENT,CCNA,MCP,MCDST
  17. bazzawood30

    bazzawood30 Byte Poster

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    Ok spin doctors is this worth mentioning?

    The MOD did have its own e-learning system called delc which while wasting away on night shift a did a few online courses for IT people.

    installing windows xp pro
    installation and configuraion of pcs and components
    basic networking
    installing configuring and optimizing computers
    firewalls and vpns

    These really mean nothing i could of logged on and let bill gates take the exams. They are only short in house training courses.
     
    Certifications: ECDL,A+,N+,CCENT,CCNA,MCP,MCDST
  18. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Its just what you have to do mate, I have about 6 CV's, all tailored to different roles, its just what you do. Its all accurate, but me rebuilding machines is a waste of CV space (should only be 2 pages long) when I'm applying for a Security Analyst position.

    I agree with the chaps. You should think about doing the MCDST as XP Support skills are going to be handy to get your first IT role.

    One thing some do on here is voluteer work for a chartity, home or what not. Cisco administration is probably going to be hard to come by doing this but its worth Googling around a bit. If you know your stuff like you say you do, you literally only need 1 years experience helping out to turn your job prospects around
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), HND IT, HND Computing, ITIL-F, MBCS CITP, MCP (270,290,291,293,294,298,299,410,411,412) MCTS (401,620,624,652) MCSA:Security, MCSE: Security, Security+, CPTS, VCP4, CCA (XenApp6.5), MCSA 2012, VCP5, VCP6-NV
  19. bazzawood30

    bazzawood30 Byte Poster

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    I have just ordered the books for MCDST how much of a step up from A+ is it?
     
    Certifications: ECDL,A+,N+,CCENT,CCNA,MCP,MCDST
  20. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    It shouldn't slay you.
    Much less hardware stuff and less numbers to remember...

    :biggrin
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD

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