1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Thinking of going for CCNA

Discussion in 'General Cisco Certifications' started by laserguy, Jun 26, 2007.

  1. laserguy

    laserguy New Member

    2
    0
    1
    Hi!

    I am due to finish my post grad laser physics masters this sept. I have realised that the IT industry is where I want my career. My friend finished his degree last year and has since started a CCNA at college. He has told me that self certification is definitely a valid method of entry and I am most interested in this. This idea definitely seems mirrored on this forum.

    I have been fiddling with computers for the past 13 years or so since I was a nipper and I am pretty certain that, like my last job, I will find an IT role in a company. I would like to be able to command a decent salary from IT. It seems Cisco is the best route to this... (purely judging the renumeration from sites advertising Cisco jobs).

    I am proficient in VBA and can code in C. I cant code in C++ but i dont think this matters for Cisco.

    My main question is.... how long would you expect to prepare for the CCNA if you self studied full time? I know everyone is different but I would like a rough idea.

    Looking through the Cisco.com CCNA webpage I am confident I understand what all the terms mean. I am tempted to get a couple of routers and a switch pretty soon to start messing around.

    Another question that my friend didnt answer to well for me... He recommends Boson Netsim to practice on virtual networks. What i didnt quite understand is whether to buy routers and a switch as well as netsim or whether netsim replaces the need to buy any phyical harware~?


    Many thanks for you help
     
  2. wizard

    wizard Petabyte Poster

    5,763
    35
    174
    I would go for the Comptia A+ then the N+ then work yourself upto the CCNA. I made the mistake of trying to make the CCNA my first cert, put me off from IT for a couple of months.
     
    Certifications: SIA DS Licence
    WIP: A+ 2009
  3. Headache

    Headache Gigabyte Poster

    1,092
    9
    85
    Then again, the man is on the verge of gaining a masters in laser physics, which is a close to rocket science as it gets. So I'd say just go for it.

    As for how long it takes to achieve certification, that would be entirely up to you. Took me almost 6 months, from start to finish with no I.T background whatsoever.

    Sims are okay to begin with, but pretty shortly you're gonna be needing some hands-on, which is where the routers and switches come in. Personally, I'll recommend at least 4 routers and 2 switches for a complete lab.

    Goodluck, whatever you decide.
     
    Certifications: CCNA
    WIP: CCNP
  4. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    19,136
    462
    374
    Welcome!

    If you're just starting out in IT, the CCNA won't be of much use to you. 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 their money from IT certification training.

    That said, if your heart is in it, you can build (key word: build) a solid and successful IT career. It takes determination and effort, and you've got to work your way up... but it'll be worth it in the long run.

    I'd recommend that you start off with the A+ and Network+ certifications. If they're easy to you, you should be able to relatively fly through them. While studying for those certifications, start looking for an entry-level IT job to get your foot in the door and start building experience.

    Afterwards, you can look towards the MCDST (if you're the least bit interested in desktop support, which could give you an inside track on network administration later down the line) and the CCENT (new certification for those just starting out with Cisco).

    You are correct that coding skills won't be of much use for network administration or Cisco router administration.

    When you do eventually get to the point where you're starting to study for the Cisco exams, Boson's NetSim is a good simulator to help you get the feel of the router interface (that said, check my name - my opinion is probably biased ;) ). Alternatively, build you a good Cisco lab so that you can get some hands-on practice, because you absolutely need it to pass the Cisco exams.

    Best of luck! And 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!
  5. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    19,136
    462
    374
    So? I'm a degreed computational chemist with a minor in physics, and I had to start out at the bottom in IT... just like everyone else. If sheer book intelligence is all that you had to have to make an IT career work, there'd be a lot of experienced admins out of a job, let me tell you. But that's not how it works.
     
    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!
  6. Headache

    Headache Gigabyte Poster

    1,092
    9
    85
    [​IMG]



    Sorry.

    I'll shut up now.
     
    Certifications: CCNA
    WIP: CCNP
  7. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    19,136
    462
    374
    No need to shut up... I'm just telling you what IT is like from the perspective of a degreed candidate in a hard science. We all start out at the bottom and work our way up... unless we have a favorite uncle who is the CIO at a large company with a favorable nepotism policy. heh!
     
    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!
  8. laserguy

    laserguy New Member

    2
    0
    1
    many thanks for all your time and effort. I knew something wasn't quite right and that there was no way i could expect to earn what CCNA people are offered straight off. thanks for the advice on which certs to try for before attempting even to get a job :blink.

    I am still thinking that I will be CCNA certified, but that this is more likely to be in 1-2+ years now rather than early next year.

    I am going to read up a bit more on MCDST and CCENT, I thought it would be quicker to take CCNA instead of CCENT.its obviously not quicker if i cant get employed.

    Desktop support is not something that i have really ever considered, i am pretty sure i can fix most peoples winxp +maybe 2k but would need to learn vista and some aspects of 9x. getting this cert seems like a good idea and although desktop support is the biggest pain in the ass when its my mums friend not being able to get on the net doing it for a job might not be too bad.

    Special thanks to BosonMichael, I am Mike too :D and i am very interested that you majored in hard science and ended up in IT. I need to get qualified in IT so i am not taken advantage of again like at my previous job position. I will certainly keep an eye on this website and post my progress and choices as i make them. As i stands at the moment I have a summer project for uni which will be finishing in sept. I will be studying for A+, N+ then MCDST if I dont get a job in laser processing in the mean time.
     
  9. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    19,136
    462
    374
    All through my degree program, my teachers said that BS chemists typically start out around $35K per year. When I graduated in '97 with a Bachelors of Science in Chemistry, research and pharmaceutical companies wanted Masters degreed candidates, not BS candidates, even though I had taken an advanced program endorsed by the American Chemical Society, and despite a 3.83 (out of 4) grade point average. None of that mattered.

    I applied everywhere across the US. I was granted only one interview - from a pharmaceutical company in Louisville. They drove 3 hours south to meet with me, and they told me they needed someone to run some diagnostic lab equipment that I had gotten some experience on in college. While speaking with them, I found out that they needed some IT help as well. I offered to not only run their lab equipment, but also help assist on their network where needed... and I was willing to do it for $30K. I figured, that's less than what my school stated was the average entry-level chemist salary, and I really wanted to break into the field.

    I didn't get the job. I didn't even get a call back.

    Finally, I found a job at a testing facility... hiring warm bodies to wash test tubes for $25,000 per year. Now, I'm OK with starting at the bottom... but how do you prove yourself and your skills and your intelligence by washing out test tubes? :blink

    A sales rep where I worked at the time (where I was the default go-to computer guy, but there was no real IT department) got a new job at an IT services company. He found out that they were hiring entry-level IT people to be field service techs. Since I had 18 years of messing around with computers, I did what I swore I'd never do: make my hobby my career, at the risk of burning out on something I loved doing for fun. I got the job... at $11/hr (roughly $22,000 per year)... less salary than the test tube job, but I could prove myself by fixing PCs and working my way up. And I did.

    Within a year, my career had really started to take off. Because of my prior knowledge with computers, I was good at what I did, so my company allowed me to start learning server administration and troubleshooting. I had also begun certifying. A customer of ours who liked my skills decided to hire me for $35,000/yr for a systems admin/desktop support job, where I got to learn server/router/firewall configuration and administration from a very helpful network admin. 10 years later, I've build a solid career.

    I say all this because it sounds like you're in a similar boat as I was in. And if you're intelligent, degreed, and already have knowledge of PCs, you're on the right track for a good start. Most everyone starts at the bottom... but nobody said you had to stay there forever. Get your foot in the door, get some certifications, and look for every opportunity to build experience where you are. If there are no more opportunities, change jobs... but keep learning, keep certifying, and keep climbing upward. It's possible, and worth every bit of the effort.
     
    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!
  10. mrlogic0

    mrlogic0 Bit Poster

    16
    0
    26
    I graduated with a 2:1 in Engineering IT. For the last 6-7 years I've been working as a sessional tutor, teaching basic IT stuff. I get paid hourly, without any job security, paid holidays etc. Live day-to-day. It's a dead-end job - no job satisfaction.

    I am presently completing my Masters degree but I know this will get me nowhere. Also, being in my mid-40's I don't think anyone will hire me, speaking from past experience.

    I have decided to formalise my IT knowledge and hence I am studying for the following:
    • Wireless# (then later CWNA, CWSP)
    • A+
    • Network+
    • CCNA

    I then hope to set up my own IT consultancy.

    You need experience if you want to get a good job.

    Hope this helps.
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons) Engineering - IT; Wireless#
    WIP: A+, Net+, CWNA, CCNA

Share This Page

Loading...