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hello everyone new member that needs advice on networking/cisco please

Discussion in 'New Members Introduction' started by londoner29, Sep 21, 2014.

  1. londoner29

    londoner29 New Member

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    hi im looking at a career in IT and inparticular networking with cisco, now the problem is im coming from a rigging/scaffolding background ie no experience ( apart from sending emails and logging into certforums of course lol )

    now im based in central london and have looked at a few training providers the one that grabs me is commsupport as ive read a few reviews about them on google, has anyone heard or better still had dealings with them? also the prices seem better than most

    again having no experience does make me very green when looking at what jobs to apply for can anyone recommend a path for me to follow? i genuinley would appreciate any advice please

    thanks in advanced for your time
     
  2. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    Joe often posts here (he is the owner of Commsupport) and I always hear positive feedback about him and his training.

    What I would really advise tho is to get in to IT by getting in to a 1st line support function to get the experience first, I can tell you that no one in their right mind is going to hire an unexperienced networking engineer and trust them on their infrastructure and if they do I would really question their mind set if they did.

    Networking as a career is a great one, there is so much happening in the world of networking these days that it really is a good direction to be going but you really need a decent background in IT before starting down the specialised route.

    You ideally need an understanding on support and methodology of it, an understanding of ITIL as most companies these days follow some sort of process and procedure (ie the reasons why they do something) and a basic understanding of how a datacenter works (server interactivity etc, the reason why you're going to be implementing routing and or security rules).

    Whilst I don't expect the network engineers to understand the indepth details of SCCM at my office they do understand the need for DNS, AD, RDP, HTTPS and TCP High Ports and know that if I ask for AD connectivity they know the ports required.

    As someone coming in to IT I would have to strongly recommend not wasting your money at this state (sorry Joe) on a Commsupport CCNA course but instead look at something like an A+ and perhaps the N+ course, get a job as a 1st line helpdesk analyst and move up to a stage in your career where you can move from the help desk to a junior network analyst role (by this stage you would have a better understanding of ARP, RARP, PING, Traceroute and DNS to get a better chance of moving in to a junior networking role).

    I would also suggest having a read of my post here to give you some ideas of what to do and not do when looking to move in to 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).
    londoner29 likes this.
  3. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Another thumbs up for Commsupport. I think it's important to not think that a CCNA is a turnkey way to become a network engineer, although I'd imagine the majority of them have one. A few years back I looked at taking a course with them and at the time couldn't beat them for bang per buck. I think they now offer an introduction to Networking which would probably be a better bet as the CCNA is pretty hardcore for someone already in IT never mind new to the industry, for example with most technical exams you can answer questions and skip some if you get stuck, go back to them at the end. For the CCNA you get 1 shot, no going back. Also you have to recertify the CCNA every few years so it would be wise to do some kind of introduction as you could find it horrifically boring ha ha Cisco IOS always reminds me of my mainframe days which is great for me, dull as mud for some.

    Networking is a brilliant career so best of luck to you, let us know what you decide.
     
    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
    londoner29 likes this.
  4. londoner29

    londoner29 New Member

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    thank you simon and jk for some very sound advice, could i ask as a rough guide line how long would it take from zero to becoming a proper ccna if you know what i mean? its quite funny we have all seen the adverts ' £40-£50 grand a year with no experience' lol i do completly understand im very much at the bottom of the ladder but certainly confident enough to progress, can i ask what sort of money i should be looking for?

    what type of firms should i apply for ( again i do apologise for being so green lol to me an office is an office ) ie financal. what would give me more exposure to networking and namely cisco products?

    the reason ive singled out networking above all the other 'trades' is from what i can tell its quite a hands on job and not which is not totally behind a desk, not to mention the money involved :) am i correct about this?

    i already know ive come to the right place regarding advice and do appreciate the help
     
  5. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    How long it takes you to get from zero to hero depends purely on you're ability to take on board the required knowledge, it depends from person to person.

    To give you an introduction to networking I would probably suggest having a look at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3DB54B154E6D121D to see if you understand the technology involved.

    As far as companies go, pretty much any company with a large enough office foot print with desktop \ server infrastructure will have some sort of networking infrastructure in use, as I mentioned earlier tho it's really REALLY unlikely that you're going to be let loose on networking infrastructure without some sort of previous support experience, you need to understand the reason why things are done as they are (and introduced to the tools you would be using).

    Unfortunately all jobs vary with both amount of desk time and salary expectations and unfortunately IT isn't the great payer it once was, one of the things you don't mention is your age, the reason I ask is that coming in to a new industry you have to expect a potential reduction in salary, please don't think that getting a networking role is going to earn you £40 - 50k because that will depend on where abouts in the country you are (yes, you could be london based or just using the name so no assumptions there).

    To give you an idea, my current role entails me spending most days sitting behind a desk but that doesn't mean I am an inexperienced engineer (I have been doing this for years and in some places considered an expert), my work these days are very rarely physically hands on and the same thing can be said for the network engineers I deal with (it's all done via cli \ terminal these days).

    I would honestly suggest not to set your salary expectations set too high because I know experienced engineers that are earning the same kind of money that I earnt 10 years ago. Salaries are not as high as they were 10 years ago and that's not likely to change any time soon.
     
    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).
    londoner29 likes this.
  6. londoner29

    londoner29 New Member

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    again teriffic post simon yes im still in central london and im fast approaching 30 :(............... now financially you wont be shocked to know im not a multi millionaire yet lol but working as a scaffolder and some rigging in the film/tv/commercial sector the moneys earned can be very good but i could survive on entry level wages for a while as imsure it would be worth it, the only reason im looking to get out of it is because ive broken this that and the other over the years and have the scars to prove it. i certainly dont want to be doing it when in 10 years time and IT seems an ideal solution as i believe its the biggest industry in the world, its constantly evolving and i get the impression that the good ppl that work in it are quite happy

    incidently would it be benificial to do some work experience first? and if so how would i go about it?

    btw ive read your thread regarding starting in IT its a very informative article mate
     
  7. BraderzTheDog

    BraderzTheDog Kilobyte Poster

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    I would look at networking as the light at the end of the tunnel...

    From my experience you can't go directly into networking without having some form of IT experience in another field, the most common route would be a desktop support job first (tech support) then possibly study N+ CCENT (ICND1) or the full blown CCNA to get into a junior network engineering role.

    You'll only need a year or so in a junior job before you could move into a mainstream networking engineering role for an enterprise. It is as you mentioned probably going to be a pay cut (I think when I did desktop support I was on about 18k) which I would imagine will be a step back for you, so it may be difficult.

    There are some good points... Geography isn't usually a big deal if you live within commuting distance of a big city, I'm a northern boy and have over the past 4 years worked in Sheffield, Leeds, Bradford with plenty of jobs at each location in networking. It is a pretty safe market to be in from my experiences, and I've had the ability to jump around 4 times in the past 4 years for money, perks, career progression etc... (there are no shortage of jobs, infact most people these days are head hunted for roles in IT).
    There is progression beyond engineering, there's network architect, platform architect, technical designer, infrastructure manager... so if its money you're after most of these roles are in the 50k + area. I was recently working for a firm in Sheffield with a platform architect that was hitting the 80k mark, his came from a networking engineering background. The figures you were given are probably about right you can expect anywhere from 30-50k for a net engineer (depending on location and company).
    Less labour intensive lifestyle - I can't imagine the graft you must do each day (I've probably never done a proper days graft in my life! ) However; you can come home just as tired from all the mental strain I've felt physically exhausted after looking at high priority faults all day even though I never moved very far!

    I'm 20 and have been doing IT since the day I left school so its pretty much the only thing I know, but its done me well. I took a slightly different route by self studying all the certifications I have (due to lack of money for training) and have never looked back since. If you want any further advice on how I did it I'm more than happy to drop you a personal note. Simon and JK cover off the way in pretty well with the posts above though.

    All the best!
    Brad.
     
    Certifications: CCNA R&S, CCNA-SEC, CCSA, JNCIA FWV, MCITP, MCTS, MTA, A+
    londoner29 likes this.
  8. londoner29

    londoner29 New Member

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    thank you brad trust me ive worked with plenty of northern lads and from your neck of the woods all great lads both in and out of work so will certainly take your advice on board mate lol

    and yes its back breaking work but it does teach you the importance for working hard, thats why im actually very confident that i can keep my nut down and have ago when study involved, is newtorking a high pressure job then? when i think of high pressured jobs i think of surgeon,stockbroker etc

    today ive had a call regarding a new job ( scaffolding ) which will be 12 hrs/ 7days till new year so financially will set me up a treat for the studing ahead, i think ill go for the A+ and N+ first that should open a door or 2 is there anything else i should consider such as microsoft certs ( MCP? )

    also on a last not ive seen JUST IT in london that promise to get you a job once youve done a few courses with them are they for real or is it a load of ............
     
  9. Coupe2T

    Coupe2T Megabyte Poster

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    Certifications: ECDL, Does that Count!?!
    londoner29 likes this.
  10. BraderzTheDog

    BraderzTheDog Kilobyte Poster

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    I would agree with coupe on the guaranteed job front. You could have some qualifications but a bad work eithic and the wrong attitude completely for the work, so how can they 100% say they can get you a job in that case?

    Good question around high pressure... I would say it is very stressful (I hope you have plenty of hair!) Alot of people don't really understand what a network engineers day to day work is so they wouldn't particularly understand the pressures that come with it.

    As an example; if you're dealing with network faults you can find yourself under alot of pressure really quickly. The type of pressure felt depends on a few things mainly the following; the type and level of fault, the kind of business you work for, your technical ability and confidence in resolving the fault and your level of stress tolerance!
    Where I work we have sites all over the world, and for instance a bunch of brokers were unable to access a service in Hong Kong from Geneva once at a time of day where large financial transactions were taking place... You can imagine the pressure that comes your way to first troubleshoot and then come up with a fix. Time is almost always of the essence, and a key factor in the pressure that you will feel as an engineer will be usually on how high priority / important that service is to the business.
    There are certain measures in place to protect engineers, such as service delivery managers, your line manager and service level agreements. However you will find the more pressure those key players get from their bosses the more comes down to you...

    As they say sh1t rolls down hills!

    Don't be put off though, generally the work is nice easy going, projects are interesting but some days you just get completely battered (as is the same in most lines of work). The rewards are good though; you have in demand skills that are transferable globally, good money, good holiday, perks like company cars pension schemes, private healthcare etc... (these perks ofcorse vary with company and normally become more frequent the higher up the ladder you become).

    Knowledgewise I would skip the Microsoft certifications, indeed take the A+ and N+ and then look at the entry track to Cisco. I would highly recommend you take the CCENT which is the first half of the CCNA (its entry level so don't worry). The course is conceptual (CCENT) and you will find alot of overlap with N+. However good concepts and a solid foundation will ensure you have the best possible start to build the more technical stuff on.

    The best thing about the Cisco certifications are their vendor specificness... I haven't been in a network yet that doesn't use Cisco, so the demand for having qualified engineers in this field is very high.
    I regret spending the money on the exams and books for the MCTS and MCITP I did. Not the time as I gained alot of knowledge in server infrastructure that's very helpful even as a network engineer.

    If you are dead set on becoming a network engineer I would take the following path looking back from my experiences.

    A+ - will give you a good understanding of hardware and IT principles
    **Try and get a helpdesk job 1st line - will give you experience in the IT field**
    N+ - probably look at the course material but I wouldn't take the exam, its more expensive than a CCENT and isn't worth as much if you ask me.
    CCENT - Study the material both video and book (CBT Nuggets, and Cisco Press), get qualified

    Look for a Junior networking job.

    CCNA - ideally you will have a job and be studying this. Take the exam, find the area you wish to specialise in. This could be Routing and Switching, Security, Voice or all of them, its a good start to a great career.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2014
    Certifications: CCNA R&S, CCNA-SEC, CCSA, JNCIA FWV, MCITP, MCTS, MTA, A+
  11. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    Adding to this about pressure.

    I work for a well known gambling company and as you may expect if you experience network a network outage this can have a huge cost impact on your bottom line.
    Even well planned changes can fail (and often will, or so it appears) and as either the implementer or assessor of that change you're going to have to be thick skinned because trust me, you will be in for a world of hurt if things go wrong.

    I have known engineers be pulled in to meetings with C Level execs (CIO, CEO, CTO's etc) to explain why their **** up just lost the company £x00,000 pounds (for 2 minutes outage etc
     
    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).

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