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Where to start?

Discussion in 'General Cisco Certifications' started by Mr_Swifty, Dec 31, 2010.

  1. Mr_Swifty

    Mr_Swifty Bit Poster

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    Greetings all.
    First of all Happy New Year and I thought I would write something quickly before I go out and celebrate a new coming year!

    I have a Bsc Honours degree in E-commerce (2:1)

    However since around 1999 I have always worked for myself and still doing so. However in 2008 I decided I wanted a crack at a job and see how it would be. It is kind of lonely working for youself, and you end up doing many things although the rewards are good. I wanted to get a job, due to part of the business going down and it was just extra money really which I needed. And I am that type of person to continue and educate myself. So extra qualifications are always a good thing!

    So I applied for a job in IT, and they never even looked at my degree!. Just asked me if I know how to build a computer and use a multimeter and that was it!

    I got the job.
    Potential at the time was you could earn up to £30k ish but working odd hours and slaving long hours (very hard if you have a little son!)

    Now from next year, all that has been cut and a lot of things have been cut. I worked it all out and I am down to £17k a year!! I have 2x mortgages and business is not so good at the moment (although I have a few things in the pipeline for next year!.)

    The thing is, the job is kinda b$? I was told at the start that there would be server/network work (qualifications paid for etc etc) and so far nothing has happened. The job is repairing crap that breaks in stores!. Occasionally you might get an odd server to fix/reconfigure but its like 110 years old equipment being used!

    I know I am highly regarded as a "good engineer" and reputation has got around. Except I do not see myself progressing at all. Its same b$ different day if you get me :(

    Anyways, cut to the chase. Where can I start?

    I know a few guys from the company are in the same position as me, and I told them I would do some research about CCNA and similar stuff.

    Thanks for your time guys..

    S
     
  2. Mr_Swifty

    Mr_Swifty Bit Poster

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    I did a little bit more research.
    And probably

    A+
    N+
    CCNA

    Would be the best order?

    About A+, I was looking on comptia website and its quite basic stuff, but obviously a good thing to have. However I think it is only valid for 3 years at a time?.

    Also I know I will not have the time to do one of those quick 7 days courses.
    Is it possible that I buy the material what is required (lets say from eBay) and then do the exam seperately? Or do I need to be registered with a centre in order to take an exam ?

    I have tried to search on the net for information, but it has got kind of confusing.

    I am led to beleive all those people offering A+ certification, lets say around £300; that price is only for the training materials, then when the exam time comes you have to pay extra? Im feeling a little lost..lol!

    Wishing all a very happy new year and all the best for this 2011 year!
     
  3. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    A+, Network+ and then perhaps a MS operating system cert?

    CCNA not so good when starting out on the cert path.
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  4. L1ONE

    L1ONE Bit Poster

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    You just missed out on the A+ being a lifetime certification. I'd maybe skip it and go straight for MCDST, N+ seeing as you already have quite a lot of experience in that.
     
    Certifications: CompTIA A+, MCDST, MCP
    WIP: N+ maybe.
  5. Mr_Swifty

    Mr_Swifty Bit Poster

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    Thanks for the replies.
    So if I wanted to do a CCNA, would it be a waste of time doing N+?
    Now I am not sure what path to take :confused:

    If someone could explain to me the different paths and advantages would give me a better vision.

    Thanks!
     
  6. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Do you work with Cisco kit mate?
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  7. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    Bear in mind that certifications are there to underpin your existing knowledge with a 'product'. On their own, without any practical experience to back them up, they are just pieces of paper. The key is to to tie your certification path in with what you are working with now and will be working with in the near future.

    Entry level certs, such as the A+ and N+ are vendor neutral and so are a good all round foundation.

    Certs like CCNA are vendor specific and are not considered entry level as such.

    you should do the N+ before considering whether a CCNA is appropriate for you and bear in mind that you can actually over certify and make yourself look unsuitable for some positions that maybe of interest to you.
     
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  8. Mr_Swifty

    Mr_Swifty Bit Poster

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    Well lets say I go to a server call out. All I am doing is replacing a disk, power supply or parts (hotswap) which does not require any knowledge. However in that same rack above their are cicsco systems equipment which I have never touched.

    Well ideally I wanted to leave my current firm as 17k is not going to do me any good and being slaved to work odd hours and weekends as well!. I didnt mind at first as I said, potentially I was getting just over 30k and at that time promised training with servers and more interesting stuff. But that has not happened yet, and I just need to get out :(.

    I wanted to do something more challenging instead of running around with a screwdriver picking up other peoples mess. We get called "engineers" which is over rated. Feel more like a handyman!

    I wanted to focus more into security for servers etc. Just a change required for self knowledge and also challenge wise.

    Speaking to another collegue the other day, the company was willing to train him I think doing CCNA but he would have to stay a further 2 years and still on 17k. No pay rise. Think we better off doing it outside and moving on before 2 years!..lol

    Or another option, would be to get papers, show this current company what I got, and tell them to put me on a different team and up my salary!.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2011
  9. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    It looks like you need to make the transition from a call out engineer to network admin\support or something similar.

    This can be difficult as the hardware call outs you have been doing are quite rare when looking after one network – regardless of the size. It may be the case that the servers have a hardware warranty anyway so you would not need to get involved. Therefore some of the experience you have obtained can’t be transferred to a new position.

    Everyone seems to think CCNA is the answer to get into a network support job but this isn’t always the case. You also need to try and get into a network support job without having the experience of supporting desktops\laptops etc. other than swapping out a failed hardware component which adds to the challenge.

    I think you are right to want to make the career change however I would also recommend a Microsoft certification after the A+\Network+ and then perhaps look at the Cisco certs if you have the opportunity to work with some Cisco kit.

    Best of luck mate. :biggrin
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  10. Mr_Swifty

    Mr_Swifty Bit Poster

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    @Sparky
    Many thanks for your reply

    I know sooner or later I will be back working for myself. But right now I want to try and get as much experience out there with people and obviously try earn a decent wage. I have experience of fixing lots of computers out there. I fix/diagnose sort out software on all Self checkouts and tills (you know the annoying machines that piss everyone off at supermarkets..LOL) Also configuring network printers and I would say mostly EPOS systems. I must say it is pretty much easy stuff.
    Say for example a till has a bsod, the rebuild is easy. Just ghost an image and pass it over for remote patching to a software team. Anyone with minimum knowledge can follow step by step instructions. I guess the main point is to fix and move on fast as SLA to be met etc.

    Was talking to one colleague the other day and he was promised a similar kind of thing if he did the 24h on call. They promised training on servers/cisco and more pay. 3 years onwards, he is just swapping pinpads on petrol stations at stupid hours, just because it cannot be done during the day (as petrol station risks going down)

    I have some experience with networks from a long time ago, when I used to run a cybercafe. But this is going back 1996 ish!!. So long time.

    I can only ask for advice here and yeah your right. You do a google search on CCNA, and you get a lot of mixed feelings the way CCNA is advertised. Obviously some companies want you to go with them as they are here to make money end of day. And they try and make it attractive as possible throwing nice figures you could potentially earn!. I know its much more than that!.

    I remember starting MCSE back in 2000 but I never finished it at the time :( Wish I did

    Ideally, my degree in E-commerce, maybe I could use that in conjunction with something. I just cannot figure out what..

    One of the reasons I chose field work is the flexibility and not being tied down to a desk etc. I dont mind doing stuff ooh but it would have to compensate well.

    Maybe do A+, N+ and apply for a few things and see how it goes? I have programming experience if that counts like c# etc. (also since I was in e-commerce stuff, I know certain web technologies/programming)

    If I was to do A+
    Could I buy all the stuff lets say off ebay, and then go to an exam centre and take the test?
    I want to do it in my own time, not in 3-5 days as some places offer!..lol

    Or do I need to be registered to someone... in order to take exams.
    I am pretty confident A+ would be ok for me. I just need to "brush" up and read on a few things and obviously buy the material from somewhere so I have a hands on feeling of what needs to be done/acheived.

    Really sorry for all these questions :(
     
  11. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    you can take exams whenever you want. For compTIA exams you need to book through www.pearsonvue.co.uk or www.prometric.com you will find your nearest 5 test centers on those sites. you pick the test center and dates you want if available and pay using your credit card then take the tests.

    For ms exams you book them through prometric only

    You can get discount vouchers for the A+ from www.gracetechsolutions.com you using the voucher codes instead of your credit card to pay on the pearsonvue website (gractech only do vouchers for pearsonvue).

    MS press book usually have an exam voucher in the back.

    You never need to take any courses for any certs if you dont want to they can all be studied at your own pace.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  12. Mr_Swifty

    Mr_Swifty Bit Poster

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    Thanks guys for sharing info.
    Obviously what I can help in, I will try reply
    I bought the All in one Mike Meyers book.


    Once that comes, ill go through the objectives and requirements, obviously skip the obvious. Ill post back hopefully with a postive result :D
    Many thanks.
     
  13. Mr_Swifty

    Mr_Swifty Bit Poster

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    One question I do have.
    Say I do the A+, would it completely expire in 3 years? Or would I have the option of bridge exam and would I have to take it before the 3 year expiration.
    Same applies to N+ ?
    Thanks

    (speaking to someone today he said Im wasting my time doing A+ and should go to CCNA straight. However its not my plan, I want the A+ cert first!)
     
  14. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Who is this "someone" you speak of? :biggrin
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  15. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Yes, it completely expires in 3 years. However, passing a higher-level certification can qualify you to extend your lower-level certifications for a three-year period.

    All that said... after you've gotten three years of IT experience, the A+ and Network+ won't be as crucial to your CV as they are at the beginning of your IT career.

    And what does he/she do for a living? Is he/she already a network administrator?
     
    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!
  16. Mr_Swifty

    Mr_Swifty Bit Poster

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    Its just another collegue who works with me and no he is just a field engineer like myself. Although I think his previous job, he was country support. He has quite a bit of knowledge and I know many people call him for advice etc..

    Hmm interesting. I already have a BSc in E-commerce. My final year project I made an app for mobile phones and gps and it did get a distinction. Work related, I do fix a lot of hardware, change lots of motherboards in tills etc. Also (well i need to brush up) can program in c# c++ (but i have no qualification to prove my programming skills. Its something I picked up growing up as a teenager. Been a while though and honestly I am not to keen on programming.

    With my degree, is it worth doing the A+ N+ as I remember in uni, we covered up pretty much from what I can see in the set objectives
    What Im trying to say is, Im not that new to the IT world. I started working on the y2k bug back in 1997 for Alcatel systems. And actually ran a small cybercafe in 1998.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2011
  17. BosonMichael
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    Doesn't matter how much knowledge he has... he's not a network admin. The advice you're getting on this forum are from people who are network admins or who have previously been network admins.

    Just sayin... if I wanted to get advice on how to be a doctor, I'd get advice from people who are doctors or have been doctors... not someone in medical school who wants to be a doctor.

    That's all commendable... but none of that is going to automagically qualify you to be a network admin. In fact, programming and technical administration are two entirely different fields, and rarely do the two meet.

    Degrees and certifications are altogether different, and neither can replace the other. All a degree shows is that you can complete an extended course of study in a particular field. All a certification shows is that you have the baseline level of theoretical knowledge to pass an exam (or several exams). Both are different... but neither are equivalent to real-world experience.

    That said, your knowledge you have gained while studying for your degree will help you pass those certification exams.

    No, you're not. But you're not ready to jump into Cisco administration, either.

    I'd recommend getting the A+, Network+, and MCDST (or MCTS/MCITP for Vista and 7). Then I would recommend that you start looking for a desktop admin support job, preferably one where you can start getting some light server administration experience. After you get a few months of server admin experience, you can take the exams related to those certifications and find a proper server admin job. Eventually, you will want to work your way to a server admin job where you can start helping out with network administration... then you can get the certifications related to the tasks you're doing. Are you seeing the pattern yet? ;)

    Hope this shines a bright light on the path you should consider. :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2011
    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!
  18. kevicho

    kevicho Gigabyte Poster

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    Hi Mr Swifty

    Id just like to say good luck with your studies, it sounds like you are desperate to progress, and while that is good in some ways, especially if it motivates you to put the effort into study and working hard, but it also usually signals a slight amount of impatience which can cloud judgement when it comes to life and a career IT.

    I appreciate your friend who seems knowledgable, has an opinion, in fairness it is just as valid as anyone elses, but realistically, he is a field engineer, that may be through choice, we dont know, but ultimately, as Morpheus says, there is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.

    From personal experience, and 11 years in IT working in a variety of roles, including working with Network equipment, I decided to do the CCNA and passed almost 2 years ago.

    The reason I did the CCNA was due to the fact in previous roles, including 3 years working for a network reseller, I had had a fair amount of exposure to the technology and could put this in experience on my CV, as opposed to just passing an exam.

    My current role uses HP equipment so while the CCNA came in handy, as a lot of the commands where similar, it was the experience that enabled me to adapt to a new environment and transfer the skills.

    One point is the CCNA isnt cheap, and the prerequisites ask for someone with some hands on experience using routers and switches, the reason Cisco say this is for everyones benefit.

    One question worth answering is "Did having the CCNA get me my current role", well i suppose the answer would be no, experience, personality and demonstration of skill did, having a CCNA doesnt benefit me in my current role either, but as a validation of skills I already posessed and could back up in both CV and practical then it is worthwhile, and also it is an indicator of dedication to being an IT professional.

    So what I would suggest is not getting so much wrapped in having a specific certification, look at the job role you would like or need to to progress to next to achieve your long term goal (Remember there are many steps in a career ladder), look at the skillset you require and fill in the blanks with your study, and get applying for that role.
     
    Certifications: A+, Net+, MCSA Server 2003, 2008, Windows XP & 7 , ITIL V3 Foundation
    WIP: CCNA Renewal
  19. Mr_Swifty

    Mr_Swifty Bit Poster

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    Michael and Kevicho
    thanks a lot for your response.

    @Michael : Its not like I ask his advice. He is just there and I guessed expressed his opinion about the basic qualifications. It only led me to think was it worth doing in terms of my degree. But you have given me that answer :D (My book should be with me this week as ordered yesterday) Your responses are appreciated and yes I can see more light now!:D Thanks for that. I see you have done like everything in your signature!.

    @Kevicho : Thanks for the good luck wish :D.
    My background is slightly different and I only applied for my current job as I had not much to do as my company has a few guys taking care of stuff. (Having spare time is not such a good thing and I know that!! lol) But I always thought of it as a backup and possibly a way in to make more contacts to my advantage. But it has not turned out that way and instead a wage cut/fake promises of training/and a few other negative stuff.
    However, I am always looking to further educate myself and see what level I can take myself too!. Hence my mission to try achieve something useful for me and of course beneficial!. Not being brain dead in this current job I have!. Its driving me mad. I could quit, but I don't want to be idle as it will only make me a lazy b@stard :D
    Have to see how it goes :D
     
  20. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    It's a necessary "hazard" of my job. Although my last job was as a network administrator, I currently write practice exam content for a well-known IT training provider. :)

    I wish you well in your career! Glad to help.
     
    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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