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Experience, Certs or Both?

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by BraderzTheDog, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. BraderzTheDog

    BraderzTheDog Kilobyte Poster

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    Hello there,

    I was just wanting some clarity on my current training prog that is due to take place on the 30th April. I am doing the ccna & ccsa at firebrand, and wondered if this will land me a job after qualifying in networking? I currently work for an ISP (~Plusnet) as a technical support agent and have been doing so for around 6 months. Is this enough experience for me to take the leap up?

    Any advice would be really appriciated.

    Kind regards Brad.
     
    Certifications: CCNA R&S, CCNA-SEC, CCSA, JNCIA FWV, MCITP, MCTS, MTA, A+
  2. Boffy

    Boffy Megabyte Poster

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    Depends where you want to leap to? Junior network admin? Network Administrator?

    Certifications do help employment opportunities as long as you have the experience to back it up. 6 months experience could be huge if you're getting stuck in learning as much as possible and being involved. Equally, 6 months could be nothing if all you do it clock in-clock out and don't give a damn what happens as long as your duty is done.

    While I love the idea of intensive courses, especially to get the tutoring and hands-on experience; if you're simply learning everything from scratch, 5 to 14 days will not be enough to confidently land and hold a important networking role.

    Saying all that, having the certification on a CV will give you more interview chances - even if you were completely clueless and braindumped. It's only in the interview or the first 2 weeks of the job when you find yourself in over your head and eventually out of a job.
     
    Certifications: BSc Computer Game Technology, A+
    WIP: MOS 2010
  3. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    It depends on what your experience with Cisco equipment is, all you mention here is that you're a Technical Support Agent working for an ISP, I am going to guess that you're not configuring Switches or Routers?

    I have to be honest with you here, the chances of someone hiring you on the basis of a CCNA and CCSA and little to no actual real world experience with Cisco hardware are, well, about as high as a snowballs chance in hell. You would actually be better off working in a first \ second line position in a company that has a lot of Cisco hardware (yes I know an ISP has the potential to have a lot of Cisco hardware but I am talking companies like banks, international blue chip companies etc) that offers a potential to move into a network team as an associate. You actually stand a chance of worsening your chances getting a role with the certification but no experience than if you didn't have the certification (trust me on this, having interviewed people for positions who had certifications only and people who had real world experience but no certification I would always go for those with real world experience).

    I would stick with the current certifications you have, get some more real world experience and leave it a couple of years, the recommendations for exams such as the Windows 2008 MCITP's is that you have 12 - 18 months practical demonstrable real world experience, I would honestly suggest the same for the CCNA\CCSA.
     
    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).
  4. BraderzTheDog

    BraderzTheDog Kilobyte Poster

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    Thanks for the heads up Boffy and Simon...

    So I get the feeling that im trying to get somewhere too quick, without having earned the right to be there? I think I can see your point... It may have been crazy of me to believe that I could get a job straight after accomplishing my ccna without actually ever been in the job. There's just one downside, how do I get the appropriate experience?

    If you wouldn't mind me asking Boffy and Simon you have a degree / loads of vendor certs, how did you wind up where you are now? Could you path help me? I currently work on both 1st and 2nd line broadband faults. So basically I run lots of line checks and raise engineers out to fix problems :) I suppose you could put this under, WAN experience and I've configured enough netgear routers I could do it in my sleep. Can this be networking experience? :O

    Thanks in advance guys, you help is much appreciated.
     
    Certifications: CCNA R&S, CCNA-SEC, CCSA, JNCIA FWV, MCITP, MCTS, MTA, A+
  5. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    I started out like you, I was on a service desk for 12 months doing Windows and Netware support, in that time I got my Novell CNE, moved onto other roles doing similar work and after about 2 - 3 years I was a server engineer, move forward to nearly 10 years (been in IT since 1998) and I have done a whole raft of different roles, I had been a contractor for nearly 11 years working in Banking, Insurance, Central Government, Charities, NHS and am currently a perm member of staff at an online gambling company. It takes time but it's been worth it.

    You have to be careful with what you class WAN experience because if you're talking users home connections then no, it's not really WAN experience, it's Broadband\DSL\Cable experience and as far as Netgear routers are concerned, for the most part that's configuring a router using a Web UI rather than entering lines of code via a console session.

    Networking experience is booting up a terminal session in Windows and plugging in a cable to the serial port and dumping the config of the router\switch and checking the config to find out why something isn't working, it's knowing about Spanning Tree, BGP, OSPF and IGRP and knowing what's used when and why (no, I don't know the answers to that because I don't do networking to that level). It's also knowing how to subnet, supernet and do binary math to work out what your network addresses will be for the amount of hosts and networks (I can do that if I put my head to it but binary math takes a bit of time for me to get back into (couple of hours tho and it's all good).

    The thing about networking is that the smallest **** up can have the largest impact (for example I am aware of an issue recently where entering a command to set up syslogging on a firewall actually brought down not only the internal network but also broke the external web interface for a company for 3+ hours, all that because of a typo in the config!!) and people would be foolish to let people with little experience loose on equipment thats so heavily relied on within businesses (at least if you **** up on a server it's usually only that server, of course there are things that you can **** up on a server that impacts the entire domain as well but hopefully you get my point?).

    I keep saying it but... learn to walk before trying to run.
     
    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).
  6. BraderzTheDog

    BraderzTheDog Kilobyte Poster

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    Thanks for this Simon, I think you are right in what your saying with the whole learn to walk before trying to run... In honesty the whole CCNA route may not have been the right way to go from a beginners prospective. I am in essence an IT noob as it were, as I have kind of done okay since leaving school. Which path would you recommend I take to get to the point of working in a Cisco / Networking based job? Go get my MCITP (70-685/686) and maybe look for a 2nd /3rd line desktop support job? Like you state, there's actually not much networking when working for an ISP... Its more being a slave to the process. Since you have worked very hard to be where you are today ^^^^ I appreciate your comments and any advice is golden.

    Kind Regards Brad.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2012
    Certifications: CCNA R&S, CCNA-SEC, CCSA, JNCIA FWV, MCITP, MCTS, MTA, A+
  7. Jiser

    Jiser Kilobyte Poster

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    Get a new position in a desktop support or 1st, 2nd line position. Work your way up.

    Certify in the areas you are working in and as you get more experiance.
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), PGc, MCTS:Win 7, MCSA W7/MCITP EDST, ITIL Foundation, Prince 2 Foundation, C&G: Web Design, MOS 07: Excel, Word, Powerpoint, Outlook.
  8. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    If you want to learn a skill set then I think why not. Ultimately you will be expanding your knowledge into different areas. As long as you are honest with potential employers should you be given an opportunity and make it into a positive rather than a negative e.g. I took it upon my self to develop my knowledge of networking by undertaking the CCENT and CCNA. By undertaking these certifications it cemented my belief that I want a long term career in networking etc etc

    Another example for you is my employer wouldn't let me near a Cisco PIX or ASA until I had got my CCNA as they wanted me to know the underlying principles of networking.

    So I say go for it, it won't harm you job prospects if you present it in the right way!
     
    Certifications: CCA | CCENT | CCNA | CCNA:S | HP APC | HP ASE | ITILv3 | MCP | MCDST | MCITP: EA | MCTS:Vista | MCTS:Exch '07 | MCSA 2003 | MCSA:M 2003 | MCSA 2008 | MCSE | VCP5-DT | VCP4-DCV | VCP5-DCV | VCAP5-DCA | VCAP5-DCD | VMTSP | VTSP 4 | VTSP 5
  9. BraderzTheDog

    BraderzTheDog Kilobyte Poster

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    Thanks for your response,

    Since I've already paid 4K to go my CCNA + CCSA, I suppose I may as well do it rather than demand a refund. It is ideally where I would like to wind up after all. In regards to desktop support, would I be better in moving into this area of work? If so, I mean I got my 70 - 680 and I have been trained on the 70 -685 win7, would this be worth going for? Or better to get the MCDST?

    Really appreciate your help :)

    Kind Regards Brad
     
    Certifications: CCNA R&S, CCNA-SEC, CCSA, JNCIA FWV, MCITP, MCTS, MTA, A+
  10. Boffy

    Boffy Megabyte Poster

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    Certifications: BSc Computer Game Technology, A+
    WIP: MOS 2010
  11. Jiser

    Jiser Kilobyte Poster

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    I cant believe you spent 4k. You should have put it in an ISA.

    Self study is a better and cheaper route, thought may not be best for you. Still though alot of dosh to splash.
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), PGc, MCTS:Win 7, MCSA W7/MCITP EDST, ITIL Foundation, Prince 2 Foundation, C&G: Web Design, MOS 07: Excel, Word, Powerpoint, Outlook.
  12. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    See I disagree with this comment, self study doesn't work for me, it's not that I am not motivated, it's that my work\home time is so full, it's far better for me to be in a dedicated learning environment so that I have time dedicated to study (one of the things I loved about Firebrand Training was that it was all residential, that meant it was all training all of the time).

    The problem some people have with doing training at a training provider is not that the TP is crap (but there are some crappy ones out there), it's that they are not ready to be on the course.
     
    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. BraderzTheDog

    BraderzTheDog Kilobyte Poster

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    Simon! You have done firebrand? :O

    I have self studied but being a teenager its easy to get distracted by facebook, I'm the type of person that needs to be shown how to do it... Then I can do it, think they class that as kinaesthetic learning???

    Boffy, I managed to pass my 70 - 680 but when i sat my 70 685 for the mcitp I failed :/ but then again I wasn't prepared for all the scenario questions damat! Waste of 100quid...

    If you are still in this topic Simon, could you give me a heads up on firebrand? I mean they do look like a very good training provider that offer hands on experience (unlike f***ing computeach thats bs 90% home study) I opted for this as the cost is high I know... butt, it was sold to me as hands on a practical which is just my cuppa tea :)

    p.s. thanks boffy for the xps link... real useful chart :)
     
    Certifications: CCNA R&S, CCNA-SEC, CCSA, JNCIA FWV, MCITP, MCTS, MTA, A+
  14. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    A link to my blog posts about my experience with Firebrand. I would definitely use them again, but saying that I would also use Global Knowledge (I did my SCCM course there) and 360GSP (I did my VCP there).
     
    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. BraderzTheDog

    BraderzTheDog Kilobyte Poster

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    Sweet, Is it really 12 hour days? I was told over the phone that they expect you to work past the 9 -5 schedule, however tutors stay behind to help clarify things? :)
     
    Certifications: CCNA R&S, CCNA-SEC, CCSA, JNCIA FWV, MCITP, MCTS, MTA, A+

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