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New in the field?

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by Nikk, Oct 14, 2007.

  1. Nikk

    Nikk New Member

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    Hi all my names Nick,

    I am 37 lived in Thailand for 5 years working in the property business but due to the political status over here in Thailand I was forced on a career change. IT has always been a passion of mine so thats the path I chose.

    So i locked my self in my room for 6 months and have done nothing but study. So up to day I have achieved the following certs:
    CCNA
    SND
    SNPA

    by default : Cisco Firewall Specialist and Cisco Information Security Specialist plus 4011 recognition.

    As you may notice I am pursing my CCSP and hope to complete within 6 months more.

    I have pretty clear path and goals set. My plan is to return to the UK and gain experience in the Networking field, and hopefully once I have enough experience, carry this knowledge and experience back to this part of the World or even the Gulf or Australasia. This is of course if all goes to plan. I have to base myself over in Asia as I own property and have a son in school here plus i love it:)

    Do you think that with the certs I have obtained at present, that I would find it difficult to find work back in the UK or would it better to wait untill I finish my CCSP before looking? Also i do plan on starting my CCNP soon as I finish this CCSP.
     
    Certifications: CCNA,SNPA,SND,Cisco Firewall Specialist
    WIP: CCSP
  2. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    I'm sorry to say this, but the CCNA, CCSP, and CCNP will not help you get a job without experience. Without experience, the most you are qualified for is an entry-level job, and entry-level jobs don't involve working with Cisco equipment.

    I would recommend that you get the A+ certification and get an entry-level job to start building experience.

    Best of luck!
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  3. Nikk

    Nikk New Member

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    I`m sorry but I can't see it, It seems there is a large enphasis on A+ certs in this forum, now surely a CCNA and definatley a CCSP and CCNP is much more note worthy than an A+. This is like coming out of Uni and been told to retake your GCSE`s it doesn't make sense to me. I am pretty sure I could take my network+ and fly it, so what is the benifit of having Net+ over a CISCO cert?

    Also Your saying to me at best i`m only qualified to answer phones? Surley an employer can't ignore a candidate with a decent list of certs?
     
    Certifications: CCNA,SNPA,SND,Cisco Firewall Specialist
    WIP: CCSP
  4. nXPLOSi

    nXPLOSi Terabyte Poster

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    First off, entry level jobs are not just answering phones.

    Michael is trying to say that without experience, companies are not going to let you loose on their cisco kit. Simple as that. It seems to me you may be putting yourself out of the market, its like getting an MCSE with no experience, its pretty much worthless to any employer because they still won't let you near the servers without that critical real world experience.
     
    Certifications: A+, Network+, Security+, MCSA 2003 (270, 290, 291), MCTS (640, 642), MCSA 2008
    WIP: MCSA 2012
  5. Rob1234

    Rob1234 Megabyte Poster

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    If you go for an entry level job they will look at your certs and feel you are too qualified too "answer a phone" and if you go for jobs that require your certs they will look and see you have no experience to go with the certs which is very important alot more important then the certs! so you will have to start at the bottom to build up some experience to go with your certs.
     
    Certifications: A few.
  6. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

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    Err yes they will! Experience is a must in IT - and you'll find this at interviews when they pop questions at you that won't have been covered in the cert!

    Yes answering phones is one option but they're are many other options out there - but they don't pay half as well as the profession you are studying for!

    Certs or not, no employer will let you anywhere near Cisco kit etc without previous experience! Employers run a business - not a charity! You have to use them to get a foot in the door and 9 times out of 10 that means starting at the bottom!

    There is a large emphasis on A+ because it's an entry level cert that gets MOST people on to the first part of the ladder - however don't think that just beacuse your doing those other certs that the A+ is below you. I know many people - MCSEs, CCNAs - who failed the A+ after they'd done their higher certs! Never underestimate the A+.

    Also I know of people who have a degree but failed their GCSEs - Degrees and GCSEs are unrelated in assesment method!
     
    Certifications: MCSA , N+, A+ ,ITIL V2, MCTS
    WIP: MCITP 2008 Ent Admin, Server Admin, Exchange 2010, Lync 2010, CCNA & VCP5
  7. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    Hi Nikk, and welcome to the forums.

    I'm sorry to echo what has already been said here, but it is the unfortunate truth; for 99% of those people entering the industry, real-world experience is critical. And this isn't even a peculiarity to IT; it is true of industries across the economy. That's why, on one extreme, you pay more for a hair cut from a Toni and Guy Style Director, than you do for one from a 'Technical Specialist' (difference being experience and flair). At the other extreme, I'd be nervous with a junior doctor examining me in hospital, say, without supervision.

    Although you will have obviously worked hard to get the certifications you have, without the experience of working on Cisco kit in a real-world environment, employers will find it difficult to look twice at your CV.

    However, don't take all this to bad heart; your studying won't have been in vain. The A+ and N+ are the bread and butter Certs that get spoken about a lot on these forums. They are not to be taken lightly, as they give you a lot of understanding and grounding that can often be overlooked when going for the more complex Certs. For example, a lot of the books I am studying now assume that you know what they mean when talking about IRQ and I/O issues when troubleshooting a network; without the A+ and N+, I wouldn't have know a blind thing.

    If you already know this info, then I recommend you go out and get an A+ test book. If you think you are confident enough on the material, then sit the exam. Same goes for N+.

    Get yourself an entry level job; but it's not all answering phones, don't worry. My job is 'first line' but I regularly find myself doing hardware repairs, working on AD and assisting second line with networking issues.

    Once you have your foot in the door you can start climbing the ladder. And if you have a true passion and aptitude for networking and all things IT, you may well find you career progressing faster than you would ever have thought.

    I'm not sure what the industries are like over in your side of the world, unfortunately. Bluerinse, one of our Senior Mods, may well be able to shed some light on what things are like in Australasia. I do know there is a burgeoning industry in the UAE, especially from a support perspective (I would have thought) with the amount of new business appearing, and exisiting Blue Chips migrating across.

    Good luck with your continuing studies.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
    WIP: Modern Languages BA
  8. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    The problem is that loads of applicants have a decent list of certs and experience.

    Everything that has been posted so far has been 100% accurate. However if you do land an entry level job back in the UK then you are more likely to move up the ladder if you have the certs and are willing to put the hours in to get as much commercial experience as possible. 8)
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  9. MacAllan

    MacAllan Byte Poster

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    The IT field in the UK is very competitive: without experience you will have to start at the bottom, no matter what Certs you have. Sometimes (yes, guys, I do listen...) your Certs will even count against you. And the more Certs you have without experience, the more certain this becomes.

    The best you can expect is that you will be seen as someone with potential, and with commitment. But you're still going to have to start on the bottom rung. And if you go there with an attitude, that you're too good for that, you'll not even get that far.

    The place I'm working, (and this seems VERY unusual given the experience of others here with way more years under their belts than me), the CCNA got me the interview for their network helpdesk (and they'd never even heard of A+) - but they still started me answering the phones. And you know what? They were damned right to do so.... Certs with no experience, it's like passing your driving test on paper and a PC-simulator - and then being landed in the centre of London, stuck in a car, and told to get on with it......
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, CCNA
    WIP: CCNP, Linux+
  10. Nikk

    Nikk New Member

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    I understand that no experience is the problem and getting the experience is a must. BUT.. I belive in not selling youreslf short.. I belive that if you do, you run a risk of starting out way below your par and not being able to get the chance to climb the ladder becaue your stuck in a rut, I also know what my capabilities are and would never outreach myself because I would be kidding only myself in the long run. Also I wouldn't expect an high paid high level tech job with no experience, who in the right mind would.

    Also I am not trying to be-little the A+ cert. I have (as some people might think) an entry level cert allready with the CCNA and in my opinion its not entry level, absolutley no way, it was an extremely tough cert to accomplish and I worked my a*s off to get these certs. So why would I need to take my A+ entry level cert when I`m half way through my CCSP? I know the focus of Cisco certs is Cisco hard/software but you have to have solid understanding of networking, routing swithing or I wouldn't be certified surely?

    On another note, does your home lab equipment not class as some sort of experience?
     
    Certifications: CCNA,SNPA,SND,Cisco Firewall Specialist
    WIP: CCSP
  11. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    In regard to Cisco kit the CCNA is entry level, but compared to other entry level certs (e.g A+) then it is much more complex.

    What type of job are you going to be looking for in the UK? 8)
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  12. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    Did your home lab have 500 users attached, dependant on its functionality?

    Then, no. Yes, it's valid knowledge, but having a home lab does not bring with it the pressures of keeping a network functional on a daily basis.

    We are in no way belittling what you have achieved; I myself am currently only studying for the CCNA, and am finding it tough going. What it is important to remember, is that the CCNA is seen as an entry-levelCisco certification, not an entry level certification for the industry as a whole.

    Whilst you obviously have the wherewithall and belief that you can do a good job, everyone has to start somewhere. What kind of business are you looking to work for? What kind of size? What implementations? Even if you are going to head to work for a medium-sized business, there's no way you will get a job straight away, taking on the pressures of a network supporting 200-300 users. Not if you're not used to that kind of pressure.

    However, with the ability you've shown to get the Certs you've got, Second Line work should not be a long time coming. But just because you've got what you've got, and you're half way through the CCSP, doesn't give you a quick ticket. That's why training providers consistently fail on the promises they give their students.

    Moving back to your comparison of getting a degree, and then having to sit your GCSEs, that is not a million miles away from reality. We get a few members on here with IT degrees - with decent grades - who can't get a job in the industry. So they bite the bullet, and sit their A+ and N+, working their careers from there.

    And given the amount of "success stories" CF has, it's a tried, tested and winning combination.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
    WIP: Modern Languages BA
  13. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

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    Everybody works their arse off to get a cert - whether it be A+ or CCSP.

    No-one said you were belittling the A+?????????????? What people picked up on was your completly incorrect comparison to passing a degree and then doing GCSEs to passing the CCNA then going to do an A+. You put that forward in manner that suggested to me that the A+ is below you.

    On a different matter, working with this subject matter 8 hours a day in a production environment (CCNA etc) is what gives you solid understanding of networking etc. Following exercises from a book gives you a vague idea but that's about it!

    I thought I knew it all about Active Directory after I completed the AD MCP - oh how wrong was I?
     
    Certifications: MCSA , N+, A+ ,ITIL V2, MCTS
    WIP: MCITP 2008 Ent Admin, Server Admin, Exchange 2010, Lync 2010, CCNA & VCP5
  14. MacAllan

    MacAllan Byte Poster

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    There's probably a few things that you need to think about when assessing the info you're given here. It's a forum dedicated to IT Certs, so it might seem a bit odd when you get the advice that these self-same certs aren't going to be as helpful to you in getting established in a new career as you might have thought.

    Firstly, the certs themselves: they are designed and intended to provide those working in the industry with recognition of the skills and knowledge they have attained from doing the job. Although there is nothing to stop someone with no experience from taking them and passing them, when a prospective employer is looking at them, it is as a complement to the candidate's experience, not to be seen as something separate to that experience. With entry level jobs, it is possible to get away with having no experience: with CCNA it's much harder; with CCNP/CCSP, you can forget it.

    Secondly, the experience itself. This isn't just about subject knowledge. It's experience of working in the industry, with it's quirks of customer and co-worker interactions, - and certainly with larger employers, it's about a familiarity with the industry standard ways of getting things done.

    People here aren't trying to put you off, or not wanting you to succeed - it's watching someone about to walk into a lamp-post and shouting: look out!
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, CCNA
    WIP: CCNP, Linux+
  15. Nikk

    Nikk New Member

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    QUOTE=drum_dude

    No-one said you were belittling the A+?????????????? What people picked up on was your completly incorrect comparison to passing a degree and then doing GCSEs to passing the CCNA then going to do an A+. You put that forward in manner that suggested to me that the A+ is below you. QUOTE

    What I am saying is, I am doing my CCSP, which is a proffesional certificate not entry level, I don't see how doing yet another "entry" level cert is going to better my chances getting a start. I have done my "entry" cert, with the CCNA (although I firmly belive its not entry), so why do I need 2 entry certs?
    It's obvious that you need to start 'near' the bottom and climb but to have the proffesional certificates is not going to hinder me surely? Otherwise whats the point of certs? You may as well say they are useless and everyone needs to forget studying for the proffesional certs just do an entry cert and just work thier way up through the ranks. You see, what I am atempting to do by doing the CCSP and CCNP is to try and get a start but just not right at the very bottom. With all my proffesional working history and my real world experience, added together with a my networking proffesional certs surley I would be of some value to someone.

    To me, speaking as an ex-manager (I use to be a project manager for a large development company) if some one showed the aptitued to complete theses certificates then then that person is showing a certain level of intelligence and knowledge and enthusiasm for that persons chosen career, I would not just dismiss their achivements because of the lack of experience.

    IMO There is no need for any one to sell themselves short, you can achieve whatever goals you want as long as you have a plan stick to it unconditionally and have the confidence to belive in yourself that you can do it. Oh and obvioulsly know your stuff too.
     
    Certifications: CCNA,SNPA,SND,Cisco Firewall Specialist
    WIP: CCSP
  16. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    The A+ and Network+ are useful for entry level jobs as they are vendor neutral. Your Cisco certs will not be much use for desktop troubleshooting which is generally where most people start in IT.

    It is very difficult to skip over the entry level jobs in IT and start in a networking role. I graduated with a MSc and my first full time IT job was working on a corporate helpdesk. I was only there for 9 month’s and then I moved onto server admin after that.

    The certs you have are great (I plan to get some Cisco certs at some point) but you have to remember that there is a vast amount of technology out there to support. Even though you have a foundation of knowledge with Cisco it is (in most cases) used by corporates therefore you may have other technologies to support such as Check point firewall and also ISA server.

    No-one expects you to be certified in all of this but generally you can get an understanding from working with these technologies on a day to day basis and this brings us back to the whole *commercial experience* thing. 8)
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  17. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

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    Nikk, have you thought about getting into IT Project Management? Your current project management skills combined with your certs could land you a good position over in the UK - if you know your shite with networking then those you manage won't be able to bullshit you! IT Project managament skills should be easy to transfer to other countries as good IT PMs are in demand - the techie stuff is usually carried out by the locals on the equivalant of 2 quid an hour, so I would steer clear of trying to get a living with those techie roles!

    Would certs like Prince 2 and ITIL interest you?

    Well done with getting those certs and good luck for the CCSP
     
    Certifications: MCSA , N+, A+ ,ITIL V2, MCTS
    WIP: MCITP 2008 Ent Admin, Server Admin, Exchange 2010, Lync 2010, CCNA & VCP5
  18. onoski

    onoski Terabyte Poster

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    Welcome to CF, I must say some good advise have already been stated above. Whilst you worked hard to obtain those Cisco certs it still very much boils down to experience lacking in your case.

    Unfortunately, in the UK most times a cert would get you an interview but experience ultimately would get you the job. I'd advice you go for the MCP cert and then start applying for helpdesk and desktop 1st line support roles and build up your career from there on if that's what you want in the long run.
     
    Certifications: MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003 Messaging, MCP, HNC BIT, ITIL Fdn V3, SDI Fdn, VCP 4 & VCP 5
    WIP: MCTS:70-236, PowerShell
  19. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    Hiya Nikk trust me when I say you will learn stuff by doing A+ you havent on a BSc Computing, I have.

    and also getting too many certs and qualifications before you have experience can be bad for your job hunting.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  20. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    They can ignore them, and do. Being able to pass a bunch of certification tests is one thing; being able to perform the job in the field is quite another. Employers have been burnt by people taking certifications, but not able to actually do the job. I don't doubt your intelligence... but if you have no real-world IT experience, you're not able to administer a network. You certainly can, in time.

    I think you misunderstand what certifications are all about. The CCNA isn't an entry cert. Nor are any of the other certifications you've gotten. And you agree as much. The question I have for you is this: if you haven't yet "entered" the IT field, what are you trying to accomplish getting upper-level certifications? Upper-level certifications will NOT get you an upper-level (or even mid-level) job without experience.

    Working on a home lab is not considered experience. Working on a school lab is not considered experience. Degree coursework is not considered experience. Getting a bunch of certifications is not considered experience. Only working in the IT industry is considered experience by hiring managers.

    Of course it can. If you pursue an entry-level job with all those certifications, a hiring manager is going to think one or more of three things:

    1) This guy must have braindumped (cheated) his way through these exams because he doesn't have any real world experience (doesn't matter if you did or not - that will be the perception. If you don't know what braindumps are, look here.).
    2) Look at this guy's certifications! He's probably going to expect more money than this entry-level job pays (and then trash your resume without even calling - yes, that happens).
    3) Look at this guy's certifications! Sure, we could hire him, but he'll probably end up leaving for something better or more advanced or for more money in just a few months, and we'll have to train up someone else for the position... hiring him is too big a risk for us to take.

    As someone else has already mentioned, certifications are designed to show that you already have experience with a technology... not designed to show that you WANT to get experience with a technology.

    An overwhelming majority of companies won't take a risk hiring someone without previous IT experience to configure their network infrastructure - it's just too mission-critical to entrust to someone who has no real-world business experience doing that sort of work. Cisco jobs absolutely require experience. Don't be fooled by people telling you that all you need is a certification and employers will hire you up. It's just not true. Certification is NOT a magic key to get you an IT job... and this advice is coming from someone who makes his living from IT certification training.

    But... you don't have real-world IT experience. Regardless of your prior work history, you haven't worked in IT. That's essential. When I got my first "real" IT job, I had messed with PCs for 18 years, and was the go-to computer guy at my job... though it wasn't an IT job. I also had a degree. Know where I started? At the bottom.

    Okay... let's say that you attempt to get a job where you're not starting out at the very bottom. You apply for a job with a bunch of certifications, but no experience. Know who's going to get the job? The guy who's got experience... the guy who has DONE the job before. When your competition has experience, they will win every time. Sorry, man, that's the way that employers hire... and we're trying to tell you before you "run into that lamp post".

    I'm not saying that they will "dismiss your achievements"... but you haven't achieved anything other than pass a few tests. You have no experience.

    What I said about braindumps, above, applies here. Passing exams doesn't mean that you are necessarily intelligent. You very well may be. However, there are braindumps out there that make it incredibly easy to pass exams by cheating (learning the real questions and answers on the live exams). Thus, if I see someone with advanced certifications and no experience... I trash the resume. It's too big a risk to hire someone like that... sorry.

    I'm trying to tell you what people who are already in the industry and hiring people for entry-level jobs are thinking: certifications without experience are not useful. You can believe this advice, or you can ignore it. But before you ignore it, I would ask you to read the testimony of two people who finally realized I was right: link

    We're not telling you to sell yourself short. We're recommending that you re-evaluate your perception of certification to match what IT employers have. Otherwise... you're going to have an incredibly difficult time breaking into the industry.
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!

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