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What to do after certs with no experience

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by Richie1888, May 7, 2009.

  1. Richie1888

    Richie1888 Byte Poster

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    Hi guys

    I have been reading on here various people's views on certs and getting a job. I get it when people say you should only be doing certs if you have the experiences of doing the job it relates to but how do you get into that role without a certs training ?

    Im going to finish my CCNP soon and may move onto Voice but when I finish I want to get a job in networking at some level. I am realistic I don't believe when I get a job Ill be a network admin supporting a 1000 user strong network, although the knowledge maybe there to do that but practical experience of troubleshooting and implementation (or lack of) would get me hung drawn and quartered at that first sign of trouble.

    So what do you do if your me im desperate to get into it networking and realise that a salary around 20k to 25k is more realistic than the 40k some training providers would tell me im guaranteed. I also realise that when I get into a job I would really need a mentor with experience to provide a safety net as I truly learned that trade (my honest belief is that you don't learn any job until you start doing it) .

    So what do you guys think Im sure im not the only one in this boat.

    Cheers

    Richie

    (sorry for the length):oops:
     
    Certifications: See Sig
    WIP: Security+
  2. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    Richie, what are you doing for a living at the moment?
     
    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
  3. Richie1888

    Richie1888 Byte Poster

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    Helpdesk suport

    but you can bearly call it that as mostly anything of importance is handled down south and when they dont know what there doing which I get the impression is alot it goes out to a third party
     
    Certifications: See Sig
    WIP: Security+
  4. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    If you don't do any work on Cisco Routers/Switches etc I would not recommend going done the CCNP route.

    Perhaps you should think about the MCDST and MCSA to make you more rounded? as I presume you must support MS technologies.
     
    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
  5. Richie1888

    Richie1888 Byte Poster

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    ye im stuck in a posistion where I want to get CCVP when my CCNP finishes then move onto MS stuff but I dont want to sit stuck in this job not being able to use anything im learning.
     
    Certifications: See Sig
    WIP: Security+
  6. kevicho

    kevicho Gigabyte Poster

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    I and am sure many others appreciate your frustrations and I applaud your inititiative.

    What I would say is consider this, certifications are a measure of commercial competance in using the kit, and prerequistes of these exams will require you to have x amount of commerical experience using the kit in a commercial environment, most employers will see someone who has experience in helpdesk work and the first question they will ask is what experience you have using the kit in real life.

    Im not knocking your hard work or aptitude but most employers will demand experience to backup your certification, I myself worked for companies and did some Cisco support, and while I am capable of doing the CCNP track im holding back because my experience will not be there for a few more months for what Cisco consider enough time running network Kit (ironically they use HP where i now work, but i may want to do Cisco for the theory side of things and then HP specific), so at the moment im doing certifications that my experience will match.

    You probably would be better off doing MCDST and looking at MCSA at the highest you should go, but I would suggest you look for a more challenging role, so you put these skills into use everyday, as opposed to study for 3-6 months pass the exam and then forget it all a month down the line because you havent used your skills.

    Also you could look at soft skills such as project management, or ITIL, which may help move your career on.

    And thats what certification is about, helping to move your career on
     
    Certifications: A+, Net+, MCSA Server 2003, 2008, Windows XP & 7 , ITIL V3 Foundation
    WIP: CCNA Renewal
  7. Richie1888

    Richie1888 Byte Poster

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    sorry just to make another point you say not to go down the ccnp route, but for myself who wants to get into networking where do I go then if Cisco is not that way to go what would you suggest ?
     
    Certifications: See Sig
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  8. Mr.Cheeks

    Mr.Cheeks 1st ever Gold Member! Gold Member

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  9. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    To move from your current position into a job working on Cisco Hardware, is not going to happen unless you can show real world experience, which you cannot. Without this employers won't let you near there production environment.

    In most environments, you will be working using MS in some form.

    Even if you got a job using your CCNA skills you would need to understand the network that your designing/supporting and how things like Group Policy work and affect the end uers.

    Thats the reason why I recommend going down the MCDST and MCSA route first. Then you have networking skills and system administration skills which could lead you to a network/system admin role and then perhaps onto your goal of Network Engineer.
     
    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
  10. Richie1888

    Richie1888 Byte Poster

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    thanks for the replies guys

    the first point you make I think that may have been how certs we re first done but not now they are big business now and the main way for people to learn the skills of the areas they want to move into. I think employers would have to recognise that most young people with certs these days don't have any experience outwith what you get a Cisco acad.

    here is a question to you if certs are only for people with experience to prove they can do that job why is their a Cisco academy, why is there a Cisco press for study books or the same for any vendor if certs were for only for people who already had the knowledge why have any study materials.

    you are lucky from the point of you that you are in a job which gives you a level of experience I am not and the only way I can is with the certs that the job apps are looking for.

    I started the MCDST and looked through the material and cancelled it as I was worried about the level of the cert itself ( no disrespect to anyone who has this it was a personal opinion only )

    getting a more challenging role is the problem just now I cant get a sniff as I don't have the certs that every job now seems to want.

    what do these soft skills involve ?
     
    Certifications: See Sig
    WIP: Security+
  11. Richie1888

    Richie1888 Byte Poster

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    ha ha million dollar question then how do I get real world experience if I cant get in the door ?

    im interested in getting MS certs after I finish my ccnp
     
    Certifications: See Sig
    WIP: Security+
  12. Richie1888

    Richie1888 Byte Poster

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    not really mate im a ccna and half way through a ccnp. i could be wrong but i cant think theres much to be learned in N+
     
    Certifications: See Sig
    WIP: Security+
  13. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    Why can't you get the foot in the door? is it because:

    - Your CV is naff?
    - You are getting interviews, but your face to face skills are letting you down?
    - Your current job role and skill level shows potenital employers that you at not at the right level to to progess?

    I don't know the answers to these questions, lets say your 1st Line Support with 3 years experience supporting XP and doing simple things like Password Resets. Without sounding harsh you have got as much chance getting a role as a Network Admin as I have off being able to travel back in time and place the winning bet on Cup Final last year. As you work experience is Software based supporting XP and you want to start tinkering with Routers!

    You would need to be looking at 2nd Line roles that compliment your current work experience and qualifications then you might get the opportunity with the right company to work with say a Field Engineer to replace a faulty router or to even assist in configuring one.
     
    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
  14. Richie1888

    Richie1888 Byte Poster

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    thats all fine in saying mate but I did say I was looking for something at more trainee level or for an employer who is looking for a 25k network engineer maybe taking a chance on someone with now experience taking them on at a lower age and letting them get the hands on they need.
     
    Certifications: See Sig
    WIP: Security+
  15. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    You have asked for advice, I have given it to you and others as well.

    Its obviously not the answer you want.
     
    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
  16. Richie1888

    Richie1888 Byte Poster

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    no mate not at all
     
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  17. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    Ah, the age old Experience > Job > Experience paradox. Its seemingly impossible to get the experience without a job, but all jobs require experience to get. Almost every industry/track has this type of paradox somewhere along the lines.

    Bottom line mate, is that there are plenty of companies who exist to sell certifications. They dont really care that you dont have the recommended experience. They just want your cash. After all, the cert vendors say that you should have x experience, but they dont make it mandatory. Just because an industry exists to part you with your money, dont make the mistake of thinking that makes it so. Training companies do not equal employers, they arent necessarily in touch with the reality of hiring these people.

    Think on this though, would you really let someone loose on your expensive and critical equipment when they held a piece of paper, but had no experience on it? Sure, I can pay you half the salary to manage my network than an experienced tech, but the price to me in that, is the increased because of downtime due to mistakes (we all make them, but the more inexperienced you are, the more likely you are to make them), or not knowing how to solve the problem when the network goes down.

    Sure, both those things are experience based, you cant get them without being exposed to them, but the TCO is going to be higher for a 'paper' candidate, as opposed to an experienced candidate.

    The best path is to move to a position better than you are just now, and a step closer to where you want to be. After six months to a year, or longer depending on circumstances, make another step closer. Resign yourself to the knowledge that you are most likely going to have to take small steps over several years to get to where you want to be. You might get lucky, but dont count on it.

    Since its related, let me tell you my story. I started at uni doing genetics. About three years in i dropped out, and decided I wanted to get into IT. Initially I wanted to be a pc technician. I took a non-IT job to tide me over and started applying to every IT job I could find. I landed a servicedesk analyst role - bottom rung of the ladder, but still IT. Sixmonths in I was lucky enough to be 'promoted' to an Account Administration position. Not necessarily so technical, but it gave me an opportunity to experience AD, and programming in the form of VBScript.

    Eventually, after building up a relationship with a Business Analyst in the development team (he mentored me with VBScript), I managed to arrange for a 6 week secondment to the dev team. I managed to impress them fairly well, and resolved to become a developer properly. It took me three months to find a company willing to take me on as a developer proper. A year after that, I came back to the company and department that I had done my secondment in, as a developer.

    Some of that is luck, some of it is skill. But in all of it, it took time. From joining Servicedesk to becoming a developer took me about 2-3 years. It was a long slog, doing boring, mindnumbing work. But it paid off.
     
    Certifications: ITIL Foundation; MCTS: Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010, Administration
    WIP: None at present
  18. kevicho

    kevicho Gigabyte Poster

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    Hi Richie, as you say it is a trueism, how can people without experience get roles that all important necessary experience without the experience.

    Well several possibilities exist

    1) someone is eventually willing to give you a shot thanks to your certifications and despite the lack of experience.

    I have worked in IT for 10 years, and in that time have come across situations and problems which were light years from exams, the study for the exams proved useful but as you can probably appreciate study for a 2 hour test do not really prepare someone for the day to day "glamour" (or lack of) in IT.

    2) Someone will see your certifications and think that the level you apply for will be beneath you and you will want to move as soon as you get some experience

    This is the situation a lot of us are trying to warn you about.
    With the certs you want, then you could be looking at a mid to senior network tech role, however the experience you have currently, is one of you need to be getting your foot in the door to move up to this level.

    3) You will be competing against those with experience and the certs

    As you can appreciate someone with a proven track record is more appealing, you may get lucky.

    4) You go into business for yourself

    You may suffer due to lack of contacts and experience but if you market yourself right and you genuinely have the skills then this is an option,for a SMB type business,
    But then again you will be competing against people with experience and are already established in business.

    5) You do something about this experience problem

    Write letters to local companies, such as cisco partners, or large organisations stating who you are, the benefits you can bring to a company, the fact you are self learning and dedicated to improving, you may get lucky again.

    I can see why you are frustrated by the advice you are given, but it is given with experience, honesty and is fully intended with your best interests at heart.
     
    Certifications: A+, Net+, MCSA Server 2003, 2008, Windows XP & 7 , ITIL V3 Foundation
    WIP: CCNA Renewal
  19. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Let’s get real for a second here, you work on a helpdesk but dismiss the Network+ because you are a “CCNA”? Come on! :rolleyes:

    The advice you have been given is sound. Personally I would balance up your CV with some MS certs as that is often the first step in server admin and the further you progress the more Cisco\enterprise level support starts to come your way.
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  20. Richie1888

    Richie1888 Byte Poster

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    wait a minute regardless of job why would you get a ccna and go back for a N+ ?
     
    Certifications: See Sig
    WIP: Security+

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