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Studying CCNA after a long hiatus

Discussion in 'New Members Introduction' started by Distant_Horizon, Feb 11, 2008.

  1. Distant_Horizon

    Distant_Horizon Bit Poster

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    Hi everyone!

    I recieved a bachelor's in Information Networking & Telecomm back in 2001, but never used my degree. I also studied for the CCNA back then, but never took exam. My employer went bankrupt about 4 months ago, and I decided I'd like to get into the IT field - maybe doing something with networking & systems administration.

    I figure that since I previously studied the Cisco Academy materials back in the day, it would be a relatively easy certification to go get - I don't have near the experience necessary to get any Microsoft or *NIX certs, but I think I can study for the CCNA using a couple of books and a home lab or network emulator software.

    Hoping that will make my resume stand out enough to get some interviews for a good job; in the meantime, hoping to get some sort of entry-level job - maybe helpdesk or something.

    Studied the first 150 pages of the Todd Lammle Sybex CCNA book, and I understand subnetting better than I ever used to... enjoying learning again. Think I'm ready for a simulator or some equipment to start practicing.
     
    Certifications: A+ (IT Tech)
    WIP: CCNA
  2. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    The CCNA won't really help you to get an entry-level job, because entry-level jobs don't involve working with Cisco gear. The CCNA will actually make you look overqualified to many employers who are hiring for entry-level jobs... and because you don't have any experience, you'll be underqualified for any jobs where you can work on Cisco gear.

    If you're looking to get an entry-level job, you should pursue the A+ certification, followed by Network+ and/or the MCDST. Those certifications are generally what entry-level employers want to see. Combined with your degree, you should be quite attractive to an employer.

    Welcome to the forums!
     
    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. Distant_Horizon

    Distant_Horizon Bit Poster

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    Yeah, sorry, to clarify, I am trying to get an entry-level job while I'm studying for the CCNA, before I've actually taken the exam.

    The A+ & Network+ suggestions are valid; I will definitely consider them.

    Thanks!
     
    Certifications: A+ (IT Tech)
    WIP: CCNA
  4. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Cool... as long as you realize that the CCNA is designed for people who are already network admins, who have a little real-world experience working with Cisco gear. More knowledge is always good... but being overcertified can be detrimental to your job search.

    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!
  5. sunn

    sunn Gigabyte Poster

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    Many of the CCNA concepts are similar to what you've learned in the past, but since you haven't applied any of the previous knowledge, and some topics have been added/dropped/modified. There are many changes to review and prepare for.

    Your degree and some entry level certs (as BosonMichael mentioned) should help you get your foot in the door.

    Good luck with the entry-level job search and CCNA studies.
     
  6. Notes_Bloke

    Notes_Bloke Terabyte Poster

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    Hi and welcome to CF:D

    NB
     
    Certifications: 70-210, 70-215, A+,N+, Security+
    WIP: MCSA
  7. sandmannn69

    sandmannn69 New Member

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    Hi BosonMichael,

    Regarding your comment about the CCNA being designed for people who are already network admins, my son is considering a 2-year (AA degree) "Computer and Networking Technology" program at the local community college which includes the Cisco Networking Academy program (the 4-part CCNA course), as well as A+ prep courses. If what you said is true, I'm puzzled why they would include the CCNA training as an introduction to networking technology. I've toured the classroom and they have the full lab setups, with the Cisco switches/routers racks, etc. Do you think this curriculum would be over the head of a high school grad without networking experience?
    Thanks for any input on this.
     
  8. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    They offer the curriculum because they mistakenly believe that it will give students a boost in their careers. However, that's not how it works in the industry. Companies don't allow people without real-world IT work experience to work on Cisco gear.

    Without experience, almost everyone starts at the very bottom, regardless of how many certifications they acquire. There's actually a term for those who get certified, but don't have experience to back up their certifications: "paper-certified".

    Will the CCNA be over his head? I can't answer that. He very well may be able to learn the material. But it's one thing to learn how to configure a router in a school lab environment... it's another thing entirely to entrust the operation of a production network, with real data and real users and real revenue, to someone who has never administered a business network before. If he applies for network administration jobs in order to apply his CCNA skills, he'll be passed over in favor of experienced admins.

    You might ask, "Why wouldn't the CCNA come in handy when applying for an entry-level job?" The CCNA doesn't have anything to do with what your son would likely be doing in his first IT job. So if your son were to put the CCNA on his CV and apply for entry-level positions, many employers are going to think that he's either too expensive for them to afford, or that he's likely to leave within a few months for a better position, more suited to his CCNA certification.

    So what is likely to happen is that he'll have a very difficult time getting an entry-level job, and an impossible time getting a mid-level job. I've lost track of the number of people I've seen online who have gotten frustrated and given up on IT for this very reason.

    Now, there's a difference between getting the knowledge and getting the certification. The knowledge will be *excellent* for your son. More knowledge is always better. However, the certification itself isn't a golden ticket or an instant boost to an IT career.

    Don't get me wrong - I absolutely believe in certifications. I create certification training products for a living. But certification has a specific role in an IT career... and that's to prove that you have a certain level of experience. Without the appropriate experience, the certifications themselves are not very useful.

    If your son wants to get ahead, this is what I would recommend to him:
    - Study for certifications that are relevant for techs who are just starting out: A+, Network+, and the MCDST, in that order. Until you get experience, I wouldn't recommend getting certified past that point.
    - Don't wait until you're certified... start looking for entry-level IT jobs NOW. If you get the A+ before you find a job, add it to your CV and start studying for Network+.
    - Don't pass over an entry-level IT job just because it doesn't sound appealing to you or doesn't pay a great salary. Get your foot in the door any way you can... whether that be as a call center help desk tech, a field service tech, a desktop support tech, or a PC repair tech. It's not a job you'll keep forever... but you need to build that valuable real-world IT experience that employers desire... so you CAN get those better jobs with more responsibilities and higher salaries.... and so you can start doing the things you WANT to do. Everyone starts at the bottom... but nobody has to stay there forever!
     
    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!
  9. sandmannn69

    sandmannn69 New Member

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    Thanks very much for that information, it sounds very much like my first experiences in the electronics industry (many years ago). I think the A+ is to the computer industry as the FCC license is to the RF electronics field. It helps you get your foot in the door, and I think a lot of employers put it down as a minimum requirement, because like the FCC license, it means you have at least a basic knowledge of the equipment and how it works. I noticed after re-reading the curriculum from the AA program I mentioned that there isn't any statement regarding obtaining the CCNA cert being a requirement for graduation. Like you said, the knowledge obtained would be more important to someone new to the field than the actual certification. The instructor said a large portion of their students are evening-class adults who are probably working IT folks interested in adding the certification and/or knowledge to their resume. I'm still going to encourage him to take the AA program because his main interest is working on computers and computer networks, but temper his expectations with the real-world information you have provided. Thanks again.
     
  10. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    I am glad to be of service. Please let me know if I can provide any additional info! :)
     
    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!
  11. nugget
    Honorary Member

    nugget Junior toady

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    Hi and welcome to the forum. :biggrin
     
    Certifications: A+ | Network+ | Security+ | MCP (270,271,272,290,620) | MCDST | MCTS:Vista
    WIP: MCSA, 70-622,680,685
  12. GiddyG

    GiddyG Terabyte Poster Gold Member

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    Welcome to CF! 8)
     

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